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Author Topic: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom  (Read 24817 times)

Lexx

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #90 on: August 02, 2011, 04:27:37 am »

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.

I was pretty much going to post the same. Read the article. Didn't care for it and his assumptions and writing style.
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gimli

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #91 on: August 02, 2011, 05:04:31 am »

Yeah the article has two bogus assumptions:

1) Profit/etc is somehow a measure of success.
2) That Toady should care about #1.


I'd love to hear if Sean Malstrom thinks video games are art or not. I suspect he doesn't.

Well now...Malstrom mentions Minecraft. Sure, it's nowhere near the complexity of DF, and the gameplay is totally different as well, but we can still compare the 2 games. Both games are developed by 1 man. The Minecraft dev was influenced by DF & Toady actually. I guess it's pointless to deny the huge success of Minecraft. [& financial success] If Toady would like to earn more money [and I mean MUCH more], he could do it. User friendly UI & full tileset support [so all in-game objects could have an own tile] + speeded up development [look at the Minecraft updates] -> profit.

However Toady doesn't care about the "financial success". DF is his baby. He is developing the game like this since years. The UI -for example- never had priority in the DF development. I guess he is happy with his life[style] & with the DF development as well... and that is what matters. :)
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 05:08:39 am by gimli »
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Krelos

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #92 on: August 02, 2011, 07:04:46 am »

I think it's hilarious that this guy having a blog somehow legitimizes his opinion, when in reality he's exactly the same as a homeless man yelling at cars.

Which is the same as pretty much everyone on the internet.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 07:07:10 am by Krelos »
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Endiqua

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #93 on: August 02, 2011, 10:16:32 am »

I think it's hilarious that this guy having a blog somehow legitimizes his opinion, when in reality he's exactly the same as a homeless man yelling at cars.

Which is the same as pretty much everyone on the internet.

You know, that's a damned good point and worth keeping in mind as a general truth.  I'd put it on a T-shirt but it's a bit wordy.   :D
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darkrider2

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #94 on: August 02, 2011, 12:16:34 pm »

I think it's hilarious that this guy having a blog somehow legitimizes his opinion, when in reality he's exactly the same as a homeless man yelling at cars.

Which is the same as pretty much everyone on the internet.

QF goddamn T
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lachek

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #95 on: August 02, 2011, 12:21:20 pm »

I have not read through this entire thread, so if I'm being repetitive, please find it in your hearts to forgive.

I used to be where Sean Malstrom is now, back when I first discovered DF. "ToadyOne is keeping this glorious thing from achieving its full potential! How horrid!"

While Sean's solution is commercialization, mine was open sourcing. I pressured Toady quite a bit, back then, to open source at least part of his code. He had many excellent reasons why he wouldn't - his control of the game, the quality of his code, code bloats, forks. I understand that these days, there's a Linux version and a few open-sourced front-ends. But the core DF remains closed-sourced as well as non-commercial.

What I have come to realize - and which I think Sean is has not realized, thus his hangup - is that DF is more than a game product, it is a product reflective of its creator's and players' obsessions. To remove that obsessive quality, either by ToadyOne relinquishing control in favour of a larger development team, faster iterations, and (perhaps) more sound software design and process, or by catering the game to a larger cadre of players with a an average smaller degree of OCD required to play the game in its current state, would be to water down that product. The product stands on its own not necessarily only as a game, but as Toady has described it before, a "fantasy world simulator". That sets it apart from toys to be bought and played with for a while, towards something with lasting appeal and inherent value. Compare "Ticket to Ride", a board game with a train theme, to constructing your own vast and complex model railroad. You can play with the railroad, but its value is not necessarily related directly to how well it plays, nor how many people play with it.

