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Dwarf Fortress 2012!
February 14, 2012 7:13 PM   Subscribe

Dwarf Fortress 2012 has been released! After DF2010 [mefi], Toady One had planned to keep up a regular schedule of smaller releases. But while adding 300+ animals from a fundraising drive, the feature set spiralled beyond expectation.

Ostriches and squid lead naturally to werewolves, necromancy, and vampire-kings. Expanded city features [mefi] lead to decently-developed sewers, catacombs, tombs, and dungeons.

Still confused about what Dwarf Fortress is all about? Start with the chronicle of Boatmurdered [mefi] or the illustrated battle report from Bronzemurder [mefi] for a taste of DF's scale and scope.
posted by free hugs (66 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Can Mojang hire this guy to do the AI for Minecraft?
posted by dibblda at 7:25 PM on February 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was just looking at the update list. Now gems can have different cuts, finally!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 7:26 PM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some people might be interested in the variousmy little pony community fortresses, where instead of dwarves there are ponies.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:26 PM on February 14, 2012


pony mod
posted by Ad hominem at 7:28 PM on February 14, 2012


Can Mojang hire this guy to do the AI for Minecraft?
Still, in the only moment I heard him speak with anything like bitterness, Tarn called Minecraft a “depressing distillation of our own stuff.” He paused, adding more magnanimously that the game “has its own things going for it.” The problem, he concluded, “isn’t with Minecraft so much as it’s with society.”
posted by fartron at 7:35 PM on February 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Whoo hoo! Crystal glass is fixed. That one was obnoxious.

For anyone setting out to play the game for the first time, you probably want to try something like this, a version with a graphics set installed.
posted by XMLicious at 7:43 PM on February 14, 2012


Being able to designate through multiple z levels is huge!
posted by history_denier at 7:44 PM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Heh. I was just thinking how much this game is like minecraft. Obviously they started out differently, they both involve digging but in minecraft you do the digging yourself, while in DF... actually I don't really know what 'you' do in DF. but in any event Mine-craft has been adding more features that seem similar to what's in DF.

But still, it's only natural that minecraft evolved the way it did. It also has stuff that's not at all in DF, like the whole mechnics/physics with redrocks and all that stuff that allows you to build machines and so on.
posted by delmoi at 7:45 PM on February 14, 2012


No DF thread is complete without a link to Oilfurnace.
posted by Sebmojo at 7:48 PM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


(By the same chap as Bronzemurder)
posted by Sebmojo at 7:54 PM on February 14, 2012


Feature Creep would be a good name for a supervillain.
posted by BiggerJ at 7:56 PM on February 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


delmoi: "It also has stuff that's not at all in DF, like the whole mechnics/physics with redrocks and all that stuff that allows you to build machines and so on."

I never got into it, but DF has pumps and triggers and pressure plates enough to do stuff like this. I had no idea that people were using the pet navigation behavior in their fortress computers, though, which is pretty funny.
posted by Copronymus at 7:59 PM on February 14, 2012


I knew I was never going to be a hardcore df player after I logged onto the irc channel and walked into the middle of a conversation about the best way to use pumps and other mechanical devices to build a perpetual motion machine.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:04 PM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


murphy slaw: "I knew I was never going to be a hardcore df player after I logged onto the irc channel and walked into the middle of a conversation about the best way to use pumps and other mechanical devices to build a perpetual motion machine."

If this was in the era of infinite river water, I'm guessing it wasn't even that hard.

Actually, while the set of updates that got rid of infinite waves of water/lava wasn't a huge net gain in terms of enjoyable gameplay, it does show my absolute favorite thing about Toady's development process: every time he sees something that's arbitrary and game-y, he asks himself how to get rid of it. In the first versions, every fortress site had the same set of features and the water and lava poured endlessly out of the top of the screen. Now, he's put a complicated (well, everything in DF is complicated, so that goes without saying) system of terrain development with biomes that take into account elevation, drainage, rainfall, and temperature so that the rivers now have plausible sources and empty logically into seas and every bit of the water you see on the screen could be sourced. It's envisioned as a game where you can always walk into the background of a scene to climb the hills and swim in the oceans.
posted by Copronymus at 8:22 PM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


* Atmospheric classical guitar loop replaced by five minute-long blistering guitar solo courtesy of J. Mascis
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:30 PM on February 14, 2012


So awesome this came out on valentine's day. Forever alone.
posted by georg_cantor at 9:08 PM on February 14, 2012 [14 favorites]


Anyone have a speed run video?
posted by blue_beetle at 9:21 PM on February 14, 2012


Roger, User cancels Life: Interrupted by Dwarf Fortress.
posted by RogerB at 9:24 PM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Feature Creep would be a good name for a supervillain.

