Glossary

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This page acts as a general glossary of all terms used in Factorio and its community. We recommend searching the page with CTRL + F to find specific terms. The page is also organized alphabetically.

Additionally, you can click a letter below to be taken to that letter in the list, if you wish to search manually.

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

#

1-1, 1-2-1, 2-4, 4-8-4 and similar 
A somewhat ambiguous shorthand notation for train configurations. The first number is usually the number of locomotives at the head of the train, followed by the number of cargo wagons or fluid wagons, and optionally followed by the number of tail locomotives if it's a double-headed train. In general, the smaller numbers are the number of locomotives.

A

AP 
Armor piercing, refers to Piercing rounds magazine.
Ammo 
Ammunition, used for guns/rocket launchers/turrets, etc.
Angel's mods 
A term referring to the mods made by user Arch666Angel, a popular modder who makes extremely popular difficulty/complexity mods that complement bob's mods.
Angelbobs 
A community term that means a game with both Angel's mods and Bob's mods installed.
Assembly 
Another word for an Assembling machine.

B

BP 
Short for Blueprint.
Backed-up 
Refers to a machine having no output, and so the input channel fills up. Can also refer to belts being backlogged due to low consumption. This is not necessarily a bad thing.
Belt balancer 
This is a belt setup that balances multiple belts to contain the same amount of resources, to maximize throughput. See Balancers.
Belt compression 
This term refers to ensuring that all items on a belt are right after each other, to ensure no space is wasted and highest throughput.
Blackout 
When your factory completely loses power. This typically happens at night when relying on solar+accumulator power, enemies destroying vital electric poles, or after a prolonged brownout when using electric mining drills and/or electric inserters (instead of their burner variants).
Bob's mods 
A term referring to the mods made by user bobingabout, a popular modder who makes extremely popular difficulty/complexity mods that complement Angel's mods.
Bootstrap factory 
A factory that's made at the start of a new game in order to jump-start automation of basic equipment, climb the tech tree, and ultimately produce construction materials for a bigger, more organized factory, such as a megabase. The purpose of this factory is to allow you to grow your production to a decent size and then have a fresh start with all of the tech at your disposal, rather than building a giant factory from the ground up and then having to refactor parts of it.
Bots 
Shorthand version for Construction robot or Logistic robot. Sometimes also refers to the combat robots created from capsules (unlocked by researching Combat robotics 1–3).
Bottleneck 
A term that means a single point where resources are constrained, such as a slow part of a belt that slows down everything.
Braiding 
The space-saving technique of alternating between two or more different underground belt types (basic, fast and express) in a straight line, one tile wide. The different types of underground belts don't interfere with each other, and inserters can interact with the belt entrance and exit entities.
Brownout 
When your factory's machines are running slower than normal because you're not generating enough electricity.
Buffer
A place where a stockpile of items is stored to be available when the production stops. Typically a chest.
Bus 
Short for Main bus.

C

Capacity 
Maximum amount of items/fluid that can exist within something.
Catchup 
Period where a player joining a game is required to replay recent changes quickly, so they can be merged into the running game smoothly. Often happens on slow connections, or on servers with a lot going on.
Chokepoint 
Artificial or natural geography that funnels attackers into a narrow, movement-constricting area, making it more difficult for them to breach fortifications. Examples: peninsulas with narrow connections to the mainland, artificial land bridges to islands, nearby lakes, corridors through thick forests.
Coin 
An item used in the Tight Spot campaign.
Compression 
Like Capacity but applies to belts only.
Computer 
An item used in the New Hope campaign. (No further spoilers.)
Contaminated 
A belt with incorrect items on it (such as coal on an iron belt). Can also refer to pipes with mixed liquids.
Cracktorio 
A community term referring to the addictive qualities of Factorio, jokingly comparing the game to crack cocaine.

D

Daisy chaining 
Some entities allow inserters to insert and remove items from the same slots, including fuel in boilers, ammo in gun turrets, science packs in labs, modules in beacons, robots in roboports, and any items in chests. 'Daisy chaining' is a technique that makes use of this mechanic in order to supply some machines with consumables (i.e. fuel, ammo or science packs) without having to use belts. You simply chain multiple machines together with inserters that take the items out of the previous machine and insert them directly into the next. It's sometimes referred to as 'stealing', as in 'coal stealing' or 'ammo stealing'.
Death world 
A world generation configuration that results in a large quantity of Enemies, to increase the game's difficulty.
Double header 
This is a term that refers to a train with Diesel locomotives on both ends, making the train capable of driving in both directions. Opposite of a single header, or standard train.
Dragon's teeth 
A series of alternating stone wall pillars outiside the main wall fortification with the purpose of delaying the biters from reaching the wall.

