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Author Topic: Kitty McLeverpuller  (Read 7363 times)

Larix

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Kitty McLeverpuller
« on: July 04, 2013, 03:11:23 pm »

NEW!Stupid little tricks, Summer editionNEW!
looky here



Here we see Kitty. Kitty has been pastured in a tiny alcove, 1x1 in size. The door to the east is an unsurmountable obstacle, held shut by mechanisms. The door to the west looks more tempting, but is tightly shut. At first, Kitty was not interested in that door, because she was safe and sound in her home pasture and didn't feel the need to go anywhere else. But now the pasture has been deleted and Kitty grows curious if the door leads to delicious cave spiders, or lonely dwarfs in need of adoption. Alas, the door is tightly shut and Kitty cannot squeeze through.

Undeterred, Kitty pushes agains the door, and suddenly, the door gives! Kitty pushes her head through the opening, excited to make new acquaintances. The first acquaintance she makes is



Uncle Fungiwood Minecart, who'd been sitting in the nearby cellar, frustrated by the door that prevented him from seeing more of the world. He enthusiastically thanks Kitty for opening the door before heading off east.



As it transpires, the pressure plate Kitty had been sitting on all the time wasn't actually there for her benefit, but for that of passing minecarts, to allow them egress to the east. Uncle Minecart barrels straight through, but is stopped in his exploration of the world by an uncouth track stop.



Who, it appears, was actually a pretty nice trackstop, because otherwise the unsuspecting minecart would have ended up on the bridge, which had been ordered to raise by the cart's passage. The slate boulder sitting on the bridge was brutally crushed out of existence, and a similar fate would have met the hapless minecart. Thank God for the trackstop!

I would also like to thank Kitty for her dedication to the advancement of dwarven science and fortress security technology, demonstrating at great danger to her tender physis that mechanical triggers can be set off on short notice and probably fairly reliably without relying on the responsiveness of notorious drunks.

Possible improvements to the basic design would be putting the minecart on active rollers and pasturing two cats at once, to ensure the 'trigger' door stays open longer. Remember to 'un-pasture' the cats when you want the trigger to go live. The actual activation is done simply by switching the door from 'tightly closed' to 'pet-passable'. My test cat opened the door in about ten ticks, the pressure plate was activated after about 30 (slow response by perpetual motion bunker, as i said, a roller would have been a lot faster, i'd expect four to five steps after the cat pushes the door open).

The big conceptual benefit of the design is of course that triggers are effectively activated from the user interface, without requiring a co-operative dwarf and with very short response time. An extremely simple practical application of animal logic, i'd say.

Edit: just to clarify - the cart was in fact sitting underground, moving back and forth between the visible 'down' ramp and a covered ramp west of it. It was constantly trying to climb out to the east, blocked by the door as long as it was closed.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2015, 07:24:32 pm by Larix »
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MattStriker

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Re: Kitty McLeverpuller
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2013, 03:41:07 pm »

Interesting. Cats don't take breaks...
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Melzer

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Re: Kitty McLeverpuller
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2013, 10:25:45 pm »

That was some nice SCIENCE
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Bludulukus

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Re: Kitty McLeverpuller
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2013, 10:32:13 pm »

The right thing to do is give Kitty a pretty microcline slab for his advancement of dwarf science.
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Di

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Re: Kitty McLeverpuller
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2013, 02:46:23 am »

Well, the picture says it only got a light bruise of stomach. But yeah, it'll deserve a slab eventually.
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Gargomaxthalus

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Re: Kitty McLeverpuller
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2013, 03:24:33 am »

I wonder. Would a cat with arms be an asset or !!FUN!! waiting to happen?
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Larix

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Re: Kitty McLeverpuller
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2013, 04:27:31 am »

Yep, that was the whole combat report. A bruised stomach, no more.

