Factorio: Puzzling the Mind

  Factorio may be considered a building game, but it is also a puzzle game. The goal is to learn how to survive and build machines that enable your success. This gets more and more complex as you progress through the game. You build assembly machines that only build one kind of object, but in … Continue reading “Factorio: Puzzling the Mind”

 

Factorio may be considered a building game, but it is also a puzzle game. The goal is to learn how to survive and build machines that enable your success. This gets more and more complex as you progress through the game. You build assembly machines that only build one kind of object, but in order to build the desired machine you need 3 others. Therefor you are at least building 4 assembly machines, assuming the machines don’t require other parts to build the items. Confusing right? In order to automate everything, which you have to do, you must manage space, resources and crafting materials or else you will run into blocks within the system that you cannot easily overcome. It is a puzzle, yet that is why it is fun. Puzzles require thought and harder puzzles cannot be completed using simple crafting formulas. You can only finish them through observation care and patience, the same goes for Factorio.

I found a study written on puzzle games and what they show about our brains and processes of problem solving. The study looked at games such as Portal  and Braid in order to test our skills and development through practice. The study found that when a player is presented with an obstacle they recognize, they can easily overcome it, even if it has added difficulties. Yet when a player is given a task that they do not recognize or have not done before, they often take longer and show less “skill” at the game. In Factorio these results would most likely be the same. I could build machines in more complex ways as long as I knew the formula, but once I was presented a new task that I hadn’t dealt with I slowed down. I often had to rebuild because of a missed step.

The progress and failures are all part of the fun. I loved Factorio because it was a puzzle. It made me think about my factory and my usage of resources and space. I did not feel as though I was playing a children’s game. Road blocks were part of its complexity, and the complexity was all part of the fun. Puzzles are meant to enable thought and problem solving, and that is exactly what Factorio does just with different pieces.

So Close Yet So Far

I put 25 hours in Factorio and I bought it expecting to hate it. It read like a slow rip off of Minecraft with far too many pieces and complexities that I would never understand. Yet that’s what I loved about the game. There were all of these things I hadn’t built yet and I … Continue reading “So Close Yet So Far”

I put 25 hours in Factorio and I bought it expecting to hate it. It read like a slow rip off of Minecraft with far too many pieces and complexities that I would never understand. Yet that’s what I loved about the game. There were all of these things I hadn’t built yet and I would have to come back and plan ways to make them work. Failing and trying again was all part of it. The game’s complexity simply made it more rewarding.

I was very protective over my factory, always walling off sections and ensuring that my hard work wouldn’t got to waste due to an attack by the native monsters. The fact that I had created my world brought me closer to the game. It was my creation, and yet it was trying to beat me. The game’s NPC’s are all enemies and they will all try to destroy your buildings. This brought out real emotions because I had put so much my time into my machines. When they were broken it meant that I would have to rebuild them all over again. This repeat and try again style is rewarding to the patient player. To someone like me it is frustrating, yet sometimes fun.

My surprise and love for the game resulted from me being too obsessed with progress. The game shows you what you need to upgrade and how to build those items. Yet you have to build them and make machines that build them faster. My persistence may have been a good thing, but it only helped add to my addiction. I knew what I had to do to win, and that’s what makes it so tempting to play on. I had to devise plans and strategize, the gameplay itself is very minimalistic, yet it was so captivating. This to me is a result of the “So close, yet so far,” tactic that games use to draw you in. Things look very simple yet once you break them down they are complex and take time. Factorio was built off of this, and I loved it.