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Author Topic: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution  (Read 77877 times)

NW_Kohaku

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2011, 07:14:56 pm »

Compared to what I've just been talking about, worms in and of themselves are simple, you just need to have a vermin counter for them.  It's the whole "how do you interact with them" question that I'm putting off.

I'm going to need to do water and pests and animals and fertilizers and crop types and crop rotations and alternate crops and oh yeah, why not, the whole interface for letting players actually deal with all this noise, so I have a lot on my slate for this, but I also have a couple other suggestion trees I want to pursue (Alchemy and Bromance of the Dwarven Kingdoms), which are something of a distraction, since I'm sort of itching to focus more on the new stuff, even though I need to reformat the old because that's the responsible thing that makes my argument actually make sense.

Well, I guess I'll just keep doing what I always do, and just vomit text about whatever the topic du jour might be.  And to think, I actually stayed away from these forums because I knew that coming back would mean I would not have a waking moment I spent on anything besides pounding out ungodly quantities of text!
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Personally, I like [DF] because after climbing the damned learning cliff, I'm too elitist to consider not liking it.
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tsen

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2011, 03:03:34 am »

This was mentioned peripherally, but soil itself could have relatively simple variables, while a farm 'building' could track much more detailed information to preserve memory.
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2011, 12:10:52 pm »

It could, but if you read the "Forestry..." section I just put up, I think it's actually more exciting to have something complex going on, instead.
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Personally, I like [DF] because after climbing the damned learning cliff, I'm too elitist to consider not liking it.
"And no Frankenstein-esque body part stitching?"
"Not yet"

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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2011, 07:06:37 pm »

Water Management is added to the list.

This one was long, and I somewhat surprised myself by how much I wound up talking about, although not as much as the last one.

I also have to wonder why my last update got essentially no response, considering the amount of breadth I just tacked onto the suggestion as a whole.  Did nobody notice I added it?  Should I announce these updates louder?  Or did nobody feel like reading or commenting if they did read?  I certainly was excited when I started going on it.

Well, anyway, these last two should help make very compelling "Fantasy World Simulator" material, as they can make dwarves capable of directly impacting the ecology of the world around them, potentially even giving them an ability to alter the biome, or even terraform their world if given enough motivation to do so.  I'm leaning heavily towards making another section on pollution, which could allow us to really do wonderful and horrible things, like creating smoke-belching smithies just upwind of elven forests so that acid rain falls upon them. 
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Personally, I like [DF] because after climbing the damned learning cliff, I'm too elitist to consider not liking it.
"And no Frankenstein-esque body part stitching?"
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jseah

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2011, 08:04:12 pm »

Or maybe we're just struck speechless by the sheer scale and awesomeness. 

Deliberately turning the landscape around my fort into the harshest desert anyone has ever seen.  ^^
If nature poses a threat, destroy it. 
If the elves pose a threat... no, that's impossible. 

Either way, magma!  It even makes our farms better!

In any case, your water post has a missing bit. 
"having open-air fields with no irrigation methods.  Basically, while-"
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2011, 08:20:33 pm »

Hmm... sometimes, I don't really proofread the long ones.  Plus I'm given to stopping typing mid-sentence when I think of something even better to write, and can't be bothered to finish waiting for my stupid fingers to catch up with my mind.

Right, well, fixing that.

Anyway, the idea of transforming some once-vibrant "good" or "mirthful" forest into our own personal Mordor should probably now be a goal of every DF player to do at least once.  Even better if we can start replacing not just the flora but the fauna in the surrounding environments, as well.

If I keep this up, it isn't going to be so much "Improved Farming" as it is "Improved Worlds Remolded In Our Own Image".

The quotes from the old Boatmurdered and Headshoots tales kind of inspire me, though.  "I've never seen a fortress that so closely resembles post-WWII Germany before."  Before, we could kill every living animal, but plants and vermin were out of reach... now, we can potentially start moving towards the ultimate goal of completely reducing our worlds to a Mars-like barrenness...

In fact, if we find a way to mine the iron out of the magma so that we can gradually deplete the iron core of the planet, we could theoretically reduce the effectiveness of the magnetosphere, allowing solar winds to strip the atmosphere from the planet, literally rendering the planet Mars-like...
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Personally, I like [DF] because after climbing the damned learning cliff, I'm too elitist to consider not liking it.
"And no Frankenstein-esque body part stitching?"
"Not yet"

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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Violate the Earth!
« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2011, 11:08:50 pm »

Minor update, I forgot to put in a sub-section on salt, so I added it in.  This represents the first additional "pollution" variable I'm throwing in for tracking.  I'm thinking of a few others, including toxic organics and toxic heavy metals, but that's for a special "pollution" section that I'll do later.

