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How to craft with lubnraicant factrio
January 29, 2019 Entertainment and Movies 3 comments

Oil processing is one of the most important things you will have to learn in Factorio. It is a research on the game's tech tree and a recipe that is used in the oil refinery -- but it also produces an item that is widely used in all kinds of processes in the game.

Being able to process oil is a major part aspect of Factorio, so this guide is going to give you all the information you need to start oil processing -- including what it is used for and where it's featured in the game.

Oil refinery in the real world

Where Does Oil Processing Sit on the Factorio Tech Tree?

Oil processing is researched relatively early on in the game, as you are going to need it for a lot of things. It only requires you to research steel processing beforehand, but leads on to many other technologies.

You need oil processing to use: Basic Oil Processing, Chemical Plant, Lubricant, Oil Refinery, Pumpjack, and Solid Fuel from Heavy Oil, Light Oil, and Petroleum Gas.

Oil Processing research is needed to research: Advanced Oil Processing, Flammables, Plastics and Sulfuric Processing.

However, Oil processing is also needed to make Science Pack 3Factorio uses different tiers of science to gauge how far you have progressed through the game, and Science Pack 3 is the third science tier in the game. It introduces the aspect of laboratories in the game which is used to research advanced technologies.

In order to gain access to Science Pack 3, in addition to oil processing, you also need to have completed research in Sulfur Processing, Plastics, Fluid Handling, Advanced Oil Processing, Coal Liquefaction, Flammables and Flame Thrower.

How to Set Up Oil Processing in Factorio

The first thing you need to look at doing is making some Pumpjacks. These are what is used to extract crude oil from the oil fields. You are able to make them after you have researched the initial oil processing technology. Below is the recipe you need to make them.

There are two ways to then move the crude oil to where it is going to be stored/used. You can either make sure that you have a good layout of pipes to transport it or make sure that you have an operational railway/transport network to move the barrels of crude oil. Barrels are useable thanks to the Fluid Handling technology.

The crude oil then makes its way to an Oil Refinery which will require you to have already set up an Electric Network to make it work. An oil refinery produces three outputs -- Heavy Oil, Light Oil, and Petroleum Gas. You will need to set which recipe the refinery is going to use so that you know how much crude oil and other raw materials you will be needing.

Make sure you have somewhere for your products to go, as the oil refinery can stop working if there is a backlog. Storage Tanks are also available through Fluid Handling.

Heavy oil and light oil can then be taken to a chemical plant to be broken down to other materials and used in manufacturing substances such as sulfuric acid

On a side note, crude oil itself can also be used as ammo for one of the game's initial defense systems -- Flamethrower TurretsFactorio has a unique combat system which isn't generally seen in games of this genre, but this will be covered in future guides.

An example of how combat looks in-game

We hope that this look at oil processing and how oil is used in Factorio has given you some idea of how it works how to progress to the next level. Make sure you check out our other Factorio guides for more help with the game.

Read this post on our website.

Hello,
There is a bit of a cold/flu going around the office, but it isn't severe enough to dampen our spirits (I don't like the daylight savings though).

New T-shirts (Jitka, Albert, Aleš, Klonan)
Ever since we launched the classic Grey T-shirt back in November 2017, we've been asked when we're going to have more designs. Over the last few months Jitka, Albert, and Aleš, have been working on our new collection, which is now available.


Check out our store page for full product details.

We chose the Inserter and the Electronic circuit, as we feel that they are some of the items that best represent the game.



Once again, its the small details of which we are really proud. This time we are incorporating the new Wube logo into the print, as well as continuing our Factorio Dude printed label.

We have also updated our classic Factorio logo on grey with the new T-shirt design, which means that all the T-shirts are available in 3XL (Triple-XL), including the older design which previously only went up to 2XL. We have also printed a small batch of the Factorio logo T-shirts in a Ladies cut.

Several weeks ago, we mentioned that we bought a new rack for the server room (FFF-315). The secret we have been keeping is that we didn't just buy new racks for the server room, but also for the merchandise room. Now that we have the new T-shirt collection, the shelves are filled quite nicely.



The new T-shirt collection is available on our website from today. Please bear in mind that we are packaging and shipping all the T-shirts ourselves in the office, we aren't handling things through any 3rd party distributor. What this means is that shipping isn't super fast and we can't really guarantee any shipment dates. Generally the T-shirts reach European addresses within 1 week, and reach North America within 2.

With Christmas approaching, shipping times may be longer, so if you are looking to gift a Factorio T-shirt this upcoming holiday season, we would recommend ordering as soon as possible. Please note we still impose a 3 T-shirt limit on all orders.

Lua event filters (Rseding)
Every so often someone makes a mod interface request that grabs my attention - not because of the actual benefits the request will give (although that helps) but from a pure challenge perspective: I start thinking "that sounds difficult (and fun) - but I think I can do it - so how I can do that in an efficient/expandable way?...".

Several weeks ago someone requested a way to filter the different prototypes from the game on the C++ side instead of having to do it all Lua side:
  • Grab all of them.
  • Iterate through them one by one.
  • Store only the ones I care about.
Their reasons made sense to me and it was one of those challenging things that grabbed my attention. I finished it - and it has been out for several weeks.

Shortly after that someone asked for the same system for Lua events; mentioning that most mods don't actually want most events when they subscribe to one - but only a small subset of what would trigger a given event. It also made sense to me and it was even more of a challenge to take the already working filtering system I had and make it work for something I didn't intend. The end result though works quite nicely and can be expanded as we find different events needing different filters.



What this means overall, is that modders will be able to write cleaner and more efficient Lua scripts, and everybody will benefit from less UPS spent filtering the events on the script side.

/r/Factorio Extra Life charity stream (Klonan)
This weekend the moderators over at the Factorio subreddit are taking part in the Extra Life charity event. They will be streaming Factorio to help raise money for Children's hospitals in the US and Canada. There are some more details on the Reddit post.

As always, let us know what you think on our forum.
Read this post on our website.

Hello,
we just released 0.17.73, with 0.17.74 coming very soon. This is just some bug fixes and further pathfinding improvements, and we hope to be able to mark the release as Stable next week.

The new tooltips (Twinsen)

As part of our big GUI update, I've been working on one particular part: the tooltips. We worked not only on updating the style, but also how the information is structured and sorted, added missing information, removed irrelevant information. This concerns entity, item and recipe tooltips, but almost all tooltips were touched one way or another. Many things were changed. I will go through some of the more important changes.

The new look



First thing to see is the new style Albert has worked on. They now have the same general style as the technology tooltips. We tried to keep them as compact as possible, as sometimes there is quite a lot of information to show.

