Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Factorio mods

This is just an index of the mods I use when playing Factorio, whether I play single player or coop MP. I avoid the huge mods, such as DyTech, Bob's Mods, F-Mod and so forth, that are pretty much meant to be used as one's only mod in that they massively change the gameplay experience; instead, I "design" my own Factorio experience by using a carefully selected collection of small- and medium-impact mods.

This post is a work-in-progress; I'll add to it, enhance it in various ways, over the coming weeks (if not months). And of course update it as I add new mods, have new thoughts about existing mods, or retire some of the mods (down to the bottom of this list).

In alphabetical order ((m) indicates that I'm using a version of the mod that I've modified myself, by editing one or more of the data files):

Additional Request Slots
forum link, mod made by Klonan
There are other mods that enable tech research to get more than the standard 4 rows of 5 requester slots in the vanilla game, but the one I'm aware of adds many more, whereas this one, made as per my request, adds only 2 additional rows, both researchable, for a final total of 6 rows, 30 items. As with the Inventory Size mod, I think that 30 is an appropriate number when using this combination of mods, whereas 20 is too low (I constantly find myself having to cycle things out and in of my request list, since I want to be constantly supplied with a bit more than 20 different items by my logi bots), and 120 is rather bizarrely high.
With alpha 12.7 adding a 5th Logistics requester slot, Klonan's work is sadly no longer really needed, as it becomes a toss-up between playing the vanilla version with 5x5 slots or the other more established mod that allows up to 10x5 slots.

Agent Orange (m)
forum link, mod made by Ranakastrasz
This mod was made according to my suggestion (something I've had great success with on a few other occasions, including the PreFusion mod which sadly never got updated to alpha 0.12). It is explicitly meant as an anti-Tree "tool", rather than a weapon, so it must be cheap to craft, and it must be inventable early in the game. In order to not be suitable as a weapon, it does it damage very slowly, over a long period of time, but still does enough damage to make sure to kill even regenerating 50 HP Trees. I'm using a modified version of this mod, where the range of the grenades are drastically increased, to 32 tiles, from a base value of - I think - 20.

This mod is highly recommended, but for those who don't use it, for whatever, reason, you can use Grenades (early game) or Poison Capsules (mid game) for en masse removal of Trees instead. It's just rather costlier (and now that Trees regenerate their HP over time, you sometimes need 2 Grenades per Tree to make sure to destroy them - Grenades really should be buffed from 50 damage to just 52 or 55).
Notice: The current primitive version of the mod has the Agent Orange capsules craftable from the start, but hopefully the maker will add a tech requirement eventually.
Notice also: The radius-of-effect of the Agent Orange capsules are somewhat larger than that of the Poison Capsules, so be careful to step out of the cloud if you find yourself inside it. Be especially careful when moving around in dense Trees, as you might get stuck (yes, even in alpha 0.12 that can happen).

Alphabet (note, the name is slightly misleading)
forum link, mod made by DaCyclops
This mod adds additional wire signals for the letters G to Z, a total of 20 new signals on top of the 20 already existing in the vanilla game (numbers A to F, digits 0 to 9, and four colours). Distinguishing between red wire and green wire, this doubles the number of signal variables from 40 to 80. This mod was made on my request, and while I thanked the maker, I also encouraged him to rename the mod, so that it has a name that better indicates what it is it does, but I don't think that he has done so yet.

forum link, mod made by GopherAtl
This mod adds a GUI box where you can select or deselect Copper Wire, Green Wire and Red Wire. They're then automatically included or not included, whenever you place down any of the vanilla game power poles (I don't know if it works with power pole types added by mods - I don't use any). A tiny change, but nice to have.

Blueprint Flipper
forum link, mod made by GopherAtl
This mod adds a GUI box where you can click to mirror a blueprint, either horizontally or vertically. Note that this is different from rorating it using the "r" key. I'm honestly not sure that I need this mod much, but the other players in coop MP games might appreciate it.

