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Author Topic: What turns you off about DF?  (Read 179240 times)

Creamcorn

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Re: What turns you off about DF?
« Reply #30 on: April 18, 2009, 07:02:36 pm »

The only thing I find dis heartning about DF is the lack of randomnimity, (is that even a word?) of course going into the RAWS and editing Sea Monsters to be amphibious and show up in chasms in droves of 10-30 makes up for the lack of things.

Besides that I could nit pick and say that it's nigh impossible to get a decent steel industry up, especially when merchants only bring two or three chunks of coal at a time. But eh, it's what helps create a challenge.
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Warlord255

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Re: What turns you off about DF?
« Reply #31 on: April 18, 2009, 07:04:31 pm »

A tutorial mode in phases with progressive quantities of things enabled/explaining everything one step at a time would help immensely.

I, myself, clung to the wiki, but loved every minute of it. Especially when there was a massive grass fire and I was panicking as OH GOD GET EVERYONE INSIDE AND LOCK THE DOOR
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Lalandrathon

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Re: What turns you off about DF?
« Reply #32 on: April 18, 2009, 07:07:53 pm »

I've been playing a bit too long to remember what was that difficult when I just started--actually I think I was pretty well off with just the help of the dwarf fortress wiki. An in-game version could take a while to implement, but it certainly kept me from having much problems at the get go.

The interface issues that have bugged me mostly deal with the trade depot screen - many things don't get their own listing, and selecting everything individually is a doozy.

The other thing that would be really cool is maybe a sort of "guild screen" which allows you to see the skill levels of your dwarves in various fields and maybe a way to assign it so that certain jobs require a certain skill level. For example you could have a miners and engravers guild screen where you could see all the dwarves with mining ranked by skill and engraving ranked by skill, and also be able to assign, say smoothing jobs to low skill workers and leave your engravings for higher skilled workers. It would also be nice to be able to zoom to workshop profiles from that screen to, for trades that use workshops.

More danger for long-established forts would be nice too- flying enemies, siegers who can fill in moats and knock over walls, that sort of thing.
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Sordid

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Re: What turns you off about DF?
« Reply #33 on: April 18, 2009, 07:13:12 pm »

As a newbie I can summarize my initial turnoffs very simply, pretty much along the lines of what everyone else is saying:

1. Graphics, or rather lack thereof: For the love of Armok make or adopt an official tileset. I started my gaming career on the ZX Spectrum, so I'm not one of your typical teenage "teh graphics sux0rz, lol" gamers, but I still couldn't play the game until I installed Mayday's tileset. I don't really care how things look as long as they look like things. ASCII... not so much. I see a "d" and I have no idea what the hell it is. A dog, a deer, a dragon? I have to get the look tool and check. And since I have to do that for everything in the game other than a dwarf, it gets tiresome rather quickly.

2. Interface: The system of menus and submenus is downright byzantine, and to this day I still don't understand why I have to use different functions to access different aspects of the same thing in the game world. Why doesn't the look tool offer a menu of all the things that can be done with whatever it is highlighting at the moment? Much more intuitive that way.

3. Documentation: Seriously, potash? I don't even know what that is! I've never seen it in real life, but DF expects me to know how it's made and what it's used for. Ideally there ought to be a nice help system right in the game, where you hit "?" or some other such key and a little window pops up with a short description of whatever you have highlighted at the moment in the menu or the game world. Such as: "Potash is created from ashes or lye at the ashery by a dwarf with the potash maker skill. It is used for fertilizer on farm plots. Fertilized farm plots yield larger stacks of produce. Potash can also be baked in a kiln or magma kiln to make pearlash, which in turn is used to make clear and crystal glass."
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Frogeyes

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Re: What turns you off about DF?
« Reply #34 on: April 18, 2009, 07:30:59 pm »

  Better tutorials. I could not have gotten into this game without the excellent tutorials available on the Wiki. I think it'd be worth looking at what they offer that the in-game tutorials don't.

