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Dwarf Fortress Gets Biggest Update In Years

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the games-more-complicated-than-particle-colliders dept.

Games 138

An anonymous reader writes Dwarf Fortress, the epic, ASCII text-based, roguelike citybuilding game, just released its biggest update in years. The game is notable for its incredible depth, and the new release only extends it. Here are the release notes — they won't make much sense if you don't play the game, but they'll give you a sense of how massively complex Dwarf Fortress is. It's also worth noting the a team of modders has recently released a new version Stonesense utility, which renders the game in 3-D from an isometric point of view. "[T]he utility relies on DFHack, a community-made library that reads the game's memory and can be parsed, thus allowing for additional utilities to render things while bypassing the initial ASCII output." If you're unfamiliar with the game, here's an illustrated depiction of an amazing story generated by the game.

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Ahh Dwarf Fortress... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413437)

Where else can you drain the ocean, trap whales in lead cages, load them into lead minecarts, and send them careening down the steep, steep slope to hell as a kinetic anti-demon weapon?

Oh, and if it weren't for DF, there would be absolutely no source for the solid density of Saguaro wood [dwarffortresswiki.org] online (it's 430 kg/m^3 for anyone wondering).

Re:Ahh Dwarf Fortress... (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 months ago | (#47413569)

Where else can you build a fake submarine cave filled with cages to trap mermaids and merfolks and eventually partially drain the cave to allow your dwarves to go pick up the baby mermaids to be sold as meat and baby-mermaid-bone trinkets.

Re:Ahh Dwarf Fortress... (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 months ago | (#47414099)

Where else can you drain the ocean, trap whales in lead cages, load them into lead minecarts, and send them careening down the steep, steep slope to hell as a kinetic anti-demon weapon?

You've clearly never used DMT.

Re:Ahh Dwarf Fortress... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47414919)

I don't know which game you are talking about, but it certainly isn't Dwarf Fortress. All I see are shitty text "graphics", not anything even remotely resembling oceans, whales, cages, minecarts or demons.

Graphics are important for immersion.

Re:Ahh Dwarf Fortress... (1)

BriggsBU (1138021) | about 2 months ago | (#47414987)

Looks like someone has no imagination whatsoever.

Re:Ahh Dwarf Fortress... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47415165)

The irony of such a predictable response...

In addition, if you had an inkling of imagination, you'd be creating, not playing around in someone else's creation.

Re:Ahh Dwarf Fortress... (3, Insightful)

praxis (19962) | about 2 months ago | (#47415975)

The irony of such a predictable response...

In addition, if you had an inkling of imagination, you'd be creating, not playing around in someone else's creation.

So if one did not create the sandbox in which one creates, one is not a creator? You have an odd view of creativity.

Re:Ahh Dwarf Fortress... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47415371)

Why don't you look at the texture packs before speaking.

Re:Ahh Dwarf Fortress... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47415555)

Are those part of the game or did some third party have to step in to fix it?

Re:Ahh Dwarf Fortress... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47416501)

Come now, it's on an open project model. We have a highly driven programmer working on an insane level of detail for the most epic fantasy simulation available, and you want them to waste time on high-end graphics? I'd much rather see a volunteer step forward and build the pretty visuals.

Re:Ahh Dwarf Fortress... (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 2 months ago | (#47416877)

Do you want pretty graphics or an excuse to keep griping about?

PeridexisErrant's DF Starter Pack - Get it! (5, Informative)

ihaveamo (989662) | about 2 months ago | (#47413451)

If you even have a passing interest in playing dwarf fortress... make sure you get PeridexisErrant's DF Starter Pack. In this pack you'll find useful tools such as "Dwarf Therapist", which make the game so much easier to play. Other addons also give amazing atmospheric music and sound effects! (Currently a lot of this only works the the previous version, but that will be fixed soon)

Re:PeridexisErrant's DF Starter Pack - Get it! (3, Informative)

mrvan (973822) | about 2 months ago | (#47413465)

Also, if you've never played DF, it is probably best to either wait a couple months until the worst bugs are fixed and the wiki etc are updated, or just grab the previous versions. This new version will still be quite rough at the edges and some of the info on the wiki, youtube etc will be outdated.

