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Author Topic: Future of the Fortress  (Read 3028518 times)

DG

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Re: Future of the Fortress
« Reply #4545 on: June 02, 2022, 04:30:25 am »

Sorry to hear that things have gotten tough again. I can't speak for anyone else, but I've lost interest in DF because the current main push isn't for me (graphical tiles and steam). It's like years worth of hiatus. Or worse, as there are intimations that some of the things I do already value are being sidelined in one way or another. Like ascii, or keyboard support as specifically mentioned in this latest FOTF reply. I do make a mental effort to stop myself whenever I feel like you've left me behind in order to court the vast number of people who have never loved DF but might if only x or y. You're not, and it wouldn't be the wrong choice if you were. So instead of sticking around and harping about what may or may not be I'm waiting to see what will be. Maybe that's wrong and I should of stayed to pipe up with "But my keyboard!" whenever an opportunity came up. It'd be hard to do that sort of thing without being unhelpfully negative, I think. The other day I started writing about the difficulty question but deleted without posting because I don't feel like my opinion is relevant. I'm not saying I'm right, but it's the way I feel, so it doesn't matter if I'm wrong. Neither of you have the time to coddle me and hold my hand to make sure I don't feel that way haha. Hopefully I'm a rarity.

Anyway, it's been ages since I chipped in, and things have stabilized on my end again for the first time in a while, so I've joined the Patreon. It's a shame that things need to get so bad for you before people like me are reminded to do our bit, but that's human nature. I'll buy it on steam, too, to bump up the numbers and hype at the time. The DF dream I had isn't as aligned as it once was, but the dream is still there and I'll wait years more. Once the dust settles on this release and its forced circumstances we'll have a clearer idea of what DF is and where it's going.
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PatrikLundell

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Re: Future of the Fortress
« Reply #4546 on: June 02, 2022, 04:38:44 am »

:
Quote from: Su
the latest devpost says that the Z-screen has been removed and replaced with a tooltip.

how are keyboard users going to access this information? i'm becoming increasingly worried that keyboard support is going to become a second-class citizen, with controls going unshown and features becoming outright unavailable without the use of a mouse.

on an arguably more positive note - is there an official link to the updated roadmap? it sounds like things are nearing completion.

This may be the case.  For instance, there are no keyboard cursors right now.  People generally wanted 50 keypresses to be replaced by a few mouse clicks, and I don't think there were any general proponents of the keyboard in this case.  There are some specific concerns, like with macros and stuff, but those would probably be better replaced by interactive blueprints etc. as in Factorio and etc.  I'm all for hotkeys of course, and being able to pull up various information and get things selected quickly with the keyboard, but I've been leaning against replacement cursors and haven't heard a case for them.  I've never seen a similar modern game use keyboard cursors, because it requires so many keypresses, something people have hated and mocked about DF for many years.  And once we admit the mouse at all, wealth display being a hover etc. isn't a concern (although arguably it works as a hotkey for speed purposes.)  But perhaps mouse use is a barrier generally for you - I haven't really heard from the keyboard-only side since they were the only side we'd been supporting to this point.