 The main thing is that they focus less on presenting the information in the game in a systematic way than they do on presenting the first things that a player needs to know. So, for instance, digging--probably one of the most important parts of the game a new player will need to know--is buried in a section on Designations, in the "Many Menus" section. An encyclopedic database with information on all the parts of a fortress (all the construction materials, all types of manufactured goods, etc) would be great for mid-level players, but complete newbies typically wouldn't know where to start.

 The tutorials avoid this kind of information overload by give step-by-step instructions on how to build a new fortress. Learning to Dig is thus one of the first game mechanics explained.

 Thus, I think that there should be an in-game tutorial which should explain how to build a "newbie" fortress. It should emphasize the basic goals: get underground, get food production underway, build rooms, and some of the basic workshops. Advising new players which skills and equipment are important at the start would help as well.

 Oh, and one more thing? Once I'd embarked at my first fortress, I had no idea what was going on. I think that time alone can really help a new player make intuitive sense of the ASCII graphics, but demonstrating how the z-level system works would help a lot. Teach players how to interpret the tiles representing solid stone, floor/ground, and the two types of tiles representing open space, and how to use them in combination with the z-levels to gain an understanding how Dwarf Fortress represents a 3D environment.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2009, 07:49:26 pm by Frogeyes »
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Celdur

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Re: What turns you off about DF?
« Reply #35 on: April 18, 2009, 07:45:52 pm »

interface mainly i supose...
and the fact that you are just trown in without any explanation

it really trew me off when i started...i saw 3 screens with smileys jumping around and i couldnt tell the map from the main screen :P

what turns me off is the lack of stuff going on after a while...you basicly have to entertain yourself
i guess to make things more fun is to make it more complex ...
like for example let traps be powered the same way as pumps...then you have to make some hefty power stations to get it all going :D
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Randominality

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Re: What turns you off about DF?
« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2009, 07:46:25 pm »

Well what turned me off initially was ascii graphics - had no idea what was going on - all I saw was the matrix. However when someone told me there were graphical tilesets I found the mayday tileset and things made far more sense. However I've noticed tinypirate's guide since then, which looks really good since it includes a complete pack with mayday tilesets and saves as well as loads of screenshots. This needs to be more heavily linked on the wiki and the main download page. i.e. standard dwarf fortress AND a link to tiny pirates guide below for newbies. That way they will understand some of what is going on and from there they can work stuff out or decide to go ascii or whatever.

I know that would have helped me loads.

Once I got a bit more used to the interface what I found most frustrating was the endless stone I had to get rid of. I remember my first fort where I didnt know about dumping and garbage pits. I literally filled about half the map with stone stockpiles to get them out of my fortress. but I started to get annoyed because of the masses of haulage needed whenever I wanted to make a new stockpile room which meant my dwarves couldnt do other stuff. So I think there needs to be a more manageable system (stonewise) for digging.

Also, I managed to come across the wiki whilst searching for this so called "graphics set" that someone told me about. Therefore I could understand the whole world generation stuff and embark and embark settings. In fact I think that was the most confusing thing for me - it almost made me give up even with the mayday pack. Luckily the my first fortress guide saved me when I remembered about the wiki and looked there.

After that, I was hooked!  ;D

So yeah in summary better linkage / advertisment of tutorials

At the other end i suppose the fiddliness of the designations - like being able to make a stamp for repeat units or being able to designate in 3D. Although currently I keep starting to loose interest because of the rubbish framerate when the fortress gets big.
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bombcar

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Re: What turns you off about DF?
« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2009, 08:07:55 pm »

Perhaps this could be done relatively easy, and allow for some others to do some helpful work (similar to what's been done with the OpenGL):

Separate the init file parser to a separate piece of code, so others can help improve it and write init file creators and checkers. This could allow frontends similar to what DOSBox has that would make screen calculations, etc, very easy.
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Impaler[WrG]

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Re: What turns you off about DF?
« Reply #38 on: April 18, 2009, 08:51:15 pm »

The 'first-time' experience is crucial for any game, the very first time the player loads the game they need to have an enticing experience with the games default settings.  The simplest and quickest things to improve that are.