I'm pretty excited about the new release, I've been playing for a couple years and I hope that especially the AI behaviour has been improved although it is not listed in the change log as such...

Re:PeridexisErrant's DF Starter Pack - Get it! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413477)

And you should spend a few hours reading the wiki. I love the game, but learning to use vi is probably easier.

Re:PeridexisErrant's DF Starter Pack - Get it! (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#47413791)

And you should spend a few hours reading the wiki. I love the game, but learning to use vi is probably easier.

If you can master vi, you are possibly ready to cope with DF's interface.

At that point you can begin working with the fact that the game mechanics tend fairly strongly toward 'emergent malevolence'.

Re:PeridexisErrant's DF Starter Pack - Get it! (1)

bidule (173941) | about 2 months ago | (#47416593)

If you can master vi, you are possibly ready to cope with DF's interface.

God, I wish that wasn't true. Not that it will stop me from having fun again ><

Re:PeridexisErrant's DF Starter Pack - Get it! (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 months ago | (#47417469)

Or, the "Lazy Newb Pack"

After letting .40 get all the large nasty bugs squished first...

Ultima Ratio Regum (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413469)

Another one to watch:

http://www.ultimaratioregum.co... [ultimaratioregum.co.uk]
http://www.ultimaratioregum.co... [ultimaratioregum.co.uk]

"It's an incredibly exciting project that could end up in the same rarefied sphere as Dwarf Fortress - a complex simulation of ASCII worlds that have history, detail and depth. The current release is capable of generating a world and the basic history of the cultures that have evolved upon it, but there isn't a huge amount to do beyond the procedural riddle puzzles contained in scattered ziggurats. A typical early feature of many games, eh?

As for the rest, it's all detailed in the development plan and a new announcement suggests it'll be on the road to completion sooner than expected. Developer Mark Johnson will be working on the game full-time for a year from September. And there isn't a Kickstarter in sight."

http://www.rockpapershotgun.co... [rockpapershotgun.com]

Re:Ultima Ratio Regum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47414253)

Fascinating, thanks for the link.

Re:Ultima Ratio Regum (1)

Alorelith (118865) | about 2 months ago | (#47416079)

Wow, never heard of this. Looks pretty incredible. Thanks for the links as well.

Availability (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413487)

Is it on Steam?

And are they planning a PS4 port?

Availability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413521)

lol, never. Linux Windows and Mac builds. No steam, no console ports. It has hundreds of keyboard controls, a gamepad would never be able to play this.

Availability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413541)

Are you kidding? A gamepad would improve the controls greatly; the menus would be much more consistent. Not that I'll expect a console port in my lifetime...

Availability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413759)

Go write a gamepad script using AutoHotKey and try and play the game, tell me how that works out. it's not like no-one has ever tried.

Give it a month (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413507)

Right now, the thing crashes like crazy. I'm waiting for some patches before trying out the cool new upgrades.

ASCII? Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413549)

I slap my ballsack in protest.

Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413553)

Last time I heard about it, it basically only used one thread and the UI code was a mess that also used the same thread. This all meant that it starts to seriously slow down when fortress grows even on relatively strong hardware.

Yes, I know the objects in the game react to each others in many subtle ways which causes lots of syncing challenges but really.

Re:Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (5, Informative)

mrvan (973822) | about 2 months ago | (#47413605)

Yes... From what I gather, the developer ("Toady") is an autodidact that doesn't use any sort of version control and no multithreading. Although the simulation might be difficult to run in multiple threads, I think the path finding is one of the biggest CPU drains and that should be embarrassingly parallel. Also, he is really giving the community a tough time by having a monolithic game engine + GUI instead of some sort of modular system, which would allow the many programming-savvy fans to build tools much more easily (tools such as dfhack and therapist now use direct memory hacking, which is annoying (therapist needs root access, dfhack encapsulates df itself) but also unstable.

Re: Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 2 months ago | (#47413775)

Path finding isn't embarassingly parallel. It can be parallelized, but it's quite challenging.