Since I figure that ecological devastation is more exciting to the average DF player, I'm going to try to hype that up a little more, and see if I can't get a few more people willing to bite and read through this proposal by playing a little more towards the destructive impulses that haunt the minds of all those corrupted by DF. 

Ultimately, utter environmental collapse is a bit of a tough act to top, so I think I'll go back down to the more mundane aspects of crop rotations and fertilizer control or maybe go with swarms of locusts or horrid mushroom blights and other pests, depending on mood.

Hopefully, some day, though, we can discover that "Losing is Fun!" in a wonderful new way when someone reenacts the downfall of the Mayans by managing to completely strip their land of all its nutrients by slash-and-burning everything away, and letting all their soil become useless and barren by soil erosion.
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Personally, I like [DF] because after climbing the damned learning cliff, I'm too elitist to consider not liking it.
"And no Frankenstein-esque body part stitching?"
"Not yet"

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sockless

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Violate the Earth!
« Reply #37 on: January 29, 2011, 11:11:12 pm »

With the water mechanics, one could also bolster their stocks with barrels of water bought from traders, which is a fairly common practice, even in modern times. You could actually extend this to be for fertiliser too, so the traders would bring big sacks of fertiliser and barrels of water if you live in a desert biome. This would be even more essential if you had to use water to brew certain drinks.
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Violate the Earth!
« Reply #38 on: January 29, 2011, 11:28:56 pm »

Thanks for taking the time to read, Sockless, it's nice to see more people willing to do so. (EDIT: Whoops, you already posted in this thread, haha, nevermind, but I still appreciate people reading.  It gets a little lonely if I'm just talking to myself.)

To the meat of it,

Fertilizers would actually be very valuable and certainly worth trading, yes. Many of these things would be uncommon and valuable, plus there is an almost limitless demand for them, so you could make quite a bit of money trading them.

Saltpeter (potassium nitrate) is a fertilizer, and also a prime component of gunpowder.  It can be manufactured with manure and wood ashes (potash), as well as mined (and is in the game already as a stone).  The formula for manufacture was discovered around 1270, so it's time period valid.

There are some stones you can mine for phosphorous (besides saltpeter), but they aren't currently in the game, and they would possibly be outside of dwarven means to refine, anyway.

Potassium can be mined in the form of Sylvite, which is a potassium salt that occurs naturally in rock salt formations.  Sylvite, however, is not just potassium, but also a salt, and as such, will salinate the land as it fertilizes it, which makes it less than ideal, as you just added a nutrient and a poison to the soil at the same time.

Water trading, I would expect, should have some serious premiums charged just based upon the mass of water, as you tend to go through it pretty quickly.  You'd either need a lot of camels, or some pretty serious wagon train to carry enough to make a significant impact on the supply of a fortress for a year.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2011, 11:31:03 pm by NW_Kohaku »
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Personally, I like [DF] because after climbing the damned learning cliff, I'm too elitist to consider not liking it.
"And no Frankenstein-esque body part stitching?"
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Vince7403

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Violate the Earth!
« Reply #39 on: January 30, 2011, 03:33:41 am »

Ground bones contain significant quantities of phosphorus - I've heard the famous French catacombs were raided for bones for this purpose during a farm blight in the 19th century, and while it seems plausible I'm not sure if it's true. Phosphorus can be isolated out of urine but I think it requires 19th century chemistry to do last I checked.

If you're going to be tracking salinity, it may be worth noting that all land-dwelling animals require dietary intake of sodium and potassium in salt form to live. Salt requirements for humans go up when sweating, which is why salt was/is such a big deal in Africa and other hot climates.

Of course, this is more along the lines of Dwarven Nutrition than Improved Farming. Perhaps salt requirements could go in around the same time as the game starts tracking whether your dwarves are getting complete protein... which would mean you could no longer survive on an all alcohol diet, sadly.
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jseah

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Violate the Earth!
« Reply #40 on: January 30, 2011, 05:27:54 am »

