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Author Topic: *We need your help with game ending stress*  (Read 59295 times)

ThreeToe

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*We need your help with game ending stress*
« on: October 28, 2019, 07:07:16 pm »

Hi Dorfs,

We have been going through some extensive testing to find the biggest problems for new (and old!) players that make them give up in frustration.  Most of these people don't bother giving us any feedback, which is understandable.  The game just sucks and why play?  We need your help to nail down what exactly is going on. 

While we are working on every problem we can find, this thread is specifically for problems with the stress system.  There are a spattering of reports that come up on Reddit and other forums from people talking about how the stress system is so screwed up the game is unplayable.  I haven't found this to be the case so I need your help!

I have a fort that is 3 years old and has every possible stress reliever.  Plenty of taverns with every type of alcohol.  Three different taverns and temples.  New clothes.  All sorts of trinkets and trash for them to acquire.  Lavish meals.  You get the picture.

Now the negative side:  I attacked the goblins and in return weathered three sieges of over 100 goblins total.  I killed them all with trained and iron armored dwarves with only a few injuries.  Then I had my entire fortress run out and pick up the bodies.

The results were as follows:  Three dwarves went into a depression.  Some soldiers suffered post traumatic stress.  And one dwarf threw a fit and went to jail.

This kind of result isn't bad.  We want this.

I want to know what kind of play style is causing people to quit in frustration.

We are aware of socialization problems.  I haven't seen a game ending problem here, but these will definitely be addressed at some point.

This is the kind of problem we want solved: http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=171185.msg7839740#msg7839740

We really don't want “a cancer of red arrows”

Help us find out what's going on and we will attempt to fix it!

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Loci

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Re: *We need your help with game ending stress*
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2019, 08:16:14 pm »

In my experience, it's less about the stress and more about the long-term personality changes that make dwarves experience more stress and unable to deal with their stress. Each dwarf exposed to a "sufficiently bad thought" seems to accumulate one personality change each year, so it's not too surprising that the problem hasn't manifested by year 3. Note that "sufficiently bad thought" includes many common things (drinking without a goblet, being rained on, etc.), which makes it quite difficult to avoid personality changes over the long term. Simply reducing the chance of personality changes from common events (e.g. 1% for drinking without a goblet, 3% for being rained on, etc.) would go a long way towards making dwarves emotionally resilient.
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delphonso

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Re: *We need your help with game ending stress*
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2019, 08:46:55 pm »

Old player here - I'm not sure how well I can talk about new players, but I would say that quite a few of the complaints by old-middle players are exaggerated. I think the dissatisfaction comes from having the game shift away from a city builder (versions pre-44.10) and now it's more of a city manager (post 44.10, and some of the much older versions). Catering to dwarven needs becomes a primary goal, while building and designing has to take the back-seat. I think a number of the complaints come from here - and they would see your 3-year fort example as some sort of failure of the game, rather than a failure to manage dwarves well.

That said, the complaints are surely not unfounded. I've found myself quitting forts in frustration for a few major reasons, all detailed below:
  • The penalties of stress do not inspire creativity, but instead frustration.
  • The causes of stress do not invoke care, but instead hatred of dwarves.
  • Personality traits can make some dwarves irredeemable.
  • Failed fortresses can make worlds significantly harder to play.
  • Stress changes gameplay entirely - limiting options of play.

Whenever I mention "stress" below - I'm referring to the stress system as it currently is. By no means would I want to see it removed entirely.

Penalties:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Causes:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Personality traits:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Failed forts:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Finally, changing of gameplay:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)


I enjoy the new challenges of stress. I enjoy having to get to know my dwarves better and caring for their needs. But I also can't imagine playing a full fortress any more. I cap my forts at 30, and never really get into combat, just because the penalty is too high, and if I want everyone's stress to be managed, I can't have too many dwarves. Catering specifically to their needs seems to be the only way to avoid the stress spiral - and having too many dwarves makes that impossible.

Fleeting Frames

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Re: *We need your help with game ending stress*
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2019, 09:27:22 pm »

Cancer of red arrows...Well, I suppose the vulture example in Stress and Psyche thread would qualify.

Also, could you post a link to your save (on dffd)?

E1: This request is admittedly at least partly fortress design sourced. I can recall of only one player who has managed to obtain every alcohol in game - so managing this by year 3 is very impressive - and only few who had more than 2 (citizen, visitor) taverns so I imagine there might be new things I could learn from it.

