Hi ! This is going to be a general piece of feedback. I am aware that some things I will say have already been said by others, I made sure to upvote the individual suggestions.
First of all, I enjoyed playing this limited version of the game! It was fun and there was enough things to do to be well occupied.
Things I liked
- The desing of the buildings is quite good. You can tell from afar which building is which by its size and/or shape. The fact that there are ladders on every building and a floor on top of them is really good in my opinion.
- The "indicator lamps" on working buildingsworks well even in a compact factory. Although, it took me some time to understand the white lamp.
- The world is nice. It's nice to look at, explore in and build in. The different biomes give very different feels and landscapes.
- All the building animations in the game right now are quite cool and make the factory feel alive.
- The fact that foundations stick everything on a clean and well defined grid was a relief to discover. Makes everything nice and easy to work with.
- Having a lot of building blocks to make a "real" factory with walls, walkways and integrate it with conveyor belts is a nice touch, which is sadly almost didn't use.
Overall it was quite pleasant and there are quite a few nicely thought out ideas (I might have forgotten some). But there are a few things that I think need some work.
Building has a few hiccups in my opinion, some that annoyed me a lot due to my building style (Quite compact) some are more general.
Clearance is necessary : not having it would be dumb. But the way it's handled currently managed to annoy me more than once. More specifically, the error message that just says "Encroaching each other's clearance". Nice. Now what ? What building's clearance am I encroaching?
You can't know easily. If you are placing a building, you have a forest of white hitboxes that "helps" you understand what's going on but when you have many buildings near each other, or the clearance is just a few grid nodes in, it's hard to know what's going on.
If you are placing conveoyr belts though, you don't even see the white boxes. You just have the error message. Unless with conveyor belts it is worse : oftentimes you can see they can fit. But you can't place them because of clearance.
I strongly suggest highlighting buildings that block construction. It would help alot and reduce the annoyance of building compact factories. Maybe having smaller "clearance boxes" for some buildings or a different box for checking against conveyor belts.
Height can be a very satisfying thing to get right in Satisfactory. But sometimes it is quite hard to get to that moment, as height is not easily achievable in a limited space. The maximum slope of the belts can be quite limiting. I understand this limitation but would like to see some ways to have a more vertical climb, something like item elevators or some kind of spiral staircase of conveyor belts.
The best example I have is when I tried to get to a coal deposit on top of some kind of cliff and had to build a ridiculous staricase out of foundations and foundation slopes to then put belts on.
Also, modifying the height of conveyor pole is hard to find the first time. Could we get a little love for the scrollwheel ?
First person view
The first perso view imposes a lot more limitations than a 2D top-down view which are well managed in Satisfactory. I found empowering building parts of the factory from an elevated position by looking and building. However, this becomes more and more required as building from the ground can get a bit tedious as you have to look at the part of the ground the building will be centered on. I think that being able to look away from the ground and decide the distance from you the building will be placed could help.
I am more on the fence about this one, but saying the belt or wire is too long just makes the player take an extra step to place a pole and continue building. The game could place intermediate poles for the player, as you can build very far away from your character's position.
Exploration seems to be one of the things you should do, but the game does not incite you to. As I said, I like the game's world, creatures (more on that later) and landscapes. But I feel that the games prevents you from exploring more than anything.There is no incentive to explore : everything I need is in a 200m radius : iron, copper, limestone. Everything is close together and accessible. Even power slugs are not that far away and easy to spot. Moreover, why would I go far away when my factory might lose power because of an empty bioreactor ? (Again, more on that later)
For a large part of my playthrough, there was no incentive to explore. The first one was coal deposits, which are far from the starting area. Even with that, I didn't have to explore that much as we precisely know where are the deposits. So I didn't explore that much, I focused on expanding my factory. When that was almost done, I drove a truck here and there and I stumbled upon a wreckage. I was surprised and happy to find something that might make exploring worth it ! Even more so when I found that the hard drive unlocked new recipes (When it does not crash the game). But there were no hints whatsoever that there were wreckages or, more generally, things to find out there in the world.