Nemesis of Action Item, of course.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:36 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


delmoi: Obviously they started out differently, they both involve digging but in minecraft you do the digging yourself, while in DF... actually I don't really know what 'you' do in DF. but in any event Mine-craft has been adding more features that seem similar to what's in DF.

Well, DF is really more a God game (at least in the more-popular fortress mode, I never did learn the controls for the roguelike mode, although that has its fans.) You direct little dudes to do stuff and try to keep them alive and happy, until you get bored or everything spirals into madness. Like Minecraft, one diversion (especially for more advanced players) is to try to Build Something Cool. Unlike Minecraft, there's no simultaneous multiplayer, though there's a pretty active community and a wiki and round robin games.

Also, from Copronymus's link: Invaders such as elves or goblins will not work with any of the designs on this page, not unless you managed to dehand them before capture-- securely closed doors are no barrier to them.

...DF also allows that if you can get a goblin that your dwarfs have maimed without killing, you can imprison him running through a hellish maze for your own mad amusement, allowing you to play as some eldritch abomination beyond comprehension.
posted by kagredon at 9:43 PM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Anyone have a speed run video?

DF speedrun walkthrough:

1. Start new fortress
2. Pick the first starting location it presents you.
3. Start playing now! (random embark setup)
4. When the game starts, press Escape, Abandon fort.
posted by daniel_charms at 9:46 PM on February 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Minecraft has the buzz, but DF is still a more interesting game I think. Anyway, it's a lot more fun to read Dwarf Fortress stories than Minecraft stories, and I think that's what Tarn is going for.
posted by JHarris at 10:06 PM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was wondering why I'd apparently clicked on like %75 of these links, damn I loves me some DF.

It's a shame that Tarn's personal issues have apparently limited his ability to work with other programmers, but DF is still fun as hell. There's always the older versions if you want to avoid some of the game altering bugs that 2012 has.

Feature Creep would be a good name for a supervillain.

Feature Creep and his sidekick Not a Bug, Working as Intended would be a good supervillain team. GeekSquad assemble!
posted by Sphinx at 11:16 PM on February 14, 2012


The new version has some pretty awesome stuff, but playing without a compatible version of Dwarf Therapist (xtree-like interface for keeping track of what your dwarves' skills and assignments are) is driving me insane.

Also, wow, it rains Elf blood a lot.
posted by darksasami at 11:41 PM on February 14, 2012


Does it have graphics yet? No? I'll pass then. Come on, it's 2012. Enough with the 'more lo-fi than thou' nonsense.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:25 AM on February 15, 2012


Do all games have to have graphics? Because if Tarn had to create graphics for all the possible things that could appear in the game the game wouldn't be a fourth as complex. He's one guy, and "asset creation" as game development studios call it is very time consuming.
posted by JHarris at 1:35 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


ASCII representations are graphics. And in a lot of cases (Nethack also springs to mind), I actually find them easier to use for quickly interpreting a large field of interacting objects than trying to sort out which intricate little picture goes with which thing. Simple shapes. Simple colors. Done.

The menu system, on the other hand, is atrocious. Has someone come up with a utility for that?
posted by kagredon at 1:42 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gaming has never seen a game like Dwarf Fortress and gaming has never seen a project like this one. This is going to be a life's work in a medium that routinely see games rushed out and quickly orphaned.

But perhaps Dwarf Fortress's greatest legacy will be the passion it invokes in its players. It's this passion that drives them to share their stories and they're particularly driven because their stories are uniquely their own. Someone posted a brilliant Dwarf Fortress story almost two years ago and, in turn, Derek Yu, he of Spelunky fame, was inspired to draw this.

If all that's putting you off is the lack of graphics, you should take a look at the graphic tilesets. Purists will sniff but if these tilesets get more people playing Dwarf Fortress and sharing their own stories, I'm all for them.
posted by Asimo at 2:10 AM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


ASCII representations are graphics.

