Video Game / Factorio

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/factorio_tvtropes_9820.jpg

"This is a game that lets you automate Minecraft. [...] It just feels like someone looked at Minecraft and thought, 'Oh, this is wrong, let's do this properly!"

Factorio is a crowdfunded top-down two-dimensional construction and management game, with RTS elements planned for later updates. Currently the game is officially an alpha, but has had impressive critical (winning two of the four categories at the 2015 Czech Game Of The Year awards) and financial success already.

The final details of the framing narrative have not been hammered out yet, but the broad gist of it is this: You are a survivor of a spaceship that has crashed on an alien world, only to find that the planet is populated by a number of enormous and highly aggressive insectoid species that become agitated by noise and air pollution. Utilizing local materials and your own knowledge, you start building vast factories and transport networks, establishing the industrial infrastructure necessary to launch a rocket and regain spaceflight capability.

The game has both singleplayer and Co-Op Multiplayer modes. A demo is available on the Factorio website, with the full game available on the website, and from Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for 20/$20.


Factorio provides examples Of:

  • All There in the Script: The planet Factorio takes place on is called Nauvis. The only place you'll find that word is inside the game's code.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • A lot of things that you would think would require electric power conveyor belts, splitters, offshore water pumps don't need to be powered in-game because doing so would just add a layer of annoyance and not add anything to the gameplay.
    • The very first Inserter in the game, the Burner Inserter, requires no electrical power to run, just a steady feed of coal. During development it was made capable of feeding itself coal (or other fuels) from an input lane on an adjecent conveyor belt, even if it didn't have any fuel to begin with.
    • Developer blog comments indicate that new code is being tested for version 0.16 that will streamline and simplify adding undergrounds and splitters directly into a running line of belts, thus making it easier to set up infrastructure without extra commands to remove belts first.
    • Version 0.15 makes it more convenient to work with blueprints and construction bots - Shift-clicking now allows you to drop a blueprint directly into a forested area, which will cause construction bots to reclaim any obstructing trees and rocks before deploying your buildings.
    • Versions 0.14 and 0.15 improved the UI for the Research window, making it easier to see the prerequisites and results of any research topic, in addition to integrating a research tree diagram to better illustrate inter-related research, thus allowing newer players to better envision the research path they would want to take.
    • Versions 0.14 and 0.15 refined the railway system and added an automatic plotting mechanic to the rail-laying interface so you would not need to keep rotating track segments, as well as improved the UI for managing your trains and stations, allowing you to rename a station and have all trains assigned to that station automatically acknowledge the station-name update.
    • For a variety of reasons, the biggest one being to allow players a way to dispose of these, all wooden items (logs, planks, small power poles, and boxes) can be fed into anything that burns fuel to operate. This also means that in a pinch you can kickstart your boilers by shoving a few obsolete wooden boxes into their fuel intake.
  • Art Evolution: The initial release of the game had a very cartoony art style, such as the original model for the car being a Cadillac Eldorado with clown-car proportions. As development went on, the art style was refined into the Diesel Punk-esque aesthetic.
  • Attack Drone: The player can make capsules that release flying robot minions. Some follow the player, others stay put to distract enemies.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Using the train to plough through enemies. The train takes next to no damage and can easily squish the largest of bugs, but it's not always easy getting enemies to nicely line up along the railway tracks as they do in some of the trailers.
    • Flame turrets have good range and do good damage and consume any oil product the player might not have much use for. Unfortunately, they need pipe networks laid out to them from the oil refineries, their Painfully Slow Projectiles cause them to overshoot fast-moving enemies, and they have a fixed arc that restricts their ability to hit enemies. They are ultimately more suitable for the lategame, when your petrochemical production should be able to support them, your upgrades have made them utterly devastating, and your wall defenses are sufficiently developed to keep Large and Behemoth biters at bay inside their firing arc, where they can roast them while they try to break through the walls.
