Monday, 5 October 2015

UnOff. Factorio FAQ: Game Interface

Frequently Asked Questions
for the computer game
(UnOfficial FAQ: Game Interface)
(official link, though)
Link back to the index.

QHow do I move?
AWASD to move (you can re-configure this, but given that you'll use EQ and R a lot, you really shouldn't).

sapientius, non contentius labora

QWhat are the other basic keypresses?
A: Here are the main ones:

E opens the combined window for inventory and personal crafting.

Q has two functions, although less confusing than it sounds.
If you are holding an object in your mouse cursor, then Q "drops" that object back into your inventory. If you're not holding an object, then Q cycles between the weapons you have equipped (down in the right side of the screen) except if you have only one or zero weapons equipped, in which case Q does nothing.

R rotates a held placeable object. If you're not holding an object in the mouse cursor, but your mouse cursor is hovering over a placed object that can be rotated, then R will also rotate that object (note that some objects are usually non-rotatable but become rotatable in certain circumstances, such as an Assembler Machine that gets set to use a recipe that involves a liquid as input or output).

Alt enables or disables the info overview. Very useful to have enabled most of the time. And just to clarify, that's Left-Alt, not Alt Gr., although you can re-configure the keypresses in Game Options.

F picks up items as you walk over them, although some items (mainly Alien Artifacts) are automagically picked up on walk-over (you must hold down F to pick up, it's not an on/off toggle).

T opens the Technology Research Screen.

sapientius, non contentius labora

QHow do I shoot?
A: Personal combat in Factorio is a bit primitive (it's suppoed to get a serious boost in alpha 0.13 - until then you mainly use Turrets, tower defence-game style).

Space Bar shoots at the nearest enemy with your chosen weapon (remember you can use Q to cycle through weapons).

C shoots at the target that the mouse cursor is hovering over. You use this if you want to shoot and destroy a non-enemy target, such as Chest or a Rock. Again, you use your chosen weapon.

Use the Space Bar for defensive shooting, and only ever use the C keypress when you have made the informed decision to destroy some of your own stuff, or one or more Trees.

sapientius, non contentius labora

QWhat are some of the inventory management functions?
A: While Factorio is a game about automating as much as possible, doing as little personal work as possible, you'll still have to move stuff back and forth between various containers, your character's personal inventory being one such container.

I'll only touch upon a few of the many possibilities in Factorio's generally exellently designed inventory interface (in my experience, a good inventory management interface is crucial for survival/crafting-genre type games; thumbs up to Factorio and 7D2D, thumbs down to Space Engineers). You should experiment yourself, with various combinations of LMB, RMB, Shift and Ctrl.

LMB picks up an entire stack.
RMB on a stack picks up half of it, thereby splitting the stack.
Shift+LMB on a stack, if you have a container open, moves that stack from your inventory to the other container, or from that container to your inventory, depending on where it originally was.
Shift+RMB does the same as above, except only half the stack is moved.
Ctrl+LMB on a stack moves all the items of that kind from the container to the other container, i.e. from your inventory to a Chest, or from the Chest to your inventory. All the stacks of it, not just the one stack you clicked on.
Ctrl+RMB does the same as above, except only half each stack is moved.

Your inventory auto-sorts constantly (although you can disable that in Game Options if you like) but Chests and other containers don't.

If you have inventory auto-sort disabled then there is no keypress, as far as I know, that sorts your inventory once, nor am I aware of a mod that does that, even though it would be highly useful.

If you're holding a stack of something in your mouse cursor, e.g. a full stack of Coal (this is very useful early game) and you then Ctrl+LMB on an object that can recieve that item (e.g. a Burner Mining Drill, or a Stone Furnace) then you'll drop as much of the stack's contents as the object can receive into the object, and your held stack will re-fill from your inventory. Ctrl+RMB does the same but only dumps half of your stack into the object.

If you want to take everything from a container, without opening its inventory interface (which takes a significant amount of milliseconds - remember, playing Factorio is about efficiency, and personally I like to be able to play as quickly as I can think without being slowed down by unnecessary UI actions) you can Ctrl+LMB on it. Or if you want to take half of every stack that is in the container, use Ctrl+RMB. For instance, a Chest might contain 300 Iron Plate and 100 Copper Plate. Ctrl+RMB on it moves 150 Iron and 50 Copper from its inventory to yours. Ctrl+RMB on it again moves a further 75 Iron and 25 Copper from its inventory to yours.

sapientius, non contentius labora

QOther interface tips?
A: Only two really important ones:

If you Shift+RMB on an item that can take instructions, such as an Assembler Machine or a Smart Inserter, you "copy" its instructions to a "clipboard". You can then Shift+LMB on other items to "paste" those instructions to those other items. For instance, after you open the interface of one Assembler Machine to instruct it to make make Advanced Circuits, you won't have to open the interface of the other 7, you can just "copy" from the first and "paste" onto the 7.

Allegedly since a12 you can also "paste" into items of a different type from that which you copied from, e.g. from an Assembler Machine to a Smart Inserter or to a Requester Chest. But I honestly don't know how that works. I haven't tried it myself. I imagine the usage case is if you've set an Assembler Machine to build an object, then you can "copy" its "recipe" and then "paste" it onto a Requester Chest, and it'll auto-request ×2 as much as the recipe requires.

The other one is that you can very often fast-replace one item with another. For instance if you have a Transport Belt going in the wrong direction, going left instead of right, or right instead of down, you don't have to first use RMB to pick it up, then R to rotate it and then LMB to place it down again. Rather, holding the Transport Belt in your mouse cursor, you can just rotate it to the right direction and then plonk it down on top of the existing Transport Belt. That'll replace the old Transport Belt with the new one, pointing in the direction you want. A bit faster that way.

Fast-replace goes much further than that, though. You can fast-replace Pipes with Boilers. That's why I recommend starting with a line of 3 Boilers and 10 Pipes leading to your Steam Engines, because then as you need more water heated to produce more electrical power, you can gradually replace the Pipes with Boilers.

You can fast-replace different tiers of Assembler Machines with each other. Inserters of the game reach (that is, non-long ones) can fast-replace each other, but Fast Inseters can no longer fast-replace or be fast-replaced with non-Long Inserters, which is a very nice improvemnet.

Experiment. Try to see what can and can't be fast-replaced. Factorio generally has a very good UI.

(Note that you can also just rotate one item you're mousing over by pressing the R key. If you just want to rotate a single item, doing it that way is superior to the fast-replace method.)


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