E2: Also might be worth considering that newbie or harsher embark isn't going to have every trick for mitigating stress, i.e. today had a newbie mention their axelord complained about dejection of inability to help somebody and cut their squadmate's head off - and I can see how proper handling there was kind of unobvious. If your goal is giving newbies easier time, maybe there needs to be "easy mode" (you can edit raws but that isn't obvious).
« Last Edit: October 28, 2019, 10:29:08 pm by Fleeting Frames »
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janxious

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Re: *We need your help with game ending stress*
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2019, 10:42:37 pm »

I have a fort that is 3 years old and has every possible stress reliever.  Plenty of taverns with every type of alcohol.  Three different taverns and temples.  New clothes.  All sorts of trinkets and trash for them to acquire.  Lavish meals.  You get the picture.
You've described a fort that is not going to happen for a new player. They might get there, but there's a lot of experience baked into what you said. When you say every kind, do you mean all fruits, all underground? It's hard to know, but certainly in any situation where you're cutoff from the elves it can be hard to get a lot of kinds of fruit. And as a new player, I don't think it's reasonable to think that at year 3 you'll know to build all that stuff. I don't think it's possible you'll know how to design taverns so that people can socialize, or even how that works. So you're giving us high level play on what is effectively a new fort. I wouldn't expect much bad to have happened. Also if you aren't pulling data about the actual dwarfs in your fort, it's not really convincing. Did you do military training for everyone so they have some discipline? Did you win the dwarf lottery and everyone there except the few unluckies you've mentioned actually come into the world toughened up? How many dwarfs are in your fort? Did you have 4 dwarfs out of 500 who felt bad? Or 4 dwarfs out of 20?

I want to know what kind of play style is causing people to quit in frustration.
I've been watching/playing since ~2009. The biggest "problems" for me right now are I have no tools for diplomacy to end wars, so if I'm being invaded, I must weather repeated invasions and then go and basically commit genocide in order to make that stop, or change my init files. I'm about 250y into my current world, and the survivors of my civ that come as immigrants are mostly battle-hardened (some discipline training) soldiers. I specifically conquered all the goblins in the world because it was that or every fort was going to eventually succumb to long-term exposure to dead bodies, or I have to build every fort to have a trap that eliminates bodies or hides them entirely from the populace.

Basically to reduce stress, every fort I've just been building the same things over and over in slightly different configs.
  • tavern that has the chairs touching food/drink stockpile and a small-ish dance floor. I can't build an epic mead hall and expect my urists to seek each other out. I have to FORCE them to be extremely close in proximity. Also all the furniture in the tavern must be masterwork.
  • as soon as any artifacts are built, build a pedestal in the tavern near the door and just stack artifacts on it forever in the hopes that urists will see it
  • large (at least 3x4) rooms with (masterwork and exceptional-only) bed, cabinet, and coffers.
  • any stone in the fort is smoothed
  • all public spaces are above ground so there is not adaptation. Adaptation killed 5 or 6 of my forts before I just gave up completely on living underground. The constant vomit in every part of my fort at all times because I wanted to have some horses or whatever on the surface gave bad thoughts to everyone all the time. The wildest thing is really that kids are cave adapted when born and then in my above-ground forts I suddenly see vomit when they finally stop playing with their toy in the underground food stockpile and start puking
  • large and fancifully outfitted temples for every god and a non-specific temple. they must have exceptional or masterwork coffers and preferably a statue
  • lavish meals in the thousands. the fact they're more space-efficient than their components by a signifcant margin means in very long-lived forts I must trade off/dump huge quantities of food, suffer FPS death because I never butcher anything, or let meat rot. Dumping food is funky because I can atom smash it or just lose the barrels, which is a constraint in itself. No matter what I end up doing, I end up with the constraint that I have very large food housing in every fort by around the 5y mark which means my dwarfs are hauling and walking that much more with less down time
  • a library once I start seeing complaints. I haven't found any designs that seem to work better for this, tho designating corpses on pedestals as part of memorial halls associated with libraries does seem to actually inspire dwarfs. Is this by design?
  • mandatory military training for anyone who shows the slightest sadness
  • eviction or sending to alternative site for anyone whose military training doesn't turn them around
  • I used to have a problem with this and always struggled, but I lost a number of forts to not having enough clothing around and everyone being super upset about not having mittens and whatever. It's reasonable, but even as a veteran player the level of pushback I got from the in-game system was a lot. And it's easy in very large forts to lose track of what your stock is and suddenly a bunch of angry dwarfs needs aren't met. Anyway, number 11 is deal with clothes in the first year or you're dead.
  • No miasma allowed. The bad thoughts from miasma have tanked a bunch of my forts. That means necessarily I have to have a large isolated corpse pile underground, or build aboveground. I thankfully have routed all the necros in my world so aboveground is viable. This also means I strictly build my butcher shop aboveground.
  • my starting seven must all have a rank of discipline. dealing with those first-year deaths is rough otherwise
  • start slow, and increase population caps once per year. this feels like it should be something that can be set by the manager/primary noble. if you have no economically-linked sites, you can only evict dwarfs. I would like to just not have them show up, or be able to send them to other sites in my civ, or back to the mountainhome. it's not really stress-related, but it definitely stresses me out. As mentioned above, sometimes dwarfs show up with super bad thoughts because of encountering rain and snow and things as they travel to the entrance. There are ways to mitigate that, but again, that starts to mean you need to build the same tunnel entry system on edge of map on every fort. Even then, exposure to even one second of rain can start a tantrum spiral if you're not doing a lot of mitigation

