You mine minerals from the ground which get put onto a conveyor belt. The belt takes it to furnaces and it’s loaded with robotic arms. Different robotic arms take the smelted materials onto different conveyor belts to assembly machines where they are turned into slightly higher level materials. Keep this going and soon you’ll be building assembly machines that build the miners, the conveyor belts, the robotic arms and more assembly machines to keep expanding your factory. This lovely madness is what makes this game great. This game is Factorio.

What is Factorio?

“Factorio is a game in which you build and maintain factories. You will be mining resources, researching technologies, building infrastructure, automating production and fighting enemies. Use your imagination to design your factory, combine simple elements into ingenious structures, apply management skills to keep it working and finally protect it from the creatures who don’t really like you.”

Right now what you’ve read has peaked your interest already or it has completely turned you off. Either way, I’m going to keep praising this game some more because I’m having so much fun with it.

But what is Factorio?

It’s a top down view game where you’re a little dude on an alien planet. There’s a supposed story line where you’ve landed ahead of everyone else and you have to prepare the planet, but forget the story line. You can run around and you have your mouse cursor to interact with things. Your cursor can move freely across the entire screen but you can only pick up or place items in the vicinity of the character, which stays in the center of the screen.

Factorio Smelting Lines

You start off with practically nothing. So firstly you’ll be mining the first batch of resources manually. This is slow and tedious but it’s something you’ll never ever do again after you set up your first production line. Just find a nice patch of iron ore and copper ore that’s not too far from some coal. In the beginning, before you can generate electricity, you’ll be powering everything with coal.


Factorio is very focused around crafting. In the beginning you’ll be crafting things from within your own inventory. There are no difficult recipes to learn. Everything is laid out for you and when you mouse over it will show you what the ingredients are and what you may be missing. Among the first things you’ll want to craft are some basic miners and furnaces. Iron and copper ore needs to be turned into iron and copper plates, and that can only be done in furnaces. Add some conveyor belts and robotic arms (inserters) to the mix and you have the beginning of your factory set up, which automatically mines the ores and smelts them in the furnaces.

Later crafting will be done in assembly machines, and some items can only be made in assembly machines.

Factory Layout

To continue our factory from where we left off with the miners feeding into the furnaces we use conveyor belts to transport materials to assembly machines. Assembly machines craft items just like we did in our inventory but they aren’t able to craft intermediate items. For example if one of the ingredients was copper wire, you would need a separate assembly machine to take the copper plates and produce the copper wire.

Factorio Factory Layout

Recipes for more advanced items become more complicated and you’ll likely find yourself in quite a mess of conveyor belts criss-crossing through your factory. I find that here comes some of the reason to replay Factorio again and again. You’ll come up with better designs for your factory that you want to try the next time. There are plenty of layouts you can look up online, but I recommend that at least for the first couple of times that you just go at it and learn from your mistakes.


Another aspect of the game is researching. Research is done in science labs and they require “science packs”. A good idea for the first goal of your factory is to mass produce these science packs and feed them into the labs. Research allows you to unlock more items to craft and abilities that allow facilities to perform better. The pursuit of science is a great driving force throughout most of your play through Factorio.


There are adversaries in Factorio. The native inhabitants of the planet are not happy with your giant factory and may come and attack you. You can build defenses and weapons to keep them at bay. If you’re like me, though, and want to focus on the factory building aspect, you can set the game to a more peaceful mode where they won’t come and attack you. I don’t recommend turning them off completely, because some of the late game science packs require alien artifacts which you get from destroying the critter bases.

So much more!

There is so much more to play with in Factorio but instead of writing extensively about them I want you to explore them yourself. Just to wet your appetite: trains, logistics networks, flying robots, cars, oil processing… and more. If you want to see this game in action, check out my videos on YouTube. I’ll embed the first one in this post, but use this link to find the playlist.