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A Vile Force of Darkness Has Arrived!
April 1, 2010 2:12 PM   Subscribe

Killer Carp. Magma. Fire-breathing Capital D's. A new version of the cult rougelike/fantasy world sim Dwarf Fortress was released today. It's a windows only download - there should be Mac and Linux versions out in a week or so. Here's what tvtropes has to say about the game. Previously on metafilter: 1 2 3 4
posted by gamera (93 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
Adios summer. sigh.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:22 PM on April 1, 2010


My plans for productivity are doomed.
posted by Zalzidrax at 2:22 PM on April 1, 2010


To psyche myself up for this, I'm going to read through Boatmurdered again...
posted by threetoed at 2:22 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So this new Dwarf Fortress, it makes your face sort of red?
posted by dunkadunc at 2:27 PM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Someday I'd like to actually figure out how to play this game, but the UI is to opacity what plasma is to states of matter. It goes beyond opaque, to some entirely new realm of incomprehensible.

Or maybe I'm just dumb and lazy. I don't know.
posted by Caduceus at 2:29 PM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Caduceus, I used to think the same thing until I found this tutorial. It took me the better part of a lazy Saturday to get through it, but it definitely helped.
posted by threetoed at 2:36 PM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


From an unofficial list of changes put together by SomethingAwful forums: Unskilled or apprentice doctors can make mistakes when treating a patient or doing surgery.
posted by Endure You Are Not Alone at 2:40 PM on April 1, 2010


Caduceus - my advice is to get swine flu, position yourself on your girlfriend's couch with a laptop, and take a week off of work. Also, have the wiki open at all times for easy reference
posted by Think_Long at 2:41 PM on April 1, 2010


even with that tutorial, I was still lost completely
posted by rebent at 2:41 PM on April 1, 2010


Holy crap:

Underground Features

* Underground layers have been entirely revamped, allowing for more diverse underground with new creatures, features, and other interesting goodies, such as Mushroom Forests
* The standard amount of layers (around 15) has been scrapped and increased dramatically, upwards of 50-100 layers.
* Each cave layer region (which is a certain depth and portion of the world map) has its own name, animal populations, civilizations, etc.
o They also show up on the legends screen
* Caverns now exist underground. Caverns are open areas underneath the earth, and are home to creatures, underground lakes, and other interesting features

posted by Think_Long at 2:43 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really, really, really want to play this game, but i can't get over the interface.

The changelog, btw, is best thing ever.
I went through the purring maggot process from animal trap capture to storing the milk in barrels in a food stockpile. Of course, the issue with this has been dwarves just up and eating the maggot at any point in the process. I changed it so that they would only eat purring maggots if they were starving and nothing else were close by. I tested the change by having the starving dwarves stand in a meeting zone with the food up in a stockpile to the north. In between the stockpile and the dwarves, a succulent purring maggot tempted from an animal trap. They performed well, passing up the maggot for other food. At the end, there were seven dwarves, five pieces of food, and the maggot. I made them starve again -- five dwarves ate regular food, the doctor ate the purring maggot, and the fisherdwarf ran downstairs, caught a live cave spider and ate it on the spot.

I also handled a gremlin pathing problem and some strange things like the dwarves tanning mussel shells to make mussel leather.
posted by empath at 2:43 PM on April 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


I think I'll drop in on the whole Dwarf Fortress thing when they've bolted a whole Oblivion-style 3d engine to it.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:48 PM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is one of those games that I figure I'll learn to play when I win a huge lottery prize and have nothing but spare time.
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:50 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I want to love Dwarf Fortress.
I even volunteered and wrote some of the code to get the OS X port working.
I can't get past the interface.

I consider this a personal failure rather than any defect in Dwarf Fortress.
posted by ecurtz at 2:50 PM on April 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Personally, I would settle for 8-bit NES-style graphics. Surely someone can make this happen.
posted by naju at 2:51 PM on April 1, 2010


I saw the video attached to the links and seriously thought something was wrong with my computer.

This is a game though, and people actually play it?

HOW??
posted by elder18 at 2:51 PM on April 1, 2010


I think I'll drop in on the whole Dwarf Fortress thing when they've bolted a whole Oblivion-style 3d engine to it.