For the screenshots in this blog post, I set the background to be non-transparent. Unfortunately they don't blend very well with our blog background, but in game you will notice that they are slightly transparent and the also have a blurring effect. Together with the shadows, they integrate nicely in the game.

Categorization



As you may have noticed already, some common properties like electricity consumption are grouped into categories. Most of the work was defining these categories and trying to figure out what makes sense. These categories help grouping the information but also gives more context to some entity properties. Properties that are directly related to the selected entity type are placed in the "root" category that has no name. This is to avoid having pointless categories like "Inserter" and "Transport belt".

New information
The place where the categorization really shines is in the tooltips of power generating entities. Now it's much clearer what each entity does and what the ratios are. Entities related to nuclear power were especially confusing. Creating an optimal nuclear setup was almost impossible without the help of the wiki. Now all the important information is there.





Entity tooltips and item tooltips generally show the same properties, but I tried to make the entity tooltips show state information when possible. For example, here's how the item tooltips above look when the entities are placed in the game. Categories are even more useful now, since properties like the fuel inside the machine or the state of the fluid output pipe can now be grouped inside the relevant categories.



Other entities have more properties added to them, such as inserter rotation speed, rolling stock weight, laser turret energy use per shot, flamethrower turret burning and slowdown effect, and many more.

Tooltip separation



The recipe tooltip was kind of a Frankenstein's monster of recipe information and item information mashed together. We also had the problem with what properties to show when a recipe has multiple output products. The solution was to split the tooltips and show a "multi-tooltip" when hovering a recipe,

Now, when hovering over a recipe in the crafting menu the recipe tooltip will be shown. An additional item tooltip will be shown for every product, as a separate tooltip, if the item tooltip has a description and/or properties to show. While this improves things quite a bit in vanilla, complex mods will benefit from it even more. Recipes can now have their own textual description and each separate product can be explained independently if necessary.



The same mechanism is used for the tooltip shown when hovering a logistic request in the character window.

This means that an item tooltip will look the same regardless if it's shown while hovering a recipe, an item in the player inventory or a logistic request. No more mixing of information.

Most of the implementation is done, just a few tweaks and bugfixes left to do, plus any changes based on your feedback. If all goes well, the new tooltips will be part of one of the next experimental feature releases, which we hope to release in the next couple of weeks. After that, more GUIs to come.

Construction robot tile batching (Rseding)
One of the things I've wanted to tinker with for some time is having a construction robot build multiple things at the same time. Construction robots spend the vast majority of their time just flying around doing very little work and can technically use the cargo capacity research but only ever use it for logistic related things.

https://cdn.factorio.com/assets/img/blog/fff-318-not-batched.mp4

One of the main things which stopped me from looking into this in the past was performance concerns: figuring out which thing(s) a robot can work on in a batch gets expensive very quickly and with robots existing in the 10s of thousands range I can't just make each one 5 times as expensive.

A few weeks ago I thought I finally figured out a way to at least make robots able to batch build tiles without loosing too much performance. The thing is: when tiles are built they are built in large square patterns so I can safely assume there will be other tiles to be built directly next to a given tile that hasn't already been assigned a robot to work on. After some experiments and then several re-works to optimize what was already quite fast I was satisfied with the result.

https://cdn.factorio.com/assets/img/blog/fff-318-batched.mp4

Of course, the next question people ask is: what about doing it for entities? I could, but it doesn't make as much sense for them because they aren't always 1x1 (performance drops off quickly as the size grows - tiles are always 1x1), aren't typically built in tightly packed squares like tiles are, and in the common case it would just make robots more expensive to run while rarely making them build faster. So, for now they just batch build tiles.

https://cdn.factorio.com/assets/img/blog/fff-318-batched-comparison.mp4
As a more direct comparison, Boskid made this nice setup using two forces with different cargo bonuses.

As with the tooltips, the tile job batching will be released as part of our next experimental feature release, which we're calling internally 'Stable 3' (0.17.69 is Stable 1, 0.17.74 will be Stable 2). As always, let us know what you think on our forum.
Read this post on our website.

New pathfinding algorithm - Oxyd
Last week we mentioned the change to make biters not collide with each other, but that wasn’t the only biter-related update we released this past week. Somewhat coincidentally, this week’s updates have included something I’d been working on for a few weeks before – an upgrade to the enemy pathfinding system.

Pathfinding
When a unit wants to go somewhere, it first needs to figure out how to get there. That could be as simple as going straight to its goal, but there can be obstacles – such as cliffs, trees, spawners, player entities – in the way. To do that, it will tell the pathfinder its current position and the goal position, and the pathfinder will – possibly after many ticks – reply with a path, which is simply a series of waypoints for the unit to follow in order to get to its destination.

To do its job, the pathfinder uses an algorithm called A* (pronounced 'A star'). A simple example of A* pathfinding is shown in the video below: A biter wants to go around some cliffs. The pathfinder starts exploring the map around the biter (shown as white dots). First it tries to go straight toward the goal, but as soon as it reaches the cliffs, it 'spills' both ways, trying to find a position from which it can again go toward the goal.

https://cdn.factorio.com/assets/img/blog/fff-317-basic-pf.mp4
In this video, the algorithm is slowed down to better show how it works.

Each dot in the animation represents a node. Each node remembers its distance from the start of the search, and an estimate of the distance from that node toward the goal – this estimate is provided by what's called a heuristic function. Heuristic functions are what make A* work – it's what steers the algorithm in the correct direction.

A simple choice for this function is simply the straight-line distance from the node to the goal position – this is what we have been using in Factorio since forever, and it’s what makes the algorithm initially go straight. It’s not the only choice, however – if the heuristic function knew about some of the obstacles, it could steer the algorithm around them, which would result in a faster search, since it wouldn’t have to explore extra nodes. Obviously, the smarter the heuristic, the more difficult it is to implement.

The simple straight-line heuristic function is fine for pathfinding over relatively short distances. This was okay in past versions of Factorio – about the only long distance pathfinding was done by biters made angry by pollution, and that doesn’t happen very often, relatively speaking. These days, however, we have artillery. Artillery can easily shoot – and aggro – massive numbers of biters on the far end of a large lake, who will then all try to pathfind around the lake. The video below shows what it looks like when the simple A* algorithm we've been using until now tries to go around a lake.

https://cdn.factorio.com/assets/img/blog/fff-317-long-pf-before.mp4
This video shows how fast the algorithm works in reality; it hasn’t been slowed down.

Contracting Chunks
Pathfinding is an old problem, and so there are many techniques for improving pathfinding. Some of these techniques fall into the category of hierarchical pathfinding – where the map is first simplified, a path is found in the simplified map, and this is then used to help find the real path. Again, there are several techniques for how exactly to do this, but all of them require a simplification of the search space.

