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Author Topic: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom  (Read 23908 times)

Newbunkle

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2011, 06:34:02 am »

This guy sounds like a complete tool.

I don't really have the time for an in-depth discussion or a paragraph-by-paragraph breakdown of the article, but most of it is simply nonsense. A couple of things stood out though, like these:

Quote
There is nothing wrong with society at all. Society, like family and friends, comes not from artificial construction of some architect but is the natural flow of life.

Completely ass-backwards. Society today is very heavily manipulated to produce a certain result. What we have now is not the natural order of anything.

Quote
The Dwarf Fortress creators should be living like Saudi Kings.


No, nobody should be living like Saudi Kings. Nobody... Wait, forget it. I can't be bothered to explain.

Oh god, I can't even remember which other bit I was going to quote. It's just horrible. Horrible!
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Egon

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2011, 06:57:24 am »

To be honest, before I go into some rambling tirade- I've not slept in about 40 or so hours. so if I don't make much sense, I make my apologies in advance.

It seems to me, over the course of the article, the the writer is mad or disappointed in Toady because he opted to *not* make Dwarf fortress into a commercial game as most games are today, and instead elects to maintain sole control in terms of direction of the game.

This, of course, is fine by me- for a few reasons. Primarily, because, time and again, it seems, gaming companies will elect to make a game appeal to a wider audience in order to make more money, and compromise the game itself for that. To be blunt- how many of you, here and now, Honestly believe that, even with a few changes (specifically, a cleaned up UI, as I often hear complained about), Dwarf fort would appeal to most gamers? Especially considering it's complexity, difficulty, and lack of a 'win' condition (other than such as are set by the player- for example, I feel I've 'won' when my fortress is self-sustaining, defended against all attackers, and capable of doing whatever megaproject I set before it) This is to say nothing of a lack of graphics, multiplayer capability, achievements (Boo, hisssss), or measurable (for give the phrase) method of wagging e-peen at other players (since saying, well, MY fort has 50 steel and adamantine equipped champions means nothing when the other guy opted to just use traps and magma).

If it seems i have a rather dim view of most gamers- it's because I do. again, my apologies.

To be honest, I, frankly, admire toady for what he's been able to do- he's living a lifestyle he's comfortable with, doing what he wants to do. I sure as heck can't claim the same thing. Making the game into a commercial venture would be disastrous, in my opinion- just because, if it was kept in it's current state, most average players would reject it, and in a commercially-successful format, it'd be, at best, a pale shadow of what it is right now. Honestly, I find the challenge of setting up a fort that survives the first few years fun, because the challenges involved are usually different (such as the first time I met honey badgers... my god)

again, sorry for the length of the rant. Short version, i guess boils down to: the guy's wrong on most points. Does Toady deserve more money? yes. and as soon as my paycheck goes in, I'll be doing my part to see he gets a bit more. But should Toady compromise his vision for dwarf fort to make it a commercial game? emphatically no. Dwarf fortress has a good guy at the controls, and since he's the only guy there, we can figure the game will continue to be good.

Now, back to that High pressure magma vulcan cannon. also: need more coffee.

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Gatleos

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2011, 07:24:56 am »

Just give this guy his own show and a chalkboard and he'll be the Glenn Beck of video game commentary.

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If they emotionally accept the ethical goodness of creating customers, their fortunes will immediately reverse.
What the... hell...
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EvilCartyen

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2011, 08:53:33 am »

I dunno, I think the man has a point. There's nothing wrong with turning a profit. I would gladly pay for DF, provided that the payment scheme was sensible with regard to future updates, and I felt that I got good value for my money. I actually prefer that model over the donation model.
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Sutremaine

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2011, 09:32:57 am »

I honestly have no idea what this guy is talking about because he uses "society" to mean both 'any form of society' and 'modern society', and I can't tell which of his Industrial / Financial / Academic concepts 'modern society' refers to.

Quote
Academic education, which was very important in the Industrial Era, is becoming less and less important today.
I did enjoy how he stressed this point with all of his grammar mistakes.
I don't see any grammar mistake there...
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Sunday

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2011, 10:17:20 am »

I dunno, I think the man has a point. There's nothing wrong with turning a profit. I would gladly pay for DF, provided that the payment scheme was sensible with regard to future updates, and I felt that I got good value for my money. I actually prefer that model over the donation model.

