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    Satisfactory

    Game » consists of 1 releases. Released Mar 19, 2019

    Exploit the natural resources of an alien planet to build machines, vehicles, buildings and more in this open-world game by Coffee Stain Studios.

    Satisfactory Satisfaction

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    nateandrews

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    Edited By nateandrews
    The home base, in an earlier time
    The home base, in an earlier time

    Nuclear power is finally in my sights in Satisfactory, but it's still so far away. Between myself and what I can only assume is the be-all and end-all of power generation: more milestones of increasing complexity and the realization that my facilities are absolutely going to need significant expansion to pull it all off. And I couldn't be more excited.

    My steel production center is unnecessarily tightly packed, and retrofitting more processes onto it has been an enduring challenge
    My steel production center is unnecessarily tightly packed, and retrofitting more processes onto it has been an enduring challenge

    Satisfactory has dominated my free time over the last month or so and it's made me come to terms with a rather long-lasting love I've had for base building in games. As a kid I cut my teeth on Roller Coaster Tycoon 2, designing elaborate parks with massive food courts that made millions in profits and terrible rides that occasionally left guests mortally wounded. I spent loads of time in Fallout 4 piecing together rickety settlements and running power lines to the tunes of Diamond City Radio. Even more time was spent gathering resources in No Man's Sky to construct gorgeous space ports I will never complete, the shells of would-be galactic citadels lying dormant on verdant planets after the lone architect abandoned the project for the stars.

    No such issue in Satisfactory, a factory/assembly line game that demonstrates the power of automation in ways that neither Fallout 4 nor No Man's Sky achieved for me in recent years. The game begins in familiar territory with hand gathering basic raw materials to turn into basic parts. But it's the machines and conveyor belts that transform these sorts of games, putting the focus not on building something and having that be the end of it, but on becoming an efficiency artisan of your own design. I haven't played a factory game before, but I am familiar with snapping things together on grids and on the uniquely pleasurable act of turning small objects into much larger constructions. Satisfactory felt great from the get-go, but the brilliance of its design became more apparent the deeper I got into it.

    G R I D L I N E C I T Y
    G R I D L I N E C I T Y

    For one, Satisfactory is remarkably approachable. I love the game's progression; new parts and mechanics are unlocked by completing milestones, which require producing specific parts and launching them into space. Completing every milestone in a tier will complete the tier, and to unlock more tiers the player must complete phases of a mysterious overarching corporate project. This is done by contributing the game's most complex resources to the space elevator. These take longer to make than most other items, but they're always made with things the player's been making up to that point.

    The game lets you build floating platforms easily, so scaling cliffs poses very little challenge
    The game lets you build floating platforms easily, so scaling cliffs poses very little challenge

    Importantly, these objectives are laid out in an order that eases everyone into the game, never overwhelming them with more than they could reasonably take on. It also understands roughly when the player will begin running into certain obstacles. The first vehicle is unlocked around the time you might be thinking of expanding your base, and when rudimentary biomass power production begins to bottom out the game introduces coal generators.

    Adding to the game's approachability is how infrequently I feel that I am fighting against it. Fallout 4's base building was as imperfect as can be, and trying to get the AI to behave a certain way was just not a worthwhile undertaking. And for as much as I think No Man's Sky is a pretty terrific game nowadays, its modus operandi is to constantly push against the player with inventory and resource restrictions every which way it can. Satisfactory does not do this. There is an inventory, but its capacity upgrades at a rate that feels appropriate. Crucially, the game lets the player build from very far away, allowing for protracted conveyor belts and power lines without too much leg work. Other small touches, like power lines automatically becoming power poles when dragged off a building, add to Satisfactory's player-friendly attitude.

    Aluminum production after dark. My factory layouts after 70+ hours are better designed, though evidently I'm still afraid to use space
    Aluminum production after dark. My factory layouts after 70+ hours are better designed, though evidently I'm still afraid to use space

    Two, Satisfactory allows for a wonderful degree of player expression. Single-player games are most often driven by static objectives and quests. Some of these games offer a choice of how to reach this goal; maybe with stealth, or with guns blazing. At its core this choice is really about which of the game's paths or mechanics to engage with, which doesn't feel particularly expressive. What's expressive about Satisfactory is how one chooses to construct their facilities. Very little outside of the game's most basic rules and part recipes is written in stone. It never instructs on the optimal way to build conveyor belts or how to arrange machines to maximize efficiency and minimize bottlenecking. Instead these lessons are learned by the player through their own experimentation.