  • Bag of Holding: Given both the large number of inventory slots and items stacking, it's not hard to fit an entire locomotive and several cargo wagons with plenty of space to spare. Research options and powered armor further extend your inventory so that you can easily carry hundreds of metal plates and chunks of coal, and still have room to carry enough inserters, furnaces, and assemblers to significantly expand your factory.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Nothing but. Even the "small" bugs are the size of a man. Big bugs are the size of a dump truck and can shrug off high-explosive rockets. Behemoth bugs are large enough to dwarf trees, boilers, and small power poles.
  • Car Fu: The car and tank will plough through anything in their way, though the car is damaged in the process. The train, on the other hand, will gleefully plough through an entire swarm of bugs - or you - without breaking a sweat.
    • Subsequently acknowledged with two achievements; one for being killed by a speeding train, and another for surviving 500 points of damage delivered in a single hit... which can only happen by standing in the path of a train.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Primarily for speed:
    • Basic transport belts are yellow, fast ones are red, and the fastest tier are blue.
    • Gray inserters are the slowest, and use coal instead of electricity. Yellow is medium speed, and slowest to run on electricity. Red inserters are as fast as the yellow ones, but have twice the reach. Blue inserters are the fastest-moving. Purple inserters pick specific items, green inserters pick up items in stacks, and white inserters pick up specific items in stacks. The last three move as fast as blue inserters.
    • Gray assembly machines are the slowest, then blue, then yellow/green.
  • Cool Car: The handbuilt car is fast, agile, can run on anything that burns and can ram into trees without taking significant damage.
  • Cool Train: The diesel engine is fairly snazzy in terms of appearance and it will become the backbone for any large factory once local mineral deposits are depleted.
  • Creepy Cockroach: The aforementioned Big Creepy-Crawlies often resemble swarms of giant cockroaches.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: In peaceful mode, the bugs stay in their nests and never attack your factory. However, you still have to attack the nests in order to get alien artifacts necessary to craft top-tier items and to win the game. Some Game Mods avert this by adding other ways to make the artifacts. Averted as of 0.15, where alien artifacts were removed, so clearing nests is only necessary for expansion.
  • Death World: 0.15 adds a world-generation setting that is explicitly labeled as such, which increases the growth rate and aggression of the Biters and Spitters.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Has the Trope Namer in-game, manufactured much in the same way as in the real world from a byproduct of enriching uranium for fission reactors.
  • Diesel Punk / Steam Punk: The most common power source are enormous inline 3-cylinder steam engines. Factories are dirty and puff out steam and smoke, and almost everything runs on coal or oil.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • The nature of the game itself makes it easy to learn yet hard to truly master. It will make you think about your factory's layout, power, and infrastructure as you build bigger, which may necessitate your tearing down of buildings in order to build them in a more optimal layout. On top of that, you need to keep an eye on your pollution and the slowly encroaching biters. Not for nothing do some players in the community joke about "The factory expanding to meet the needs of the expanding factory."
    • Combinator-based Logic Circuit Networks. It requires some knowledge of logic gates and combinator functions, and also needs you to invest materials into crafting the wiring and circuits needed, on top of laying out your base with a proper green/red wire circuit and setting the signals correctly. However, once you know how to do this, you can make smart systems integrated into your base - requester chests and filter inserters that can change their settings depending on the network signalling, and train stations that can intelligently page trains to come in to collect resources then ferry them to any given specific station; combined, you can have a logistics network that intelligently sends instructions to your supply base to produce and prepare ammunition, repair packs, spare bots, inserters, and buildings, then feeds them onto a train and sends them to an outpost base.
  • Difficulty Spike: Prior to version 0.15.0, the jump between tier 2 science packs and tier 3 was huge, effectively requiring you to double the size of your factory to automate it. Version 0.15 changes to 5 tiers, with gradual increases in complexity for each type.
  • Easy Logistics: Zigzagged.
    • Buildings have no maintenance, though it's averted in almost all other respects.
    • Gun turrets require an ammunition assembly line and a delivery system to actually bring ammo to turrets. You will probably want to add Roboport infrastructure so Construction Robots can continue to repair damaged turrets automatically and logistic robots can ferry bullets to the supply system.
