Join 3,556 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


All go, no show
August 12, 2007 2:18 PM   Subscribe

The menacingly complex roguelike (previously) world-building game Dwarf Fortress (previously) is busting into the mainstream with an article in a gamer mag. Scans: page 1, page 2, page 3. For the less ASCII-minded among us, Let's Play has a thorough (and absurd, and tragic) chronicle of the fortress of Koganusan, or Boatmurdered, so you won't have to wait 20 minutes for the world to generate and be populated with mandrills and kobolds. via tigsource, where you should also check out their latest recommended independent games list.
posted by BlackLeotardFront (64 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite

 
Let's Play - For those into this kind of thing.
posted by Mikey-San at 2:28 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't really think anybody's into this kind of thing but me. But it's awesome anyway.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:38 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dwarf Fortress really is pretty cool. Impenetrable, but cool. Like a digital anthill. I wish more mainstream games did more simulated environments. Viva Pinata is pretty impressive, but it's a rare bird.
posted by Nelson at 2:39 PM on August 12, 2007


Oh man, happy 1st birthday, Dwarf Fortress. A new version is scheduled to come out any day now, implementing the z-axis in fortress design as well as tons of other bugfixes and features.

The learning curve is steep, but there's a hugely useful wiki with tons of tutorial and reference information. Once you're playing, head on over to the map archive for design ideas and to share your fortress with all.

The new version's going to totally reset the learning curve; now's a good time to hop on the dwarfwagon and learn the 'simple' version of the game.
posted by maus at 2:45 PM on August 12, 2007


I love Dwarf Fortress. I'll admit the learning curve is steep, but if you like a detailed sim, its hard to beat.

Personally, I disagree with the philosophy that ASCII is necessary. A well implemented GUI and a zoom function would work just fine. But I'll take it in ASCII because it works just fine that way. Better graphics would be nice, but they aren't truly necessary.

And the addition of the z-axis will be amazing.
posted by sotonohito at 2:48 PM on August 12, 2007


Glad there are some fans here. I just got into it and it's pretty daunting, but there's no way I'm deleting the sucker. I'll keep coming back to it, even though it taunts me every time.

And check this out, a whole site dedicated to roguelikes news:
Temple of the Roguelike
^probably should have put that in the post.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:51 PM on August 12, 2007


if you like a detailed sim, its hard to beat.

All roguelikes are difficult!

:D

Dwarf Fortress looks like ADOM on crack. And steroids.
posted by aubilenon at 3:04 PM on August 12, 2007


This is a phenomenally interesting game; the depth is unlike anything you've ever seen.

It is, in a way, a modern roguelike. And by modern, I mean that the design goals take into account that you have a multi-gigahertz machine with a metric assload of RAM easily available. And by roguelike, I mean that it uses text characters to simulate the world.

The main game, the fortress simulation, isn't at all like a roguelike: you don't have direct control over anything. You just tell your dwarves what you want done, and... well, they'll get to it. Eventually. They might be hungry or tired or wounded. You have to guide them into being able to feed, house, and defend themselves against the various forces in the world that would like a nice dwarf snack.

Bill Harris over at Dubious Quality wrote a lot about this game earlier this year; he recounted numerous stories illustrating the depth of the game. There was one particular story that struck me, but my cursed memory isn't retrieving it fully. I'm not able to find it quickly, but I'll recount what I remember.

In the midgame, the fortress shifts to 'economy' mode, instead of 'survival' mode, and dwarves get paid, and can buy and own things. (You actually build shops for them.) One pair of dwarves were married, and the wife passed away from something -- this is pretty normal in DF, as things are just absolutely brutal. The husband got depressed and barely worked anymore. Eventually, whoever was running the fortress noticed that he wasn't getting much of job X done, whatever that dwarf's job was, and when checking up on him, found his room filled with things that his wife had owned. Instead of working, he was mostly lying in bed. Sometimes, he would go get something that belonged to his wife, put it in his room, and then lie in bed some more.

A grieving ASCII dwarf.

