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[Discussion] Creating player investment while extending gameplay

Discussion in 'General FTB chat' started by ShneekeyTheLost, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. ShneekeyTheLost

    ShneekeyTheLost Too Much Free Time

    Okay, so this is a kind of a thing I miiiight have touched upon once or twice, however this is a thing that I really think deserves another look, after seeing Omnifactory.

    Omnifactory, if you haven't seen it yet, takes GregTech as a central core mod, yet it doesn't screw over the player in the process. It adds investment (and a whole PILE of baked-in resource consumption), but doesn't make a ton of grind while doing so because it utilizes ways of removing grind from the process.

    Take, for example, GregTech's infamous subcombine system. They add in a very early-game Workshop that remembers recipes and has an inventory so you can make all the subcombines much more trivially. You still have to make them, there's still the added resource cost per fabrication that you don't really think about built into the system, but you can just go to your subcombine workshop, drop in the resources (the tools are already in there), and bob's your uncle.

    This got me thinking of my play of Infinitech2. I was surprisingly engaged by GregTech, but I had two main problems. First, I didn't really understand how GregTech did OreGen, and I was given no resources to figure it out. Second, everything seemed to be completely obsolete the moment I built it. Both of these were very frustrated. And while I knew that building copies of machines was necessary to get relevant quantities, I didn't appreciate the sheer resource grind to tier up and then make it all completely and hopelessly obsolete.

    Omnifactory avoids the worldgen issue by a) giving you a Scanner from the get-go, and b) extra super plentiful ores. I don't know if I completely 100% agree with the second, but a scanner would have gone SO far to helping me enjoy Infinitech2.

    The other thing Omnifactory does is lean on other mods for support. For example, your first energy production are Thermal Expansion dynamos. You use Conduit Binder to make cables with. You use Actually Additions to make Rice Balls for a substitute for slimeballs, and there's a recipe to smelt plantballs for them as well.

    This has got me thinking about how to build Hardcore/Expert Mode packs in a way that doesn't force grinding, but instead uses synergies to mitigate grind and actively tries to find ways to mitigate grinding for you and then points them out to you so you don't get frustrated.

    So... thoughts? I'm really hoping to start some conversations with others who want more complex stuff without the boring pointless monotonous grind. Can you think of other ways to introduce complexity without also introducing grind? I'm interested to hear the results.
  2. GamerwithnoGame

    GamerwithnoGame Forum Addict

    I must admit, having watched some Omnifactory and compared it to the approach I'm taking in my own pack, I do worry that myself and my collaborator have leant more towards traditional GT, and I'm growing to like the way Omnifactory has handled things more and more.
    LordPINE likes this.
  3. LordPINE

    LordPINE Well-Known Member

    Regarding Omnifactory, I'm not a big fan. I get that it removes some of the grind, but some of the things feel like they should be later, like AE2. In the way it is right now it's so early that it just becomes the standard AE base: build machine, put interface next to it, continue, which I'm not a big fan of. The scanner would be great, though that could also be a bit later imo, seeing as GTCE adds it's own way of finding veins more easily, and you really don't need specific/hard to find veins yet in the earlygame. For later it is a very good thing to have though, I do agree there.

    Regarding doing grind well, I think the main point is that you allow the player to do things automatically if they are willing to put the effort in, instead of having to grind things manually. Allowing simple automation mods early is a must for stuff like that, stuff like pipes and such. As I said earlier though, AE2 is way overkill and overpowers everything else. Similarly, thought should be put into whether something is needed to do something, makes a process slightly easier or makes a process almost trivial. The unlock order of components should reflect this, the required items should unlock as soon as you need to do the task, obviously, with the items to make the task easier following soon-ish after, depending on the exact context. Stuff that makes the process trivial should either not be available at all, or only be available a significant amount later.

    Something else that really helps, is having a decent guide in your pack. That doesn't have to be a traditional quest book, you could use anything from NPCs to a simple Patchouli book or Advancements. Knowing what to do asap helps alleviate grind, because it helps avoid items that can be acquired more easily later.
  4. GamerwithnoGame

    GamerwithnoGame Forum Addict

    Some excellent points there actually, well said.
  5. ShneekeyTheLost

    ShneekeyTheLost Too Much Free Time

    Valid. I think there's a middle ground that can be found, taking some of these concepts and implementing them without trivializing everything for the player.