Re: Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (3, Informative)

mrvan (973822) | about 2 months ago | (#47413845)

For one unit, sure. The CPU problem in DF (as far as I understand) is that there are 200 dwarves, 100 goblins and 400 kittens all trying to pathfind at the same time. Unless I miss something, each of these units van pathfind in parallel since they don't "know" about the other's paths.

Re: Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (2)

mrvan (973822) | about 2 months ago | (#47413855)

s/van/can/... I want an edit button on /., even if only for the first 5 minutes after posting...

Re: Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47414997)

There is an edit button. You see it between the time you click preview and the time you click post.

Derp.

Re: Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 2 months ago | (#47413929)

I see, I thought you meant for a single path.

Re: Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413963)

It's embarrassingly parallel when you're dealing with at least as many PCs to pathfind for as you have cores, as you can at the last run each PC's pathfinding in parallel against the read-only structures.

And 'challenging' to implement doesn't change if something can be embarrassingly parallel; that's confusing implementation details for algorithmic choice. Pathfinding as a whole can (and these days SHOULD) indeed be embarrassingly parallel.

Re: Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (1)

mrvan (973822) | about 2 months ago | (#47414111)

embarrassingly parallel has a specific meaning, namely that the task is composed of a (relatively large) number of sub tasks that can each be performed completely independent of each of the other sub tasks. So, any sane attempt to pathfind (say an A* search) is not embarrassingly parallel since whether a path can be pruned depends on the best paths found so far in other branches, and there is an optimal ordering for which branches to descend into first which is also dependent on what's happening in the other branches. I'm sure you can make a parallel version by e.g. forking out N possible branches to some depth, gathering state, and then pruning and ordering centrally and branching out again on the most promising branches, but this is not "embarrassingly" parallel.

Re: Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about 2 months ago | (#47414557)

Sure but with a little cleverness I think the problem can be simplified since the same paths are going to be used a lot with significant overlap and repetition. It could even lead to more realistic behaviour. Real creatures don't do mathametical best path finding from a real map, they choose from amongst routes they know weighted by some hueristics, then if one of them fails, try to adjust. Its potentially a much simpler problem. It would mean less efficiency in situations where a prefered path ends up not being accessible....but thats normal isn't it? I have that problem all the time when streets get closed for maintenance.

Re: Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 2 months ago | (#47415247)

There are research papers on the subject of finding the best path, it isn't exactly simple.
Take a look at what Microsoft has done for Bing Maps for example:
http://research.microsoft.com/... [microsoft.com]

Re: Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 2 months ago | (#47416543)

You are missing my point though, finding the best path is not actually required. Not only that but the game itself has mechanics by which paths are made and points that might need to be pathed to are created. Paths could be pregenerated as the map is dug out and items built within it, individuals could pick from pre-defined paths and then follow them.

A few examples of where this is actually better....

Currently lets say a dwarf plans to go down hallways A B and C to D. But he could go A B E D instead. Now as he enters B, a door in C is locked, dissallowing him to move C to D.

Under a "I path find every step" scenario, He immediately starts moving towards E and then D. This is highly unrealistic unless they all have walkie-talkies, but then, it "works" for invaders too.

Now under a less rigid scenario, maybe he chooses A B C D. Then gets all the way to C and sees the path is blocked, so he turns around and repaths. It is less efficient but more realistic, and potentially requires less expensive pathing.

Simulations are made for multi-threading. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413795)

Although the simulation might be difficult to run in multiple threads

Actually, simulations are basically made for multithreading. DF performance should scale up linearly with the number of threads, as long as it doesn't need huge amounts of conflict resolution in the simulation.

new_state(i, n) = f(old_state(i, n-1), input(i, n))

can be parallelized easily if old_state and input are constant. Start a number of worker threads and have each pick the next unprocessed simulated entity. (i: index of simulated entity, n: simulation step)

Re:Simulations are made for multi-threading. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47414565)

Actually, simulations are basically made for multithreading. DF performance should scale up linearly with the number of threads, as long as it doesn't need huge amounts of conflict resolution in the simulation. ...
can be parallelized easily if old_state and input are constant

See where you go too far with assumptions? Sure, you can parallelize it easily like that - when your actors are nicely synchronous and independent. For a quick example: there are two entities that are bound to end up in the same cell at next time step, how do you resolve that step in your easily parallel fashion?