An alternative design for the kitten trigger would be to use water for activation - have the door open to one or two tiles of 7/7 water, put a water-sensitive pressure plate in the chamber. Cat opens door, water rushes in and activates trigger. As long as there remain at least 2/7 water on the plate, it can remain active indefinitely, nice for bridges. It might require putting a ramp or other exit into the water squares for the cat to properly path through the door. This would of course also work with magma, but tends to make the cats single-use. Unless you managed to hack undead animals to remain loyal. A pet !!zombie cat!! would be both useful and FUN.
Minecarts have the benefit of being minecarts and e.g. immediate use of the trigger (or a bumped) minecart in a cannon/shotgun.
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Button

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Re: Kitty McLeverpuller
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2013, 08:47:43 am »

I have to say... being able to pull levers without relying on the little bastards would kind of take the Fun out of invasions for me.
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krenshala

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Re: Kitty McLeverpuller
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2013, 01:08:31 pm »

I know the feeling.  Opened my gate to let a hunter that took his time returning to the fortress when I changed alerts (necromancer siege) in and that got done right away, but once he was safe inside and the militia stopped partying just outside with teh zombies nobody would pull the lever to close the damn thing again.  I ended up having to cancel the order while I waited for the soldiers to finish round two, then reissue the order.

I don't have a lot of dwarves at this point, so I didn't want to lose any unnecessarily by locking them outside with the necromancer. ;)
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Di

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Re: Kitty McLeverpuller
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2013, 08:45:09 pm »

By the way, you can put water on the level above the door as long as floor there is channelled. Door won't let water down as long as it's closed.
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Cinder

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Re: Kitty McLeverpuller
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2013, 09:41:11 pm »

"Eh, Catten, y'sure this is a good idea?" Ushat said as he stared up at the towering fortress, the setting sun casting a shade that dyed the hateful architecture black, as if built by Slade. A dead kea laid on a bald spot of ground, likely a landing for the drawbridge. "B'side, how in Anoth's name ar w'supposed ta git in?"

"Bah" the tall markdwarf sneered. "I dun't see any broken wagons or dead merchants around. Shur'ly tha let visitors in. Jes that they dun't let them out."

'They', only Anoth knows who they are. Seven dwarves were sent out to build the fortress of Nulomshash, and with their toil, their fortress prospered, and turned into a Barony. Then, just as that, everything went quiet. Migrants avoided the cursed place, and merchants never returned. Soon, stories begun to circulate throughout Inod Zolak. The fortress was taken by demons, some say.

"Ay! Let uss'in, yer redskins, greenskins, w'ever yer are!" Catten yelled out. The fortress was an island, surrounded by deep, abyssal hills. Ushat gripped on his axe, and nudged the other five hidden in the cart to prepare.

Silence reigned, then a whisper came. It was a warped voice, nothing like a living being's. It was artificial. "Come and face your doom, fools." it rasped, and the great drawbridge heaved, crashing down in front of Catten. There was an awed silence, then he beckoned the other dwarf to follow. "W'see whose doom it is, yer monstrosity!" the reckless captain shouted again when they were finally inside. The drapes over the wagon was removed, and the others jumped off from it. They were all deathly quiet.

As they traversed the hallway, eyeing everything suspiciously to sense for traps, they found the passage devoid of danger. Intricate carvings can be seen, depicting the creation of the fortress.

Then, suddenly, as they moved deeper in, past the depot, the carving's subject suddenly turned into cats.

Lots of cats.

Cats and mechanisms.

It might be Ushat's imagination, but he could sworn he heard 'meow' in the distance. The humming of the machinery, though, was clearly heard. Then another remark from the mechanical voice broke the monotonous droning. "Servants of Anoth. Pah. Dwarves, to fall to such human lies. You shall see the face of true God soon enough."

"Who'd da hell are ye?" Catten said, seemingly the least scared of the group.

"Armok." it said tersely.

"A-armok?" Ushat suddenly stops, everything clicking into his mind. "Catten! We must leave!"

"Leave? What are ye talkin' abo-" the markdwarf never got the chance to meet his unseen assailant. A section of the walls snapped at blinding speed, and grounded him into red paste. As the wall relaxed again, red smears were lathered on them, Catten had been quite literally beaten to a pulp.

