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Author Topic: Volume and Mass  (Read 20592 times)

NW_Kohaku

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Volume and Mass
« on: July 11, 2010, 10:37:52 am »

On Eternal Suggestion Voting.

This is one of those ideas that I recognize is a very big change that could break a few systems, and probably saves.  Nevertheless, I think that, in a game that wants to tout its realism, this would be a very good way of making a major leap towards that goal.

People frequently make fun of how we currently deal with items in small integer units - one malachite smelts to one copper crafts into one earring or a pair of low boots or other metal object. One wood makes one bed or barrel or bracelet.  One stone can make a door or a table or an entire workshop or a couple stone mugs.

There have been several suggestions that are intermediate solutions, but I think that what we really need is to simply go the whole distance, and make the realistic answer - a real system of volume and mass.  (Also, by extension, density.  In fact, I would expect density to be the prime number recorded for each material, and have individual materials requirements call for either volume or mass - so that wooden furniture calls for a certain volume of wood, regardless of the density of the wood, while others, like charcoal, may call for a certain mass of wood.)

This means that we do not deal with whole units of wood, but rather with X number of kilograms of wood.  It takes 10 kgs of wood to make 4 kgs of charcoal.  It takes one cubic meter of wood to make a desk (still abstracted to just volume alone.) This would mean that a copper earring, at only .1 kg of mass, would only use up .1 kg of copper (possibly more, if you want to include waste and a sort of entropic decay of matter), while a 6 kg helmet takes up 6 kg of copper.

This also has some major stacking ramifications - you can make it so that when you dump 12 kg of iron onto a pile of 38 kg of iron, it creates a single 50 kg iron pile. 

Even better, you can start making items from more than one material - a pick or a spear, for example, is currently entirely made of metal.  Now, you could make picks with a wooden handle (that only takes a small fraction of the wood you get from chopping down a tree), and make only the pick itself from metal.

Now, when we are talking about volumes, however, we can finally start addressing the volume of a single cubic tile.  I would estimate that a single cubic tile is 10' tall, since that is the distance between floors of a standard building for us humans.  Dwarves may make them shorter theoretically, but when we are dealing with stone caves, a little extra ceiling room for buttressing may be a good idea.  Since everything in the game seems to presume we are dealing with cubes, that would make it a 10' x 10' x 10' cube, for 1000 cubic feet.  If, however, we are going with metric, that is fairly close to 3m x 3m x 3m for 27 cubic meters of volume to fill.

This can also have other ramifications - currently, mining has recieved complaints because you essentially just hit a wall with a pick to vaporize a wall, possibly leaving behind a single stone.  Now, however, we could simply use that to fracture a wall, and leave behind 27 cubic meters of mullock/rubble material that needs to be hauled off, or, if the mining check was successful, would leave behind X amount of usable stone, and some leftover cubic meters of rubble/mullock.

This would also mean that once any tile hits 27 cubic meters of material, it would become impassible.  (Something like 20 cubic meters of material might also just become a ramp.)  For the purposes of pathing, it might be OK to let creatures push aside loose material that blocks their path, but basically, there has to be enough empty volume in a tile for a creature to move through it.

This could also mean that, instead of leaving exactly one random item in a stockpile, you could actually start stacking those items, like in a warehouse, potentially to the point where you might create "walls" of material, and have stairs climbing up on top of the stored materials in your warehouse.

This could potentially be combined with other suggestions, like the sand suggestion, and even the fluid models - rather than a 0-7 level of fluid, we would have 0-27 cubic meters (1 cubic meter = 1,000 liters, by the way) of fluid.  This fluid, rather than flowing in random directions, could simply divide its flow out evenly across all adjacent tiles with a lower total fluid level than itself.  Solid objects, of course, would be capable of displacing fluids (provided it was not melting into magma, in which case, it should probably increase the total volume of magma when it melts, as well), so a 5 cubic meter stone would mean there were 5 less cubic meters of space for a fluid to occupy.

Finally, as if there wasn't enough to tie all this into, this could finally be used to create that realistic cave-in system that the game has been lacking, making it the butt of several jokes, such as the "support an entire fortress on a single pillar made of soap" joke.  Although it would take much more work than simply implimenting the overall mass and volume suggestion, one can create a system where every non-wall tile that has a floor or wall above it must have a ceiling above it to bear the weight of the tiles above (presumably, this may include some smaller supports, if need be), with the mass of the areas above requiring enough supporting material below to avoid a sort of warning "sagging" or an outright cave-in.  When a floor is supported off of a wall, that wall must be able to bear the mass of the floors, plus all the walls (and the mass it supports above it), or will start to fail.  Walls should theoretically be able to pass their burden diagonally downward, so as to mean that simply building thicker walls eventually solves the problem.