We haven't been updating a roadmap - it's just that one news post ( http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=174112.msg8354566#msg8354566 ).  And we've only just gotten through the first part, with the big question being whether we first release after Stage 3 or 4 or 5 or 6.
:
I've been pestering you about keyboard support for years, and have ceased posting as I saw the keyboard support dropping coming, with halfhearted assurances that it would be kept as signs that it wouldn't, which this confirms, and Mouse Fortress is of no interest to me.
There are a number of reasons for why keyboard support is important:
- Bulk usage: using a mouse is reasonably easy for newbies to use, provided the icons actually make sense (which is frequently not the case in general). However, keyboard shortcuts are a lot faster for heavy usage, once you've managed to memorize them. Dwarf Fortress was intended to be used for lots of hours.
- Medical 1: Lots of mouse usage (in particular click-hold-scoll menus and the like) put strain on the tendons that can lead to chronic inflammation. A horribly constructed commercial program that required this and didn't have any shortcuts that I had to use for days on end at work got me this problem.
- Medical 2: Some people simply have limited motor control for various reasons, making precision clicking difficult. Blind people can't even see where they're clicking (on the other hand, they probably won't be able to play the graphic DF version anyway, and the character version seems to be going the way of keyboard support)...
- An utterly horrible example of how not to implement a mouse interface is the Advanced World Gen painter: You can't see where the tip of the cursor actually is, have to leave the "map" to select paint parameters from the list, and then try to navigate back to the "map" and try to guess where the tile next to the one you modified previously is (as the "map" feedback to your changes are virtually non existent).
- Making DF into a clone of the clones of DF doesn't seem to be a good way to stand out.
- Keyboard cursors are useful for counting tiles. Try to do that reliably with a mouse... This can be particularly useful for third party tool interactions, but you may have reasons to count tiles to determine whether a location is within the same 16*16 or 48*48 block as something else.
- Designating the digging of a 100 Z level deep spiral staircase with a mouse? No thanks. Intelligent people currently do it with a macro currently. Selecting a "blueprint" from a huge drag-and-drop list 100 times (with different "blueprints" for each level to account for the spiral) is less than appealing, and so is trying to click on the correct tile and then drag-and-drop the correct construction for each tile of that staircase.
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Uthimienure

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Re: Future of the Fortress
« Reply #4547 on: June 02, 2022, 05:24:25 am »

Well said, Patrick.  I once posted that I would vomit if mouse usage was required.  Somebody please pass me an emesis basin.
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Re: Future of the Fortress
« Reply #4548 on: June 02, 2022, 05:43:15 am »

Thanks for the replies Toady, though it's quite disheartening to hear about the keyboard stuff (and apparently no ASCII at first?). Keyboard controls and no graphics have been one of the main reasons why I started playing DF in the first place, and not having them will make the game less playable for me.

I'll still be buying the Steam version to support the project.

clinodev

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Re: Future of the Fortress
« Reply #4549 on: June 02, 2022, 05:48:47 am »

I've been approached by two content creators, at least one of whom I know you know, and several other long-term supporters of the game, as you see here in this thread, about the loss of keyboard support. I think it's worth pointing out that my impression reading your answers has been that keeping keyboard support didn't look like much of a problem. It came up a lot in the first few months, and the people who it mattered most to were both paying attention to development and probably satisfied with the answers, so they perhaps didn't continue pressing. I know I've, falsely as it turns out, assured people it would be retained based on early answers. It surprises me that in a game that currently contains an elaborate keymapping system allowing pretty much anything to be mapped to anything, that the current keyboard couldn't be more or less retained. I'm informed that Cogmind might be a better model than Factorio? I don't actually play either so I can't say for certain.

Personally, I use mouse/touchpad as much as possible, with DFhack's much extended mouse support, but I'm seeing very real frustration amongmany of the folks who currently teach new players, answer questions, and make amazing game tools. The kind of people who are inevitably going to be teaching this next big wave of players with Premium to play the game -- or perhaps not so inevitably now? People who wait for the Classic release aren't going to be in the legion of eager teachers, alas, especially if Classic lags behind Premium.
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voliol

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Re: Future of the Fortress
« Reply #4550 on: June 02, 2022, 06:08:30 am »

Agreed with the above, I'm happy about mouse support but my wrist won't be about the lack of anything else, when I inevitably play the game using a laptop trackpad.

I wonder what could be a sensible solution? ...here is a suggestion thread.

scriver

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Re: Future of the Fortress
« Reply #4551 on: June 02, 2022, 08:38:25 am »

I wrote this in another thread originally, but I also wanted to share my feelings here where it's more relevant:

I was disappointed by these news. Whenever I play other games that makes me do a lot of stuff like DF does I miss how much more quickly and efficient I get things done in DF because everything is just a few rapid clicks away, and I don't have to manually select everything with my mouse. Even games like Rimworld (which was obviously strongly influenced by DF) where a mostly everything is keybound isn't as fast to navigate as DF is. When I play for example the Rimworld-like (like, really, really obviously based on Rimworld) Going Medieval the thing that bugs me the most is the lack of efficient keyboard shortcuts.

