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This is why text-based games are king. One dot release and we're seeing a mountain of new features.

I've always dreamed of getting together a big budget to make a text adventure (e.g. Zork) of incredible scope, both in depth and "interactibility" -- a complex object typologies system, bring in learning chat bots for NPCs, and a system where users can add new objects, rooms and descriptions while they play, a complete object relational system (so it can tell "on", from "next to", from "above"), a very complete state system and so on.

Perhaps an "adjectives system", so it knows a huge amount of adjectives relating to any one object, and can generate simple novel sentences about that object on repeat views.

I think that at some point someone will be crazy enough to do it, and it's going to be most excellent.

Fun to note DF is a massive voxel simulation that displays a 2D slice as ascii. There's some neat third party visualizers that can hook into it's memory to show more. http://i.imgur.com/PTj1QpL.jpg

Wow. I'd definitely play it with that UI.

I often wonder why games almost never have swappable (or even just scriptable) UI-s that could allow player to use shorthands through UI drudgery.

> Wow. I'd definitely play it with that UI.

You may want to take a look at Gnomoria (http://gnomoria.com), which is basically "DF clone with sensible voxel graphics". For example: http://images.akamai.steamusercontent.com/ugc/45067176442464...

It's not a scriptable interface, but it is much saner than DF's, with a limited set of consistent hotkeys/toolbars/panels.

Gnomoria is to Dwarf Fortress as Nano is to Vim. It's much easier to learn to play and fun, but it's about 1/10 the magnitude.

For many popular roguelike games different tilesets are common. Search for "dwarf fortress tileset".

I'd recommend installing the Lazy Newb Pack instead. It has all the tools and tileset you need preconfigured:


Now that's what I needed to try this game. Last time I tried, I spent hours and hours downloading tools and never ever got to play the actual game!

Also read some introductions. Some tips like "no aquifer" for your first settlement really ease it.


DF badly needs that for the key combinations. They're complete nonsense, and in all the time I've spent playing, I've always needed a cheat-sheet for even the things I didn't do all that rarely.

But I'm guessing that's not trivial to implement if you haven't already started doing it that way, and for something like Dwarf Fortress, it would probably be a lot of effort for not a significant amount of result - after all, everyone's already got their cheat sheet...

Nitpick: It's not ASCII. It's simple 2D bitmaps. You can't play DF in a character console.

You can, actually. I'm pretty sure the text output mode should still work.

I wouldn't recommend it, because it's noticeably slower than the SDL or OpenGL renderers, but you can.

I usually play it on a tty, partly because silly decisions, but also I can ssh into a my system that has it installed. I haven't seen a 'noticeable' slow down, but then again most of my forts barely make it to 80 dwarves.

Hmmm.... that's always been my chief complaint about DF - that it isn't text/console based ...

I don't want to run DF on my local system - I want my DF world running on a server in a rack somewhere and I connect over screen/SSH when I need to.

Is that a sane use-case with recent DF releases ?

From my experience a few releases ago, the game is completely playable in text mode, over SSH. Like others have said, it's a little slower. I think some key combinations work differently too.

Huh, I didn't know that, thanks. But still, the DF that most people recognize as DF is not an ASCII/text game, even though it looks kinda like it.

I believe it was originally displaying extended ASCII in a nCurses console, and switched to bitmaps with SDL. The majority of the world is still visualized by those character codes and two colors, but entities can be assigned arbitrary sprites http://i.imgur.com/zuMdqbv.jpg

Actually it was the other way around. It was originally a graphical game which deliberately used a set of bit-mapped tiles drawn from the CP437 (not ASCII!) font found on many old computers. It later grew the option to add in extra graphics, so that a dwarf or a cat is a picture of a dwarf or a cat rather than a colorized letter. In this mode it's actually an OpenGL game, although it doesn't do much with the hardware.

A release or two back it gained a true console mode which you can play on a real terminal.

> One dot release and we're seeing a mountain of new features.

A "dot release" (who really cares about numbering schemes?) that took ten months and included a number of incremental and ultimately minor features--yes, they sound very cool, but having played it last night they don't change the way the game plays all that much. I like games like this quite a lot, but this is the same cheetodusting that makes people take Linux-on-the-desktop people with all the unseriousness they demand.

