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Author Topic: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page  (Read 842222 times)

monk12

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Re: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page
« Reply #3360 on: February 02, 2011, 05:05:42 pm »

Not following this too closely lately, but I've seen a couple mentions of how one cares less about their dwarves as they get into the triple digits.  I think this is a kind of neat dynamic as it is.  Things are really rough starting out, and the first couple waves of settlers have really interesting lives.  You build a bond with those, and they're typically a large enough cast of characters to keep you drawn in for many years.  After the 50+ dwarf point, you're only vaguely familiar with most of them, and occasionally one dwarf will do something noteworthy and join in with the original core cast of important characters.

At least, this is what it feels like when I play, and I actually really like it.  In my current fort, there's less than two dozen dwarves I actually care about out of 10 or so.  Occasionally one dies, and occasionally I find reasons to care about another one who was previously just a face in the crowd.  The cast and plot never seems to stagnate.  It's awesome.

I like this aspect of DF as well- I think of the guys who pop out at me as Historical Figures in amongst a crowd of NPC's. The whole thing contributes to that Ye Olde Medieval Fantasy Setting feeling, where there's a lot of random peasants and the world seems to revolve around the kings, queens, heroes, and monsters. Its refreshingly non-democratic, if you know what I mean.

NW_Kohaku

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Re: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page
« Reply #3361 on: February 02, 2011, 05:13:52 pm »

Have you ever tried working on a game of your own? You have so many ideas, it might be fun.

I guess the best way to respond to that is "Yeah, but who hasn't?"

Maybe once I get more experience with playing around with game engines or the like, but I'd rather stick to applying game theory and modding until I get a bit more grounded.

Not following this too closely lately, but I've seen a couple mentions of how one cares less about their dwarves as they get into the triple digits.  I think this is a kind of neat dynamic as it is.  Things are really rough starting out, and the first couple waves of settlers have really interesting lives.  You build a bond with those, and they're typically a large enough cast of characters to keep you drawn in for many years.  After the 50+ dwarf point, you're only vaguely familiar with most of them, and occasionally one dwarf will do something noteworthy and join in with the original core cast of important characters.

At least, this is what it feels like when I play, and I actually really like it.  In my current fort, there's less than two dozen dwarves I actually care about out of 10 or so.  Occasionally one dies, and occasionally I find reasons to care about another one who was previously just a face in the crowd.  The cast and plot never seems to stagnate.  It's awesome.

I like this aspect of DF as well- I think of the guys who pop out at me as Historical Figures in amongst a crowd of NPC's. The whole thing contributes to that Ye Olde Medieval Fantasy Setting feeling, where there's a lot of random peasants and the world seems to revolve around the kings, queens, heroes, and monsters. Its refreshingly non-democratic, if you know what I mean.

Especially since some people are destined to a life of hauling through no fault of their own, while the guy who migrated right next to them got selected to be a glass maker when the magma glass furnaces first went up, and is now living on easy street as a legendary.

Regardless, in some ways, personality does make a difference, as some of the people who have played around with doctors seem to find.  It's hard to find exactly which ones do what, but the problem beyond the simple fact that most people have no clue what personality traits have what impact, and Toady seems dead set on not telling us how we are supposed to figure out the mechanics of the game, but that the information on each dwarf is hidden in an obtuse interface.

Actually, thinking about it, I'm kind of worried about a personality overhaul, now, because if personality traits become more important, but we never get told what does what, we'll be inviting all kinds of wild speculation with almost no real way to verify quite a bit of it.

What's the point in giving your players a complex system, and then no way to figure out how to manipulate it?
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monk12

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Re: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page
« Reply #3362 on: February 02, 2011, 05:26:31 pm »

My bet is the personality rewrite involves making those connections more obvious. And since we seem to have quite a bit of discussion about it...


What is involved in the Personality Rewrite? Do you have specific goals there?