So how can we simplify a Factorio world? Our maps are randomly generated, and also constantly changing – placing and removing entities (such as assemblers, walls or turrets) is probably the most core mechanic of the entire game. We don’t want to recalculate the simplification each time an entity is added or removed. At the same time, resimplifying the map from scratch every time we want to find a path could quite easily negate any performance gains made.

It was one of our source access people, Allaizn, who came up with the idea that I ended up implementing. In retrospect, the idea is obvious.

The game is based around 32x32 chunks of tiles. The simplification process will replace each chunk with one or more abstract nodes. Since our goal is to improve pathfinding around lakes, we can ignore all entities and consider the tiles only – water is impassable, land is passable. We split each chunk into separate components – a component is an area of tiles where a unit can go from any tile within the component to any other within the same component. The image below shows a chunk split into two distinct components, red and green. Each of these components will become a single abstract node – basically, the entire chunk is reduced into two 'points'.



Allaizn’s key insight was that we don’t need to store the component for every tile on the map – it is enough to remember the components for the tiles on the perimeter of each chunk. This is because what we really care about is what other components (in neighbouring chunks) each component is connected to – that can only depend on the tiles that are on the very edge of the chunk.

Hierarchical Pathfinding
We have figured out how to simplify the map, so how do we use that for finding paths? As I said earlier, there are multiple techniques for hierarchical pathfinding. The most straightforward idea would be to simply find a path using abstract nodes from start to goal – that is, the path would be a list of chunk components that we have to visit – and then use a series plain old A* searches to figure out how exactly to go from one chunk's component to another.

The problem here is that we simplified the map a bit too much: What if it isn’t possible to go from one chunk to another because of some entities (such as cliffs) blocking the path? When contracting chunks we ignore all entities, so we merely know that the tiles between the chunks are somehow connected, but know nothing about whether it actually is possible to go from one to the other or not.

The solution is to use the simplification merely as a 'suggestion' for the real search. Specifically, we will use it to provide a smart version of the heuristic function for the search.

So what we end up with is this: We have two pathfinders, called the base pathfinder, which finds the actual path, and the abstract pathfinder, which provides the heuristic function for the base pathfinder. Whenever the base pathfinder creates a new base node, it calls the abstract pathfinder to get the estimate on the distance to the goal. The abstract pathfinder works backwards – it starts at the goal of the search, and works its way toward the start, jumping from one chunk’s component to another. Once the abstract search finds the chunk and the component in which the new base node is created, it uses the distance from the start of the abstract search (which, again, is the goal position of the overall search) to calculate the estimated distance from the new base node to the overall goal.

Running an entire pathfinder for every single base node would, however, be anything but fast, even if the abstract pathfinder leaps from one chunk to the next. Instead we use what’s called Reverse Resumable A*. Reverse means simply it goes from goal to start, as I already said. Resumable means that after it finds the chunk the base pathfinder is interested in, we keep all its nodes in memory. The next time the base pathfinder creates a new node and needs to know its distance estimate, we simply look at the abstract nodes we kept from the previous search, with a good chance the required abstract node will still be there (after all, one abstract node covers a large part of a chunk, often the entire chunk).

Even if the base pathfinder creates a node that is in a chunk not covered by any abstract node, we don’t need to do an entire abstract search all over again. A nice property of the A* algorithm is that even after it 'finishes' and finds a path, it can keep going, exploring nodes around the nodes it already explored. And that's exactly what we do if we need a distance estimate for a base node located in a chunk not yet covered by the abstract search: We resume the abstract search from the nodes we kept in memory, until it expands to the node that we need.

The video below shows the new pathfinding system in action. Blue circles are the abstract nodes; white dots are the base search. The pathfinder was slowed down significantly to make this video, to show how it works. At normal speed, the entire search takes only a few ticks. Notice how the base search, which is still using the same old algorithm we've always used, just 'knows' where to go around the lake, as if by magic.

https://cdn.factorio.com/assets/img/blog/fff-317-long-pf-after.mp4

Since the abstract pathfinder is only used to provide the heuristic distance estimates, the base search can quite easily digress from the path suggested by the abstract search. This means that even though our chunk contraction scheme ignores all entities, the base pathfinder can still go around them with little trouble. Ignoring entities in the map simplification process means we don't have to redo it every time an entity is placed or removed, and only need to cover tiles being changed (such as with landfill) – which happens way less often than entity placements.

It also means that we are still essentially using the same old pathfinder we've been using for years now, only with an upgraded heuristic function. That means this change shouldn’t affect too many things, other than the speed of the search.

Hi everybody!
I'm going to be resigning from official Factorio staff after today to start a new job closer to home.

The main reason for this switch is that working entirely remotely turned out to be something that I wasn't able to handle all that well. But also, my primary contribution to the project, the programmable map generator, is complete, stable, and pretty well understood by at least one other person, so timing-wise this seemed a good point for me to move on. To working in a cube farm writing Android applications for treadmills, apparently.
We'll see how that goes!

It's been an honor to be part of this awesome project and to leave my imprint on it. And working on a large and pretty well-managed C++ codebase, full of things done just a bit different than I had ever thought to, has been mind-opening.

I also want to thank the community for your continual patience, honest feedback, and the occasional bit of pressure that you put on us to make the game as good as it can be.

I'll continue to read the Friday Facts every week, lurk on the forums, and probably update documentation here and there. Hopefully I'll find time to crank out some terrain-altering mods of my own. And I'm looking forward to seeing what else y'all do with it, too. (Which includes working through a backlog of mods -- I have yet to get to the space exploration part of Space Exploration!)

Peace out for now.

Community spotlight - 13x9 Micro Factory - Klonan
Over 100 Friday Facts ago we covered DaveMcW's 9x14 Micro Factory (FFF-197). While it may have taken over 2 years, he has improved his design even further, and the result is just as impressive as before.

https://youtu.be/9dzQge6pe2o

He offers some more explanation of his Micro Factory in this forum post.

As always, let us know what you think on our forum.
Read this post on our website.


In the last few weeks, we've really accelerated our work on the campaign. We've been pushing ahead a lot with both the scripting and blocking out the physical level design.One of the problems we've come up against a lot, is that we often need to perform custom edits to the map, which are quite tedious, but not common enough to add a new tool to the map editor for them. For example, something like "disable all the spawners in this region".

This kind of problem is easily solved with a little bit of custom Lua code, but getting the specification of the area we want to edit into Lua is a painful process of noting down and typing out location coordinates. It is also easy to lose track of these Lua snippets, as there is no good place to save them.