RE: watering crops & irrigation

I think a good way to model this would be to have soil retain a drainage value as well. 
1/7 or higher water flowing over a tile would only max out the water stat as long as it was there.  After leaving, the soil should slowly "leak" water into the tiles around, above and below it depending on the drainage value. 
 - Specifically, I think there should be three drainage values.  One for sideways, one for up and one for downwards. 
 - In terms of units, 0 water is 0 water, and 255 water = 1/7
 - I'm not sure how that will be resolved since you can't divide 1/7 into 255 units and retain the data when it goes somewhere else
 - One way is to make 1/7 = 50 water and only absorb the 1/7 if the water value is <205.  This would make soil absorb ALOT of water and imply a square size of only a few feet on the side. 
 - The more complex way would be to give them another variable called absorption which goes from 0 to 255.  This is the maximum water the tile will hold.  With 1/7 water = 50, if the water value would go over the absorption value if the tiles takes up 1/7 water, it doesn't take up the water.  Similarly, if the water value goes over the absorption value from drainage from surrounding tiles, it spawns 1/7 water and loses 50 water value.  (you could model aquifers that way, by making aquifer layers have absorption and drainage, but that would mean allowing this to work in soil and rock walls, which the only way to get water into them is percolation from above, downwards drainage)

A stone floor has no soil and would have 0% drainage for sideways and upwards but 100% for downwards (default for any tile not a soil tile)
The drainage value indicates the difference in water values a tile will retain with it's neighbours without leaking water. 

So a tile A with 100 water next to a 70 water tile B would drain water until the difference was less than the drainage value. 
30% drainage on tile A would mean A holds on the water and doesn't drain (70 is within 30% of 100)
20% drainage on tile A would mean A loses 10 water to tile B (80 is within 20% of 100)
This could happen slowly, every "week" or so maybe. 

It would also solve the irrigation problem if high water soil in an irrigation ditch could drain water into the surrounding farm tiles and those would drain further inwards. 

Draining downwards is optional.  Essentially that's the potential for a roof to leak water.  Stone doesn't leak but soil and sand floors will.  The leakage of water to the floor below might not take it to 255. 

I realize this is rather CPU intensive.  Someone feel free to simplify it.  I'm just throwing out my thoughts here. 
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AngleWyrm

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Violate the Earth!
« Reply #41 on: January 30, 2011, 09:38:28 am »

Possibly the number one problem with farming is it's poorly scaled productivity. It's a significant reason why the farming projects are a 'front-loaded' gaming experience. Just set up a couple 5x5 plots early on, and you're set for the remainder of the game. The sheer volume of food rolling off the fields is enough to take care of a full 200-dwarf fortress without further expansion. And that's even before considering butcherable animals, fishing, hunting and gathering.

A single 5x5 plot can be well tended by two farmers. If the entire game requires only two such plots, then only four farmers are needed out of the 200 end-game dwarves. A little reverse-engineering is in order, to design a richer employment for the dwarves, across the full length of the game. Instead of only four farmers out of two hundred dwarves, consider as a stable production target a percentage of maybe 1 in 5 dwarves employed as farmers. That would mean about 40 farmers at end-game, a ten-fold increase in employment.

This could be achieved by reducing the amount of crops harvested each season, increasing the growing time and/or increasing the amount of food/drink consumed by dwarves in a sitting.

A second reason why the farming aspect of the game is a front-loaded experience is the inclusion of an expensive irrigation phase to planning a farming plot. Currently they must be carved out near a surface lake that is the appropriate size, or a river must be tapped and directed through a floodgate to the site. Removing the overhead would encourage later expansion efforts. And a good way to do that would be to allow irrigation with buckets of water.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2011, 10:07:17 am by AngleWyrm »
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Violate the Earth!
« Reply #42 on: January 30, 2011, 10:30:45 am »

Things on bones and salinity

Ground bones is already pencilled in as the "primary phosphorous source", especially since most other rotting matter is decent in Nitrogen and Potassium, but not Phosphorous.  I'm not sure that people would actually perform long-distance trading of ground bones, though, maybe just regular bones, since they are more versitile materials, and can be used in bone crafts if un-ground.

As for salinity in the diet, yes, I was thinking of that, as well, and may do a full bit on nutrition, since talking about nutrition was a way to make farming more interesting, as well.  (Salty diet means salty urine, which means salty fields if you apply urine directly to the fields as a fertilizer?) 

One of the problems, especially when I start talking about animals and the need to feed them, is that we're going to need to start making animals eat different amounts based upon their masses (and potentially metabolisms).  Elephants and hoary marmots would currently eat the same quantity of food if we don't make creatures start needing to eat more than one unit of food per meal.  Part of my suggestion was that we just start multiplying the amount of food dwarves eat up to some arbitrary number like 6 (because of their size), and that way, a single tile of farm's harvest of 1 to 5 units of food, which makes farmer skill have unrealistically huge impacts upon food production, and we can move towards something where a farm tile of 3x3 might produce between 15 and 30 units of food per harvest, which would feed 2.5 to 5 dwarves with 9 times as much land.

