Factorio: The End Of Management Games

Show’s over, building games. It’s time to go home.

Seriously: I can’t think where there is left to go after Factorio [official site]. It pushes the concept of resource-management to such an extreme that anything that does anything less risks seeming underwhelming, while anything which tries to go further could well be overwhelming. We’re talking dozens of conveyor belts, hundreds of robotic arms, thousands of chunks of ore, and constructions quite possibly in the millions. It’s a remarkable thing. A ridiculous thing. My first instinct, when I saw screenshots, was to run into a corner and mutter rude things about how Kids Today eschew artfulness in favour of absurd excess, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Factorio is both impressively artful and as accessible as most games with only a fraction of a percent of its moving parts.

It’s early access, although outside of an arguably crude UI you probably wouldn’t know it. I mentioned moving parts early, and not only are there bloody thousands of ’em, they all seem remarkably well-balanced too. There is absolutely nothing to stop you pulling a generous clump of hours from Factorio in its present form, and at no point could you realistically argue that it felt unfinished.

Here’s how it works, although mere words cannot encapsulate the strange magic of a bloke hitting rocks in a field slowly morphing into a city-sized maze of conveyor belts and blast furnaces, the exact purpose of each you somehow retain a complete understanding of.

I honestly don’t know whether Factorio is best described as a management game, a real-time strategy game, a survival game or even some strange people-free variant of a citybuilder. All of the above, but the main thing you’re doing is constructing strings of machines which automatically convert one ingredient into another. For instance, iron ore becomes iron plate becomes gears becomes a component in assembly line robo-arms which feed coal into boilers which provide steam to power stations which shuttle electricity to everything.

That’s just one example. That iron plate can also become endless chunks of conveyor belt, or steel girders from which railroads can be constructed. Copper can become wiring or electronics which bring turrets and automated drills to life: and those automated drills grab the coal and ore which everything depends on. And dozens of other variants, all using the same logic and, right down at the bottom, the same base materials: iron ore, copper ore, stone and wood. Sometimes I stare at the vast and thundering mechanical labyrinth that is my factory-land and shake my head in disbelief that it all began with me punching a rock.

(Oh, and I forgot to mention that your construction will regularly be assaulted by Zerg-like aliens which require turrets and some manual shooting to control, and while to some extent this is the least of your concerns, left unchecked the blighters will take out enough tiny but crucial stages of your assembly line that everything will grind to a halt, and tracing it all back to the origin problem is no mean feat).

In terms of what you’ll spend most of your time doing, this is the ever-expanding circle school of management. Once a core loop – for instance, smelters being automatically fed with both coal and ore so that they will then endlessly produce iron plates – is established, it’s basically happy for an eternity, unless a bug attack scores a serious hit or you manage to exhaust an ore deposit. But your next major construction goal might require twice the amount of iron, or perhaps it needs copper in the mix too.

So, you’ll knock up a whole new production line which needs to be interconnected with the first one without interrupting either one’s flow, both of which then feed into your next factory. The circle grows. Meanwhile you’re drawing too much power so need to go throw up another bank of water pipes, boilers and steam power stations. The circle grows again. Later on you’ll have access to solar panels, but oh boy do you need to build a lot of stuff to unlock the research for that one. The circle grows forever.

Conveyor belts collide into shuddering knots of automated spaghetti, creating gridlocks of coal and circuitry if the balance of anything is off, at which point life fades from all those swooping robot arms. Ironing out the knots is the hardest part of the late game, as you usually can’t see them coming: something is being produced just a little faster than something else it shares a conveyor belt with, and eventually, almost imperceptibly, it means that a belt is flooded with one material and those poor, stupid arms can’t reach the resources they’re meant to. Nothing stops. Nothing ever stops.

So you’ll race around, a tiny little spaceman in a huge metal factory-fortress, desperately wrenching bits of belt or misaligned arms out from the impossible circuit, trying to set up parallel paths or complex, automatic resource dividers to keep everything cleanly compartmentalised. It will be the most important thing in the world for ten minutes, these small, precise tweaks which only you could possibly understand, because you’re the one who built this fantastic contraption, and then it will be solved and you’ll forget and go off to build something else.

