Saturday, 2 February 2013

Dwarf Fortress

I figured I would take this time, to tell you about my favorite game.
Dwarf Fortress.

For those of you that have not played this game, it is a masterfully crafted piece of artwork. The graphics may not be much to look at, as it uses ACSII in place of sprites, but it's the coding that really makes this game what it is. There are various texture packs available which make the game a lot easier to follow, I would highly recommend acquiring one of these as soon as possible.

You start off with seven dwarfs. Each one has their own name, personality, stretching from what Gods they follow and their political party they are associated with, right down to their preference in food, and even what type of weather they prefer. 

You are not in direct control of these little guys though, instead you give work orders and the dwarfs get around to it as and when they feel like it. Sometimes starting work off of their own accord if their God decides to give them an order. This is known as a 'strange mood', the God in question has given them an image of something that they need to build, and that is the only thing they will do until the task is complete. This can cause problems if you do not have the right materials for the job as the dwarf can go crazy and attempt to kill everything in the fort.

This brings me onto my next point about the military. At first, the military seems like an incredibly complicated mess of options... which is exactly what it is. However, once you get the hang of it, the simplicity of it all shines through, you can create areas for the Dwarven military to patrol, train, sleep and eat. You can also set specific areas that activate during enemy attacks, which can be as simple as a thief trying to break in, or a whole siege consisting of a full army complete with war dogs, bears, rhinos and even elephants.

These areas will 'herd' your dwarfs into them, making it impossible for them to leave till the alert has been lifted. You can set a zone specific for your peasants to flee to during an attack, and a separate one for your military, meaning that your non-combat dwarfs are well out of harms reach. You can even set different zones for each of your squads meaning you can have different sections of your fort defended by different squads and so on and so forth.

The main thing you will take away from this game, is that losing is fun.

It's a strange concept, but losing a fort is not the end of the world. For you can chose to start a new fort, somewhere else in the game world, (which is completely randomly generated when you start a new game) or, you can take a squad of highly trained soldiers in an attempt to retake your old fort.

I once tried to reclaim an old fort, (which had been killed by a goblin raid.) only to find out a 'Forgotten Beast' had taken it as it's home. There are the usual types of enemies, goblins, wild animals, Dragons...
Dragons fall under the 'legendary' category, meaning that your fort probably isn't their first rodeo. 'Legendary' creatures can be anything that has killed a lot of things throughout it's very, very long life. Everything from Minotaur's, to a really really pissed semi immortal bear. 'Forgotten Beasts' though, fall under a whole different class, these things have been dwelling under the earth since the dawn of time, and are generally just there to fuck your shit up.

The beast that had claimed my fort, had no eyes, and muscle pretty much everywhere... it was pretty much a walking muscle, covered in rock, and spikes. Why? Because fuck you that's why.

Needless to say, the fort still belongs to the beast.

Fortress mode is not the only option available. there is also 'Adventure' mode, where you can chose to play as a character from one of the many kingdoms that populate the game, you can be a dwarf, elf or a human. Each comes with their own pro's and con's. 

The object of being an adventurer is to travel around killing things for towns folk, getting gold and building a bad-ass crew of monster killers. you can also visit your forts in adventure mode, which I plan to do once I get a large enough team together to kill that bloody 'Rock Muscle' thing.

Once you have got the hang of this beautiful game, you will find yourself sinking quite a few hours into it without even realizing. The level of micromanagement that is available is astonishing, and quite overwhelming for a new player. Hell it's even overwhelming for me. I tried creating a fancy defense system that would pump lava to the top of my fort cutting off any attackers from reaching my peasants. 

Sadly this did not go to plan and I ended up drowning my entire populace in a fiery cocktail of Lava and Alcohol.

For those of you that wish to play, I have included some links in the description, provided by a helpful chap on the /VG/ section of 4Chan.

Helpful beginner material •>The game. Current version is Dwarf Fortress 2012 (34.11) •>The official forums. •>Wiki for all your dwarfly needs, down to every last mineral. •>The fastest way to get ready to strike the earth. Concise and simple text + images. and •>Great tutorial/LP. Hugely entertaining, and very informative, highly recommended for someone wanting to get into Dwarf Fortress. one of the most useful downloads you can get, this has the entire game, complete with a set of texture packs to chose from, and a handy set of utilities to help you run your fort. Highly recommended.

Strike the earth!


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