(sigh) Yes, I know. I put it like that because it's a clearer sentence to most peple than "Do all games have to have graphics that closely resemble some supposed real-world counterpart," or with some other muddlesome phrasing. Yes, I actually thought about the sentence before I wrote it, I'm that obsessive. One tries to be brief while being acceptably precise, but sometimes those ideals are at cross-purposes.
posted by JHarris at 2:42 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't want it to look like Skyrim or Minecraft even, but surely he could pick one or two of the popular tilesets and integrate them, or provide a proper API for other people to do it.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 2:48 AM on February 15, 2012


If you think Dwarf Fortress uses ASCII because it is trying to be a pretentious low-fi game, you have missed the point of Dwarf Fortress entirely.
posted by ellF at 4:56 AM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I've tried twice to play DF on Linux and it's just too hard to get it running. And this is a Linux user saying that!
posted by DU at 5:04 AM on February 15, 2012


I used to be really into Dwarf Fortress, but I don't think I'm even going to bother with this version.

Why? Because the game is buggy as shit, and it never, ever gets better. Instead of making the existing systems work, Tarn just keeps haring off to implement NEW insanely complex systems that don't work right. You can't keep a fortress going for any kind of long period, because it will inevitably start falling apart from bugs in the goddamn code.

I used to speak highly of this game. I no longer do. I'd give it a big AVOID AT ALL COSTS stamp instead. Even if you can get through the horrid, horrid interface, any fortress you invest a bunch of time designing and building will gradually grind to a halt from items you can't pick up or pools of poison that can never be cleaned or the simple fact that dwarves still don't know to obtain new clothing when their old clothing wears out. And that's just from memory, if I actually sat down and played it for any length of time, I could give you a list of bugs as long as my arm.

Dwarf Fortress has turned into a gigantic jackoff project for Tarn Adams. It's no longer a game for other people. I donated rather a lot of money in the past, but he'll probably never get another dime from me.
posted by Malor at 5:12 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, but on the other hand, from the changelog:

Bodies and souls are properly separated after dead, so it is entirely possible to be haunted by a ghost of someone recently raised as a zombie.

That is attention to detail.
posted by omnikron at 5:19 AM on February 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thank God - a more complicated version of Dwarf Fortress! I for one was really hurting for some more moving parts.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:35 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I pick up DF every month or so, trying to fill in the areas that I truly don't understand. I think I'm about 60% of the way there, and I still enjoy the hell out of it.

Anyone have a decent walkthrough of the military screen though? The wiki doesn't do it for me. I'm not sure what wavelength Tarn was on when he designed that piece, it's all Elvish to me.
posted by Think_Long at 5:43 AM on February 15, 2012


dwarves still don't know to obtain new clothing when their old clothing wears out

Naked dwarves? That's a feature, not a bug.
posted by The River Ivel at 5:44 AM on February 15, 2012


Actually they just keep wearing the worn out clothing and sometimes they try to layer newer stuff over top until it wears out as well or until they can't wear any more threadbare stuff IIRC...
posted by some loser at 5:49 AM on February 15, 2012


Dwarf Fortress has turned into a gigantic jackoff project for Tarn Adams. It's no longer a game for other people.

There has never been a time when this hasn't been the case. It's always been his project, it's always been just him having fun. The fact that there are people playing the game who draw satisfaction from playing it and are willing to support him is just a felicitous coincidence that has allowed him to keep on having fun.

Let's face it - you've always known this; you've just fallen out of love with the game.
posted by daniel_charms at 5:49 AM on February 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


Bullshit, daniel_charms. What I have always wanted was 'Dwarf Fortress with the bugs fixed', and that was why I gave him money, and even sent in notes to that effect.

It became apparent in the last couple years that he was never going to fix the bugs, so that's when I stopped supporting him.

The game is not really playable for a long time span, because of accumulating bugs, and I no longer recommend putting your time into it. You will not be well-rewarded. The inevitable death of your fortress won't be because you dug too deep and woke something you shouldn't, or because you screwed up, but simply because the game itself stops working properly.
posted by Malor at 6:01 AM on February 15, 2012


Still, in the only moment I heard him speak with anything like bitterness, Tarn called Minecraft a “depressing distillation of our own stuff.” He paused, adding more magnanimously that the game “has its own things going for it.” The problem, he concluded, “isn’t with Minecraft so much as it’s with society.”
The problem with society is that it prefers the intuitive and engaging to something that looks and plays like shit, even if the one that looks and plays shittier has a better feature list. I bet this guy uses Linux.