Then it will happen again. And the neat, ordered kernel you built your world around will gradually become this crazy, convoluted mess that looks like insanity to anyone else, but it works, and you love it, because by God you put the hours in and you made it perfect. The most beautiful moments in Factorio are those when you have to do nothing yourself – because you have crafted a colossal engine which can endlessly power itself. If your little guy has to go and harvest anything himself, then something has gone horribly wrong.

My sole serious reservation about Factorio is that the pay-offs for long, long, ridiculously long chains of automation are minor, and usually purely involve opening up a new branch of the tech tree so that you can continue the same fundamental process ad infinitum. Occasionally I wondered/worried to myself that all I was doing was playing Clicker Heroes with the numbers disguised by conveyor belts. It’s not quite that, not really, not least because there’s this whole strata of logistical thinking in there too – how do I make all this fit? How do I lay down this new assembly line without having to demolish everything I’d already built? How can I make sure this one belt carries the exact ratio of copper and iron that the foundries need? Even if the outcomes are essentially the same as the process which led to them, progress is not a given; it’s achieved by forethought and analysis, not simply by perseverance. This is a puzzle game as much as anything else – and consequently similar to other games such as Infinifactory, which I have not played.

However, at the heart of all the construction is the concept of research, which involves feeding multiple components into a string of factories which eventually results in the production of little coloured bottles. These bottles fuel labs, which gradually unlock new toys on the tech tree – but most of that tech tree is ultimately dedicated only to unlocking more of the tech tree. There are points when I gazed at the work ahead of me, and it felt just like that: work. So much work, just to make some blue bottles that, when produced in sufficient quantities, will eventually enable me to make some purple bottles. Factorio could do with a few more ‘I Made This’ moments as you climb the endless ladder, but then again those moments do come when you pull back the camera and take in the scale of what you’ve built. Look upon my steelworks, ye mighty, and despair.

I’m also not a fan of how, when the area directly underneath a bank of automated drills empties of ore, I then have to painstakingly move everything up or down by an inch just to get back to where I was. Logically, it makes sense that ore is not infinite, but practically it’s the point where Factorio switches from ingenuity to grind. A relatively minor gripe about a beautiful thing, though.

I should say that I’m not even at the end of the tech tree, nor have I yet ventured online, where I can attack and be attacked by other players in addition to competing for resources. I’ve spent a big chunk of my week digging into Factorio, and I know that uncharted strata still remain. That makes me happy. As does browsing Steam community screenshots and seeing incredible constructions I couldn’t possibly create for myself. But, where once I gazed at those screenshots and thought I was witnessing ugly madness, now I see the poetry in the machine.

I pity anyone else making any kind of management game; I don’t know where we go from here.

Factorio is in early access now, both via Steam and its own site. I played version 0.12.26.

From this site

73 Comments

  1. brucethemoose says:

    If Factorio impressed you, keep an eye on FortressCraft Evolved. It isn’t as refined as Factorio yet, but with time, I think it has the potential to eclipse it.

    • KDR_11k says:

      What I prefer about Factorio is that all materials are visible right away so you don’t need to dig endlessly to establish a mine and then reconfigure the system to fit that new input. Also FCE’s automation was a pain in the ass, I don’t quite remember why but I think it was the lack of inserters and the extremely restrictive storage (for example I couldn’t store many metal bars and regularly had to empty out my smelters’ output storages) plus there’s the crazy expensive machinery that makes building multiple manufacturing lines impractical so you have to shove everything into a small number of smelteries. And as a bonus the UI in FCE is pretty bad, Factorio is much easier to play and documents itself good enough that you don’t need a wiki.

      Yeah, if FCE can develop much faster than Factorio and greatly improve its core mechanics then it may become the best but honestly I don’t think that kind of overtake is going to happen.

      • Hamipapi says:

        “but I think it was the lack of inserters ”
        Hoppers. It’s there since forever.