This will probably require some form of interface change to be able to enable such a system.  A seperate look-menu option on walls or the like could give tile-specific information, but it would probably be best to have a special view mode where the colors were changed so that you could see the amount of stress each part of the overall structure was bearing.  (So that walls and floors would turn colors from dark blue to bright red to show the amount of stress they are bearing.)

To combat this, we could start getting into serious engineering solutions to the problems of cave-ins, from simply digging narrow tunnels that do not stack multiple floors overtop one another, to the classical masonry solutions of simply making thicker walls near the base of structures, growing narrower at the top (possibly using flying buttresses or the like, if it were a free-standing stone structure), to using more presumably modern (but still theoretically technologically available for creatures of that scientific era) concrete with steel rebar supports to buttress very large structures.  This would require a reworking of the way that dwarves are able to address constructions or the like, as they would need a way to create "supports" that are not actually built structures that take up a tile, but simply slapped on as an addition to a wall.

Again, I recognize these suggestions, especially some of the last parts, are fairly massive, but I think that for the long-term life of DF, a full volume and mass system would help to solve quite a few of the niggling inaccuracies of the game.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 07:14:43 pm by NW_Kohaku »
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Volume and Mass
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2010, 12:29:23 pm »

Something to add on:

A link back to an older thread relevant to the subject at hand.

That thread details ways in which trees could grow beyond their current mere sapling level.  In conjunction with mass and volume, we could have a much more serious set of trees, and eventually the ability to make the kind of trees that would be required for an elven tree city.

Basically, trees would grow out to certain ratios that are raw-defined for them. "Trees" like saguaro should probably have a finite growth limit, but generally, rain-forest trees should be able to grow very, very tall, if not terribly wide.

When we are dealing with 3m x 3m x 3m cubes, it should be a rare and giant tree that actually has a greater than 3m diameter, but trees that are taller than a single story should be extremely common.

Trees should be able to grow a certain amount every year or at the changing of seasons, based upon a recorded amount of rainfall during the previous year, and possibly soil conditions adding a contributing factor.  (Elves, for example, might be able to encourage tree growth.)  And this would make trees gradually increase in volume as it grows, eventually (based upon the ratio of height to width that it grows at, defined in each tree's raw entry) making it migrate upwards into higher cubes, and possibly also developing larger root systems.

When larger trees are chopped down, rather than providing a single unit of wood, they would provide an amount of wood based upon their actual size - a certain amount of wood is lost as simply being turned into a stump in the ground, but the rest would be a percentage-based amount of reclaimable wood from a felling.  This could depend upon the skill of the woodcutter, so that it could be something between 60% and 80% of the tree's volume and mass would be actual wood, the rest becoming rottable biological waste.

Since larger trees would be felled to produce more wood than would likely fit into a single tile, they would also probably be felled like real trees - falling over into nearby tiles, and potentially injuring careless nearby dwarves.  Theoretically, this should not be as dangerous as a cave-in, where it involves death, but hey, it could be more Fun, and more reason for doctors.
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thijser

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Re: Volume and Mass
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2010, 02:28:25 pm »

I do agree that this is a good idea however there are 3 issues:
1 we will probably end up with large amout of clutter from fractions of materials.  This can however be overcome.
2 fps: the new cavein system would case a lot of trouble for the calculations and having detailt amouts of every matrial would add a lot of thing to keep track of, megaprojects already have trouble with the 100 000's of stone laying around.
3 toady time, it's a limitit supply
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Volume and Mass
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2010, 02:45:55 pm »

I do agree that this is a good idea however there are 3 issues:
1 we will probably end up with large amout of clutter from fractions of materials.  This can however be overcome.
2 fps: the new cavein system would case a lot of trouble for the calculations and having detailt amouts of every matrial would add a lot of thing to keep track of, megaprojects already have trouble with the 100 000's of stone laying around.
3 toady time, it's a limitit supply

1. There is already a system for placing items with like items in stockpiles, with dwarves willing to go 20 spaces by default (init editable) further to place those items.  By making stacks of the same type of fungible materials simply merge stacks, up to the volume limit of a material in a space, it would reduce this problem for the most part, excepting perhaps some scraps of very rare materials.

2. The cavein system would, indeed, introduce new checks at regular intervals.  I would say, however, that unlike the current fluid system, or something like pathfinding, where those checks have to occur whenever they are called upon, a weight distribution system does not need to be quite so frequently called, unless we are dealing with something specific, like removing a supporting wall to cause a cave-in.  We could run the check every X number frames, and even then, allow certain parts of the system to be temporarily overburdened, only actually collapsing if the weight stays beyond the maximum capacity two or more checks in a row (which would also let you have a chance to get warning messages of sagging floors.)