(not that there's a problem with liking features, it's just sort of arrogant to assume everybody else cares about the same geeky shit that you care about, and his condescension really bothers me)
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:24 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I could sink my life into a game like DF so I, for one, am thankful for the bugs and random oddities that caused me to give it up rather quickly.

... but if he ever gets things shucking and jiving nicely together could someone send me a memail or something, I'll be ready...
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:51 AM on February 15, 2012


Is DF he kind of game you can play if you only have 10 hrs or so of game time per week?
posted by Vindaloo at 7:27 AM on February 15, 2012


Vindaloo: I think it would be difficult because of the way the game is structured. You designate things for the dwarves to do, and they eventually do them (when the raw materials are available, when the dwarf has time, at a speed determined by their skill, and so on). The result is that you're often waiting an unpredictable amount of time for something to complete while you're setting up new things to be done. If you played in short sessions, I think it would be hard to track what was in the task queue, so you'd spend a lot of time each session just getting back into it.
posted by aneel at 7:34 AM on February 15, 2012


Well, unless you spent your 10 hours a week in one or two long sessions... then DF might be a great choice.
posted by aneel at 7:35 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can Mojang hire this guy to do the AI for Minecraft?

I thought that said UI for a second and laughed really hard.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:59 AM on February 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


---===Dwarf Fortress 2018 changelog===---

New stuff

- added 12 new animals and their giant/man/were/miniature versions
- world gen now accurately simulates the plate tectonics and the coriolis effect
- multiversal travel now possible in adv mode
- van allen belts are now simulated and aurora are now visible about 20-30 z levels above the ground
- dwarves with high enough aerospace engineering skills can now build orbital fortresses 30-40 z levels above the ground
- added 23 new kinds of food including their effects on each dwarf's short term digestive comfort, bathroom needs, and long term health and well being
- added quilling, cartography, software development, finance, fast food franchising, and candlemaking industries
- dwarves now have unique fingerprints
- books can now come in different typefaces and 3 new kinds of bindings have been added

Major bug fixes

- none

Other bug fixes/tweaks

- fixed issue where undersea fortresses would flood any time a dwarf used a zipper inside of one
posted by cirrostratus at 8:55 AM on February 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Tarn called Minecraft a �depressing distillation of our own stuff.�

If by "depressing", he means "playable".

The enjoyability ratio of any game is Amount of Fun Received / Amount of Effort Invested.

Minecraft's ratio looks remarkably different than Dwarf Fortress's, and the comparison is not in DF's favor.
posted by DWRoelands at 9:04 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dwarf Fortress starts with a basic premise of redefining "fun", so I don't think your math works out quite right.

Having played with both, I much prefer Lego to Duplo, even if the little parts keep getting everywhere and they hurt to step on. I understand that not everyone agrees.
posted by darksasami at 11:32 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


But perhaps Dwarf Fortress's greatest legacy will be the passion it invokes in its players. It's this passion that drives them to share their stories and they're particularly driven because their stories are uniquely their own. Someone posted a brilliant Dwarf Fortress story almost two years ago and, in turn, Derek Yu, he of Spelunky fame, was inspired to draw this.

That picture is incredible. Derek Yu - Too Talented? or Too Fucking Goddam Talented? ONLY YOU CAN DECIDE!
posted by Sebmojo at 12:22 PM on February 15, 2012


It became apparent in the last couple years that he was never going to fix the bugs, so that's when I stopped supporting him.

While I pretty much share your grievances and stopped playing DF because my poor old computer couldn't handle it anymore (and haven't really found the motivation to pick it up again despite getting a faster computer), I'd argue that it's been this way longer than just a few years. There's always been a huge pile of bugs that Toady hasn't bothered to fix because he (apparently) thinks he'll rewrite that bit in the near future anyway, so why bother. The result is that he (again, apparently) spends tons of time writing some really deep core mechanics that can produce some really great stories, yet have relatively little effect on the gameplay compared to, say, an UI rewrite that would, in all likelihood, take a fraction of the time to do that it took to implement vampires and werewolves.

So I think I can see where you're coming from. A part of me thinks that Toady is a socially challenged (and paranoid) asshole who's been enjoying the support of hundreds of generous people without giving them much in return, other than a few occasional new features. The other part of me, though, thinks that despite his shortcomings, and despite the development of DF seemingly moving at a snail's pace (or even worse, like the arrow in Zeno's paradox), he's working on something truly great, something truly innovative and visionary. Something so immense that we can't just quite grasp its full scope yet, making it seem like he's working insignificant little details, while in reality, they're just pieces to a puzzle that haven't quite clicked in place yet.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:42 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


daniel, that sounds great, and I wish it were true. But I really don't think it is. I think he's gone off down the rabbit hole to endlessly writing code, instead of making a game. (or even making a toy.) Right now, DF isn't a game, and it's a pretty rotten toy, because it constantly breaks.

