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Author Topic: Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)  (Read 76002 times)

Retro

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Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)
« on: March 12, 2010, 12:58:53 pm »

Welcome to Undergrotto, a grotto fortress in a massive underground cavern.



DFMA map, with a graphic set.

Undergrotto has now been archived at Dwarf Fortress Stories by trevdogg100. A downloadable pdf of the full tour plus appendices is located there as well (link here).

I should probably stress the word Ďmassive.í Many megaprojects could fit inside the main cavern, even disregarding the many other sub-caverns inside Ė many entire fortresses could fit in it, in fact. The main reason Iím posting Undergrotto here is because I donít think anyoneís done anything quite like this before. Undergrotto was not constructed, it was entirely carved out, with many large structures later been built within. Rather than use simple staircases, I chose to make long, twisting slopes up the sides of the various plateaus and leave winding, suspended walkways hanging throughout the cavern. My goal with the fort was to build each of the large quantity of subprojects I had in mind with a purely aesthetic approach and to make each unique and stand out from each other, and above all, befit their purpose. This has left a lot to see, so without further ado...

Disclaimer: Undergrotto was created in 40d, not 0.31. A few people have asked me about this already - The cavern was hand-carved and not generated by the game.

Spoiler: The tour, part one! (click to show/hide)

Spoiler: The tour, part two! (click to show/hide)

The save is here, including a copy both with the spring on and running and one without. I use the [CAT_MOUTH] fix from the wiki, so if you don't have that there's an extra copy of my raws/objects folder here. I encourage you to explore in both Visual Fortress and Stonesense; the fort was designed to look good in visualizers. In VF, make sure you turn off the shadow map once youíre inside for the best view. I also have many backup saves from different points in time if you want to see anything when it was in-progress; just ask and Iíll upload it for you. As a heads up, you should turn off temperature in your init if you want to play with the spring; the map partially freezes in late autumn (which it is).

For the curious, older VF screenies are here and even older ones here, and some older SS screenies are here.

Thanks for taking the time to read all this (if you did, heh)! I began thinking up ideas for Undergrotto in the last week of October and embarked just before Halloween, and Iíve worked on it generally between 4-8 hours every day since, so itís the product of rather a lot of effort. Iím just happy to have it done before Toady finishes up the next release. The next post is mostly just fort background processes, history, random anecdotes, etc. so donít mind just skipping all that unless youíre curious. Thanks again, and see you next version!

This is an engraving of a fortress and a mountain by ĎRetroí Dorenasol. The fortress is wearing the mountain like a hat. The mountain is making a plaintive gesture.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2010, 06:22:10 pm by Retro »
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Retro

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Re: Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2010, 12:59:20 pm »

Digging and stone management

Undergrotto dug out a little over a million stone in its construction. The main cavern was dug in two separate halves, each churning out 300-330k stone, and the side chambers and sub caverns, as well as vast tunnel system and Mountaingate used up another 400k Ė even the graveyardís massive hall left obscene amounts of stone. I also routinely dug out a few thousand stone here and there for smaller projects. Yet now, at the fortís complete, there are a mere 41 loose stones in the entireity of the fort, and theyíre all so inaccessible that I almost lost a fey dwarf to not having any loose stone Ė in fact, I had to dig out a quarry for later constructions! So how did I do it? Depending on the size of the project I alternated between chasming in the underground riverís pit, creating a temporary atom-smasher on the spot, and for the main cavern, raw-tampering in order to vaporize 650k of stone. The process of digging out the main cavern took one week each for each half making two weeks total in real-time; thatís including designating, digging, dumping, and channelling away. With [SPEED:0] dwarves. Hereís what the process looked like.


All this and more here. If you have any digging-related questions, just ask me. I consider myself pretty experienced with large-scale digging projects at this point.

What could have been

There are a few things I didnít get to do in Undergrotto or did in an unsatisfactory manner. First of all, the Rummy Dodger has no sails. I honestly donít know much about ships and was happy enough to get it to look vaguely like a ship at all, so I just gave it two masts and figured it looked good enough. But Iíd want to add an alunite (or if I was feeling bold, clear glass) sail if I ever went back to it.

Iím also unimpressed with the Crescent Arena. I mean, the arena part works fine, but itís just not big enough for me. The main reason was that I thought of the design for it rather late in the figurative game and most of the stone had been removed already; I didnít feel like going back and digging out more stone just to heighten it. But I could definitely do better if I really cared enough to put in the time.

