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The Legend of Ungrashzon
January 20, 2012 5:18 AM   Subscribe

Not sure what this Dwarf Fortress thing is all about? The Legend of Ungrashzon (German SLYT, English subtitles available) illustrates.
posted by Zarkonnen (33 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've clearly watched too many Downfall parodies; I began to imagine how it would go to see Hitler asking about the current status of his Dwarves and findining out that Fortress Steiner is not doing as well as expected ...
posted by barnacles at 5:54 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


@barnacles Being holed up in a bunker and vainly trying to impose your will on a complete chaos is pretty much how most fortresses end - so it's pretty apt. I wonder if you could fudge the aspect ratio a little for that extra dwarfy look?
posted by Zarkonnen at 6:10 AM on January 20, 2012


This didn't tell me much about what DF is all about. But it did once again bring DF to my attention and I vow to actually try it this time. Probably.
posted by DU at 6:16 AM on January 20, 2012


To really bring the Dorf, you need to run the Downfall clip through VLC's Color ASCII Output module and capture the results.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:25 AM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you can read the Saga of Boatmurdered and not become fascinated with Dwarf Fortress, then I don't even know.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:28 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I tried Dwarf Fortress. it is the sort of thing that could have eaten up my teenage years, had it been available. I'm beginning to suspect Dwarf Fortress is more of a lifestyle than a game.
posted by Brodiggitty at 7:07 AM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I liked the mini-tutorial of Boatmurdered and then I clicked next and was completely lost. So maybe DF isn't for me.
posted by DU at 7:24 AM on January 20, 2012


MATUL REMRIT ENDURES.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 7:29 AM on January 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is there a term for someone who reads every DF community game on the Bay 12 forums but has never attempted to play the game ? The journey is fascinating, but I'll let someone else drive.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:40 AM on January 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's interesting they based it on the original setup, and not the current. Z levels came in.. what, four years ago? Something like that? Feels like its been awhile, in any case.
posted by curious nu at 7:42 AM on January 20, 2012


You know, I love the concept of the game. I put a lot of hours into it, and I've sent bay12games a fair bit of money. But Tarn won't fix the UI until the game is done, and has said the game will never be done. Ergo, the UI will never be fixed.

Even that I could live with, except he keeps coming up with these insanely complex new systems that never quite work right, and he never really fixes them before haring off to implement some other insanely complex system that never works right. And now, after the incredible amount of effort he's put into simulating a physical world (down to layers of skin on creatures, seriously), he's going for deep magic and zombies and shit.

If you're going to have such powerful magic, then why even have a physical simulator in the first place? Why not just say EVERYTHING is magic and write simpler systems that actually work reliably?

I really liked the game the best when it was 2D. 3D I can live with, but I would much rather have had 2D Dwarf Fortress with the bugs fixed, instead of 3D fortresses that always fall apart from errors in the code. It's like he never tries to run, say, the same fort for a hundred years -- the bugs just keep accumulating, and most forts will eventually collapse because things just don't work right anymore. And then the physical modeling of skin layers on dwarves and shit is just purely wasted time, from my perspective.

So I'm pretty well done with Dwarf Fortress. Great idea, neat execution in some areas, dismal UI, and no real clarity of design. It was a better game two years ago than it is today, and it's going downhill steadily.
posted by Malor at 7:45 AM on January 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you're going to have such powerful magic, then why even have a physical simulator in the first place? Why not just say EVERYTHING is magic and write simpler systems that actually work reliably?

You're implying that "deep magic and zombies and shit" make all of the mundane game useless? No? Then they make the detailed bits useless? How's that? Zombies are exactly the sort of creature where you want to keep track of the parts of them that have been chopped off, yet can still move. Apparently necromancers can reanimate any body part at all.
posted by LogicalDash at 8:11 AM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Obligatory Oilfurnace.
posted by quoquo at 8:16 AM on January 20, 2012


Of course they do. What's the point of having all that simulation when you've got magic right next to it? If you're going to make a rigorous simulation, then make one. If you're gonna include magic, then throw away the rigorous simulation in favor of things that work well and run fast, since it's all bullshit anyway.

