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The Brilliance of Dwarf Fortress

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the in-all-its-ascii-glory dept.

Games 104

The NY Times is running a story about Dwarf Fortress, an independently produced, ASCII-rendered fantasy game that thrives on its own uniqueness and has influenced countless other game developers (and runs on Linux). Quoting: "Though it may seem ungainly at first, the game’s interface — rendered in what are known as extended ASCII characters — has a sparse elegance. As seasons change, trees, represented by various symbols, shift from green to yellow. Goblins’ eyes appear as red quotation marks; if you shoot out an eye with an arrow, the symbol becomes an apostrophe. On a message board, one fan likened the ASCII experience in Dwarf Fortress to the immersive pleasures of reading a book: 'You can let your imagination fill in the gaps.' The community that has arisen around Dwarf Fortress is remarkable. Fans maintain an extensive wiki, which remains the game’s best (and, effectively, only) instruction manual, and which even Tarn and Zach admit to consulting. ... Perhaps most fascinating are the stories that fans share online, recounting their dwarven travails in detailed and sometimes illustrated narratives. In a 2006 saga, called Boatmurdered, fans passed around a single fortress — one player would save a game, send the file to another player and so on, relay-race style — while documenting its colorful descent into oblivion."

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Dwarf Fortress (5, Insightful)

zget (2395308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852372)

It may be brilliant, and I enjoyed playing it too.. But it seriously need a good gui. I stopped playing because I got tired of going thru menus and trying to memorize the key combos. It's a great game, just make a good GUI into it!

Re:Dwarf Fortress (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36852434)

Maybe something like nethack?

The generic windowed Nethack tileset took away no functionality from the game and all the keyboard command still worked. Rarely would I use a mouse in Nethack except to maybe zip from point A to point B.

You need to keep in mind that Tarn is not an artist. he's a programmer first. And the game eats a lot of CPU as it is--I had overclocked my core 2 duo to 4ghz just to keep one fortress going with its 200 inhabitants and all the things going on. I am sure if he gave up control and let others help the program would be much cleaner, but then losing control could cause the game to lose some of its charm.

Considering that, I am content to play it as it stands.

Also, he'll send you crayon art if you donate. I have two crayon drawings from him, both depicting horrible things that happened in my fortress that I described to him and that he had taken the time to read and reply to.

You reading this, Toady One? (1, Flamebait)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852678)

MULTI-THREADING. The game overtaxes even modern single cores. If we could get some multiple cores going, our games' complexity wouldn't have to be limited by the game's binaries.

Re:You reading this, Toady One? (2)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852844)

Supposedly it's too hard to program for multiple threads for AI, as it already supports offloading some features to alternate cores.

Re:You reading this, Toady One? (3, Informative)

PJ6 (1151747) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852888)

MULTI-THREADING. The game overtaxes even modern single cores. If we could get some multiple cores going, our games' complexity wouldn't have to be limited by the game's binaries.

When you have many items in a world all interacting with each other at once, especially done in the terrible C++ way, it's not trivial at all to parallelize. It's something you can only properly achieve if you had parallelization in mind from the beginning of the design.

He'd have to rewrite the whole thing from the ground up, preferably in a language more suited to the task. Bad news for this, because in my experience C/C++ programmers never move on.

Re:You reading this, Toady One? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36853020)

I'm waiting for a GTA-style, gritty, urban adventure like this.

ASCIItution and mayhem!

Re:You reading this, Toady One? (1)

Langdon (44221) | more than 3 years ago | (#36853352)

I'm waiting for a GTA-style, gritty, urban adventure like this.

ASCIItution and mayhem!

Might wanna check out Liberal Crime Squad, also by Bay12. Not as rogue-like as DF but still fun.

Re:You reading this, Toady One? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857008)

Which language would be better suited?

Re:You reading this, Toady One? (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857644)

Which language would be better suited?

Something with transactional memory -- say, Clojure. STM is a *vastly* saner way to deal with concurrency than manual lock management.

Re:You reading this, Toady One? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857896)

C/C++ is also fine for parallel processing: See OpenMP or UPC

The problem is how data is partitioned and the overall process that needs to be done.
On that point I agree that if he wants to parallelize the game, he'll have to rewrite the whole thing.