        “extremely restrictive storage”
        Infinite mass storage there since 1.0

        “plus there’s the crazy expensive machinery that makes building multiple manufacturing lines impractical so you have to shove everything into a small number of smelteries”
        There are 7 type of ore if you not count the crystal and the biomass+coal sources (compared to factorio’s iron and copper) you can mine in FCE. If you are on low in one type of ore then start mining an another vein. :D
        The world is infinite…
        And yes the machines are expensive because a single ore extractor fully upgraded output 1024 ore/ minute. And people usually mine more then 1 vein at the same time. ;)

        “And as a bonus the UI in FCE is pretty bad”
        I agree. But the devs started to rewrite the whole ui and the first part is already done. Hopefully the second part will be done in patch 6 which will be out before the end of march.

        “Factorio is much easier to play and documents itself good enough that you don’t need a wiki.”
        Because factorio is simple. Fce has it’s own built in wiki. ;)

        “Yeah, if FCE can develop much faster than Factorio and greatly improve its core mechanics then it may become the best but honestly I don’t think that kind of overtake is going to happen.”

        I hope you are wrong. (And I know you are wrong because patch 2 3 4 5 added more to fce than factorio progressed in a year)

        But seriously factorio and fce is basically 2d vs 3d.

        I like both game. I want both game to be successful because both game benefit from each other.

        • KDR_11k says:

          “Hoppers. It’s there since forever.”
          Aren’t those the 2 item storage things? That’s not the same as an inserter, inserters have the big advantage of not having to be in the conveyor line but grabbing things off them and clearly defining what unloads onto which conveyor (lost count of how often I had to reroute conveyors because they kept grabbing things from storages that I didn’t want to connect to them)

          “Infinite mass storage there since 1.0”
          Mass storage is absurdly slow, does not provide easy access and its use is discouraged by the developers. Hell, you can’t even open a storage box and look inside to take exactly what you want in FCE, you have to empty it out and then put anything you don’t want back in!

          “There are 7 type of ore if you not count the crystal and the biomass+coal sources (compared to factorio’s iron and copper) you can mine in FCE. If you are on low in one type of ore then start mining an another vein. :D”

          Many of them only appear in the lower strata which require advanced technology to even move stuff out of. And either way you’re building hundreds of blocks of transports vertically, you’ll have to do a lot with grappling and digging just to place that stuff.

          “And yes the machines are expensive because a single ore extractor fully upgraded output 1024 ore/ minute. And people usually mine more then 1 vein at the same time. ;)”

          And until you’re fairly deep into the game those extractors must all feed into the same smelter and thus give you very little ability to properly balance loads and make sure it processes everything.

          “Because factorio is simple. Fce has it’s own built in wiki. ;)”

          Which unfortunately had some critical omissions especially at the later techs. I don’t think Factorio is simple, it’s just much more userfriendly. There’s no need for 3-4 different keybinds for interacting with a crate and integrating it into an automated system.

          • KDR_11k says:

            Oh and there’s that obnoxious robot buddy that keeps citing old memes…

          • ScottTFrazer says:

            I personally worry that the FCE dev is focusing too much on people who have 1,000-hour factories. There’s lip-service paid to the early game, but it usually sounds like they speed-run through it.

            And I spent a LOT of time running around collecting piles of things because the ore needed to create “belts” that can bring things up from certain depths is below those depths.

            As someone who came in quite recently to FCE, it’s _hard_ to get things going and there’s precious little direction on how things work. It’s entirely possible to research-lock yourself if you spend it wrong.

          • djarcas says:

            “I personally worry that the FCE dev is focusing too much on people who have 1,000-hour factories. There’s lip-service paid to the early game, but it usually sounds like they speed-run through it.

            And I spent a LOT of time running around collecting piles of things because the ore needed to create “belts” that can bring things up from certain depths is below those depths.

            As someone who came in quite recently to FCE, it’s _hard_ to get things going and there’s precious little direction on how things work. It’s entirely possible to research-lock yourself if you spend it wrong.”