So, provided we have everything we need in a small space, why explore if we don't know what's possible ?
I might be misunderstanding the exploration part of the game, but that's how I felt during this playthrough.
Automation and energy
Automation is the point of the game, right? Like with exploration, I didn't feel pushed to automate. In fact, I almost did not need to. I might be playing a bit slowly but got everything automated in around 9 hours, the rest being exploration and messing around. However I completed every milestones in 6 or 7 hours with only wire, iron plates, iron rods and screws being automated. Why ? Because doing everything else by hand was faster and more convenient. I need x reinforced plates for something ? Well, grab a few plates, a few rods, craft some screws, craft the plates. Done. Took maybe a minute or two, but it's done. Rotors? Same. Frames? Well, craft the reinforced plates before and it's done. Cement and biofuel were the same. I did everything by hand because it was faster than setting up an automated production line and waiting for items to be produced.
As a matter of fact, I did automate cement production. But it was too slow to build the space elevator so I did it by hand anyway by setting up 4 portable miners and spending a few minutes holding down the craft button.
So that's one thing, total automation is not needed to advance in the game (at least for everything available in the test weekend). I have found that only the items required in other crafts are really helpful to have automated.
Another thing that does not incite to automate is energy. Even more, it prevents automation in the early stages of the game. As you have a limited number of bioreactors, you simply cannot automate a lot. Even when you do unlock bioreactors and can add more, it prevents you from automating (and exploring) as it is impossible to automate. You still have to go and gather wood/leaves to convert into biomass and biofuel. You have to keep an eye on your reactors to prevent a power loss. If you add more, you have more reactors to keep fueled, so it takes longer to do and longer to gather resources. If you didn't pay attention and the power is cut, it totaly pulls you out of what you were doing to refuel the empty reactor (or even all of your reactors, as I did).
Until the automation of coal mining and use I felt very limited by my energy production and the need to go and gather resources. So I did not automate a lot, because it was a pain to take into account the energy factor and not really needed.
I think that you should be able to automate energy very early on, or at least somewhat. It would help a lot with the exploration and automation incentive. Furthermore, the amount of resources needed or their complexity should push the player to automate more than they currently have, not allow them to do everything by hand.
A list of other things in no particular order.
- Building walkways from a stair is only possible near the corner which is in front of the stairs. You cannot align the walkways with the floor of the staircase either.
- Scrolling in the hotbar could be nice
- The splitting popup is a bit finicky at times and could use of a text input for precise amouts. It could use of an option to split in precise parts, for example divide in three equal parts, four etc.
- Some info text is inconsistent. In the majority of the game, you see items per minute. In energy production buildings (bioreactors/coal power plant) and in the seleciton menu of constructors/assemblers it is time per item. Maybe keep it consistent and add some other info if needed?
- The ability to move path nodes could be an easier way of modifying a path
- Moving the clock speed slider should, at least when a craft is not ongoing, update all the numbers live. It would prevent a lot of back and forth while setting up an optimal production line.
- The clock speed slider could also use a text input. (I really don't like sliders, I always struggle setting the number I want)
- Add decimals for the clock speed? I usually have almost what is needed but not exactly which leads to slight overproduction.
- The power graph is not very usefull : very short and there is no way to have details : what buildings are consuming power, which one are producing and the graph itself is not very legible.
Things I hope evolve
This was a test weekend version and here are things I think I noticed because of that.
- Creatures look interesting but most of them don't do anything and cannot be interacted with. They also are not very present in the world.
- Copper has almost no uses and produces very large quantities of wire.
- A lot of things are "dumb". You cannot filter anything from containers, mergers or splitters for example. There are no power switches or any way to cut the power to certain parts if the consumption is too high...
There might be things that I forgot, but I already said a lot. Sorry for the wall of text, but I had a really good time playing Satisfactory and I would really love to see it succeed !