So I conquered the goblins around year 350, and I've been at war with 2 dwarf civilizations and that took about 100y more in-game to wrap up. I stopped fighting them in the field because the number of body parts meant the number of trips to clean up was just way too much. If I use sharp things, there are hands and feet and heads everywhere. If it's hammers, then everyone is carrying teeth for the next year and walking over bodies. I've tried a bunch of strategies that I wouldn't expect a new player to do and the only one I've found that doesn't really stress out a lot of dwarfs is just building a giant drowning trap and letting the bodies rot away without ever claiming anything that the invaders brought with them. So that's not great for liking to look at my fort since there's just a whole layer that is skeletons and rotten clothes.

• • • • •

That was a long-winded way of saying the thing that is going to make me stop playing is that I can handle most aspects of the game just fine because I feel like in order to be successful I need to be building everything in a very specific way and I am punished for using my military to actually fight anything in-person. There's still a lot of variation and I've built a number of different configurations of outdoor/indoor forts and trap sets and stuff. I've lost a few forts to the long-term effects of an unseen FB contagion making a mess and killing off dwarfs and then a couple years later the sadness from those losses just kinda depressing everyone and the fort collapsing. I've lost forts to missing a single bite from a were creature. I've lost forts because I misremembered the werecreature dates. I've lost forts because it snowed a lot. :D

It's a fun game, and at the same time I am tired of feeling forced to build the way I do in order to mitigate what seems like a good but in need of tuning stress system.

• • • • •

Edit:

Also ran across this suggestion, which I think has some merit for helping players of all skill levels manage fort stress levels: http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=173464.0

And this would help with ending wars (to help mitigate stress before it begins): http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=171066

And this could help with site management so you can throw down your military alarms before an invading force arrives (to help mitigate stress before it begins): http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=169028
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 12:56:20 am by janxious »
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Broms

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Re: *We need your help with game ending stress*
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2019, 10:48:15 pm »

I agree with Loci. Managing stress can be a useful gameplay element, but if the only reward for managing it well is not being punished then it isn't a very fun gameplay mechanic.

It would be really nice if there was a way to *easily* tailor stress reduction needs to each dwarf reliably with a bit of effort. Something that can act as a reward to offset the trauma that is their life of seeing a kea outside that one time.

An idea that just came to mind would be allowing dwarves to keep favored items in a box or display case of their own marked "fill with favorite object" in their room/office assigned to them. This could then give them powerful thoughts and memories of going home to their favorite green glass jug on their pedestal next to their bed.

I think this would be an example of a fair trade off because it would take resources/dwarf labor/the player's time to create the items necessary (storage included) and to order the storage container to be built and placed and marked as "fill with favorite item". The dwarf could fill the storage container on their own time or something like that.

I think an active countermeasure in which we can exchange resources and labor for a reliable stress reduction when it is needed could change an untenable situation into one where you need to do certain X dwarfy tasks to help manage stress a bit more than usual because things out of your control happened..like the rain.

In terms of rewards for managing stress. If you keep a dwarf's low enough maybe they could get some kind of buff. Would it be unreasonable to link the "focused!" buff to low stress, but to keep the current needs system in place for all other stress levels?