E

Entity 
Anything that can be manipulated in-game. Nearly everything in factorio is an entity. Any device, items, trees... Even the player is just an entity.
Evolution 
The development and growth of the native population. Over the course of a game, biters and spitters become bigger and more powerful. See Enemies#Evolution.

F

FFF 
The weekly blog that the developers make to talk about the development of Factorio. Expanded, it is Factorio Friday Facts, posted every Friday.
FPS 
Visual rendering speed, "Frames per second". When this is reduced beneath 60, the game may stutter visually, jitter, or otherwise appear unstable. Low FPS will not necessarily result in low UPS, but they are loosely tied together.
Factorissimo 
A popular mod that allows for factories to be built within buildings added by the mod.
Fuel 
Refers to any burnable item that can be used to fuel burner devices, such as wood, coal, etc.

G

GJ 
Giga joule, a measurement of power.
Ghost 
A translucent preview image that designates a position for the construction of an entity. Ghosts are created when you shift+click with an entity under your cursor, when you use the ghost rail planner, when an entity is destroyed after you've researched construction robotics, and when you place a blueprint. Construction robots automatically attempt to construct ghosts within their logistic or personal roboport network, and if unable will create an alert for missing construction materials.
Gigabase 
An even larger megabase, typically has RPM counts > 10.

I

Inventory 
The ability for an entity to hold items within it. Almost all entities have inventories.
Item 
An item is another form of entity, representing the un-built version of a machine, tools, etc. Typically, items are found on belts, in the player's inventory, and inside machines. Items can be provided to recipes to create other items.
Item Explosion 
A phenomenon when a lot of items are spilled on the ground in a square-like fashion. Usually due to accidentally removing power armor when having a full inventory.
Item request slot 
A special request slot for machines with module slots that allows them to request the modules in the blueprint from which they were constructed. The deconstruction planner has a filter for canceling these requests.

K

kJ 
Kilojoule, a measurement of power.
Kovarex 
The founding father of Factorio and where Kovarex enrichment process gets its name from.

L

Lane balancer 
This is a belt setup that balances the two lanes on a belt to be equal, to maximize throughput. See Balancers.
Legs 
Exoskeleton
Loader 
An abandoned concept for a belt-based mechanism that continuously loads and unloads machines, as an alternative to inserters. Functional loader entities can still be found in the editor, and some mods give them a proper texture and make them available in regular games. Loaders are used in the official Team Production scenario.

M

MW 
Mega watt, a measurement of power.
Main bus 
The opposite of spaghetti, this refers to placing multiple belts side by side containing one resource, and branching off of it in order to create setups. Allows for organized layout of resource transportation.
Mall
Also known as store. A location in a factory that produces many types of different items that the player needs but in relatively small amounts.
Map exchange string 
A long piece of text that encodes the settings used to generate a map. See World generator#Map Exchange String.
Market 
A building where you can buy items using coins. It's available in the editor and used in the Tight Spot campaign.
Mats 
Shorthand for materials.
Megabase 
A community term referring to a significantly large base that has been built over a significant time/effort. Often, these bases are quantified in terms of rockets per minute, or "RPM". A base typically is considered a megabase when it can maintain 1 RPM.
Mod 
This term refers to a script or collection of scripts that change how the game acts, adds new items/entities, etc.
Modpack 
A community term referring to a collection of mods that work well together.

N

Night steam 
The strategy of relying on solar panels to generate electricity during the day and steam engines during the night.
No path 
A common error that means that a train cannot find a valid route to a train stop. See Railway#No_path.

O

Outpost 
A small base created far away from a Bootstrap base, usually to serve a single purpose like mining or production of a specific resource.

P

Priority splitter 
A splitter design that directs as many resources as possible from a bus to an offshoot before letting excess items flow past. This is in contrast to a splitter that always distributes some percentage of items to both sides (depending on the particular arrangement of splitters).

Q

QOL 
Quality of life, often refers to mods that increase ease of play.

R

RORO 
Abbreviation for "Roll on, roll off" in the context of train station design. It means that trains arrive at the station at one end and leave the station at the other end (driving past the train stop), as opposed to terminus stations.
RPM 
Shorthand for rockets per minute, usually used to meassure the size of very big bases, see Megabase and Gigabase.
Rainbow belt 
A transport belt with many different types of items on it, rather than the easier-to-manage one or two types of items. See Sushi belt.
Ribbon world 
A world which has been set up to have limited space in one dimension (width or height), adding a new challenge. The smallest ribbon world in which you can launch a rocket is a map limited to a width of 9 tiles, the width of the rocket silo.
Roundabout 
This term refers to a type of path for trains, to allow the trains to enter the circle, and exit onto the exit rail that they path to. Generally recommended against, due to throughput and self collision issues.