Re:You reading this, Toady One? (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 3 years ago | (#36860330)

It seems to me your experience must be somewhat limited. I programmed c/c++ for 7 years (with some perl on the side) and switched to java. I've now done java (and some perl, and some python, etc) for about 12 years. I know several other developers who've done the same thing.

Maybe it's just that you're young, and people who are still doing c/c++ as of 5 years ago are stuck on it.

Re:You reading this, Toady One? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36873956)

Wait, C++ is perfectly suited for writing a multi-core supported game. In fact, most the AAA games out there for the PC use some variant of C:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_game_engines

I'd like to hear what languages you think are more suited to the task.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852440)

I haven't played Dwarf fortress, but I've found Nethack and other Rogue-like games to be all but unplayable in GUI mode. I'd love it if someone would port an ASCII Rogue-like to Java Mobile so I could play it on my crappy old phones.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (1)

zget (2395308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852748)

I'm not talking about some isometric view or stuff like that. There are already tilesets available for Dwarf Fortress that make it nice to play with, while still having the same look. I'm just talking about making the game options available in simpler ways than going thru endless menus. For example, if you have a person selected a GUI can dynamically show you the options you can perform with him instead of looking endless amount of sub-menus just to do a single thing. It's an awesome game, and this shouldn't be that hard to add, so why not make it a bit more accessible for gamers.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (1)

N_Piper (940061) | more than 3 years ago | (#36854746)

With the number of objects being kept track of, +40 Dwarfs & +20 Goblins with Full clothing body parts and organ lists, Dwarf Fortress would Sodomize ANY single core computer sideways forget a phone all together.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (1)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852464)

The GUI is great. It's not accessible and not easy to read. It's perfect for what it represents, and I wouldn't play if it had a different interface. Just because it's hard to learn for new players doesn't mean it should be dumbed down.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36852494)

No one said it needs to be destroyed or dumbed down. They said it needs to be made better.

Things like standardizing hotkeys go a LONG ways. I haven't personally played dwarf fortress, but the impression I get from coworkers is every menu has different hotkeys for no logical reason.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (1)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852520)

They're all standardized in my opinion, and once you figure out how you use any one menu, they all work about the same.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (1)

Doctor Morbius (1183601) | more than 3 years ago | (#36858534)

No, they're not. In some menus you use the arrow keys to scroll around and in others you have to use the number pad. There is no consistency and no rhyme or reason.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (1)

DaVince21 (1342819) | more than 3 years ago | (#36856390)

Making an interface more accessible does not mean it's being "dumbed down". I'd hate to see you create a website with the Dwarf Fortress design ideas.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36852518)

I could be wrong, but I think that's about what Dwarfs? [dwarfs-game.com] set out to create. I don't know if it's any good, though.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (2)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852654)

Dwarfs?! was different, It sounds similar, but if Dwarf fortress is a huge ocean of content with sunken treasure to discover, then Dwarfs?! is a crystal clear swimming pool. Both can be fun, but one is for exploration and creation and experimentation, while the other is fun for a half an hour at a time and you know exactly what you're getting in to.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (2)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852910)

The biggest issue with refining the GUI is that it's still in alpha, and features change quickly enough that a good gui would soon become obsolete.

Fanmade programs like dwarf therapist and stonesense help significantly, of course.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (1)

bidule (173941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857260)

The biggest issue with refining the GUI is that it's still in alpha, and features change quickly enough that a good gui would soon become obsolete.

Fanmade programs like dwarf therapist and stonesense help significantly, of course.

That's no excuse for 2468, /*-+ and uhjm. There's no rhyme nor reason for which to use when. And some times when exploring the interface you hit a dead end and have to repeat the last 6 keys to get the next McUrist or whatever.

The inability to iterate through the interface is one of the main reason I stopped playing last year, that and the long-assed trips to get the "closest" stone on the same square 20 floors below rather than the one on the same floor 2 squares to the right. Which is a shame because it was great fun.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (1)

MaDeR (826021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861812)

"It is still in alpha!" is crap excuse. Hell, even in mainstream we have perpetual betas already. No more of this. GUI of DF is utter and complete shit. Deal with it. DF GUI should be seriously teached as "how to NOT do it" in user interface courses.
Shame, because DF in itself is really great game..