Crafting Speed Research
forum link, mod made by Klonan
This mod adds a large "ladder" of inventable techs, each boosting the player character's manual crafting speed. I think there are 10 techs in all, of increasing cost. As with a few of the other very small mods in this selection, I'm not actually sure how useful that is. I imagine it'll be nice to invent the first 2-4 techs at some point during the game, but probably not the higher-tier ones. Still, I like being offered a wide range of choices, including expensive items that I can choose to buy or choose not to buy (the old computer games K240 and Fragile Allegiance are good examples of this), as opposed to games in which almost every item in the menu is de facto mandatory.

forum link, mod made by GopherAtl
I don't think this mod actually works, yet. It's from the "in development mods" sub-forum, so I don't know. It's part of my "set", because the other players in coop MP games might want to try suiciding a few times on one of these beasts. If they're actually implemented. Or if the author updates the mod.

forum link, mod made by Narc
Another very nice mod, this one can be configured to show stuff such as local pollution, the world's Evolution Factor, elapsed game time, and time-of-day (along with light percentage), and for MP games I think also a few other things. This mod is quite popular, and I can understand why.

Expanded Tools
forum link, mod made by jpas
This mod adds 3 higher-tier tools for the player character to use, continuing the Iron Axe -> Steel Axe progression. Manual mining isn't a part of the mid game, let alone the late game, but these tools also help remove Trees faster (for those who are politically opposed to using the Agent Orange mod) and they help when using RMB to pick up already-placed items faster - notice how slow it is to remove a wrongly placed Oil Storage Tank, even with the Steel Axe?
The actual Tools (the 2 first unaltered from vanilla)
t1 Iron Axe: Can be crafted from game start
t2 Steel Axe: Requires Steel researched
t3 Jtackhammer: Requires Engines researched
t4 Laser Drill: Requires Laser researched
t5 Atomic Disassembler: Alien Technology

forum link, mod made by Choumiko
Some kind of automatic rail-layer mod. Supposedly very popular. I've never actually built any railway myself, in-game, even in test games, but I'm sure it'll come in handy in coop MP games.

Fluid Barrel
forum link, mod made by firegrenade (insp. by mod made by btw)
The vanilla game only lets you put Crude Oil into (and out of) Barrels. This mod enables a barrelling process, done in normal Assembler Machines, for all the other fluids in the vanilla game, such as Heavy Oil, Light Oil, Petrol Gas, Water and Sulphuric Acid. I've only ever made serious use of this mod once, in a very limited capacity, because using Pipes to move stuff around is almost always easier, but this mod is still nice to have.

Force Fields
forum link, mod made by Rseding91
This is a mod I haven't tried yet, but it got spotlighted in early September 2015, and seems very nice. A end-game phase mod that is powerful yet (apparently) balanced, it offers a device that projects linear force field walls, but costing a lot of energy to "build up" these walls, and to re-build them if they get damaged or even destroyed.

forum link, mod made by [name]
This mod simply adds alternate crafting recipes to the Refinery and the Chemical Factory, with reversed input pipes, e.g. a recipe for Advanced Oil Refining where the Crude Oil comes in on the left side and Water on the right side. By now I remember how AOR works, but it's still nifty to have in case I screw up, or for the convenience of the other players in a coop MP game.
Warning: The name of this mod contains a reference to a nonexistent supernatural entity!

Ghosts-from-the start
forum link, mod made by [name]
This mod lets you place down "ghost" blueprints from the start (Shift+LMB click). It can be used to plan how you'll lay out the factory, as well as communicating to other players how much space you'll need (because in my experience, coop MP games very quickly end up being about the other guys assuming your base is going to be a tiny postage stamp which just flat out can't even contain 5% of the grand brilliant production loops that I have in mind...).
This has the effect of also leaving a ghost if you intentionally destroy an item, for instance if you put all your obsolete gear (Pistol, yellow ammo, Iron Armor, your Burner Mining Drills) into Wood Chest and then shoot it to destruction. This mod doesn't make ghost blueprints last forever, though. I think it's 1 or 5 minutes duration, until you invent it up to 10.

Initial Scan
forum link, mod made by Klonan
When the game starts, this mod performs a one-time "scan" of a larger area surrounding the player, enabling the player to better decide whether the random gen. map is good enough, especially in terms of resource availability, or if he should restart.
I don't know how this mod behaves in coop MP games, nor am I sure that the initial scan is actually only ever performed when the game starts, rather than every time a saved game is loaded or every time a new player joins an ongoing MP game. But the idea itself is nice, and to be honest even if a large-area scan happens more often than intended, it's not game-breaking.

