SotD - Factorio: Sandstorm


Why is Susan Omand talking about a real-time strategy PC game on an arts and music website...

Because some people have WAAAY too much time and incredible creativity is why.

If you follow the Defective Inspector's Indie Gaming articles on our twin site over at /Garbage-file, you will already know about Factorio as he has both reviewed the game in an article and on one of his infamous Let's Play videos. For those of a less-than-gaming frame of mind, what you need to know is that Factorio basically gives players free rein to build little machines, robots and factories which will work together to produce other little machines, robots and factories on a random piece of land, with or without "enemy attacks" to disrupt your sandbox.

The absolute beauty of of this freedom of movement and ability for the player to pretty much use the "building blocks" of the game however they want, is that it results in some spectacular out of the box thinking and the creation of things that were completely unanticipated by the game developers.

Like displaying music videos.

Gamer, and software engineer, David McWilliams has turned a massive grid of Factorio factories into an in-game display that acts as a functional video player. Each little factory is equipped with 3 lights that switch off and on in response to decision programming in exactly the same way as the pixels on a screen work (if you want to see the techie bits of how he did it, it's on the Factorio forum) which means that it can play pretty much any video, albeit at a very low resolution for now.

Here's David's sample video - Daruda's music video for the techno track Sandstorm as played on a 178 x 100 grid of Factorio factories. Colour me very very impressed.