Alt-F4 #54 - Story Missions: The Story  10-12-2021

Escrito por GreenFlag, editado por stringweasel, Nanogamer7, Conor_, Therenas, MyNameIsTrez, Firerazer

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For the first issue in the last month of the year, first-time contributor GreenFlag presents their first big modding project that aims to add a proper RTS-style campaign to the game, in the spirit of the game’s tutorial levels. It’s pretty involved, and a lot of fun!

Story Missions: The Story GreenFlag

I want to talk about my Story Missions mod. It’s actually hard for me to decide where to start, because the idea of additional objectives for the campaign was born in my head more than a year ago. After 200 hours of Factorio I started to feel the slightly repetitive gameplay and was starting to miss a challenge. At the same time, I didn’t want to keep starting a new game and building and developing everything from scratch. So I came up with the idea of making my own maps along the theme of the tutorial, only it wouldn’t be a tutorial anymore, but regular missions instead.

When I first tried the Factorio editor, I was surprised that it was actually quite limited. I had a lot of experience with editors for StarCraft/Warcraft, in which you would write scripts in-game, using a system based on “triggers”. Basically, you have to find a good trigger which matches your requirements as closely as possible, then you have to just add values and that’s it. I was sad that in Factorio, all the scripts are not able to be pre-defined in some interface directly in the game, but as pure code instead. The basis of all this are .lua files. After discovering this problem, and in fact taking the time to re-learn how to program after 10 years, I shut the game down for good and haven’t turned it back on for a few months. (I hope no programmer will blame me here.)

Yeah, never say never. Suddenly from one day to the next I got insanely bored and I turned Factorio back on in the Spring of 2021. I actually originally wanted to delete the game, but instead I turned it on and looked at old save files from the New Hope scenario. I looked at the map structure again and started digging through the scenario files. I found it strange that after the patch (I think it was 1.1), the mod no longer appeared in the main menu section. Since my professional job is to fix everything, I wanted to find out why it wasn’t working. When I found out why and actually looked at the control.lua structure of the scenario, I thought: “Why not try that too?”, and that’s where it all started.

I went through all the tutorial map files and the New Hope campaign, and through that I learned how to make my own missions. Then all it took was a bit of inspiration (Starship Troopers, Star Wars, Star Trek, Star Gate, Avatar), a bit of experience playing games like StarCraft 1-2, Warcraft 3, Age of Empires 2, Command & Conquer (Generals, Tiberium Wars, Red Alert 2, Dune 2000) and then some heavy self-criticism, et voilà (that’s French): Within 3-4 months, a campaign of five missions and an improvised story was created, trying to be as lore-friendly to the original game as possible.

The whole campaign takes place about two years after the engineer first crash-landed on the planet Nauvis. Somehow, he survived and sent up a rocket with a satellite and was rescued a few months later. Subsequently, Earth decided to colonize the planet, taking even more resources than the engineer himself had beforehand! Add to that the space thugs, i.e. “pirates” (I love it when you say “Space Pirate”, I always think of anime series/movie Captain Harlock), it starts to get pretty cool. I won’t tell you the plot of the mod here of course, you’ll have to play it yourself and find out. Admittedly, I’m not J.K. Rowling, and the plot reflects the mood I was in at the time. It’s safe to say that I’m not entirely happy with the story, as it’s not the best I’ve ever put out, but it does fulfill its purpose.

Well, I guess we’re at the end of the “how the Story Missions mod came to be” story. I could go on and on about the creation of each mission, but you’ll find that as an Easter egg at the end of the fifth mission (when you hit continue after completing the game). The story so far is not finished and I am currently working on five more missions that continue the adventure. You should all be pleasantly surprised by mission 9 (or even cheering with joy). I’ll give you a little teaser:

I say goodbye and thank you all for your support.

P.S. It’s weird to me that Factorio is a Czech game and I’m citizen of Czech Republic. It would be nice to someday meet the authors of the game :D


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