Sunday, August 05, 2012

Dwarf Fortress Let's Play - Part 1 - Introduction

As apparently I don’t have enough to do – I thought I would mix things up a bit by doing a Dwarf Fortress Let’s Play and posting the it up bit by bit on my blog – which has started to become under used since I stopped writing as much.

There are numerous – and obvious things to ask first of all though – such as “What the hell is Dwarf Fortress?”

Dwarf Fortress is the brainchild of Bay12Games – a two man, brotherly team who have been making this game for more than a few years. They survive solely on donations made and it is probably the most ambitious game ever created. It’s still in beta simply because it is the most detailed game... ever.
Everything about each Dwarf, Elf, human, animal, goblin, ‘clown’ (spoilers) and so on is tracked; they each have personalities, likes, dislikes, relationships, physical characteristics (down to nose shape and eye colour) and so on detailed in the world generation. Fights details are intricate with combatants able tear off enemy legs and beat them to death with it, or stick each other with spears and then twist them in the wound to cause more damage. Everything needs to be tracked – from food and booze (VERY important, they are dwarves) stocks, animals and the butchering thereof, cooking, cleaning (hardy as they are, Dwarves still get sick,) hauling and so on. But – you can’t directly order your Dwarves to do these things – more you hint that you want it doing and hope the Dwarves actually get up and do it.
The learning curve is like the side of Everest, yet it has produced some of the most fascinating stories ever to be told. (Boardmurdered and Nist Akath very notable examples.) Almost everything in the stories you read actually happen (okay, they may be embellished slightly, but creative licence is allowed in places, but most of the time – it doesn’t need to be embellished at all.)

One of the biggest stumbling blocks people have is the graphics. They can be difficult to say the least... especially when this is the sight you can expect to see when you finally get in game:

Yes. The large blue open space is open air, the up and down arrows are ramps, the smiley face you can see is a dwarf, the c is a cat while the t is a turkey. The grey/brown blocks (with the blue % in) are rock walls. Yes – this embark is on the side of a volcano (and it wouldn’t be a bad site – if only there wasn’t an acquifer.)

But yes – that is what this entire game looks like. EVERYTHING is made up of ASCII character – the green club near the top left hand corner – that’s a tree. You heard.

Luckily – there are texture packs – which can make the above eyesore look like this:

Isn’t that better? We have little dwarf pictures! There are cat pictures! We even have barrels, trees that look like trees and berry bushes! Huzzah!

Without these texture packs I’m not even sure I could play these games – they make everything so much less painful it’s not even funny.

But! After watching some of the excellent videos by Captain Duck over on Youtube – I am once again inspired to make a Dwarf Fortress fortress. And it will be with the readers of this blog (as few and far between as you are) that I shall make this into a masterpiece! (Or a spectacle for fail, take your pick.)

Strike the earth! And remember – losing is !!FUN!!

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