Imagine if a company - even a well-intended, smaller outfit - bought Dwarf Fortress' code base and name, hired ToadyOne as lead developer, and commercialized (or open sourced!) the game. The feature request list would now be driven by what marketing saw the player base - or potential player base - as wanting. Chances are that pretty graphics and streamlined interface would be first on the list. Second, probably armies and conquest style gameplay. These features or others would be implemented on a tighter schedule, and would be created by a team of coders, so the existing code would probably need to be cleaned up some. This would lead to finding potential speed improvements, if only one or two hardcore simulation algorithms could be streamlined and "faked". This would facilitate gameplay and reduce long-term simulation speed issues - great! But the underlying simulation would be weaker. This would produce fewer emergent side-effects, i.e. less "fun". The masses would be placated, money would roll in, new fans would be gained - but the obsessiveness that is the game's hallmark is lessened. The 20 year timeline to 1.0 would be replaced with a 2-3 year timeline. New features would not be implemented with the same degree of attention to detail and would feel weaker and bolted-on, compared to the core content developed over the last better part of a decade. Most importantly, the quality of DF as a "fantasy world simulator" would be lost in favour of a playable game sooner.

That's a best-case scenario - a worst-case scenario would mean a from-scratch, shallow total rewrite with lots of associated marketing and a $50 price tag. Tons of buyers, lots of sales and $$$, but the game would be popular for 2-3 years and then relegated to a bargain bin while the dev team worked on a new version with a new code base ("Slaves of Activision: Dwarf Fortress II the MMORPG").

The multi-billion-dollar game industry depends on continuous reinventions of the wheel, repackaged for an additional $50, and released on a cycle. The last thing the game industry wants is a "fantasy world simulator" that stands the test of time for decades at a time, and which eats 1000+s of hours of continually fresh gameplay for the same price as a 6-hour long, scripted, linear game. It doesn't matter how pure the ideals of the company - there is no way that DF could continue to achieve its full potential if it was commercialized, nor if it was open-sourced with the intent of bringing it to the masses. While Sean takes the quote about "society" out of context in the blog post, DF has the potential it does in large part because it is produced entirely outside of the scope of a market-driven or even "social" economy, as an obsessive project by a single individual dedicating his entire life to something larger than himself.

Having said all that, I hope we will continue to see "Dwarf Fortress knock-offs", both commercial and open-source. They won't draw away from and compromise DF's fantasy world simulator goals, but they will produce playable instances of sub-sets of its features, and may even add some ideas of their own. It sounds like Tarn's donation model, in light of his frugal lifestyle, is working great to fund its development at present, and I hope it continues to be able to do so such that a more commercially viable model won't be required.

Tarn, kudos to you for your honesty and willingness to make this your life's work in the face of easier options. Don't listen to misguided people (like me four years ago) who are trying to complicate your project by bringing business acumen and user feedback and process improvement and whatever into it. Do what you do best and stick to your guns - you know what's best for you and Dwarf Fortress, other people just think they know what would be best for them if they were you.
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Capntastic

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #96 on: August 02, 2011, 04:35:24 pm »

As a general rule I frown upon cheerleading, but someone give Lachek a gold star.
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gimli

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #97 on: August 02, 2011, 04:56:00 pm »

Having said all that, I hope we will continue to see "Dwarf Fortress knock-offs", both commercial and open-source. They won't draw away from and compromise DF's fantasy world simulator goals, but they will produce playable instances of sub-sets of its features, and may even add some ideas of their own. It sounds like Tarn's donation model, in light of his frugal lifestyle, is working great to fund its development at present, and I hope it continues to be able to do so such that a more commercially viable model won't be required.

Tarn, kudos to you for your honesty and willingness to make this your life's work in the face of easier options. Don't listen to misguided people (like me four years ago) who are trying to complicate your project by bringing business acumen and user feedback and process improvement and whatever into it. Do what you do best and stick to your guns - you know what's best for you and Dwarf Fortress, other people just think they know what would be best for them if they were you.