Inserter Energy Balance
forum link, mod made by [name]
This mod makes the Fast Inserters (the blue one) consume more energy when they're moving, so as to encourage the use of the normal Inserters (yellow ones) when possible. It also increase the passive power drain of Smart Inserters (the green ones) by a factor of 10.
This mod is from the alpha 0.11 era. It still works with alpha 12, but hasn't been updated, and there's a chance (albeit not large, based on what I've read) it'll break when alpha 13 comes out, and not get updated. That'd be a bit sad, but no huge loss.

Item Count
forum link, mod made by ThaPear, updated to a12 by oLaudix
This mod adds a numerical display to the game, when the player character is holding an item, that shows the total amount of that item in the character's inventory, rather than just the size of the current stack and then relying on the player being able to remember how many extra stacks he has. An ultra nice mod, for those who build a lot, since it often helps you know in advance when you should go back to re-supply, e.g. to get more Belts or Pipes.

Landfill (m)
forum link, mod made by Rseding91
This mod lets you build Landfill units out of Stone, so you can change water into solid land. Each 1x1 tile costs 15 Stone (20 in the mod, but I've modified it down to 15, plus increased the crafting time a bit). There's also a quick-fill item that uses Landfill from your inventory to fill an entire lake (if you don't have enough, it does nothing), and a late-game bomb-like thingie that you can charge up with energy to create a tiny lake (a bit more than 1x1 tile).

Larger Boxes (m)
forum link, mod made by Ranakastrasz
This mod changes the game, so that you need a Wood Chest to build an Iron Chest, and an Iron Chest to build a Steel Chest.
Notice: This makes Wood a lot more necessary, even into the mid game.
Furthermore, it adds Medium and Large versions of all Chests, from Wood Chests over Smart Chests to Logistics Chests. Medium ones have a 2x2 tile footprint, meaning 8 Inserters can interact with it instead of just 4 for a normal Chest, and can store a bit more (but I've reduced their inventory size, relative to the mod's values), and Large ones have a 3x3 tile footprint (and again I've reduced their inventory size. I've also reduced the tech cost to invent the first two tiers, Chests 1 and Chests 2).

Larger Inventory (m)
forum link, mod made by [name]
The vanilla game gives you an inventory with room for 60 items, plus 10 items in your Tool Belt, increased to 20 items in the Tool Belt with a tech. This mod increases inventory size to 120, but I've changed it further to increase it to 150 instead. 150 is what seems suitable, seems fitting, to me, based on the large amount of items added to the game by the many mods I use. It's a lot of stuff to juggle around. Someone just playing the vanilla game, or playing with a few simple mods, should probably stick to the vanilla inventory of 60+20 items, but I think it'd become frustrating real fast to use all these mods in combination with a vanilla-sized inventory.

forum link, mod made by [name]
This mod is from the alpha 0.11 era, and has not really been updated to alpha 12. It still works, but the letters are now jumbled together in the crafting interface, instead of sorted alphabetically, which makes the mod a lot harder to use (also, some letters such as the capital B, seems to be missing). You craft each individual letter from Wood, then plonk it down, to "write" on the ground. Very handy in coop MP games, to label various parts of the factory, but annoying that the letters are no longer sorted in the interface (they never were sorted in the inventory either, but there you could just craft them in order and then they'd be sorted that way, at least back in alpha 11, for instance if you wanted to spell "citadel" then you'd craft the c first, then the i, and so forth, to make it as easy for yourself as possible).

Lootable Rocks
forum link, mod made by [name]
A tiny mod. With this enabled, when you destroy a Rock by shooting it, it turns into bunch of Stone (usually 42 in total) that are automatically picked up if you run over it. It doesn't make a lot of difference, in the grand scheme of things, since Rocks are slow to destroy with unupgraded regular ammunition, and still somewhat slow to remove with bonused armour-piercing ammo. But if you get fully upgraded depleted uranium clips (see Uranium Power, further down) then it's fast. Good if you just need a bit of Stone to craft a few Agent Orange capsules (see above).
This mod is unlikely to break with the release of alpha 13, but if it does, it's no great loss. Rocks can still be destroyed by bullets, it's just you won't get any payout, however tiny, for your efforts.
Note, this mod will probably be replaced with the newer Mineable Rocks mod by Ranakastrasz, but I need to test that one first, see if it is to my liking.