To solve this problem, we decided to add a Lua snippet tool to the map editor. This tool will let you drag your cursor over an area, and it will then run your custom Lua code on that area. The snippets are named, and saved in your player-data.json, so you can keep them around for later.

https://cdn.factorio.com/assets/img/blog/fff-316-snippet.mp4
For example, this simple snippet replaces trees with biters.

Currently, there doesn't seem to be a very big scene for community made custom maps/scenarios with custom maps, and we're hoping that the example from the campaign once released, as well as the much improved editor we have in 0.17 will encourage more people to give this a go.

As some of you may have heard, Apple is introducing a new system called notarizing to their MacOS apps. This is a system where you sign you packages and upload them to apple so they can run something akin to a virus scan, and mark it as approved. As of the new MacOS Catalina version, this will be mandatory. Our friends at Valve were nice enough to send us a warning with some info about the process. Up until now, our MacOS binaries haven't even been signed at all, so this seemed like a good time to get on that. To be clear, you could, and can play unsigned factorio binaries on MacOS, but you need to change your security settings to do so (or so I thought).

To test, I grabbed the .app of 0.17.69, signed it, uploaded it to apples notarization server, and got the notarization process to succeed (eventually). I then copied it onto a completely fresh, default settings install of macOS Catalina, double clicked it, and it ran, with no security prompt. Problem solved, right? Well, after that I decided to do a sanity check, and copied over the completely unsigned binary of 0.17.68, and it ran just fine as well, also with no security prompt.

So, at this point, it seems like we don't really have a way to test this process, so all we can do is set things up correctly to the best of our abilities, and see if it works for people. The next Factorio release should include signed and notarised macOS binaries, so if anyone has problems with 0.17.70 security warning on macOS, please let us know.This whole process has been rather slow and painful (just getting the notarizing tool working was a bit of a saga in itself), and doesn't inspire much confidence in Apple's developer ecosystem, so if anyone at Apple is reading this, please, please, make this process better.

Also to make it known again, we are still looking for a macOS developer to join our team, so if you are interested or know someone who is, please checkout the job listing.

For a long time we have been improving the biter pathing, with many iterative changes and tweaks. However we have long had a problem in the moment where a group of biters encounters the players base. I am sure the scene below is familiar to all Factorio players:

https://cdn.factorio.com/assets/img/blog/fff-316-biters-collide.mp4

This mating dance or whatever it is, has long been a thorn in our side. The reason behind it is quite logical. When moving, the biters are in a group, and everything goes smoothly. However when they see an enemy, they are 'distracted' by it, and individually try to attack it. Since the biters are now moving and pathing as individuals, things start to get messy. The biters find a path, but then there is another biter in the way, so he tries to move and turn around, but there are biters in the way there too, and each of those biters are trying the same thing, so it all goes gets clogged up for a while.

The solution we have decided, which some might consider a 'hack' is that we simply don't make biters collide with other biters. In the engine this was a rather simple change, and was already possible just using normal mods. The result speaks for itself:

https://cdn.factorio.com/assets/img/blog/fff-316-biters-no-collide.mp4

Lubricant: Used in making Electric Engines & Express (blue) level belts, splitters and . Green Science needs belts and inserters to craft.

Factorio Assembly Calculator

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Factorio Assembly Calculator
Welcome to the Factorio Assembly Calculator. This tool will help you make efficient factories in Factorio by telling you how many machines you need to craft items. To use this calculator, follow these instructions.
1. Near the top of this page, choose File > Make a copy... to copy this spreadsheet into your own Google account. If this option is grayed out, first sign in to Google (top right).
2. You should now be able to make changes to your own copy of this Spreadsheet. Click the "Items" tab at the bottom. This is a sheet of all crafting recipes in the game. Click the "Instructions" tab to come back here.
3. In the "Items" sheet, click on an item you want to assemble, such as "Sience Pack 2". This will select it.
4. Near the top, choose the menu Factorio > Assembly for Selected Item. You will need to give the script permission to run.
5. Fill out the information such as how many you want to make in how much time. Leave it blank for the defaults.
6. This will take you to a new sheet called "Calculations" and break down all of the requirements to make that item in the given time. This will also tell you how many machines each one will take.
Try out the other menus. "Ratios for Selected Item" will provide ratios between items and their ingredients. "Recipes using Selected Item" will tell you what other items have that item as their ingredient. You can also switch the machines here and it will update the "Items" list.
You can customize the "Items" list to fit your needs. For example if you have Speed modules on certain items you can adjust the "Speed x" value.
Feedback? Please comment on the Reddit post:
http://www.reddit.com/r/factorio/comments/2qmyu6/factorio_assembly_calculator/
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Factorio Items

Raw MaterialsQtyTimeIngredientsSpeed xMachine
Stone13.52Electric Mining Drill
Coal13.52Electric Mining Drill
Iron Ore13.52Electric Mining Drill
Copper Ore13.52Electric Mining Drill
Raw wood511Steel axe - Tree
Water100.11Offshore Pump
Crude oil111Pumpjack 1.0/s
Alien artifact111Kill alien spawners
Intermediate ProductsQtyTimeIngredientsSpeed xMachine
Wood20.51 x Raw wood1.25Assembling machine 3
Iron Plate13.51 x Iron Ore2Electric Furnace
Copper Plate13.51 x Copper Ore2Electric Furnace
Stone Brick13.52 x Stone2Electric Furnace
Steel Plate117.55 x Iron Plate2Electric Furnace
Iron Stick10.51 x Iron Plate1.25Assembling machine 3
Iron Gear Wheel10.52 x Iron Plate1.25Assembling machine 3
Electronic Circuit10.5

1 x Iron Plate
3 x Copper cable

1.25Assembling machine 3
Advanced Circuit18

2 x Plastic bar
2 x Electronic Circuit
4 x Copper cable

1.25Assembling machine 3
Processing Unit115

20 x Electronic Circuit
2 x Advanced Circuit
0.5 x Sulfuric acid

1.25Assembling machine 3
Engine unit120

2 x Pipe
1 x Steel Plate
1 x Iron Gear Wheel

1.25Assembling machine 3
Electric engine unit120

2 x Electronic Circuit
1 x Engine unit
2 x Lubricant

1.25Assembling machine 3
Flying robot frame120

1 x Steel Plate
3 x Electronic Circuit
1 x Electric engine unit
2 x Battery

1.25Assembling machine 3
Copper cable20.51 x Copper Plate1.25Assembling machine 3
Red wire10.5