If the system of using fluids in the method of having a specific volume that flows outward were to also be abstracted, it could potentially also save FPS, as the current fluid modeling system is a fairly significant weight on the engine, as well.  To do this, however, we would probably also need an "air bubble" modelling system, however.  I guess I'll just rez that other thread for that.

3.  Well, yes, everything takes up time, and this would certainly take up quite a large share of it.  Still, this one would probably be worth it in the long-term, as Toady seems to want a better cave-in system eventually, and this would potentially solve the problems of the entirely low-integer heavy economy we have right now.
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Jiri Petru

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Re: Volume and Mass
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2010, 05:11:21 pm »

I strongly disagree!

This would basically make a game that already has almost unbearable level of micromanagement into a game that is a micromanagement hell. Me no like.

Dwarf Fortress (fortress mode) might be a simulation, but it's also a game and a game needs some simplification. Having everything counted in nondescript units where each job consumes a single unit is a good thing! Easy to handle, easy to remember. A few exceptions (chain mail, breastplate) are still acceptable. But once every job requires a different amount of "units", then in all becomes too confusing.

The stocks screen would become next to useless. Now when I have 30 units of cloth, I know I can produce 30 socks or 30 caps or 30 tunics or whatever. If I had 30 metres of cloth, what would that mean? Could I produce 67 socks or 43 caps or 12 tunics or what? I really wouldn't like that! That's making things more complicated... a lot more complicated... for no gain. What of it?  If you really dislike how certain items consume too much material, just let 1 unit of cloth produce 3 socks at the same time, but not the other way around (1 sock consuming 0.33 cloth)!!! Each job consuming 1 unit of material is a rare occasion where DF is streamlined and unified, and I'd love to keep that.

These were just my loud two pences, because I felt you need someone sceptical here  :P But please continue, I won't interrupt no more.

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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Volume and Mass
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2010, 05:19:34 pm »

I strongly disagree!

This would basically make a game that already has almost unbearable level of micromanagement into a game that is a micromanagement hell. Me no like.

Dwarf Fortress (fortress mode) might be a simulation, but it's also a game and a game needs some simplification. Having everything counted in nondescript units where each job consumes a single unit is a good thing! Easy to handle, easy to remember. A few exceptions (chain mail, breastplate) are still acceptable. But once every job requires a different amount of "units", then in all becomes too confusing.

The stocks screen would become next to useless. Now when I have 30 units of cloth, I know I can produce 30 socks or 30 caps or 30 tunics or whatever. If I had 30 metres of cloth, what would that mean? Could I produce 67 socks or 43 caps or 12 tunics or what? I really wouldn't like that! That's making things more complicated... a lot more complicated... for no gain. What of it?  If you really dislike how certain items consume too much material, just let 1 unit of cloth produce 3 socks at the same time, but not the other way around (1 sock consuming 0.33 cloth)!!! Each job consuming 1 unit of material is a rare occasion where DF is streamlined and unified, and I'd love to keep that.

These were just my loud two pences, because I felt you need someone sceptical here  :P But please continue, I won't interrupt no more.

Umm... what?

How would this alter micromanagement in particular? 

I don't know about you, but I tend to view my wood stockpiles in the following fashion: "Is it empty?" (set more people to chop wood) and/or "Is it completely full?" (make sure wood-using jobs are still queued), that's all.

Also, in case you didn't notice, the game already measures thread in the scale of thousands for what it takes to make a single cloth item.  It doesn't particularly mean anything other than that you need several thousand thread to make a single cloth item.
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Tehran

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Re: Volume and Mass
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2010, 11:02:17 pm »

Ah hah! You're wrong on one count. We're not dealing with perfect cubes in Dwarf Fortress - the tiles must be slightly taller - and if you look closely at some of the 3D visualizers, that is how it's done. The dwarves need a floor to walk on from level to level, after all.
So I'd say that we're dealing with 1 or 2 feet of floor, which would make each tile something like 10x10x12 feet.

As for your actual suggestion --- I dunno. If we really had a system like that, it would be amazing. But I fear that too much of the game has been programmed already to backtrack and make these changes.

Also, have you ever noticed that the framerate slows as you mine out more and more rocks? I don't understand that at all, (Do you know why that is?) but I'm worried that the same FPS-killing thing would happen if every single item has its own unique variables of mass, volume, and density.