Toady is turning a profit, though. And, personally, I do pay for DF—I've paid more for DF than I have for any other video/computer game, ever. I've also played DF more than I have any other video/computer game.

I think a more "traditional" game design philosophy would hurt DF.

Right now, Toady is at a point where he is living comfortably without having to worry about day-to-day life/rent/etc. He can spend all day doing development, as well as programming.

If he changed to a more traditional model—selling Dwarf Fortress, and running a programming team with other people—he wouldn't be able to do that. To run such a team, he'd have to figure out what needed to be done, he'd have to organize people, figure out who should be doing what, and make sure they're doing it correctly. As well as figure out how to correctly pay people, make sure the company isn't doing anything illegal, etc. There is a ton of purely logistical stuff in running even an informal, not-for-profit project, let alone developing a for-profit computer game.

Frankly, running a project—even a project with only 5-6 other people—is something that takes a particular sort of skill. I'm not sure that Toady's strengths lie in that arena. He's a great programmer, and Zach and he seem to have figured out how to efficiently put out a plan for DF, but running a group of people is entirely different from the current arrangement. Right now, he's able to make pretty fast progress (albeit never as fast as parts of the DF community would like) doing things on his own.

Why change something that, thus far, seems to be working pretty damn well? DF is routinely called the most complicated game ever created, and it has a dedicated (and steadily growing) group of players.
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gumball135

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2011, 12:09:15 pm »

I honestly have no idea what this guy is talking about because he uses "society" to mean both 'any form of society' and 'modern society', and I can't tell which of his Industrial / Financial / Academic concepts 'modern society' refers to.

Quote
Academic education, which was very important in the Industrial Era, is becoming less and less important today.
I did enjoy how he stressed this point with all of his grammar mistakes.
I don't see any grammar mistake there...
Burned is implying that the article writer's horrible grammar emphasises his own point, that education is becoming less important. He wasn't actually picking that as an example of the bad grammar.

That said, I read about 2 paragraphs from that article and left it. Not in the mood for crazy rants.
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Rafal99

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2011, 03:45:00 pm »

This guy writes like if ultimate aim of everyone's life was to make the biggest amount of money possible. Which is an obvious bullshit.
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nil

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2011, 04:19:09 pm »

I read the first couple paragraphs and went off to take a shower, figuring I'd come back, read the whole thing, and get into an interesting discussion about profit motives, workplace freedom and artistic integrity.  Post-cleansing, I found out that the first couple paragraphs already say pretty much everything this dude has to say.  Most glaring was the absence of any explanation of what "financial education" is (I assume longtime readers would be more familiar with the concept, but I looked around for some kind of FAQ or links to important background posts in vain) and any sort of prescriptive advice.  Without that, the only vibe I can derive is of some sort of low-rate "Thomas Friedman of video games."

Side note:  I play plenty of video games, but Toady is the first designer to get my money about a decade.  Bay12's model is pirate-proof and always will be, a claim only the MMOs can share.

Nil Eyeglazed

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2011, 04:23:19 pm »

I think Malstrom totally missed the point of what Toady was saying.

There are plenty of game designers that are pursuing multi-million dollar businesses, that bend their will to the customer, that see gameplay only in terms of what provides monetary value, either in terms of direct monetization (paid subscription model et al.) or in terms of what will sell their game via word of mouth.

There's nothing wrong with that, but the model and motivation of a game designer has an effect on the kind of game that designer makes.  Since the name of the game in business is volume, wealth-seeking game design leads to games that appeal to everyone.

The problem is, not everyone is the same.  I like sushi, my sister doesn't, but we both like burritos well enough.  So should we just eat burritos all the time?

DF is a perfect example of how innovative and unique game design can most easily be reached by eschewing the goals and trappings of commercial game design.  DF isn't appealing to everyone.  It doesn't bother trying to appeal to everyone.  Instead, it tries to appeal to only a small subset of gamers, and in doing so, it ends up being a much more enjoyable game to that subset than a commercial, lowest-common-denominator game would be.

It's like Malstrom thinks that somehow there can be sufficient diversity in games without any diversity in motivation or business model, and I don't think that's true.

I'm sorry that DF is almost the game that Malstrom wants to play, but not quite.  I can empathize.  There are a lot of games I feel that way about, and it can be hard.
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Max White

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2011, 04:31:40 pm »

This is what happens when a businessmen plays computer games... Toady could sell he's works for a lot of money, but he does not for a very simple reason. From what I have been led to believe, making DF makes Toady happy, so what else does he need?