Yep, the current donation based model will work. He won't be a millionaire of course, but Toady's current income is perfectly enough for living. I only have one problem with Toady's development plans for the next 20y. It's the 20 years itself. I want to play with DF v1.0 in 5 years...oh boy sadly that won't happen. :|
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simonthedwarf

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #98 on: August 03, 2011, 09:44:06 am »

Play DF for 20 years.

problem solved.
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thvaz

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #99 on: August 03, 2011, 10:35:56 am »

I'm already checking the devlog in the last five years, I may be as well checking it for next 20.
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Xanares

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #100 on: August 03, 2011, 11:33:58 am »

Well said lachek.

I see DF as the Fine Art of gaming. The artists (Tarn/Zach) do listen to their fans and their surroundings but their have an overall vision of how this particular piece should be and they stick to it. The benchmark of their success is I presume not riches nor even fame; it's might be the continuous satisfaction of getting ever closer to the final rendering or the likewise immeasurable notion of fan appreciation, which is like a big wobbling ocean that arrives on their shores in waves; who knows. The artist is always right.

In my view Tarn is absolutely right, if he says society is "not right" for DF to be a "commercial success" a la Minecraft. Our culture is leaning forever more towards instant gratification, easy is right and a short dash to Epic. If society was "right" DF would have in donations what Minecraft had in sales. That's just the way things are.

That having been said, who here wouldn't like that kind of doe to hit Tarn's coffers? If nothing else then in terms of what it might bring to the game or Scamps play-tower. Maybe some day the winds will shift in that direction and the riches shall pour like an exposed gold vein with 7 Legendary Miners at the fore.
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Audioworm333

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #101 on: August 03, 2011, 11:48:13 am »

[Big ol' wall o' text]
You, sir, are a genius.
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Makbeth

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #102 on: August 03, 2011, 01:11:30 pm »

I would like to second Lachek's opinion.  I picked up the game the day before 2010 was released, loved it for a couple weeks, found things in it I didn't like, and then posted a series of rants on this forum about Toady's methods that today I'm rather ashamed of.  Took me a long time to understand what DF really is, and why Toady is working on it the way he is.  For someone used to the "The Customer is Always Right" model, it is indeed aggravating to see the way things are done here.  There's simply a different culture here, and the sooner you realize that the better.

As for whats-his-name's article, the man seems to have a profoundly skewed value system that has been completely hijacked by commercialism.  I'd always thought those GTA parody characters that refer to making money as an act of good were a joke and couldn't possibly exist in real life, but apparently they do.  I don't think he understands that the morality of making money is flavored by how you do it, and that choosing not to make money does not constitute some sort of depravity.  I think he misses the point on a lot of things.  In my opinion, from what little I know about him, he misses the point on life in general.

I've come to understand that our role is that of a crowd watching an artist create a painting for himself.  It's our choice to play it if we get some enjoyment out of it, just as it's the crowd's choice to keep watching instead of moving on, and it's our choice to donate if we think the artist should be able to continue doing what he does.  Anyone who nags the artist about what should or shouldn't be in the painting beyond simple suggestions or replies to requests for criticism only succeeds in making an ass of themselves. 
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NobodyPro

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #103 on: August 04, 2011, 12:12:39 am »

As a gamer with no PayPal account or credit card, any developer that requires me to buy a game for $70-$120AUD (even when it's $1AUD:$1.15 USD), patch it with umpteen million megabytes of non-Telstra-server files (therefor counting to my internet usage) and then not deliver on it's promise of Fallout 3/Mass Effect 2-esque length and depth (possibly remedied by good modding support) is an inherently evil company.

I got so much more from Dwarf Fortress than I have from my entire Steam Games list.
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gimli

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Re: The Tragedy of Dwarf Fortress by Sean Malstrom
« Reply #104 on: August 04, 2011, 10:23:06 am »

I got so much more from Dwarf Fortress than I have from my entire Steam Games list.

Of course...DF = complexity & gameplay. Toady doesn't have to care about shiny gfx or sound. Btw...big game developers could create a game like DF v1.0 with top gfx and audio, but they won't release something like that ever. It would take a lot of time and money to create a game like that, and the potential playerbase would be small...because the vast majority of the gamers are playing with FPS/TPS and RTS games. So the profit would be small, that is for sure.
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