The UI problems (4, Interesting)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852920)

The UI desperately needs improvement, but whether it's graphic or not, I don't give a fuck. When you have 200 dwarves it is a total bitch to find the ones you're looking for. Quick: where is my dwarf who knows how to suture? Which is that immigrant dwarf I got a little while back, who already has just a little bit of skill in using a sword (I want to recruit him into the military). Beats the hell out of me. Seriously, I can sometimes spend 10 minutes on the Units screen (alas, leaving and then trying to go back to the 'next' unit) just trying to find a particular dwarf.

I love the game early on, but at some point it switches from game to chore. And (IMHO) it's all about the size of the population. If you have less than one screenful on the Units screen, things are very nice.

Re:The UI problems (3, Informative)

ProzacPatient (915544) | more than 3 years ago | (#36853050)

This will make your life easier by a hundred fold: https://code.google.com/p/dwarftherapist/ [google.com]

Re:The UI problems (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36853318)

It's unfortunate what happens to that name when spaces are removed.

Re:The UI problems (1)

ailnlv (1291644) | more than 3 years ago | (#36853350)

am I the only one who always parses the name of that program as "dwarf the rapist"?
reminds me of arrested development

Re:The UI problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36855198)

No you are not the only one...

Re:The UI problems (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36865434)

am I the only one who always parses the name of that program as "dwarf the rapist"?

Yeah, and you were almost arrested for those business cards.

Re:The UI problems (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 3 years ago | (#36854418)

Oh, for mod points. I play DF in wine, even though it's native on Linux, just so I can hook up the Therapist.

Re:The UI problems (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36854664)

I actually find the under wine it worked faster than native. I still have no idea why.

Re:The UI problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36854724)

Same with OS X. The native version is extremely slow. On the order of 20-50% of the framerate of the native Windows version on Windows, or nearly as much with the Windows one in WINE.

Re:The UI problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36855210)

Therapist runs on linux native.

Re:The UI problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36856000)

Too lazy to install DwardTherapist on linux?

Re:The UI problems (1)

Risen888 (306092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863568)

Huh? Therapist runs on Linux.

Re:The UI problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857232)

looking at your link, why would I want to go to a website with "Dwarf the rapist" in it.

Re:The UI problems (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36856964)

Make custom job names. In a 200 Dwarf fortress, you should have at least a couple dedicated doctors.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36854624)

There are very few commands, and each one does a lot.

Nethack makes it look as easy as clubbing baby seals.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36856954)

I honestly find that part of the charm.

If anything needs improving it's the AI in my opinion. I wish you could prioritize orders a little better - like when I say get in the fortress I mean NOW GODDAMMIT.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857748)

The new burrows help with that. Ordinary burrows define where a dwarf works and lives, but he's still allowed to wander outside that burrow. However, the old (and a bit buggy) "Dwarves Stay Indoors" option has been replaced by a military "Civilian Alert" which allows you to order all civilians to restrict themselves to the selected burrow. (Which can even be aboveground now, handy if you've got something nasty coming up from below, a situation the old "stay indoors" option couldn't handle at all)

  I get why people hate the UI as it stands, but Toady's planning on ripping the whole thing out after some more of the underlying mechanics are ready and replacing it. It's old, it's crufty, it's difficult to fix, and the whole thing has got to go. He just believes he can't do that until everything's in place and he knows what the UI needs.

  In the end, it's Toady's game, he just lets us play around with it.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 3 years ago | (#36859430)

Heh, DF's UI is like marmite: love it or hate it.

gameplay is what matters (1)

zrbyte (1666979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852418)

the ASCII experience in Dwarf Fortress to the immersive pleasures of reading a book: 'You can let your imagination fill in the gaps.'

Just like Nethack, Dungeon crawl, etc. Great fun!

Re:gameplay is what matters (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852462)

Not really. Dwarf Fortress is a fun game, but graphics DO matter. If it weren't for the tilesets that some intrepid gamers have made, I would never touch it.

Re:gameplay is what matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36853040)

Graphics matter to you (and some population) but not to others. It's a good things that things are still made that do not have to appease the largest market possible.