I do wish there was a Dorfpedia in-game though. I'd bet money there's already a suggestion thread for that though, so I'll hold my peace.

SalmonGod

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Re: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page
« Reply #3363 on: February 02, 2011, 05:29:14 pm »

What's the point in giving your players a complex system, and then no way to figure out how to manipulate it?

Fun!  When I feel like I have a game completely figured out, I usually don't feel like playing it anymore.

This is why I typically avoid things like MMOs or multiplayer RPGs in general, because everyone has decoded every aspect of the gameplay, crunched the numbers, and plastered all over the web exactly what character builds are 'the best' and how to play them.  No fun.

I also enjoy leaving some things to fate when I'm making decisions.  I'll do things without necessarily looking up all the relevant information that I could in order to make the best choice.  I'll invent systems of management that only halfway make sense.  I try to leave slightly more opportunity for failure than I do success, in general.  This way it feels a lot more special when something goes really well... like there are more opportunities for those interesting historical figures to step forward and make themselves known.
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Re: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page
« Reply #3364 on: February 02, 2011, 05:36:38 pm »

Actually, thinking about it, I'm kind of worried about a personality overhaul, now, because if personality traits become more important, but we never get told what does what, we'll be inviting all kinds of wild speculation with almost no real way to verify quite a bit of it.

What's the point in giving your players a complex system, and then no way to figure out how to manipulate it?

In a case like this, if it's done well then it's organic/intuitive enough that you don't need to be told. After all, do you need to be told that a dwarf who doesn't like helping others might not make, say, a good doctor?
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page
« Reply #3365 on: February 02, 2011, 05:49:17 pm »

Fun!  When I feel like I have a game completely figured out, I usually don't feel like playing it anymore.

This is why I typically avoid things like MMOs or multiplayer RPGs in general, because everyone has decoded every aspect of the gameplay, crunched the numbers, and plastered all over the web exactly what character builds are 'the best' and how to play them.  No fun.

I also enjoy leaving some things to fate when I'm making decisions.  I'll do things without necessarily looking up all the relevant information that I could in order to make the best choice.  I'll invent systems of management that only halfway make sense.  I try to leave slightly more opportunity for failure than I do success, in general.  This way it feels a lot more special when something goes really well... like there are more opportunities for those interesting historical figures to step forward and make themselves known.

Funny, I would almost say the complete opposite.  I like games that let me explore their depth and complexity, and consider the strategic choices involved in that path, and consider a game that just tries to not tell you what you need to know to make an informed decision "cheating".  I spent several days on MagmaWIKI before ever playing the game, and generally enjoyed just putting together all the pieces of how the game worked, and think I never would have had the patience to actually set up THAT many experiments on my own to figure out the game.

The problem of an MMO with the "best" build is that the game actually has a best build.  It wasn't designed properly to make choices more meaningful, and to make play in general less of a mindless grind.  (Of course, what is argument number one everyone who is not an MMO player has against MMOs?  It's a mindless grind that trains you to perform the same routine actions over and over ad nauseum.)

I would go on to explain more, but this is sailing beyond where the topic is even still on the horizon anymore.

In a case like this, if it's done well then it's organic/intuitive enough that you don't need to be told. After all, do you need to be told that a dwarf who doesn't like helping others might not make, say, a good doctor?

Obviously, yes. 

We had this problem with noise, as well.  People spent much time worrying about making sure their workshops would not interrupt their residential neighborhoods with too much noise until people figured out that workshops and training drills and the like didn't create noise.  Only re-arranging furniture caused noise.  This meant someone moving in to their home created a noise cube that woke up everyone in the entire fortress who was sleeping, but the pounding of the forge wouldn't wake up someone two feet away.

Suspending fortresses on bars of soap.  Drawbridges count for support, but grates do not.  Tricks for not having dwarves build floodgates in ways that wall them in a magma chamber.  Animals reproducing through spores, without needing direct contact.