Would this even help? You'd want a monitor the size of a imax screen. Or a superhigh resolution screen.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:52 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh dang, answering my own question. Dwarf Fortress with graphics: Stonesense
posted by naju at 2:54 PM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Personally, I would settle for 8-bit NES-style graphics. Surely someone can make this happen.

a lot of people have designed their own tile sets so the visual cues are easy to understand. The graphics aren't the main problem, the menu system is. Once you figure that out, with all of its little quirks, you've got the hang of it.

Also, read the link to boatmurdered above, and you'll understand why a deference to minimal graphics leads to the possibility of epic results.
posted by Think_Long at 2:54 PM on April 1, 2010


Wow. Check out the mental attribute system:
Soul:

* ANALYTICAL ABILITY - thinky stuff.
* MEMORY - remembery stuff.
* CREATIVITY - being able to make up neat stuff.
* INTUITION - being able to get stuff.
* FOCUS - being able to get into stuff.
* WILLPOWER - being able to keep on with and cope with stuff.
* PATIENCE - being able to handle not doing stuff.
* SPATIAL_SENSE - sense of surrounding stuff.
* KINESTHETIC SENSE - sense of own stuff.
* LINGUISTIC ABILITY - all of the wordsy stuff.
* MUSICALITY - musicky stuff.
* EMPATHY - being able to feel other peoples' stuff.
* SOCIAL_AWARENESS - being able to manage and handle social stuff.
If even half of that comes into play...well, uh, wow.

(So much for my own wordsy stuff.)
posted by Iridic at 3:01 PM on April 1, 2010


You know how every time an EVE Online thread comes up, a bunch of people say that while they would never actually play EVE Online, they love to read about it? Well, I actually do play EVE Online, but that's how I feel about Dwarf Fortress.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:01 PM on April 1, 2010 [14 favorites]


* the UI is to opacity what plasma is to states of matter.
* I really, really, really want to play this game, but i can't get over the interface.
* I can't get past the interface.

Try the Mayday Tileset, it's a little better for beginners.

Also, most of the DF wiki is currently borked. If you're thinking of giving the game a spin, do yourself a favor and wait until they have it back up.
posted by peeedro at 3:02 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know how every time an EVE Online thread comes up, a bunch of people say that while they would never actually play EVE Online, they love to read about it? Well, I actually do play EVE Online, but that's how I feel about Dwarf Fortress.

I tried EVE for a bit, and I think I'm pretty firmly in the "rather read about it than play it" camp. When I was "playing", I think I spent much more time reading the alliance forums than actually playing the game.

I can't stop playing DF to save my life. To each his own, I guess.
posted by heathkit at 3:15 PM on April 1, 2010


Well, I actually do play EVE Online, but that's how I feel about Dwarf Fortress.

Clearly the world needs a Dwarf Fortress MMORPG
posted by empath at 3:34 PM on April 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


When I was "playing", I think I spent much more time reading the alliance forums than actually playing the game.

See, for a lot of EVE Online players that's a feature, not a bug. It's been more than a month since I've done more in-game than adjust my marketplace holdings and set my skill queue.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:38 PM on April 1, 2010


Clearly the world needs a Dwarf Fortress MMORPG

Agreed. Does anyone know if there's any work being done on this? For once I'd be interested in Trade caravans . . .
posted by Think_Long at 3:40 PM on April 1, 2010


sebastianballard: Would this even help? You'd want a monitor the size of a imax screen. Or a superhigh resolution screen.

Not in adventurer mode you wouldn't. In dwarf mode, you'd have to zoom out a bit, though.
What I think is fascinating is the worldgen and AI capabilities. There must be some way of bolting a more user-friendly interface on top of that.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:42 PM on April 1, 2010


Is this an april fools joke?
posted by Lord_Pall at 3:44 PM on April 1, 2010


Clearly the world needs a Dwarf Fortress MMORPG

Race: Dwarf
Class: Miner
Specialization: Digging tunnels into lava reservoirs, but not before going insane and butchering a dozen of your fellow dwarves in a killing spree

Click Accept to confirm your character and enter the online world of Dwarf Fortress!
posted by threetoed at 3:44 PM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I used to be one of the "love to read about it but can't figure it out" types, until I discovered captnduck's youtube tutorials. I spent 6 hours of a sleepless night watching them and rewatching them to get a handle on everything. I don't know if everyone would be able to sit down and work on it for that long (I wouldn't under normal circumstances), but it's completely worth it.
posted by p3on at 3:46 PM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Put me in the camp of people who love to read about DF, but can't fathom the idea of actually playing it.