    What does GTCE have as a way of finding veins more easily? That was far and away my single largest point of frustration when I played Infinitech2, so I am interested to learn how they helped deal with that.

    Granted. AE2 definitely needs to be pushed back further, probably HV tech with needing to visit the hellscape that is the nether first or something. However, we can do a scaling progression of automation without just handing AE2 to the player right out of the gate. Start off with Workshops, then progress to... Simple Storage Network? Maybe Thermal Logistics? Actually... how about we use plain old Thermal Dynamics and actually teach people how to use TD as a sorting and storage system with your guidebook? Then later on when you introduce Thermal Logistics instead of AE2 they can take it and run with it?

    Point is, you aren't spending most of your time with your face in a machine user interface or a crafting table interface.

    Agreed that you need a means of conveying information to the player, because not understanding something is the fastest road to being frustrated with it. I wouldn't necessarily say it alleviates grind, but it does mitigate frustration.
    GamerwithnoGame and LordPINE like this.
  6. LordPINE

    LordPINE Well-Known Member

    GTCE has small dust piles on the surface that give an indication of what kind of metals are in the vein below it, both making veins in general easier to find and making the vein you are looking for easier to find. An alternative to this is how FTB: Interactions does it, with a custom flower patch for each type of vein, allowing for easy recognition of them, so that would also be an option.

    Yeah, something like that works very well. Anything that allows the player to stop looking at a crafting mechanic but instead lets them figure out automation is good in my opinion.

    My main reason for saying it alleviates grind is preventing people from accidentally setting unrealistic goals, leading to them grinding through a ton of crafting recipes for little gain.
    GamerwithnoGame likes this.
  7. KingTriaxx

    KingTriaxx Forum Addict

    Early AE2 is fine in my opinion, because I despise doing storage systems. But pushing back the automation portion of it would realistically help tremendously in making the pack last longer in an interesting state. Say... remove interfaces from the busses, and make them require dead End Dragons.

    Also, TD as a storage system is... kind of unpleasant. It's serviceable, but it has a tendency to make skips in logic, that require huge inputs of resources to get around. I want to extract all these things, so I have to filter every single output, so if I don't have Thermal machines to work with, they have the tendency to shove it into the first potential destination, rather than the retriever that's actually called for it.
    LordPINE likes this.
  8. Celestialphoenix

    Celestialphoenix Too Much Free Time

    One issue I had playing Infitech 2 was finding the right ore type for the level I'm playing at. (by default almost everything appeared in the Overworld)
    Its useful knowing where to find Molybdenum/Titanium/Lithium (for much later on), right now I really need Tin, Copper, and Iron for steam powered stuff.
    Likewise Tungsten and Manganese deposits were needles in a haystack, but I found plenty of other ores while I was looking.​

    With the pack I'm working on- the ores are split across dimensions roughly matching player progress. Yes- you still have to grind for ore, but you're grinding with a high degree of precision since each dimension only contains a handful of ore groups.
    By example; the Overworld only has mundane/early game materials, so if you're needing Bismuth or Aluminium- head into the Aether. Manganese? open a portal to the Abyssal Wasteland.
    GamerwithnoGame likes this.
  9. ShneekeyTheLost

    ShneekeyTheLost Too Much Free Time

    You can still do plenty of automation with input and output buses, it just won't be 'on demand', unless you set up the logic handling like 'if less than a stack of this material, then input into this machine to make it'.

    I... strongly disagree? You filter the destinations, not the origin. Your 'input chest' has a blank unfiltered Servo in it. Then your chests are filtered to only accept what they should have. We're just talking inventory management at this point, although you can do quite a bit of automation with it if you wanted to.

    Higher tier filters/retrievers/servos let you do broader filters. So you could, for example, filter anything from a given mod to go in a given chest or direction. So for example, you could filter all the GregTech ores in one direction for processing just by filtering by mod instead of by specific item.

    It's honestly about as robust as RP2 Tubes were back in the day all by itself.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  10. KingTriaxx

    KingTriaxx Forum Addict

    I suppose auto-crafting is the better term. AE2 doesn't do input/output automation any more or less efficiently than pipes or minecarts, so I don't pay much attention to it.