S

Scenario 
A map that has been saved via the Map editor. Special scripting can be added to make simple "events".
Seed 
A number associated with each map that determines the outcome of certain pseudo-random processes, like terrain generation. All other settings being equal, different seeds result in vastly different terrain features. The seed is included in Map exchange strings.
Shuttle 
A train for personal transportation around the factory. Sometimes called a taxi.
Sideloading 
This is a commonly used term that refers to running the end of a Transport belt into the side of another, so that only the lane on the side of the belt that the other belt is on is filled. This is typically done to create a belt that carries two different resources side-by-side on the same belt.
Small plane 
An item from the New Hope campaign. (No further spoilers.)
Smart furnace 
A smelting setup that can process multiple materials (e.g. iron ore, copper ore, iron plates, stone).
Spaghetti 
A community term referring to the "spaghetti" look of many belts/entities placed in a disorganized fashion. Typically created by new players to Factorio. Generally, it will be moved away from as soon as the player realizes the logistical problems it causes. Note that not all "spaghetti" factories are necessarily inefficient.
Speedrun 
A term referring to attempting to quickly finish the game as soon as possible. At the time of this writing, the record is just over an hour.
Stacker 
Also known as Parking lot. A waiting bay for trains, allowing them to wait on different parallel tracks and not block each other until their destination becomes free. Recommended in front of large, multi-platform stations.
Supply train
A train that usually for personal use that is used to carry mostly building materials like rails, conveyor belts, inserters, assembly machines etc..
Sushi belt 
The strategy of mixing many different types of items on transport belts to supply machines that need some or all of those items. It sacrifices throughput for compactness (and beauty). It looks colorful and diverse like a tray of sushi. Its perhaps most popular application is supplying labs with science packs. Sometimes called sushi bar or rainbow belt.

T

TINS 
Abbreviation of "There Is No Spoon", the name of the in-game achievement.
Terminus 
A train station design where trains come in and leave from the same side, thus requiring double-headed trains, unlike RORO stations.
Throughput 
A term that refers to the maximum amount of resources that can travel through something (such as a belt) in a certain amount of time. Usually quantified in items per second.
Tick 
The smallest measurable amount of time in Factorio. There are 60 ticks per second (when running at 60 UPS), and 3600 ticks in a minute.
Tile 
A piece of map. It is not really known how big it is, but for simplifying things we can assume that a tile is a quadratic with side of 1 meter.
Time 
Game time is normally identical with real time, one second in the game is one second in reality, but it can be faster or slower. For example, when the calculations for an update takes longer than a tick, the game slows down (aka UPS). Alternatively, a mod can provide ways to let the game run faster.
Train bus 
A popular alternative to the main bus pattern. Instead of using a belt bus to provide materials for various production cells, a large rail system allows many trains to route materials between more distant cells, sometimes called subfactories. It's a UPS-friendlier strategy for large factories such as megabases.
Trash can 
A simple 'public utility' of sorts, which is an active provider that players can dump unwanted items into. Logistic robots pick them up and store them away. It's useful if you need to get rid of large quantities of items (such as wood or landfill) and your logistic trash slots are full.
Turret 
Stationary defense weapon. There are three types of turrets in Factorio, the Laser turret, Gun turret, and Flamethrower turret.
Turret creep 
The tactic of leap-frogging with turrets into hostile territory. It's very effective due to the strength and range of turrets. Typically done with laser turrets, blueprints and personal roboports, but can also be done by manually placing gun turrets and inserting ammo.

U

UPS 
Internal clock speed, "Updates Per Second". The game tries its best to maintain the ideal 60 UPS, but it is affected by the size and complexity of the game world and your computer hardware. A lower UPS means that the simulation runs slower. At 30 UPS everything would take twice as long as under ideal conditions. This is a common concern on megabases or when playing with many mods active. It can be set to more than 60 UPS by changing the game speed via script, processing power permitting. The Transport Belt Madness and Tight Spot campaigns are examples where the game speed can be increased.

V

Vanilla 
Regular version of the game with no mods.

W

Wube 
The company based in the Czech Republic that develops Factorio.

Z

Zoo 
A group of biter or spitter nests around which the player has built a safe containment zone, i.e. a circle of turrets. Reasons for doing this include exploiting the nests' pollution absorption and automating the destruction of items (using requester chests near the nests).