I just came into the thread to say that I love the lisp on the guy in the Stonesense video.
posted by HeroZero at 4:15 PM on April 1, 2010


Games shouldn't be work. I have work for that.
posted by regicide is good for you at 4:34 PM on April 1, 2010


Games shouldn't be work. I have work for that.

Games should emulate the job you wish you had, be it assassin, drug lord, soldier, poke trainer, or dwarf lord.
posted by Think_Long at 4:37 PM on April 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Heh. Fair enough. And in retrospect my comment was probably a little too close to thread-shitting.

I also find (what little I know of) Dwarf Fortress fascinating, and I sort of admire its complexity on a "what weird beauty hath madness wrought" level, but... even a basic roguelike is just too Sisyphusian for me, so I'm continuing to stay well away from this one. Especially in Spring.
posted by regicide is good for you at 4:47 PM on April 1, 2010


By the way, for anyone on the fence, when you read those complaints about the interface? Those people are completely correct. DF probably has the worst interface of any program in the last fifteen years, perhaps twenty. Key functions just mysteriously change all the goddamn time, depending on what mode you're in, and they make no sense whatsoever. For instance, you have 'main selection up/down' and 'secondary selection up/down', but each function seems to choose which is which on a purely random basis. Sometimes your main selection does the thing on the right, sometimes the thing on the left. Sometimes, even if you're only choosing one thing, a function will use the secondary selection keys. Other functions that look identical on screen will use the primary keys instead. The interface is so bad that it's not just user-hostile, it's an active enemy, desperately trying to keep you out of the gme.

But, you know what? The underlying ideas are so good, and the emergent gameplay is so compelling, that it's completely worth it. The pain feels endless when you start, both in terms of figuring out how anything works and in terms of the brutal difficulty level. But, eventually, things finally start to click, you suddenly look at the graphics and see dwarves instead of @ signs, and then a whole world opens up.

I'm fully aware of just how bad the interface is, and frequently want to throttle Tarn Adams, so please understand that when I say the game is worth the time to learn, there's no stronger recommendation I could make. If you like playing with complex toys, if you're the sort that still tinkers with Legos, the time investment is absolutely worthwhile.
posted by Malor at 4:49 PM on April 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


It's been more than a month since I've done more in-game than adjust my marketplace holdings and set my skill queue.

* PATIENCE - being able to handle not doing stuff....

... * FISCAL PATIENCE -- being able to handle paying for stuff you're not doing.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:58 PM on April 1, 2010


But, eventually, things finally start to click, you suddenly look at the graphics and see dwarves instead of @ signs, and then a whole world opens up.

I'm fully aware of just how bad the interface is, and frequently want to throttle Tarn Adams


Like faith to the atheist, addiction is endlessly fascinating...
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:59 PM on April 1, 2010


It took me many years of reading about, then getting excited about, then trying, than saying fuck this after an hour, to really set aside an afternoon and get over the hump. Oh good lord it is so worth it. That said, installing the "mayday" graphics set was the first step in actually being able to play the game. I one of that that can't deal with playing without it.

Just last night my automatic trash compactor which was hooked up to a fluid based repeater was turned on for the first time. All my little dwarves were in a frenzy of throwing everything down the chute, rocks, dead animals, turtle bones, goblin chunks. then it ran it's first cycle, it was set up wrong, and threw all the gore and heavy stones back up into the little garbage room, it was awful. One dwarf fell in with her baby and was crushed, her husband just stood there.
the room was cleared out and the hole was covered for repairs and he just stood there.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 5:08 PM on April 1, 2010 [19 favorites]


By the way, for anyone on the fence, when you read those complaints about the interface? Those people are completely correct

Or try playing it on a mac, where you have to overlay your own keymap in the file (a big deal for a non techie like myself) and where random functions don't work, for some unknown reason.

One dwarf fell in with her baby and was crushed, her husband just stood there.
the room was cleared out and the hole was covered for repairs and he just stood there.


*sniff* that must have been beautiful to watch
posted by Think_Long at 5:14 PM on April 1, 2010


Yay for new DF.

Boo for Windows only version.
posted by fleacircus at 5:42 PM on April 1, 2010


One dwarf fell in with her baby and was crushed, her husband just stood there.
the room was cleared out and the hole was covered for repairs and he just stood there.


god damn i love this game ;◡;
posted by threetoed at 5:53 PM on April 1, 2010


There's a visualizer for PCs, although that doesn't help with the aforementioned interface issues.