1 x Electronic Circuit
1 x Copper cable

1.25Assembling machine 3
Green wire10.5

1 x Electronic Circuit
1 x Copper cable

1.25Assembling machine 3
Science Pack 115

1 x Copper Plate
1 x Iron Gear Wheel

1.25Assembling machine 3
Science Pack 216

1 x Transport Belt
1 x Inserter

1.25Assembling machine 3
Science Pack 3112

1 x Smart inserter
1 x Steel Plate
1 x Advanced Circuit
1 x Battery

1.25Assembling machine 3
Alien science pack10121 x Alien artifact1.25Assembling machine 3
Heavy Oil155 x Water
10 x Crude oil
1Advanced oil processing
Light Oil4.555 x Water
10 x Crude oil
1Advanced oil processing
Petroleum gas5.555 x Water
10 x Crude oil
1Advanced oil processing
Lubricant111 x Heavy oil1.25Chemical plant
Sulfur213 x Water
3 x Petroleum gas
1.25Chemical plant
Sulfuric acid51

1 x Iron plate
5 x Sulfur
10 x Water

1.25Chemical plant
Plastic bar211 x Coal
3 x Petroleum gas
1.25Chemical plant
Explosives151 x Coal
1 x Sulfur
1 x Water
1.25Chemical plant
Battery15

1 x Iron Plate
1 x Copper Plate
2 x Sulfuric acid

1.25Chemical plant
Solid fuel131 x Light oil1.25Chemical plant
Empty Barrel111 x Steel Plate1.25Assembling machine 3
Crude Oil Barrel11

1 x Empty Barrel
25 x Crude oil

1.25Assembling machine 3
LogisticsQtyTimeIngredientsSpeed xMachine
Wooden chest10.54 x Wood1.25Assembling machine 3
Iron Chest10.58 x Iron Plate1.25Assembling machine 3
Steel Chest10.58 x Steel Plate1.25Assembling machine 3
Smart Chest10.5

1 x Steel Chest
3 x Electronic Circuit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Storage Tank1320 x Iron Plate
5 x Steel Plate
1.25Assembling machine 3
Transport Belt20.5

1 x Iron Plate
1 x Iron Gear Wheel

1.25Assembling machine 3
Fast Transport Belt10.5

1 x Transport Belt
5 x Iron Gear Wheel

1.25Assembling machine 3
Express Transport Belt10.5

1 x Fast Transport Belt
5 x Iron Gear Wheel
2 x Lubricant

1.25Assembling machine 3
Underground belt21

5 x Transport Belt
10 x Iron Plate

1.25Assembling machine 3
Fast underground belt20.5

2 x Underground Belt
20 x Iron Gear Wheel

1.25Assembling machine 3
Express underground belt20.5

2 x Fast underground belt
40 x Iron Gear Wheel

1.25Assembling machine 3
Splitter11

4 x Transport Belt
5 x Iron Plate
5 x Electronic Circuit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Fast Splitter12

1 x Splitter
10 x Iron Gear Wheel
10 x Electronic Circuit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Express Splitter12

1 x Fast Splitter
10 x Iron Gear Wheel
10 x Advanced Circuit
8 x Lubricant

1.25Assembling machine 3
Burner Inserter10.5

1 x Iron Plate
1 x Iron Gear Wheel

1.25Assembling machine 3
Inserter10.5

1 x Iron Plate
1 x Iron Gear Wheel
1 x Electronic Circuit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Long handed inserter10.5

1 x Inserter
1 x Iron Plate
1 x Iron Gear Wheel

1.25Assembling machine 3
Fast inserter10.5

1 x Inserter
2 x Iron Plate
2 x Electronic Circuit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Smart inserter10.5

1 x Fast inserter
4 x Electronic Circuit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Small electric pole20.52 x Wood
2 x Copper cable
1.25Assembling machine 3
Medium electric pole10.5

2 x Copper Plate
2 x Steel Plate

1.25Assembling machine 3
Big electric pole10.5

5 x Copper Plate
5 x Steel Plate

1.25Assembling machine 3
Substation10.5

5 x Copper Plate
10 x Steel Plate
5 x Advanced Circuit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Pipe10.51 x Iron Plate1.25Assembling machine 3
Pipe-to-Ground20.510 x Pipe
5 x Iron Plate
1.25Assembling machine 3
Small Pump12

1 x Pipe
1 x Steel Plate
1 x Electric engine unit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Straight Rail20.5

1 x Stone
1 x Steel Plate
1 x Iron Stick

1.25Assembling machine 3
Curved Rail20.5

4 x Stone
4 x Steel Plate
4 x Iron Stick

1.25Assembling machine 3
Train stop10.5

10 x Iron Plate
3 x Steel Plate
5 x Electronic Circuit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Rail signal10.5

5 x Iron Plate
1 x Electronic Circuit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Diesel Locomotive10.5

10 x Steel Plate
5 x Electronic Circuit
15 x Engine unit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Cargo wagon10.5

20 x Iron Plate
5 x Steel Plate
10 x Iron Gear Wheel

1.25Assembling machine 3
Cargo wagon10.5

20 x Iron Plate
5 x Steel Plate
8 x Engine unit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Tank10.5

50 x Steel Plate
15 x Iron Gear Wheel
5 x Advanced Circuit
15 x Engine unit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Logistic robot10.5

2 x Advanced Circuit
1 x Flying robot frame

1.25Assembling machine 3
Construction robot10.5

2 x Advanced Circuit
1 x Flying robot frame

1.25Assembling machine 3
Active Provider Chest10.5

1 x Smart Chest
1 x Advanced Circuit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Passive Provider Chest10.5

1 x Smart Chest
1 x Advanced Circuit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Requester Chest10.5

1 x Smart Chest
1 x Advanced Circuit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Storage Chest10.5

1 x Smart Chest
1 x Advanced Circuit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Roboport115

45 x Steel Plate
45 x Iron Gear Wheel
45 x Advanced Circuit

1.25Assembling machine 3
ProductionQtyTimeIngredientsSpeed xMachine
Iron axe10.53 x Iron Plate
2 x Iron Stick
1.25Assembling machine 3
Steel axe10.55 x Steel Plate
2 x Iron Stick
1.25Assembling machine 3
Repair pack10.5

1 x Iron Gear Wheel
1 x Electronic Circuit

1.25Assembling machine 3
Blueprint111 x Advanced Circuit1.25Assembling machine 3
Deconstruction planner11

Factorio: How to Build a Main Bus

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Introduction

Factorio is an awesome game in which you are allowed to build up your factory empire. However, you can get some troubles if you don’t know how to manage everything. Especially, we will introduce to you an important problem relating to the Main Bus. A Main Bus is the factory design which is widely used because it is flexible and easy to use. A good Main Bus will help you construct a neat and effective factory. Then, it can produce and provide all of the products that you want.

