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Author Topic: Avoiding central stairs and making interesting but functional forts  (Read 2527 times)

a52

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Google some historic castle and / or cathedral layouts, that's a great source of inspiration. Panoptical fortresses, too.

Actually, part of my dissatisfaction with my previous fortresses was due to a visit to England where I went inside a bunch of castles. The way they used all three dimensions in their building was really cool, and I was looking for ways to emulate that in my fortresses.

Ditto. I pretend that the game's "stairs" are actually ladders, and build them only for things that will be used only rarely, like temporary scaffolding and the emergency-exits from wells. Everything else gets ramps, and my "central staircase"s are a double helix of 2-tile-wide ramps that any wheelbarrow-toting hauler, or any other beast of burden, could navigate with ease.

Yeah, that's how I've always thought of them, and that ended up being one of the restrictions for my current fort.

I'm also requiring that all rooms are built directly adjacent to at least one other room, and that all rooms greater than 3x3 have to be multiple z-levels tall. I'm also trying to spend as little time planning as possible.

I've ended up with a very, very messy fort, but one that slots together very satisfyingly and has a layout more like what old buildings actually have. The biggest advantage though, is that since nothing is perfect (it couldn't be perfect with these restrictions), I can easily change form and function of areas of the fortress on a whim, without having to worry about disrupting symmetry or ending up with wasted space. So rather than starting out with a fairly efficient fort and then getting stuck there, I can slowly improve the efficiency and aesthetics over time, which is a much more enjoyable way to play the game, I think.


Something I've always wanted to try in either Minecraft or DF (and I think this has been mentioned somewhat already in this thread) but never pulled off is to dig a giant, terraced pit from the surface (like a really steep stone quarry), and build everything into the walls of the pit. All the buildings would be stacked on top of each other, and there would be outside stairs everywhere connecting between the levels. Think like Pueblo cliff houses or old middle-eastern cities, but made of stone instead of sandstone and on a much larger scale.
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mikekchar

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Re: Avoiding central stairs and making interesting but functional forts
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2018, 01:46:40 am »

One of the things I've been thinking about recently is that castles often didn't house many (or even any) people.  It was more of an evacuation area that could be defended.  In Japan, the lord's house is almost always beside the castle (and even outside the system of moats!)  In my present game I'm building a series of hillocks with a central fortress to mimic this idea.  Each family gets a hillock with an entrance way, a large room (6x6) and an optional large workroom (also 6x6 -- sometimes housing 2 workshops).

The nice thing about this design is that the entrances are placed essentially willy nilly, instead of branching off of main corridors.  And in order to keep the settlement compact I've been forced to consider a more 3D design.  Getting rid of the central corridors has done wonders for making it more organic looking.  However, my dwarfs started getting very stressed about the rain (because they were walking around a lot on the surface), so I started having to retrofit covered walkways and access tunnels -- which became windy alleys.  For me, the process has been a success.

Of course, this design is very difficult to defend (especially since I have a house rule of no entrances that can't be destroyed by building destroyers), so it makes having a good military a necessity.  Also, there needs to be good methods for evacuation.  But even still, I'm going to lose a fair number of dwarfs in a siege.  But I think that's fine.  I always think it's ridiculous to have no casualties and wipe out entire armies on the other side.
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paldin

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Re: Avoiding central stairs and making interesting but functional forts
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2019, 06:09:43 pm »

The very first thing I do on a new embark is measure out the exact center of the map and excavating 2x2 U/D stairs 255 z-levels down. They stop when they reach the first cavern, but it gives them something to do and gives me an idea of how far I have for "surface" space. While that's digging, I have the mason cut stone blocks (I brought) into blocks, and use the blocks to build workshops on the surface (i.e. carpenter, who makes one wood block, a couple wheel barrows and several beds). I usually at this point will have to distill plump helmets (I brought) for booze and turn milk (I brought) into cheese before everyone gets thirsty/hungry. Next I have a farmer setup 1x7 plots while everyone who's not digging gathers herbs/vegetables. Essentially it's a version of the "1-pick challenge" but with other raw materials too. If you embark without any finished goods (besides an anvil), then you can start from scratch as a cool challenge!