Paradox is doing something vaguely like DF, so I'm hopeful some of the basic vision in DF can be brought to a reasonable UI, with an actual QA process.
posted by Malor at 4:38 PM on February 15, 2012


(not that Paradox is _wonderful_ for QA, mind, but hey -- if there's any commercial entity best-suited to getting into the 'buggy simulation of dwarves' genre, it's Paradox. :-) )
posted by Malor at 4:39 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tarn is the opposite of mainstream software development, along with all that that entails. I love the game for it, because it's absolutely something that could not emerge out of current studio game development. Almost everything that someone points to as being wrong about Dwarf Fortress is a point of endearment for me. You could call him antisocial in his reluctant to let other people work on his code, but I prefer to stand amazed that he's made it all by himself. I stand amazed by Dwarf Fortress. I have no idea how he keeps all of that in his head at once.

He must truly love working on it, because there's no way on earth a single person could make something that great for mere money.
posted by JHarris at 6:25 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, JHarris, you like that your fortress can easily go into tantrum spirals and self-destruct because dwarves are too stupid to change clothes, while hating being in rotting clothing?

Or that your entire fortress can die from a single pool of venom, because nobody can clean it up and it rots everyone's feet?

Or that zillions of items just get dropped and scattered all over your fort, blocking all construction on those tiles, but are incorrectly marked as 'in-use', and will not be moved again by any dwarf for the duration of the entire fortress?

Or that wells just mysteriously stop working, causing your wounded dwarves to die of infection because they couldn't have their wounds cleaned?

Those aren't 'cute features', they are game-breaking bugs, and the game is festooned with them. They are stupid bugs. They have been there for years. Tarn does not fucking care.

This game is not worth spending money on.
posted by Malor at 6:40 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyone is obviously within their rights not to like Dwarf Fortress (much less to "spend" [!] money on donations to Toady) because of the bugginess, the insane UI, its being more like a "toy" than a "game," the idiosyncratic one-man-show development model, or whatever else. The fact the game keeps players despite all that seems remarkable enough on its own, and the fact that for some players it delivers an experience that's fun enough to outweigh the bugs or make it worth coming up with insane workarounds really does seem like an argument that it should be thought of as something special. It's not a matter of liking the bugs, obviously — rather it's a matter of recognizing that the creator's vision of the finished product and the route he takes to get there is his, not ours. Backing independent non-corporate development entails being willing to treat the product like a work in progress, whose very existence as the result of only one person's efforts is something of a miracle, and test its virtues against its flaws for ourselves.
posted by RogerB at 6:54 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't recall seeing the in use bug for some time. As for the other things... it's a big, big game. It's possible for one or two things to be broken but not even notice it. People still seem to play the game somehow, so it can't be that broken.

And I haven't noticed any of these problems, at least, when I play. I've never had a tantrum spiral. A friend of mine has had a lot more experience playing the game than I have, but had to think hard to remember any tantrum spiral. I suggest that the game might not be as buggy as you remember, either that or maybe there's something about the way you play it?
posted by JHarris at 8:44 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have no idea what the fuck berserk nerdrage Malor is on about. DF2010 and the older version have about the same number of annoying bugs, which is actually not a whole ton, and I've played them both more or less equally. It depends on if you want, on the one hand, a big deep underground with guaranteed caves and magma, merchants that bring more things, a very detailed military system, and statues of different things, and on the other (older) hand, a simple military system, more nobles to deal with, a "dwarven economy", and a more limited space to work with. That's about it.
posted by furiousthought at 10:26 PM on February 15, 2012


Can I take back my analogy? It's all weird now.
posted by darksasami at 9:38 AM on February 16, 2012


"Having played with both, I much prefer Lego to Duplo..."

Having played both, I much prefer Duplo to telling a semi-incompetent dwarf to play Lego.
posted by markkraft at 7:50 PM on February 16, 2012


So, JHarris, you like that your fortress can easily go into tantrum spirals and self-destruct because dwarves are too stupid to change clothes, while hating being in rotting clothing?