    My first construction project was this two-decker to house machines that would feed the part-hungry manufacturers on top
    My first construction project was this two-decker to house machines that would feed the part-hungry manufacturers on top

    Even then, the game doesn't require that everything is done perfectly. Save for a few specific late-game examples, where certain production lines are particularly susceptible to bottlenecking, the player is free to build out their factories as they wish. Organization is entirely player-driven, and thus everyone's facilities look uniquely personal. Maybe you want to build everything on the terrain, or perhaps you'd like to assemble structures to house everything. Is conveyor spaghetti appealing to you, or do you want nothing but straight lines and right angles? I love the way I've constructed my factories, not because they achieve any sort of peak efficiency, but because they are exactly what I would make.

    I often think of Minecraft in relation to this game. Player expression in Minecraft is on a much grander scale; the act of terraforming a uniquely generated world and building anything on it obviously eclipses what Satisfactory is going for. But in some ways this game is a lot more satisfying, because the way you express yourself through your factory design directly leads to the completion of goals, which in turn rewards new things to play with.

    Lights!
    Lights!

    Three, Satisfactory makes me feel smart. It also makes me feel dumb, but it's always followed by a genuine feeling of achievement. One of my favorite bits in Satisfactory has been retrofitting my own bad designs in the mid- to late-game. As the milestones began to require more complex parts I simply bolted more machines to my original lines, frequently asking myself, "Why in the world did I design this in that way?" I was initially hesitant to expand too far out, believing that the time it would take would be better spent at the home base throwing more things onto the pile. This worked for a bit; I was able to add new constructors and assemblers and create increasingly nauseating conveyor entanglements. This effort was helped by my too-late revelation that a single miner can output enough raw ore to feed into three or more smelters. I wish I had known that sooner. Nevertheless, it was working...

    ... but not for long. Eventually I needed to swallow my pride and admit that I was gonna need to take a hike in search of untapped nodes. But this presented something very exciting indeed: the chance to build new factories from the ground up, with all of the lessons I had learned up to that point firmly implanted. Thus, the brand new aluminum production line that I've just established on the edge of a dreadfully abhorrent gaseous swamp filled with the most terrifying spiders I've ever seen in a game is a lot smarter than my earlier efforts. But, in a nod to my previous point, the important thing is that it still feels like my design.

    Four, it all just looks and sounds great. Seriously, I am extremely into the vibrant, playful-but-not-cartoonish aesthetics of Satisfactory. Everything animates really well; I especially like the way the zipline spins to life in my hand. The machines have a great hum to them, and the minimalist score fits very well. Not much else to say here.

    And not much else to say about Satisfactory, at least until the release of Update 5, which will be my first update with the game. I'm secretly dreading how my factories might break--I heard the introduction of water and pipes was particularly troublesome for coal-dependent players-- while also totally stoked for what might come next. In the meantime, I have more aluminum to make. Nuclear power won't invent itself!

    I've peeked at the desert, but haven't built out here yet. Someday...
    I've peeked at the desert, but haven't built out here yet. Someday...

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    Justin258

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    Satisfactory is an addicting, amazing experience, I agree, although I'm somewhat hesitant to dump another fifty hours into it when it's still an early access game and will be until next year at the earliest. I mean, sure, it's loaded with stuff now, and it's extremely replayable, but I don't want to burn out before the full release.

    All of that said... I do heartily recommend that anyone try this out. Even if you're the kind of person who took one look at Factorio and noped the fuck out, you should try this one. It onboards new players to its complex concepts incredibly well and at the perfect pace.

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    nateandrews

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    @justin258: Tentatively thinking of dabbling in Factorio someday. I'm not crazy about the visual style, but it seems like a pretty different thing and also way more overwhelming.

    There's also that Dyson Sphere Program that seemed pretty neat! I wonder how that's doing.

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    lpkeane88

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    I wish i could play this. As things stand i dont have a PC.

    However,I feel a connection with this game, or the principles at play, due to my job. I have been working in supply chain for 10 years and have laid out a few pick and pack operations with a focus on cutting out waste and growing productivity. When i look at this game i want to jump in and see if those lessons and learnings are actually a great fit for the game or not. Who knows, maybe if i had a PC and picked it up it might teach me a few lessons instead!

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    andrewf87462

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    Good effort, all looks great! Haven't played it in a while but I don't remember there being lights. They look awesome.

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    ajamafalous

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    @justin258: Tentatively thinking of dabbling in Factorio someday. I'm not crazy about the visual style, but it seems like a pretty different thing and also way more overwhelming.

    There's also that Dyson Sphere Program that seemed pretty neat! I wonder how that's doing.

