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Default Dwarf Fortress Interview @ PC Cohort

August 17th, 2009, 18:53
While not an RPG, the free, text-based, independently developed game by Bay 12 known as Dwarf Fortress has some players on this site, and PC Cohort does an interview with Tarn Adams, who along with his brother is the title's creator. The interview deals mainly with Adams' background and approach to his work, along with some general observations:
6. Have any thoughts on the gaming industry as a whole?

============
Itís very big now and the overall selection is quite diverse to the point that thereís something for almost everybody, and virtually everybody growing up plays games. I think thatís all very cool. I have microscopic niches Iím into myself, so I guess itís disappointing personally that some of the interesting ideas from my favorite games werenít picked up and developed to the level they could be at while other things have received a lot more attention, but Iím writing the kind of games Iím most interested in, so itís not so bad.
And on the concept of anything coming along to change the game's current status:
7. Any industry folks come snooping around and offer a briefcase of money yet?

============
Ha ha, yeah, a couple of times, though it has all been in good faith so I wouldnít put too sharp a point on it. Itís mostly concerned either using DFís name as part of a name for some other project or using the DF setting for some other project without DFís name, but nothing has come of it. Nobody has asked to buy the name and for me to stop writing and distributing my game, and nobody has asked to put DF in a box and distribute it…
As long as we can keep creating and handing out our own free unaltered DF to the fans for the longest possible time, we are happy. So far the donation model has made the most sense for that, and I donít see that changing…
More information.
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August 17th, 2009, 18:53
Amazing game, but it comes with a very annoying UI and what can barely called graphic.

Still dreaming about a graphic version of this title.
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August 17th, 2009, 19:03
They know. They're estimating that they lose 95% of their players during the first hour. The game needs a serious UI overhaul, and graphics would most definitely help too.

They're on the dev list. They just want to sort out the gameplay first.

It's a good idea if you ask me — the good thing about an ASCII GUI and graphics is that it's very easy to modify. Once they have their vision fully realized, it's relatively easy to slap on the graphical icing. Do that too early, though, and *maintaining* the graphical icing as the gameplay evolves becomes a big millstone.

So until then, you have to put up with a very ugly game if you intend to enjoy it. It's more than worth it, I assure you… and the next release will be HUGE.

(The UI is actually pretty fluid to use once you get the hang of it; it's the learning curve that's the killer.)
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August 17th, 2009, 19:28
Was I correct in calling it text-based, Prime J? I was referring to the ASCII, but now that I read that line it sounds like I'm talking about a MUD.

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August 17th, 2009, 20:09
Not quite. It's actually tile-based, only with the (somewhat bizarre) side consideration that the tiles are also used to display text. There's a second tileset for the dwarves and critters in the game.

I don't think it ought to be horribly difficult to liberate the main tileset so that it would be exclusively dedicated to graphics, and do the text separately. But all that is in the future.

Example of a tileset that provides rudimentary background graphics, while keeping the text legible:



Example of a graphics set:



It'd be cool if they freed up all the letters in the first tileset (that now do double-duty as graphical elements). It'd already make the game look much better.
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August 17th, 2009, 20:15
I really want to learn to play Dwarf Fortress. I really want to like Dwarf Fortress. I just can't
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August 17th, 2009, 20:24
Thanks for the clarification, Prime Junta. I have to say the tileset example still makes my eyeballs bleed, but I can see that adding those little graphics figures would indeed help.

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August 17th, 2009, 20:50
Originally Posted by Konjad View Post
I really want to learn to play Dwarf Fortress. I really want to like Dwarf Fortress. I just can't
It's not that hard. You just have to take a deep breath, set aside three hours, spin up the wiki, start following the tutorial, and determine not to quit until those three hours are up. If, at the end of those three hours, you're still hopelessly confused, discouraged, or bored, the game is probably not for you anyway. Else you're well on your way to addiction.
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August 17th, 2009, 20:51
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
Thanks for the clarification, Prime Junta. I have to say the tileset example still makes my eyeballs bleed, but I can see that adding those little graphics figures would indeed help.
It does, yes. But yeah, it does have something of a retina-scratching quality to it.
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August 17th, 2009, 22:13
Thanks, Prime Junta.
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August 18th, 2009, 12:09
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
They know. They're estimating that they lose 95% of their players during the first hour. The game needs a serious UI overhaul, and graphics would most definitely help too.

They're on the dev list. They just want to sort out the gameplay first.

It's a good idea if you ask me — the good thing about an ASCII GUI and graphics is that it's very easy to modify. Once they have their vision fully realized, it's relatively easy to slap on the graphical icing. Do that too early, though, and *maintaining* the graphical icing as the gameplay evolves becomes a big millstone.

So until then, you have to put up with a very ugly game if you intend to enjoy it. It's more than worth it, I assure you… and the next release will be HUGE.

(The UI is actually pretty fluid to use once you get the hang of it; it's the learning curve that's the killer.)
Good News.
I cant get used to the graphic and UI of the game.It make my eyes water.
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August 19th, 2009, 01:12
Reminds me of the muds of the 90s. The graphics leaves lot for imagination which can be a plus in my book. It looks interesting just for that reason alone. The combat is nicely detailed too.

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August 19th, 2009, 08:11
Just wait 'til you see the next release. There's tissue layers, wounds affecting individual organs, compound fractures tearing surrounding tissue or organs, poisons, and so on and so forth. Brutal and incredibly detailed.
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August 19th, 2009, 14:43
Originally Posted by Konjad View Post
I really want to learn to play Dwarf Fortress. I really want to like Dwarf Fortress. I just can't
I had this problem the first time I tried to play it. But then some guy (Capt. Duck) released a series of tutorial videos on YouTube that helped me finally get a handle on it.

If one of your problems is the control scheme and some of the strategy behind it, those may be useful to you.
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August 20th, 2009, 12:53
Getting closer to release. From the dev page:

Originally Posted by ToadyOne
I had somebody shoot my toe off with a crossbow, which was cool, because it was after the slash vs. pierce merge. It just happened that the toe was narrow enough to be removed.

I got to test out the sort of reverse compound fracture thingies where a piece is knocked inward rather than out through the skin. Right now the relationships for the ribs are a little too general, so in the example a left rib goes through the liver (rather than a more appropriate right rib, but that's okay for now. The current text: "You bash The Farmer in the upper body with your bismuth bronze war hammer, bruising the muscle, jamming the left floating rib through the liver tissue and tearing the liver!" There are various issues — mentioning the bruise is a little weird since it's not that important, the mention of the liver tissue vs the liver tear could be compacted, there are actually two floating ribs on that side and it doesn't go into exactly what happened there, and The Farmer is capitalized (which is an older problem), but it works well enough for now so I'm not going to spend a lot more time on the text. This one also demonstrates the body part relationships nicely though — the rib was struck first, and it shows a compound-style fracture acting between different parts (rather than just a bone through skin in a single part).

I also grabbed somebody's exposed guts and did the only thing you can do with them currently, which is pinch them. It's an unfortunate game.
Drool.
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