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Author Topic: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges  (Read 22507 times)

Diarrhea Ferret

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Re: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2010, 02:57:16 pm »

I think this would make the game even harder for people who are first starting the game.

Do you remember when u first started the game?

I remember about ten failed fortresses (in their first year) not playing 4 a year coming back 5 failed fortresses and then finally finding the DF wiki.

I really just think that making farming (as you say the only foolproof method of attaining (reliable) food) much more difficult is taking the piss...
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Magick

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Re: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2010, 03:37:24 pm »

I think this is a stupid idea. It would only make the sieges harder in the beginning of the game, and it would raise the difficulty of tundra/glacier/rocky wasteland areas way too high.
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Andeerz

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Re: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2010, 07:51:32 pm »

In response to the last two posts:

Well, perhaps a difficulty setting system should be set up, especially for the noobs... I do remember starting the game, and it did take me about a month to figure out entirely.  Actually, though it took me a long time, I was able to teach the game to a friend in a half hour after I learned the ropes.  He became as proficient as me after a week, building some pretty impressive forts.  Frankly, after learning how to play this game, a lot of things seem spoon-fed to me.  Sieges and surviving in "hostile" environments are way too damned easy in large part due to farming as it is implemented right now.  Making farming a bit more realistic with the OP's suggestion would make sieges actually a game as well as simulate a factor that made sieges in real-life actually a threat to fortifications.  Also, it would simulate a factor that makes locations such as desert and tundra poor places to inhabit in real-life.  It would make them actual wastelands.  As sieges are now, they are an annoyance and not challenging unless you make concessions on your own part to not build traps and leave doors unlocked.

So what if the sieges in early game would be more difficult, or making a fort in desert/tundra would be more difficult; bring it on.  Challenge is part of a game, or at least any game I consider enriching and worth playing.  I've never had a problem after the first month or so playing the game repelling sieges.  Fortunately, there are other parts of DF that are challenging that keep me interested, and I don't think I will ever lose interest.

And things should not be fool-proof in this game unless you as the player make things work as such in your fort.  Fools should not be rewarded for their foolishness.

Also:

If underground wood replaces above-ground wood to that extent, then your fortress is self-sufficient anyway, so how does this do anything more than make farming more difficult? In other words, it really has little/no relationship to siege difficulty at all.

It does have a relationship to siege difficulty.  Up until you make your fort self-sufficient, sieges would be more difficult.  Implementing the OP's suggestions would make getting to that level of self-sufficiency more difficult, which I think needs to happen.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 08:09:10 pm by Andeerz »
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Arrkhal

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Re: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2010, 08:20:26 pm »

Although farming is probably too powerful at present, there are probably better ways to limit it, and better ways to make sieges more difficult.

Removing boozecooking (which I'd consider to be an exploit anyway) would help.  Yields in general could stand to be reduced, in many cases.  Once disease is implemented, it should include crop-borne diseases.

Farming should really just require substantially more land, dwarfpower, and time than it does now, like real farming.  Fertilization could stand to be made more realistic, but that's only one small piece of the puzzle.  Probably 3 options would do it for that part.  You could either not fertilize at all (thus being reliant on crop rotation; either allowing your field to lay fallow every other year, or planting a crop which puts certain nutrients back into the soil, like peanuts; or you could just use up all the nutrients and build a new farm plot elsewhere).  Or you could use "free" fertilizer in the form of composted food waste and poo (at the expense of requiring a composting area designated, and the constant generation of miasma both by the compost heap and at the fields, and the fact that your fertilizer supply is limited; you can't just order your dwarves to poo more).  Or you could use chemical fertilizers which don't stink (quite as much), but must be manufactured.  Or of course, a combination of the three.

But mainly yeah, lower yields and no boozecooking.  The statistic is what, about a half acre to keep a single human fed?

Oh!  I forgot the most important one!  Animals should need to eat.  Livestock are far too easy a source of food as well.  That alone would increase difficulty quite a bit, without being too hard on the newbies (who often already expect animals to eat...).  Except, oh man, catsplosions would be devastating to morale.  Owned cats dying of starvation left and right, being improperly buried, stinking up the place...