When dealing with discrete simulation, you're usually dealing with a stream of events, not independent actors. You can separate them into independent domains that can be simulated at once (and then still take care about effects taking place in proper order), but it's not "easily" and nice looking as you make it out to be.

Re:Simulations are made for multi-threading. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47415463)

Actually, simulations are basically made for multithreading. DF performance should scale up linearly with the number of threads, as long as it doesn't need huge amounts of conflict resolution in the simulation. ...
can be parallelized easily if old_state and input are constant

See where you go too far with assumptions? Sure, you can parallelize it easily like that - when your actors are nicely synchronous and independent. For a quick example: there are two entities that are bound to end up in the same cell at next time step, how do you resolve that step in your easily parallel fashion?

In dwarf fortress? They probably collide resulting in an explosion of random organs with a chance to fuse into a horrible abomination with the specific abomination depending on the entities that collided and the proximity of the collision to an open helmouth.

Re:Simulations are made for multi-threading. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47417067)

For a quick example: there are two entities that are bound to end up in the same cell at next time step, how do you resolve that step in your easily parallel fashion?

You're giving Toady too much credit. The simplistic way Dwarf Fortress deals with this situation is compatible with parallel processing: the first entity moves into the cell. The second entity recalculates a new path all the way to the destination based only on the current map state.

Re:Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413913)

Let's not pretend that being an autodidact is either an excuse or even an explanation for bad practices. If he doesn't know and practice these things, it's laziness and lack of discipline. The resources and information to learn are freely available and free. It's more difficult perhaps. There are also books and people willing to share to make it easier.

Re:Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (1)

mrvan (973822) | about 2 months ago | (#47414115)

It was meant neither as an excuse nor as an explanation.

Let's just say that apparently Toady has the kind of skills and character that enabled him to implement DF in the current fashion. And that is both a big compliment and a big gripe...

Re:Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#47414121)

Why wouldn't it be an explanation? 'Excuse', is a slippery term because it tends to have moral connotations that can lead one into the rather subjective territory of arguing about what somebody does or doesn't have a duty to learn and why; but an 'explanation' is just an account of why something is as it is.

It might be that 'He's an autodidact' isn't the correct explanation in this case; but 'He picked it up on his own, because of his interest, which is why the result shows an idiosyncratic emphasis on what interests him to the exclusion of some accepted best practices.' certainly sounds like a reasonably well formed explanation, whether one finds it excusable or not.

Re:Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413631)

It still is, because Toady still doesn't know how to multi-thread. As an example, generating a big world with 1000 years takes forever. By 500 years, the game begins to hang (because the UI only updates after every year has been simulated) for several seconds at a time. I left it around three hours and it still wasn't done. And following the logic, I couldn't even see the year it was on. I would have had to wait until a year had been simulated to have the UI update. I just killed the process.

Then again, this is the first release after this dev cycle. Bugs are expected. Toady said that he was going to optimize things.

Hopefully he'll learn how to multi-thread sometime within the next... ten years.

Re: Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413645)

I don't know what kind of "relatively strong hardware" you use, but it doesn't bog down on my 4 year old laptop at all (nice laptop 4 years ago and still 60ish fps).

Re: Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 2 months ago | (#47413931)

Are you talking about dwarf fortress? 60 fps would be indecipherable madness...

Re: Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47417461)

Umm, no.

here's one at 100:http://dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/File:Frames_Per_Second_Meter.png which is bog standard and only indecipherable madness to the extend that DF is always such.

Re:Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413655)

I don't know what kind of "relatively strong hardware" you are talking about but aside from world generation it runs just fine on a 4 year old laptop (nice laptop 4 years ago but still 60fps).

...And MY AXE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413591)

//dwarf

Classic 100 years from now? (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 2 months ago | (#47413597)

The thing that always amazes me is while simple games like chess, weiqi [wikipedia.org] , checkers, etc., all seem to have unlimited playability and intricacy, computer games generally don't.

Taking Weiqi as an example, literally you can spend 40 years of your life playing, and there will always be room to get better and add difficulty, and always more interesting. Compare that to the latest FPS you beat and abandon after a few days/weeks/months.