The real tragedy of dwarf fortress is that few will ever know it's splendour, not any fiscal value behind the game itself. When a games writer can not tell the game from the profits, they are not doing a very good job.

Audioworm333

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2011, 05:13:05 pm »

This man is indeed a dumbass. He's apparently saying Toady sucks for just making a freeware game and not selling it. Nothing is wrong with that. I find Max White's view on this very insightful.
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KFK

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2011, 05:36:48 pm »

Toady is turning a profit, though. And, personally, I do pay for DF—I've paid more for DF than I have for any other video/computer game, ever. I've also played DF more than I have any other video/computer game.

I think a more "traditional" game design philosophy would hurt DF.

Right now, Toady is at a point where he is living comfortably without having to worry about day-to-day life/rent/etc. He can spend all day doing development, as well as programming.

If he changed to a more traditional model—selling Dwarf Fortress, and running a programming team with other people—he wouldn't be able to do that. To run such a team, he'd have to figure out what needed to be done, he'd have to organize people, figure out who should be doing what, and make sure they're doing it correctly. As well as figure out how to correctly pay people, make sure the company isn't doing anything illegal, etc. There is a ton of purely logistical stuff in running even an informal, not-for-profit project, let alone developing a for-profit computer game.

Frankly, running a project—even a project with only 5-6 other people—is something that takes a particular sort of skill. I'm not sure that Toady's strengths lie in that arena. He's a great programmer, and Zach and he seem to have figured out how to efficiently put out a plan for DF, but running a group of people is entirely different from the current arrangement. Right now, he's able to make pretty fast progress (albeit never as fast as parts of the DF community would like) doing things on his own.

Why change something that, thus far, seems to be working pretty damn well? DF is routinely called the most complicated game ever created, and it has a dedicated (and steadily growing) group of players.

Then Toady can hire a manager if he's so hell bent on working on this project instead of actually getting it done. He can stay in the trenches if that's what makes him happy. All he needs to do is spend a little time up front making sure everyone's on the same page. In my experience, this time would be comparable to the time he's spent between now and the last update.

Today's attitude has completely failed to test reality (note, that's what psychotic actually means). Maybe Toady is just ignorant, maybe he's nuts. In any cayse it's bad for Dwarf Fortress, it's bad for us, and it's bad for him because if he'd listen to guys like Sean, he'd be able to FOCUS more on the stuff that makes him happy.
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Capntastic

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2011, 05:56:08 pm »

How would doing things that aren't Working On His Game Without Worrying Too Much About Being Rich Or Ultra-Famous Or Head of A Game Production House* allow him to focus on The Things That Make Him Happy**?

Certainly Toady would love more money; who wouldn't?  But there's ways to lean that way with his dev processes that don't involve hiring people, changing the scope of the game, charging for the game, etc.  The donation model is something Toady takes pride in.

*What he wants to do.
**See above.
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Dae

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2011, 05:57:01 pm »

Well, this guy has a point if you consider making money the ultimate goal of life. I don't, apparently Toady doesn't either.

I don't get in what way Toady has failed. He's making exactly the game he wants, at the rate he wants and how he wants it done. Plus he has enough money to live confortably. Doing what you want without downside is a very good life. Toady is in fact better off that people who might make ten times as much money as he does.

Making a profit isn't bad in itself, but if you have to sacrifice something you love for it you might want to start rechecking your priorities. Toady wants DF to be perfect in his mind. The truth is, even in the best conditions possible, a game made by many people will eventually have a little of every people in it. There is a lead designer, but his view will be joined by everyone else's view by the end of the project.
DF being Toady's life long project, it's understandable that he wants it to be perfect. Since you can't be perfect for everyone, he has the wisdom to at least make it perfect for him.

Plus, if DF was made by a team like any other project, these people would have to be paid. To pay people means either increased donations, selling the game or getting a loan for it. This in turns means a lot of pressure both social, from the other workers, and financial, from the customers and whoever pays him. Pressure means decreased quality and half-assed projects. With the situation as it is, Toady owes nothing to nobody and is absolutely free to do whatever he wants.

If anything, we owe him the chance to play such a beautiful game. I see it as highly insulting to call a man who created the most complex and deepest game ever created a psychopath psychotic (EDIT: Sorry about that. It was late when I wrote this post.)
« Last Edit: August 01, 2011, 03:09:39 am by Dae »
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