Modular Armor ReVamp (m)
forum link, mod made by Ranakastrasz
I really like this mod! I used to miss the old PreFusion, but it never got updated to alpha 12 (I guess Matthew got busy with school, after summer - Prefusion improved a11 Solar Panel power output by 50%, tripled storage size of MkI suit batteries and doubled storage size of MkII batteries), and after quite a lot of pining I came across this, which does a lot more, and seems well-thought-out with attention to balance.

Each armor requires the previous type, starting with Heavy Armor requiring a set of normal Iron Armor to craft, and sometimes requiring 2 of the previous suits to craft the next higher tier one.

More importantly, it boosts battery energy storage capacity, adds a Concuit so you can charge your suit's batteries by standing next to a normal power pole, adds higher-tier Solar Panels for the suit, a Burner Generator to burn fuel from your inventory to generate power (it preferentially takes Solid Fuel, then Coal, then Raw Wood). It also adds a minuature Exoskeleton for +5% movement speed per item (1x2 tiles in size), and an extra tiny Shield (as well as making the highest tier shield be 3x3 in size), and the Fusion Reactor now requires Alien Fuel, which you craft out of Alien Artifacts and Solid Fuel. Furthermore, many items require Superconducting Coils, which are made out of Copper Wire and Alien Artifacts, and which are very slow to craft.

Nixie Tubes
forum link, mod made by GopherAtl
I like this mod even more than Modular Armor ReVamped!
It adds 1x2 tile display units that can each show one numerical digit from 0 to 9. Useful to show the amount of energy stored in an Accumulator (I prefer to use an Arithmetic combinator to have the figure shown as a 0-100 percentage value, instead of a raw kJ value which easily becomes 4 digits), or to show the amount stored (again, I calculate it to percent) in a Storage Tank cluster. I like this mod so much that I probably would refuse to play if it wasn't available. It's super nice to have factory-crucial information availabe at-a-glance without having to move the mouse cursor.

Rail Tanker
forum link, mod made by JamesOFarrell
As stated above, I've yet to even as much as build a test railway myself, but this mod adds a new rail wagon type, the Tanker Wagon, to move fluids without having to barrel and unbarrel them first (which can't be done in the vanilla game except with Crude Oil - see Fluid Barrels above). Might well come in handy.

Reverse Factory
forum link, mod made by [name]
This mod adds a new type of machine that un-assembles items one step. It seems completely unable to do anything with items that required any kind of fluid in their production, such as Batteries which require Sulphuric Acid. Instead of accepting the loss of the Acid and just turning the Batteries into the component Iron and Copper, the Batteries are ignored by this machine.

The machine itself seems to work quickly and not use much power, so I am not at all sure that it is balanced, but given that the need to un-assemble stuff in a game of Factorio ranges from none at all t very, very tiny, I don't see a problem. It's mostly just a fun mod to mess around with, see if it's possible to make an almost-completely-automatic dis-assembly loop (I have an idea for how to do that, as posted in the forum thread, but I've yet to actually attempt to implement it).

RSO (m)
forum link, mod made by [name]
Almost certainly the most popular mod on this list (although Nixie Tubes must be close, and I'm sure many players mod the inventory size, whether justified or not), this mod changes random map resource generation, so that resources are gathered in larger clusters (especially nice for Stone - I hate those scattered tiny lumps of it everywhere), but also changes the exploration/expansion game balance by requiring the player to move further out to find necessary resources. This mod seems to work fine with the Uranium Power mod, and from what I've read it also works well with other mods that add new resource types to the game.

The only change I've made to this mod is to change the starting area resource abundance multiplier from 1.0 to 1.8.
Notice: With resources more concnetrated, it becomes a very good idea to place the Electric Mining Drills as close together as possible, to make sure to get a high inflow, especially early in the game.

Simple Teleporters
forum link, mod made by [name]
Another mod that I'd classify as "fairly large", this is an end-game'ish mod that adds some kind of teleportation device to the game, that somehow involves the production if a new fluid based on Alien Artifacts. I've never actually used this mod, except for making the fluids, so I don't know the details, but being able to teleport quickly back and forth between the main base and various faraway outposts sound like a very nifty ability.