I'm on a Mac, so I think I'm gonna give this a shot in Parallels using Stonesense. I don't have a lot of spare time, but I'm oh so curious.
posted by ignignokt at 5:53 PM on April 1, 2010


I'd like to take this opportunity to dump, er, share, the series of unfortunate events that hooked me on Dwarf Fortress.

My first "successful" fortress was built under a swampy forest. The place was a complete mess, a twisty maze of passages crammed with cats and other livestock, but the population boomed and things seemed to ramble along, with the occasional goblin raid for excitement. I was still figuring things out and my only defense was lots of stone-fall traps, which kinda-sorta took care of any invading Goblins.

They were completely ineffective against the Bronze Colossus that appeared and smashed it's way through the cat-crowded halls. My military made a series of valiant stands, but was slaughtered to a dwarf. My fortress went from a pre-invasion population of about 75 to 4 survivors: The Baron, a Tax Collector, and two children. Nobles and children aren't controllable characters (to the extent that any dwarves are controllable), so I could only watch what happened next.

The Colossus was still in the fort. It had ended up in a room at the end of a residential wing, and with nothing nearby to kill it just stood there in the dark, waiting. I made the area a no-go zone, so nothing would disturb it and set off a new killing spree. I spent hours just watching to see what would happen next.

The seasons passed. A trade caravan came through and I had the Baron trade some leftover junk for food and drink. By the way, the Baron was just ecstatic through all this, even though his wife and everyone he knew was dead and the fort was clogged with dwarf chunks and miasma and cat bones.

A goblin siege swept through, setting off some of the remaining traps and killing some more animals. The Baron wandered onto the surface to drink from a pond and was killed by a goblin sharpshooter. The Tax Collector was wounded in the attack and died of thirst. Some migrants finally arrived, and the fortress gradually came back to life. The wing where the Colossus stood in the darkness was walled off and life went on. One of the surviving children died in some mishap, but the other grew to adulthood and became a cook. I nicknamed her "The Vomit-Covered Chef" since she went naked except for being covered head to foot in vomit. Otherwise she seemed unscathed by her ordeal.

I eventually gave up on the fortress. It was just too badly designed to get anything done in. But I never abandoned the fort and I still have the savegame in case I want to drop by and visit Udib Stakelulls the cook, the lone survivor of the horiffic fall of Syrupbuttered the Ancient Sweetness.
posted by gamera at 7:10 PM on April 1, 2010 [17 favorites]


No. No, I can't do it again. I tried installing Dwarf Fortress again sometime after a minor update. Maybe a year ago. I hadn't played in at least a year.

I couldn't do it. I imagine the feeling I experienced was like a (trivialized) version of learning how to walk again after recovering from having your legs and pelvis broken.
posted by Decimask at 7:56 PM on April 1, 2010


Also, because we're surprisingly pedantless today on MeFi: What's a rougelike?
posted by Decimask at 7:59 PM on April 1, 2010


The Wikipedia article on roguelikes describes it pretty well. The main ideas are epic dungeon crawling, permanent death, killing monsters, collecting loot, etc. NetHack is a prime example.
posted by threetoed at 8:04 PM on April 1, 2010


Ergh. Rougelike. Me spel gud pretty some day.
posted by gamera at 8:05 PM on April 1, 2010


Ack! Misspelled again. Backing away from the keyboard.
posted by gamera at 8:07 PM on April 1, 2010


So has anyone played the new version? Any slow down issues?
posted by afu at 8:08 PM on April 1, 2010


... you suddenly look at the graphics and see dwarves instead of @ signs, and then a whole world opens up.

This. I remember when this happened, several hours into gameplay. I had sent two dwarves deeper into the mines for -- I don't remember what -- and one of them fell into a river and died for some reason. The other one just paced around the area for a while. Then, he snapped, ran off, and locked himself in a workshop.

He stayed in there for quite some time, later emerging with ... some work of art I can't recall. Shortly after that, he was back to normal. But that sort of thing, seeing them traumatized attempting to deal with it -- the personification and individuality -- that's when the game starts getting wonderful.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:09 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


He stayed in there for quite some time, later emerging with ... some work of art I can't recall. Shortly after that, he was back to normal. But that sort of thing, seeing them traumatized attempting to deal with it -- the personification and individuality -- that's when the game starts getting wonderful.