I really have to wonder if 100 years from now, some games like Nethack and DF will end up becoming "classics" in a similar vein as board games...

Re:Classic 100 years from now? (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 2 months ago | (#47413643)

Because this kind of games is completely abstract.

Re:Classic 100 years from now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47414131)

Not really. It's because they're complex!

Captcha: biology

Re:Classic 100 years from now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413665)

It will more end up being Minecraft than DF. Ugh.

Minecraft, a game of broken promises and only the mods made the game even remotely fun.

Re: Classic 100 years from now? (3, Insightful)

loufoque (1400831) | about 2 months ago | (#47413787)

Who the hell calls 'go' 'weiqi' ?

Re: Classic 100 years from now? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413843)

The type of person who has waited for months to come up with a slightly on-topic post to show off that he uses the term "weiqi" and thoughtfully provide a link to the Wikipedia article on "Go" to show how smart he is.

Re: Classic 100 years from now? (1)

lingu1st (778259) | about 2 months ago | (#47413865)

Who the hell calls 'go' 'weiqi' ?

The Chinese do. They invented the game.

Re: Classic 100 years from now? (2)

loufoque (1400831) | about 2 months ago | (#47413933)

In Chinese. But when speaking about the game in English, people use 'go'.

Re: Classic 100 years from now? (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 2 months ago | (#47414129)

Not true.

I've been playing the game for several years. How long have you been playing?

Re: Classic 100 years from now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47414277)

The Japanese introduced the US to go, so it is usually 'go' or 'igo'. The US go club I used to attend used Japanese terms and even the Japanese scoring system.

Re: Classic 100 years from now? (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 2 months ago | (#47414317)

Funny. Club I go to refers to it as weiqi or baduk....

Re: Classic 100 years from now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47416183)

You're an idiot, burn in a fire.

Re: Classic 100 years from now? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47416663)

But why use it on an English language web site. You even knew lots of people would never have heard that name even though they've heard of "go" and hence linked the wikipedia page - note you felt no need to link chess or checkers.

So why bother?

Re: Classic 100 years from now? (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 2 months ago | (#47413925)

There's actually a number of names for the game in the different countries that play it. Igo is the japanese name, baduk is the korean name, etc.

Depending on who taught you and where you learn it, you may use one of the other (with different variations on the rules of the game depending on region it originates from). Additionally, some of us prefer the any name that is not "go" for the simple fact that it is much more distinctive. (Try googling weiqi and then try googling go and see which one has more irrelevant links)

Re: Classic 100 years from now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47414041)

The go wikipedia article is the 3rd result if I just search for "go".

Re: Classic 100 years from now? (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 2 months ago | (#47414127)

And half of the rest is not related to the game.

Re: Classic 100 years from now? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 months ago | (#47414285)

The go wikipedia article is the 3rd result if I just search for "go".

And if you want the wikipedia go article, you can just go to wikipedia. Other go articles are harder to find.

Re: Classic 100 years from now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47417101)

Or you could just search for "go game" instead of "go".

Re:Classic 100 years from now? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#47414547)

In terms of replay value and intricacy, 'computer games' are arguably several largely different things that all just happen to be amenable to running on computers and being sold in software boxes:

The trivial analog to simple games is (of course) those games implemented on a computer. Being the trivial case, this is mostly a wiseass cop-out; but it's worth mentioning because computer implementations have made a substantial difference in what games are considered 'solved' and how strongly. Some games are so simple that children can solve them by hand (tic-tac-toe, most notably, since people do actually play it; but it's simple enough that most players eventually solve it and lose interest); but solving checkers, or the partial solutions for chess and go, are exercises that require ingenuity and cunning; but a lot of brute force.

The slightly less trivial analog is extensions of classic games that would be impossible or impractical to fabricate as board games. Mostly 2d games adapted to 3 or more dimensions(or 3d puzzles, like Rubik's cubes adapted to 4 or more [gravitation3d.com] dimensions). These usually have some improvised implementation that doesn't need a computer (multiple chess/checkers boards with rules for pieces moving between them in the extra dimension, that sort of thing); but computers make them easier and less knock-over-and-abandon-in-frustration prone.

