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"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!"
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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 on STEAM sits in the top 10 based on user reviews) 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.

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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 €30/$30.


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. And the map editor.
  • 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.
    • Offshore water pumps never run dry, and you can even apply landfill over them to turn them into water wells tapping an underground water source.
    • 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. Furthermore, it does not produce a single speck of pollution during operation, so it will never add to any smog problems you might have attracting biters.
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    • As of version 0.15 Roboports start off with a miniscule auxilary power charge to help define their logistics and construction zone before they start drawing power from your grid.
    • As of version 0.16, Underground Belts and Splitters can be directly placed over existing Belts, replacing them, thus making it easier to retrofit or expand existing infrastructure without needing to remove all of the old belts by hand. Furthermore, Splitters were made capable of automatically filtering the flow of materials with both selective and lane input/output priority and output material filtering.
    • 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.
    • Version 0.17 has been confirmed by the developers to optimize liquid and gas physics for water, petrochemical, and nuclear use, immensely improving the quality of life for players who previously bemoaned the framerate-tanking power of a sufficiently-large nuclear power plant.
    • The developers have confirmed in their blog that further tweaking to the Petrochemical tech tree is being done in order to ease newbies into learning about the oil refining processes step by step, rather than dumping multiple kinds of production at once on the player once initial oil processing is researched.
  • Anti-Structure: The artillery turret and wagon, added in 0.16, will only target spawners and worms, destroying them in one shot. You can manually set targets for them outside of their automatic attack range, but hitting a fast-moving bug with the slow-to-react artillery is more trouble than it's worth.
  • Arbitrary Maximum Range:
    • All guns have one, but unfortunately, none but the humble grenade show it on screen. This often leads to large amounts of wasted tank cannon shells before players learn to better estimate their tank's cannon range.
    • A particularly strange example is the combat shotgun, which has longer range (20 tiles) than the submachine gun (18 tiles) for reasons unknown.
    • The artillery turret/wagon also has a maximum range, but it's so huge that it's rarely an issue after you expanded into a new region. There's also an infinitely repeatable research option that adds 100% of the standard range apiece.
  • Arbitrary Minimum Range: The handheld flamethrower, the flamethrower turret and both artillery pieces can't shoot at targets too close to them, which can make the former two a surprisingly useless weapon against biters. Strangely, the tank-mounted flamer works differently (seems to shoot burning gas instead of a liquid) and thus averts this.
  • 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.
  • Ascended Glitch: Paving over an offshore pump's water source with landfill does not stop it from generating water. This was not only not fixed, but such a pump is renamed by the game into a "water well" to underscore that this intended behavior.
  • Ascended Fanfic: Quite a few popular mods ended up being eventually included in the game proper.
  • 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. The only real use for it is minimizing defenses on bridges.
    • 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.
    • Nuclear bombs are great for annihilating the massive late-game biter nests and always a blast to use, but it needs a huge amount of the game's rarest resource (Uranium-235) plus a bunch of additional resource-intensive stuff to build even one. When you finally have one, actually using it has a good chance to get yourself killed if you failed to notice that the blast radius is significantly larger than the rocket launcher's maximum range. It's usually a lot safer, cheaper and easier to tackle these bases with turrets and a train pulling one or two artillery wagons plus ammo supply.
    • Uranium-enriched Rocket Fuel has tremendously densely-packed energy, but the amount of power spent to refine the uranium and petrochemicals (and thus the solid fuel and then rocket fuel), in addition to the increased amount of pollution it releases into the environment when used, makes it less efficient than simply using regular rocket fuel. It also has a stack of only 1, making it unusable for trains that take trips long enough to burn through all 3 between refueling.
    • Nuclear energy is a fun lategame challenge that's difficult to get going, yet provides you with tremendous amounts of power, making it a good fit for large bases... until the tremendous amount of fluid physics being calculated for all the water and steam consumed by your nuclear plant becomes a significant source of lag, making you replace them with solar power.
  • 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.
  • Beam Spam: Defensive lines composed primarily of laser turrets will produce this every time a biter breaches the perimeter. Equipping multiple personal laser defence modules on the player character has a similar effect.