Include as simple but adequate tile set with the game (I recommend Dystopia Rhetoric), the set needs to be a square-graph set with the default screen resolution set for a reasonably shaped viewing window (3:4 aspect ratio).  If your going to devote any programming effort to this then just separating text from graphics will do a lot. Just having one file for text and one for objects would resolve a ton of issues, the graphics sheet doesn't even need to be larger then the current 256 combinations the system currently uses.

Mouse support should be expanded to cover the functions of the [k] and [v] keys, a new player will be using those a lot and the first instinct is to click with the mouse.  You should be able to recenter the screen with right click and get k-information with left click and v-info with double left click.

An in game tutorial system should walk the player through the basics of getting a fort to run.  The resent fan-made fully illustrated tutorial would be an excellent basis from which to build upon.  The tutorials should not try to be conducted all within one fort, rather each one loads up a fresh map and put the player into an existing fort which is ripe for the lesson to be learned.
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Footkerchief

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Re: What turns you off about DF?
« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2009, 08:51:46 pm »

Separate the init file parser to a separate piece of code, so others can help improve it and write init file creators and checkers. This could allow frontends similar to what DOSBox has that would make screen calculations, etc, very easy.

Raws/init parsing is dirt simple and also already open-source, thanks to Battle Champs.  Here's a relevant snippet from the BC source for evidence:

Spoiler: BC init parser (click to show/hide)

There are also some people working on those kinds of frontends already -- Sean Mirrsen for one, I think.
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Talhydras

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Re: What turns you off about DF?
« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2009, 09:01:08 pm »

Hey, long time lurker, first time poster, thought I'd throw things in here.

I was shown Dwarfort by a friend of mine after reading the Saga of Boatmurdered and playing Nethack for a while, as my relevant background info.

In a nutshell: I had trouble getting into DF and my friends were scared away from DF because it's really, really hard to play the game (use the interface to get information, make decisions, and effect changes on the world). If it was easier to play, I think it'd be easier to get into. Rolling together logically related and similar jobs would simultaneously reduce the number of things to keep track of during play and the number of things to teach new players. I'm not advocating "zoning residential" ala SimCity over the current interface, but there's a lot of streamlining to be done; having a built in set of archetypal buildings a newbie could plonk down underground and aboveground would be great. The ability to edit these ingame to accomodate available materials would be wonderful too. I'm envisioning a building browser I could open up and then drag a set of meager quarters from that would simultaneously queue up the requisite furniture and designate their destinations once completed.

Linking this up to demands would be neat too. Instead of wondering what the cutoff is for a Grand Mausoleum, being able to find a sample one and place it would be fantastic.
 

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Warlord255

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Re: What turns you off about DF?
« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2009, 09:07:53 pm »

Shouldn't be making a second post, especially not a condescending one, but:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
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G-Flex

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Re: What turns you off about DF?
« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2009, 09:19:47 pm »

It seems to me that most of these complaints are about personal annoyances (learning curve, difficulty in doing things, etc.), but the things that bug me more than that are things that I see as more game-breaking than that.

For instance, long-term fortress viability is severely screwed over by the extremely fast rate at which dwarves gain skill, children becoming legendary socialites right away, lack of viable long-term goals, wilderness depopulation, etc.

Sparring accidents and wrestling experience being gained too fast are also issues, but it looks like those are being worked on by the next release.


In response to some prior posts: I really WOULDN'T want to see more stock "goals"/"scenarios" in the game. This looks like the type of game that would be much better served by having the world generate the ability to do those things as it does anything else. In other words, I would find it ridiculously arbitrary and artificial to have the game tell me "make 20,000,000 dwarfbucks of exported value within two years to win the prize" as some stock option. I'd rather find a civilization that could use a good trading post, set one up, and have the civilization reward me for a job well done, having affected the world in some organic fashion. And I honestly think the game will continue to reach the point where that is possible.