>A "dot release" (who really cares about numbering schemes?)

DF numbers its releases differently than most software. The developers made a list of features ("core components") they would like to implement and the version number increases for each one finished.

So a "dot release" for DF means a significant new subsystem was added. v0.42.1 translates to 42 core components implemented, 1 minor release. The leading 0 means "less than 100 core components finished".

Yeah, I know. The poster to whom I was responding was gleeing about a "dot release" having a bunch of features, and that that's something only a "text-based game" (and DF isn't a text-based game, unless your text-based games normally support tilesets or the IBM upper-ASCII set and run inside of SDL) can do. Which is trivially untrue, both in terms of pumping up the impact of the DF release and downplaying what others do.

Honestly, I'm kind of done with DF until it's more of a game, precisely because of these rabbit holes. I respect what they're doing, but aside from the first "oh, what's new?!" moments, the same core issues with the actual game persist. The "significant subsystems" don't make it play any better, so we're in ant-farm territory and not in a great way.

Well the main attraction is the stories it creates and what you create in game. So I'd say to play Craft the World if you want a DF-like with more direction to it, but DF itself is irreplaceable if you want to do things like attacking Hell with minecarts full of whales for the added mass (and therefore, momentum).

DF is more about the crazy stories that happen when you're, say, draining the ocean to set up those whale traps. Or building a roof over the world, pumping it full of magma, and rigging trapdoors to allow your Orbital Magma Cannon to fry any spot on the surface.

"Well", it's not a complaint about direction, it's more that the ability to create interesting stories hasn't expanded a lot in a long time. Early on in my time with DF, I really enjoyed the exploration, mastering the subsystems involved and developing cool stories out of both my successes and mistakes--but then the mistakes stopped happening because the game ended and it became a time sink rather than a growing and evolving challenge. I have built most of the stupid dwarf tricks (I have an embarrassingly large attempt at a CPU lying around somewhere) because of the lack of breadth to the stories that can be told, but eventually, I very much hit the end of the interesting and challenging things and reached the point of "this would take a dozen hours to do and wouldn't be fun." It's not much fun if you can't fail, and the mastery ceiling of DF is much lower than most people think it is; the self-imposed challenges are artificial ones, and while mechanically they can be interesting, I do not find them fulfilling when I know how it's all supposed to work.

(Minecraft would have this problem if not for the tremendous mod support, Forge, etc. that enables you to make what you want of it. Crash Landing is still one of my favorite things in games--not because of the use of HQM, but rather just the profoundly different environment and options for exploring the same rules in a very different milieu.)

Ah, gotcha.

I haven't played in a while so I'm out of touch as far as figuring out what changes are significant.

I looked over their development page (http://bay12games.com/dwarves/dev.html) and can't figure out if what's listed as upcoming (job prioritization? taverns? non-player artifcats?) will be major as far game play.

They do list work related to "starting scenarios for your fortresses" which touches a bunch of other subsystems - maybe that will be a large and noticeable change.

Can you explain what you mean? Cheeto dust is bright orange goop that sticks to your fingers. I don’t understand how it relates to “ultimately minor” new game features or “unserious Linux people”.

I figured it'd be obvious in context, but if you've never had somebody way, way too into something and trying to pump up its importance get all spittle-flecked and food-spewy (literal Cheetos, in the case I most vividly recall) at you in person...well, I envy you. =)

"cheetodusting" -- I don't believe I've ever seen that verb before.

> this is the same cheetodusting that makes people take Linux-on-the-desktop people with all the unseriousness they demand.

FWIW I've been running a Linux-only desktop for over sixteen years. I honestly think that it's pretty close to being usable by nearly anyone, and I don't think that's an unserious opinion. It's certainly usable by — and useful to — anyone technical, and that's not an unserious opinion.

The gameplay hasn't really "changed" much at all since its first release, it just keeps getting deeper and deeper (something something z-axis joke), so I don't really understand this complaint. It's the best interactive lore generator ever conceived and this release only adds to that.