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2019, 11:16:19 pm by Broms »
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mikekchar

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Re: *We need your help with game ending stress*
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2019, 11:18:37 pm »

I agree with most of the other commenters.  Generally, I can deal with stress, but like you my forts are generally short lived (I don't think I ever run a fort longer than 10 years).  With respect to stress and only stress there are a few problems:

- Some stresses seem unbalanced (rain, especially) and are undiscoverable until too late.  If you live in a marsh, virtually every single migrant will have their personality changed by stress from it raining on them when then migrate to the fort.  Your only option seems to be to build a covered path to your fort with rain immune dwarfs.

- Some personality changes are essentially a death sentence for a dwarf.  Personally I don't mind this, but the occurrance is *way* too high.  I wouldn't mind if in the mid to long term (say 10-20 years) 2% of your population had personality changes that mean that they are destined to be permanently depressed.  Eventually, all of these will end up dead or banished.  Another possible "fix" would be to make depression less punishing to a dwarf.  It should be possible to glide along in a bad mood indefinitely will not going insane.

- Lack of stress does not de-stress dwarfs.  This is really unintuitive and makes it difficult to deal with.  Every time something bad happens to a dwarf they get it hard.  It doesn't matter if the last bad thing that happened was 5 minutes ago or 5 years ago.  It has the same chance to push your over the edge.  The only thing that brings you back up the scale is *good* things.

- De-stressors are practically undiscoverable.  Most of the ones we have discovered are because experienced players play with DFHack and report what de-stresses a dwarf.  Then you have to play with the wiki open trying to optimise for de-stressors.  There is nothing in the game that gives you an idea of what you can do to fix the problem.  Example: Food requires a *liked* ingredient -- quality is otherwise inconsequential.  There is no straight forward way to get dwarfs to spend time with family or friends (assuming they have them).  You have to get dwarfs to *haul* items to get them to pick them up to own them.  The list goes on and on and on and on.  The average player does not have the desire or capacity to deal with the complexity without some kind of hints to help them.

- De-stressors require a lot of micro managing.  Every dwarf is different and each has needs that they must fulfill as well as personalities that make them susceptible to stress (and receptive to de-stressors).  Every dwarf has a wall of text that shows this data, but in practically the least useful way possible.  Most people have to play with Dwarf Therapist so that they can reasonably sort the important information from the palce-holders/fluff.  Even when you know what you need to do to help a dwarf feel better, it's often frustratingly difficult to set up a situation to get them to do that thing.  Get them to eat a food that they like (if you even have it) -- it has to be in a specific radius of where they are when they are hungry.  Get them to haul something to acquire it -- you've got to make sure nobody else hauls it.  Get them to pray (even when they are desperate to pray and you have a temple for them) -- they'll go do self training.  Get them to hunt to get some excitement -- they are terrified by the combat.  It's doable with a population of 50 or so, but once you get over 100, even crazy people like me are not willing to sit down and figure out how to make each dwarf happy.

- The consequences of dealing with permanently stressed dwarfs is itself a massive stressor.  They get into a fist fight and seriously injure or kill the other dwarf.  You arrest them and/or hammer them -- they get depressed from guilt/hammering/being imprisoned.  You kill them (from hammering or an "accident") and their family is depressed.  You exile them and you now have permanently depressed dwarfs exiled.  The latter one is bad if you play more than one fortress in a world because DF choosed historical figures preferentially for migrants.  Your next fortress will be filled with permanently depressed migrants that you exiled from your last fortress.

In closing, I'll say that I *like* the stress system, but I agree that there are very serious problems with balance that need to be addressed.

Edit: A very quick way to really see the difficulties of the stress system even with a seasoned player is to take a look at Kruggsmash's videos on Youtube.  He regularly hast multiple 10's of year fortresses of reasonable size.  IMHO he's actually on the patient side of having to deal with DF's issues, so this should be a good indication of what the game is like when the player is really working to make everything work out.  Most players will have much more difficulty than him and you can see that virtually all of his forts finish up with huge stress problems.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2019, 11:26:47 pm by mikekchar »
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Zeeneri

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Re: *We need your help with game ending stress*
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2019, 11:36:33 pm »

I honestly think there needs to be some sort of way to both put a scale on the effectiveness of stressors to downplay most of them, and some way to instill a fortress identity/community in the dwarfs so that you can design a fortress as an X fortress. For instance, if more than 50% of your dwarves are farmers, then you're a "Farming" fortress, and the act of farming instills good thoughts. Likewise if everyone is a warrior, or if everyone is a treeburner, etc.