At the beginning

In the start of Factorio game, you could see many conveyor belts. Aside from that, you would recognize that they are pretty good. They could help you to solve quests and reach the best end.

Starting

In the initial phase, you will use yourself to transport and move everything between chests. Next, you have to carry out an electric setup, achieve the electric mining drills to supply lines of furnaces. These first lines are the debut the new Main Bus.

When you use conveyor belts for the first time, you’d better boot a Main Bus. If your set up gets any delay, it will cause wasting time and postpone every effort from creating temporary lines.

Structure

Planning

If you’d like to play Factorio game better, you should make a detailed plan. This plan will be very useful for you when you are in the earliest stages. And your plan needs to concentrate on the place where your main bus will arrive. You may want to go in a straight line horizontally or vertically. However, this main bus can snake around lakes. Don’t take a large space by making corners with the large width of the belt!

Take a look at the own map, select a wide open location with expandability in at least one direction away from ores or ore processing facilities.

 

The yellow arrows will show you the possible starting locations and directions for the Main Bus.

Products

These materials are very useful to design the main bus.

  • Iron Plates x2 (recommend x4)
  • Copper Plates x2 (recommend x4)
  • Steel Plates x1 (recommend x2)
  • Green Circuits x2 (recommend x4)
  • Red Circuits (Advanced Circuits) x1 (recommend x2)
  • Blue Circuits (Processing Units) x1
  • Plastic x1 (recommend x2)
  • Batteries x1
  • Lubricant (via pipe)
  • Sulfuric Acid (via pipe)

“x” numbers mean the number of belts for a regular sized factory. The recommended numbers are reserved for a fairly large factory which requires good throughput for multiple rocket launching. You will be able to learn more about using the recommended numbers in the rest of this guide.

 

The rainbow of belts will give you the great throughput for your factory.

Belt Structure

There are a few different structures in Factorio game that you can pick out for the main bus design. Some will place all lanes together. But, you can build up a structure of 4 belts, 2 spaces, 4 belts, 2 spaces, etc. with the piped products on one side. This new structure lets you split from the side of one belt group easily. It will leave the space for you to put down an underground belt.

 

 

 

You should leave the space between belts to allow undergrounds to pass through. Add pipes for the liquid component of the Bus.

You don’t have to create all-the-belts initially. But, you can make a placeholder with a single square of belts per line. From that, you will know the distance to place assemblers from the line.

You are possible to mark the lane with a piece of material. Hold this piece in hands and press Z to drop it. Try to aim for the belt!

 

Markers on the belts are effective to help you remember the place you go.

Feeding the Bus

Belt Balancers

Before you put it on the line, you should keep a belt balanced. You can use any item below before they get to the Main Bus.

 

Corner balancer. Colors of belts are different.

 

Straight/in-line balancer

Balance steel before it is mixed and moved to the Main Bus.

Lane Balancers

On the Main Bus, you can use a regular splitter to balance products if you own two lanes. Though, if you get four or more lanes, you can use a better structure to split items between belts.

Build diagram of a four- lane splitter.

 

4-lane splitters in reality

Explore more balancers on this Reddit Post.

There are plenty of lanes. But, they are not enough for production.

You will feed the bus from furnaces making iron and copper plates. Make sure you must use splitters to divide some of each to all expected belts. For example, if you have only one belt of copper plates, use a splitter to distribute them over allocated 4 lanes. This allows you to apply both sides of a 4-wide lane of products to do that. Besides, you are able to add in the new lanes of plates for throughput without effort when you can build them.

Introducing Intermediate Products

Adding intermediate products in Factorio game is quite simple once you leave enough space for them. At the end of each assembly line, you have to balance the belts before you place them on the line.

 

It’s easy to add in green circuits when you have a plan! Split one belt across 4 belts allocated until you can build more production.

You can add products on mid-line, even when their contents move in the opposite direction.

Adding Liquids

Most of the liquids can surround the oil processing area.

  • Lubricant: is used to make Electric Engines & Express (blue) level belts, splitters, and undergrounds.
  • Sulfuric Acid: is used for batteries and processing units (blue circuits).

Pulling from the Bus

You should place assembly lines at the position where they will run perpendicular to the Main Bus. When you do this, expandability of systems can pull from the Bus.

The bus can run North/South and assembly lines come off and expand to the East and West.

Different products can share similar intermediate product needs. They can split input lines. Don’t put too many items on the same line because it can cause a shortage of materials for others down the line!

Pulls from the Main Bus service a lot of individual products when they share the same inputs.

Full Lane Split Off

To transport a single material down the line, you need to put a splitter on the line and use undergrounds to bring it to the area that you aim.

In the first stage of a full belt split off, you’d better balance the Main Bus lines.

In case you are pulling from a mid-line in the bus, you should pay attention to using undergrounds to allow the rest of the products on their way.

You can leave at least three tiles of space along the belt side of assembly lines, one for inserters and two for belts.

Two-material Split

Most of your split-offs from the Main Bus of Factorio game are a single belt which transports two lanes of different materials. This is an efficient design that you can offer up to eight different intermediate products with standard inserter setups. You are able to build up a structure like this: two belts feeding into a single lane, forming a T where the belts meet. Each of them can be dropped on to the side when they are placed this way.

The easiest method to get a two-material split off is starting at the position near the assembler, and work backward. Carry your belt to the target lane and split. Create the T-junction before you match it to fill only a single side of the belt!

Work back from the second side of the T-junction to get the second material.

Balance

After splitting, you have to balance the belts again to feed more. It is the important step in Factorio game. On a two-belt line, you will use a regular splitter. On a four-belt line, the furthest belt from the split can feed into the edge. Utilize three splitters to deliver resources back to that lane.

Original Split Off

Adding in splitters

The arrows indicate the direction of product movement.

If your lanes are chronically unbalanced, you should consider putting an appropriate 4 lane belt balancer.

A proper 4 lane belt balancer

Another example of splitting two products off the Main Bus

Splitting Off

Adding the replenishment splitters

Avoid using Underground Splits!

If you select the “quick & dirty” way of using an underground belt to draw from the split, you must know that you will only pull from one-half of the belt. And this will cause a serious problem for the balance.

Sometimes Undergrounds are useful.

When you’d like to divide two products from a belt and want full throughput in an easy way, you can pick an underground belt.

Splitting 1 lane from the belt:

Separating both lanes:

Example Assembly Lines

These are some examples revolved around the assembly lines in Factorio game.

Red Science

Red Science needs Gears & Copper to craft.