And then there's just the punctiliousness and meticulousitude of the keyboard marker in a tile-based game, the mouse just doesn't compare to how I can just press the → button five times and have the keyboard marker mark five more tiles, whereas with a mouse I have to carefully pay attention to how many squares I'm marking so I don't mistakenly mark too many or press the same tile several times because I mis-sight-evaluated where one tile and and the next one begins.

But more than anything, the thing that makes the DF control scheme as good as it is, is how it utilises both mouse and keyboard control so you get the good of both worlds. And I think the controls with inevitably be poorer for having lost the keyboard half, no matter how much better control it gains in the new mouse additions.

I don't want to be the old guy who gets too emotional over changes, and I'm prone to be too hyperbolic in my tone, so I tried to restrain my tone a little so I don't come off as too emotional. I don't think this is something that would stop be from playing DF, or getting the new version, but I do think this change will make the game less enjoyable for me.
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Su

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Re: Future of the Fortress
« Reply #4552 on: June 02, 2022, 11:18:01 am »

to add to the above sentiment: this is very disapointing news and i strongly urge you to reconsider. dwarf fortress is one of my favourite games in no small part thanks to the accessibility granted by not having to use a mouse and having every relevant control labeled onscreen at all times [my memory is not that good, so having this information readily available reduces the cognitive load and allows me to play without having the wiki open in the background]. some of the choices of what those controls were is, admitedly, less than stellar [the umhk set has been mentioned by others] but i would gladly take the umhk set a thousand times over the frustration of being forced to use the inherently slow and inaccurate mouse.

adding mouse support is a worthy goal, but not at the expense of the keyboard.

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Buttery_Mess

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Re: Future of the Fortress
« Reply #4553 on: June 02, 2022, 01:00:39 pm »

Thanks Toadster!
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Eric Blank

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Re: Future of the Fortress
« Reply #4554 on: June 02, 2022, 02:15:13 pm »

I also don't want to lose keyboard support for designations and selections, sometimes mice can be wonky and you miss click things. Being able to use arrow or wasd and up/down z levels would still be very important, page up and down keys to quickly scroll through lists are also nice.

Where it currently gets wonky is in like the trade/stocks menu and adventure character stats/skills displays, where you have one pair of keybinds to scroll through categories and one set to scroll down the list and another keypress in the adventure stats screen to switch tabs. Those would greatly benefit from mouse scroll bars and intelligently using the page up/ page down and up/down arrow keys to move down the list the player last clicked on, i.e. the category list if I clicked on a category or the specific items in that category if I clicked on that list. The best modern game UIs use both keyboard and mouse controls.
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DG

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Re: Future of the Fortress
« Reply #4555 on: June 02, 2022, 05:05:44 pm »

To put it simply, if the premium release was the only DF going forward I'd say you were ruining the game, ruining it for rational reasons, but still. So we all (the relatively tiny number of people who care*) put our hopes in the classic version retaining the important things, even if it lags behind as a second or third class citizen. The news over time has been cause for pessimism, though.

*even if this whole forum cared it's dwarfed by the potential steam players.
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SammyLiimex

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Re: Future of the Fortress
« Reply #4556 on: June 03, 2022, 10:44:43 am »

I know this may be a question that's been answered in ancient times, but Toady discussing wanting to provide us with more incentive to break into the cavern layers made me realize I don't think I ever broke into them more than once or twice since they were introduced a million years ago, and I always add extra normal layers to the map before the caverns can spawn.

