Monday, 4 July 2011

Dwarf Fortress....Losing is fun.

Losing. Is. FUN!
Right well in a attempt to appease Blaq over at Don't Mention Ze War (and not fade quietly into the mist) I've decided to see if I can run a successful Dwarf Fortress fort and bring the wonders of the game to you guys through the medium of interpretive dance! Or blogs...I'm not 100% decided here yet.

For those who don't know Dwarf Fortress if a free to play management sim it includes....well pretty much everything. It generates a random persistent word tracking each individual persons action while generating. It runs through normally 1050 years of warring civilisations (Dwarf, Elf, Human and Goblin in the vanilla version) rampaging Mega-beast (Dragons, Hydras, Bronze Colosii, Rocs & Various randomly generated titans) and semi-mega (giants, Cyclops, all many of demons, night beasts & minotaurs) and then throws you in the deep end.

The game itself has two main modes, Fortress & Adventurer. Adventure sees you control a plucky lad or lass who sets out to see the word to find fame and fortune, you trapesing from town to town righting wrongs & slaying foes and trying not to get caught out at night out of towns. You get jumped frequently and will die a lot. In nasty ways. Adventure mode makes the most of the game's excessively detailed combat system which allows you to flail away trying to chop off a foes 3rd toe on their right foot, or gouge out eyes or just strangle someone till sweet death carries brings them peace. It's fairly throwaway and I've never got too much into it TBH, more then likely because I suck at it!

The meat and potatoes as it were though is the Fortress mode this basically allows you too drop 7 plucky dwarfs anywhere in the world with a few base provisions and try to scratch out a living. As time passes migrant waves will bring new dwarfs which is balance by how the fortress is doing, they will shun"death-trap" fortresses and flock to wealthy prospering ones. They will annoy the hell out of you when they turn up with absolutely wanky random skills, sit around and eat all your food while you desperately try to shore up your defenses. When your fortress reaches a certain point the goblins will deign to notice you and will send ambushing squads, kidnapping and finally sieges to break you fortress. Semi & Mega beasts will discover the area and bring the pain.

To gather resources and metal ores you must delve deep below the surface breaking into underground caverns missed with monsters, giant spiders, various animal-men and most worryingly, Forgotten Beasts, generated monsters that stalk the deeps. To give you a example I bring you a couple of ones generated in the few world I'll be using:

Zagith Boilpukes: Zagith Boilpukes was a forgotten beast. It was the only one of its kind. A gigantic hairy earthworm. It has thin wings of stretched skin and it has a bloated body. Its ivory hair is short and even. Beware its poisonous gas! Zagith was associated with depravity and caverns.

Isa: Isa was a forgotten beast. It was the only one of its kind. An enormous one-eyed oriole. It has large mandibles and it belches and croaks . Beware its noxious secretions! Isa was associated with caverns and blight.

Because it's randomly generated some of these are ridiculously easy (a giant blob made from water) and some crazy hard (huge flying birds or flies made from diamond). Your fortress will crumble sooner or later as one of these over comes your defenses or your champion warrior goes postal after losing one more comrade then he can bear and starts scything through you population kicking off tantrum spirals until no one is left.

And because it's all one persistent world the dragon that ends your beloved fortress can be tracked down in adventurer mode for some vengence. Likewise the commanders of enemy army's have their own history and in a third game mode entitled "Legends" you can poke through your game worlds history. You can also go back to a failed fortress to reclaim it or as a adventurer to have a poke around.

Well I think I've set this up enough. Dwarf Fortress. Where losing is fun.

If your interest in trying it out you can download it here...but I wouldn't. The base game is build using a ASCII interface and will make your brain bleed.

Brain ache

If you're a wuss like m,e a much easier-on-the-eyes version with a graphic interface (there's a few but this is the one I favour) can be found here done by a guy called Mike Mayday.
Visuals that don't make you die. A good thing in my book.

I really cannot over state the awesome and the shear death of this game.

More to come. Dun-dun-duuuun!

...Oh one more thing. Don't try it without have a look at this tutorial. You'll need it. Seriously.


  1. My bet is you get squashed by a herd of elephants after an ingame year. :D I'd suggest you make frequent saves (the game saves once a year right) and when you inevitably fail just rollback and pretend nothing happened. But not without reporting it, cause it's bound to be hilarious. :D

    Also, here's a video tutorial I found to be nice, but haven't managed to sit through since it's 2 (!!!) hours long.

    Also, I started with the Lazy Newb Pack since it's supposed to be made for newbs and lazy people. Gave it a whirl but failed miserably and decided to not get into DF until I have a load of time. :P

    Also also also, here's baby DF: Dwarfs! It's basically a minigame with a top-down view where you indirectly control stupid dwarfs who are digging in an environment full of perils by way of arrows. Simple, cute, compulsive and frustrating but satisfying.

  2. Ah I already use Lazy Newb in truth, very helpful little utility and I've picked by Dwarf Therapist as well which is great for taking away some of the micro-managing from labour setting on migrants!

    I picked up Dwarfs?! on steam for the summercamp play around loved this comic and been having a play around with it been fun so far!