By Michael Fontanini / February 12th, 2016
Wube Software has posted on their website today that they are working on adding achievements to their game, Factorio, prior to it’s upcoming Steam launch on February 25th. However, the price will increase by a few dollars at that time. The reason for this is two-fold. Though the game is currently still in Alpha, it has come a long way and will probably move into Beta sometime in the near future. Secondly, the scenario pack is being added into the game for the Steam release. It is a tier 2 purchase bonus for those who buy the game while it’s still in alpha. So this is the second thing justifying the price increase.
You can buy the game from their website for now, and you’ll get a Steam key for the Steam version when it launches. That Steam key will also give you the scenario pack mentioned above. As you can see in the screenshot below, Factorio uses a sprite-based top-down view that is similar to games like Age of Empires 2. You can see in said image that there are train tracks and conveyor belts laid out all over the place, transporting materials from here to there. Robotic arms can grab items off conveyor belts and place them into machines to be crafted into more advanced parts, and much, much more.
You won’t have all of this fancy tech right away though. You start small by crafting yourself a pick to mine your first bits of ore. Then start building your infrastructure to automate both the mining, and crafting of things. The game features a massive list of technology for you to research. This is how you unlock new technology to expand your base. But wait, the game isn’t just about building stuff. As I mentioned, you’re on an alien world, and this game has some very nice attention to detail. The direction of the wind changes, causing steam and smoke to blow different ways. It also simulates the pollution created by your growing factory.
You can manually craft things yourself too. You have a player character that you can control. He can walk around the world, but can only build near himself. He can also tear things down (giving you back all resources used to build them), mine with a pick, and chop trees down. Your manual crafting ability has a convenient feature in it too. You don’t need to have all of the individual parts to make something, only the raw materials to make all those parts. The game will craft the parts for you before it crafts the item you were trying to make!
The image above shows Factorio‘s map screen. The clusters of pink squares are enemy bases. You see, there are indigenous life forms living on this planet and as your pollution encroaches into their homelands, they will of course become upset. And as you could probably guess, they will attack you. To deal with this, you can craft weapons and ammo for your player character, as well as turrets for your base. You will need to keep your turrets loaded with ammo, unless you like having useless empty turrets sitting around not helping you! So the game has a survival element to it as well, but if you don’t want to be bothered by monster attacks, you can play Factorio in Peaceful Mode.
The tan circle on the map above is the location of your player character. You might think after a while he can just sit on his butt and watch the machines do everything, but no. There is always more to be done until you reach the end game. Your infrastructure can’t build itself after all! Once you get some stuff up and running, it is very satisfying to watch things get auto-mined and see the pieces of ore and items whizzing down conveyor belts to be crafted into more advanced things, or perhaps stored in crates for later.
As you can see in the screenshot above, you can even do a bit of pixel art as this crafty player decided to do. While building a baby Yoshi probably won’t help you advance in the game much, pixel art is a fun diversion you might do. On the other hand, you’ll probably be too busy working on your infrastructure to have time for things like this! I’ve also seen screenshots were people have built logic gates, so there’s a lot you can do.
Factorio is still in Alpha, and you can buy it for just $16 or 15€ directly from their website (for the first purchase tier). The 2nd and 3rd tiers are outdated since the content in tier 2 comes with the Steam version. And yes, if you buy the alpha, you will get a Steam key when the game launches on Steam on February 25th. As previously mentioned, the price will increase a bit when it hits Steam, so you might want to buy the game now if that bothers you. They have a free demo available on their website as well, so give it a try!