It really is quite spectacular! I mean, 75000 mechanisms is just madness! My whole fortress has only half that number of objects!
I'm not at all versed in digital computing so can't really compare, but it's interesting how different the design strategies appear to be. As far as I can tell, the Computer uses fluid mechanics as the principal tool, while the Calculator relies on mechanisms (using ten times as many mechanisms).. It really says something about the game that there are multiple ways to construct _actual working digital computers_
That's not quite true. My computer also uses a mechanical logic system. However, using some form of pump and pressure plate system is unavoidable because DF lacks a "rotation sensor". Only pressure plates and levers are capable of sending signals, and levers need to be operated by dwarves.
As for comparisons, a computer has a few extra components as compared to a calculator. It needs memory and some sort of control logic to make it work automatically. In a nutshell, a computer is an automatic calculator.
The vast majority of my computers components deal with these functions, especially the 256 bit RAM. If you look at the map, you'll see that the part that actually does the calculating, the arithmetic unit, is just a tiny part of the full computer. This is that part that is analogous to BaronW's monster creation. Mine is a simple 8-bit carry look ahead adder/subtractor with a few extra functions tacked on to make a turing complete instruction set, whereas Baron's calculator does complicated operations such as multiplication and division. Furthermore, it seems that his calculator has at least 10 bits, and even converts to decimal display, with fractional results. This is all very impressive.
In defense of my cut back arithmetic logic unit, I must say that I was going for the bare minimum simple programmable turing complete computer. I was rather pleased to learn that an adder is all that was needed when I was doing pre-construction research. Theoretically, the multiplication and division functions can be emulated if you use the appropriate program. My computer was also supposed to be just a part of my fortress, so I wanted to keep lag down.
Hey BaronW, I think you really like your overcomplicated machinery. What kind of FPS do you get? And how long does it take for the calculator to stabilize its state?