    • Mineral deposits eventually run out, requiring you to shift your extractors around or find whole new mineral fields. Likewise, Oil deposits will gradually deplete, reducing their production and pushing you to seek out new deposits.
    • The steam-powered generators require you to balance fuel supply and water intake in order to maximise power production. Want more boilers to make more steam for your generators? Better add more water pumps to the intake end.
    • Nuclear-powered robots never need to stop to recharge, but if a Spitter attacks them they'll still need to be repaired. In addition, you will need to add Robot Network infrastructue to extend the operating range of your robots, and regular bots will pull power from your grid to recharge periodically.
    • Liquids lose pressure over distance, so long pipelines become less efficient. There are three workarounds for this: Adding powered pumps to pressurize the flow, using trains with Storage Tank carriages, or barreling the liquids and moving them that way. Either way, you need to add more infrastructure, and barrels require steel to manufacture.
    • Trains are one of the fastest ways to transport materials and supplies in bulk, but you need to manufacture the rails, rail signals, and associated infrastructure to fuel the trains and load/unload their cargo. In addition, the rail network will need to be defended and requires lots of room for the rails to be laid.
  • Easter Egg:
  • Fragile Speedster: The car. It's the fastest non-railway vehicle in the game, and since patch 0.11 the car has included a roof-mounted machine gun. However, speed comes at the sacrifice of armour, and even crashing into a tree can severely damage the car.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Lasers are slower than regular bullets. Somehow.
  • Gaia's Vengeance / Green Aesop: Bugs are attracted by noise and air pollution, produced by almost all machinery, but particularly those that burn materials to generate power. Trees absorb pollution, meaning that building your own hidden factory will prevent bug attacks but create a very inefficient factory, whereas operating under a clear-cut philosophy, cutting down all nearby trees will make a very efficient factory that draws the attention of nearby bug nests. Even if you opt for the former, excessive pollution will eventually kill your pollution-absorbing buffer. Maintaining a careful balance of pollution, production, and protection is necessary to prevent your early factories from being overrun by bugs.
  • Game Mod: Factorio natively supports mods, which can be managed via an in-game system that connects to the official Factorio servers to allow you to download and update mods. The selection available varies from simple mods to changed recipes or make minor adjustments to gameplay, such as the Long Reach, Arborium, and Autofill mods, to entire game-changing mods that add in new resources and enemies and/or make radical changes to the tech tree, such as the collection of mods collectively referred to as Bob's Mods. Concepts and ideas from several mods have been adapted into official game mechanics.
    • Complexity Addiction: Mods that scratch this itch (yes, even moreso than the base game), such as Angel's Mods, are very popular with the playerbase.
  • Homing Boulders: Any projectiles that target an object will hit it once they are launched, there is no escape. This looks especially weird when slow spitter projectiles target fast moving car.
  • Hope Spot: In the second campaign's first level, the player receives an emergency transmission from other survivors about 200km away. When he reaches that location by the second level, they are all dead and the base is in ruins.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Raw fish (found in lakes) is somehow used to restore the player character's health.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: Mostly averted. Conveyor belts are one the most useful things in the game, for moving both resources and the player quickly across the map. That said, as a factory grows larger and more labyrinthine, it's inevitable that the player will end up trying to run against one at some point. A Modular Armor component that prevents belts from moving the player exists in the game's code and can be placed into custom scenario maps, although as of 0.15 it does not have a recipe for production.
  • Kill It with Fire: Post 0.13, the Flamethrower is the most efficient way to deal with both spawners and Worms. Pop in, spray maybe a tenth of a fuel canister onto the ground around them, then step back and watch the health bars shrink away. Flamethrower Turrets take the concept further by tapping directly into a pipe feed from your petrochemical production line, and can do tremendous secondary damage with the lingering flames. Using refined liquid fuel further improves the damage dealt by flame turrets.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Higher-level biters move quite a bit faster than the player does, and hit like a truck. Luckily for the player, they get to become a Lightning Bruiser themselves using power armor and exoskeletons.