I think that some of your ideas can be used in the game, though. And some of them already have, sort of.
I haven't played the 2010 version, but aren't cloth and bars now broken up into much smaller numbers? (500 bars in .31 = 1 bar in 40d, right?)

If this same thing - smaller units - could be used for things like wood, trees, stone, jems, etc... I think that would be great... A compromise of sorts between the current system, and the one you propose with fully-fledged volume, mass, and density.
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Volume and Mass
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2010, 08:52:05 am »

Ah hah! You're wrong on one count. We're not dealing with perfect cubes in Dwarf Fortress - the tiles must be slightly taller - and if you look closely at some of the 3D visualizers, that is how it's done. The dwarves need a floor to walk on from level to level, after all.
So I'd say that we're dealing with 1 or 2 feet of floor, which would make each tile something like 10x10x12 feet.

Actually, it's 10 feet with the floor, 8 feet without the floor.

Of course, current DF has floors that are 2-dimensional, as the same amount of water can be held in a floorless cube as a cube with a floor (or whether there is a ceiling above or not).

edit: Specifically, in real-life buildings the standard is to have an 8' ceiling, with 2' of space between floors as insulation, support, etc.  Like I said earlier, dwarves are shorter, but would likely need more ceiling support since they live in caves, so it would probably be 3' of space.  As an added bonus, 10' cubes (or 3 meter cubes) are just plain nice to have as round numbers, and go much better with the nature of how DF calculates distance, where any pathing seems to take exactly the same amount of distance, regardless of direction travelled (horizontal or vertical), which heavily implies both that dwarves have very powerful legs that allow them to traverse up steep slopes or stairwells as if they were flat ground, and that vertical tile distances are equal to horizontal tile distances.

As for your actual suggestion --- I dunno. If we really had a system like that, it would be amazing. But I fear that too much of the game has been programmed already to backtrack and make these changes.

It would be a major change, but not so major as to be impossible.  All materials already have density, and all objects already have a pre-set volume, so that the mass of every object can be displayed.  The change to having the game track objects in terms of mass or volume instead of arbitrary units would not be the terribly huge overhaul you might think it would be.  The big change would be the actually defining tiles to hold a certain volume.

Also, have you ever noticed that the framerate slows as you mine out more and more rocks? I don't understand that at all, (Do you know why that is?) but I'm worried that the same FPS-killing thing would happen if every single item has its own unique variables of mass, volume, and density.

The thing is, stacks of items do not actually alter framerate the way that individual items do:  25 individual crossbow bolts lying on the ground are 25 seperate objects.  A stack of 25 crossbow bolts is 1 item which has a tag that says "there are 25 of this object here".

I think that some of your ideas can be used in the game, though. And some of them already have, sort of.
I haven't played the 2010 version, but aren't cloth and bars now broken up into much smaller numbers? (500 bars in .31 = 1 bar in 40d, right?)

If this same thing - smaller units - could be used for things like wood, trees, stone, jems, etc... I think that would be great... A compromise of sorts between the current system, and the one you propose with fully-fledged volume, mass, and density.

Thing is, I see the compromises as just little nudges in the direction that this suggestion is, which shows that at some level, Toady does want this sort of thing, but where tiny nudges are simply a longer, more painful process of changing one minor thing at a time rather than just gritting your teeth and ripping off the band-aid.



EDIT: Oh, and specifically, the 0.31.x version has had all units of mass be reworked into kilograms.  That is why I am focusing on the metric system - kilograms are already a visible unit of measure in the game, we already have density as an intrinsic part of materials, and we have arbitrarily defined, hardcoded volume for objects, although it is not directly displayed. 

Like I said, the most basic step of this process has already been undertaken.  It is simply a matter of pushing it to its logical conclusion - defining the volume of a tile, as we have already defined the mass, density, and volume of most objects in the game.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2010, 11:29:33 am by NW_Kohaku »
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Volume and Mass
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2010, 11:41:13 am »

Hmm... as an aside, I'm playing around with calculations... humans are supposed to have an average density of about the same as water, which is basically set so that 1kg of water takes up 1 liter of space.  1,000 liters is 1 cubic meter.  Hence, an "average" human of 70 kilos takes up .07 cubic meters of volume.  (Maybe we should be using liters instead of cubic meters, cubic meters are, it turns out, fairly large units.) 