The ultimate point is there should be some level of macro social policy manipulation. There should also be some sort of pre-outburst mitigation. Like a vacation or celebration or something, something the player can design that mitigates stress by adding good thoughts directly and can keep dwarves from the brink so long as you are actually keeping on top of it and it's not too late when you see a red down arrow appearing.
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Rose

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Re: *We need your help with game ending stress*
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2019, 11:54:09 pm »

Not really any suggestions of my own (Other than having an easier way to see which of your dwarfs don't have enough clothes)

Just posting to watch the thread and read things as they come.
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PlumpHelmetMan

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Re: *We need your help with game ending stress*
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2019, 12:06:46 am »

I can't say I've been enormously frustrated with the stress system up to this point, but that might just be because I'm more of an adventure mode guy who only plays fort mode occasionally. I would however agree with Loci that the triggers for personality changes should be made less sensitive, since that's one of the issues I have noticed.
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TheMellifiedMan

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Re: *We need your help with game ending stress*
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2019, 12:10:15 am »

As some others have mentioned, stress needs rebalancing. To be clear, I like the intent and structure of the model. I also don't want to go back to the playstyle of the earlier versions when dwarves would walk around ecstatic just through exposure to a legendary dining room. But micro-managing individual dwarves becomes quite a chore, and has contributed to hiatuses in my fortress mode play. Some specific notes on my annoyances:

  • I disagree that dwarves should be upset by viewing or hauling the corpses of goblin/troll/enemies-in-general. A bit disgusted? Maybe some dilettantes should turn up their noses, but overall the populace should be gleeful about their victorious military as they throw the bodies into the dump.
  • Rain should not pose an existential threat to their mental well-being. After embarking, the weather is outside the player''s control, and contriving solutions like covered walkways breaks the fantasy immersion. Having said that, I'm totally fine with cave-adapted dwarves being upset by the rain, since I can do things to actively manage cave adaptation.
  • Food preferences are similar to rain, in that I can't control access to ingredients. Maybe if food preferences were based on some civilization-preferred cuisine style I could see the sense of this stressing dwarves out to the degree that it does, but with the current model I think the impact should be muted somewhat.
  • Really religious dwarves should make time to pray instead of constantly working, thereby forcing me to manually identify their religiousity so I can take them off all labors.


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Salmeuk

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Re: *We need your help with game ending stress*
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2019, 12:42:52 am »

As a player who doesn't use Dwarf Therapist I want to give a short opinion on the matter.

DF is more fun the more efficiently you can implement your commands into the game, since every minute saved on designation is another minute you can spend watching your citizens running to and fro. Not to mention the pleasure in experiencing a more immediate implementation of your most imaginative desires. Stress management has always been present in the gameplay of DF, so much so it has helped to create a mythology that "DF is Hard," but recent changes have brought stress management to the forefront of our duties as overseers. As janxious has outlined above, an absurd list of limitations on the design of your fortress, a "safe-space blueprint" if you will, can prevent some of the more noxious results of the new system. However, to imagine that constricted style of play becoming the accepted norm is impossible. There is no DF without the freedom to create a fortress as you see fit.

 By introducing a new set of highly demanding characters into the stories of your entire playerbase, you have derailed the "narrative" of DF and throttled a fair amount of the creative freedom found in previous versions.


Stress management would be a WHOLE lot easier if there was more visibility of both the causes and effects of that stress.

Make it easy to identify the highly-stressed members of the fortress.
DFHack allows you to sort dwarfs in a list from highest to lowest stress. Implementing this would go a long way to speeding up management.

Make it easy to identify the needs and personalities of the dwarfs.
Summarize the most potent needs of each dwarf, and even create a menu for identifying the most prevalent unfilled need in your fortress.

Fix the inherent dissonance between the new stress system and the players power as currently implemented.

There are a number of voids in gameplay that prevent players from dealing with certain sources of stress, like the inability to fullfill certain food demands, or see family if they don't exist in-fortress, or to manage who can haul bodies through what rooms without increasingly complex (and RESTRICTING) methods of fortress design. You cannot expect people to enjoy getting punished for things they have no hope of controlling (that is not to say people will not enjoy getting punished for things outside of their control in the moment, but to dangle the impossibility of control in front of a hamstrung player is too much).