            As the FortressCraft dev, I just wanted to briefly touch on these points.

            I absolutely try and spread my time equally between end game (Orbital Power Tranmission + defend), mid game (progression from T1 to T2 ores) and the start game. I recently started a new Scarce game on the official dedicated server, and have been noting down balance issues as I go along.

            There’s a number of solutions to the ‘cold cavern’ problem; you can manually smash the ice on the conveyors, you can use Matter Movers for the CC area, or, yes, manually carry stuff. It’s only 60-odd metres – you should have the resources to build 60-odd Transport Pipes within an hour or so.

            Finally, there’s literally no way to ‘dead end’ research. If you have LITERALLY found, scanned and researched EVERYTHING and find yourself lacking RP, then go find a hivemind and nuke it; it’ll drop a brain worth 10 RP!

            Sorry for the thread jack.

          • Hamipapi says:

            WoW
            You are out of the loop. XD
            So much stupidity in one single post.

        • brucethemoose says:

          Ya, the UI is the single biggest issue for me. It makes FCE feel like an alpha while Factorio feels like a late beta or finished product.

    • goertzenator says:

      Also keep an eye on Astroneer and Eco Global Survival for industrial/logistics gaming.

      The lack of a “pause game” function on FortressCraft Evolved was a showstopper for me and probably most gamer dads.

      • djarcas says:

        An amusingly non-trivial problem on a heavily-multithreaded game. I was hoping to get this into Patch 5, but it’s slipped to Patch 6. (It’s never been important as there’s literally zero reason to need to pause the game)

  2. Artist says:

    From here we definatly go to Fairlight Explorers…

    • golem09 says:

      A little unicorn cries every time this is spelled wrong. Could of been avoided.

      • Jeremy says:

        A gentle yeti dies every time someone should have written “could have.”

        • golem09 says:

          Yes, these two horrible errors seem to be everywhere these days. The first time I read “could of” I couldn’t believe my eyes.

        • Mrice says:

          And then all of the sudden, i come in to say that for all intensive purposes what you both want is “Could’ve”.

          Off course its no big deal, that’s what he must of meant. I know its a doggy dog world but cant we all find a happy median? He was a only a hare’s breath off after all.

          I feel no guilt for what i have done, by the way.

    • Hamipapi says:

      fortresscraft evolved

  3. Premium User Badge

    TheHotTrout says:

    I find factorio’s gameplay comes with waves of ‘micro-revolutions’

    That first automated powerline that enables automated mining and suddenly you can be doing more than one thing at once

    Then comes the waves of factories and recipes carrying with them the first few explosions in complexity of your belt-fed machine-city, now you can start feeding not just research, but turrets and defense too, all off your own bat

    Next comes solving the ore problem described in the review; the train network, and how to shift large quantities of products across great distances and efficiently patch loading/unloading them into your ever-hungry production lines

    After this comes the next shift; the drone network. This can auto-deliver products and repair buildings over short distances and keep you and your turrets armed and ready

    It also brings with it the ability to take snapshots of your creation as blueprints and have the robots build it again, and again, and again. Now the act of building your factory itself has become an automated process and your focus shifts again to expanding across the map to meet the sky-rocketing requirements of the end of the tech tree, designing your own modules for defense and production out of all you’ve learnt

    And I still find this progression satisfying again and again. It seems almost churlish that you can throw in tweaked procedural levels, whole new game elements, production goals, tools whatever, with mods, and even other people via multiplayer. All present new things to discover and conquer with nothing more than the tools available and your ingenuity

    If this game hooks you it is one of the most satisfying experiences around, love it!

    • KDR_11k says:

      I have to admit I never used trains much, I guess super late game they might come into play to shift huge amounts of resources from one site to another but most things work just fine with some long conveyors…

      And regarding defenses, I’m currently at Power Armor Mk I with a fusion reactor and only had one minor alien attack, I’ve been clearing the nests out faster than my pollution spreads. Kinda silly that it’s cheaper resource-wise to ram your tank into stuff over using its cannon (ramming a spawner takes less than 2 repair kits to fix, shooting it takes 2 AP shells if both hit. Repair kits are vastly cheaper than cannon shells) but it’s convenient that small spitters have a range that makes them stop exactly on your tank’s turning circle. Oh and your personal laser defenses keep shooting even if you’re in a vehicle.

