Follow posts tagged #bay12 in seconds.Sign up
“Meanwhile, back in the year 2, the Taut Evils, led by the demon Rafovi Larvaboil, pillaged the capital fortress of the dwarves. The evil hero Olngo Scourgewet killed the dwarven queen in a duel and skinned the mayor, while Larvaboil killed random civilians, including the parents of the newborn Bembul Matchspear. A few years later, the tragic orphan was snatched by the eventually notorious quadruple ace-snatcher Dang Demonnotched and grew up as a troll shearer in the pits of Greyhexes, working alongside Olngo's son Usbu Flyroars, and various humans abducted by Dang. Some of the humans were murdered in squabbles as the wars raged on, but Bembul survived.”—From the Dwarf Fortress development blog. Adventure mode looks to be heating up a lot in the coming release. Can’t wait.
15th Obsidian Year 127: AMBUSH!
We finally have an ambush on our hands! This will be our militia’s first real test.
A Pig is our first casualty.
The battle goes badly, we have lost six dwarves to one goblin.
Thoughts on Dwarf Fortress (Repost from Blogger)
This is a dwarf. He is at the same time, your best friend and your worst enemy.
Dwarf Fortress is a Rougelike/Turn Based Strategy/Simulation/Adventure Game. It is also a damn good game with a sometimes rabid, but mostly friendly fanbase. There is one major “problem” with the game; it is by far one of the most complex and deep games ever made by a single game dev team. Dwarf Fortress requires commitment and the willingness to learn the ins and outs of the ASCII based interface. It is a bit difficult to write an inroduction for a game with such a massive scale as Dwarf Fortess (referred to as “DF” from here on out) so let us dive into the ASCII wilds of the many worlds of Dwarf Fortress. Strike the Earth!
Story, Writing, Characters, and Dialog
Let’s get this out of the way first. There is no set story line, plot, or anything of the sort in DF. You create your own stories as you play. I suppose the best thing to do would to explain how a game of DF in Fortress mode plays out.
How the Game Works
The first thing one must do after a fresh install of DF is to free up a couple hours oftime. Believe me, you won’t notice them pass once you get into it. The next step is to generate a new world in which to play. Based on various factors that can be set in the world creation dialog, your new world may be hundreds of years old and be a massive island filled with rivers, mountians, and forests or it may just be a young world, maybe with a history of just thirty or so years with the landmass being a series of small islands with small deserts and jungles. No matter. The planning for your expedition begins now. Choose a suitible site to embark to (preferably something with plenty of trees, metal ores, and no aquifer). Once the destination is set, you are given seven dwarves to do with as you please. The basic flow of the game from here goes as such. You designate where things are to be built, be dug out, channeled out, cut down, etc. The dwarves will eventually get around to it provided they are in a good enough mood, free to do something, and they are capable of doing the specific labor. Dwarves moods are dictated by basic necessties. They need food, booze, a place to sleep, and keep their possessions. There are also factors such as inter-dwarf relationships that apply to the mood of a dwarf. Dwarves like to talk to their friends, spouses, pets, and children. They don’t like it when the before mentioned dwarves die, get sick, are imprisoned, etc. As long as dwarves are happy, dwarves will work at their assigned jobs and avoid the deadly tantrums that result from unhappiness. Tantrums lead to Tantrum Spirals, where dwarves will begin to start throwing tantrums one after the other as a result of another angry dwarf killing a friend or family member. Tantrum spirals are one of the main causes of a failed expedition. Let’s get back on track. In order to attract more dwarves to your expedtion, you must trade with the annual Dwarven caravan that reports back to the Dwarves’ homeland (The Mountainhomes). Depending on how much is exported, dwarves will begin to arrive in small (around four or five) or large (around twenty to thirty) groups. More dwarves means the need for a bigger fortress and the production of more goods in order to trade with nearby