Post Factorio Playthrough Ramble

Posted on December 27, 2022 by Richard Goulter

Okay, so maybe Factorio is “hyper-engaging”.

After playing through the game a bit on the Nintendo Switch, I decided that I’d go back and play the game in order to complete a few more of the game’s achievements.

So I went to load my savegame from when I’d completed a game on peaceful, only to discover that this savegame was from an old pre-1.0 version of the game, and so wouldn’t load.


Guess my best option was to start a new game.

(Having played through the game on the standard non-peaceful, I’d decided that I prefer to play on peaceful).

I’d describe my time as a “bender”.

I did learn some things, though.

This time, I made use of Factorio’s railway systems. I’d previously thought this was intimidatingly difficult. Fortunately, one of the Guides in the Steam Community provides blueprints for a set of rails with the following nice properties:

I do generally worry that just using other people’s blueprints takes out half of the fun of the game. (Especially if the blueprint is well-optimised, and not something you’d naturally think of). – With these rails designs, I felt I was able to enjoy the game more without having to do this thinking though.

I did also borrow from a mall design that KatherineOfSky presented a few years ago. I didn’t notice that this was for an older version of the game.

One other thing I did better this game was “get comfortable with the nuclear power system”. The nuclear power system is complicated because it involves dealing with heat (which behaves differently than other resources systems in the game), and dealing with the two kinds of uranium (which comes with its own issues).

My goal was to clear some of the achievements which deal with the late game. I hadn’t achieved “research all technology”, the top “produce X amount of iron”, the last “produce 20M green circuits” achievements; and a post-game “have 100 robot followers” achievement.

I find the game to be hyper-engaging up until researching blue science; at which point there are so many exciting things to do, that I have to slow down to focus task by task on what to achieve.

In particular, ‘blue science’ is when the construction & logistic robots become available.
And so while Factorio is overall a game about designing systems.. the construction robots are the game mechanic where this really takes off.
The construction robots will automatically place buildings/etc. from blueprint designs. (It’s also possible to ad-hoc copy-paste buildings using the construction bots). – So if you’ve placed your buildings in such a way that they can be tiled, this allows rapidly scaling parts of your factory up. (Or, if you’ve got blueprint designs from previous playthroughs/wherever, bots will be able to start constructing these).
The logistic robots can bring items to you so long as your factory has the robo-ports built in a ‘network’. (You can come up with a tiling design of robo-ports such that you can use construction bots to construct a large roboport network area…). And, later, certain storage boxes can have requirements set, so that the logistic robots will ensure the boxes have those items. (This allows e.g. creating a ‘cache’ area, so you can quickly have whatever items you want delivered to you).

I mean, I knew the robots were good previously. But, I find the game shifts gears when they’re unlocked.

Previously, I’d always puttered along in the last mile when reaching the game’s end objective of launching a rocket. But, since I wanted some achievements which require multiple rocket launches, I was able to continue developing my factory.

This meant I was able to try out more of the late-game combat stuff. (Even though the game was peaceful, I still did have to clear out enemy bases which got in my way).

The robot followers are very powerful, and kinda allow just waltzing through an enemy base.

The spidertron was a lot of fun to use.

The post-game technologies increased the range and firing speed of the rail artillery; which became my favourite tool for clearing out big areas of land. – I’d not used laser turrets before. (My main non-peaceful playthrough had been for getting a “no lasers” and “no solar power” achievement). The laser turrets were very convenient for defending the rail artillery! (The enemy would rush the site where the artillery fired from).

The main ‘insight’ I gained was from using the trains / railway network. Rather, because I’d never used the trains for transporting resources, I’d always just used the standard transport belts.. with trains, trains allow ‘decoupling’ resource movement.

That is: with trains, you have a station where you load some resource, and a station where you unload that resource. With Factorio, stations can be named by their role, and a train can be routed to follow a route like “refuel -> load resource X -> unload resource X”. The train station’s name is an indirection; it doesn’t concretely matter where the station is.

Whereas, the with the transport belts, the belts must be explicitly placed on the map. There’s no indirection, no flexibility. If some resource is depleted, you can place more belts; but that’s all you can do.

Logistic bots similarly can automatically move resources from one location to another, but with a more limited throughput and a more limited distance compared to trains.

Rather. I found it neat to be able to consider “load input, move it, unload” as an abstraction. – Although, a lot of Factorio is dealing with the details of the implementation.

I saw on YouTube there are speedruns of the game in under two hours; speedruns on random seeds in under three; speedruns of getting 100% achievements in under four or five hours!
These are all impressive.

In speedruns, the player will also bootstrap the factory with techniques which don’t scale well. An assembly machine will be placed & will require the player to manually insert the input ingredients. – This doesn’t ‘scale’ since it’s infeasible for the player to continue doing this for the whole game; but for bootstrapping the factory, it’s quicker than setting things up ‘the right way’.

I’ve also heard the term “city blocks” in the community.

I got the achievement for producing 20M green circuits.

By that time, my factory was producing about 60 of each science per minute. The “megafactories” that some enthusiasts go for aim for 1000 of each science per minute.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t really scaled up the green circuit production. So, getting the achievement was more from “playing the post-game for quite some time” than from “you have a factory which is producing many green circuits”.

The remaining achievements I haven’t yet unlocked are related to completing the game quickly.

Newer post Older post