  • Place Assemblers: 1crafting Iron Gear Wheels and 6-8 making Red Science.
  • Set two rows of belts along the assemblers. Put another along the output side.
  • Arrange 2 fast inserters in, and 1 fast inserter which going out of the Gear Wheel assembler. And, put a regular inserter and a long armed inserter so that you can feed each Science assembler.
  • For the belt furthest from the assembler, you will have to split off copper plates.
  • For the belt near the assembler, you can split off half a lane of iron plates. Ensure that the empty side is across from the inserter!

Green Science

Green Science requires belts and inserters to craft.

  • Place Assemblers: 1 crafting Iron Gear Wheels, 1 each for belts and assemblers, and 8-10 for Green Science. Try to put them one tile which is away from the Red Science output belt! Then, this Green Science will distribute the other side.
  • Find and put 2 rows of belts along the gear, inserter, and belt assemblers. Next, you will place the snaking belt leading to the Green Science assemblers as each screenshot below.
  • Then, you can place inserters as the following screenshot. Inserters need long arms.
  • For the belt furthest from the assembler, you can divide green circuits.
  • For the belt close to the assembler, you will split half a lane of iron plates.

Belt Array

To own a fast and helpful belt array, you need to build:

  • Identify the place for assemblers and put them in a grid-like pattern, add belts, inserters, and power poles after that.
  • Chests can move items along. They can supply the great place for pickup. These start out as iron chests, upgrade to Passive Providers and to Requesters.
  • Split iron into two places for throughput, and a half-belt of green circuits. If you don’t possess any red circuit, you can make a plan from now on.

Modules

Divide a full belt of red circuits to get close to the assemblers.

Green & blue circuits will share a line going in.

Maintaining the Bus

  • Attempt to re-balance belts after they are split.
  • Upgrade belts when you need more throughputs.
  • To upgrade belts, you should run along the line, hold down the mouse button to put belts on top of existing ones. It’s possible to replace splitters and undergrounds by placing upgrades on top of the old!
  • When you have robots, you can extend the bus with the design.
  • Fill the belts with Copper & Iron Plate, Steel, Green Circuits, so on.
  • Place Concrete or Stone Brick under some lanes of your bus and in one of the spaces between lanes
  • After you realize that you need an extra component which is used for items like stone, stone bricks, or coal, you can run a line to the side of the main bus, finish it at the assemblers, or carry materials in via robots & requester chests.

Science and Bus

Science pack production can pull off of the main bus to get an expandable system.

Moving off the Bus

You can move off the bus when your need for materials becomes greater. Some players build assemblies off to the side or carry products by train when there is not any space near the beginnings of their factory.

Screenshot Examples

Here are some collected examples of the Main Bus system used in Factorio game.

One of the first factories using a Main Bus system

This is the first Ribbon World. The map was 100 tiles high x infinite wide.

This is the first speed run factory

Handcrafting Challenge factory

Another horizontal bus 

This is the “Crunchy Desert” factory

Tips

Take a look at these tips. They may be very useful for you when playing Factorio game.

  • Copper Cables: They are used in most nothing else. They are not helpful for the belt. 1 copper plate can make 2 copper cables.
  • Gears: 1 gear factory can produce more than enough for an assembly line. While the iron comes on half the assembly line, gears are placed on the other half.
  • Locations, where gears are necessary, are in great quantity. Gears via Main Bus are always lacking.
  • Coal, Stone, Stone Bricks: They are used in very few products. Actually, they aren’t valuable using lanes for on the Main Bus. You can carry them in on the side via conveyor belts or through logistics bots.

Resources

These are the additional references for all:

  • The Factorio Game Forums (forums.factorio.com) – The official game forums. It is a good place to look for discussions & mods.
  • Factorio Wiki (wiki.factorio.com) . There are a lot of helpful information here. It is the official game site.
  • Factorio Game Guide (guide.factorio.com).Come here and explore great tutorials, again, an official source.
  • Factorio Cheat Sheets. Every guide to ratios, items/per second, and much more is clear.
  • Factorio Data (factorio.rotol.me). You can find which components go into what and look up ratios for nearly everything in the Factoratio section.

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About the author

For all your Factorio related needs. I usually don't put all the liquids on the bus, only lubricant and sulphuric acid, since those are I chose to make sulphur locally since it crafts pretty quickly and you don't need a lot of it.

Factorio Electric Furnace Production Blueprint

I’ve been playing this game obsessively for months, and yet I haven’t mentioned it on the site or even the podcast. That’s strange. I guess it’s because Factorio has supplanted Minecraft as my “Zen” game. It’s the game I play when I need to relax and think. A lot of the analysis you see on this site is the result of me stepping away from the word processor and zoning out to a low-action game for a few hours.

Factorio is an indie game by the ten-person Wube software. As of this writing it’s still in Early Access on Steam. I don’t often cover Early Access games, but I wanted to talk about Factorio because:

  1. I’m mildly obsessed with it.
  2. It reminds me of software engineering.

In Factorio, you begin with your character – a nameless person with no particular story or identity – being dropped into the middle of an alien wilderness. You’ve got a pickaxe, and you can see there are deposits of coal and iron spread around, as well as trees to chop down. At this point you probably assume this is just another survival game. It might even feel like one for the first couple of minutes. But it isn’t. Your character doesn’t need to gather resources to survive and in fact your character is little more than a human-shaped camera / cursor.

Instead of gathering food, your goal is to launch a rocket into space.

After the first five minutes of the game, you’re done gathering resources manually. After that, you’ve got machines to gather the resources and conveyor belts to carry them to a refinery. After a few more steps up the tech tree you’ll have conveyor belts feeding those refined materials into assembly machines to make parts, which will go on to be assembled into a final product. From that point on you’re just adding additional layers of automation onto an increasingly convoluted industrial complex that sprawls across the landscape in every direction.

You’ll need power to keep this enterprise running, which means you’ll need to build thundering coal-fired generatorsEventually you can unlock solar panels, but those come with their own drawbacks. to generate electricity. These generators will belch sooty smoke into the sky, which will agitate the local population of alien beasts. These creatures will rush at your base like a swarm of Zerglings to assault your power plants, and anything else that gets in their way. This means you’ll need to build walls and turrets to keep the riff-raff outThere’s an option to play the game in peaceful mode, where the monsters never attack first..

Emergent Puzzles

The little dark circles are part of my swarm of logistics robots that carry items around. They're good for transporting rare items, or things that are produced slowly. It beats adding another conveyor to the spaghetti network.

The challenge in the game comes from solving the engineering challenges presented by your industrial needs and the shape of your environment. Resources spawn in different locations and in varying amounts, and you’ll need to place machines to harvest them, machines to refine them into raw materials, machines to turn those raw materials into parts, and other machines to turn those parts into final products. This will take the form of an ever-growing complex of conveyors, pipes, machines, robots, and power lines. There is no “one correct layout” for a base. Every game will be a little different and every one will require you to adapt to the landscape.