civilizations and also needed to arm your military. Now we come to the “fun” part of the game. At least once a year, there’s the chance that your fort will be ambushed or beseiged by goblins, kobolds, humans, or elves (depending on your relations with each civilization). Without a proper military or decent automated trap system, your fort is as good as dead. If you manage to survive an attack you get to loot the dead attackers and try to rebuild your losses. If you fail, you will be greeted with either a total massacre of your dwarves or a mostly unrecoverable Tantrum Spiral leading to a lone insane dwarf running naked, babbling, and starving himself to death. Your dwarves should also be digging ever deeper into the earth, uncovering caverns and veins of precious stones and ores. These caverns are, of course, filled with dangerous monsters and also house the game’s most infamous enemies, the Forgotten Beasts. These are simply randomly generated creatures with a randomized assortment of body parts and effects. They can range from humanoids made of rock salt to giant flying earthworms with poisonous, acidic breath. These beasts are about as dangerous as a full seige and can reduce a fort to the ground in a matter of minutes. Deeper down in the earth lies the magma sea, a large mass of magma that also houses the most valuable minerals, making the risk of mining around magma worth it. Below tHe magma sea lies … [THE REST OF THIS DOCUMENT HAS BEEN REDACTED. NOTHING OF INTEREST LIES BELOW THE MAGMA SEA. KEEP CALM AND CONTINUE TO MINE. A WORKING DWARF IS A HAPPY DWARF. - THE DWARVEN BOARD OF TOURISM AND EXPEDITIONS]
I will also write a bit about the Adventure mode of the game. In this mode, you play the role of an adventurer of your own creation. This mode plays similarly to a traditional Rougelike, using turn based everything and allowing the player to have absolute control of the character. The Rougelike similarities continue when you realize that Adventure mode is incredibly difficult at first and will almost always lead to the brutal death of your character. It is arguably the more enjoyable of the two modes, seeing as you can do literally anything in this mode. There are no rules to what you can accomplish and find in this mode. If you want to make a Captain America character (expertise in shields and punching) and run around saving the various villages from monsters, you can do that. If you want to make a character that runs round beating people to death with the body of a dead alpaca while throwing rocks with deadly accuracy, you can totally do that too. It’s more or less sandbox mode using DF’s combat engine and randomly generated world. Many of the best DF stories come from this section of the game. Like the time when I made a basic sword wielding peasant, who had the luck of defeating a night creature (think a Lovecraftian werewolf) in one blow with a thrown copper dagger. He then headed back to the nearest village, got hungry, decided to fish, and was torn in half by an angry alligator. I think I’ve discussed how the game works enough now though. Let’s move on to analyze the game further.
An example of your average Forgotten Beast.
Here’s where most people give up on the game. The controls. There is no in game tutorial to explain the controls, and besides trial and error, the only way to learn the controls to the game is to look them up on the DF wiki. It takes time to learn how to access every neccessary command, move around the map, and everything else. It took me about a week to get fully comfortable with the controls and I had to have the wiki page open all the time. Once I had the controls memorized I found them to be quite adquate and intuitive. After a while you become quite proficient with them and find that it only takes a couple keystrokes to tell your military to attack or to tell your miners to dig into a rock wall. There are no mouse controls, keyboard only and a numpad is a must unless you want to constantly be hitting Shift commands and using the number row to navigate diagonals. My thoughts on the controls as a whole? Very complicated at first, takes a while to get used to, but very intuitive after a learning period.
A rather large picture of one of my successful forts. In the center is the entrance to the fort with four drawbridges surrounded by a moat filled with traps.