DF has always been an odd mixture of cheesy fantasy and hard realism, but I believe it has gained more popularity for all the strange, wacky, and fantastical things than for the massive list of minerals, animals, combat moves and body parts that exemplify the simulationist design. To err on the side of caution and avoid certain elements of reality, such as PTSD after viewing a corpse and the irreversible personality changes that appear after major stress, would probably create a more creative game overall. Comparing DF to the 4x Aurora is a good exercise in seeing the difference that a dash of the whimsical makes in the "feel" of a game.

Do you want your players to be authors, free to let their fortresses grow according to the strangest designs, or administrators, who carve mountains into exceedingly specific patterns of functional space in order to meet every need of every dwarf?
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 12:55:18 am by Salmeuk »
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Nameless Archon

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Re: *We need your help with game ending stress*
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2019, 12:55:51 am »

Generally, when I play, I monitor the game using various addon tools. (Particularly, Dwarf Therapist.) When I note details about moodlets not fading, it is because I can still see them clearly as "in the last week" in Dwarf Therapist, despite many months passing in some cases without a refresher event. Obviously I cannot be assured that moodlets that happen in the last week are intended to last only one week, but it seems that many which should be temporary instead are permanent, long-lasting, or duration-resetting while they continue to stack and accumulate indefinitely.

I note the following, just off the top of my head, and I am willing to stream demonstrations of behavior as desired, as part of my Extra Life streams this year:

1. Dwarves often and regularly complain about "an absence of good food", in forts with 4000 lavish prepared food.

I understand that they might not get their best happiness from a roast of dwarven syrup when their favorite food is bumblebee brains, but I don't complain about a total absence of fine food when I ate a well-prepared steak instead of a well-prepared lobster. I might not be ecstatically happy, but I don't ignore the fine meal that I just ate enough to be UPSET about it. That's not just petty, it's childish, and unfun to manage, especially when there are so many foods which cannot be created because they cannot be created by dwarves or in kitchens at all.

2. Various negative thoughts (especially rain, and snow) appear to stack and not to fade off properly.

This results in dwarves which (eventually) cannot be made happy without resorting to outside tools and extreme interventions. Often, this appears to be minor events which possibly are getting their timer reset when they recur, as well as stacking. If 'caught in the rain' lasts a week, and on day 6 it happens again, it may be possible that the timer is reset to a week, but now with a stack of 2 "caught in rain" effects. Unless a dwarf is literally trapped in the rain indefinitely, this should not be as negative, long-lasting, or impactful as it is. I suspect that many moodlets are not set with the correct magnitude and duration.

3. Dwarven mood enhancers are not particularly effective, not particularly lasting, and do not seem to outweigh negative symptoms.

In a fort with thousands of prepared meals, smoothed bedrooms for everyone, a tavern for all, library, temple, and fine dining hall, dwarves are still not returning from a bad mood. While I recognize that dwarves should be able to experience a bad day while surrounded by opulence and family, this is a fantastic sea change from where dwarves were previously: A fine fortress yielded ecstatic dwarves that could watch fifty of their closest relatives cut down without an eyeblink. An average fortress would still yield happy dwarves, but their emotional state would be less resilient to losses and tragedy.

Today, a fine fortress yields mediocre-to-failing mood, with depression and broken dwarves always just around the corner with a bad raid or siege fight that adds more stressors. A rude, ragged fortress would be impossible to run: It would break down under the weight of its own psychological failings in short order. I shudder to think of players who enjoyed trying to secure macabre or fell moods by manipulating dwarven moods, as this seems like it would be an exercise in folly today.

4. Socialization appears to be lacking as a dwarven stress reducer.

Dwarves dance around in the tavern, but only converse in narrow circumstances, leading to insufficient socialization. This often breaks the positive impacts of friendships, romances and marriages and more. Dwarves should not need to be adjacent to speak, or their AI should drive them to clump into tighter groups in order to do so correctly. See also, issue 6, below. Dining halls/meeting halls that used to be full of dwarves are now empty, barren cafeterias where dwarves scarf down a meal before returning to the tavern.

5. Multiple-servings-per-round Alcohol poisoning in taverns results in not assigning tavern keepers, reducing the effectiveness of taverns in reducing mood impacts and negativity.

This cannot be allowed to continue, or taverns are going to remain less effective at addressing mood - dwarves get a positive moodlet for inebriation, but cannot reliably become inebriated without risking alcohol poisonings.

6. Dwarves complain about being away from family in situations where they've moved into a fort that is now at population cap.