Be warned: the interface is absolutely impenetrable at first. It is really, really hard to figure out how the hell to do anything. Tarn is a brilliant designer, but his interface skills are dismal. But if you like strategy with serious depth, you will probably find it worth your while. The number of permutations and ramifications of things is nearly frightening.

If something works in real life, there's a pretty good chance it'll work in Dwarf Fortress.
posted by Malor at 3:42 PM on August 12, 2007 [8 favorites]


One pair of dwarves were married, and the wife passed away from something -- this is pretty normal in DF, as things are just absolutely brutal. The husband got depressed and barely worked anymore. Eventually, whoever was running the fortress noticed that he wasn't getting much of job X done, whatever that dwarf's job was, and when checking up on him, found his room filled with things that his wife had owned. Instead of working, he was mostly lying in bed. Sometimes, he would go get something that belonged to his wife, put it in his room, and then lie in bed some more.

This is one of the coolest things i have ever heard of in a video game.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:46 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Now THIS is a FPP!

Pope Guilty: It's super-long, but you (and everyone else) might want to read the Boatmurdered link. Yeah, it's essentially video game fanfic, but I'll be damned if the end isn't incredibly haunting.
posted by Ian A.T. at 3:54 PM on August 12, 2007


I read that independent games list a couple of days ago and was kinda surprised they didn't mention Within a Deep Forest. Good list though.
posted by puke & cry at 3:57 PM on August 12, 2007


I'll have to give it a go, although I have a history of being turned off by "steep learning curves". And I feel that if they got out of that purist bent and replaced the ASCII with, say, 8x8 true-colour sprites, it would probably be even more beautiful and a bit more penetrable.
posted by Jimbob at 4:34 PM on August 12, 2007


Jimbob I'll agree, except that they'd also need to add a zoom function to the interface. Actually, I'd like a zoom function right now, ASCII or no.... The minimap isn't as useful as it could be.
posted by sotonohito at 4:38 PM on August 12, 2007


I had a look at the 'Let's Play' Boatmurdered link - holy crap, this sounds like a phenomenally interesting game. I'll confess that I probably won't play it since it's not quite my type, but it seems to have incredible depth and the ability to generate great stories. It actually reminds me of some of the more epic Civilization games I've played (which also have quite a bit of fanfic written on various sites).

I know it sounds heretical, but Dwarf Fortress sounds like a better game than Spore does.
posted by adrianhon at 4:39 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just realised I copied Malor's 'phenomally interesting' description - some weird psychic thing going on there. Anyway, still a wonderful-sounding game. Shame about the graphics, but that can always change.
posted by adrianhon at 4:47 PM on August 12, 2007


DF is a fantastic game. Unfortunately, it has an astoundingly awful user interface. If you can get past that fact, though, the game is great.

I haven't played in a long time, though. They used to publish updates all the time -- sometimes weekly, even -- adding features and fixing bugs.

Then one feature came along with some bug that made me want to stop playing until it was fixed. I figured it would be about a week or two. That was January, and a new version hasn't come out since.

I don't even remember what the bug was.

The developer has been working on it, seemingly a lot, but given the previous hectic release rate, the current lull has been somewhat disappointing.

On another note, its full title is actually "Slaves to Armok: God of Blood: Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress".

I think that it should be "Stephen Colbert Presents: Stephen Colbert's Alpha Squad 7: Slaves to Armok: God of Blood: Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress: A Tek Jansen Adventure".
posted by Flunkie at 4:55 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Has anyone played the adventure mode at all? I never tried it; the fortress mode absorbed my attention well enough itself.

If anyone's curious, it worked fine for me under WINE in Linux.

The intense level of detail in the simulation is really interesting. If it's not there already, the game could easily get to a point where no player can keep track of all of the myriad of factors affecting life in his fortress. More and more complexity makes it more and more like reality, where there is no way to accurately predict all of the consequences of any choice. Almost all computer games end up predictable in some fashion, if you play them enough. They may throw a randomized event in from time to time, but even the frequency of those and their effects are often predictable.