Maybe you’ll use an automated train to carry goods long distances. Or maybe a conveyor belt is the better solution. Or maybe a network of robots to carry stuff around. It all depends on the distances, your power supply, your available resources, and the layout of items relative to each other.

This is a strange game. All the overhead building from an isometric view makes it feel like an industrial-focused version of Sim City. The character has no personality or identity, and after a while he starts to feel like a needless burden, like a version of Sim City where you have to walk a builder around the map in order to make buildings appear. The large-scale nature of the project makes you want to zoom way out and build the thing from a high-level view, but you have to keep zooming in to walk your little guy around obstacles and get him from one side of your base to the other, because you need him to place objects.

It’s not necessarily bad, but it does feel like the game is trying to straddle two very different gameplay styles.

How Factorio is Like Software Engineering

This entire area is one part of the system to create blue science bottles. Raw copper is used to make copper wire, which is used in making green circuit boards, which are one ingredient in making red circuit boards, which are one of four ingredients of blue science.

Note that I didn’t say coding. It’s nothing like writing code. Games like Human Resource Machine and TIS-100 cover the moment-to-moment process of writing code. But by their nature they focus on the detail work. Factorio reminds me of the big-picture stuff.

Early in the project it feels a bit like playing The Incredible Machine or Infinifactory. You need to build a machine to accomplish a task. But as the game progresses the complexity quickly escalates. Late in the game, adding onto my base felt a lot like a programmer adding something onto a mature codebase. The challenge isn’t solving the problem, the challenge is solving the problem with all the other solutions in the way.

Maybe you need to make plastic. That takes oil and coal. By this point you already have different facilities producing both at a steady rate. The problem is that those facilities are some distance away from each other, and also far away from where the plastic is needed. There are probably a lot of other things between these points. The naive solution is to simply brute-force your way through: Lay some pipes and conveyor belts down to bring the raw materials to where they’re needed. The problem is that if you always solve problems this way, your base will quickly become an incomprehensible mass of crisscrossing supply lines. “Spaghetti code” is how programmers describe this problem. Later on you’ll need to re-route your flow of oil to make room for something else, only to find those pipes also feed into some other system, which will also need to be re-arranged and re-located. Sooner or later you’ll find yourself in the middle of a vast field of entangled nonsense, wondering where it all went wrong. It’s this exact predicament that leads programmers to want to throw everything out and start over.

In the early game it seems like your job is to build a lot of simple machines, but once all the resources are in play you realize that your real task is managing all the complexity.

In programming, lots of different programming approaches and practices have been invented to manage complexity. The ideal is that you’ll make one piece of code for doing one thing. You’ll shove all of its messy moving parts into a box, hiding them away from other programmers so they don’t have to worry about how the thing works. This is called encapsulation.

Terrible Car Analogy™

Here is the end of the game. You might think this is a spoiler, but after a couple of hours with the game you'll realize the image of the rocket taking off isn't a spoiler, it's the images of everything ELSE that might spoil you. And those aren't spoilers until you know enough to understand them.

I know you’d never forgive me if I didn’t give you a Terrible Car Analogy™, so here it is:

It’s like the engine of your car. You don’t need to worry about firing the spark plugs, managing the air intake, regulating the fuel mixture, or lubricating the engine. All of those things are automated, and all of their fiendishly complex inner workings are hidden away under the hood. Your interface is only as complex as it needs to be: You press the accelerator to get more power from the engine. This means you can use the engine even if you don’t understand how it all works.

In Factorio, once you get a feel for thing you’ll probably start out trying to encapsulate parts of your base. All the systems needed to produce red science things (just go with it) go in one location and all the systems to create green science things go in another. But then you’ll notice that both locations have a lot of related parts. It seems like it would be more efficient to have them share some inner workings. After all, if one area has extra circuit boards and other area has too few, then maybe just running another conveyor to share the excess will result in smoother operation? And maybe it will, at the expense of breaking encapsulation. At the expense of making things just a little harder to understand when you come back to the game tomorrow.

It was actually really satisfying to finally reach the point where I could launch a rocket. And the moment I was done I looked around at what I’d built and thought, “Knowing what I know now, I could build all of this much better.” That’s a pretty common sensation for software engineers.

Oil

The pipes need to carry crude oil, heavy oil, light oil, petroleum, lubricant, and water. They all need to go different places for different purposes, and they can't mix.

Here is one example of many: In the game, you have to build an oil refinery…

As an aside, I hope you’re not squeamish about pollution. In Factorio you clear-cut the forest, dig up the coal and burn it, suck up the oil and burn that too, and pave over whatever might be left. Once you’re done with that, you’ll need to go out and massacre some indigenous wildlife. In this game you’re basically a supervillain for Captain Planet. Personally, I kind of like it. Anyway…

…to process crude oil. Crude oil is broken into three different liquids, each of which need their own pipes and storage tanks and which emerge in fixed ratios that won’t always match up with your current needs. You’ll also need water. So you need pipes and tanks for crude oil, petroleum gas, light oil, heavy oil, and water. Oh, and eventually you’ll be converting some of this into lubricant, which is another set of tanks and pipes. If you’ve got too much of one byproduct and a shortage of another, you can convert between them. All you need is yet another treatment plant and pipes and tanks and oh my gosh this is madness and I haven’t even run the power lines yet.

I’ve always wondered why real-world chemical plants looked like massive three-dimensional pipe mazes, but after playing Factorio it all makes sense. Halfway through engineering your way through this problem you’ll be wishing you could build in three dimensions.

Work in Progress

Factorio is still evolving. Is it for you? Well, do you find this developer post about how they’re dealing with rounding problems to be interesting? If so, this game is clearly your thing.

If not, then I suggest playing the free demo. (Remember those?) The problem with Factorio is that’s technical and complex. It doesn’t have the immediate appeal of a Sim game or the clarity of a traditional puzzle game. I’m not going to say it’s like Dwarf Fortress, but I will say it seems to have the Dwarf Fortress thing where you have to work at it to get the fun out. The game isn’t for everyone, but if you do like it, it will probably a kind of fun you can’t get anywhere else.

 


Shamus Young is a programmer, an author, and nearly a composer. He works on this site full time. If you'd like to support him, you can do so via Patreon or PayPal.


From The Archives:

how to craft with lubnraicant factrio

How to build a main bus in Factorio game and gain a vast throughput of materials Plastic x1 (recommend x2); Batteries x1; Lubricant (via pipe); Sulfuric Acid (via pipe) . Green Science requires belts and inserters to craft.

how to craft with lubnraicant factrio
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