Iíd wanted to make a special building in the social sector for the Philosopher as well; some kind of observatory with a big fake telescope and a few alchemistís workshops, but never was happy with any of the design ideas Iíd thought of and ditched it. But thereís a big empty space just across from the hospital that wouldíve been perfect.

I learned a lot while making Undergrotto, but the one thing Iím disappointed that I never had the chance to do was to use a fluid logic computer of some sort. Iíve never really tried anything with that before. Something I thought of a while ago was making massive canal locks from the outer lake to the inner lake, so I could pretend that itíd sailed in or something. But it wouldíve taken a year or maybe two more and wouldíve been silly and kind of a waste of time. Maybe next time Iíll plan a port town and put it in or something.

Concessions

Undergrotto was built in 14 in-game years, and I flat-out do not believe itís possible in a Ďfairí game to create something like this in that short a time. I used a lot of utilities in Undergrotto; however I need to stress that these were done either out of necessity or purely for aesthetic purpose. Specifically:

From year I think 4 or 5 on, dwarves were given the [SPEED:0] tag. This wasnít so much for having lighting-bolt uberdwarves so much as because my FPS ranged from >0 to 3 for a few years. The dwarves only moved as fast as regular 30FPS dwarves do in real-time, anyhow, and to fight sieges I set the dwarves back to normal speed, so the only thing this really affected was the fact that the fort is 15 years old instead of, say, 150.

The beach was also purely artifically created. My original plan was, as the western half of the map is a cold mountainous biome and the eastern half is a somewhat-less-cold forested biome, to make the beach way eastwards and move a whole bunch of sand down by collapsing a ton of sandy walls way down. I only realized in December, a month and a half into the project, that Iíd completely forgot to embark on a map with sand at all. So begrudgingly I spent an hour or so slowly editing the current beach area into yellow sand using Dtilís Tile Editor utility.

As opposed to my earlier instructions on how best to dig Undergrotto, I dug out the first half using regular dig designations with an access shaft and later collapsed it. This was an incredibly stupid move, because all the natural ramps Iíd worked so hard to plan out were destroyed, and Iíd done a whole bunch of work and saved since then without noticing. I later went back and constructed them, but in visualizers it looked really stupid, so I eventually used Dtil again to turn them into natural ramps.

I also did a handful of miscelleaneous aesthetic touch-up work here or there. Basically stuff like I dug a tunnel out one too many tiles and went back and pushed the walls in. What Iím trying to say is that in situations like that, where I couldíve ignored the too-long tunnel or constructed a wall to fill the end, I had the capability to easily legitimately do what I wanted to. It just wouldnít have had the same effect as the original, natural feel did. The only thing I did that I really consider straight-up cheating was the beach, and that was out of need for sand.

Appreciation
(yes, Iím doing this, I donít care how cheesy it is)

First and foremost I want to expression my deep appreciation for Toady and Threetoe for developing this game. Nothing before it has managed to intellectually stimulate my mind so, and I have reservations that anything after it will.

Also a huge shout-out to Baboonanza, the now-absent creator of Visual Fortress, and the Stonesense team for making fabulous visualizers. Undergrotto was designed from the start to look good in visualizers rather than simply layer-by-layer on the DFMA, so having access to quality visualizers did wonders for being able to watch my ideas come to fruition.

Undergrotto needs to pay its dues to some other forts as well. I consider myself a bit obsessed with the DFMA, and have probably looked at 95% of all the maps that have been posted between November and now. There are four maps specifically that inspired an aspect of Undergrotto in one way or another:

Slogo/Logo's Murkgrotto Ė When I saw his grotto, an underground cavern with water under its buildings, I was very impressed and knew I wanted to do something similar with the idea of building structures within a dug-out cave. Murkgrotto (or rather Ďthisí Murkgrotto, as it was one of many DFM2 entries) also inspired me to give Undergrotto its lake.

sneakeypete's Relicrags Ė The traderís entrance inspired me here. It slowly turns and twists around following (or sometimes being followed by) a river. The river itself is also very nicely incorporated with the rest of the fort. The twisty tunnel from Mountaingate down to the cavern as well as the inner lake and Mountaingateís moat were inspired by this.

Coaldiamond's Clockworks Ė Coaldiamond had set out to create a very natural fort that was shaped by the landscape rather than shaping it. Despite all the digging I did, the Ďchallengeí of Undergrotto was to make it feel entirely natural as well. I also wanted to make a mountain spring after seeing his, though I did mine differently.

