Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Strike the earth!

So as I may have mentioned, I tried out Dwarf Fortress.

The graphics are in ascii, the interface is confusing, the complexity is ridiculous.

It appeals to me immensely.

After generating my first world, I set out to create my new fortress, which several minutes hitting "Random" finally resulted in "Dragondoor" I considered "Stablefortress" when it came up, but I didn't feel it would be honest.

To start the game, you select your starting location off of the world map, then pick some dwarves:
buy them some stuff:

Usual assortment. Picks for digging, plenty of lumber because there's no trees where I'm going, some mushroom "seeds", plenty of booze for the hardworkers, and...


mule meat, horse meat, donkey meat, cat meat, dog meat, perch, turtle, fox meat, racoon meat, deer meat, rainbow trout, groundhog meat (I needed two of these for some reason), rhesus macaque meat, mountain goat meat (again, x2), hoary marmot meat, char, and salfin molly.

There's actually a reason for this amazingly unappetizing survey of low-grade animal flesh(I could eat some perch right now, though). One barrel holds 10 pieces of meat. If you buy at least one of something, the merchant "throws in" the barrel to carry it, and doesn't do the sensible thing and pile all your game in together. Therefore you buy one each of anything which costs only 2 plat.

I can only imagine that this involves repeated visits, buying one piece of meat, leaving the store, putting on a fake mustache, returning, buying another piece of meat, repeat until you're wearing about 20 mustaches.

Our intrepid (and gamey-smelling) wagonload of small bearded men arrives. The land is cold, unfamiliar, and I think I saw some antmen.

And this just has to stop.

We begin digging in:
Our little dogs and cats wander around as the digging begins.

The X on the far right of my little tunnel is a stairwell, and my wagon didn't actually vomit, those are barrels of booze, bags of seed, and lots and lots of lumber.

A stray kitten bleeds to death. :'( Wasn't really sure why.

We dig out, begin working on farming land. On the right you'll see the stairwell. That goes up to the level above. Not sure how many Z-levels (as the third dimension is called in this game) are supported, but I'm told it's well over 100. Probably 256, if I know how coders think. The engine keeps track of everything on every level, whether or not you can see it.

That's powerful, complex, and this little ascii game DRAGS on my pentium III laptop. For this game I switched over to running it on the p4 in the office and playing it over VNC (watching the little dwarves jump around the screen wildly as the screen refreshed. this got better in 256 colors (which you may notice from the later screenshots.

When I saved and quit I was having some problems..

My dwarves weren't really in trouble, but all the animals we brought have been lost to antmen attack (I think I have a cat left, but that's not enough to have kittens unless she's already pregnant)

They don't seem to pose any threat to my dwarves, I'm thinking I'm going to try to make some animal traps and cages, catch the little bastards.

It's a deep game, too deep in some ways. The interface is a pain, but there are compensations. If nothing else, reading the official forums over at bay12.

"I accidentally dislodged a single tile at ground level while trimming the hill around the fortress entrance, and it punched through a lava moat, a gem stockpile and a bone stockpile before coming to a halt in someone's bedroom. The bedroom's owner, a planter, was in bed at the time, and he got up and walked to the door just in time to get a coating of lava, gems, bones and scorched legendary miner chunks." -NCarter

dig dig dig dig

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