Re:gameplay is what matters (1)

Doctor Morbius (1183601) | more than 3 years ago | (#36858562)

That's stupid. If the game play is the same why not appeal to the largest market possible? You're just a fanboy.

Wow! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36852540)

Wow dude!

Are you a 'real gamer' who doesn't need 'fancy graphics'!

Someone mod this fucker up! We have a REAL GAMER posting in this story!

Re:Wow! (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#36853488)

Wowweee whoooaaaa fffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu --

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36856230)

Get therapy. Your need to sensationalize a trivial comment into an ego trip hints at your own mental instability.

Anything to hide real important news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36852436)

...Because Dwarf Fortress is what is important!

Also, we have always been at war with Eurasia.

Re:Anything to hide real important news... (1)

cwrinn (1282510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852524)

Dunno if you've noticed, but /. isn't exactly a "Front Page, Headline, World News" source. If you came here for that, maybe you should try CNN.

Re:Anything to hide real important news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36853430)

What part of "New York Times" confused you into thinking I was talking about /.?

Re:Anything to hide real important news... (2)

AlamedaStone (114462) | more than 3 years ago | (#36853592)

What part of "New York Times" confused you into thinking I was talking about /.?

NYT has had extensive coverage of all the major national issues for weeks - two to three articles a day on the debt ceiling debate, national politics, and the fate of News Corpse, among many others.

I, for one, am pleased to see some favorable coverage of games in the Good Old Media for once (even if it is DF - the game which seems deep and complex until you understand the interface, and then becomes... very repetitive and unchallenging).

Re:Anything to hide real important news... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#36856234)

What part of "New York Times" confused you into thinking I was talking about /.?

I think it was the part where you failed to mention New York Times in your comment.

graphics not the main problem (5, Insightful)

18_Rabbit (663482) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852502)

DF is an ALMOST great game. The problem is not the graphics so much...it's the utterly confusing command/menu system. The strange progress of its development, for example, implementing bees and armadillos in the face of game-ending crashes or utterly useless military commands, is also frustrating.

Re:graphics not the main problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36852594)

In my experience, the majority of the crashes are due to the game exhausting its usable address space. It may be a text based game, but it's freaking huge. I'm not-so secretly hoping for him to release a 64 bit version of the game.

Re:graphics not the main problem (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852960)

Exactly. Although, I've gotten used to the command scheme, bizarre as it is. The military kills me, though. I try a fortress periodically just to see what's changed, but until I can get my archers to, you know, arch, it just keeps turning into a trap fest. Which, admittedly, is fun enough until the fortress bogs down from the discarded clothing everywhere. *sigh*

Not that I'm complaining, mind. It's a free game, and Toady doesn't owe me anything. I just selfishly hope that someday he finishes the fundamental mechanics.

Re:graphics not the main problem (3, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#36853764)

It almost sounds more like performance art than game development. I mean, the bloody game's motto is "Losing is Fun!", so clearly this guy's agenda is to mess with your habitual, unexamined assumptions, like "losing sucks" or "archers shoot arrows."

Re:graphics not the main problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36856226)

Actually, it's more like "why do ALL other videogames feature hit points? Did the game devs think about it in the first place? It's not even a choice, it's an absence of choice whenever hitpoints are involved, those guys never ever thought they could cide their very own health system with nerves, severed limbs, pick up severed limb and beat opponent to death with it, twist sword lodged in enemy's body, no potions, you need traction benches, beds, tables for operating on, gypsum power for plaster and casts, diagnosticians, wound dressers, bone doctors, surgeons, suturers, no, nooooooo, not a DOCTOR or HEALER class with instaworking SPELLS, real staff who do not share one big HEALER skill, but instead five different skills for treating wounds and who actually have to carry the wounded back to a bed and treat them right. Fuck thos motherfucking hitpoints."
Multiply that by every single aspect of any videogame EVER.
So, yeah, valid interrogations, very complicated game. A little too much, sometimes. But you can build lava reservoirs/cisterns/FUCKTHEWORLDMACHINES as high as you like and dump them on approaching armies, you can construct dams, pressure plates or lever-operated mechanisms, difference engines, logic gates, actual full-fledged Pentium 4 computers (ok, maybe not this last one), and many megaprojects from the minecraftesque to a statue representing a drunk puking dwarf, only the vomit is lava.