  • Literal-Minded: The construction robots will build whatever they're told to, even if the order is placed on the route of a moving train the player happens to sit in. They gladly exit the train and spend the next half hour trying to get to the player with low battery.
  • Look Both Ways: Be careful when walking over a railway or the train may run you over and turn you into a fine mist.
  • Magic Tool: The repair unit. A generic spanner and hammer, it can repair any machinery with surprising speed. However, they wear out quickly, so it's recommended to carry several at any given time. Construction robots can use repair units to automatically repair damaged machinery within range of a roboport.
  • Mighty Glacier: The tank, which is incredibly durable and deadly, but doesn't move much faster than walking speed.
  • More Dakka: The base gun turret is essentially a giant machine gun. Tech upgrades exist to give it more dakka.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • Prior to version 0.15, the diesel locomotive could be powered by everything from freshly cut logs to coal to rocket fuel. It was renamed to simply "Locomotive" in 0.15
    • Before version 0.15, the "steam" engine could run off of any liquid, not just water, as long as it was sufficiently hot. You could power your base with boiling sulfuric acid if you so desired.
  • Nerf:
    • Shortly after 0.15 was released, the Kovarex Process for nuclear centrifuges was made incompatible with Productivity-granting modules, as the way Productivity grants extra resources made it possible to gain free U-235 and U-238 from running centrifuges set to enrich uranium with Kovarex while crammed full of Productivity boosts from implanted Productivity-granting Modules.
    • Logistics Bots were made a little slower and a little more power-dependent throughout development, as well as more resource-intensive, as they basically allowed players to completely break free of the challenge of laying out production facilities and conveyor belts.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Averted. Factory machinery can't harm the player...except for the train, which will kill the player if it hits you at full speed. In 0.15, the Nuclear Reactor is completely safe while operational and will not malfunction or melt down on its own.
  • Not the Intended Use: Grenades are designed to be used against swarms of biters. Most people instead grab a crapload of them, run towards a forest and start hurling them as fast as possible to quickly clear trees.
  • One Hit Poly Kill: The tank's cannon shells can continue flying through bugs and buildings until they run out of damage to deal.
  • Pipe Maze: Improper placement of your pipes will make it much harder to move through your factory. It is possible to minimize this issue by using pipes that are partially laid underground, although that costs more resources to produce.
  • Powered Armor: A late-game research allows you to craft Power Armor (and later, MK2 armor) which can be customised with equipment such as an exoskeleton for a higher run speed or a built-in shield generator. Or a portable roboport.
  • Recursive Ammo: Cluster grenades scatter several smaller grenades around along with its own explosion.
  • Refining Resources: A major part of gameplay. You take base materials lumber, stone, water, coal, iron and copper ore, crude oil, uranium and use various machines to craft any number of materials, ranging from gun ammo to computer chips and machine parts.
  • Retreaux: The graphics are very similar to early 2000s strategy game, in the style of Command and Conquer or Age of Empires, created by using highly detailed 3D models which are subsequently run through a program to make 2D sprites.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Assemblers can create gadgets in an amazingly short amount of time, such as creating a gear cog from plate iron in under a second. The player can hand-assemble a car with pre-made parts in about ten seconds.
  • Robot Antennae: The logistic robots feature these.
  • Schizo Tech: Steam engines powered by coal are the primary source of electricity used to power automated assembly plants that build power armour and laser defence turrets.
  • Scenery Porn: Despite the graphics looking like they stepped out of 1995, there is a certain beauty to the planet. Version 0.15.0 introduced a "high definition" mode that cranks up the resolution on the majority of objects, allowing you to see individual gears turning inside machinery.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The standard shotgun has a very bad range but deals the most damage of all the weapons that the player can wield until they unlock the even more powerful combat shotgun, which gives a 20% damage bonus on top of any shell damage upgrades you've researched.
  • Shout-Out: The repair pack previously used an icon of the Eleventh Doctor's sonic screwdriver. Certain buildings are assigned a name from a list of backer-chosen names, which has inevitably led to references such as "Lab AunOTauShi".