  • 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.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Planting chests right in front of mining drills early on. At the start of the game, the player likely hasn't unlocked electricity, meaning that they'll only be able to use coal-powered mining drills and inserters - and as coal-powered inserters will consume some of the coal excavated by mining drills, at a time when the player likely needs as much coal as possible, simply planting a chest will save a lot of time by letting you stockpile stacks of coal and ore/pre-smelted metal plates while you work on breaking ground for your newborn factory.
      • Stone smelters can be used in the same way. This is particularly vital for the Lazy Bastard achievement.
    • Walls. In the early game, they only cost you in smelted stone bricks to produce, allowing you to block vital structures off from biters and keep turrets from being damaged while they shoot at said biters. Once you progress to flamethrower turrets, you can then transition to using walls to create hedgehog's teeth barriers and delaying mazes, allowing you to fence in and slow down biters and spitters while the flamethrowers light them up.
    • Coal and Solid Fuel. Coal isn't anything glamourous, being early-game material, but it's also a good fuel for much of the game and is fodder for making plastics. Solid Fuel is a practical use for excess petrochemicals (and a great substitute for coal once you start needing to use coal for petrochemical liquefaction and plastics production), and is thus easy to stockpile in the early stage of petrochemical production, when you need to use up enough heavy/light oil and petroleum gas to match the production ratios of your oil refineries. Furthermore, by lategame, Solid Fuel becomes a precursor to Rocket Fuel, which is even better for fuel density and getting more speed out of your fuel-consuming vehicles.
    • Solar power requires nothing but resources spent on producing panels themselves and a sufficient amount of accumulators, no resource shortages that lead to power shortages. In comparison to nuclear power, which requires moving large amounts of liquid and gas around and is a major source of lag on large basis, the entire solar power array, no matter the size, takes less CPU power than a single inserter.
  • 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 (Burner) inserters are the slowest, and use coal instead of electricity. Yellow is medium speed, and slowest to run on electricity. Red inserters are mildly faster than 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.
    • All uranium ore, centrifuges, and nuclear reactors glow green to signify their use of nuclear technology, and even depleted uranium ammunition, nuclear-enriched rocket fuel, and atomic rockets are coloured green. (In reality, uranium can come in many colours, and reactors would glow blue due to Cherenkov radiation, but the developers decided to make all the nuclear stuff green for player convenience.)
    • The three tiers of computer chips are colored green, red and blue.
    • The most important intermediate products (iron plates, copper plates, steel plates, stone bricks and plastic bars) are easily distinguishable by their color alone, especially when on-screen in large amounts while travelling on conveyor belts.
    • All liquids are uniquely colored to allow for easy identification, and the game helpfully adds windows to every other pipe segment so you can actually see what's in there. Water is blue, crude oil is dark grey, heavy oil is red, light oil is yellow, petroleum gas is purple, lubricant is green, sulfuric acid is also yellow (but of a different hue than light oil), and steam is white.
  • Cool Car: The handbuilt car is fast, agile, can run on anything that burns and can ram into trees without taking significant damage. The original sprite used to look vaguely like a Chevrolet Bel Air, or a squashed Cadillac.
  • 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. Late in the game it can even be weaponized by hooking up an artillery wagon and using it to blast away bug nests.
  • Creepy Cockroach: The aforementioned Big Creepy-Crawlies often resemble swarms of giant cockroaches.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option:
    • In versions up to 0.14, during 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 from Above: Late-game military research unlocks giant artillery pieces for bombarding biter nests at extreme range. Anyone looking for even worse methods of raining devastation down on the biters may find mods that introduce aircraft or even the GDI's Orbital Ion Cannon much to their liking.
  • 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 while making pollution spread further more easily.
  • 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" as your needs for production force you to find increasingly large fields of ore and work on your slowly-expanding smelting facility, and then go on to make you seek out more land to build larger solar power farms and nuclear reactor setups just to power everything.
    • 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.
    • Figuring out the train system, in particular rail signals and advanced train automation, can be very tricky but makes the difference between a few tracks going from A to B and a well oiled megabase.