But yeah, 3D graphics would be awesome.

Re:graphics not the main problem (2)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 3 years ago | (#36854548)

It IS possible to just set all dropped stuff to forbidden by default so you don't get every dwarf in the fortress going "HOLY FUCK UNCLAIMED SOCKS!" and bumrushing out to the killing fields.

Re:graphics not the main problem (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36860674)

so you don't get every dwarf in the fortress going "HOLY FUCK UNCLAIMED SOCKS!"

I have no idea why you would ever want this to not happen.

Re:graphics not the main problem (1)

Risen888 (306092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863656)

Do yourself a huge favor: Read [magmawiki.com] this page and everything it links to. Yes, the military interface is a clusterfuck, but you can really do a lot of things with it if you can figure it out. (I still haven't entirely figured it out either; you are most definitely in the majority.) As for discarded items...well, I hope to get back to you on that one day.

Re:graphics not the main problem (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36856970)

The old military system worked pretty alright... the new one is a fair bit atrocious. I'm finding it hard to properly train soldiers and have them easily split into squads as before.

Another good story based in DF (1)

Zangief (461457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852576)

http://www.bravemule.com/ [bravemule.com]

An illustrated tale of what happens in those fortresses.

Is it Vidya? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36852614)

Ask 4chan, specifically /v/ about this. They can go on for hours about it, including with dozens of suitable images describing this game versus others.

Internally inconsistent UI (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36852618)

The thing that really kills DF is the UI. It's not that it's a bad interface, it's that it isn't internally consistent. If the menus were cleaned up a bit, it would go a long way towards making DF much more playable.

Goblin Eyes? (0)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852656)

"Goblins’ eyes appear as red quotation marks; if you shoot out an eye with an arrow, the symbol becomes an apostrophe."

Where do you see anyone's eyes in DF? I have played it a moderate amount (10s of hours). and all characters are portrayed as a single ascii characters, not multiple.

And no it really does not have a sparse elegance, even with tilesets (the only reason it is moderately playable).

Re:Goblin Eyes? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36852842)

If you have ever played adventure mode and seen a goblin on edge of your vision or during night time, their eyes glow in the dark. Removing one of their eyes will turn the red " into a '

Re:Goblin Eyes? (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852992)

Might be talking about all the parts that go sailing off in arcs, whenever your dwarves' axes or traps' serrated saw blades meet goblinflesh.

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup - TILES VERSION (1)

JoshDM (741866) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852672)

For those of you who require graphics with your roguelikes, you cannot go wrong with DCSS, available here: http://crawl.develz.org/wordpress/ [develz.org] Be brave enough to try the 0.9 "Trunk" branch rather than the latest 0.8 release; there are a lot of nifty changes to it.

Re:Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup - TILES VERSION (2)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36855734)

or THIS [magmawiki.com] . I use a version of the "gold plated" tileset that I modified myself to perfect a few nuances. Not that I am disagreeing with your recommendation of stone soup, it is awesome. It is just that for a DF thread there seem to be a lot of people here that don't seem to realise DF supports custom Tilesets.

Re:Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup - TILES VERSION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36856298)

I also recommend the relatively unknown "Tales of Maj'Eyal: Age of Ascendancy", or ToME4 for short: http://te4.org [te4.org] . Beautiful tiles, wonderful UI, and, oh, it might just be the best rogue-like in development (imho).

ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36852674)

It's hurting my eyes just looking at it. I can't imagine playing it for more than a few minutes.

Game is great, but is horribly letdown... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36852718)

... by the awful menu-structure.
Seriously, it is so broken. It makes the game more of a chore to play.
That is the reason there are about 50 different DF management programs because the menu system is so obtuse.
If the menu system gets cleaned up, it might actually open the game up to more people.

It's not like it will be hard. Just standardize all the menus. They are so horribly inconsistent right now. They are context-sensitive as well, which just confuses things further when you are in a different menu category.
Hotkey on every item in menu, a-Z (if needed), no assignments based on relation, alphabetical, 1 reserved for up and down.
Already that menu system sounds decent and easy to use.
Nobody... nobody normal likes memorizing millions of hotkeys. And this is coming from a person who extensively uses AutoHotkey on Windows. But even I put most of those hotkeys behind menus now. (with a similar structure to the above)

People regularly make it out like this game is stupidly complex which is why nobody plays it.
The only complex thing about this game is the menu system. It is a pain in every ass ever.
It pushes away so many people. The concepts and functionality of the game is easy enough, but it is being held back so much because the menus.