Just think of all the things in this game that logically should or shouldn't happen, but where logic is suspended by dwarfiness, and you'll have your answer as to why people don't just assume that simply because something is logical, it doesn't necessarily mean it will happen in the game.
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page
« Reply #3366 on: February 02, 2011, 06:19:13 pm »

Actually, let me follow up on that last one...

I remember at the time that 31.01 first came out, one of the first things I did was go to work playing with the raws, and trying to figure out what I could manipulate, and what their effects would be.  I almost immediately complained that there was no way of really measuring what a character's attributes were, and that it really impaired the ability players had to figure out what sort of impacts various actions they took really had.  How can we perform experiments, and figure out the game's mechanics if we can't measure the results? How can we know how to do anything if we can't perform experiments? 

This brought up a discussion about why people hated the idea of knowing the numbers, and why it was more 'Fun' to not have any ability to perform real science on the engine.  Then it turned out that there was a bug that made stats for non-military dwarves decay, but never actually improve, leading to dwarves perpetually becoming more fat, slow, and useless.  It was fixed after it was actually narrowed down, but it would have been worlds easier to find and diagnose if the system was just made more measurable.

If a game just inflicts things upon the player without having any real means to learn how or why, it's not a game, it's just sadism (or masochism on the part of the player).  Games are about learning and understanding the mechanics to be better able to manipulate the system and achieve your ends.

(And as a quick addendum to the other part of my previous post, the thing that sets DF's ability to look something up on the wiki apart from MMOs having perfect builds is that in DF, simply having the blueprints for making logic gates in the most efficient way possible doesn't mean that the player no longer has to figure anything out or make decisions - you are in control of what those logic gates actually perform.  People can keep coming back to DF because merely knowing how things operate doesn't mean you can't make something grander and more elaborate the next time.  One of my favorite threads involved a water clock a guy had built that kept accurate track of the time down to two hour incriments up to cycles of years.  He then went on the forums to ask what, exactly, he could actually use something like that for, having just built it to see if he could, not to actually be a "perfect solution" to any problem.)
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G-Flex

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Re: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page
« Reply #3367 on: February 02, 2011, 06:26:06 pm »

To be fair, you're talking largely about debugging-type features in that last post. From the point of view of a modder or tester or developer, yes, more information should be readily available whenever possible. From the perspective of the player, though, that isn't always the case.
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SalmonGod

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Re: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page
« Reply #3368 on: February 02, 2011, 06:48:27 pm »

Well... I can understand better knowledge of game mechanics being helpful to those who play primarily for mega-projects.  From the perspective of someone playing mainly for story, it's a detriment, in my opinion.  Less chances of unexpected things happening and less room for interpretation of things that aren't well explained.
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page
« Reply #3369 on: February 02, 2011, 07:01:43 pm »

The game is made for people who enjoy modding, making mega-projects, and several other playstyles that would benefit from these things, already.  Why stop giving them the tools they need now?

The only reason it wouldn't be of benefit to the playerbase as a whole is when it actually outright impinges upon some other playstyle, and that is something that you can't really throw out blanket statements that anything that helps modders or mega-project makers enjoy the game will cause other types of players to enjoy the game less.  It's something you have to be able to prove on a case-by-case basis.

The game already has "unexpected" things that happen, even when we know the mechanics of it - Cacame Awemedinade and Tholtig Cryptbrain (hope I spelled those correctly) don't rely upon some hardly-understood mechanic, they were just really, really rare occurances thanks to the specifics of warfare mechanics, procedural generation, and enough rolls with the RNG.  And frankly, those are some of the best stories DF has ever had!

EDIT:
And to give another example, I think the appearance system is basically just a blob of text that has no particular usefulness, even though I do like trying to tie together a story, myself.  The thing is, however, that I'm not calling for its removal, no matter how little I care for it, because it doesn't actually harm my ability to play.  If I care what my dwarves look like in my mind's eye, and want my dwarves to look like something because of how I've built up my perceptions of them, then screw whatever's in the text description, I won't read it then, either.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2011, 07:09:45 pm by NW_Kohaku »
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SalmonGod

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Re: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page
« Reply #3370 on: February 02, 2011, 07:22:06 pm »

The game is made for people who enjoy modding, making mega-projects, and several other playstyles that would benefit from these things, already.

