by, 07-02-2010 at 14:48 (1387 Views)
This game is insane and insanely satisfying (if things work as planned).
It's like Dungeon Keeper, but with a whole lot of options and more possibilities of things to build and to invent and to take care of, but with Ascii Graphics.
For instance, I wanted to figure out how some basic things worked. So I started a fortress only armed with an anvil and 2 metal nuggets. Turned out that the metal I had chosen (silver) can't be built into pickaxes. So I was stranded above ground for the first half a year, on a luckily very watery, densely forested and peaceful map.
When the caravan arrived, I thought that I could just smelt one of their copper items into a copper bar for my pickaxe... so I was confident that I could dig under ground then. The construction of the smelting took quite a while, and the merchants took off before I was done... turns out that smelting one item does not seem to give enough metal for a whole metal bar though; or my furnace operator was too much of a noob.
So I was stranded above ground for another year.
I decided to just settle there then and built another wooden shack, added more workshops and added another few rooms above the first wooden storage shack that I had built.
While I was doing that, the first invasion of rhesus makaques started, interrupted quite a few things, but the bunch of dogs killed them all. This was the beginning of a hastily constructed Butcher -> (Tanner -> Leather Workshop) & (Kitchen) & Workshop (make bone crafts) industry: and these bone crafts gave me enough money to buy not only a copper nugget when the caravan returned next year, but also a pickaxe.
I started digging - I think I made a mistake then: ordering just too much to be excavated immediately -, and my miner decided to get married. So she was unavailable for digging for a while.
Anyway, at the end of year 3, the settlement was mostly under ground, at last. The miner was carrying her baby along while digging, the dwarves started to get happy again, since they finally had meager bedrooms instead of the overground barracks and the overground 1x1 quarters.
I find it very weird that the reason for why I put this fortress on hold weren't the pathetic first few years, but the overpopulation of the later years.
Once I was underground and digging, immigrants arrived and basically destroyed everything. They wanted to help to, they wanted quarters, too, and they wanted to be fed. I had to reorganize a lot, but when that was finally done, more immigrants came. At one point, the sheriff and the expedition leader became annoyed at their quarters, so they got better ones. These didn't quite please them though, so I was trying to fix that when the first real noble arrived... and that was the reason why I went to start another fortress on another map. With the init set to a small number for the maximum of dwarves allowed. It's just too hard to figure out some basics, like how drawbridges work, while some nobles whine at you for attention and for better quarters.
But I learned a lot with this fortress. I learned that dogs run around between the different meeting zones that you declare (that was why they were able to defeat both of the rhesus makaque invasions single-handedly (or single-jawedly)). I learned how to build an overground "castle" with different floors and a moat and stuff. I finally learned how to build a retracting bridge. I learned how to group the immigrants with Dwarf Therapist. I even made some glass items. I had 4 dwarves invent artifacts, only the 5th wanted something that I didn't have - but I was far too busy herding the other 80 dwarves at that point, so I hadn't even noticed him getting that strange mood. I made some really sexy knitting pattern shaped quarters. I made some very impressive central stairs - though I think that the mining should happen somewhere else, not in the basement floors of the fortress itself. I killed a goblin thief that wanted to steal the baby. And I killed the goblin master thief. I learned that it might be a good idea to build little rooms with stockpiles for the rotting rats that the cats spread all over the place.
I didn't figure out how to make my soldiers use crossbows though; they were far too busy doing lesbian "wrestling" in that one unoccupied apartment downstairs, pulling the clothes off each other and then ending up in bed. ... well, at least they were happy. Ecstatic, even.
I have a magma pipe and an underground river on my latest map - without any idea how to do serious and automatized plumbing, this will be interesting.
I need to find the magma pipe and the underground river first though. And the dwarves first need to get properly settled under ground.
Update: A series of failures
On the next map, I had sand (needed for glass industry), an underground river (unknown location, needed to water the dwarves if the booze runs out of if they get hurt), some pools (useful to keep me alive while searching for the underground river), trees (wood is good), and a magma pipe. By sheer luck, I found the magma pipe while digging around. I think I even had some bauxite, which is the only magma-resistant stone and essential for magma usage, but which is usually not to be found on volcanic maps.
A rare gem of a map, in other words.
Then I had not really any idea what to do with the magma pipe. A magma pipe spans across several z-levels, starting at the bottom. It's a hole, filled with magma. You use magma to fuel specific workshops, like glass industry or weapon industry; eliminating the dependency on wood that these industries normally have.
The magma pipe, even though I had found it, was encapsulated by some layers of hot stone, and the digger stopped digging and sent me an alert message about his discovery.
Magma pipes on the different z-levels don't look exactly the same. On some z-level, it is wider than on others. Only the general location is always the same.
Right. I had no idea what to do, so I decided to send my digger on a quest to figure out how wide this magma pipe was, marking a huge area for him to dig.
While he did this, I went to take care of something else.
A while later, I read the pink message that the miner had died.
Apparently, there are some parts of this outer shell of the magma pipe through which the miners will dig if left to their own devices. He had made a diagonal cut right into the magma, the magma had poured out and turned him into ashes. Or into magma. Or whatever it is that magma does.
And I hadn't taken any safety measures for the magma yet. No floodgates, no doors at all - the magma would have been able to essentially flood the entire lower fortress.
The living rooms were down there. A dining hall was down there.
I didn't want to watch this inferno, so I started another one.
... lets title this one "lack of sand"
This time, I searched (and found) a map with plenty of trees, a overground river, and a magma pipe.
You may notice that "sand" is a missing feature, which will be important later.
The trees were in the top northwestern corner. The river was in the bottom southeastern corner. In between was a volcano. Top of the volcano was off (it collapsed just when I started), so I knew where the magma pipe would be.