Then there are computer games that are really, in terms of playability and intricacy, basically team sports, rather than anything analogous to deterministic games of perfect information like chess, checkers, go, etc. Something like Counter-Strike is replayable much like soccer or football are (ignoring the fact that operating systems and Glide/OpenGL/DirectX tend to break backward compatibility more often than 'grass' does, so a single, specific, implementation may not remain playable in the long term without porting, though games with robust port support are in decent shape). There is strategy and teamwork; along with individual expertise in implementation, so most of the 'churn' in these games is either abandonment of older engines in favor of nicer ones, or iterative tweaking of weapons and balance. Specific 'games' in the sense of 'Program X sold under name Y' tend to come and go; but the overall dynamic is similar to regional variations, changes in equipment, occasional rule tweaks, and the like in traditional sports, except that traditional sports tend to treat variants as all being flavors of A Sport, while the trademark and SKU-focused game market tends to treat each variant as a separate game.

Then there are the 'games' that really shade into choose-your-own-adventure books with pictures, or movies with reflex tests: I enjoy these myself, and they are a perfectly valid form of entertainment; but they are about as dissimilar from classic 'games' as something called a 'game' can be. Single-player FPSes, relatively 'closed world' RPGs, that sort of thing. Hardly identical to a film(in all but the worst excesses of the early days of "Wow, we have a whole CD to fill with shitty, overcompressed FMV!" era), the tests of reflexes, RPG party management, or whatever are genuinely part of the experience; but they aren't terribly replayable because, sooner or later, you run up against the fact that there is only so much manually-generated, written, and voice-acted plot to uncover. Likely good for more than one playthrough, unless brutally linear; but each 'branch' costs so much dev and artist time that there aren't going to be too many of them.

There may also be a category for the games (the Civilization series being the most prominent example that comes to mind) that could have been implemented as board games; but would be near insanity if you had to keep track of teeny plastic wheat counters for every single square. If these are single player, they often wear out their welcome sooner or later because the AI opponents just aren't good enough (whether because there just wasn't anything in the budget for 'hire academic computer scientists to do deep analysis of the game and attempt to solve it', which there isn't, or because the game may not be solvable in any remotely computationally tractable way); but against humans these might qualify as both genuinely somewhat novel, and genuinely replayable and intricate, it will be interesting to see.

'Emergent' games (like DF), may or may not be sufficiently mature; but if they do end up standing the test of time and intricate replayability, that would be the most novel of all, since (unlike games that attempt, with varying levels of success, to make an AI do a human's job) these games tend to give the NPCs fairly limited intelligence; but enough room for the world as a whole to just go nuts in interesting ways. That has not historically been possible in games; but it is also not an imitation (however accurate or inaccurate) of a human opponent or opponents, as with 'Chess-but with someone who's always up for a game!' type computer games.

Re:Classic 100 years from now? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 2 months ago | (#47416449)

This is a great overview of gaming, thanks.

Re:Classic 100 years from now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47415271)

Nethack sure as hell won't. Being good at Nethack simply requires memorizing (or having at your fingertips) an encyclopedia of techniques and obscure information. There's not actually much open-endedness or creativity on the player's part there.

Re:Classic 100 years from now? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 months ago | (#47415803)

The thing that always amazes me is while simple games like chess, weiqi, checkers, etc., all seem to have unlimited playability and intricacy, computer games generally don't.

Tetris comes to mind as a computer-only game (you can really only play it on a computer - a real life version is sorta difficult and messy).

And it's been going strong for what, 3 decades now? (The only reason the rules change is because the Tetris Foundation or whatever needs to keep themselves relevant, but the original is still as fun and addictive as ever).

Crossfire (1)

Fully Functional (1174407) | about 2 months ago | (#47413603)

I used to play Crossfire on DEC Ultrix boxes 20 years ago. http://crossfire.real-time.com... [real-time.com] Not as in depth as Dwarf Fortress seems to be, but a good hack and slash game, that is still being worked on.

Re:Crossfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47414155)

Nice to see someone who actually knows what crossfire is! Grab a client and pop on the invidious server sometime...