Please Toady, PLEASE, make a new menu system.
Have it as an option if people really, REALLY want to use the current one. (whoever does is insane and must love suffering)
It really is hurting the game, a LOT. This game would be significantly more popular than it is now if it got a more streamlined menu system to it.
As a person who doesn't have much time in the day to play, it saddens me that I can't play this game without using a bunch of tools because managing those dorfs is just too slow and chunky with the current mess.

Re:Game is great, but is horribly letdown... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861756)

I like memorizing the commands. Really. I don't like using a mouse to select things - I like hotkeys. Really.

uhhhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36852766)

so what?

Something Awful makes NYT (1)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852786)

Wow. The New York Times just described a Something Awful Let's Play [lparchive.org] forum series as a fascinating saga.

I'm not denying it (and I quite enjoyed Boatmurdered, and the upgraded followups Headshoots [lparchive.org] and Syrupleaf [lparchive.org] (Syrupleaf being arguably the best of the three)), but it's saying something when a collection of forum posts from SA can get that kind of praise in a dead tree newspaper with global circulation like the New York Times. Wow.

Re:Something Awful makes NYT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36853046)

What? You'd rather they review Twilight again?

YAR... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36852904)

No, I am not a pirate!

Yes, this is... Yet Another Roguelike.

Some are good, some are bad, and some get a lot of attention while others are completely ignored.

A simple tile/graphic system has the advantage of allowing for a broader spectrum of items, creatures, and other "things" in the game. With a limited system such as ASCII you have a smaller set of options to work within. Adding color coding to things can only increase that count by a certain set amount and it relies very heavily on color recognition in the user.

The reality behind the situation is that rogue like games are for the most part exceedingly open sourced and a hobby pursuit for coders around the world. This has created extremely efficient bits of code which perform admirably well and can make for some really great games and features. In fact, one might suggest that the underlying code behind different features of many of these games are in fact far superior to numerous commercial games that are produced.

Without the concern for the cost of the game (typically in time spent) and the fact that it is typically a "labor of love" the individual(s) involved in the rogue like can be creative and try out new concepts without concern for the "market" that their game will have. I have seen features show up in rogue like games years before a similar feature will be seen in a commercial game in fact! Some features of rogue like games, despite being incredible, may never see the light of day in the commercial game industry. Many of these games are exceedingly difficult to beat honestly and even then require a serious investment of time. This is almost completely opposite where the commercial market seems to be going with its rapidly finished games and their accompanying hint/walkthrough books.

Re:YAR... (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852934)

It's not really a roguelike at all. You might argue that Adventurer mode is roguelike-like, but there are some pretty significant gameplay differences.

Re:YAR... (3, Insightful)

Megane (129182) | more than 3 years ago | (#36853382)

Yes, this is... Yet Another Roguelike.

Except that unlike a typical Roguelike RPG, Dwarf Fortress is a Roguelike RTS.

Re:YAR... (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#36853428)

Man. Reading that... makes me want to go play more Powder.

I love the concept, but... (3, Insightful)

Lordfly (590616) | more than 3 years ago | (#36852996)

...perhaps I'm getting to the point in my life where I don't want to fight with hundreds of abstract, obscure symbols in order to enjoy a game.

Oh, a question mark is an eye? That's funny, I thought it was a question mark.

I've tried Dwarf Fortress probably half a dozen times, and got insanely frustrated with the interface before deleting the directory in a rage. A shame, too, because I'm a sucker for open-ended sandboxes. i'm willing to put up with batshit-insane interfaces (See: Jeskola Buzz, Second Life, QuakeBSP), but if what I'm staring at, for entertainment, looks like a dot matrix printer exploded, im' outta here.

Re:I love the concept, but... (4, Informative)

RKThoadan (89437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36853392)

If you want to give it another try there are plenty of well done tilesets for it now. I generally recommend getting the lazy newb pack which has all the enhancements you need.