Of course, better (in-game?) documentation and stuff would also help. Being on IRC and the forums and having the wiki burnt into my brain helped me enough where I could get by just fine, and I guess some of the industrial practices are helped by having a decent knowledge of things like chemistry beforehand, although I've actually learned a lot about a lot of those real-world processes since I've started playing DF. Ideally, though, I shouldn't have needed access to any online resources in order to learn how to play, although the lack of documentation is probably par for the course for a game that's still under development... it would suck for Toady to have to update a ton of help files with every new version.

I also agree about the lack of difficulty. Some things can be unnecessarily tough at time (I remember trying to defend idiot caravans from three goblin ambushes at once), and other things, like actually maintaining the fortress, are way too easy. As it stands, you can just build a path to the outside of the map for a caravan, set up a rather small farm plot, and sell hideously-overpriced and overstacked leaf roasts (or worse, syrup roasts... syrup is insanely overpriced) to the caravans in exchange for absolutely anything they have. Dwarves are also notoriously easy to keep happy, barring any severe disaster.

Really, it's stuff that truly affects the gameplay, like that, that annoys me. Also on that list would be stuff like, say, the trade liaison being disabled once you get a king.


That being said, I can generally chalk these problems up to the game still being in development, and I really do like where it's going.
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Re: What turns you off about DF?
« Reply #43 on: April 18, 2009, 09:20:39 pm »

I personally hate how fluids behave. Water takes forever to flow down a aqueduct and forms impossibly shallow gradients. This adds to my frustration in dealing with aquifers. Water from a lake should rush down a aqueduct like a  big ol' wave. Perhaps the pressure system is the problem.
Well... that's actually how water should behave, if there's no pressure behind it, water flow slowly and will form a shallow gradient (which is why Roman aqueduct is built with a slight incline, something that dwarf-fortress doesn't support).

The problem pretty much was that it was impossible for a beginner to understand certain concepts like... for me it was that fish needs to be processed (that bugged me for quite a while..), how to build stairs... how water works together with dug out edges and so on.
Well, it makes sense the fish needs to be processed in order for it to become food (probably doesn't take that much effort thou).  I would like for the fishery to auto generate the clean fish tasks so I don't have to constantly check for raw fish.
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GlyphGryph

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Re: What turns you off about DF?
« Reply #44 on: April 18, 2009, 09:27:53 pm »

I still find the interface occasionally confusing, and I know where everything is! But I don't think that, or the graphics, is the worst culprit.

The worse thing was not knowing what things DO, and the fact the only way to figure it out is, as far as I could ever tell, to use a resource not only outside of the game but online (dwarfwiki). The only thing the game does tell you is the recipes for metals, I think, and I only know that because I stumbled across it once - I don't actually remember where it was, either, and couldnt get back to it if I needed it.

So figured out the basic stuff quick, but then I couldn't figure out how to do anything interesting until I found the wiki.

There was some basic stuff that really threw me though. They were, in order:
Remapping-Having to remap the controls to use DF on my laptop. This would have been worse if my first response to every game wasn't "Now lets remap all the controls I don't like!" instead of figuring out what the buttons do. Even then, the remapping page is terrible - it took me forever to get the useful buttons, and I still don't know what 90% of the keys on that page do or are - I've certainly never pressed them, as far as I can tell.
Channels-I got that they dug a hole in the floor the declaration to allow fluids to flow, but I didn't realise dwarfs couldn't cross them or that they actually emptied the space beneath. Actually, I thought they just created little ditches liquids would flow along.
Finally, graphics packs - I still need to find and follow the tutorial every time I want to use one of these. Ergh. Its not simple and straightforward, that is for sure. I never did figure out how to properly resize my game so the tiles were square.

also - More automated tasks would be so awesome. I hate having to queu up maintanence tasks, and I'd always forget when starting. At least tanning is automatic though!
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