Combat is one of the more … interesting aspects of the game. It’s also a bit complex. I’m not going to go into the entire military system of the game, that’s covered quite well across two different pages in the DF wiki. I’m going to talk about the main combat engine used in the game and how it affects the user. Let’s look at a basic turn of attack, one attack that happens over the course of one turn. First the attacker chooses a target. The attacker then chooses to either attack for damage, throw an item for damage, or to wrestle (grapple) the target. No matter what is chosen the flow goes some thing like this. Type of attack is chosen. A certain area of the target is chosen to be attacked. Body part, item, or weapon is chosen to attack with. The attack is initiated and either hits or misses. If the attack hits and was a grapple, the dwarf clings to the targeted body part rendering the grappled body part useless and causing continual damage in some cases (the throat for example). If the attack was normal or a thrown item and hits, the flow continues. Each layer of armor is considered as a protective layer and has the chance to deflect a blow dependent on the material and type of weapon used. If the blow gets through the armor, it now hits for damage. Each body part has it’s own health status and if that status becomes too critical there’s a chance that the limb is severed, causing bleeding and possibly instant death. Some body parts have limbs attached to them as well, such as toes attached to a foot or teeth, ears, the nose, and eyes attached to the head. These are also taken into account when one of these limbs is damaged. Final damage ranges from a bruise to cuts to fully severed limbs that fly through the air and land a short distance away. Take this and do it a thousand times. You now have the basic idea of a typical goblin ambush. It’s incredibly complex, but thankfully the computer calculates all of this for you letting you enjoy the aftermath, all of which is recorded for your viewing pleasure. It’s not uncommon for your dwarves to be missing teeth, toes, or fingers after battle. So how does combat feel when in control of it in Adventure mode? Quite nice actually. After learning the interface, all that needs to be done is to target the best attack possible and go from there. You can also just use randomly chosen attack. For Rougelike based combat, it flows quite well, and since the wounds are more or less realistic, battles can be won with one blow.
The same fort as above, two years later following the construction of roads and a particularly messy battle. Most of the red and cyan tiles are blood (excluding the red rectangles of road and the cyan creek). Note the caravan that was massacred in the lower right hand corner of the map and the larger garbage dump.
Graphics and Sound
These two sections need to be pressed together since they’re so small. Graphics aren’t really a huge problem, but considering there are no graphics, it may be a problem for some. DF uses an ASCII system to represent everything in the game. It can look ugly at times, but there exist graphical tilesets that can replace the ASCII characters at the cost of using a bit more RAM on your PC, nothing to much, there is noticeable slowdown during combat sometimes. The tilesets do look nice and a couple come bundled with the Lazy Newb Pack installation on the game. Sound is another thing. There really isn’t any sound. There’s music, but no sound effects. This is actually a good decision, since the inclusion of sound effects would probably cause major slowdown later on in the game. There are user made mods that add SFX into the game, but I haven’t tested it out. The music consists of a single looping acoustic guitar solo. There’s nothing really wrong with it, and I kind of like it, but it can be turned off in the game’s options if needed. I do this and just play my own music collection over it or watch a movie on my other monitor while I play.
So it comes down to the big questions. Do I like this game?
Is this a good game?
There are, of course, exceptions to this answer. Are you willing to learn the ins and outs of a game who’s best instruction manual is an entire wiki? Are you willing to put the time and effort into this game in order to reach a point where playing is ejoyable? Are you looking for a game to play in your free time or are you looking for something a bit more hardcore? It comes down to this. Dwarf Fortress is a hardcore multigenre Rougelike that requires a learing period and has a high difficulty curve to overcome to be enjoyed. If you are able to overcome these, you will find an immesely satisfying experience as you learn how to control dwarves in increasingly more productive ways. When you slay your first Brozne Colossus or Forgotten Beast, the feeling of satisfaction is great. When a deity decides to visit your fortress and compliments it, it feels good. When you first learn how to correctly equip your army with full plate armor and weapons, you feel good when the next seige is successfully repelled as a result. So do I recommend this game to everybody?
Do I expect everybody to play it and start to get into it?
Of course I don’t, this game is intimidating and incredibly addictive. Most Rougelikes are. The point is, I wanted to talk about DF for a bit and share why I like this game. It’s enjoyable. It’s deep and complex. There’s no story or named characters, but all of that is up to the player. I like the freedom the game gives to me.
Try it out here:
The LNP contains the game as well as a launcher containing options for the game, some tilesets, and a couple of handy tools.
Note: Search the word “fun” on the wiki.
Notes for the Repost:
I still love this game. That is all. This was one of my more long-winded reviews, but I’m still happy with it.