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Clear cutting a forest with the aforementioned combat shotgun used to be the best way to go about it.
  • Smart People Build Robots: The player goes one step further and builds machines that build robots.
  • Spider Tank: Factorio Facts #120 showcased the 'Spidertron' prototype, an 8-limbed Mini-Mecha capable of climbing over obstacles and fording shallow water.
  • Sprint Shoes: Exoskeletons, which are slotted into Power Armor, make the player run faster. Multiple exoskeletons can be used at once, potentially allowing the player to outrun the car, as long as they have enough power. There's also placeable movement speed-boosters in the form of brick and concrete floors.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: In version 0.15, Nuclear-powered logistic/construction robots will explode if they get destroyed by Biters/Spitters or friendly fire.
  • Tank Goodness: The tank vehicle was added in patch 0.11 as a more durable alternative to the car. Although much slower, it is pretty much indestructible, mowing over trees and small enemies without care. It mounts a main cannon that can overpenetrate several biters with one shell, can use a overclocked coaxial machine gun, and scythe through forests with its flame thrower. The tank can use depleted uranium or explosive ammo if armor-piercing isn't up to par. In addition, Ramming Always Works, and the tank can One-Hit Kill a spawner by running it over.
  • Technology Porn: The game in general promotes this - research is painstakingly laid out so you need to develop everything and work your way up to faster tools and structures, and the graphics lovingly detail your buildings, allowing you to see the turning gears, swinging inserter arms, electrical heating coils, bubbling chemical plants and electrolyzers, and components moving through your factory on belts. The fandom in turn has screenshots of lovingly-built elaborate bases with belts and inserters and assemblers either lined up efficently on material buses, or woven tightly to fit as much factory as possible into a compact space.
  • Tech Tree: A very large and complex one, though the game makes it easy to visualise the prerequisites and dependencies of any research item.
  • The Turret Master: The player. Because most of your weapons are ineffectual against massed bug swarms, turrets are key to defending your factories. Gun turrets are cheap and don't require electricity, but require an extensive logistics network to maintain their ammo. Laser turrets are expensive to craft and require huge amounts of electricity, but don't need any conveyor systems for ammo. Flame Turrets are powerful, but they require walls and 'hedgehog's teeth' barriers and fuel.
  • Units Not to Scale: Possibly. The top-down style makes it hard to tell how big things are. For example, defence walls look like they're about half the height of the player which doesn't make sense if you think about it.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: Before version 0.13 without mods, there was no way to cross water even though it's possible to spawn an island, forcing you to quit and start a new game. The Landfill was added in development to fix this issue.
  • Utility Belt: A customizable smaller bag of holding where each item slot is linked with a hotkey (therefore does not need to open and close the main inventory to access an item). Convenient when building large projects, and panic plopping turrets or an escape vehicle.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Factorio almost encourages you to play like a Captain Planet villain: clear cut forests, use up natural resources, pollute the environment for a vaguely-explained reason...all in the name of making your factory bigger and better.
  • Videogame Flamethrowers Suck: Thoroughly averted as of the 0.13 release. The flamethrower (and its turret equivalent) behave more like real-life flamethrowers, spurting a jet of napalm that creates short-lived patches of intense fire wherever it lands and dealing significant damage to anything around it. Bugs die en masse running through the flames. Spawners and worms can be rapidly killed by setting them on fire. The same release introduced the ability to set fire to trees and thus burn down forests, generating vast amounts of pollution that will provoke more enraged aliens to charge into your war crime of a weapon's sights. All in all, a good day to be one of said Captain Planet villains.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Although there is a goal build the rocket silo and launch the satellite you are not bound by any one set path to achieve that goal.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: The player is an automation and logistics engineer on an alien planet trying to launch a rocket into space. They must first research how to smelt steel.
  • You Nuke 'Em: You can eventually research nuclear munitions for the handheld Rocket Launcher. But be wary, because like real life man-portable nukes the explosion range is greater than the firing range. You'll have to Outrun the Fireball.

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