I highly recommend looking into Inform7, effectively a text adventure IDE (though the community tends to call it "interactive fiction").

The language is a bit odd, and attempts to "read like English", but it provides so much scaffolding I feel like it's worth it.

I used to play around with Inform 6 when I was starting to program. It was an interesting step up from QBasic, and they had a really great tutorial that stepped you through writing a William Tell based story.

I never could get the hang of Inform 7, the syntax is just too free-form, and I couldn't work out how to get things right.

How would this be substantively different from Muds?

Right, yes, some of these features were added to various MUDs with some amount of success.

The big difference I'm arguing for is scope, and engineering.

If you have NPC chat bots that can learn, and an adjectives and typologies system for object, combine them so that chat bots can talk about objects adjectives and typologies. That sort of thing, really engineer the hell out of it.

In the end it would all be a massive NLP problem. As major advances in NLP happen the possibilities for MUDs is massive.

Some of the more modern MUDs are pretty advanced. I was reading a bunch of stuff by the GodWars 2 guy and he has some pretty cool features (eg the areas are very dynamic).

Not the same scope as DF, of course, but still surprisingly fancy. There's still a lot of room for more, though :) I'd personally love to see or make something like what you describe too...

I even started tinkering with my own home grown little MUD server written in Clojure, where I had intended to try out some fancy ideas... but lost interest because it would take a huge time investment and I'd be the only player in a multiplayer environment - maybe a single player game like you say would be better after all.

It is single player or SUD.

Case in point--I just got back into DragonRealms last night for the first time in over a decade now that they have a F2P option.

I thought I'd just spend an hour playing around in The Crossing and killing some rats with my warrior mage, and that turned into three hours where I mostly was trying to remember where things were and running branches back and forth to Mags to make some starter scratch.

But in those three hours I felt infinitely more addicted and immersed than I did in playing many more hours of Elder Scrolls Online, WoW, etc. While I need to find some ways of tweaking the Stormfront client more, there is truly something to be said from requiring imagination to enjoy the game.

There were attempts at implementing some of what you suggested - here's one: https://www.guncho.com/

So Guncho interfaces a mud server to inform7 runtimes? I used inform7's function dispatching as the basis for a python MUD engine, fun stuff - https://github.com/selfsame/mud.tilde.town

It is not what you wish for interactibility, but you might enjoy http://seltani.net/

Making it a text game instead of minecraft-like would limit the audience and save next to nothing in development time IMHO.

At the very beginning of Zork you are wandering through the forest. At one point, after branching around for a while you hear a bird singing above.

If you say 'climb the tree' you read "You are about ten feet above the ground nestled among some large branches. The nearest branch above you is beyond your reach."

If you 'climb higher' you see "On the branch is a small birds nest. "

If you look in the nest, "In the bird's nest is a large egg encrusted with precious jewels, apparently scavenged somewhere by a childless songbird. The egg is covered with fine gold inlay and ornamented in lapis lazuli and mother-of-pearl. Unlike most eggs, this one is hinged and has a delicate looking clasp holding it closed. The egg appears extremely fragile."

If you open the egg roughly, "There is a golden clockwork canary nestled in the egg. It seems to have recently had a bad experience. The mountings for its jewel-like eyes are empty, and its silver beak is crumpled. Through a cracked crystal window below its left wing you can see the remains of intricate machinery. It is not clear what result winding it would have, as the mainspring appears sprung."

If you wind it, "There is an unpleasant grinding noise from inside the canary."

If you open the egg gently, "The canary chirps, slightly off key, an aria from a forgotten opera. From out of the greenery flies a lovely song bird. It perches on a limb just over your head and opens its beak to sing. As it does so, a beautiful brass bauble drops from its mouth, bounces off the top of your head, and lands glimmering in the grass. As the canary winds down, the song bird flies away."

When I found that as a 7 year old, sitting in the dark after everyone in my family had gone to bed, peering into the screen of my 286, I knew that text adventures are the only game worth making.

Check out 80 days if you haven't already. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.inkle.eigh... It has lots of wonderful text.

Inkle is an amazing dev studio. If you liked 80 days, you have to give their Sorcery! series a shot.


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