Does breaking into the caverns still essentially destroy your FPS?  I remember the game losing a ton of FPS back in the day if you broke into them, and it was one of the reasons you didn't want to do that.  Has this already been mitigated, and I am so stuck in my old ways that I never realized it?  Will the steam release include performances fixes for these sorts of common FPS losses?
« Last Edit: June 03, 2022, 03:43:19 pm by SammyLiimex »
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Su

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Re: Future of the Fortress
« Reply #4557 on: June 03, 2022, 12:38:30 pm »

Does breaking into the caverns still essentially destroy your FPS?  I remember the game losing a ton of FPS back in the day if you broke into them, and it was one of the reasons you didn't want to do that.  Has this already been mitigated, and I am so stuck in my old ways that I never realized it?  Will the steam release include performances fixes for these sorts of common FPS losses?

use lime green to get toady's attention if this question is meant for him =]
i i break into the caverns in almost every fort eventually and haven't noticed any significant drop in fps, but that might just be me not paying enough attention.
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Central Speaker Dan

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Re: Future of the Fortress
« Reply #4558 on: June 03, 2022, 01:16:36 pm »

I know several people here have mentioned that those that care for keyboard support are a small minority, but I don't actually believe this to be the case.
I've played intermittently for many years, but never spent that long on any given fort, so I consider myself more of a casual dwarf fotress player, and a player more generally who prefers mouse over keyboard in most things. Dwarf fortress is not one of those things. I personally suspect that most players were happy with the idea that mouse support was being added to the existing keyboard options, for those who wanted it. I do not believe that anyone in the player base actually wanted to see keyboard support reduced in any way.

EDIT: Also, the Z-screen is an increadibly valuable tool that I use all the time. I hate to hear that it's gone in the Steam version.

On to an actual question:
The information provided about being able to change the difficulty settings (encounter triggers, wealth, etc.) on embark made me curious about two distinct things. The first was the changing of these setting during an active fort without having to go to save files. Even if this required the game to save, quit, relaunch, and reload, this would be a fantastic storytelling tool, one that is already heavily used by many DF storytellers.

My second thought/question extends on from the first... In the future, could we see these variabes being modified dynamically in the game itself?
This is slightly complex to explain the use-cases of, but I'll try to be conciese...
Certain collections of modifiers could be made and defined as 'Periods'. A 'Period of Peace' might start when there are no wars and most factions have good relations. This period would slightly nudge the conflict rate down by modifying the settings approapriately. Similarly, if relations between many factions are bad, but haven't yet resulted in war, a 'Period of Tension' might occur, which raises the likelyhood of certain kinds of hostilities, reduces the elf-enforced tree-cutting limit, theives are more common, etc. Finally, to continue the example, a 'Period of Conflict' might start when a large number of wars break out, or a lot of sites are conquered, increasing the likelyhood of raids, seiges, and other threats, before things eventually settle down again.
This could later be tied into the economics, job assignments and other systems, so that these things also vary, such as having more guards during a 'Period of Tension' and harsher prison sentances, and weapons and armor being in high demand during a 'Period of Conflict', making them more valuable as trade goods.
Obviously, this is a big, long term kind of thing that would need to be strong enough to be noticable, but also not so strong that it derails things too often. Balancing would be a nightmare.
I'm curious if this kind of abstracted mood or relations layer is something that you have considered, or your thoughts on it more generally?
« Last Edit: June 03, 2022, 01:19:21 pm by Central Speaker Dan »
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SammyLiimex

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Re: Future of the Fortress
« Reply #4559 on: June 03, 2022, 03:43:44 pm »

Does breaking into the caverns still essentially destroy your FPS?  I remember the game losing a ton of FPS back in the day if you broke into them, and it was one of the reasons you didn't want to do that.  Has this already been mitigated, and I am so stuck in my old ways that I never realized it?  Will the steam release include performances fixes for these sorts of common FPS losses?

use lime green to get toady's attention if this question is meant for him =]
i i break into the caverns in almost every fort eventually and haven't noticed any significant drop in fps, but that might just be me not paying enough attention.

Thank you, I changed it.
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