“Get rid of the detail on the rocks!” Satisfactory interview with Snutt Treptow – Part 1

by on February 21, 2024

A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of an interview with the wonderful Snutt Treptow, Community Manager at Coffee Stain Studios, and spending time with him playing the delightful Satisfactory. It was a chance for me to share my weird love for storage, conveyor belts, and well, maths, with someone else. And I think I came out of it alright. We talked about memories, our favourite parts of the game, and I even learned some useful tips courtesy of a Satisfaction master. Given the length of this interview, we’ve split it into a few parts. In this first part, Snutt and I discuss, the big changes that came in Update 8 as well as what Snutt feels is the “right” way to play Satisfactory, Let’s jump in.

Satisfactory Interview with Snutt Treptow – Part 1

As interviews go, this was more an informal chat playing a game we both love, which was clear from the outset. Appearing in the sprawling mechanical landscape where I joined Snutt for our chat, this world had been painstakingly crafted for innumerable hours. The conversation started, arguably a bit backwards, with Snutt asking the opening question, regarding how much of the game I’d actually played.

“I think honestly that’s the best way to play it right now”

I revealed I played quite a few hours – hundreds in fact – but having seen the sheer scale of the factories around me I knew this wasn’t perhaps as impressive as it sounded. Inferiority complex building, I explained I tend to have a penchant for often restarting and building new factories, so haven’t seen some of the late-game additions as much. Much to my surprise (and relief), to kick off this Satisfactory Interview, Snutt replied with:

“Yeah, I think honestly that’s the best way to play it right now because the last couple of updates have been pretty small since we’ve split focus between working on finishing the game and working on these content updates. The reason why we started doing that was because we knew that we wanted to finish the game and there were some things that we needed to implement and work on that would take longer than the time it takes for us to put out these updates.”

Snutt goes on to add:

“Our team has been divided between making the new content that goes out to Satisfactory, but also working on the content that we’re saving for the big final push and the final release. We started doing that in Update Five. Ever since then we we have been making ‘small updates’ or at least that’s how it feels for us. But communities, you know, feel differently sometimes (in a good way).”

It makes sense, and it seems by luck rather than judgment, I’d been keeping up with Satisfactory in the correct way, certainly for the last few updates at least. I made a mental note to ask about that final release push later.

“Get rid of the detail on the rocks!”

So how does Snutt feel about Update 8 itself? Well, if this is what is deemed “small” these days, I wouldn’t want to see what this team deems a big update. But perhaps that’s indicative of the studio itself.

“This update has been mostly quality-of-life stuff. There’s one or two new buildables which we’ll talk about. But the major thing is the update to Unreal Engine 5. Where we take advantage of all the new tools that come with Unreal 5 that help us make the game better. We’re taking advantage of the new features like Nanite and Lumen. Nanite is actually really useful for us. We use it on all the rocks because we had this issue before where all of our rocks were too detailed.”

“And we actually had a meeting with Epic where they said, “The rocks don’t need to be in the detail unless you’re making a climbing game.” “Are you guys making a climbing game?” And we were like “No!” so they [Epic] were like, “Get rid of the detail on the rocks!” But we like the detail, we like the rock. So using that [Nanite], I find that perfect in that sense.”

After discussing the implementation of Nanite – a new feature in Unreal 5, Snutt then goes on to discuss the other key addition, and that is Lumen – a system in Unreal 5 focussing on lighting and reflections.

“We added Lumen just for the kicks of it.  The game needs to be tuned with Lumen in mind, and we haven’t really done that. I don’t think we’ll ever do that. But we like it and it doesn’t break anything to enable it. So we thought let’s just throw that in there and let people use it if they want to. I’m using Lumen right now and it actually makes a huge difference. I like it when you’re indoors, I like those cool shadows and whatnot. It’s there for people to use it.”

“This makes it a lot easier”

After listening intently to Snutt talk about rocks, and taking in intently his passion for the development of the game, I’m suddenly aware I’m a newbie in a very old world. Snutt is leaping around in a jetpack and I have nothing but the starting Xeno-Zapper. I feel naked. Luckily Snutt points me in the direction of a large storage container (yay!) where I can get my hands on a Jetpack. He then helpfully drops some fuel on the ground, and before you know it we’re flying around like a couple of pro Mandalorians. Snutt then went on to discuss the various modes of the game they have built for the community:

“Something that was always highly requested, is being able to turn on Creative Mode and being able to do more to fine-tune the experience you have. We have settings including Creative Mode, being able to be invincible is also a pretty requested one where for people that  just want to build stuff. This is for people that maybe have finished the game already and just want to go full-on creative. We’ve always said that we are going to have Creative Mode for the game and give people the option to turn it on and try it out.”

“It’s also annoying to go through that early grind where you won’t really be able to set up your proper factory layout until you have faster belts. So also being able to have the option to just skip phases is pretty nice.”

As someone with unashamedly hundreds of hours in the game, I had to agree with Snutt here. The end-game of Satisfactory is a time sink, and so it makes sense for those players who have finished it – or come close to it – have options to speed up or optimise their factories more efficiently. We then turn our attention to the new buildables in the update.

“One of the new buildables is the Power Tower where you can hook up wires quicker, and have longer distance cables and this is three times the length of a regular tower. This makes it a lot easier.”

I shouldn’t be this excited about cable length, I know that, and I won’t bore you with my very specific, and giddy follow-up questions I had for Snutt about off-shoot tower connections and the like. But as someone who has traipsed for miles connecting the basic electrical towers with cables, I am thrilled with this new addition.

“The other thing is the Priority Power Switch is actually a buildable that we were going to add to the game in Update 4, but we just never got around to finishing it. It’s essentially like a regular power switch, but it adds a bit of logic to it. So you can actually prioritize whenever you have fuses go out, you can define the order in which they will try to retain power in your factory. So you cangate specific parts of your factory. If a fuse blows, then it will try to go through the list and, turn off power for those until it hits a point where it can actually sustain the power.”

Again, I won’t bore you with the in-depth follow-up conversation Snutt and I had about how this could effectively be applied specifically to Coal Power Generators, but it happened, it was nerdy and it was fun. Another example of these updates making things easier and more customisable.

And that’s all for Part 1 of our Satisfactory Interview with Snutt Treptow. If you want to check out Part 2 of our Satisfactory Interview with Snutt, click on the link below.