I think when all the "Are video games art?" debates crop up, all you really need to do is point at dwarf fortress. There is a vast group of people who enjoy simply reading stories about what happens in the game. This is incredible, people reading stories about little symbols moving around a screen. In the past 10 years, Dwarf Fortress has given people more strange, wonderful experiences than any piece of art sitting in a gallery.
posted by afu at 8:25 PM on April 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Rainseeker: Exactly. I have invented the bag of infinite skunks!
Toady: That’s not very nice! Open the bag and some skunks ... well the game doesn’t have skunks. We need skunks. I’ve got these material breath weapons, so they could fire liquid stuff ... It wouldn’t actually smell, but it could give you blisters or make you die or something.
Rainseeker: They couldn’t generate miasma or something?
Toady: Well it could make your nose rot, it could specifically target the nose and make it rot off.

- from a recent podcast discussing the future of Dwarf Fortress

I think… this pretty much sums up why DF is a game I have deep respect for, and will probably never try to play in my entire life.

well, aside from the above-mentioned "it's hell to get running on a Mac" issues.
posted by egypturnash at 8:29 PM on April 1, 2010


My fortresses have always ended up running pretty smoothly. Once you get to a certain size and have planned things fairly sensibly from the beginning, there's not much that can take you out.
posted by Kattullus at 11:07 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


My fortresses have always ended up running pretty smoothly.

Yeah. To be honest, the game is a bit too easy. There are lots of gotchas for the new player, but if you know what to expect, it's all more than manageable. What seems impossible at first eventually becomes routine, when you've played enough.

The new version seems fairly packed with new opportunities for disaster, though, what with all the crazy stuff in the new underground layers. Hopefully it'll keep us all locked in a desperate, unwinnable battle for survival on our toes.
posted by magnificent frigatebird at 11:12 PM on April 1, 2010


> Ack! Misspelled again. Backing away from the keyboard

Abide, dude. I'm ribbing you. After many years of lurking on various gaming forums, my irrational reaction to that typo has mellowed. (It used to drive me nuts) I was mostly surprised no one had caught it (or at least commented on it) yet.
posted by Decimask at 11:42 PM on April 1, 2010


I nicknamed her "The Vomit-Covered Chef" since she went naked except for being covered head to foot in vomit. Otherwise she seemed unscathed by her ordeal.

Seems like she is coping well.
posted by empath at 12:10 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


threetoed: screw Boatmurdered, you want to read the chronicles of Syrupleaf instead. It's the Boatmurdered of 3D DF, except with way more blood and tantruming dorfs.
posted by daniel_charms at 1:07 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


afu: I've been playing a fort for almost a full in-game year now. The new version is definitely a bit slower on my computer, but that's pretty much to be expected with all the stuff that's going on underground. It's currently running at around 50 fps. Worldgen and loading/saving take quite a bit longer, though; so much so that my computer (a laptop with a meager 1,4 ghz Celeron processor) can't handle a 257x257 map anymore.
posted by daniel_charms at 1:15 AM on April 2, 2010


Oh God. I'm waiting for the Mac compatible version. I haven't played for a while, but like others on here, once I'd got over the initial problems of the interface, DF provided me with some of the most wonderful gaming experiences ever.

Example: A noble in my fortress was permanently unhappy. I couldn't understand it. He had a fine throne room, an impressive dining room, an exquisite bed chamber, and more chests, cabinets, weapon racks, etc, than he could possibly want. I was at a loss. Until I studied, in detail, the engravings that the other dwarves had done in his bedroom. There it was, an outstanding engraving of a dwarf being eaten by a giant cave spider. And that noble hated cave spiders. It's that level of detail that makes the game so rewarding.
posted by MrMustard at 2:33 AM on April 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


I wouldn't really recommend the current version to newer players. The player base has been repeatedly warned that it will initially be quite bug riddled. In a week or two the worst game breaking bugs will probably be fixed and it will be much more enjoyable.
posted by Catfry at 4:35 AM on April 2, 2010


Catfry: it's not that bad, actually. The quality of Toady's first releases for new versions seems to have become depressingly high :( I remember one that was outright unplayable due to a bug, but with this release, there doesn't seem to be anything outright show-stopping so far. This is probably because before the new version was unleashed upon the world, there were a number of limited test releases that were used to squash the worst bugs.
posted by daniel_charms at 5:25 AM on April 2, 2010