I actually avoided DF for a couple years against recommendations, because everyone mainly talked about their megaprojects.  I wasn't too interested in that.  It's why I still haven't played minecraft.  Making stuff for the sake of making stuff is something I can appreciate a youtube video of once in a while, but not much more.

Then I read some stories and saw how much personality the game had, and how most of it came from either dwarves' complex/unpredictable behaviors or player incompetence... and how those things turned into insanely entertaining stories.  That's what drew me in and has continued to keep me interested in DF.

Occassionally the RNG fucks with you... but random occurances are pretty easily mitigated if you understand the range of potential events and their probabilities.  You can already see this in people being able to time preparation for sieges that happen on a regular annual schedule.  So the more gameplay is understood mechanically, the more unexpected only lies in the realm of highly unlikely random generations.  To get these things, you either need to sink tons of time into the game and wait for the unlikely occurance of something rare happening, or scour legends from worldgen, where most of this stuff seems to happen.  I've seen the stories about Cacame and Tholtig.  They're neat, but hardly motivation to play the game... at least for me.

You mentioned reading the raws on new releases or studying the wiki before you began playing the game... I've only looked at either when I had a specific question that needed to be answered in order to play.  Otherwise, I prefer first-hand discovery.

DF is unique in how it appeals to both of us, despite having completely opposite approaches to gameplay.  I hope it can stay that way.

Anyway, I'm going to go make a thread in a little while, in case this discussion is going to go any further.
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Re: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page
« Reply #3371 on: February 02, 2011, 07:40:12 pm »

If you want a thread about different playstyles, you might try this one about directed goals, since it's basically about the same subject.

The thing about "the RNG fucks with you" is that DF is inherently a game about disaster preparation and disaster mitigation, not disaster management.  Once the disaster is upon you, you have no recourse to anything but those tools you have already prepared in advance to combat those disasters.  If something surprises your fortress, it's pretty much going to crumble, end of story.  And frankly, most players, regardless of the tagline, aren't too happy to see some utterly random event completely wreck a long-term fortress they grew attached to.

If you're the sort of person who doesn't care about the mechanics, and doesn't want to read the wiki unless there's a specific question you want answered, and want to learn things first-hand, though, guess what?  Just don't read the wiki.  That's no reason to say that there shouldn't be a wiki for people who DO want these things, though.  Otherwise this becomes about splitting the fanbase into factions that war over whose preferred playstyle is the ONLY way to play DF, and the game would see far, far less players, which doesn't seem to be what you want from your arguments.
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SalmonGod

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Re: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page
« Reply #3372 on: February 02, 2011, 07:55:14 pm »

Once the disaster is upon you, you have no recourse to anything but those tools you have already prepared in advance to combat those disasters.  If something surprises your fortress, it's pretty much going to crumble, end of story.  And frankly, most players, regardless of the tagline, aren't too happy to see some utterly random event completely wreck a long-term fortress they grew attached to.

These are actually my favorite, and I've seen other people say the same.  Recovering from an actual disaster is incredibly fun if you manage to resist getting discouraged, and the dwarves who survive to become veterans of these events are inherently more interesting.

Quote
If you're the sort of person who doesn't care about the mechanics, and doesn't want to read the wiki unless there's a specific question you want answered, and want to learn things first-hand, though, guess what?  Just don't read the wiki.

You have a point... to an extent.  It depends on how clearly defined you expect things to be in-game for easier manipulation.  If you're hoping to be able to predict that exactly X term in a dwarf's profile means they'll react in exactly Y fashion to Z, then it's not just about this.