If the ground is flat, I'll drop 10 z-levels and start the first rooms (at least one is a dormitory); otherwise I'll go a little further to ensure surface noise doesn't reach the dormitory. Workshops are only 3x3, so unless you manage to royally screw up placement then a 4x4 room will work fine. For a challenge, you can try 3x3 rooms with door or stairs specifically adjacent to a walk-able tile of the workshop. I recommend setting up a macro for whatever you want as your stock shape room. For a long time I would build seven of those 4x4 workshop rooms with the top/bottom two offset to roughly shape a hexagon. When you want a larger space, dig out the walls and you get a rather large room (with or without workshops) in the shape of a hex. Because it's rather standardized, you can expand into the space as you see fit: storage, bedrooms, workshops, mood boosting rooms, et cetera. That should help you avoid ad hoc designations that later look ugly or are otherwise hard to aesthetically fix.

If you absolutely hate the idea of a central shaft, I would recommend either a square or hex grid, with the corners being the internal corner of an external layer of that shape. For example, what would normally be your central 6x6 stair room instead has stairs in each corner, which is the corner of four 6x6 squares dug away from the center. Go a z-level or two down and let a corridor connect your quadrants under ground. A hex shape is a little tricky due to geometry in a square grid world, but it's totally doable. I really like andrei901's idea of a central hall that "branches" up and down. Of course I would recommend having multiple entrances otherwise your dwarfs are going to waste a ton of path time whenever they want to go to the surface.

Other challenges I recommend are: pierce aquifer, evil and/or savage biome, all wood/sand/stone (pick only one) based construction and economy, and lastly try building up instead of digging down. For the last one, maybe the only dwarfs allowed underground are miners and mine carts, but everyone else works and lives above the normal surface (including the mason and smelters).

Hope at least one of these ideas gets you excited to play again!
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Sarmatian123

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Re: Avoiding central stairs and making interesting but functional forts
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2019, 08:02:32 pm »

Central stairs are a hit on fps, even if you make them 3x3, which softens that impact and make the levels right on top of each other.

My solution for fps sake is to make entire up/down stairs hallways radiating from central stairs. This way levels' floors are less like walls in vertical travel and somehow it helps the pathing algorithm.

For other stairs, specially the exploratory to caverns and for fetching magma. 1x1 is the fastest one to wall off in caverns or emergency floor with just 1 stone block/stone. Additional bonus of 1x1 size is how fast only one miner dwarf can dig through 100 levels in one go. Making those stairs 2x2 or 3x3 just lengthen time to dig them out and takes longer to secure. Gains in dwarven pathing with 2x2 or 3x3 stairs is not specially big tbh, if your dwarves don't frequent them on regular basis. For example how often you fetch magma to magma workshops? Only once is enough to set them up. :)
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CyberianK

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Re: Avoiding central stairs and making interesting but functional forts
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2019, 06:24:18 am »

My solution for fps sake is to make entire up/down stairs hallways radiating from central stairs. This way levels' floors are less like walls in vertical travel and somehow it helps the pathing algorithm.

This sounds very interesting. So you got a cross shaped giant central stairway that goes all the way down through your whole fortress? How does your surface level look like? Could you maybe give some screenshots for your surface level and some prominent subterranean levels? Anyway I think I will try this.
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Dorsidwarf

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Re: Avoiding central stairs and making interesting but functional forts
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2019, 10:19:18 am »

Image having to navigate a huge warren of stairs filled to the brim with other dwarves.... I love the concept.
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Sarmatian123

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Re: Avoiding central stairs and making interesting but functional forts
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2019, 04:44:27 pm »

This sounds very interesting. So you got a cross shaped giant central stairway that goes all the way down through your whole fortress? How does your surface level look like? Could you maybe give some screenshots for your surface level and some prominent subterranean levels? Anyway I think I will try this.

1 floor below (underground) -> https://imgur.com/a/14XiLi9
Surface -> https://imgur.com/a/GP1FRSd
1st floor -> https://imgur.com/a/z6f8AhY
2nd floors above -> https://imgur.com/a/EYft3Kj
3rd floor looks like 2nd floor so, I am skipping it.
Maybe boring without walls, but it gave me huge, like 100% fps boost on my old cpu.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 04:50:59 pm by Sarmatian123 »
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