I think you are right but there is still the probability that many things will be tweaked and changed around and so, new players might not want to try learning the game only to have things changing shortly. It seems for example farming currently is described by Toady one as 'buggy' and while it's possible to do it now, farming mehcnaisms might get changed a bit soon.
posted by Catfry at 5:57 AM on April 2, 2010


Yeah, I'm really hoping that this version extends the interesting life of a fortress. The first few years are generally fun and interesting and entail dwarves dying in crazy ways, but then I always get to the point where the main challenge is to dig/construct stockpiles for masterwork stone mugs and rope reed cloth faster than they're made. This is usually the point where I tunnel into the magma pipe.
posted by PMdixon at 7:09 AM on April 2, 2010


I'll get to Dwarf Fortress some time after I finally ascend in Nethack.
posted by Zed at 8:15 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


screw Boatmurdered, you want to read the chronicles of Syrupleaf instead. It's the Boatmurdered of 3D DF, except with way more blood and tantruming dorfs.

*clicks link* Holy crap, it's a sequel to Headshoots?! I completely missed this one, gonna read it now.
posted by threetoed at 8:32 AM on April 2, 2010


But, eventually, things finally start to click, you suddenly look at the graphics and see dwarves instead of @ signs, and then a whole world opens up.

For a while I was totally obsessed with df, for this very reason. Here's a story I sent to a friend about it.

Then again, thanks to the bloody, bizarre and random nature of the dwarf fortress world, most things are killed by the dwarven enforcers or drown or smash under a (-*large platinum sarcophagus*-) or something.

I have an excellent illustration of what I mean. I have a Dwarf King that just showed up. Kings have to have a very fancy house, so I set my miners to working on it. The King's Consort also has to have a fancy house, so I set my miners to excavating her a house, too. It takes a while to hew and smooth and engrave solid rock, so the King and his Queen had to camp out in Modest Dwellings like 99% of my dwarven peoples.

The Queen hated it. It made her furious! She stewed and stewed and stewed over it until she went berserk and started running through the halls attacking people. She then attacked a dog.

Sadly for her, it was a war dog. And it had brought friends. She was ripped to pieces in the middle of the residential district, as dwarves slept peacefully all around. I immediately went to check the King's feelings, as I assumed that when your wife has been eaten by wild dogs a la Jezebel it's a distressing experience. But in fact, when I checked his mood, it said 'Durn Rockbiter is very happy right now.' I guess it was a dynastic marriage.

posted by winna at 8:49 AM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


The narratives folks construct around the games, the personifications of the @s, is the most amazing thing about the DF phenomena to me.

I need to install it on my travel laptop. Is it playable on a 10" screen?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 9:36 AM on April 2, 2010


PMdixon: I generally tend to solve such problems by starting crazy (or less crazy) megaprojects. Like building the whole fort around a huge stairwell that reaches down to the bottom of the map*. Or building a dwarven Venice - a fort with channels that are fed by artificial waterfalls running down from a river above ground and flowing into a chasm. This new version should make another dream of mine come true - you can now define 'burrows' and associate dwarves with them, restricting their movement; I am going to use this feature to build a fort that looks like a village of friendly craftsdwarves on the surface, but below the ground, they will be forging WEAPONS OF ELF DESTRUCTION!!! And noone will ever know this because the weaponsmiths will never come to the surface, hopefully.

* These tend to be very popular among suicidal dwarves.
posted by daniel_charms at 10:08 AM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


These Premises Are Alarmed: DF should definitely be playable on a small screen; it does, however, require a fast CPU to run normally (my Celeron M laptop is barely adequate) due to the sheer number of in-game objects, especially if you're on a big map. A smaller map will run faster, though - and shouldn't be any less fun.
posted by daniel_charms at 10:15 AM on April 2, 2010


Yeah this game is pummeling my 5 year old laptop. How do I get/make a smaller map? Do if have to make a user defined world?
posted by vapidave at 10:47 AM on April 2, 2010


vapidave: before you embark, you're given a choice about where to place your settlement. There's a three-part screen that shows the local, regional, and world map. You can move the local map around with the umkh keys and change its size with UMKH.
posted by aneel at 11:41 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


vapidave: you can resize your map while you're choosing your embark location, you can generate a new world with custom parameters and make it smaller. You can download pregen'd worlds at the dwarf fortress file depot, however there don't appear to be any for the new version yet. I'd also suggest capping your population at 50 or so, and increasing the game's priority, both of which can be done in the \data\init\init.txt file. If you're willing to part with it, disabling weather is also beneficial.
posted by p3on at 11:46 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The narratives folks construct around the games, the personifications of the @s, is the most amazing thing about the DF phenomena to me.