Now, keeping in mind that we have 27 cubic meters of volume in a tile, I wanted to see how large a dragon was...  The average human is rated at having a size of 70,000 units in this game.  Since I was figuring that humans would be about 70 liters, apparently, the apparently unitless measure of size in the raws apparently matches up quite well with milliliters.  Who'da thunk?  Toady must be more into this than I thought.  Now, a dragon, meanwhile, has a size of 25,000,000, which simply reduces to 25 cubic meters.  That's just 2 cubic meters less than the maximum volume of a cubic tile, as I am figuring it, meaning that hypothetically, a dragon can occupy the space of a single tile... provided it scrapes the ceiling, and smashes through any furniture or stockpiles in its way... which granted, does sound like the sort of thing rampaging dragons really SHOULD do.



Edit: MORE playing around with numbers:

OK, for the purposes of making these nice, easy to round numbers, I've basically been going off the assumption of either 10' or 3 meters interchangably.  The actual conversion comes out to 10' = 3.048 m exactly, but for the purposes of making it a nice round number, I'm just saying 3 m.  (There would be no loss of precision if everything in DF were started calculating from metric to begin with, anyway, it's just for the purposes of comparison.)

Now, I've been going over home sizes.  Remember, the basis of my calculation is that this is a cube, and that the size of a side is equal to the average story/floor hight.  Therefore, every 100 square feet of floorspace in a building is the same 1000 cubic feet (not counting ceiling space) we would be talking about as a single cube (although walls would likely not be 10' thick...)

Apparenty, the average US home size has gone from roughly 1500 in the 1970s to about 2000 today.  That means that average modern American homes would be roughly 20 tiles of open space given the metric I am currently using.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2010, 11:57:09 am by NW_Kohaku »
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marcusbjol

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Re: Volume and Mass
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2010, 12:55:16 am »

This is a great idea.

Out of a cow hide, I was able to make:
Leggings,
Arms,
Gauntlets
Lameller armor
Kidney belt

It should not take me 6 cows for this. 

The problem with implementing this with the current systems is the Volume is explicitly undefined.  Dragons and Butterflys are the same size.

Yes, adding this in will create more complexity, but good UI design (something we do not have now) can mitigate this (as in when ordering up copper crossbows, the UI can tell you the max)

« Last Edit: July 13, 2010, 01:05:34 am by marcusbjol »
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Volume and Mass
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2010, 10:30:47 am »

A bit of a change of tone with the edit, hmm?  :P

Ah well, the wiki page on weight shows that there is at least some rudimentary attempts at de facto volume, although it is largely related to the simple thickness of a piece of armor.

Given the bug reports that page links to, these aren't particularly well ironed-out as of yet, like the material stats for various metals were largely dummied out, however.

I could probably go back into the raws, and figure exactly what volumes this implies, but I'll do that a little later.
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marcusbjol

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Re: Volume and Mass
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2010, 11:52:14 am »

Yeah.. my personal rants probably shouldnt be posted. :)

One of my biggest frustrations is that I cannot make an opening to my fort that is big enough for a dwarf, but too small for a dragon.  These volumes will need to account for things that are bigger than one space.
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G-Flex

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Re: Volume and Mass
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2010, 11:55:39 am »

Ah hah! You're wrong on one count. We're not dealing with perfect cubes in Dwarf Fortress - the tiles must be slightly taller - and if you look closely at some of the 3D visualizers, that is how it's done. The dwarves need a floor to walk on from level to level, after all.

Floors in DF are currently treated as infinitesimal. Otherwise, less water would be necessary to fill a given cube.

It's also provable that they're cubic given that distance calculations treat all dimensions equally.

So no.


[pre-emptive edit]
Well, the bit about water was already said, but distance calculations show it to be the case as well.
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Re: Volume and Mass
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2010, 11:57:41 am »

Sure it makes DF a bit more realistic.  But does it improve the game in any other way?  Does it make it more fun?

Such a change would touch just about every aspect of the game, potentially causing bugs in every aspect of the game.  It would also take up a huge portion of Toady's time, which could be spent on better things.  Maybe introduce this in v2.0 
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Re: Volume and Mass
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2010, 11:59:21 am »

On Eternal Suggestion Voting.
Dwarves may make them shorter theoretically, but when we are dealing with stone caves, a little extra ceiling room for buttressing may be a good idea.
Dwarves are not the only ones who matter, anyway. Gotta account for human and other structures.

That's just 2 cubic meters less than the maximum volume of a cubic tile, as I am figuring it, meaning that hypothetically, a dragon can occupy the space of a single tile... provided it scrapes the ceiling
Or it could duck its head down a bit. Anyway, sounds perfect.

Of course tile size won't jive with walking time in fortress mode, but I don't think there is a solution for this. Fortress mode relies on a somewhat disassociated time-distance relationship. Just stating this before someone comes in stating how your system doesn't work because of this. No system can work taking time-distance into account without massive changes to how time flows in fortress mode, it is impossible so no point sweating over it.
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