it has an astoundingly awful user interface
Has anyone played the adventure mode at all? I never tried it; the fortress mode absorbed my attention well enough itself.
Similarly, you don't want this skilled craftsman to waste his time hauling junk to the garbage pit
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?
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.
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.
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.
So what I don't understand is why more mainstream games don't have sophisticated AI behind them like this.
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.
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