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Ask HN: Factorio seems to be exactly like a systems design interview, right?
2 points by mettamage 14 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 1 comment
Apologies for the leading question. Also apologies for having yet another post of "Factorio is so much like {programming, computer science, working in teams} OMG!"

But I haven't seen it in this context yet [1], and like some of you I've spend way too many hours what Factorio does to a programmer or how it teaches people programming skills.

Since recently, I'm doing a course on systems design since I'm interviewing with a FAANG company and the more I am following that course, the more I just get Factorio flashbacks.

Especially the following concepts map 1 to 1:

- Latency and throughput (e.g. that time when all the iron is locked up behind a slow inserter)

- Availability (e.g. aliens attacking part of your base, bye bye pipeline)

I've also seen the following concepts, but it requires a bit more imagination to see the mapping:

- Client / Server (e.g. you need certain materials to create advanced materials, one factory serves another)

- Caching (e.g. trains are slow, boxes are needed)

- Protocols (at the advanced Factorio level, like a main bus for your materials)

- Storage (e.g. the ore deposits themselves)

There are probably a lot more concepts that are similar, but this is how far I am with my course :P

[1] I have seen it in the distributed systems context, but IMO distributed systems is much more in-depth than Factorio is. Systems design interviews, seem to be less in-depth compared to a university course on distributed systems (e.g. Maarten van Steen's book).




Turns out there was a big thread about this recently:

Technical interview methods pale in comparison to playing Factorio with someone - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26591966 - March 2021 (344 comments)




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