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Author Topic: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?  (Read 23378 times)

TinyPirate

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Re: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2012, 03:24:59 am »

I think we all enjoy a variety of games but what is particularly fun is that it is a make-it-yourself experience.

Douglas Adams wrote a really interesting piece about the internet many years ago and it was as right then as it is now.

Quote
This subjective view plays odd tricks on us, of course. For instance, ‘interactivity’ is one of those neologisms that Mr Humphrys likes to dangle between a pair of verbal tweezers, but the reason we suddenly need such a word is that during this century we have for the first time been dominated by non-interactive forms of entertainment: cinema, radio, recorded music and television. Before they came along all entertainment was interactive: theatre, music, sport – the performers and audience were there together, and even a respectfully silent audience exerted a powerful shaping presence on the unfolding of whatever drama they were there for. We didn’t need a special word for interactivity in the same way that we don’t (yet) need a special word for people with only one head.

I expect that history will show ‘normal’ mainstream twentieth century media to be the aberration in all this. ‘Please, miss, you mean they could only just sit there and watch? They couldn’t do anything? Didn’t everybody feel terribly isolated or alienated or ignored?’

‘Yes, child, that’s why they all went mad. Before the Restoration.’

‘What was the Restoration again, please, miss?’

‘The end of the twentieth century, child. When we started to get interactivity back.’

People love to explore worlds and learn rules. It's almost human nature (survival mechanism!) I think. I enjoy other sandbox games like GTA (but the sandbox is only as deep as the physics engine and some basic traffic/people moving will go - not that a good physics engine doesn't open a world of possibilities).

DF has a lot of complex and interesting rules - everything from the fluid dynamics to how plants grow - they all add up to features that provide for an amazing experience when combined. It's like opening a pocketwatch and seeing dozens of gears. Learning what each one does is, for some people, a joy.
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stormyseasons

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Re: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2012, 08:53:50 am »

Because I can come back to it after weeks or months away, and still be wonderfully immersed. Also I can do whatever I please, with consequences. And the challenge of it is fun, of course. And for the times when the challenge is not enough, modding comes through. As does dabbling my toes in Adventure mode. I suppose for me at least part of my draw is that I am telling a story that I can influence from beginning to end in some ways.
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Demogerg

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Re: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2012, 09:06:50 am »

I have been a gamer my entire life. Everyone enjoys different aspects to games.

A wise man once described people as being in different states of desire, the base state of desire being instant physical gratification, then a desire for money or power, following that, a desire to help others or their community

People enjoy modern shooter games for graphics, violence, testosterone, and competition. Occasionally physics or science/fantasy stories projects a solid shooter into a legendary status. (The original Halo was a solid game with stellar graphics, good physics, relatively balanced competition and a story that revolved around an idea that was new to most of the market segment. It was a huge hit and its legacy lives on) These style of games primarily market towards instant gratification.

MMORPGs are popular because they hit on the desire for money and power. Invest more time into the game and you can acquire more gold, better gear, higher levels, better skills, titles, own a house, run a guild, control a market segment in the auction house, etc. World of warcraft streamlined the genre by realizing that the people who play these style of games want it to be simple and easy, but allow for multiple avenues of achievement. (Urist McPaladin: "I'm the best paladin tank on server X and I have a full set of tier 10097879 armor of uberpallytanking" Uristet McWarlock: "Well my arena team is ranked #1 on server Y, and I have over 10^9 gold.")

Every game in that has exploded in mainstream popularity is because they hit on the primal urges and desires of a large market of people. Ever hear of a game called cow clicker? instant gratification. Farmville? essentially a build up of resources that allows people to pretend they have a modcium of wealth.

Dwarf fortress is fantastic for a few reason. DF is the ultimate sandbox game, it allows for an amazing level of creativity, almost to the point of being art, the math behind the world generation and all the facets of the fantasy world are astounding, it gives the player a stunning amount of control, satisfying the desire for power, wealth acquisition is there too. Instant gratification is subdued, but its there as well, whenever you strike a vein of a valuable mineral, or press that button that creates !fun! in its many many varieties.

What makes Dwarf fortress stand heads and shoulders above any other game in my opinion is the creator. As a community we have a game that none of us could made on our own, Toady has proven himself to be in the third category of people, whose desire is to give back to the people. Think about how much work has gone into this game, how much math, programming, testing, updating, etc. Consider that creating this game has been a full time job for years, and he has no intention of stopping any time soon. He could have used his skills and intellect to do any number of things, he could have been an extremely wealthy individual working in the financial sector, or a programmer working for electronic arts making the latest pile of shit game to try and sell you for $60, but no, instead he has devoted himself to a creation that he is openly sharing with the world, for anyone who wants it.