      • roy7 says:

        KDR_11K, install the RSO mod next new world you make. It will encourage proper train using behavior. :)

        • GewaltSam says:

          This. Go for the RSO-Mod (Ressource Spawn Overhaul). I play since May 2014, and the map generation is one of the few things (besides combat) I dearly hope the devs tackle again at some point. RSO makes it so resources (and enemy camps) spawn less frequently and further away from your base, with more ore and enemies the further you go. With RSO, you need to build trains, because belts simply get very ineffective. You don’t really need them in vanila game, though (and that’s bad, because building a train network is a whole new level you put your factory on).

          If you’re done with the vanilla and want a new challenge, try the “Marathon” mod for a way bigger and more complex factory; if you want it way more complicated, with around 20 new resources and stuff, try “Bob’s Mods” instead (I would only recommend this if you already got maybe a hundred hours of Factorio under your belt, else it gets pretty frustrating quickly).

          • Premium User Badge

            aleander says:

            Marathon just got a built-in compatibility with Bob’s Mods. Add Uranium processing and treefarm, and you have my game (I connected my first coal line just as my initial coal spot ran out. And now I’ve found a second large coal field. Right next to a body of water and both fluoride and uranium spots!).

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        The trains are a bit odd because for all the effort they’ve put into them they don’t seem to have balanced to make them really necessary. Unless you commit to big personal projects its usually easy enough to find all the raw materials you need close enough to use a belt. That said planning routes and stations can be fun and the RSO mod mentioned above is worth a look.

  4. roy7 says:

    In regards to your comment about mines and moving miners around, later in the game once your power armor has a personal roboport, you can do it easily enough with blueprints.

    Alternatively, you could use the Endless Resources mod which makes all ore function similar to oil wells, where it’ll just slowly go lower and lower in productivity but never hit zero. Then you could leave the mines up forever.

  5. kwyjibo says:

    I stopped playing Spacechem when the whole thing just seemed like a job. This looks like that from the outset.

    • Catterbatter says:

      That was the plot of Spacechem. You were told from the outset, “This is your job that you are doing.”

    • Nasarius says:

      SpaceChem is a computer programming puzzle game. Despite the loose theme, it really has nothing in common with any flavor of management game.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      It might scratch the same itch as SpaceChem for some, but it’s a very, very different game. I got bored/frustrated with SpaceChem in a few hours; I never have with Factorio, after many dozens of hours.

      I think part of it is that, while a big factory looks impossibly complex, actually constructing it is a long series of fairly straightforward tasks that are never individually overwhelming, and once you’ve been at it for a while, you suddenly realize that you’ve created a vast, interlocking complex, and every inch of it is intimately familiar.

  6. Hamipapi says:

    Fortresscraft evolved is better than unmodded factorio.

    • ScottTFrazer says:

      Opinions on the internet and all that, but I respectfully disagree.

    • mmalove says:

      I only played the demo for factorio, though I’m sure I’ll pick it up at some point. Both seem like excellent games. I think FTE is definitely prettier, and the 3d aspect lends itself to building more complex solutions (I was quite proud of my research pod making machine that bend plate and PCB production around power blocks connected to the pod crafting research assembler itself). Factorio has a broader research tree, a bit more exciting bug attack setup with melee + ranged enemies, and a graphical simplicity that makes it more friendly to older computers.

      Ultimately FTE interested me more so I bought it first, but I think both are excellent games and hope to see more of them :)

  7. darkath says:

    I didn’t play Infinifactory either, but to my knowledge that game is more of a puzzle game. You have a clear problem in front of you and usually a limited array of solution to solve it.
    Factorio is on contrary quite open ended. You have a definite succession of problems to solve in order to produce tech and go through the tech tree, but the minutiae of setting up your production chains is left to your creativity and logical thinking and there are different ways of achieving the same results.