Nutritional requirements might also do interesting things to help encourage farming diversity, as well, although it may not be as necessary, eventually.  I'm already doing plenty to encourage diversity in what crops you plant, from crop rotations and pests.

RE: watering crops & irrigation

Really starting to suck you into it, now, isn't it?

I was thinking of a drainage value, although it was more to repesent the needs of different plants, since my research on different crops from around the world frequently mentioned the need for such-and-such a drainage.  Relating drainage to water loss would be another good, if somewhat complex, method of intigrating it into the whole.

As for how much water soil can hold, well... different soils will hold different amounts of water in real life, and it's based upon the amount of biomass in the soil, although making the maximum size of one variable dependent upon another variable is just too freaky a system even for DF.  For now, let's just say that something like how many units of soil nutrient water that 1/7 map water will translate into is a "calibration" problem, one that can be determined after we have had a chance to look at how the whole system operates, and can fine-tune to something that makes the whole thing operate sensibly, since it's just a single variable that can be easily altered to suit the needs of making things "look right". There's also no problem with having 1/7 map water make up 127 nutrient water or 100 map water or anything else.

I'm not sure having three entirely separate variables for measuring the direction water seeps is justified, however, as I'm not sure how we could properly model upward or downward seepage all that well, unless we're going to have something specifically about refilling aquifers by having seepage or something like capilary action forcing groundwater to the surface.  (Unless by "upwards drainage" you mean evaporation?) 

Having water filter downwards and create or refil aquifers and caverns through that method might be interesting, although I would have to spend some serious time thinking through the exact mechanics of making that work properly.  At first, I was having trouble thinking of ways in which the player could interact with such a mechanic so that it would make any difference if we were using it as opposed to just abstracting aquifers refilling automatically, but if dwarves pave over enough open soil that allows water to permeate and refill the aquifer, you could potentially start causing even more overdrafting problems.  Such a thing is possible, but aquifers are generally large enough that I'm not sure fortress mode would have the capability to significantly impact that the way that you can make the patch of land you can actually reach turn into a desert.
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Personally, I like [DF] because after climbing the damned learning cliff, I'm too elitist to consider not liking it.
"And no Frankenstein-esque body part stitching?"
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Silverionmox

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #43 on: January 30, 2011, 10:40:06 am »

This was mentioned peripherally, but soil itself could have relatively simple variables, while a farm 'building' could track much more detailed information to preserve memory.
I'd rather think of the field as tool for organizing labour spatially. After all, a field is not a building, and the only reason it's different from its surroundings is because there are particular jobs being performed, continuously, that change it.

In the game, designating a field could resemble designating a burrow. You would then be able to issue and schedule various orders to that area, like plowing, removing boulders, cutting trees, corral animals, keep P content at level x, keep moisture at level y, etc.

This has the advantage that we only need to have one interface tool for the whole spectrum of soil-related activities (forestry, animal husbandry, farming). This is useful because you can then issue the order of "cut all trees of age 0 and higher" and "harvest all plants at age 0 except x,y,z " to a new field, and the dwarves will cut it clear, and keep it clear of any unwanted plants in the future too. A forestry operation needs exactly the same command. One could change the function of a field on a whim. Another example: schedule animals to be pastured in a field after the harvest, ensuring the field is fertilized with dung.
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Violate the Earth!
« Reply #44 on: January 30, 2011, 10:53:29 am »

Yes, the more I play around with the concept of having farms as "zones", the more idea of just turning farms into patches of soil you've decided to manually manipulate really makes sense.

A "weed" is just a grass that you didn't want to grow on your farm that grows there because you didn't keep it out, and a farmer has to go and pluck it to let the crops you wanted to grow there grow there.  A "weed" might actually even be a useful crop in its own right, like a prickle berry.  Your own unnaturally introduced crops thanks to trade may become an invasive species in the local landscape because your farms are just wild soil you aren't actively managing.

Herbalism might just have its lines blurred with Farming with regards to "harvesting" activities.

There are some things to consider, however, as we will need some way of being clearer about being able to tell dwarves to completely sweep a given area clean of soil, and not mopping up the farm.

We also need to have some kind of good way to be able to lump zones of soil together for tracking purposes, or else we'll have to track soil on a per-tile basis, which can be very problematic if we let soil cover huge tracts of land on multiple z-levels in embarks wherever water happens to flood a large fortress.  If we have several variables with large variable sizes, it could hit many megabytes of data.
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Personally, I like [DF] because after climbing the damned learning cliff, I'm too elitist to consider not liking it.
"And no Frankenstein-esque body part stitching?"
"Not yet"

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