This is resulting in the need for players to evict these dwarves, as they can never meet this happiness need, and will become more and more upset over time. This is a metagame consideration which requires the player to take in-game actions to work around PC/metagame limits and not to act as befits their dwarves. We cannot have 500 population in our forts and not melt our PCs. Dwarven happiness must not hinge upon restrictions placed upon the player by hardware/software limits.

7. Temples to "no specific deity" are not accepted by various members of the dwarven community. As with the "prepared meals" issue, a lesser temple might not be enough to keep a dwarf happy indefinitely, but it should still suffice to meet the labor/need to pray and get the dwarf back to work. "Overlapping temples" should be an exploit, not a requirement.

8. Dwarven mood enhancers often seem to involve a far greater deal of micromanagement than is fun or enjoyable.

To use an analogy, the current version is like playing Stationeers - a game where you are forced to micromanage which items you are actively holding in each hand (and in each of twenty pockets) while swapping parts, tools, and devices - while the previous version was like playing Space Engineers (place blocks, weld, enjoy). To wit: Dwarves complain about not performing a craft, not being in a fight recently, not being able to practice a military skill, not being able to converse or fraternize. This alone is fine, stress at unmet needs is fine. While obviously a dwarf cannot do all of these at once, dwarves which are placed into a one-month-on, two-months-off militia schedule often still seem to have difficulty meeting these needs on their own, implying that their met needs are not lasting sufficiently long to allow dwarves to transition from militia to civilian without being trapped in a slow-burn quagmire of unmet needs slowly dragging them down.

It should not be required of the player to micromanage dwarven labors in order to provide additional free time for dwarves who need it to pray, study, or drink in the tavern. Dwarves should be adept at meeting their own needs, not cluelessly willing to work until madness. It should not be expected of a player to be constantly flipping labors on and off of various dwarves to keep them satisfied. This results in spending far too much time poring over dwarven emotions and needs, and nearly none left to do anything else at all. (You know, like playing the game.)

9. Generally, dwarves seem poor at meeting their needs or keeping their needs met.

If dwarven needs are expected to play such a powerful role in their behavior, then it would be wise to draw a page from Rimworld: If a need is so extreme as to devolve into dwarven madness, then the dwarf should cease performing duties and roles other than those required to MEET THAT NEED. If an absence of socialization is sending a dwarf around the bend, why are they still operating that pump? Dwarves abandon jobs for starvation, thirst, and other physical ailments. If the intent is to make mental/social/psychological/spiritual needs on the same levels as those that are physcial, then dwarves need to abandon labor for needs - period.

I would have to formulate more detailed observations, but it does not seem to me that stress is "fine". I cannot imagine stress working correctly if one were to take over the management of an existing dwarven hamlet in fortress mode and then just let it run for any length of time - between increased travel time and reduced efficiency of layout, this sounds like a recipe for a total emotional meltdown over a long enough timeline, and 'long enough' would seem to be fairly short, in my experience.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 01:08:03 am by Nameless Archon »
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janxious

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Re: *We need your help with game ending stress*
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2019, 01:05:12 am »

5. Multiple-servings-per-round Alcohol poisoning in taverns results in not assigning tavern keepers, reducing the effectiveness of taverns in reducing mood impacts and negativity.

This cannot be allowed to continue, or taverns are going to remain less effective at addressing mood - dwarves get a positive moodlet for inebriation, but cannot reliably become inebriated without risking alcohol poisonings.

Ha! I forgot about this one. I stopped assigning tavernkeepers so long ago I forgot they were an option for weeding out random dwarf populations and making everyone unhappy all the time because of the dead bodies!
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Nameless Archon

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Re: *We need your help with game ending stress*
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2019, 01:08:51 am »

5. Multiple-servings-per-round Alcohol poisoning in taverns results in not assigning tavern keepers, reducing the effectiveness of taverns in reducing mood impacts and negativity.

This cannot be allowed to continue, or taverns are going to remain less effective at addressing mood - dwarves get a positive moodlet for inebriation, but cannot reliably become inebriated without risking alcohol poisonings.

Ha! I forgot about this one. I stopped assigning tavernkeepers so long ago I forgot they were an option for weeding out random dwarf populations and making everyone unhappy all the time because of the dead bodies!
That's just it - how can stress be "fine" when one of the most critical stress relief areas is flat-out BROKEN and is known widely to the community to BE BROKEN?
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