Or that your entire fortress can die from a single pool of venom, because nobody can clean it up and it rots everyone's feet?

Or that zillions of items just get dropped and scattered all over your fort, blocking all construction on those tiles, but are incorrectly marked as 'in-use', and will not be moved again by any dwarf for the duration of the entire fortress?

Or that wells just mysteriously stop working, causing your wounded dwarves to die of infection because they couldn't have their wounds cleaned?


Yes.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:30 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gee thanks, Sebmojo.

I do like better than we don't seem to see these problems now, that even if Tarn didn't release an explicit bug report that they had been fixed, they do seem to have been fixed some time. But Tarn is, after all, one person. Nothing forces players to upgrade to new versions, and in fact, it's probably best not to run DF 2012 immediately while Tarn gets the most obvious bugs under control. The Development Log (RSS) already lists several bugfixes.
posted by JHarris at 4:43 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


darksasami, where your analogy falls apart is that Lego and Duplo have the same mechanics. Lego is more intricate and lets you build more, but you're fundamentally building the same way you were building Duplo. The way you play Dwarf Fortress is fundamentally different from the way you play Minecraft. The way you interact with its world is much more intricate, but the method of interaction is flawed and the system is apparently buggy in a bunch of different ways.

If I had an interface to run DF as smoothly as I can play Minecraft, where I'm immersed in a virtual world, interact with things with simple clicks and reasonably well-made interfaces, and can see things rather than interpreting an arcane map of symbols, then I'd love to play Dwarf Fortress. As it is, I've enthusiastically downloaded the game two or three times, spent an hour trying to figure out how to play it, then given up, regretting that its apparently world-class complexity is marred by such shitty interface design and apparent user-hostility.

Rendering information accessible, rather than simply making sure it's there, is incomparably valuable to society at large. There will always be people who are so in love with obtaining information that they'll overcome any obstacle to obtain it. I don't always envy those people. What's more, I don't think that denying people access to something via their willingness to access it is any better a reason to leave people out of something good than any other. Everything is better when it's shared. That's why I love computers, digitalization, and the Internet to begin with.

I was more than a little irked at your Lego-Duplo analogy, which suggested that you think people who can't handle Dwarf Fortress are the mental equivalent of 3-year-olds. And I continue to be quite irked by Tarn's "the problem is with society" remark. Hopefully neither of you were intending to come across as unpleasantly as you came across, but both comments struck me as snooty and dismissive of people who are capable of appreciating a good thing, but who'd like that thing's goodness to be as approachable and friendly as possible, because most people don't have hours and hours to decide whether they like something.

(Poor language as much obstructs accessibility as any computer interface, which is why it frustrates me that so many thinkers of good thoughts never wonder if it would be worth trying to express them properly.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:24 AM on February 17, 2012


Forget about lego. Minecraft is to a friendly game of checkers as Dwarf Fortress is to doing multivariate calculus while driving a Yugo on the freeway through a blizzard.

Though it could use some, no amount of UI tweaks would ever make it user-friendly.
posted by sfenders at 12:53 PM on February 17, 2012


I'm definitely ok with the bugginess of Dwarf Fortress. After all, the game is in alpha. As daniel_charms said, "There's always been a huge pile of bugs that Toady hasn't bothered to fix because he (apparently) thinks he'll rewrite that bit in the near future anyway, so why bother." Having followed Tarn's development process for over 2 years, I fully believe that this is a true statement.

I have written games myself, for my own amusement, and I know exactly how it is to hand-wave a whole chunk of game process as a placeholder. I would content myself with just imagining how the games would turn out if I spent huge amounts of time on them. They'd probably have been something like Dwarf Fortress. I'm vastly enthusiastic to support the guy who is actually pulling it off -- devoting his life to developing the ultimate game I never wrote, and making an excellent go of it.

As Asimo said, "Gaming has never seen a game like Dwarf Fortress and gaming has never seen a project like this one. This is going to be a life's work in a medium that routinely see games rushed out and quickly orphaned." In a game that will likely have a 30+ year development cycle, we are the early pre-beta testers who are helping Toady bugtest his creation.
posted by free hugs at 6:57 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:30 AM on February 17 [1 favorite +] [!]


Gee thanks, Sebmojo.
posted by JHarris at 4:43 AM on February 17 [1 favorite −] [!]


I feel bad now. I probably should have said something about creative chaos and emergent stories; wacky bugs inevitably come from the same well as glorious stories.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:19 PM on February 20, 2012


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