But in Dwarf Fortress (and Nethack and several others), the gameplay is very unpredictable, and it turns into a matter of making choices that seem good enough and watching to see the ramifications. There is much less of the direct control over your direction that simpler games (the majority) have. Some players will like that, others won't. I mean, you could always just go stumble through real life if you want something like that...
posted by whatnotever at 5:28 PM on August 12, 2007


it has an astoundingly awful user interface
I should note that I'm not talking about the ASCII. I don't mind ASCII.

I'm talking about things like "On this page, the up and down arrows move you up and down. On that page, it's left and right. On the other page, it's enter and space. On that fourth page, it's plus and minus - and by the way, the up and down arrows do something entirely different".

Or the lack of search capability: For example, a lot of the game consists of queuing up jobs to be done - "build a bridge over this river", for example. You might have a good reason to build the bridge out of some specific material - maybe granite.

So, one of the steps in queuing up a "build a bridge" job is selecting what raw materials you want to use. How does the game give you this choice?

It brings up a screen with a list of every single rock in the entire freakin' universe - and I don't mean every single type of rock, I mean every single rock. Of which there are many bazillion.

Twenty or so are listed on the screen at any given time. In order of how far they are from the construction site of the bridge.

So you'll see twenty things like:and you hope that somewhere in there is "granite". If not, you scroll down a page, using some random "scroll down" key that is particular to that page, and hope that there's granite in the next twenty closes.

Another example:

Any dwarf can do any job, but each dwarf has varying levels of skills in each of them. You can turn each skill "on" or "off" for any given dwarf; if the skill is "off", they won't attempt to do any jobs requiring that skill.

So, maybe you've got a dwarf who is good at metalsmithing. That's a really important job, and maybe you've only got one forge, so you only want to let that dwarf do it. You turn the skill on for him, and off for everybody else.

Similarly, you don't want this skilled craftsman to waste his time hauling junk to the garbage pit, so you turn off "haul garbage" for him, leaving it to the dwarves with less uncommon useful skills.

But harvest time comes. You want to make sure that you collect the whole harvest before it rots on the vine. So you turn off his "metalsmithing" and turn on his "farming". Even though he's not particularly good at it - you've got to get that food in.

Now, the problem is that the only way to determine what dwarves are skilled at what jobs, or what dwarves you're allowing to do what jobs, is by individually selecting and examining each dwarf. Again, this consists of a labyrinthine and arduous set of keystrokes.

There's lots of stuff like that.

Now again, don't get me wrong: It's a great game. But it would improve dramatically if the developer would dedicate a little time to things like this. But instead, he's concerned with the temperature that butter melts at.
posted by Flunkie at 5:29 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Has anyone played the adventure mode at all? I never tried it; the fortress mode absorbed my attention well enough itself.
Me too. All of my comments apply only to Fortress Mode.
posted by Flunkie at 5:30 PM on August 12, 2007


I'll have to give it a go, although I have a history of being turned off by "steep learning curves". And I feel that if they got out of that purist bent and replaced the ASCII with, say, 8x8 true-colour sprites, it would probably be even more beautiful and a bit more penetrable.

There's been sprite packs for various roguelikes, and when I've turned them on I've invariably preferred the text.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:43 PM on August 12, 2007


This is one of the coolest things i have ever heard of in a video game.

The whole "dwarf mourning his wife's death" thing is pretty cool, yeah. At the same time, it's pretty disturbing to think you have control over an ASCII character that exhibits such lifelike behaviours. The downside of playing God, I guess.
posted by chrominance at 5:48 PM on August 12, 2007


Game sounds great. Bookmarked for free time.

Otherwise, just want to throw in and say ASCII ftw.
posted by Alex404 at 5:49 PM on August 12, 2007


Meant to throw this in to:

Graphics are for the bourgeoisie.
posted by Alex404 at 5:51 PM on August 12, 2007


Similarly, you don't want this skilled craftsman to waste his time hauling junk to the garbage pit
I mean craftsdwarf.
posted by Flunkie at 6:02 PM on August 12, 2007


This is a question for those of you with experience playing the game:

The scanned article mentions that the non-programmer brother spends hours a night coming up with stories for the game. How are those stories integrated into the game itself? I would think that, aside from the very intriguing character bits already mentioned, shoe-horning predetermined plotlines into the sim genre would be tough.