I enjoy Dwarf Fortress not only because of my base desire for power, but because it reminds me that there are greater things to aspire to. Thanks Tarn Adams.
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Meansdarling

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Re: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2012, 06:42:58 pm »

why Call of Duty is popular?
I haven't played COD, and probably never will, but...
I looked around at answer sites and forums where people asked this same question.

Basically:
1. It'a a fad, a craze, a trend, it's popular because it's popular.
2. The company that makes it does really good or comprehensive marketing.
3. The people who play COD have friends who play COD. Kinda why people facebook. Social.
4. Also it's a really easy game, and also really easy to pick up for short amounts of time. Easily enjoyed. Explosions. Guns.

That's it mostly. DF has a community, but only if you go looking for it.
DF is not a trend right now. DF has no marketing except word of mouth.
DF takes some effort to pick up fast, and you don't get good at it right away.
These are mostly things I actually like about Dwarf Fortress.

Maybe the other games you mentioned have similar hang ups like DF does.

Of course if DF tried to do what COD does, it would be very very different, and different people (not me) would like it.
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Garath

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Re: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2012, 07:25:49 pm »

CoD is easy to get into and easy to win, so, mainstream.

A mention has been made of mount and blade. I'll use that example to explain why I love, and hate, DF so much. I've only played the original game, not the later releases. The original game was basically made for the pure pleasure of the developers, supported by a small fee from anyone who wanted to play the game. I'm pretty sure they made more on donations.

New things I found there: you strike at your enemy, you hit. Damage is determined by your weapon and the armor, but more important, relative velocity. Two people moving in different directions away from eachother will pretty much never do any damage, unless one happens to be a peasant. Two fully armored knights charging eachother on horseback, lances leveled... there can be only one survivor. The other thing? you get a crossbow bolt to the head, you're down, no matter how awesome you are. Even the best helmet won't protect you. A shield on your back instead of held in front of you will take the occasional arrow instead of letting you be hurt. It is this attention to detail that makes this game great for me. That and the shear crazyness you need to win without using a cheat or one, maybe two. In that, DF tops M&B. Some of the cheats, like therapist, are features needed so you don't get swamped in micromanagement.

It is finding the next gem in this beauty of a game that draws me back every time. Any time I think I have it all figured out, an invasion makes it past my 100% guaranteed proof against sieges entrance and I go back to figuring out what went wrong, and I start over. The loveliest little thing now is that I get migrants from older forts occasionally.This kind of attention to detail is pretty much unknown in any of the mainstream games. Except for the tactical ones, they are mainly button mashers or timing games. A challenge only to the speed of your fingers or your reaction speed.

I need to think in this game. More than I'd need to for the next puzzle to the next level. Also, it engages my common sense and not some abstract puzzle solving ability.
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dizzyelk

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Re: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2012, 08:46:17 pm »

I like different games for different reasons. I want a good story? I'll fire up a golden age RPG. I want to think and earn my win? I'm firing up a 4X game. I just want to kill stuff? GTA. I can't tell you why I keep playing DF. It just fascinates me. Like a shiny toy of complicated moving parts. The thing I like the most about it, is how, when I get burned out on it, cause I always do after a few months, I'll come back in a years time or so, and the game has changed! I started on the 2D version. Came back to 3D, left, came back to features in the mountains, left, came back to a more controllable military, left, came back to pastures and beekeeping, left, came back to the current undead madness. And I like that. One of the things that saddens me the most when I find a good indie game I enjoy is that they usually go belly up and development ends, if it hadn't ended years earlier.
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Whitefoxsniper

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Re: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?
« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2012, 12:16:58 am »


can someone explain to me why Call of Duty is popular? every game is the same as the last, with just new maps, and new guns, same source code, SAME BUGS, same incompetent playerbase.


I played COD:MW1 & 2 single player campaigns when I could get them for cheap and they are actually pretty good if you want to play through a Michel bay movie you really can't go wrong. I've also played Battlefield 2 and Bad Company 2's multiplayer for a embarrassing amount of time.

The COD was fun because it makes you feel powerful, gunning through waves of bad guys who are no challenge at all is actually pretty fun. you can look away and realize that you've played through the whole thing when you meant to only play through the tutorial mission before class. Just don't get online because those people have headsets and they will turn you into one of them.

Battlefield multiplayer was fun because I played as a medic and I would be in 1rst 2nd or 3rd just from reviving squads and helping to complete objectives. Also because I had to justify buying a $125 graphics card and then only playing dwarf fortress for hours on end.

Dwarf Fortress is fun for me because I love complex city builders, the best game I ever bought in a store was the Stronghold and Tropico pack that I bought on a whim for $10. I like my virtual people to have lives of their own, even if what they want is going against what I want.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 12:32:24 am by Whitefoxsniper »
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smakemupagus

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Re: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?
« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2012, 04:00:51 am »

Not much point hating on COD, different people have different tastes.  Sure, I like deep strategic video games but I watch exclusively shallow tv like sports or cop procedurals.   if people on the message board for some deep artistic TV show or movie are wondering "what's wrong" with me they're wasting their time..