    • Uranium ore requires acid being pumped into the drill to mine it, then sifting to separate U-238 from U-235, acquiring a sufficient amount of U-235 (which has a very low chance, so it can take a long time) to start the enrichment process, balancing its usage, and so on. However, in return you get the most energy-dense fuel in the game, the best ammo for your guns, and incredibly dense (gigajoules per tile occupied by your power plant) energy generation (and setting nuclear reactors up can qualify as this trope on its own)
  • 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.
    • Transitioning from ore-only production in order to set up petrochemical (and acid) liquid-based processes can be challenging in the early midgame, as the rules for pipes and belts are rather different, and the ratio of oil production is different enough to make it challenging to balance your processes to ensure you have enough sulphuric acid, lubricant, solid fuel, and plastic being produced that your refineries don't back up with either one of heavy oil/light oil/petroleum gas. Especially so given that advanced oil processing requires a functioning basic oil processing refinery that will be torn down and rebuilt due to completely different ratios required.
  • Drone Deployer: Military research eventually unlocks capsules, throwable items similar to grenades that release a bunch of small robotic drones at the impact point. Effects vary between "stationary distraction" and "deadly swarm of Killer Robots that follows the player around". All these bots have limited life time before they self-destruct, and deploying 100 or more at the same time (equivalent to 20 capsules) unlocks the "Minions" achievement.
  • 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.
    • Flamethrower turrets require liquid fuel instead of ammunition, but what this means in practice is that you will either need a pipeline to run in the fuel, or a delivery and collection system to bring in fuel barrels and return the empty barrels to a refilling station.
    • 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. Mining Drill Productivity research improves the amount of ore you can wring out from deposits, but it takes a lot of research to get any substantial gains in yields.
    • 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.
    • Solar Panels allow you to generate power without burning fuel, but requires a lot more room for all those panels needed to match the power output of a 480-megawatt 2x2 uranium reactor. Furthermore they only work in the daytime, so you'll either need a large accumulator farm to store surplus solar power for night use or an auxiliary power generator to pick up the slack at night.
    • 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.
    • Steam counts as a liquid, but for various reasons its temperature remains constant no matter the pressure level inside the pipes channeling it. It can also be 'bottled' inside train fluid wagons for transport to outpost generators.
    • 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.
    • Once you do build a parts "mall" that can fabricate any kind of Inserter, Belt, Assembler, Mining Drill, or Power Pole, logistics will become much easier in that you constantly have your mall of assemblers filling a set of chests with prefabricated infrastructure, ready for you to pick up and deploy, but it does require you to do quite a lot of research beforehand and set everything up first.
  • Easter Egg:
  • Eternal Engine: What you'll probably leave behind when you finally board your rocket and blast off into space - a vast, fully automated factory that covers several square kilometers and will continue to churn out megatons of industrial products until its raw material deposits run dry. Perhaps someday someone will discover your legacy, wonder at the sight and possibly marvel at your genius in constructing such a complex behemoth.
  • Excuse Plot: "Your spaceship crash-landed on an alien planet. Your only hope of escape is to construct a rocket that can get you home. Just mind the irascible Big Creepy-Crawlies in the area." That's all the reason you're given for building the largest, most heavily defended, generally most badass factory complex in gaming history, and frankly, it's all the motivation you should need.
  • 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 cost of armor, and bumping into something and being surrounded by biters is almost certainly a death sentence. It also lacks damage resistance against collisions, so ramming a boulder at full speed will do a number to it.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Averted, not only can you accidentally be set on fire by being in front of one of your flamethrower turrets but you can also light yourself up if you fire the personal flamethrower while running forwards.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Lasers are slower than regular bullets. Somehow. The player can research a laser turret, but it is relatively inefficient in power-to-damage ratio until you start stacking research to optimize the damage output.
  • 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.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard:
    • Players are not immune to the secondary flames generated after they spray burning fuel over a biter nest. Don't try to run through until the flames die down, unless you like being well-done and crispy.
