When I read the suggestion about different orientations for buildings, it got me thinking about how buildings might be better handled, as it seems they are destined to remain hard-coded at the moment.
Multi-tile units like the wagon are very rarely used right now. But, later on when things like boats and wagons become more common in the game, like after the caravan arc, there will need to be a good system for handling them. Once this is implemented pretty much every building could be implemented like an immobile creature, and reactions would become extremely useful, as everything would be accessible.
This would allow a lot more simplification of code, and would pave the way towards much more complicated reactions between dwarves and their surroundings.
Not only would this allow different orientations for buildings, but it would also allow
- a dwarf could reorganize furniture if he didn't like how a room is laid out
- large furniture hauling could be more realistic, like dragging a bed behind you instead of carrying it over your head
- catapults could be rolled up to your fortress instead of constructed on the spot
- knocked over or damaged buildings, imagine a crazy dwarf knocking off the head of a statue or dragging every chair in the fortress into his room
- wagons could be more easily used in actual gameplay, as dwarves could build them, and they could hold items just like a creature
- boats could be made more easily, and use much of the same code as a wagon
- massive modding opportunities would be created - because everything could use the same system, building a workshop would work the same way as using it (this would allow things like reactions which make creatures)
- reproduction that doesn't happen by radio waves
- magic like creating a fire elemental
- necromancers unleashing a horde of undead
- countless others that I don't feel like listing because I have other things to do
- creatures that can't pass through narrow corridors
- and many more!
Right now it looks as if buildings and creatures have been hard-coded to act like they do now and while this might make coding easier right now, it also means more work later on.
However, I'm not sure how much work redesigning this portion of DF would be. All I can say is the benefits would be worth it.