(Please don't flame me for this assumption...I'm not a game player, sim or otherwise.)
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:04 PM on August 12, 2007


The motivation for the stories is doing a subsequents analysis of them to find out new features to integrate to the game. So that if in a story a dwarf murders another out of jealously. The programmer will integrate the concept of "jealousy murder" into the game so that that kind of events can happen on their own.
posted by Zemat at 6:10 PM on August 12, 2007


The scanned article mentions that the non-programmer brother spends hours a night coming up with stories for the game. How are those stories integrated into the game itself?
I don't think he really does. At least not in any noticeable way.

It's not really a "story" game. There aren't really any
"predetermined plotlines", except the overall "You're a bunch of dwarves who got sent off to start a colony, now try not to die".

Every so often, "Three Toe" (the screen name of the non-programmer brother) will write a story and post it to the website. I've never read one, so I can't comment on their quality. But that has no effect on the game, and that's about it for stories.

A lot of people do mention the "story" aspect of the game a lot, so maybe I'm missing something, but a lot of those people seem to also be impressed by the random descriptions of items, along the lines of:
This is a quality floodgate. It is made out of copper. It has engravings of elephants. It has engravings of butterflies. It has engravings of cats. It has spikes that menace.
That sort of thing really, really doesn't do it for me, but like I said, a lot of people seem impressed by it. Maybe Three Toe spends his days dreaming up new things that can be engraved on floodgates.

For me, DF is like an awesomely beefed-up version of SimAnt. There's very little "story".
posted by Flunkie at 6:19 PM on August 12, 2007


I actually read the Boatmurder link back when it was a thread on SA. Damn interesting, but I gave up eventually because I couldn't correlate the text with the images.

...which is a weird feeling, since I've been playing Nethack for years and have never, ever been comfortable with the graphical interface. ASCII FTW.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:23 PM on August 12, 2007


For more ASCII action, check out ShootEm. It's like first person missile command/asteroids but the graphics are all 3D converted to ASCII. It's super weird, but pretty awesome.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 6:36 PM on August 12, 2007


Wow, I just spent far too much time reading the long, strange, troubled saga of Boatmurdered. Thanks for it, BLF.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:44 PM on August 12, 2007


Want to chime in on the DF lovefest.

The intricacy of this game is simply astounding, the aforementioned story of the depressed dwarf is great.

I had a game in which one if the migrant children had a fey mood in which she constructed an artifact, another craftsman saw this and created an artifact called something like "The Responsibilities of Children" showing an image of a dwarf child holding an artifact high, and images of dwarves speaking to dwarves. And as always, the dwarves looked plaintive.

This is a rare game where it's almost more fun to lose than it is to win. Watching 20 or 30 dwarves slowly descend into a web of starvation, melancholy and madness can be more fun than you'd think.

You can build a self-sufficient dwarven paradise with captive animals to view, statues to party near, and beds for everyone. Alternatively, you can build a smoke and miasma filled corpse locker built just to exterminate nobles and useless children. And they're both fun in their own way.

Supposedly in the soon-to-be-released update, they're kicking things into a whole new dimension.

The third.

Can't wait.
posted by Sphinx at 6:44 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dwarf Fortress is not a roguelike. Plenty of games use ASCII characters for graphics that are not roguelikes. It DOES share some of the same sensibility, but it's still substantially different, even in its "adventurer" mode.

But that's okay. It doesn't need to be Like Rogue to be awesome, and it is awesome.

Flunkie, it's not that there's no story in Dwarf Fortress. It's that the game lets the player essentially build his own story, instead of relying on the efforts of the hack fantasy writer wannabes that 90% of game development studios use. I find it telling that the story of Boatmurdered is so much more interesting that, say, Tales of Symphonia.
posted by JHarris at 6:59 PM on August 12, 2007


Flunkie, it's not that there's no story in Dwarf Fortress. It's that the game lets the player essentially build his own story, instead of relying on the efforts of the hack fantasy writer wannabes that 90% of game development studios use.
Yeah, from the point of view of the context of the questioner, this is nitpicking.

Three Toe's stories do what for the game, exactly?