Of course, animal food should be semi-realistic as well.  Cows can eat roughage indigestible to dwarves, and dogs will eat the less appealing animal parts.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 08:31:54 pm by Arrkhal »
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Safe-Keeper

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Re: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2010, 08:27:09 pm »

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Do you remember when u first started the game?
Yup, downloaded the Afteractionreporter tutorial and found the game rather easy to learn.

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I remember about ten failed fortresses (in their first year) not playing 4 a year coming back 5 failed fortresses and then finally finding the DF wiki.
That's your problem right there. I know this is the era of "screw the manual, we'll just make the games easy-peasy and spam incredibly irritating hints throughout the game" era, but if you pick up a complex game, be it Armed Assault, Falcon 4.0: Allied Force or Dwarf Fortress and don't read the manual or Wiki... you won't get it. That simple.

I dare you to pick up Falcon 4.0 Allied Force without a manual and try to get a parked F-16 started without documentation. I promise you it'll take you a month or more just to get her off the ground, not to mention getting her off the ground with all the systems running as they should so you can actually do something useful up there. Does this mean F4AF is a poorly designed game? Nope, the developers have done a fantastic job at giving the laymen a chance to experience what flying a real F-16 feels like. They couldn't have done this and make the game simple - even with realism set to 0%, F4AF has quite the learning curve.

In short, DF is an RTFM game, not a "Durr, you were killed by a grenade, yuk, you're supposed to dodge those, look out for the big white grenade indicator, see, it looks like this, dur. And now I'm gonna repeat this every time you die cuz your probably dumb enough to not understand this until youve had it spammed on your screen 10 000 times, durr, hurr hurr hurr" game.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 08:37:04 pm by Safe-Keeper »
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KenboCalrissian

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Re: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2010, 09:31:10 pm »

At present, farming takes a some management to set up, and then you can really just let it go.  As long as you have enough dedicated growers, your dwarves sustain themselves just fine.

This is both a good and bad thing, I understand.  After the first or second year, farming offers no challenge whatsoever.  I agree with the ideas that farms should be larger for the output they currently produce.  When I think of 13th century farms, I think of miles of farmland surrounding or near a village.  I can sustain an entire population of dwarves with just a 9x9 area of 3x3 farms, but just for variety I'll make one both inside and outside.

While I agree that farming could stand to be more of a challenge, I hate the idea of requiring fertilizer to sustain farming.  It's too much of a distraction from late-game megaprojects, and quite frankly I can see it getting really annoying later on.  I like that farming is something I can get off the ground and forget about, but there could be more challenges that might upset your balance.

Oh!  I forgot the most important one!  Animals should need to eat.  Livestock are far too easy a source of food as well.  That alone would increase difficulty quite a bit, without being too hard on the newbies (who often already expect animals to eat...).  Except, oh man, catsplosions would be devastating to morale.  Owned cats dying of starvation left and right, being improperly buried, stinking up the place...

Of course, animal food should be semi-realistic as well.  Cows can eat roughage indigestible to dwarves, and dogs will eat the less appealing animal parts.

This is an excellent idea!  It adds additional challenge to both farming and livestock without changing the farming mechanics at all.  I think I'd like to see this implemented as a "test" to see how well it works before making any other changes to the system.

Andeerz

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Re: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2010, 09:59:54 pm »

Arrkhal, you rawk.  Good suggestions. 

KenboCalrissian, I see what you mean about farming being something you can get off the ground and forget about, and sympathize with you there.  :)  The requiring fertilizer thing, though, could be automated as crop rotation could be given the current system.  Just an initial planning, and voila, all you have to do is worry about fertilizer supply.  heh heh... I say that as if ensuring fertilizer supply was easy.  Hmmm... Well, I'll just stick to a previous suggestion of mine and say that a lot of "realism" options should be able to be turned on and off, like in that Falcon 4.0 game or IL-2 (another flight sim I wuv <3).  I, being the realism nut I am, would have them all turned on, all the time.