    In my opinion (400+ hours of Factorio, 50+ hours of Satisfactory, 5+ hours of Dyson Sphere):

    Factorio may have more going on than Satisfactory (Satisfactory (at least at the start?) is almost an exploration game with automation, whereas Factorio is almost purely a factory/automation game (with some basic combat/base defense if you leave enemies on)), but it's way easier to parse due to the overhead camera; you can see giant swathes of your factory at any given time, and a little over halfway through the tech tree you get construction bots which can cut/copy/paste/deconstruct entire sections for you (including blueprints that you can create) and logistics bots which can bring any items in your logistics network to (or from) your character. There's very much a 'character/factory power' ramp throughout each save not unlike an RPG.

    Satisfactory has a more direct onramp/tutorialization/objective style than Factorio does with the way the space delivery stuff wants stacks of each individual item with ramping complexity; in Factorio, the only real 'required' jumps happen with each science pack, and for the most part you're left to figure out the automation in between.

    Another big difference: for me, a lot of the fun in Factorio (and what has kept me playing it consistently since 2016) is the design of factory sections and the logistics of directing input components into them and outputs from them to wherever they're needed next. You'll start this with belts and inserters, but as you progress up the tech tree you might decide whether you want to switch some or all of your base to use trains or bots instead, or use some combination of all three. There's a lot of replayability in starting a new save with a new objective ('no bots this time,' 'no solar power,' 'at least 1000 science per minute,' etc.), maybe with different world seed generation ('this time I'll make patches richer but less common, so that I have to expand less often but must go far when I do, forcing me into a giant train network this time rather than just running long belts'), and then trying to refine your setups or existing blueprints with what you learned in the last playthrough.

    I didn't finish the tech tree on Satisfactory the last time I played it (last summer), so maybe these systems do exist and I just didn't get to them, but the combination of being in first person, no copy/paste or blueprint tool, and having to manually position your character to place every building made setting up production of each new item feel so tedious that I stopped playing. In Factorio, setting up a small factory subsystem and iterating on it can happen as fast as you can move a mouse around the screen, thanks to the overhead view and the game being tile-/grid-based.


    As far as Dyson Sphere: it a) felt very much like an early access game, and b) just made me want to start a new playthrough of Factorio instead.

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    Justin258

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    #6  Edited By Justin258

    @ajamafalous said:
    @nateandrews said:

    @justin258: Tentatively thinking of dabbling in Factorio someday. I'm not crazy about the visual style, but it seems like a pretty different thing and also way more overwhelming.

    There's also that Dyson Sphere Program that seemed pretty neat! I wonder how that's doing.

    In my opinion (400+ hours of Factorio, 50+ hours of Satisfactory, 5+ hours of Dyson Sphere):

    Factorio may have more going on than Satisfactory (Satisfactory (at least at the start?) is almost an exploration game with automation, whereas Factorio is almost purely a factory/automation game (with some basic combat/base defense if you leave enemies on)), but it's way easier to parse due to the overhead camera; you can see giant swathes of your factory at any given time, and a little over halfway through the tech tree you get construction bots which can cut/copy/paste/deconstruct entire sections for you (including blueprints that you can create) and logistics bots which can bring any items in your logistics network to (or from) your character. There's very much a 'character/factory power' ramp throughout each save not unlike an RPG.

    Satisfactory has a more direct onramp/tutorialization/objective style than Factorio does with the way the space delivery stuff wants stacks of each individual item with ramping complexity; in Factorio, the only real 'required' jumps happen with each science pack, and for the most part you're left to figure out the automation in between.

    Another big difference: for me, a lot of the fun in Factorio (and what has kept me playing it consistently since 2016) is the design of factory sections and the logistics of directing input components into them and outputs from them to wherever they're needed next. You'll start this with belts and inserters, but as you progress up the tech tree you might decide whether you want to switch some or all of your base to use trains or bots instead, or use some combination of all three. There's a lot of replayability in starting a new save with a new objective ('no bots this time,' 'no solar power,' 'at least 1000 science per minute,' etc.), maybe with different world seed generation ('this time I'll make patches richer but less common, so that I have to expand less often but must go far when I do, forcing me into a giant train network this time rather than just running long belts'), and then trying to refine your setups or existing blueprints with what you learned in the last playthrough.

    I didn't finish the tech tree on Satisfactory the last time I played it (last summer), so maybe these systems do exist and I just didn't get to them, but the combination of being in first person, no copy/paste or blueprint tool, and having to manually position your character to place every building made setting up production of each new item feel so tedious that I stopped playing. In Factorio, setting up a small factory subsystem and iterating on it can happen as fast as you can move a mouse around the screen, thanks to the overhead view and the game being tile-/grid-based.