    • Getting run over by one's own trains is probably the leading cause of death among new players who don't expect the things to deal damage to their character. You even get an achievement for it in an almost literal example of an Achievement In Ignorance.
      • Getting run over by a train is also the only way for a player in a well-defended factory to die. Luckily, it never stops being funny. Of particular note, is laying down a path to connect two existing rail lines and immediately getting run over by a random train that decided that the new patch is just the perfect way to get to where it was going.
    • The tank is not immune to its main gun's splash damage. Be careful where you aim those nuclear explosive shells, or you'll kill yourself faster than the biters can. Same goes for hand grenades, which have a maximum range but can also be tossed right at your own feet, and their blast radius has to be guessed by the player via trial and painful error.
    • Speaking of the tank: Ramming Always Works on anything, not just enemies. The tank has a very long stopping distance from full speed, and it's quite easy to accidentally plow through a bunch of assembly lines before the thing finally comes to a halt, leaving only a trail of destruction behind. The car also damages your structures on impact, but not nearly as heavily as the tank does, and it also has much more effective breaks.
    • Atomic bombs are nuclear fission warheads for your man-portable rocket launcher. They kill pretty much anything they hit instantly, and their blast radius exceeds their firing range. Standing still after launching one usually results in the game-over screen being the next thing you see.
  • 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, and gives the impression of "bendy" lasers when they fire at a Biter moving at full tilt.
  • 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 can be put into modular armor.
  • 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. Flamethrowers were toned down a notch in 0.15, but in exchange the tank was also given a flamethrower, and flame turrets are still the game's most efficient area denial defensive weapons; furthermore, lategame Flamethrower research allows you to push their effective damage back into a deadly range for even Behemoth biters.
  • 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 Gatling gun. Tech upgrades exist to give it even more dakka.
    • The whole point of building a submachine gun. It uses the same ammo and deals the same per-shot damage as the basic pistol, but shoots several times faster for a massive damage boost.
    • The tank's main gun has two barrels and behaves more like a huge autocannon than a typical tank cannon. Research a few upgrades for it and it'll hurl two to three explosive shells per second at your enemies.
  • Necessary Drawback: Most modules confer a certain bonus at the expense of decreased performance in at least one other stat. For instance, productivity modules improve a machine's productivity but worsen its pollution output, increase its power consumption and decrease its speed. The better the module, the stronger all of its effects become. The only exception is the efficiency module, which simply decreases the machine's power consumption, with the drawback being the opportunity cost of not installing a productivity or speed module instead.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • Named "Diesel Locomotive" prior to version 0.15, the locomotive can be powered by everything from freshly cut logs to coal to rocket fuel (as well as wooden boxes and small power poles prior to 0.17). 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.
    • The Lazy Bastard achievement is awarded for winning the game without manually crafting anything other than the bare minimum required for setting up automation. Succeeding at it requires running around and manually feeding resources to machines a lot more than the normal game session.
  • 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 Fair Cheating: Playing with active mods of any kind, even if they're just cosmetic, disables Steam achievements but still lets you unlock them locally for your game copy. Doing anything with the developer console, however, disables achievements completely for that save.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Averted. Factory machinery can't harm the player...except for the train, which can 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.
    • In 0.16, the nuclear reactor was changed so that if it is destroyed while hot, it explodes rather violently.
  • 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.
    • Tanker trains were intended to simplify transporting both crude oil and it's refined products from outposts to factories. However, steam is considered a liquid and it doesn't cool down overtime. Therefore it is possible to use tanker trains to transport steam from a nuclear power plant to an outpost in order to power the outpost as opposed to running a long power line.
    • Similarly, liquid reservoirs filled with steam boiled by nuclear power plants are essentially cheaper accumulators with higher capacity.
    • Peace Poles: The bugs are programmed to to rebuild their nests where the player has buildings to prevent bugs from making a feedback loop of trying to re-establish a base in the middle of a megafactory. This has lead players to leaving a simple power pole in the middle of an exterminated biter base to keep them from respawning.
  • 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 modular equipment such as an exoskeleton for a higher run speed or a built-in shield generator. Or a portable roboport, personal laser defense cannon, and night-vision goggles.