Also, I'd love to see the actual numbers of how much crop land is needed to sustain an individual of a given diet.  I'll add that to my list of things to look up if I have the time.  Also, are there any scholars of pre-agricultural revolution and medieval farming?  Or actual farmers for that matter?  Is fertilizer in actuality 100% required to farm?  When were the merits of crop rotation realized anyway?   
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Arrkhal

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Re: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2010, 10:40:42 pm »

Some fun links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crop_rotation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subsistence_agriculture

From what I'm reading the absolute bare minimum to sustain a vegetarian substinence diet is 0.07 hectare (0.173 acre), and that's if absolutely everything is done perfectly.  Planting times, fertilization, yields, good food preservation methods, etc.  Even then, that's too small an area to get much variety, so once again, perfection would be needed to avoid micronutrient deficiency (scurvy, beriberi, etc.).

On the other hand, 1.2 acres of fertile cropland per person is necessary to sustain the average American diet (mainly because most cows on commercial farms get most of their calories from human-edible grain products, rather than inedible pasture and silage; despite what the elves say, livestock can be a way of getting more food per acre, as long as they're fed exclusively on things that humans/dwarves can't eat).  So hm, in between those extremes, my earlier estimate of 1/2 acre per person is probably about right.  1/2 acre should be able to comfortably feed a single vegetarian.  But 0.07 hectare is also be an excellent benchmark for what a Legendary Grower should be able to use to feed 1 dwarf, given the best fertilization, ideal conditions, no blights, etc.

Also, on the maintenance side, I think my system would be a good one.  No fertilization would be like the current system, except you'd really want to set your lands to rotate, and yield would be far lower.

Compost would only require you to set up a compost heap, and position that and your farmlands somewhere that miasma won't bother everyone.  Simplest approach in game mechanics would be for generic "waste" to be generated whenever a dwarf or animal eats, representing both poo and leftover inedibles (Urist!  I can't believe you did that right on the dinner table!).  Refuse haulers would then truck that off to the compost heap, and farmers would automatically apply the compost to the fields at appropriate times.  Without composting, "waste" would simply go to the refuse pile.  An extra layer may be to differentiate between different types of "waste," but it's probably unnecessary before version 1.0.

Then chemical fertilizers would be fairly similar to the present system, but more varied than just potash.  Assign the appropriate workshop tasks, and tell the farmers to either use it now, or use it automatically.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 10:42:23 pm by Arrkhal »
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Iden

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Re: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2010, 11:58:18 pm »


It's been brought up, yeah.  Searching Suggestions for "siege" yields too many relevant threads to link.  Here's a sampling from the first page of results:
http://www.bay12games.com/forum/index.php?topic=41331.0
http://www.bay12games.com/forum/index.php?topic=29283.0
http://www.bay12games.com/forum/index.php?topic=27247.0
http://www.bay12games.com/forum/index.php?topic=22962.0
http://www.bay12games.com/forum/index.php?topic=28660.0
http://www.bay12games.com/forum/index.php?topic=23879.0
http://www.bay12games.com/forum/index.php?topic=28846.0

I know it's a lot to ask, but you should at least skim over these and other siege-related threads.  When there are so many prior suggestions around, Toady gains much more from new suggestions that build on top of them rather than just restate them.

As for Toady's own plans for sieges, he discussed those in great detail in DF Talk #2.  You can read the relevant part of the transcript here.

As Footkerchief pointed out in another thread, plenty is going into the works for sieges. There are plenty of other simple and realistic ways to make sieges more challenging. Plenty of other solutions are already planned.

Somewhere amongst those legions of threads i'm sure Starvation is addressed. I'd be truly surprised if Toady hasn't already taken into consideration farming changes and improvements for the future, especially in regards to siege and starving out enemies.