Smarter Circuitry (Actuator, Electric-Switch, Micro-Accumulator, Pressure Floor and Sensor
forum link, mod made by Kikkers
The only item I use from this mod, currently, is the Sensor. I use it to "measure on" a normal Accumulator, to find out the amount of energy (in kJ) stored in it, which I then send as information along my wire network (using an Arithmetic Combinator to divide it by 50, to get a percentage value from 0 to 100). Some of the other components in this mod look useful, but I have yet to make use of them.

forum link, mod made by Klonan
A mod for the early game, these are craftable Torches that provide light. They're born with some amount of fuel energy, but must be fuelled to continue to give light (I've used Coal and I think also Raw Wood). They automatically turn off when it's daylight. I have only used this mod a tiny bit, but I imagine it's useful in coop MP in the early game, for finding each other, and for "marking" the various mining sites. After the invention of Optics, Lamps supercede Torches completely, as far as I'm concerned. The maker of this mod has also made a companion mod, Iron Lanterns, but I frankly don't see the point of those.

Treefarm AC and Treefarm Lite
forum link (mod probably made by drs9999 but it's really not clear)
One more "fairly big" mod, I haven't tried this at all, but it enables the creation of automated Tree Farms (hence the name), and the production of various biological materials, including an alternate way to produce plastic (not replacing the vanilla game's way, but complementing it). You can also produce various biological weapons (some kind of glue cannon that slows down the aliens), and can gradually turn Raw Wood into Coal, or refine Coal into a more energy-dense material. Lots of things to do in this mod, besides the obvious one of getting a steady supply of Raw Wood if that is needed (see the "Chests" mod above, in particular).
Notice: The Tree Farms allegedly take into account the kind of terrain they're placed on, with planted Trees growing notably slower on desert terrain.

Turret Range (note, name is sligtly misleading)
forum link, mod made by [name]
This mod adds an in-game item that you use on a Gun Turret or Laser Turret to add an indicator to the game world to show the range of the Turret. You can use the item on multiple Turrets to see all their range circles, or use the item on empty ground to remove all visible range circles. I don't think the other players in a coop MP game can see the circles you create, but I don't know.
The item to show the ranges requires a tech to be invented. I've thought about reducing the cost of this tech, perhaps drastically, but haven't made up my mind yet.
Notice: This mod is about visualizing the range of Turrets, not about offering tech inventions or other means of increasing the range of Turrets.

Uranium Power
forum link, mod made by Fatmice (orig. by Liquius)
One of the fairly big mods, this adds to new minerable ores to the game, Fluorite and Uraninite. After a long processing chain, involving many different steps and some complications, you can arrive at in part Depleted Uranium Bullets, that do a lot more damage than Armour Piercing Bullets, whther fired from your personal Pistol or SMG or from a Gun Turret, and in part some kind of fission reactor fuel, that can produce a lot of SuperHot Water. Via some kind of heat exchanger, you then transfer this thermal energy to normal Water which you then put into Steam Engines to produce energy. I get the impression that just one such fission reactor can supply a lot of Steam Engines, much more than the 10 that your bog-standard line of 13 Boilers can provide for.

As an alternative, the SuperHot Water can be moved directly into some other machines to generate power in a less space-consuming way, but to be honest that part looks rather complicated and I'm not sure if I understand it fully. The other aspects of the game are easy to grasp, though.

Notice: In the current version, 6.2, reactor fuel does not deplete, but this will almost certainly be added in a later version, which is why it'll be handy to build up a large stockpile of Uraninite (and Fluorite). And also why it might not be a good idea to turn all the 0.2% uranium into gun ammo, since a later version (6.3 or 7.0, presumably) might add some kind of "breeder" reactor to enable it to become re-enriched.
Notice also: The various processes done on the Uranium HexaFlouride each produce 2 end products, one richer and one that is less rich than the input product. For instance, if you do the process on 1.7% stuff, then you'll get one output of 2.2% but another of 1.2%.

Wooden Fences
forum link, mod made by Klonan
Another small mod for the early game, you can use Wood to make Fences. Better than nothing, when it comes to slowing down the pollution-hating hippie aliens, but presumably worse than Walls made of Bricks.

Retired mods:
PreFusion (superceded by Modular Armor ReVamp).

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