+9 votes
in Suggestion by (120 points)
Since Satisfactory takes place on a pre-built map with cliffs, different elevations, and hazards, the player must inevitably take on making their factory more space efficient, especially when scaling up operations. As a new player, they likely will not have the foresight necessary for adequate space planning and build in areas that prevent them from expanding further. I've experienced myself and watched videos of players struggling to make themselves more space efficient by routing belts as sharp as possible, placing machines as close as possible, and dealing with changes in elevation over short distances.

This can be a very satisfying experience when done properly, so why not turn a negative into a positive for the player? While it might not be your idea of the "right" way to play, it keeps the player engaged in satisfying gameplay for longer until they learn the skills necessary to fix the underlying issue. We do not want the player to give up in frustration.

Here's a few things to focus on to help newer players and veterans have a more satisfying space optimization experience:

1. Loosen up restrictions on invalid belt shapes. Often times, it looks like the belt could make a turn, but the player is prevented from placing it down because the game deems the shape to be invalid. Might not hurt to investigate what optimal turning rates for belts are and make it easy for the player to make 90 degree belt turns.

2. In cases where a invalid shape occurs, route the belt in a way that will accomplish what the player wants, even if that means looping the belt around. It's easy to determine what the player wants in Satisfactory - the belt should go from point A to connect to point B. Better belt path finding in this case can alleviate lots of frustration, but make sure there's a way to circumvent if the player chooses.

3. Clearance around each machine is quite large and belts do not automatically pathfind around them. When placing belts, the clearance prism doesn't appear around the machine, so the player must guess where he can place the belt as close as possible to the machine. You could also tighten the clearance around each machine for belts only while maintaining a separate spacing for other machines.

4. Players can't move things, only destroy and remake them. Since we have a point to point belt system, why not give the ability to move machines while the belt shape is still valid? This allows the player to make minor adjustments to machine placement without have to rebuild everything, saving tons of time.

5. Machines don't snap to each other. While I think the machines not perfectly aligning to the grid is an interesting challenge, trying to get the game to line up the machines manually next to each other is time consuming. A simple 4 directional snap (toggle-able) could help this.

In any case, much care should be placed on the topic of building things in a small space, as the player will inevitably find themselves in this situation across their experience. I noticed on the roadmap that ease of use features come last, but remember that people are paying for access to the game now. Content creators and players are currently playing the game and having experiences, whether or not the game is officially released or not. Prioritize the player experience first, and they'll come back when there's more content because they had a good experience the first time.

Really looking forward to the future of Satisfactory. Keep up the great work! Awesome experience out of the gate.
by (1.2k points)
I use foundations almost exclusively to make sure everything snaps to a grid. Do you think it would be possible to set one set of foundations as the master grid and toggle buildings to snap to that or not?
by (6.1k points)
@Midgar if you hold Ctrl when placing stuff, it will laterally snap to the nearest or most appropriate thing nearby. I frequently use it to get fairly neat machine lineups before I get foundations. If a thing is on a different level, it will also show you if a conveyor can connect.
by (14.1k points)
finding out you need to demolish and rebuild your factory, or part thereof, due to a change in recipe or expansions is 100% in the point of factory genre games.

that said, being able to grab an existing conveyor pole and move it to reshape the belt would be nice - and time saving like your 'move a building' thing  - but where's the fun in that?
by (120 points)
I think the using the foundations pretty much solve the line up issue. I was mainly thinking from a new player experience, who likely wouldn't use foundations right away. And actually, I think the current foundation functionality is totally acceptable for lining things up. My mistake for not including it in my original post.
by (120 points)
Totally missed the Ctrl feature too. My player newness is showing, haha.

I would definitely agree refactoring your factory is a huge part of the game, but I was mainly concerned with small tweaks. An entire factory rebuild can be pretty intimidating for some newer players, and potentially frustrating because they only want to tweak one or two things. I would want to keep them playing until they have the confidence to go through that rebuild because they thought it was necessary, not because the game lacked the mechanics to make small tweaks.
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