Also, I'm not sure how that link is relevant.
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page
« Reply #3373 on: February 02, 2011, 08:24:20 pm »

In the absence of understanding why something happens, those things are just stuff that happens, not a real story.

Many disasters occur in the form of "I tried to tap a river without ever having done this before.  I found out about water pressure when my entire fort flooded."  Players get hit with disaster, but, and here's the key point, they understand why they were hit with disaster, and can learn to avoid and prevent that disaster in the future.

Compare this to the problems that players have with doctors not bothering to get their patients water, and having every injured dwarf die of thirst: Very, very few players know that personality traits play a role in this, and there is almost no hint in-game that these things are related.  Most players are just declaring "doctors are broken!" and reporting it as a bug.  (And there are plenty of other things that are beyond player control that almost certainly are bugs that prevent most medicine from working, at that, such as a crutches.)

If you can't understand why or how something happens, players react to it not as fun, but as a broken game.  That's the difference I'm trying to highlight. 

And just to reiterate and underline my point, it's because of the difference in what the player can actually see and understand about the game (because of what the game is actually willing to tell the player) - the player needs to understand what action caused what consequence in order to learn.



As for the linked thread, it goes into talk about who the game should be built for.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2011, 08:43:48 pm by NW_Kohaku »
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SalmonGod

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Re: Future of the Fortress: The Development Page
« Reply #3374 on: February 02, 2011, 08:59:16 pm »

In the absence of understanding why something happens, those things are just stuff that happens, not a real story.

With respect to things like physics, operation of mechanisms, etc, I totally agree.

What I'm mainly saying is, I don't want dwarves themselves to be easily understood/predictable.  This would remove all of what I consider to be the flavor of the game.

Compare this to the problems that players have with doctors not bothering to get their patients water, and having every injured dwarf die of thirst: Very, very few players know that personality traits play a role in this, and there is almost no hint in-game that these things are related.  Most players are just declaring "doctors are broken!" and reporting it as a bug.

Like here, these players must consider their dwarves to be automatons, which was immediately clear to me as not the case.  Plus, I actually didn't know if personality traits had a large effect on dwarven behavior in the hospital, but if I have a dwarf who likes helping others available as chief medic, I will seek them out and give them that job just because it makes sense to do so.  Even if it didn't matter, I would still do this, just because I imagine they would be the first person to take on the job.  I keep logs of my forts and write my dwarves as characters, and I try to tie their personality profiles in with what they do.

But then again later in the life of the fortress, there's more structure and assignment rather than choice of labor.  So when it comes to anyone but the chief medic, I assign anyone with notable skills in the field as a nurse (often not as their primary role), regardless of their profile... and I love it when they do a terrible job.  It just brings flavor to the game.

(And there are plenty of other things that are beyond player control that almost certainly are bugs that prevent most medicine from working, at that, such as a crutches.)

But here, again, I agree with you, because it's something that literally does not work.

And just to reiterate and underline my point, it's because the difference in what the player can actually see and understand about the game because of what the game is actually willing to tell the player - the player needs to understand what action caused what consequence in order to learn.

So long as dwarves don't become automatons, which they are.  They exist in code, so they're subject to specific conditionals and such, but so long as we don't understand them, they continue to appear as organic and independent little creatures going about their lives and we're free to laugh at and interpret their strange behaviors however we please.  When I understand that "is prone to fits of anger" means they will tantrum at 75 points of anger, which amounts to exactly one dead child and a miasma... that aspect of the game is just gone.

And I don't want to create any divides here.  This is just a really interesting subject to me.  I think it says something that (I assume) we both love this game, despite having opposite perspectives on this.  Leaving our understanding of creature behavior fuzzy strikes the perfect balance that leaves plenty of room in the game for both of us.
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In the land of twilight, under the moon
We dance for the idiots
As the end will come so soon
In the land of twilight

Maybe people should love for the sake of loving, and not with all of these optimization conditions.
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