It's the absolute triumph of the game that something so arcane can produce interesting stories, and I don't think there's anyone who's played the game substantially who doesn't have a reserve of stories, from triumphs to tragedies to flooding things with magma accidentally.

I give a lot of credit to Toady's design philosophy. I've heard that he and his brother sit around and make up little stories about this world, and then afterwards he sits down and figures out exactly how to make them happen in the game. The whole thing is almost more of a storytelling tool than a game, and it shows with people's stories of crippled mules holding off the goblins or asshole nobles stealing everyone else's skull totems or what have you.
posted by Copronymus at 11:55 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


daniel_charms: See, I occasionally do plan out and start megaprojects, I just get so frustrated with how much of a pain it is to layout anything more complicated than a square. Plus by that point the framerate's usually low enough that it takes umpty seasons to complete a level of the magma fountain of doom or whatever. Hopefully getting a new desktop this summer will alleviate the latter problem, at least.
posted by PMdixon at 12:48 PM on April 2, 2010


I think I might dive into this game this weekend. As a Macbook owner, am I better off loading up Windows XP on Bootcamp to play this game?
posted by naju at 2:25 PM on April 2, 2010


I play on a Macbook and the only trouble I have had is that there are some commands that assume you have a number pad. You end up using the num lock key a lot. I eventually got fed up and edited the interface preferences, but I can't remember the exact changes I made. If you're just trying the game out and you don't already have a boot camp partition set up you may want to try out the mac version of the previous release.
posted by gamera at 3:02 PM on April 2, 2010


As a Macbook owner, am I better off loading up Windows XP on Bootcamp to play this game?

As opposed to what? Assuming that you're asking "Bootcamp or virtualization?", it probably won't make that much difference. You might get slightly better performance under Bootcamp, but Dwarf Fortress is almost totally CPU-bound. CPU performance is typically excellent under virtualization. Graphics are a lot slower, but DF uses very simple OpenGL calls, and it'll probably run at almost native speed. Running XP on the bare metal might give you some improvement, but it won't likely be enormous.

If you're asking "XP or native version?", there is no Mac version of this release yet. He's planning to release for Mac and Linux soon, after he gets the worst of the bugs fixed on the Windows flavor and gets the D# interface improvements merged. I don't know how fast he works, but I'd guess probably within a month or so.

Overall, bare metal XP should be faster than the Mac version, which should in turn be faster than the virtualized flavor. The difference probably won't be major. I'd probably try it under Fusion or Parallels first and see how it went... less of a commitment that way.
posted by Malor at 5:39 PM on April 2, 2010


It's been awhile since I've last played this and I have a four day weekend.

Hurray!
posted by ODiV at 8:51 PM on April 2, 2010


I'm trying to find the older version for linux... Does one just download the mac link, or is there a super-secrt linux link hidden somewhere?

(no rush though... it should probably wait until after my thesis adviser has left the country!)
posted by kaibutsu at 10:16 AM on April 3, 2010


Re-installed.

Damn you, Metafilter.
posted by Decimask at 10:36 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


We should just have an ongoing metafilter thread wherein we can all swap DF stories.

Just yesterday, without me realizing it, my fortress's emergency escape route completely flooded. When the inevitable invasion of unsavory characters smashed through the front gate, killing everything in their path, my dwarven friends were driven down the escape hatch, through the miles-long tunnel, only to come upon a nearly-full tunnel of water. Caught between the murdering horde and a the dark water, many dwarves chose the latter. They drowned six levels beneath the surface of the earth, and no one is left to remember them. Armok be praised.
posted by Think_Long at 9:35 AM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just started a new fortress. I had just begun to dig out the entrance hall, when I got an announcement that one of my dogs had been struck down. I checked the unit list and found out that three ogres had snuck onto the map and were now tearing all my animals into tiny little pieces. All the dogs were already dead; the horses were next to go. Then they went for the cats (I had used the Embark now! option). And then, before I could figure out what to do, they were attacking my dwarves. By the time I got everyone drafted into the militia, three of them were already badly wounded and unconscious (one of them had bizarrely become a legendary wrestler in the time it took the ogre to take him down). Unfortunately, the rest of the militia were in such a hurry to try and rescue them that they forgot to take weapons (I still haven't quite managed to figure out how the new military system works... and of course it's buggy as well). So thanks to all the bugs, I was stuck with three ogres slowly torturing two of my dwarves and there was nothing I could do about it. This was the first time my game was over before it had started. I think I'm in love with this new version.
posted by daniel_charms at 2:37 PM on April 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


kaibutsu: I honestly don't know where the Linux links have gone, but you can download Linux version of 40d19 (older version with optimized graphics) here.
posted by daniel_charms at 2:46 PM on April 5, 2010