From what I can see, Tarn just wants to make necromancers and dwarf zombies an unstoppable menace. Great, I'm thrilled, but what does that have to do with running a fortress full of dwarves trying to create a working economy?

He's all over the map. There's no real direction to what he's doing, and it doesn't fit into a coherent whole anymore. He's just throwing complex system after complex system over the wall without ever fixing them.

I, for one, would like a simpler game that actually works, rather than this hyper-complex buggy piece of directionless crap. I've given quite a bit of money to them in the past, but it's quite unlikely they'll be getting any more from this gamer.
posted by Malor at 8:19 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll probably come back to DF eventually. It was the (deliberate, I think) lack of fault-tolerance in the dwarves' AI that made me put it down. I don't mean that there was some bug causing them to do bizarre things; it was just so frustrating that, whenever a dwarf's task was interrupted by an animal, a missing necessary object (e.g. a barrel or bucket), or another of the near-endless excuses to halt work, they would not automatically resume the task after I had solved the problem. They would either lollygag around or perform one of the few tasks that don't require shop orders, like harvesting crops or hauling furniture.

This would have maddening cascade effects: when your fuel industry halts because your lumberjack was interrupted by a passing ape, so does your smelting industry and your forging industry. It's a logical progression, by why can't the lumberjack resume cutting when the ape is gone? Why can't the smelter get back to smelting when the fuel starts coming in?

I'm hoping Tarn will eventually allow players to set up standing workshop orders for every activity, not just gathering webs and rendering fat. An order to "maintain X units of Y resource in stockpile" would be great too.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 8:23 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just want a more graphically appealing version
posted by NiteMayr at 8:29 AM on January 20, 2012


You don't need a more graphically appealing version. What happens in my head when I play it is graphically pleasing enough.
posted by CrazyJoel at 9:45 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


And now, after the incredible amount of effort he's put into simulating a physical world (down to layers of skin on creatures, seriously), he's going for deep magic and zombies and shit.

While most of this is just an inevitability given the way he and his mind work, I think it's also partly some of the unfortunate incentives that come with being a small indie game developer, especially one with a relatively small and homogeneous community of supporters. Specifically, because nerds love zombies and monsters and Lovecraft pastiches, every time he goes in that direction, he gets lots of positive feedback and interest. If he fixed the UI, he'd get a whole lot of "Well, finally". I don't think the group of people who would be rightfully delighted that he was materially improving the gameplay would outdonate, or, probably more importantly, outenthuse the people who go bonkers for the promise of zombie armies and hilarious devlog updates. I don't even think it's a conscious thing on his part, but I do think he's being pushed in that direction partly because of the way the community incentivizes the parts of the game he works on.
posted by Copronymus at 10:00 AM on January 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you're going to make a rigorous simulation, then make one. If you're gonna include magic, then throw away the rigorous simulation in favor of things that work well and run fast, since it's all bullshit anyway.

You seem to be assuming that he's going for realism. I don't think that's right; I think he's going for detail.
posted by LogicalDash at 10:13 AM on January 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Eleven! Eleven comments until someone mentioned the UI! Ah ah ah ah!
posted by curious nu at 10:25 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed reading Sebmojo's story in one of our previous DF threads.
posted by ODiV at 10:32 AM on January 20, 2012


Joe, you can't tell me what I want; what I want is dwarf fortress with "Die Siedlers" version 4 style gtraphics
posted by NiteMayr at 11:23 AM on January 20, 2012


If you're going to have such powerful magic, then why even have a physical simulator in the first place? Why not just say EVERYTHING is magic and write simpler systems that actually work reliably?