Link: http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=59026.0 [bay12forums.com]

Re:I love the concept, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36854032)

You clearly have not played any of the rogue type games previously in your life. I suppose if you played the original Moria you would complain it looks nothing like the lord of the rings movies.

Your loss. You are aware that the question mark you reference is merely a symbol with meaning associated with it? Much like what he was able to do with the extended ascii character mapping. It takes some time to learn the concepts, but if you can't even do that, good luck to you.

Re:I love the concept, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36854988)

Try Goblin Camp [goblincamp.com] , it's actually designed to be a settlement simulation rather then being an offshoot of an overambitious roguelike. The menu system is sane (if not perfect) and you can easily define regions. Best of all, the developers actively avoid micromanagement, the latest post is a great example on how this should be done and can be done without breaking the good established parts (I'm running from hg and it just blows the old system out of the water. Another one is when later trolls decide to join you camp and play bouncers, they just kinda patrol, polish off food and smash intruders when they cross pathes.

Last but not least it's free software with on open development model, meaning scripting is being integrated and (with the us usual release weirdness) so you really can just clone their hg repo and bang away,

Got to agree (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#36855406)

I played text only games when text was the only option. Done the "remember every character" thing and then Doom came along and for the first time you didn't need to study the manual or even read it to make your way through the game. And I never looked back.

Now I have tried Dwarf Fortress and the retro ain't just the graphics. The fans will find excuses but the game is just to unwieldly and even crashes to be fun anymore. Yeah yeah, one guy doing all the work, yeah yeah old school charm... sorry no. That is to much like people who fondly remember kissing behind the bike shack. Fond memories but I prefer my love making on a large comfortable bad these days... or so I would if I wasn't a nerd who wasted my youth playing computer games...

Curse you ascii!

Re:I love the concept, but... (1)

MaDeR (826021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861848)

Hey, there are tilesets and Lazy Newb Pack. It will not help with this atrocity against humanity (user interface is truly horrible), but at least you will see pixel-art goblins raping your dorf (or, at least, changing backgrounds) instead of few g next to smiley character.

Re:I love the concept, but... (1)

Risen888 (306092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36867162)

That's a bummer. You're missing out on one of the best, most original games I've played in a long time.

ZZT. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36853222)

Seems familiar! [wikipedia.org]

Re:ZZT. (1)

PwnzerDragoon (2014464) | more than 3 years ago | (#36855094)

ZZT is fun, but nothing like Dwarf Fortress. ZZT is a sort of action-adventure game, DF is best described as an RTS/fortress simulator.

Re:ZZT. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36856504)

Hey, aren't you the moron that said that there's no such thing as an 18-bit computer?

Get a graphic pack (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36854388)

A friend who knew I loved minecraft brought up dwarf fortress while we were on a 2 day drive. The first thing I did (when we pulled into a truck stop) was download DF and then several graphic backs. The packs turn DF into a totally new game. Trees are trees, dwarfs are dwarfs etc.

This game is far too complicated and has too much detail for me to play without the graphic backs.

There is also a mod called Lazy newb pack which allows you to customize hundreds of settings (dwarf pop max, underwater rivers, etc) and really lets you configure.

The problem is not the graphics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36855026)

Beats the hell out of me. Seriously, I can sometimes spend 10 minutes on the Units screen (alas, leaving and then trying to go back to the 'next' unit) just trying to find a particular dwarf. jocuri [jocurios.ro]

Re:The problem is not the graphics (2)

Darth Hamsy (1432187) | more than 3 years ago | (#36855620)

Dwarf Therapist [bay12forums.com] A thousand times, this. Game is near unplayable without it, imo.

Dwarf fortress fun development (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36855776)

http://pubvo.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/dwarfy1.png
this sums up dwarf fortress' fun development.

Re:Dwarf fortress fun development (1)

mm_202 (1569029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863992)

LOL. Someone mod that up, please.

Mcluhan and cool media (1)

tinkerton (199273) | more than 3 years ago | (#36858084)

"On a message board, one fan likened the ASCII experience in Dwarf Fortress to the immersive pleasures of reading a book: 'You can let your imagination fill in the gaps.'"

In other words, what Marshall Mcluhan called a cool medium.

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