    My main issue is that once you reach endgame and finally “beat the game”, there’s little incentive for you to start again. I tried reducing the resources and increasing aliens, but it just make some aspect of the game more frustrating and boring, since you can’t really automate exploration of new deposits nor automate the killings of aliens (you can set up automated defenses but not automated attacks).

    But in my mind, the game would only truly shine if it was even more open ended rather than forcing you to follow different pre-determined recipes.

  8. Frank V. says:

    It’s worth noting that there is a demo available on their website.

    In this age, that is confidence in one’s product.

    Cheers!

  9. jerrodbug says:

    I played the game for a couple hours, but then kind of hit a wall of “why am i doing all this again?” It wasnt like in Prison Architect where i had a bunch of goals, and i wanted to improve my prison, etc. The only goal that i could discern was that i needed to eventually build a rocket to get off the planet? Maybe i didnt give it enough of a chance, but it just seemed overwhelming when i looked at the stuff to research, and i had no idea what 3/4 of it was, and i had no idea what most of what i was supposed to build could even do, since the items descriptions were so limited (what the hell does a “decider combinator” do?–i dont know, because there is NO description that i could find.) Having to have the Wiki open and constantly reference it just seemed to be alot of work.

    • mavu says:

      Yes, in game documentation is lacking when it comes to the more advanced parts (like combinators, or even trains and signals).

      And its a also true that you have only one goal which is really really far away, but the way there is paved with lots and lots of small rewarding puzzles and steps.

    • lordcooper says:

      Maybe try the tutorial campaign?

    • Somniantis says:

      The goal is to design efficient systems!

    • Sir Purple Potato says:

      What I do is I sort of make a company. Like at the beginning I decide, “what do I want to mass produce?”. Sometimes I mass produce small things like express belts, sometimes it’s larger things like tanks. For me it gives me a goal and imo makes the game a lot more fun.

  10. bamjo says:

    I love this game .. so .. much. I’m not the only one, as it is currently the #1 rated game on steam.

    • bamjo says:

      I see many reviewers are having trouble categorizing this game. I think it is because it is essentially an industrial engineering simulator, something not many gamers, or people in general, have been exposed to. This is the Kerbal Space Program of Industrial and Systems engineering.

      The conveyor system has enough fidelity that you can use honest to god engineering equations to optimize your factory. You should see some of the spreadsheets some of the community has come up with.

      I know that sounds horrible to some people, but if you have an interest in this area it is amazing. Alec is right, it really is the pinnacle of the genre.

  11. Zankman says:

    Meh, I still don’t get this or the appeal.

    The aesthetic is nice but, yeah, besides that, the concept just sounds so weird and honestly unappealing.

    I’ll stick to the usual management games.

    • RabbitIslandHermit says:

      Really? I don’t like the aesthetic at all, though I guess it fits with the theme well enough.

    • jo-shadow says:

      I’d say wait for it to on on sale for under $10, then give it a shot. I suppose it may not be for everyone, but if you are the type that enjoys building with legos or tinkering, then this game is fantastic.

      • Zankman says:

        It seems to be all about these conveyor belts and making some kind of functioning “industry” (or, well, factory) and, man, that is such a lame concept to me.

        • hamilcarp says:

          Maybe you should read the review, then form a real opinion.

      • Premium User Badge

        RaveTurned says:

        No need to wait for a sale, the demo gives a good taste of the game and is free.

        • Cronstintein says:

          Perfect example of why demos are good.
          -I was a little unsure at the prospects, even with all the positive reviews.
          -Tried the demo.
          -Immediately purchased it once I finished the demo content.
          -PROFIT!

          Seriously though, I really like this game.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      It looks like a terrible nightmare I might have, were I to eat far too much cheese of an evening. The very thought of playing it gives me the cold sweats and the heebie jeebies.