  • Purposely Overpowered:
    • The lategame/postgame research that uses Space Science packs that can only be acquired via launching rockets, introduced in 0.16, allows a player to slowly-but-surely upgrade their weapon damage and mining productivity to the point that biters become trivial and the only subsequent goal that remains is to see how many rockets you can launch/how much science you can consume in research.
    • Biter nests are quite resistant to head-on attacks by mid-level players, requiring time-consuming tactics (turret-creep, drone-spam) to take them out. And then you unlock Artillety, which, functionally, let's you destroy any nest anywhere with a simple mouse click. With it, you can clear expanses of land many times larger in area then your current factory. At this point in the game, however, the resource intake of your factory has grown so high that you absolutely need all that cleared land just to make the ends meet.
  • 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. Speed Modules make assemblers even faster, at the cost of increased power consumption.
  • 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.
  • Science Hero: The player character is an automation and logistics engineer, and while they certainly know their way around combat, their true strength lies in inventing and constructing a huge array of tools, machines and gadgets to eventually turn local resources into a rocket capable of escaping the planet. It's telling that for most of the game, the majority of your efforts will go into setting up automated assembly lines for the various science packs to fuel your research until you finally gain your coveted space flight technology.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge:
    • Players can challenge themselves by enabling Expensive Technology mode, which makes things more expensive to craft in raw materials and increases the number of science packs needed to do research. Death World settings allow you to also race against biter expansion, aggression, and heightened evolution rate.
    • The map generator settings provide copious additional options to up the difficulty, from downsizing the relatively safe starting area, to reducing the frequency and yields of resource patches, to inflating the dimensions of biter bases to suicidal levels. And all of this can be combined with the examples mentioned above if you're feeling really masochistic.
    • One of the more amusing and silly self-imposed challenges invented by players is the Wheelchair Challenge, where they are not allowed to walk their player character around and must move by vehicles or by having conveyor belts push him around.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The standard shotgun has a very bad spread making it less effective at 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. Ironically it is not very efficient against biter swarms, but is very efficient at clearing spawners and trees.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Averted, both types of shotgun have a maximum range of 20, which is two higher than the assault rifle.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Smart People Build Robots: The player goes one step further and builds machines that build robots.
  • Speed Run: A gold-ranked achievement can be earned by finishing the game within 8 hours. The average gamer will take about three times as long, if not more, so you'll need to know exactly what to do in which order, and you'll have to get lucky as far as map generation is concerned so you can find good resource patches and few enemies close by.
  • 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, components moving through your factory on belts, and nuclear facilities glowing green as centrifuges rotate gently. 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. Artillery turrets have phenomenal range and explosive splash damage, but can only target spawners and worms, not the bugs themselves, and their shells are materially expensive. The so-called "turret creep" is also the most popular (and some say, the only viable) tactic for taking out the huge late-game biter bases: plonk down an FOB near the enemy, set up a wall of turrets including supply infrastructure to tank the inevitable Zerg Rush, and whittle down the buildings, ideally with artillery.
  • 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.
  • Universal Ammunition:
    • The game's ballistic weapons include pistols, shotguns, submachine guns, tank-mounted heavy machine guns, and oversized turret-mounted Gatling guns, all of which except the shotguns use the same ammo type (firearm magazines and their variations).
    • Mobile flamethrowers come in two distinct varieties - the infantry model shoots a stream of napalm, the tank-mounted one a burning gas cloud - but they also use the same ammo tanks.
    • Flamethrower turrets put a special spin on the trope by virtue of accepting at least three different fuel types as their ammunition (crude oil, light oil, heavy oil), with the latter two providing minor damage bonuses over crude.
  • 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. And if you still feel restricted by even this bare minimum of a plot, there's an actual sandbox mode that outright welcomes you with the words "There's no goal here. Do what you want."
  • 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.
    • Taken Up to Eleven with the mod-exclusive Thermonuclear Bombs, which are essentially nuclear fusion warheads several times more powerful than the standard nukes. Their blast radius is so huge that outrunning the explosion without speed-enhancing gear is next to impossible.

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