That's what the questioner was asking. And I think the answer is "Nothing, or at least nothing noticable".

The fact that I grow attached to individual dwarves for various reasons is not really relevant to it.
posted by Flunkie at 7:03 PM on August 12, 2007


Ah, missed Ian A.T.'s message....

The brother's stories are NOT directly incorporated into the game. They are indirectly incorporated in that the programmer tries to build the game so that the stories could arise naturally through gameplay. It is a novel and ingenious way to attempt to simulate the non-existent.
posted by JHarris at 7:07 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


The brother's stories are NOT directly incorporated into the game. They are indirectly incorporated in that the programmer tries to build the game so that the stories could arise naturally through gameplay. It is a novel and ingenious way to attempt to simulate the non-existent.
I've heard this a lot. I find it somewhat hard to believe - at least in any meaningful and significant sense.

As I've said multiple times, don't get me wrong: I love this game. But the sort of things that Toady (the programmer) is concerned with are the densities of materials and creatures, how far a torch illuminates, where cobwebs spring up, how much vegetation and mud occurs based upon how much rain occurs, how much salt is in a local water source, how much coke is produced from how much bituminious coal, and so forth.

Like I said, I've never read a Three Toe story, but if those things are based on them, I imagine that they're awfully boring.
posted by Flunkie at 7:18 PM on August 12, 2007


But isn't the programmer also concerned with implementing things like the grief behavior described above?
posted by revfitz at 7:33 PM on August 12, 2007


Yeah, sure. And in what meaningful sense do Three Toe's stories have an effect on that? In what way does it support Three Toe-like stories, as opposed to any old stories about life in general?
posted by Flunkie at 7:38 PM on August 12, 2007


And anyway, most of the "things like" the grief behavior are just "dwarves need booze or they don't work very hard", or "some dwarves like things, other dwarves like other things - if a dwarf who likes cats has a picture of a cat on his bedroom wall, he'll be happier and therefore work harder".

It's not some sort of awe-inspiring magical story generator, like some people seem to claim. That's all I'm saying.
posted by Flunkie at 7:41 PM on August 12, 2007


how much coke is produced from how much bituminious coal

Before I read the whole sentence, I thought that there was a way to get your dwarves to stay up all night long digging and sniffling.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:59 PM on August 12, 2007


BLF: thank you for this post. Although I'll never play the dwarf game, I loved reading about it. The huge endgame map linked at the end of the SA "Let's Play" was inspiring.
posted by neustile at 8:16 PM on August 12, 2007


Arcanum? Star Control 2? Aww yeah, Let's Play has good taste in games!
posted by kid ichorous at 8:21 PM on August 12, 2007


So what I don't understand is why more mainstream games don't have sophisticated AI behind them like this. It's not entirely unprecedented; there's the various Sim games, and some RTS games have fairly impressive mechanics, and Radiant AI, and Ultima VII. But why does it have to be some quirky text game by two nutso brothers that has the really impressive artificial world?
posted by Nelson at 8:26 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh, one thing that bothers me. Unless I'm missing something, Dwarf Fortress is not ASCII. It's character based, sure, and some of the characters comes from ASCII, but it's not ASCII. And even their lead dev claims it is in that interview. Wouldn't he know there's no "dwarf head" code in ASCII?
posted by neustile at 8:26 PM on August 12, 2007


So what I don't understand is why more mainstream games don't have sophisticated AI behind them like this.
Mainstream games are profit-making endeavors. DF is a labor of love.
posted by Flunkie at 8:29 PM on August 12, 2007


Wow. Just downloaded it, and like many games, it has an intro movie.

This one is text.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:34 PM on August 12, 2007


Wouldn't he know there's no "dwarf head" code in ASCII?

I'm not sure there's a meaningful distinction here between "text" and "10x12 bitmap sprites".
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:16 PM on August 12, 2007


Mainstream games are profit-making endeavors. DF is a labor of love.