Just play minecraft instead (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 months ago | (#47413653)

Minecraft is pretty much a ripoff of Dwarf Fortress, the creator has openly admitted this. But he made it colorful and dumbed it down a lot, so naturally he's rich now. Dwarf Fortress regularly gets negative coverage from game reviewers who offer such sparkling insights as "What the hell is this? It looks like a dot-matrix printer exploded on my screen." So just play Minecraft to get the same experience.

Re:Just play minecraft instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413695)

I just couldn't get myself to play Minecraft after I noticed what happens after you 'chop down' a tree - the top of the tree stays in the air. In DF the top of the tree would fall down on top of your head and kill/maim you! (at least that's what happens with stone, haven't tried it with the new multi level trees in DF)

Re:Just play minecraft instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413699)

Minecraft is pretty much a ripoff of Dwarf Fortress, the creator has openly admitted this. But he made it colorful and dumbed it down a lot, so naturally he's rich now. Dwarf Fortress regularly gets negative coverage from game reviewers who offer such sparkling insights as "What the hell is this? It looks like a dot-matrix printer exploded on my screen." So just play Minecraft to get the same experience.

Idiot. How can I have the same experience if you said Minecraft is a dumbed down Dwarf fortress?

Re:Just play minecraft instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413763)

Depends on the definition of "same", doesn't it...

Re:Just play minecraft instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413777)

Except that minecraft doesn't come anywhere close to as deep or comical as DF does, even when loaded down with the best of mods available.

Re:Just play minecraft instead (2)

MrNemesis (587188) | about 2 months ago | (#47413877)

Gnomoria [gnomoria.com] is also inspired by DF, and arguably is much closer to the spirit of DF than Minecraft is, and the graphics and interface are (IMHO) far superior to OotB Dwarf Fortress.

If you enjoyed Minecraft but don't yet feel ready for the mind-bogglingly insane brilliance of DF then Gnomoria is a good stepping stone. I became aware of it during Aavak's (also a DF player) Let's Play and picked it up soon after, whilst it doesn't have anywhere near the depth of DF (traps/mechanisms are much more limited for example) if you only have a few hours it's much easier to dip in and out of, whereas with DF I usually have to play for days at a time... ;)

FWIW when I play DF I do so with a tileset and all the rest of the gubbins one might find in the Lazy Newb Pack. It's a sublime game but the complexity and inconsistency of its interface can be one of its biggest frustrations.

Re:Just play minecraft instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413983)

Minecraft is pretty much a ripoff of Dwarf Fortress

#include <bitter_hipster.h>

Re:Just play minecraft instead (1)

rochrist (844809) | about 2 months ago | (#47416019)

I wouldn't say ripoff so much as inspired by. Minecraft isn't trying to do any of the things DF is trying to do beyond procedurally generated content really. It's much more about the building, ie Legos.

Sweet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47413657)

Time to play the old version until modders have support for new version.

You think I'm scrolling through those awfully constructed menus by hand? The hell you think I am, someone with patience?
It is like the menus were constructed by the dorfs themselves! A oddly skinny one!

Perspective (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47413869)

I played this game for years. For those of you that haven't I thought I'd provide some perspective...

The game is so difficult, that even using the DFHACK utility to completely cheat and make my dwarves invincible, I still died every time. It's likely the most complex game ever created by a long shot.

Re:Perspective (4, Funny)

Oronar (942125) | about 2 months ago | (#47414015)

There's a reason the motto of the game is "LOSING IS FUN!"
With a little practice and judicious use of the wiki it's not too hard to get to semi-stable fortress that won't collapse from internal forces (instead it'll be the goblin or elf sieges).

Re:Perspective (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 months ago | (#47414897)

Yeah! I remember the first time I tunneled into a cave system, not realizing that some forgotten beasts can fly. Well naturally one flies up after a couple of years and starts breathing poison clouds everywhere. All my dwarves are running around and completely freaking out and I just can't stop laughing hysterically watching the devastation. I've never experienced that in a game before...

Re:Perspective (1)

Chowderbags (847952) | about 2 months ago | (#47415493)

Then you get a somewhat bigger fortress that won't collapse from external forces (instead it'll be the King demanding materials that don't exist causing every dwarf to be arrested or one careless death causing a tantrum spiral).