    As far as Dyson Sphere: it a) felt very much like an early access game, and b) just made me want to start a new playthrough of Factorio instead.

    Late-game Satisfactory has trains and the mid-game has vehicles. You can automate transportation of things using those. For vehicles, you don't even have to make tracks, you just turn on a recording thing, drive along the path you want it to record, and then let it do its thing. Well, you have to have truck stations at both ends, but you get the point.

    In Satisfactory, the trick to parsing your factory and the trick to building things without having to reposition yourself all the time is the same - build a high place. Stand on top of buildings, building a tower, build up some ramps, etc. - if you're always on the ground trying to build stuff, Satisfactory is going to start getting real frustrating. I honestly think Satisfactory is easier to parse when you're up high, whereas Factorio gets easier to parse when you're next to things and zoomed in. You can get lost in a maze of conveyor belts in Satisfactory.

    Satisfactory is a less complex game than Factorio on paper, but in reality building up adds a whole new (pun intended) dimension to the challenge that Factorio just can't have. In Factorio, you will never build something as clean as a three story tall iron plate factory surrounded by catwalks and glass panels and such. This, in my opinion, is where the games differ the most - Factorio excels at pure mechanical complexity, whereas Satisfactory trades in those complex mechanics for an entirely different perspective.

    You can't make this in Factorio, is what I'm saying.

    Loading Video...

    and you can't make anything as nuanced as this in Satisfactory.

    Loading Video...

    Another primary difference between the two game is how it approaches player engagement. You can do things in different ways in Satisfactory but its "Tier" system is going to funnel you along regardless of how you want to play. It's not that there isn't room for player expression in Satisfactory, it's just that you can't make 3D Factorio without constant comparisons to Factorio, and Factorio just drops you into alien Arizona and expects you to start figuring stuff out, which ultimately leads to everyone approaching things in their own way.

    At the end of the day I think both are very worth playing. I think if anyone is curious about this sort of game but apprehensive about trying to learn all of this stuff, then try Satisfactory. The fundamentals of both games are pretty much exactly the same, they just utilize a different perspective, and once you've gotten a taste for it you kind of can't get enough of it. And Satisfactory's Tier system, as stated before, paces things out in much more digestible ways than Factorio. Whatever you do, don't write either of these off because "it's just not my thing".

    And I haven't played Dyson Sphere program.

    EDIT: And to my knowledge Satisfactory has not implemented any sort of blueprint function, though honestly I don't actually miss it.

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    ajamafalous

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    #7  Edited By ajamafalous

    @justin258 said:
    @ajamafalous said:
    @nateandrews said:

    @justin258: Tentatively thinking of dabbling in Factorio someday. I'm not crazy about the visual style, but it seems like a pretty different thing and also way more overwhelming.

    There's also that Dyson Sphere Program that seemed pretty neat! I wonder how that's doing.

    In my opinion (400+ hours of Factorio, 50+ hours of Satisfactory, 5+ hours of Dyson Sphere):

    Factorio may have more going on than Satisfactory (Satisfactory (at least at the start?) is almost an exploration game with automation, whereas Factorio is almost purely a factory/automation game (with some basic combat/base defense if you leave enemies on)), but it's way easier to parse due to the overhead camera; you can see giant swathes of your factory at any given time, and a little over halfway through the tech tree you get construction bots which can cut/copy/paste/deconstruct entire sections for you (including blueprints that you can create) and logistics bots which can bring any items in your logistics network to (or from) your character. There's very much a 'character/factory power' ramp throughout each save not unlike an RPG.

    Satisfactory has a more direct onramp/tutorialization/objective style than Factorio does with the way the space delivery stuff wants stacks of each individual item with ramping complexity; in Factorio, the only real 'required' jumps happen with each science pack, and for the most part you're left to figure out the automation in between.

    Another big difference: for me, a lot of the fun in Factorio (and what has kept me playing it consistently since 2016) is the design of factory sections and the logistics of directing input components into them and outputs from them to wherever they're needed next. You'll start this with belts and inserters, but as you progress up the tech tree you might decide whether you want to switch some or all of your base to use trains or bots instead, or use some combination of all three. There's a lot of replayability in starting a new save with a new objective ('no bots this time,' 'no solar power,' 'at least 1000 science per minute,' etc.), maybe with different world seed generation ('this time I'll make patches richer but less common, so that I have to expand less often but must go far when I do, forcing me into a giant train network this time rather than just running long belts'), and then trying to refine your setups or existing blueprints with what you learned in the last playthrough.