To expand on that (it's basically right), if you think about it, a strong AI isn't much of a draw for a popular game, because most people wouldn't recognize good AI (or know what that even means). It's simply waaaay easier to make a computer opponent competitive by having it cheat, and most wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

I suspect that the other important factor is that AI is simply... not there yet, in most cases. It's still so touch and go, and very... intellectual, I guess. The people who are doing cutting edge work in AI (crazies) are not the amenable to assembly line work.

Similarly, the state of the art is not really such that you can put out an add for an AI programmer and get someone who can, on a schedule and a budget, program a substantial AI which works within the parameters of the game. This is why the much vaunted Radiant AI was lobotomized when Oblivion was finally released. It could do some really cool stuff, but actually getting it to enhance the game was something entirely different.

This is why that most people who are actually trying to push the envelope with AI are working in academics or for defense departments. And why (I suppose) one of the most significant AIs and general simulators as far as games are concerned is in a pet project. I would bet that if you waved a timetable at this guy he'd punch you in the face.

That's just a guess though.
posted by Alex404 at 9:24 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually, now that I think about it, here's what I was really trying to say:

In order to be able to develop commercial software you need to be able to establish goals for your project that are actually attainable.

With real AI, there's not much of an establish field as such. You mostly have teams scattered all over the world working independently, trying to get things to work. There's (still) no AI text book for how to write a program that will intelligently interact with an environment. Given two problems in artificial intelligence which seem equally difficult in the planning stages, one might take two weeks and a few brilliant insights to solve, while for another it may take months to finally realize that the problem is mathematically impossible, causing the project to completely shut down.
posted by Alex404 at 9:33 PM on August 12, 2007


Well, there's AI - something capable of learning from and mimicking human thoughts and behavior...and there's just intricate programming.

I wrote a text-based adventure game as a kid. I was annoyed at how a lot of these games (you know the sort...haunted house / desert island / move from room to room and collect objects) had an incredibly linear storyline. There was only one way to complete these games - get this object, use it here, walk to here, look at that, get that object, walk to here... If you tried to do something outside the script, you just got some bland message back.

USE ROCK: "That did nothing"
LOOK AT TREE: "There is nothing of interest here"

You could usually tell if an object was important just by the fact that it had a non-standard description.

So I wrote a game where there were lots of ways to complete it. The various puzzles had multiple solutions. There were dead ends; you could get involved in quests that didn't really have a point. You could do something with every object, even if it didn't get you any closer to finishing the game.

Written in BASIC, with my lame 11-year old programming skillz, this basically involved massive IF..THEN..ELSE clauses and a twisted maze of GOTO statements, to create something sort of non-linear and interesting.

This clearly isn't AI, but it might be something like what's going on here.

IF (the partner of a dwarf dies) AND (random < 0.05) THEN (start the mourning sequence)

Put enough of this stuff in there, in a creative manner, and things can start to be very interesting. And when these little "stories" start to interact, the game can take on a life of it's own. It's a matter of putting more time into designing the actions and stories of the characters than the graphics, I suppose.
posted by Jimbob at 10:11 PM on August 12, 2007


well, the ASCII interface isn't the thing about the game that's annoying, to my mind. it's really the no mouse thing. i mean, that'll ruin anything, is trying to figure out the best way select one of 100 dwarves to work on by typing an long string of non-intuitive key commands instead of just pointing at him and clicking.

but yeah, this does look amazing, and that boatmurdered thing was priceless. starkravingmad's al sweringen impression was hysterical.
posted by shmegegge at 10:27 PM on August 12, 2007


wrt to AI, I was quite impressed with S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s.

The pack animal behavior was quite good; individuals would run away and even individuals in small packs would run away if hurt. They tended to run in the direction of the main pack while the alpha monster would take a roundabout route and get you from the back.

"Human" opponents would also - when slightly injured - fall back to further reaches and take potshots trying to lure you into ambushes (assuming the ambushers knew of your character's placement).

I've observed CPU vs CPU battles (ie., different collections of characters from different factions fighting it out) and the tactics the CPU controlled characters used weren't bad.