I'm sure there will be tweaks of this kind as soon as Toady gets there. And from the sounds of DF Talk #2, siege is just around the corner.
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Niveras

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Re: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2010, 12:11:22 am »

I like your ideas, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Particularly I'd like to see growers take a more active role in farming, and for larger farms to be necessary. I don't know how large a hectare or acre is in DF tiles (or, really, visually in Real Life), but I could imagine that a fortress of 200 subsisting on grown food would require several 20x10 plots, particularly if they need to lay fallow after a crop harvest. This could tie in well, in the case of underground (or even, for certain crops, above-ground) farming with flooding the plots to fertilize them, or to assist with growing - I am thinking particularly of the flooded rice fields you'd see in the southeastern asian countries. Growers would additionally need to spend time tending to the fields, making it a more full-time job (and tending farms abstracts well over DF's time periods).

I also like your idea of compost areas, and of meals leaving 'waste' that needs to be taken either to a compost area or refuse. This wouldn't necessarily refer to dwarven waste, but meal leavings like inedible parts of plants or leftovers. Likewise, as far as fallow plots are concerned, livestock can be used to graze fallow plots and help fertilize the soil, as I believe is used in real life farming as well. This may not apply with regards to underground farming, depending on whether muddied tiles will ever produce mildew/lichen, like surface tiles produce grass. Perhaps that could be the differing factor - on the surface, you can use livestock to graze and help fertilize, while underground you can flood the plot again. In both cases you can use fertilizers, like compost or potash.

As far as yields, as I mentioned, I like the idea that you need larger farms (and more farmers) to properly feed a fortress. Cooking yields, by comparison, can probably remain as is, maybe reduced only slightly, in order to help extend your stocks. Booze can remain as a cooking ingredient, but you should only be able to use it once, and probably only in lavish meals. That is, no cat beer cookies, or dwarven wine roast, comprised of wine/wine/beer/ale.

In truth, most of Arrkhal's posts could be copied toward whatever suggestion threads are directed toward improving farming, rather than making sieges more difficult.
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Re: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges
« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2010, 12:51:26 am »

Nope.. Sorry.. this is a mess of a suggestion.  Unless fertilizer is fixed, and hauling is fixed, there is nothing to be had here except annoyance.

And once again this will only really be a problem for large forts or early forts.  any fort that can grow enough tree's to generate enough fertalizer will be fine, any fort that is small enough to survive by other means is fine..

Just another thing to add lag and hauling jobs..

Doesnt fix sieges.

Doesnt make them harder assuming you harvested the wood first or you have tower caps.

Does not make a fort any less self sufficient if you can keep designating new fields..

Does not add anything in the form of reality (real fields do not require constant fertilization, just the return of the biomass they grew, and some earth worms.)

what does this suggestion add?

Reduced FPS, Hauling jobs, petty micromanagement, More demand for the most undwarflike of materials (wood). 

And if the rest of the suggestions are added... Then we end up with MORE hauling jobs..   Hauling poo around...  Hauling plant waste around... Oh friggin grand...

Farming needs to be fixed.

This is not the way to do it.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 12:56:12 am by profit »
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Re: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2010, 12:58:08 am »

It's a good idea, but it's come up a million times before. It used to be that underground farms needed regular irrigation (that got lost in the move to 3d, but I'm pretty sure I remember a post saying Toady wanted to bring it back). More importantly though, it's already number 10 on the eternal suggestions voting list. That means, not only is Toady aware of it, but stuff will be done on it in the next couple of updates.

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10. (189) Farming Improvements
   Adding things such as Soil Deprivation, watering of plants (or other irrigation), weeding, longer growing seasons, and the like in an attempt to make farming more interesting, a little more difficult (balance it out somewhat in the process), and make it more realistic.
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Re: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges
« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2010, 01:21:04 am »

honestly, if df was all about reducing framerate and complexity then it would consist of a goblin and a dwarf chasing each other around a five tile cave. 

