Try to remain calm but Factorio is adding elevated trains

Try not to scream, cry, or vomit, but the upcoming expansion to Factorio will add elevated rail lines capable of crossing over not just other rails, but factory components as well. This past week's Factorio Friday Facts blog went through the design process for how Wube Software arrived at this huge change to how Factorio works and why they decided to implement it this way.

In and of itself it's a big shift. Factorio takes place on a single, ostensibly 2D, plane and nothing breaks that rule aside from underground belt tunnels that you can't enter or exit. The idea of underground rail tunnels just didn't work for the designers at Wube, so they went for elevated rail. 

"You just want to boldly see all of your trains in their full glory instead of hiding them somewhere in a cellar!," they said.

So the Space Age expansion revealed in late August will add two new things to build: One, a 16-tile long, 4-tile wide ramp will take trains from ground level to the new elevated plane. The other new building is a rail support, which will be required every once in a while to support the tall rails, and which can face in eight directions. They're both really classic Factorio visual designs: heavy concrete bases with metal scaffolding perched on top. The kind of brutally beautiful and practical thing an engineer might design with limited time and functionally unlimited resources.

The elevated lines will be able to cross over water in addition to land, so you'll get to do the thing you've always wanted and do long, beautiful rail bridges with perfect concrete pilings rather than have to infill those lakes of yours.

"Allowing trains to cross paths on different levels has been one of the most requested features for a very long time. We had always felt it makes perfect sense, but trains in Factorio would rarely ever get into serious enough throughput issues to justify adding elevated rails," said Wube in the post.

"The expansion changed this landscape quite a bit though. If we expect players to generally build larger factories than in the base game, train throughput could become an issue, and since you are expected to travel away from the home planet, having a train system that doesn't deadlock would be more important than ever before," they continued.

This new feature will be in addition to the free for all players new system of rail curves in Factorio 2.0, which allow you to build much tighter and more logical rail junctions than before.  The elevations will also work in the rail planner, letting you spaghetti up your train bridges without a care in the world.

You can read about the new elevated train systems on the Factorio blog, and jump back to last week to learn about the new rail curves as well.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.