Beginners guide to Factorio 1.0

The factory must grow.

Developed by Wube Software LTD, Factorio 1.0 is a sci-fi sandbox game centered around building, creating, and maintaining automated factories to produce increasingly complex items in a two-dimensional world. You mine resources, research technologies, build infrastructure, and defend against native enemies of the planet you have crash-landed on. This guide will provide a brief premise of the game, basic controls, and early game tips and recommendations on what to do right off the bat to better prepare oneself for leaping into the world of Factorio.


As an engineer who has crashed on a foreign planet, you are immediately tasked with the end game goal of launching a rocket back into space. To achieve this, you must survive by finding and managing resources, craft them into various mechanical structures, and maintain factories to unlock the rocket silo at the end game. As you progress, the machinery continues to develop and become more powerful and autonomous. Factorio is about becoming an industrial powerhouse while defending your infrastructures against any who dare to interfere.

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Scoping out the planet

Open up the map by typing the ‘M’ key. Hover the mouse cursor over the various patterned areas to discover natural deposits of raw materials such as Stone, Copper Ore, Iron, and Coal. The small purple dot is Crude Oil. Oil is incredibly valuable in Factorio, and it should be your goal to seek out additional oil refineries. The red patch is the enemy – native’s known as the Biters. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on them and exterminate them when prepared to. If it’s your first playthrough, we recommend setting the ‘Peaceful Mode’ on in the game options. This means that Biters won’t attack you until you attack them first. This gives loads of more breathing room to expand your factories and defenses at your own pace, without the stress of knowing your infrastructures could be under attack at any given time.

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There are a ton of controls that you can configure in Factorio. All of the hotkeys are customizable and configurable in Settings > Controls. We recommend leaving the controls stock when starting out to get used to where things are before becoming too overwhelmed with the vast selection. Hit ‘E’ to pop up the inventory, drag and drop items from here and place them in your ‘hot-bar’ located at the bottom of the screen. The hot-bar acts as a short cut to the inventory. The left mouse button Builds, while the right mouse button Mines. The ‘F’ key picks up items from the ground, while ‘Z’ drops them, such as dropping coal into a machine. Hitting the ‘ALT’ key will enable small symbols over the buildings/factory, which will help you identify the items it inputs or outputs, or what it’s transporting. It’s ideal to familiarize yourself with the controls when starting out, especially the primary keys. This will ensure a deeper understanding of interaction within the world of Factorio.

Time to mine & starting out

Factorio can be daunting to play through, especially for the first time, so the following tips will help get the ball rolling. Firstly, harvest your spacecraft right away, as this will yield ammunition and other various materials. If there are large rocks nearby, then head over to them and mine them. Rocks produce coal and stone – these resources are useful to grab early on. You start the game off with a drill and a furnace in your inventory. Go ahead and place the drill on top of nearby iron, and place the furnace right next to the drill feed. Then, place coal into the drill and the furnace. This will smelt iron ore into plates. With enough plates and stone, create a few more drills and place them on your coal patch, both positioned to feed into each other. Place one coal inside one of the drills. This provides an endless source of coal until both drills and filled up. With this system, you can collect coal from these drills whenever you need more coal. You can repeat the above process but instead, build your drills and furnaces on top of copper or stone. This will yield various resources that are important for advancing in the game in terms of building vast mechanical factories and teach you the basics of utilizing ore patches.

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The Factorio mindset

Performing the above building and mining tasks will also give you a sense of how intuitive the world of Factorio truly is. It’s essential to think about why things are built and how they can interact and complement one another. This is a crucial concept in Factorio; as mentioned above, automation and self-governing machinery are large elements of the game. Being able to sit back at points of the later game and watch your factory creations ‘do its thing’ is an enriching experience and one to strive for in the game. The possibilities are endless in Factorio.

Image via Steam