      • hamilcarp says:

        I actually like the aesthetic, but if this game is a tree hugger’s nightmare. You consume everything in your path and convert it into a billowing, churning industrial blight on the planet.

  12. hughie522 says:

    I’ve sunk 14 hrs into Factorio so far, and I only purchased it when it became available on Steam. It is truly an incredible game. Initially I was put off by the crude, ’90s RTS graphics but these are so appropriate for the setting. Even the native insects, which I thought would be a big distraction, are easily managed with well placed turrets. I am in love with this game :P.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Lohengramm says:

    This game owns bones. It has eaten me alive. Send snacks.

  14. jo-shadow says:

    I’ve played about a dozen hours of this online with some friends and I have to say the scale that it comfortably supports in multiplayer is breathtaking.

    You can literally have thousands of moving parts and tens of thousands individual items being moved and manipulated at once in the world, and the networked experience doesn’t miss a beat.

    Also, this game really lends itself to multiplayer, and it helps a lot if you have people that specialize. For example, I would set up core resource processing, one friend would specialize in research, while yet another would ensure that our base was well walled off and secured from the alien menace. Definitely a great time.

    • Smaug says:

      It is really well programmed, full 64-bit support, scales well over threads, flawless multiplayer support. Technically well executed.

  15. saluki says:

    Registered for the first time just to heap praise on this amazing game. I’ve sunk like 50 hours into it since it was available on steam and finally managed a launch. I can’t believe how detailed and rewarding it is. It has a lot in common with those zachtronic games like infinifactory and, to my mind especially spacechem, but for some reason i find the survival element more engaging than those games. And even though there is sort of a distant endgame goal, the joy of the game for me is just making these fantastic little supply chains, and leaning how to signal trains, and stuff like that. I can’t wait for this to evolve more, it’s amazingly complete and stable for early access.

  16. Fnord73 says:

    I think the correct term is an “industrial game”, from your description. If you ever seen the logistics of an aluminium plant, it looks a lot like it.

    • Gammro says:

      I’ve played around with some software for my minor industrial process design that was basically a small-scale version of Factorio with a worse UI.

  17. geldonyetich says:

    I agree that Factorio has advanced the resource management survival game further than any game came before it, but at the same time I’d say there’s all sorts of ways it could go from here.

    First and foremost on my mind: people. NPCs or PCs, there’s no reason for Factorio’s world to be so desolate as it is. Moreover, they’d all that all-important sense of context missing from most open-ended survival games that provide radical means of production: who are you building all of this stuff for?

    • Premium User Badge

      aleander says:

      You build it for yourself, so you can go away. That’s the point where the game gets surprisingly poignant: you’re strip-mining the planet, destroying someone’s habitat, just to get away. For all its open-endness, it actually tells a story.

    • hamilcarp says:

      The game you’re describing exists, it’s called Dwarf Fortress, and it’s the most twisted thing I’ve ever experienced in games.

  18. Papewaio says:

    Context is in the tutorial.

    You crashed landed on a deserted planet.

    You are building all this for yourself to build a rocket to get off the planet.

  19. samsharp99 says:

    Factorio is a lot of fun – especially when played in multiplayer so you can each have a ‘focus’ of trying to create individual production areas and then tying them together. Me and a couple of buddies have put many hours into a single world and reached the ‘end-game’.

  20. Spence1115 says:

    Looks like a builder sim set in the post apocalyptic world in Chrono Trigger. Not a bad thing, just what it immediately reminded me of.

  21. NephilimNexus says:

    This is by far the best review of installing Linux that I’ve ever read.

  22. lastpick says:

    I was involved awhile back with Factorio and see now that one of the biggest issues for this game that does so many things right wasn’t addressed. Ultimately, the game ends up being about creating potion bottles that represent technology. Everything you do will be towards making more potions which are used to make more potions of a different color which in turn are used to make another colored potion. Repeat ad infinitum.

  23. as df says:

    Factorio is an awesome game. My only qualm with it is a batsh!t insane science potions distilled from belts and inserters.