    As for TD based storage and inventory control, I've tried it before, reducing my total usage of AE2 because it was somewhat expensive in the pack I was running, and the extraction line ran past multiple other unsided machines. I had to manually filter and black list each and every destination along the way to get the extracted materials where I wanted them to go. But if it sees any closer destination than the retriever that's called for it, it'll dump it in there.
  11. ShneekeyTheLost

    ShneekeyTheLost Too Much Free Time

    AE2 does storage ridiculously better than anything else. Even a storage drawer wall connected to a storage bus is a significant jump in storage manipulation. That's nothing to sneeze at.

    Compressed/Vacuum tubes are a thing to minimize those troubles. Also sane duct routing.
  12. KingTriaxx

    KingTriaxx Forum Addict

    I mean... I literally had one output pipe running along the tops of the machines, with a retriever set to pull everything to it. So anything that got output should have gone to the thing pulling. And I still had to filter because things were getting priority over the thing pulling.
  13. ShneekeyTheLost

    ShneekeyTheLost Too Much Free Time

    I have never experienced this. If you can record this going on from construction on up, you might be able to report that to the CoFH team.

    Keep in mind that Retrievers pull out of any connected inventories, it doesn't suck things up that were sent out with a servo.

    You can also use vacuum pipes to make a certain section 'closer' by algorithm calculations.
  14. KingTriaxx

    KingTriaxx Forum Addict

    1.12's an out of date version now, so no point in reporting it. But there were no servos on the network. Just filters, and the retriever.
  15. GamerwithnoGame

    GamerwithnoGame Forum Addict


    Do you think so?!
  16. Nuclear_Creeper0

    Nuclear_Creeper0 Well-Known Member

    Time for me to make my rare yearly post.

    Grind in video games is not acceptable unless the mechanics which you use to grind are also fun. And this goes more into overall game design than minecraft itself but if a game requires you to grind out like items or resources but the way you like collect resources isn't fun, the game won't be fun. The best example of grind being done well, in my opinion, is Insomniac's Spider-Man. In Spider-Man you need to collect backpack tokens by running around the map to get them, now in most games running around the map not doing much would be boring but because the web-swinging mechanics are so good, this becomes fun.

    All of this is unique for gameplay based games where your enjoyment comes from the playing of the game, on the other side of the argument we have what I call completionist games where your enjoyment comes reaching a goal.

    Completionist games give great satisfaction to the player when they reach an objective such as in a game like World of Warcraft where you feel really good after you beat a boss or in Overwatch when you reach the next rank. The grind in those games can be dull and boring but people play because the payoff is so great.

    In the ideal world, you have both, amazing gameplay and great payoff, Spider-Man again is a great example, you get great satisfaction from beating the final boss but you still have fun with the gameplay.
    1 person likes this.
  17. KingTriaxx

    KingTriaxx Forum Addict

    Personally I don't think so, but modders tend to leap to the latest version as fast as possible, regardless of how good it is at actually supporting mods. See 1.8 for reference.

    I mean... Minecraft vanilla is grindy. Mods are naturally going to make it more grindy. Some grind is tolerable, other grind is annoying.
  18. Padfoote

    Padfoote Brick Thrower Team Member Forum Moderator

    And it varies so heavily based on the person. My go to for these kind of discussions is always Better Than Wolves, since the grind there will destroy your soul unless you’re into that kind of thing. Others prefer everything in a pack to be super accessible. And that just opens another question of how much do you want every mod to interact?
    GamerwithnoGame likes this.
  19. KingTriaxx

    KingTriaxx Forum Addict

    I mean... for all the flak, 1.4.7 GT had the best grind. You'd work hard to get things, then those things that would get more stuff for you. Grind is where you keep having to work hard to get more. Progression is where the hard work lets you avoid further grind.
  20. Celestialphoenix

    Celestialphoenix Too Much Free Time

    I guess a different question to ask is- how much of the grind is visible?

    By I that mean if you put someone under the shadow of a mountain, and say "climb that" while they look up at these vertical cliff faces and open ravines- they might just say "screw that!" and go. Where'as if you just show the first climb and they might be less intimidated by the overall challenge.

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