All I’ve posted about so far this year is this one silly game, but hey, before Satisfactory came along I was lucky to manage one post per month. I’ll ride this content train as long as it lasts, absolutely.
Rather than talking about a specific build, today I wanted to share some tips for people who might be interested in the game but feel daunted by what looks like a challenging mountain of highly technical tasks. I am, let’s be clear, an absolute “filthy casual” of a player. This description applies to nearly every game I play, because I’m really just here to relax and amuse myself. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being highly competitive or taking a game super-seriously if that’s your thing, mind you, but neither of those mindsets suit me at all.
So, if you’re sort of like me and want to putter around in this game, I’d like to offer some modest advice that might help.
Apparently this gameplay status update series is a thing I’m doing lately. Hey, at least it means the ol’ WordPress site is getting some use. I made a fair chunk of progress in Satisfactory this week and wanted to share some details about how that went.
How about a game status update for the thing that has taken over most of my free time this past month? (Yes, I bought it on Dec 3rd 2020 and here it is, Jan 3rd 2021 and the honeymoon ain’t over yet.) I managed to send up another shipment via the space elevator, which means I unlocked the potential to make petroleum products such as plastics and fuel from the newly-available oil.
The operative word there is, “potential.” In order to take advantage of the ability I’ll need to craft a bunch of materials needed to build the production facilities. I have a spreadsheet for tallying up the requirements.
Yes, a spreadsheet. For a video game. No, I don’t know what sort of stranger I’m becoming, either.
At any rate, a big part of today’s session involved retooling my meager copper operation into something which can crank out more materials, faster, routed and stored more usefully. I need Wires (made from copper) to pair with Steel Pipes (made from steel, which is made from iron and coal) to make Stators which, when paired with the Rotors that the iron works produces, makes Motors, and I need hundreds of those to get the oil fields project running.
Early this month, a friend on Twitter invited me to watch their streaming session, a tour of a power plant they’d just finished in an early-access game they’ve been playing and talking up for a while now: Satisfactory. The game’s a bit like a mash-up of a survival game (“you’re alone in this wilderness with a couple of basic tools, now make something of the situation”) and a systems-management sim (Factorio comes notably to mind).
It didn’t take long for me to decide that I needed to try this game for myself. The demo of the Hyper Tube sealed the deal, if I’m honest. “I have got to try this!”
(Spoiler: I have not yet tried the Hyper Tube. I’m close to unlocking the tech, but I have other priorities at the moment.)
I ponied up the thirty bucks, connected to my (ugh) Epic account (on the off-chance that at some point multiplayer is something I want to try), and found myself in the desert on an alien world, armed with a taser (needed for dealing with the occasional hostile local fauna, not that combat is much of a factor in this game most of the time) and carting around a box of parts to build my starter “hub.”
Weeks later, I’ve poured nearly 24 hours of playtime into this thing and am loving it. The gameplay loop boils down to facing a new logistics challenge and figuring out how to achieve the immediate goal in as efficient a manner as you can fashion, then moving on to the next one. It’s not really an “open world” affair: You are given a strict hierarchy of milestones, though within a given milestone level you can choose in which order you want to tackle them, and the details of exactly how to meet your goals is in your hands. This is ideal for me, as I work best to a clear set of guidelines.
The first stretch of the game is very… manual. You hand-craft most of the things you need, you hand-feed the various machines, your equipment is strewn around wherever you can clear the space, and so forth. A lot of your early game time is spent collecting every single piece of plant life you see in order to power the “bio-fuel” power generators that keep your equipment churning out needed materials. Your main goal at that point is to progress far enough along the tech tree to unlock coal power, then acquire said coal power. Once that’s up & running you can stop spending every free minute collecting & processing plant life and start focusing on the larger picture.
A big part of improving that larger picture is making your production environment look a bit less… haphazard.
Let’s talk about my latest project by way of example.
A few years ago I took a picture of the Moon with my then-new Coolpix camera, and it didn’t turn out too badly. Today, thanks to some lovely weather and excellent timing, the opportunity to try that shot with the Lumix FZ80 came up and I couldn’t pass it up. How did the new camera do?
Not too badly, if I’m honest. Mind you, I wish I’d been able to get the remote control app for my camera (yes, such a thing exists) to work properly so I could snap the picture without actually touching the device. Despite the camera being mounted on the tripod, I still introduced a bit of wobble to the results. More’s the pity.
If you compare the two I think the Lumix did a better job, though the Coolpix result was entirely handheld, which is some kind of miracle considering how unsteady my hands are.
As noted, I have my new camera (and it’s great). I have a bin full o’ duckies. I have a tripod. And now, as of this afternoon, I have a light tent (or whatever it’s supposed to be called, I dunno, I’m not a pro photographer or anything like that).
So how about some duck pics?
The “tent” is… larger than I originally wanted, but the size I wanted wasn’t in stock and I didn’t feel like waiting even longer to start this project, so here we are. It’s a 60x60x60cm cube with a big ring of tiny bright white LEDs up top for illumination and reflective surfaces on two sides. It gets bright in there, is what I’m saying.
During the process of figuring out this test shoot I discovered that my camera has an aspect ratio setting. Hooray for the 16:9 option, but this means I need to be more careful about vertical composition since I won’t be slicing selected bits off the top & bottom anymore. A new learning curve to ascend, I suppose.
I figured out how to lock the camera to an ISO of 100 to keep the graininess to the absolute minimum that I can with this rig. The aperture’s set to give me just a wee bit more than the minimum available depth of field as well. What I might need to do before embarking on the final photo shoot is to find a way to account for just how dingdanged bright it is inside the light tent. We’ll see, I suppose.
At first I wanted set dressing that wouldn’t distract or detract from the look of the ducks, but as I went through a variety of test shots I noticed something: While the gray blanket works great for the more traditionally (and less-traditionally) colorful ducks, the monochromatic ones have a harder time, like so:
We have a polyester throw blanket similar to the gray one you see in these pictures but in purple, and I think that might do the trick. Otherwise, we’ll figure something else out.
Of course, the perennial problem of taking high-resolution pictures of plastic toys is that they get so dusty and dingy so very easily. And some of them are rather hard to clean due to the specific formulation of the plastic. I’ll do the best I can with what I have, I suppose.
There’s a long vacation-like stretch coming up next week, and that’s when I’ll try to get this project done properly. Wish me luck!