That was enough. The expedition ran in their own accord, and as if on cue, the fortress began to disassemble. Mechanical hands pried the stones apart into smaller blocks, and all the dwarves fell into the darkness.

Ushat woke up later, and pain wracked every parts of his body. He gradually rose, in agony. "Hm. A living one. Interesting." a voice said. It was definitely a dwarf, and his voice was weary. "A living one indeed, my dear Mosus." the mechanical voice piped in, and as Ushat's cave sense kicked in, he began to see an emaciated dwarf in a cage. His fangs were obvious, and only a fool wouldn't know it was a vampire. "Who are you?" he asked him, and 'Armok'.

"One of the lifeblood of my creation, of course. Mosus Gusilruthosh, the Vampire Baron of Blamedhells. And you, are the dinner of my children."

The mechanical being was blunt. Why else would he have piled corpses over here. But, what, are his 'children'? Demons?

Then his sense made him see, a pressure plate far above the vampire. He heard the some of small paws, and a click, then Mosus was lifted off.

The gates opened, and he could see their glowing eyes.

Cats.
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Loud Whispers

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Re: Kitty McLeverpuller
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2013, 10:42:04 am »

Cats.
A sentient Fortress operated by cats?

Cinder

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Re: Kitty McLeverpuller
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2013, 01:14:02 am »

Cats.
A sentient Fortress operated by cats?
Yeah, and I'm rolling with the popular conception that the player is Armok.
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Larix

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Re: Kitty McLeverpuller
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2013, 02:56:33 pm »

Another episode of reckless cat endangerment in the name of science, or engineering, or whatever:



A stray tomcat is playing in his sandbox on a fine summer day. But what's that noise - chuckling? Why are the walls so steep and what is that strange building to the north?



Seems like someone intended to turn the sandbox into a pond and never notified the cat ahead of time. Or maybe something more sinister. But still, one could just open the floored-over ramp and let the cat ou...



Oh. Somebody really doesn't care about the well-being of cats. Let's just hope that whoever dwarfs the pump notices the plight of the poor animal and...



well, no, it's the chief medical dwarf who cherishes cats more for their *tallow roasts* than for their purrs. He gleefully starts pumping. But there was a pressure plate in the pump outlet, perhaps that's linked to some security measure? Not that it'd help much, since anything that'd close the water's path would take a hundred steps to react, and we haven't seen a hatch that could offer a drain. Looks like the cat is going to end up pretty wet.

Five steps after the CMD started pumping, water starts falling into the pond:



After thirteen steps...



A _door_ _closes_, cutting off the water flow. How can this be, when it's the reaction to the pressure plate activating, while doors only close on 'off' signals, and those can only occur 100 steps after an 'on'?

The answer is massive brute-force overengineering, bringing you the dwarven security blast door:



That's surely something. But what _is_ it?



A track loop full of 'off' branches. On each branch, there's a roller pushing against the movement direction (counter-clockwise), and when power is provided, the nearest of them will kick the cart out of the circuit. While the cart is _on_ the circuit, it receives two pushes per round from the two 'corner' rollers which work with the loop, providing speed. The circulating cart holds the massive array of pressure plates down, all of which are linked to the door. Since the 'last' signal sent was an 'on' - the circuit is short enough that the cart passes through in less than 100 steps, so an off is never sent - the door will remain open as long as the cart remains in the loop. But as soon as the cart leaves the loop, the pressure plates can return to 'off' once 100 steps _since the cart's last passage_ are over, and the first 'off' sent will close the door.

The thirteen steps of reaction time show that this circuit is far from optimal, the loop is probably three or four tiles too short. It should be possible to have a door close in less than ten steps. A perfectly-calibrated loop should be able to have standard closing intervals of three to five steps.

Position of the operation loop after five steps:


after thirteen:


after fifty:


Rollers are convenient power transmitters, but of course can mess with operated-on minecarts in a hilarious fashion. The cart was sent off on a wild diagonal.

And the cat? Well, he didn't get his feet wet:



eight units of water made it into the pit.
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Loud Whispers

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Re: Kitty McLeverpuller
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2013, 05:07:33 pm »

Is the cat really necessary?
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