Fuck. Another newly founded fort got taken down - this time by harpies. I really need to make some serious changes to my starting build. Or start settling in more peaceful locations. And I swear I don't normally suck at this game.
posted by daniel_charms at 8:34 AM on April 6, 2010


And I swear I don't normally suck at this game.

I swear that I pretty much always suck at this game. Currently I've got about 40 dwarves happily dying of thirst because we're in a drought and I forgot to set the 'brew' command on repeat. Oh well, there's time for at least one unwise mega-project - a several stories deep rain well with channels leading from every one of the map's (now dry) ponds and lakes. WE WILL SURVIVE
posted by Think_Long at 3:22 PM on April 6, 2010


following the tutorial for dummies, I've started to slowly go off the rails. In the tutorial about cleaning up overhangs, he mentions that cave-in's aren't good and could happen if you aren't careful with channeling, but not how bad they were. So I wasn't careful when channeling and caused a 3 floor collapse. Recoverable, accept traders were in town, and their diplomat went berzerk because of the cavein. He then promptly fell into a cage trap. No harm no foul, I try to set his cage up as a good to be traded back to the humans. This works to poor effect, and he escapes, slaughtering half a dozen dwarfs before a hunter happens upon the floor, says WTF, and shoots the human in the leg, killing him.

Now deeper into it just at the point where I'm trying to learn how to train and equip a militia, and the humans are pissed, and sent a seige force to me. I have some traps around the front door, but other than that, my military is built of about 6 dudes, and they sent 12. I try to figure out how to send the militia after the humans, hoping that superior armor will come into effect, but I fail and end up sending those 6 dwarfs, plus the next 3 I draft into the militia to their death by not sending them out in large enough groups. Luckily as they're killing my last militia man, they stroll past the front door and see the guard dogs inside and charge. Bingo! I cage trap about 4 and weapon trap kill about 3, and the rest flee.

Things are starting to get out of balance though, with too many trinkets built and bedrooms fashioned, and not enough dwarfs. I hope the next migration is big.
posted by garlic at 10:25 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ok, I figured out how to do the linux install, and have been running text-mode on the eee pc, just like Armok intended. I'm pretty sure that this game was made specifically for me. So far I've abandoned two forts, both excellent learning experiences before I ever bothered to look at the wiki, and this time I know how to make a military and can build my own weapons, so if those damned elves on their unicorns come around again, we can give them a good what-for. That said, the sheriff just took it upon himself to suffocate the Champion leading my meager military, apparently as a way to take command of both the military and the champion's wife. What an elf-fucker. And since he's the sheriff, it doesn't seem to have registered as a criminal act.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:17 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Since we're doing war-stories:

First sbetbggra ornfg comes, lose only a couple before the military notices and takes it down. Fair enough. Second one comes, get the military on the scene faster, only lose a couple of dogs. All is well, right?

So when a goblin ambush comes, go to activate my military---and find all of them in the hospital, with crippled feet. WTF?

Turns out the second thingamabob had toxic blood which got tracked throughout the fortress and rotted feet indiscriminately.

And it was all going so well before that...
posted by PMdixon at 10:53 AM on April 9, 2010


I believe this is the first programmable digital computer that anyone has built in DF.
posted by Zed at 3:13 PM on April 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Holy shit!
posted by ODiV at 3:56 PM on April 15, 2010


yeah, i was going to fpp that tonight. i still might.
posted by empath at 5:17 PM on April 15, 2010


Have any videos of it in action surfaced?
posted by Kattullus at 5:48 PM on April 15, 2010


http://www.nzfortress.co.nz/forum/showthread.php?t=20768

Here's a wonderfuly illustrated story about a game of Dwarf Fortress.
posted by Catfry at 2:31 AM on April 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


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