The only thing that bugs me about farming is underground farms--it's analogous to the animals that  never eat.  You can't just grow stuff underground like that...it has to get energy from somewhere.  A constant supply of compost (not  burned trees, but something refuse derived) really ought to be necessary if it's going to make sense.  You can realistically farm underground this way (ants do it all the time).  You could in theory grow underground "plants" on ground rich in certain chemicals.  There are bacteria that get energy this way-but they tend to grow veery slowly and be really toxic. 

But as long as underground farms make sense from a gameplay perspective, leave them in
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RAM

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Re: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges
« Reply #28 on: January 04, 2010, 01:53:33 am »

I don't think this would fix sieges at all. The problem with sieges is that they are too easy to thwart, 1 locked door is not an adequate deterrent to stop a group of people willing to march across country for days, maybe even weeks or months, to risk their lives fighting crazy dwarves.

 If you are locking the door then you are doing this to yourself. If you want to take it seriously then you can build a fortress that is 5 tiles away from the surface in all directions, building walls 20 tiles deep in your entrance if you think a siege might be close, and rig the entirety of the upper floors to flood in an emergency...

In the current version this would be impractical, it would just invalidate too many sites. If this is going to be your solution to sieges being too difficult then you need to combine it with a whole range of needs. more demandsm if you run out of rose gold then you start getting a steady stream of negative thoughts. If a caravan doesn't make it to your depot your whole fortress gets a negative thought. If Urist McTreehugger goes 5 months without a Bambi Burger he takes a job as a freelance hammerer...

In the short term I just don't see the benefits outweighing the costs. In the long term I don't see this being the right way to deal with sieges. A self sufficient fortress should have costs, and may only last for a couple of decades if their supplies are decent. but it should be possible to have something that will outlast a year-long siege with no great difficulty...
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Arrkhal

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Re: A simple and realistic way to add challenge back to sieges
« Reply #29 on: January 04, 2010, 04:36:09 pm »

Just thinking about fertilization and composting a little more.

Probably the best and easiest way (for a future version, during the agricultural arc probably) would be to abstract most of it out, and have as much behind the scenes as possible to minimize micromanaging.  To use compost, you simply build a compost heap, which generates miasma periodically while active.  Querying the heap, or maybe the Orders menu, would produce compost options: Dwarves do not compost waste / Dwarves compost animal waste and leftovers / Dwarves compost all waste.  No compost means no "free" fertilizer, but does not increase the risk of foodborne disease.  Animal waste and leftovers gives "free" fertilizer related to the amount of livestock, and if your dwarves are already eating regularly.  Composting all waste would increase the risk of disease more, but increase fertilizer.

The compost value could just be expressed in number of farm tiles which can be fertilized.  Easiest would be to make it determined by the size of your citizens and animals; a size 5 animal can fertilize up to 0.5 tile, or 5 tiles, or whatever.  Whether compost is fully utilized depends on the number ands kill of your Growers.

Farmers will naturally want to plant fertilized tiles first, but if your active plot size increases your fertilization capacity, they'll have to make do without doo.  Maximum yield on a larger area would thus require "artificial" fertilizers like bone meal, dried blood, potash, ground limestone, etc.  And that is when you have to micromanage a bit, though ideally, there'd just be a generic "fertilizer" stockpile, and how intelligently it's utilized depends both on your farmers' skills, and the player's ability to order the manufacture of the correct stuff.

In terms of game balance, I think it should be that, without any fertilization whatsoever, it should require complete perfection to be self-sufficient; nearly all dwarves are highly skilled growers, optimal use of land, intelligent planting, like alternating crops which fix nutrients that others deplete, etc.  Simple composting should make it reasonably easy to survive on what you grow, as long as you have a fair number of farmers, and especially if you supplement with livestock which are fed only inedibles.  However, either dwarfanure or artificial fertilizers or both, should be necessary to build up a significant enough surplus to be able to have a significant food export industry.

So low-maintenance farms are largely substinence, while high-maintenance ones can be an industry.  In terms of both gameplay and realism, that's what I think would work the best.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 04:38:57 pm by Arrkhal »
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