(a) that would be no fun.
(b) you think the magic won't be rigorous (according to whatever rules govern it)?

But I think (a) is the real reason.
posted by kenko at 11:24 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was interesting when poisons were introduced, but very quickly became frustrating when in the same release aspects of the game were disabled so dwarves no longer can figure out how to put on new clothes (clothes wear out in the game). Some poisons work with skin contact and thus, eventually, you have a pool of some poison lying on the floor and dwarves wandering through every now and then having their feet rot of or just plain fall over dead. It's very frustrating in a long game fortress.
posted by Catfry at 11:56 AM on January 20, 2012


That's the kind of thing I'm talking about, Catfry. He designs the game so that things work for, like, ten years, and then they slowly start to fall to shit. He obviously doesn't stick with his fortresses for long periods of time -- he must run them enough to be sure the new feature LOOKS LIKE it's working. Since most of the issues don't pop up for like twenty or thirty years, he never sees them and never fixes them.

He shouldn't add ANYTHING more to the game, he should take a year and make what's already there, work right. But that's boring, tedious work, so he'd rather go haring off and implement zombies than make dwarves smart enough to change their shoes. And I guarantee the zombies will be buggy as shit.
posted by Malor at 12:11 PM on January 20, 2012


In related news, Paradox announced they're working on something that bears not a little resemblance to Dwarf Fortress.
posted by ODiV at 12:21 PM on January 20, 2012


The last time I played Dwarf Fortress my legendary engraver filled an entire dining room with recursive engravings. I'm talking about, like:

THE FURNACE OF SORROWS. A masterwork engraving by Amost, showing Amost creating the masterwork engraving THE IRONCLAD LOIN OF LEMMINGS.

Look around the room and find THE IRONCLAD LOIN OF LEMMINGS itself; it's a masterwork engraving by Amost, showing Amost creating the masterwork engraving THE PILLAR OF LIPS.

THE PILLAR OF LIPS shows Amost creating the masterwork engraving LIONFLASHES THE CHALKY VASE which is an engraving of Amost creating a masterwork engraving...

I'm making up the names but it was literally five different engravings before I found the source, which was a masterfully-designed image of squares. Dwarfception.
posted by titus n. owl at 12:45 PM on January 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


In related news, Paradox announced they're working on something that bears not a little resemblance to Dwarf Fortress.

If anyone has the potential to make something with as many weirdo bugs as Dwarf Fortress, it's probably Paradox.
posted by Copronymus at 1:22 PM on January 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


If there's one developer that very obviously prioritizes grand ideas and concepts over actually being able to play the game, it's Paradox. Every game of theirs I buy I have to wait like two years before it's patched and modded enough to be playable.

Why do I keep buying them? The awesome concepts, duh.
posted by Fister Roboto at 2:03 PM on January 20, 2012


If anyone has the potential to make something with as many weirdo bugs as Dwarf Fortress, it's probably Paradox.

Keeping with tradition, in the 1.0 release your dwarves should be able to climb one on the next one's shoulders for at least a 50-dwarf-high stack, and the stack will probably endure even a volcano explosion that flattens out the rest of the continent.
posted by Iosephus at 4:44 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The dwarves' humble expedition builds into something magnificent but some part of what they do contains the seeds of their horrible undoing. I haven't played DF in a long time but I was impressed by how the games tended to play out like classical tragedy in a way that I don't remember seeing even attempted in any other game.

I'd like to hear of other examples.
posted by Anything at 6:19 PM on January 22, 2012


If you can read the Saga of Boatmurdered and not become fascinated with Dwarf Fortress, then I don't even know.

I've spent probably about 90 minutes reading about that Dwarf Fortress game, probably 75% of whose screenshots I didn't understand at all. Who says the Internet is bad for the attention span.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:49 PM on January 23, 2012


I would just bring up again this amazing Dwarf Fortress story from an earlier thread.
posted by Anything at 8:17 AM on January 26, 2012


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