Burn out, Factorio, and multi player

It’s been nearly a month since the last time I posted on this blog and as much as I’d like to tell you it’s because I’ve been hard at work on the map that’s simply not the case. The truth is I got a bit burned out on the map and the blog and needed a break. Coincidentally this burn out coincided with the release of ver. 0.15 of Factorio. For those of you unfamiliar with the Factorio it’s a game about building factories, mining resources, researching new technologies and continually expanding and upgrading your assembly lines. The game is still in early access but exceeding well-polished and the devs are spot on when it comes to keeping the community informed about the games development. Other devs of games headed for early access would do well to look to the team at Factorio for a lesson in how it should be done (that’s right, looking at you CnC). Version 0.15 was a fairly major update so it seemed only fitting to jump in for a few weeks while I regrouped myself on building Nagce Valley.

The release of the Big Bud DLC turned my attention back towards Nagce Valley and I’ve made some good progress on the map since the DLC was released. For the most part this has centered around adding additional details to the map as well as testing, and I’m happy to report that so far the test team has found that the Big Bud equipment works very well on Nagce Valley. I did make a change to the layout of the storePoint trigger (where vehicles initially spawn after you buy them) based on feedback from the team as the original spawn area was a bit tight if you happened to buy the Bug Bud 747 and Seedhawk seeder at the same time.

Testing hit another milestone last weekend when we tested the map on an mp server for the first time. To help support the production of his videos on YouTube Iain Robson has a Patreon campaign of which I’m a patron. One of the rewards for patrons is accesses to Iain FS server as well as a patron only Discord channel. I’ve been chatting with Iain about the maps development on Discord and he offered the use of the sever for some mp testing with the patrons. Several of the patrons have been testing the map for me in SP and getting them to help with the mp testing was a win/win idea. As it’s a closed server and I’ve already developed friendships with the other patrons I’m not faced with some of the issues that might arise if I tried to test on a public server.

Though mp testing went pretty well it was not without incident. Incidents that could well have been avoided if I had not broken my own rule of always having the console open in GE. As Iain was uploading the map to the server he was barraged with warnings about invalid case on file names as well as a few Lua stack errors. I should have caught these before sending the beta to Iain and would have done so if I hadn’t closed out the console window in GE to make more room for moving around the map. Fortunately the map still loaded and were are all able to log on and play and we managed to get in an hour or two of play time before we hit the next problem. I was running a Big Bud 747 and Seedhawk air seeder on field 1 while a Iain and Spud were working at the BGA. Iain fed a load of straw into the Compost Master and got hit with some Lua call stack errors. The Compost Master functioned and produced compost but some of the particle animations were missing. In my post game analysis of the map I discovered that the folder containing the particle system for the compost master was missing.

While a map is actively in development its file size can grow quite large, Nagce Valley currently weighs in at 6GB. To get the map down to a manageable size the map needs to be exported from GE and the new files need to be zipped into an archive. Doing so reduces the file size from the afore mentioned 6GB down to a much more manageable 700MB. The got ya with the exporting process is that some of the files need to be moved manually and I apparently missed moving the particle system folder. Again something I should have caught before uploading the beta.