Drago55577

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Re: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?
« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2012, 04:07:51 am »

Halo is the only game i can play that isnt sandbox. (besides battlefield and CoD BO where i can make people RAEGQUIT cause i kill em so much)

DF and other game are fun because of the limitless (in most cases) possibilities, in Gmod you can script a detailed system to make air combat games where you make your own aircraft, in DF you can pit armies against eachother, in Universe Sandbox you can make stuff explode, in powder game you can plasma bomb everything :D. some sandboxes are also fun because of complexity to. (like DF)

also highly graphical games are fun.
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alexandertnt

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Re: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?
« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2012, 05:07:14 am »

This is something I have thought about myself. I realise im sitting here playing a game that I will lose, and think "Why am I playing this?".

For me it is mostly interactivity. Its immense fun to do something that wou have no idea, or little idea, what the result will be. Experementation with the game mechanics, and its overall effect.

I have never really gotten hardcore into RPG's before. The gameplay mechanics are generally uninteresting (the D&D games, for example, are mostly RNG dice rolling where you are aware of all the possible outcomes. Death or Victory. Nothing else happens.), and the story never seems to be more than a complement to a game (I find books fulfill any desire I have for a storyline, except with redundant gameplay cut out.). Sort of thing where you find a slightly more powerful sword (+1 something-or-other), but its still a sword, and you still know what it does. It wont suprise you. There are some exceptions, though. Since games can allow non-linear/branching stories, I can sometimes find fun in pursuing different goals and observing the outcome. Dwarf Fortress is fun for me here for the sheer depth of things that can happen, as you play it, you discover and learn about it, and because you are still discovering and learning, there is a sense of something to uncover. Even the 'story' in DF works. With some creativity, its the ultimate non-linear story.

I dont experience any entertainment from winning, and as such generally dont find games with a focus in pure difficulty overly entertaining. I want something that raises a sence of curiousity in me, not something that tries and gives me a false sence of accomplishment. I am mostly referring to the "die, try-again, repeatx50, win" games here. Dwarf Fortress is something that will have you lose over and over when you start, but due to not understanding how game mechanics work. When I lose, I gain knowledge on how the game works, and gaining that knowledge is fun due to being curious about how it all works.

When it comes to length-of-game, I find its not dependent on the actual length per se, but what it expects you to do in that time. Anyone could code a game that has 100000 hours of playing time. Dwarf Fortress doesnt have a win condition, so in a conventional sense, the game-play would be infinite. Or in Elder Scrolls, or virtually any game, you could just stand still for hundreds of hours. Because of this (and not playing just to get to the end) I find measuring the game length to be silly and misleading. An awesome 2 hour game is better than a mediocre 100 hour game. For example I have no problem with the length of the CoD campaigns. Actually their length is a good thing, as you wont be expected to go through doing the same thing for a ridiculous length of time (i.e. it grows old fast).

Multiplayer can be very fun with friends (especially actual-friends, not randoms from a matchmaker). It indroduces a new element of unknown/unexpected interaction. Though it too seems to obey the rules above.

tl;dr version: Curiousity, Experementation, Exploration. In Dwarf Fortress losing is winning. In Dwarf Fortress you dont necessarily know what that mysterious new object does, but I want to find out. and lastly: Because.

(I apologise if it came out a bit rushed. Snowed in by uni-work)
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Gizogin

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Re: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?
« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2012, 06:56:18 am »

I think of it as the difference between a "snack food" and a quality dessert.  A lot of games these days are like snacks; there's not much substance, but there's just enough to draw you in and keep you there, doing the same thing over and over again with just a small bit of variation.
DF is more like a classy dessert; it takes time and appreciation to really be able to enjoy it.  The difference here is that if DF were a dessert, it'd be a *masochism roast,* menacing with spikes of "punching-you-in-the-face-level difficulty."
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Drago55577

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Re: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?
« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2012, 07:01:20 am »

DF would be my #1 game if it has

*An image of high graphics, all Craftdwarveship is of the highest quality* *engraved into it is Multiplayer, all Craftdwarvship is of the highest quality* *An image of Realtime*

than it would be awesome :P

also more like StAGoB in the movement (no squares)
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Gizogin

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Re: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?
« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2012, 07:05:07 am »

In relation to my previous statement, I think this image pretty much sums it up:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
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Drago55577

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Re: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?
« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2012, 07:07:07 am »

lol.

its missing a zombie army killing him in the last bit
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Tolisk

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Re: Why is Dwarf Fortress fun?
« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2012, 02:02:22 pm »

What i like about DF is the glitches, the bugs, and the rather random encounters.
Seeing your dwarfs hammer things with iron crossbows instead of shooting them is hilarious to me.
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In the grim darkness of DF, there can be only FUN
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