    I didn't finish the tech tree on Satisfactory the last time I played it (last summer), so maybe these systems do exist and I just didn't get to them, but the combination of being in first person, no copy/paste or blueprint tool, and having to manually position your character to place every building made setting up production of each new item feel so tedious that I stopped playing. In Factorio, setting up a small factory subsystem and iterating on it can happen as fast as you can move a mouse around the screen, thanks to the overhead view and the game being tile-/grid-based.

    As far as Dyson Sphere: it a) felt very much like an early access game, and b) just made me want to start a new playthrough of Factorio instead.

    Late-game Satisfactory has trains and the mid-game has vehicles. You can automate transportation of things using those. For vehicles, you don't even have to make tracks, you just turn on a recording thing, drive along the path you want it to record, and then let it do its thing. Well, you have to have truck stations at both ends, but you get the point.

    In Satisfactory, the trick to parsing your factory and the trick to building things without having to reposition yourself all the time is the same - build a high place. Stand on top of buildings, building a tower, build up some ramps, etc. - if you're always on the ground trying to build stuff, Satisfactory is going to start getting real frustrating. I honestly think Satisfactory is easier to parse when you're up high, whereas Factorio gets easier to parse when you're next to things and zoomed in. You can get lost in a maze of conveyor belts in Satisfactory.

    [snip]

    Just wanted to note, for conversation's sake, that I did know about the vehicles and trains, though, when I tried it at least, the truck's autodriving/routing was so busted that it was another thing that drove me away from using them and ultimately from the game.

    Your second point is precisely what I found frustrating: not 'don't be on the ground' (that should be obvious to anybody who plays for more than a few hours), but the fact that I needed to essentially create a bunch of tiers of scaffolding to maneuver myself to the correct angles to build what I wanted. A parallel might be Minecraft vs. Terraria: in Minecraft, half the fight is positioning your player to have the right sightlines or blocks to stand on in order to place others, while in Terraria, you just move your mouse around the screen and place blocks wherever you want to, as long as you're in range. Satisfactory vs. Factorio was much the same: the interesting part of the game for me is the design work, not 'the design work plus an additional 150% of the design time spent physically building it.'

    Also, as if a perfect encapsulation, the dude in that Satisfactory video you linked is using console commands to fly around and avoid some of the hassle that building is in the game. I'm not knocking it, as I did the same thing in Valheim, but it's telling.

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    nateandrews

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    #8  Edited By nateandrews

    @justin258: @ajamafalous: Good points. I definitely appreciate the differences in perspective, and I'm curious to try out Factorio at some point to see this sort of game from above. Satisfactory can become a bit cumbersome when you've got larger facilities with belts and machines taking up space, but I've actually enjoyed the process of navigating around and having to climb to a higher place to get an overview of what I've built. There's a great tangible feeling to climbing around my own creations. They also make use of it in some fun ways, like sprinting down a Mk 5 conveyor belt at super speed or riding on power lines with the zipline tool.

    I watched some Factorio videos today and I think I'm coming around on the art style. It's not a game that immediately wins me over visually the same way that Satisfactory did.

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    Justin258

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    @ajamafalous: Last time I tried the truck's autodriving (a few months ago), it was working well for me. However, it's also the kind of thing that could easily bust if your truck happens to ride along something kind of weird, or if it happens to cross the path of a large creature, or whatever - some serious kinks to work out of that one and I'm honestly amazed it worked at all.

    Regarding climbing stuff to look at things... for me, there was nothing quite like standing on a tall tower overlooking my factory and seeing how far I'd come and visualizing how far I would go. Climbing up that high brought me a sense of pride in myself that Factorio didn't match. In addition, Satisfactory's controls feel so smooth and snappy that taking out your handheld fabricator to put together a few ramps, or even a bunch of them, never bothered me. That game puts me in a sort of chilled-out zen state where even the mundane tasks are cool.

    I haven't done much programming, but Factorio seems like programming concepts put into video game form, so the satisfaction I get from it feels a lot like the satisfaction I got from doing some cool stuff in Python a few years ago.

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    nateandrews

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    @andrewf87462: The lights are relatively new I think. There are a few different ones, and you can adjust their brightness and color and have them turn on for night time only. What's nice is that the machines and belts have enough spots of light on them that you can still navigate around even without these bright light sources (plus you have a flashlight)

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    nateandrews

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    @lpkeane88: It would be great if this game came to console. Not sure if that's the plan or not. I don't think the PC version even has controller support at the moment.

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