Re:Perspective (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 2 months ago | (#47415755)

Last couple of times I touched it I thought it was too easy.

It's almost trivial to get a farm going in a good spot. Being able to gather seeds, till the surface, and plant instantly makes the food economy dirt simple.

It doesn't give you a super-powerful fortress that can repel the goblin hoards and megabeasts, but it certainly makes the early game less engaging. I mean, remember when you seriously needed fishermen just so you wouldn't starve before your first harvest?

Starting a fortress on the tundra, or with an aquifer, or in a desert makes for a more interesting time.

Progress Quest (3, Funny)

Timothy Hartman (2905293) | about 2 months ago | (#47414219)

More of a Progress Quest [progressquest.com] fan. No sense learning all those commands when the game can do it for you.

Re:Progress Quest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47415585)

Wow Timothy Hartman you are hilarious thanks for your wonderful comment

I still like... (3, Informative)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 months ago | (#47414591)

I still like Exile 3 by Spiderweb software better. It's a super ultra mega classic RPG and its map makes Skyrim look small. I think it was released in 1994 or something but it still runs on Windows 7 32 bit today.

Re:I still like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47415763)

The Exile series are underrated classics, I spent way too many hours Crystal Souls back in the day. Good times.

DF is crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47414655)

does it still crash on linux if you zoom in? I could not play it at all, and it looks like the developer just ignores that bug, even though it was reported long time ago.

DF is kind of a tragedy (1)

jez9999 (618189) | about 2 months ago | (#47415239)

I really had high hopes for Dwarf Fortress; I kind of like complex strategy games with steep learning curves, and I could even get used to the wacky interface. I remember the precise moment I just decided to stop playing it, though; when dwarves started complaining about their clothing being ragged. You have to have an entire economy. To make clothes. For your dwarves.

And this isn't some accident, it's by design. For me, they've gone so far into the micromanagement that the game just isn't fun at all, it's tedious. And that's really a shame because I think if they hit the right spot with the complexity, it could be really great. I had been looking forward to making some really big complex dungeons, but making clothes for dwarves and getting the idiots to actually put the new clothes on, all the time? Fuck it.

Re:DF is kind of a tragedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47415923)

Kill an elf caravan (or dismantle the trade depot while their crap is on it) and you'll have plenty of clothes. Granted, do it enough times and their kingdom will get pissed and siege you.

Re:DF is kind of a tragedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47416215)

I am pretty sure that the "unusually negative thoughts about clothing" was actually a bug back in 34.06 that has been long since fixed. I also seem to recall being able to change something in the raws to remove all negative thoughts about clothing. I further, almost kinda recall an option in the lazynewbpack to disable this. That being said. I have ran many, many forts for many, many years and never had a single tantrum spiral as a result of clothing without using any hacks so I'm assuming it was fixed. I, of course, can not be arsed to cite any links to my large paint-brush sized assumptions.

Re:DF is kind of a tragedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47416571)

... For me, they've gone so far into the micromanagement that the game just isn't fun at all, it's tedious.

And that's exactly why I stopped playing Dwarf Fortress [wordpress.com] (when DF2010 came out). I did my best in my blog to give concrete examples of said micromanagement but it's very hard to articulate the annoyances 1) given the "cult" following this game has, and 2) to someone who has never played the game before.

It wasn't until earlier this year when I read a New York Times interview with Tarn and Zach Adams [nytimes.com] that I realised these fellows actually have a serious problem -- and it isn't DF, but (to me) explains why DF is the way it is. (Maybe it's because I'm also from the Pacific Northwest, I don't know...)

A Dutch colleague of mine paraphrased the situation some months ago: "Dwarf Fortress: where you need helper programs to actually play the game."

Re:DF is kind of a tragedy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47417081)

You can also compensate for unhappy effects by adding happiness elsewhere. Your dwarfs will be pleased to live in rags and shovel refuse all day as long as they can admire the gold-jewel-encrusted masterwork statue on their way to the garbage pits. There are only two things a dwarf cannot live without: industry and drink.

ASCII Incredible Depth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47415415)

Riight... and look I have a sheet of paper with a lot of pencilled scribbles on it - you can look at those scribbles for centuries and not learn a damn thing. Now that is depth...

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