When I say "top northwest" and "bottom southwest", I mean that there were probably 1000 tiles in between. Maybe more. Maybe less. That is too far for a thirsty dwarf to walk, especially if he'd have to climb 50ish z-levels and pass the critters that lived on top of the volcano - it was a very big volcano.
But I had booze (healthy dwarves drink booze, not water), which would last until I had digged a tunnel and a channel to the river, or so I thought.
I digged straight into the mountain and made some farm plots and a still for the booze production and then started digging my way to the river. I hadn't really done such a far-distance irrigation project yet, and I wasn't quite sure on which z-level the water would turn out to be in my little forest, so I build a wall there, and added another wall on top of it, and yet another.
The irrigation tunnel was just 1 z-level deep, which is the mark of a noob. You really want to do this with a channel (2 z-levels), not with a tunnel (1 z-level). This makes the well deeper and allows for more fun projects with that water without drying up the well.
Then I wanted this irrigation tunnel to be clean of rocks and ordered everyone to hurl the rocks out of there. I think that the farming and woodcutting production went to somewhat of a stop at this point, so the booze production was essentially cut off.
A small wave of immigrants happened not much later, but they were of a reasonable number, and they fitted right into it and helped hurling those rocks.
Right. Finally, the tunnel was set, but I wanted to play it really really safe. So I digged another tunnel on top of this one, allowing my dwarves to run back and forth between the northwest and southeast. I hadn't cut into the river yet.
And the booze was running low.
To make things more fun, another immigration wave happened at this point. Not just half a dozen or so... noooo. 24 new dwarves appeared on my map, including 3 children. So, we're looking at around 40 dwarves in total now, no water, no living rooms (just a 5x5 barracks room) and just a half barrel of booze. Things got critical, very fast.
They drank the booze, overwhelmed me with the necessary assignments of tasks, they got thirsty, they got dehydrated, and they got angry, really fast.
I was still busy with my irrigation project, now setting grates in place.
The messages "XY has died of thirst" appeared soon after. I managed -barely- to make the cut into the river, at last, before the 2nd of my miners died at well as the 1st. Then I watched in horror how slow the water was flowing and told them to just run over here to drink directly from the river. They died on the way, if they reacted at all.
Now well. Dwarves have some sort of psychology. If they are traumatized, for instance, by watching lovers or friends die or by losing a child, or by being forced by hunger to eat a beloved pet, they can throw tantrums or go insane.
I think it's rather obvious what happened next, isn't it? 30-40 dwarves, standing at the meeting point, throwing tantrums and attacking each other (and the pets). All of them slowly dieing of thirst and hunger, partially bleeding to death.
My framerate dropped to amazing levels at this point, amazing for a game that is so undemanding on the graphics side, that is.
It was "soon" down to ~20 dwarves, still on the downward spiral, but my framerate slowly recovered. When I say "soon", I mean that they probably fought for half a year with each other. Once a dwarf went down, another friend went and threw a tantrum. They exterminated my whole dog population and killed several cats and horses.
Two caravans came, watched in horror, and went.
At last, I could do things again, as it quieted down. I ordered the more "happier" dwarves survivors to do jobs, like farming and making more frigging barrels and making more booze, and the irrigation project was finally going to be complete as well, as the river finally made it's way to the designated well house near the meeting place.
So, right. I checked things out. It appeared that the designated sheriff had gone down, the two soldiers were wounded in the barracks, the expedition leader (he was still alive) had quit the job as record keeper and mayor.
He was also just about to go insane.
I elected another mayor.
This new mayor was quickly slain by the angry mob at the well.
So I left this spot vacant for now.
I elected one of the farmers as the new sheriff, even though he told me that he didn't have any of the necessary skills. He tried to beat sense into the angry mob, which turned onto him. So I relieved him from these duties.
The former expedition leader was crawling around near the meeting place, babbling insanely. Luckily, he died not much later.
The survivors were the mob from the meeting place, plus 3 or 4 formerly happy, now discontent farmers and craftsdwarves who had been away from this loony farm near the well, and thus hadn't witnessed most of the horror.
I declared one of these hard-nosed criminals from the former mob as the new mayor; another declared himself as the new expedition leader; and another criminal became the new book keeper. Yep, all my new leader dwarves were criminals. Destruction of property and assaults.
This would probably have resulted in trouble if I had a justice system, I guess...
So, I left the sheriff post vacant.
The only child that had survived this madness (he had thrown a lot of tantrums, but he somehow survived) was exceptionally skilled with social skills afterwards, by the way. This was odd, but fun. He would indeed have been the next leader one generation later, I think. Losing 2 younger siblings plus a father, throwing tantrums and killing dogs shapes a very social personality, apparently.
So well, the fact aside that I had next to no immigrants during the next 2 years (which was more a blessing than a curse!), things went smoothly from now on. They had water, booze, just enough workshops for their reduced amount of population.
So I let them dig quite merrily. I made experiments with screw pumps. I figured out how to tap a magma pipe safely (the problem is that this requires to know the layout of the magma pipe already, though... I imported bauxite and made magma-safe floodgates and levers. Everything was cool and good, except that it's really not a good idea to dig into a cliff - the goblins and kobolds will spawn on the hill and can just walk into your front yard, and I haven't figured out how to fix that. My soldiers used crossbows (yeah!).
Until I realized that this map had no sand.
Sand can't be imported from caravans. Sand is necessary to produce glass, which was the main reason for why I wanted a map with magma pipe at all. Sure, you can make weapons with magma, too, but...
But I wanted to toy around with glass.
Cue in... next map. (next blog entry.)
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