Yojimbo's Goldparch Ė Goldparch is an impressive port fortress (portress, ohoho), and I gave Undergrotto something of a port feel due to this. Goldparch also inspired the Rummy Dodger and the lighthouse in the social sector, though the former is kind of shabby and the latter is kind of really ugly.

As a final note, please try not to quote any screenshots Ė thereís already a whopping 92 images in the first post, and the load timeís probably going to piss enough people off as-is. Itís unlikely Iíll ever seriously return to Undergrotto (until Stonesense comes out with its next, even sexier release warranting more screenies), so Ďtil next time, goodnight.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2010, 09:01:17 pm by Retro »
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Sphalerite

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Re: Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2010, 01:19:21 pm »

That is some amazing architecture.  Well done.  Probably the most artistic megastructure I've seen.
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Hyndis

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Re: Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2010, 01:31:58 pm »

This is a masterwork fortress created by Retro. It menaces with spikes of win and epic.
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Jetsquirrel

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Re: Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2010, 01:55:31 pm »

Holy shit.....

yuriatayde

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Re: Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2010, 02:03:25 pm »

Megaprojects like this (the ubercomplicated entire-fortress kind) inspire me to attempt the same. Very enjoyable read, I'm most impressed by the stalactite bedrooms, and the magma pool that has a tunnel digging into it, I don't have a clue how you managed that just by looking at it!
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Loyal

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Re: Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2010, 02:26:39 pm »

You mad son of a gun, you really did it! My lord.
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Stas

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Re: Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2010, 02:36:14 pm »

I salute your dwarfness.  You are truly a god.  I'll even cry at the beauty  :'( :-* :'( :-*
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No I'm not psychic. I just know that this is dwarf fortress. and the most stupidly awesome and inexplicable thing is probably going to be the first thing to happen.

Paranatural

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Re: Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2010, 02:44:13 pm »

Holy Damn. Congratulations.
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RantingRodent

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Re: Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2010, 03:07:35 pm »

If Chuck Norris played Dwarf Fortress, his fortress might look like this.
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darkrider2

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Re: Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2010, 03:22:44 pm »

There aren't even words to describe...

except uber-amazing-awesome-fantastic-super-duper-mega-epic-win!

I don't think I can go back to normal forum life after this, it's depressing that I have to leave this thread.
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Retro

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Re: Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2010, 03:50:55 pm »

Thank you all for the positive feedback! :D I went back and spoilered the tour because of how silly-ly long it was so that should help with unnecessary thread length. Also I'm gonna go try to fix those POIs on the original-tileset map if I can. I was hoping that the DFMA had some magic thing where it followed the points from different-sized tilesets, but it looks like it doesn't or it bugged up or something. With luck I can fix it by moving them rather than creating new ones; doing the original ones took like an hour and a half or something silly like that.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2010, 01:36:09 pm by Retro »
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mattie2009

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Re: Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2010, 03:58:28 pm »

If Chuck Norris played Dwarf Fortress, his fortress might look like this.
If Chuck Norris played dwarf fortress, he'd make this entire megaproject out of pure magma.

Until we can get magmaconstructions, I have this to say:

"Undergrotto", a Dwarfite Megaconstruction.
This is Undergrotto. It is made of raw Dwarfite and menaces with spikes of Armok. On it is a picture of an awesome face. On it is a picture of a dwarf and some dwarves. The dwarf is making a plaintitive gesture. The dwarves are digging. This symbolises the founding of Undergrotto in the Year of Armok's Return. On it is a picture of a dwarf and a goblin. The dwarf is pulling a lever. The goblin is in the fetal position. This symbolises the dropping of many gobilns down the Sacrificial Altar-Pit to Armok to stave his hunger for blood. On it is a picture of a river. The river is flowing. This symbolises the artificial river created in Undergrotto for no reason whatsoever. It is worth Infinity coins.
WARNING: The Fabled Megabeast Chuck Norris has heard of this artifact and is coming to take it for himself. Be prepared.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2010, 04:00:39 pm by mattie2009 »
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TheStanman

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Re: Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2010, 03:59:00 pm »

THE greatest fortress ever created.

You, sir, are a god.

I salute you.
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Nobbins

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Re: Undergrotto: An experiment in terraforming (image-heavy)
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2010, 04:11:33 pm »

Uh... HOLY SHIT
You are a god among men, Retro. I aspire to be like you.

P.S. This would trump Chuck Norris's fort, hands down.
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