Too bad that there were so many bugs in the game (maybe due to the "AI" code?).
posted by porpoise at 11:21 PM on August 12, 2007


While skimming past the post I thought it said The menacingly complex roguelike word-building game and was excited to see what it was until I clicked on the first link and was sorely disappointed.
I think I'll leave you nerds to yourselves.
posted by flod logic at 1:14 AM on August 13, 2007


I just spent hours reading the Boatmurdered story. This is awesome. I keep trying not to wake people up with my laughing.
posted by blacklite at 1:39 AM on August 13, 2007


Flunkie:
I've heard this a lot. I find it somewhat hard to believe - at least in any meaningful and significant sense.

As I've said multiple times, don't get me wrong: I love this game. But the sort of things that Toady (the programmer) is concerned with are the densities of materials and creatures, how far a torch illuminates, where cobwebs spring up, how much vegetation and mud occurs based upon how much rain occurs, how much salt is in a local water source, how much coke is produced from how much bituminious coal, and so forth.


No, it is an excellent way to design this kind of game. A good story must have a strong set of rules upon which is constructed. What the DF guys have done is make explicit, in the form of software, the rules upon which their own stories are based, then leave out the stories themselves.

They likely don't have a story about dwarves making coal, but they most likely have a story about dwarves whose grandiose plans for fortress-building are foiled by such mundane concerns such as not being able to construct a furnace.
posted by JHarris at 2:13 AM on August 13, 2007


This Boatmurdered story is fantastic. Very disappointed that Dwarf Fortress is Windows-only, as I'm on a Mac.
posted by papercake at 9:27 AM on August 13, 2007


papercake, et al:

I have a MacBook Pro, and a normal everyday PC. It is so awesome to mess with on the PC that I decided to put Parallels on the MacBook and install a virtual copy of Windows 98. It should run fine in the virtual machine, though I haven't quite tried it yet.
posted by blacklite at 12:03 PM on August 13, 2007


The Boatmurdered epic makes me want to attempt this game. Especially the bit near the end where Sankis went on a murderous rampage. While on fire.

I think I'll download this.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:10 PM on August 13, 2007


No, it is an excellent way to design this kind of game. A good story must have a strong set of rules upon which is constructed. What the DF guys have done is make explicit, in the form of software, the rules upon which their own stories are based, then leave out the stories themselves.
I understand the concept.

I just find it hard to believe that Three Toe's stories specifically have a significant and meaningful effect on whether Toady chooses to work on vegetation growth or cobweb placement

And conversely, I find it hard to believe that whether Toady chooses to work on vegetation growth or cobweb placement will make the results like Three Toe's stories specifically in any significant and meaningful way.
posted by Flunkie at 3:55 PM on August 13, 2007


I think I'll download this.

Don't do it, Mulp. I was up until 3 am last night, telling myself, "just one more season..."
posted by Rock Steady at 4:20 PM on August 13, 2007


I got it running on the Windows 98 virtual machine on Parallels for Mac. Now I can build my fortress anywhere. Goodbye, slight chance of productivity.

Also, in response to a couple of comments about it not "really" being a roguelike: some of the choices of ASCII representation are the same. % for food, letters for creatures, * for gems, etc. They've just stepped it up a bit. I imagine some of the AI is even similar to some roguelike's routines. They're known for their bizarre complexity.
posted by blacklite at 7:21 PM on August 13, 2007


Rock Steady: My evening would have been much more productive had I read your warning six hours ago.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:37 PM on August 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I came back here to shake my fist at you devil-people who got me onto this. Why do you hate my productivity?

Also, yeah, the UI blows every way possible. For christ's sake, he couldn't take the code that shows distance from the trading post and put that on all the "build using X rock" menus? Would it be so much to ask that I be able to prioritize moving the one rock that's in the way?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:48 PM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I hear you, a robot made out of meat. I just want to clear out the rocks in my storage areas and farmland.

Stupid dwarves.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:41 PM on August 16, 2007


Dwarf Fortress: Stupid dwarves

You get so much gorram detail on these fricking dwarves and what you want them to do, but you can't tell them, "Move the rocks out of the doorway so I can shut it so I can flood your farm, you morans."
posted by Rock Steady at 6:03 AM on August 18, 2007


« Older A 15 year-old girl was dragged behind a van as pun...  |  The Visual Image of Chemistry:... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments