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Author Topic: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution  (Read 75573 times)

NW_Kohaku

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Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« on: January 27, 2011, 03:32:46 am »

To start from the broadest objective, and work inward, the purpose of this thread is to create a well-formatted, organized proposal to solve a tricky problem in what Dwarf Fortress currently lacks as a game, and how I believe I have found a way to correct these problems. 

Note: For the sake of your sanity and eyesight, I reccomend cranking page zoom up to at least 150%, if not 200%, to make the text a little easier to read, and leaning back a bit and relaxing.  Smoke 'em if you got 'em, this is a long series of posts.

Oh crap! This thing hits the character cap for several posts?!  Screw that, give me the tl;dr version!

Just click HERE for the tl;dr version!  Please comment on the pictures!  Tell me what is confusing, what you don't like, and what you think is easy to understand!

The original thread can be found here, however, the reason that this thread had to be created is that the arguments I am going to outline start to really take off after about 20 pages of text, and continue for about 25 pages after that.  (The major idea that this whole thread revolves around starts on page 31, however.) People quite understandably did not want to have to slog through the entire evolution of the idea when it took place over essentially a hundred pages worth of text just as a means of entry to the argument. 

I also want to say that, although what I am advocating for is "my idea" or "my vision" or whatever pretentious label might be slapped on it by myself or others, I want to recognize that there are dozens of people whose ideas I pondered over and built upon in creating this.  Not just the likes of Silverionmox or Draco18s, who came up with the basis of this idea, but also the many people I argued with, some of which quite heatedly, and in threads in different forums.  I remember that at least one person (I'm sorry, I can't recall who, exactly because I'd have to track down what thread had that particular argument to find out,) had felt that I was not listening to the arguments that were arising around what I was advocating.  This is not only not true, it was actually the arguments against what I was proposing that did the most to build its later, better-thought-out forms.  Argument, even heated argument, is a powerful force for creation, as there is no better way to find the weaknesses of your ideas than to expose it to your harshest critics, and see what portions of your ideas stand on their own, and what gets holes punched into it.  Unfortunately, this person felt I was ignoring him or her because I was pointing him/her back to a previous argument and response session, as I felt it was a topic already covered, and that I had already responded to his/her arguments.  This is why this reboot is necessary, to make clear what I am (and am not) arguing for. 



The Problem:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



Physiocracy:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



The Solution (guidelines):
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



Ecological Diversity and Underground Ecology:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



Choices
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



The rest of this is to be continued over the next several posts, due to the limit of a mere 40,000 characters.  I'm going to leave several of these posts blank for placeholders to fill in later on.  I know it's a bit of the poor organization I'm trying to avoid to do this, but I have literally worked on this post so far all afternoon, and kind of just want to get something put up on the board at this point, and will backfill the details later.  For now, I want the general idea up.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 02:05:17 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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Improved Farming
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2011, 03:33:13 am »

Urine and Feces  (or more specifically, decomposition and rot):
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



Forestry, Wild Soil, Soil Erosion, and Ecological Damage
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 10:15:15 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?"
"Not yet"

Improved Farming
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2011, 03:33:48 am »

NPK soil nutrients
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



Water Management
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 08:26:59 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?"
"Not yet"

Improved Farming
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2011, 03:34:14 am »

Pests, Wildlife, and Invasive Species
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



Fertilizers
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



Pollutants
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



Alternative Farming and Living Resources



Livestock



Cross-Culture Agriculture



Plant Growth and Farming Skill



Advanced NPK, Crop Rotation, and Polycultures



Xenosynthesis



Nutrition Models



Food Webs



Animal House



Farming Water
« Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 01:56:42 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?"
"Not yet"

Improved Farming
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2011, 03:34:36 am »

The tl;dr Version:

The reason this thread is long is because it is arguing for why most simple solutions do not actually address all of these problems, and why a marginally more in-depth solution is needed.  Specifically:

Spoiler: The solutions proposed (click to show/hide)

"But what do I actually do as a Player?"
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Pretty Pictures:
Spoiler: Plot Viewer Window (click to show/hide)
Spoiler: Plot Zoner Window (click to show/hide)
Spoiler: Scheduler Window (click to show/hide)
Spoiler: Improvements Window (click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 10:38:05 am 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?"
"Not yet"

Improved Farming
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2011, 03:34:52 am »

Fortress Interface (the how it could operate part)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Adventurer Interface:

Common concerns and questions:

"But how much FPS cost will this have?  Temperature is already a big drain on FPS, and this will require more calculations on tiles!"
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



This suggestion's relation to other suggestions:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: August 08, 2016, 07:41:57 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?"
"Not yet"

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Max White

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2011, 05:08:01 am »

Oh god, wall of text, It blinds me! Ah well, it must be read!
Wait, you mean to say in the origenal thread, people went so far as to say 'Just go play harvest moon if you want more farming'? For shame! Do people not know that complexity and depth are the heart of DF? Rest assured, there is nothing 'undwarfy' about being up for a greater challenge. It is in the spirt of the dwarf to face things larger then itself, as so many things are.

Well all in all a very compelling thread, and sad to say I agree with just about all points I have read. Boring, arn't I? Although on the topic of numbers and FPS, making a value for every squair to keep track of minerals has FPS lag potential. Instead, I propose that each farm plot have it's own value. You can't farm off a farm plot, so values for that land would be irrelevant.

Reading your thread, I had thoughts of a water flood chamber, to irrigate my farms, hooked up to a pressure plate at the bottem of a lake that dries up and floods from season to season, therefor making a repeater that goes on a yearly rotation. Truely, this is a dwarfs suggestion.

Spamyouhou

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2011, 05:55:03 am »

I have found the different ideas you've posted so far very compelling (Yes, I did read the entirety of your post !).
I usually play DF in short bursts and can't force myself to play the game once I have passed the point where my fortress is set up , and making farming a more important and challenging part of a large fortress (instead of just being a temporary annoyance at the beginning) would definitely renew my interest in DF.

In my opinion, what's really important when talking about improving farming is making it more complex without turning it into a huge micromanagement fest. That's why an intuitive and simple yet powerful interface to deal with the repetitive stuff (somewhat like the military interface even though it can be improved too) is needed. It should be easy to automate harvesting, planting, fertilizing etc so that the overseer can focus on decision making and planning a long term strategy.

Also, I believe there is also a need for animals to have bigger impact on the environment. Right now, it's possible to have 100+ animals (not counting the wild ones) running around without any effect on your fortress (except for lag, of course). They should affect the running of a fort both in a negative (they require a lot of food) and a positive way (they get rid of pests and weeds, produce some material for fertilizer, and maybe are the only source of meat if few caravans are able to reach your fort).

Anyway, I am really eager to see what Toady is going to do when he decides to take care of the `Farming improvement` part on the dev page.
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Kattaroten

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2011, 06:06:58 am »

I like all of your ideas, except the one about the research menu... Research should only be incorporated in the game if it is in a way that fits the dwarf fortress theme better then a tech tree. Because i mean, who likes tech trees?
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Dwarf Fortress: You have a team of hundreds working for four years to make a game where you save the world again. We have one guy for four years make a near-infinite world generator, write the physics,generate histories,form detailed descriptions of every human, elf, dwarf, and goblin generated, caverns, and huge randomly generated monsters made out of who knows what. You. guys. suck.

NW_Kohaku

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2011, 11:09:16 am »

It's always nice to see responses, especially for something I spent an entire day writing, just because it can always be intimidating.  That I actually get positive responses is better still.  Thank you guys for taking the time to read all this (and hopefully the parts I'm going to attach on in subsequent updates).

Anyway, I had problems in the last iteration of this discussion partly because people were not seeing "the whole picture", as it were, but arguing against individual parts because I was involved in long arguments about those specific parts, and people thought I was only proposing a single piece, without seeing the whole machine, as it were.  And trying to point someone to a disorganized 46-page thread riddled with what basically amounts to the same argument going back and forth didn't get too many takers willing to read that much, so it basically wound up being the same people who had actually been reading the thread all along versus everyone else. 

Worse, it was like I was in a catch 22 - if I talked about parts being made more complex, then I was "drowning players in complexity", if I talked about having parts of it automated, then I was "making a pointless mechanic if players don't use it, anyway". 

So, basically, I want to front-load the really pie-in-the-sky abstracts in this new argument.  The details down in the mud are what I'm trying to build down to.  The last thread basically worked in reverse of this method, starting with discussions on how to make interesting or realistic mechanics, and then trying to put an overarching theme or idea on top of that to make the pieces make sense in the context of one another, while growing in complexity.

Anyway, I'm worried I didn't reserve enough space for everything, even with five consecutive posts.  My first post was split into two because it goes over the "mere" 40,000 character (11 pages in a text editor) limit for one post.

I'm thinking maybe to just use that "Implimentation" list tree as an actual table of contents, and linking the headers to individual posts with certain explanations if I really need more tl;dr space for some of this.

Anyway, up next, I wanted to post some "frequently argued rebuttals", then go into the arguments for certain things like maybe urine and feces, before going into the real nuts and bolts, so that only someone who has slogged through most of the abstract argument gets to the details.

Although on the topic of numbers and FPS, making a value for every squair to keep track of minerals has FPS lag potential. Instead, I propose that each farm plot have it's own value. You can't farm off a farm plot, so values for that land would be irrelevant.

Having every tile track individual soil stats technically wouldn't cause FPS lag unless it actually managed to take up all your standard memory, and forced the computer to use Virtual RAM, it would instead just take up a lot more memory.  FPS lag is caused by pathfinding - if a dwarf wants to path to a stone to use in some process, the game currently calls upon a chart of every stone in the entire embark, and measures distance from dwarf to material for every single stone in the embark.  That takes up FPS.  If it's just a number for measuring what will grow there, then it shouldn't have many FPS problems.

That said, literally putting in a soil quality measurement of every tile on the map would blow up your computer's memory, no question.  Instead, I think that something that tracks "wild soil" by embark tile-shaped zones and possibly elevation (differentiating surface from cavern, and layers of cavern from one another) where only tiles that have some sort of "soil" or "muddy" contaminant on their floor would be a more memory-efficient means of tracking things.  Every tile is just averaged into the overall larger pool of nutrients that is shared across a large region of the map.

This could potentially carry over into farm tiles, as well, where an entire "farm plot" of as many as 100 tiles (but probably more like 10) can use the same data, but this would need some sort of sanity checking to make sure that you aren't just dumping fertilizer and water only on the one closest tile, and ignoring the others.

If we are talking about a farm plot of 10 tiles that has a nitrogen level of 100 out of 255, and it needs to be at least 120 at all times for a plant, and a single unit of ammonia adds 20 nitrogen per tile, and you can have a bucket with up to 10 ammonia, then you can carry 200 points of nitrogen in a single bucket, and it will be divided by 10 tiles, for a total of +20 nitrogen to the whole farm plot's nitrogen score.

I like all of your ideas, except the one about the research menu... Research should only be incorporated in the game if it is in a way that fits the dwarf fortress theme better then a tech tree. Because i mean, who likes tech trees?

It's something I have some mixed feelings on, to be honest, but I think it can be rigged into a more interesting system if we can mix it with some procedural development. 

I'm well aware that players aren't likely to even be playing a game long enough to have serious development of new varieties of selectively bred crops on their own.  What I'm arguing for is that the game procedurally develops new selectively bred "superior versions" of some crop or another, based upon the history of the world.  This means that humans might have special forms of more productive wheat for trade than the wild wheat you might get from herbalism, and these would be different every time. 

Honestly, I'm not big on tech trees in general, myself, but Andeerz was really selling them a few months ago, as part of a way to have procedural growth of different races, and means of having trading of technologies and ideas to make one generated game become substantially different from another game.  It wouldn't be something that you could really build through very much in the span of time that players are making their forts, but it would be something that made worlds different more than just in terms of geology and a giant record in the "history" section of who killed what.



(And even my response is tl;dr... maybe this is getting to be some sort of clinical problem?)
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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"

Improved Farming
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FGK dwarf

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2011, 02:50:57 pm »

A very well-thought-out post, in my opinion [I should probably say I've not read the original thread]. Certainly farming needs a big overhaul. Some thoughts:

That said, literally putting in a soil quality measurement of every tile on the map would blow up your computer's memory, no question.  Instead, I think that something that tracks "wild soil" by embark tile-shaped zones and possibly elevation (differentiating surface from cavern, and layers of cavern from one another) where only tiles that have some sort of "soil" or "muddy" contaminant on their floor would be a more memory-efficient means of tracking things.  Every tile is just averaged into the overall larger pool of nutrients that is shared across a large region of the map.

Soil quality need only be tracked for tiles that actually have soil, which won't be many (basically the surface, subsurface soil layers, and the caverns--farming on stone shouldn't be possible without moving soil from elsewhere. A 4x4 embark with 3 caverns, surface and say 4 subsurface soil layers would have (3+1+4)x4x4x48x48 = 300,000 tiles. If you want 4 bytes of data for each tile (water, nitrogen, phosporous and potassium) that's only an extra megabyte of RAM.

Maybe soil acidity could be introduced too? It could be changed by the application of lime.

Subterranean ecosystems could semi-plausibly be powered by:
1) decaying organic debris, whether brought in by your dwarves or washed in through the underground river system--this would make caves with no water pretty sterile, which is quite realistic.
2) Chemotrophs or lithotrophs--organisms that build organic matter out of inorganic (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemotroph and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithotroph). These might require special conditions such as the presence of particular rocks or hot vents (maybe proximity to magma?)

I like the idea of ramping up farming complexity as population grows. The early Plump Helmet Logs would be the dwarven equivalent of slash-and-burn agriculture, which can support a small number of people for a few years before the soil becomes depleted and they have to move on.
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aka010101

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2011, 03:18:23 pm »

Okay, The wall of text, as overwhelming as it was to read, has some truly awesome ideas, but one of the things that really grabbed me was one of the parts of kohaku's reply.
Quote
I'm well aware that players aren't likely to even be playing a game long enough to have serious development of new varieties of selectively bred crops on their own.  What I'm arguing for is that the game procedurally develops new selectively bred "superior versions" of some crop or another, based upon the history of the world.  This means that humans might have special forms of more productive wheat for trade than the wild wheat you might get from herbalism, and these would be different every time.
While i really like the idea of selectively breeding crops, i think it should be a bit more complex than that. Instead of having a single 'better' type of crop, should be different traits you can give it, such as how hardy it is, how fast it grows, and so on. This could also tie into the raws of the plants themselves, having certian traits for growth rate, nutritional needs, ect.
My other thought on this is while procedural advancement is fine for the AI civilizations, when it's a player controlled civ, i think you should have a bit more control, such as ordering your farmers to breed, say.. maybe a faster growing strain of pig tails for example. Then perhaps randomize it, so you may end up with a strain that's just faster growing, or maybe faster growing but a bit more adapted to your exact ecosystem, making it harder to export. Or perhaps you get something else, as accidental discoveries happen occasionally. But, as the player, i feel you should have some say in the direction of reasearch , but perhaps that's an argument for another thread.
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FGK dwarf

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2011, 03:52:45 pm »

...
While i really like the idea of selectively breeding crops, i think it should be a bit more complex than that. Instead of having a single 'better' type of crop, should be different traits you can give it, such as how hardy it is, how fast it grows, and so on. This could also tie into the raws of the plants themselves, having certian traits for growth rate, nutritional needs, ect.
My other thought on this is while procedural advancement is fine for the AI civilizations, when it's a player controlled civ, i think you should have a bit more control, such as ordering your farmers to breed, say.. maybe a faster growing strain of pig tails for example. Then perhaps randomize it, so you may end up with a strain that's just faster growing, or maybe faster growing but a bit more adapted to your exact ecosystem, making it harder to export. Or perhaps you get something else, as accidental discoveries happen occasionally. But, as the player, i feel you should have some say in the direction of reasearch , but perhaps that's an argument for another thread.

Well, actually this might work quite well without player input, just by natural selection. Plants that grow quicker will get harvested more frequently; plants better suited to dry conditions will produce more seeds when you try to grow them in an arid biome. The player will get more seeds out of these than the standard varieties available at embark, so they will in time come to dominate the pool of seeds available for planting.

(This assumes the plant traits can be passed on genetically, which I believe is already possible for animals...?)

If you wanted more player input, you might actively set up a farm that's slightly under-watered, and segregate the seeds from that to get successively more drought hardy crops. Or you might set aside all seeds that were harvested early in the season (might be difficult to manage though) to pick out the fast growers.

I think I'd prefer something like that than a general order to your planters/herbalists/whatever the plant-breeder profession will be to "breed for better X". It would be more fiddly to manage, but would really be a small perk, so if you don't want to bother with it then it can be ignored. If you had a "breed for better X" order, it would be trivial to just tell the Dorfs to do it and reap the benefit for no real effort.
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Uristocrat

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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2011, 03:52:45 pm »

I occurs to me that a lot of effort could be saved (and two long-standing requests could be commingled) by having dwarves take their potty breaks on site, in the fields.

Could also let us compost all those useless body parts that are hard to get rid of.
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Re: Improved Farming, Rebooted: Agricultural Revolution
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2011, 03:53:32 pm »

And trying to point someone to a disorganized 46-page thread riddled with what basically amounts to the same argument going back and forth didn't get too many takers willing to read that much, so it basically wound up being the same people who had actually been reading the thread all along versus everyone else. 
I read the whole thread.  Took me AGES.  Witnessed the enlightenment, almost. 

It's understandable why not many people wished to read the whole thing. 

Subscribed.  Can you bump this whenever you make a substantial update?
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