Taken from Wikipedia. It's one of the inspirations of FC.
Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress (often referred to as Dwarf Fortress) is a part roguelike, part city-building freeware video game set in a high fantasy universe in which the player takes control of a group of dwarves and attempts to construct a successful and wealthy mountainhome. Along the way the player must face off with the dangers of their environment, invaders and sieges, vampires and other night creatures, and the occasional rampant megabeast, all while keeping their dwarves happy and their fortress alive. A second game mode, adventurer mode, places the player in the shoes of an adventurer as they wander the world and do battle with various creatures.
Dwarf Fortress is modeled on a complex and realistic physics engine that belies its comparatively primitive ASCII graphics. Every world is generated completely from scratch, and historical events and figures are documented and recorded as game lore, including any sapient characters the player meets on their adventures or have migrate to their fortress. The game is programmed solely by Tarn Adams, with input from his brother Zach Adams. Work began in 2002, the first alpha was released in August 2006, and development is ongoing. Tarn Adams has declared it his life's work, expecting 20 years before it is complete; development is supported solely through donations, and contributors receive either short stories or crayon drawings as thank yous from the developers.
The game has accumulated much praise for its rich content and extremely deep gameplay, and holds a small but devoted fanbase. On the other hand, reviewers have pointed out its extremely steep learning curve, which makes picking up the game extremely challenging, and mastering it even more so. Many players lose their fortresses to unhappy circumstances and unfortunate accidents, and as there is no way to expressly win the game, every fortress is bound to be destroyed somehow. This has promoted the trademark phrase of the community and an apt motto for the game itself: "Losing is fun."
Every game in Dwarf Fortress starts with the generation of a new world; only one game can be ongoing per world. The exact qualities of a world are random, but can be influenced quite heavily with input from the player, who determines the map size, natural savagery, mineral occurrence, et cetera. The world generator first uses a fractal algorithm to create a randomized elevation map. This is then further elaborated upon by a temperature map, rainfall map, drainage value, vegetation value, and salinity. Each tract of land is then differentiated into a biome based upon a combination of these values. Tracts of land are then sorted into evil, neutral, or good regions, as well as benign, wild, or savage ones. Mountains are then worn away with temporary rivers, followed by permanent ones flowing from high points to low ones. Local animal and plant populations are established, followed closely by sapient ones.
At this point world creation ends, and the historical ticker begins, as sapient creatures form settlements, live and prosper, reproduce, do battle, and spread across the land, claiming lands, building roads, and generally making the world increasingly hospitable. The ticker stops at a designated value, at which point the map can be saved and its information offloaded for use in a game. Should your game end or fortress fall, this world persists on, and after saving changes will become available for further games.
The primary game mode in Dwarf Fortress is the titular fortress mode, in which the player finds a site on the map, takes control of a group of seven dwarves, chooses their skills and supplies, and then embarks to start their fortress. Typical supplies include seeds for farming, axes for woodcutting, picks for mining, utilities like bags and basic medical supplies, and barrels of food and drink to start with.[n 1] The initial dangers and difficulties and longer-term resources of an embark site are important in terms of initial establishment and long-term plans. For instance, fortresses in evil regions will have to deal with especially strong, extremely aggressive undead creatures harassing them from the very beginning, making embarking with some form of a military necessity. A map with an aquifer, meanwhile, will make it very difficult to dig down to stone layers, as digging any more than a few layers deep will cause the damp tiles to flood over, forcing players to either outmaneuver the aquifers or somehow overpower them. In the long term, however, such variables as wood and ore availability, the presence of volcanoes, oceans, and rivers, and general local geology are much more important.
The most important buildings in Dwarf Fortress are workshops, which are purposed to certain tasks; for instance, fisheries prepare captured fish, carpenters' workshops make wood furniture, and jewellers' workshops turn mined out rough gems into trade-worthy cut gems. Dwarves themselves have labors and skills, arriving with certain skills that can be trained by performing the associated tasks. Dwarves with more skill in a labor can do it faster and produce more and better products, which makes specializing dwarves to their tasks an important consideration. In addition dwarves can occasionally enter strange moods, seizing workshops and demanding certain resources; if they are supplied these resources they will produce an object of impeccable craftsmanship and value, a "legendary artifact", and will often instantly become of legendary skill in a trade. If the player fails to provide the raw materials, the dwarf will go insane, and will either disregard eating and drinking until death or, more dangerously, go berserk and actively attack other dwarves. Character traits, physical attributes, and likes and dislikes are also important modifiers that affect how quickly and skillfully dwarves will perform their tasks.
Once the basic stockpiles, farms, bedrooms, and dining halls of the fortress are dug out, the player can begin exploring and exploiting their surrounding environment. Individual workshops and dwarves can bind together with infrastructure and resources to produce necessary and vital goods as parts of industries. As the number of dwarves expands with migrant waves and the birth of children, players must accommodate the increasing number of residents by digging out more bedrooms, designating jails, and expanding the dining and food preparation facilities, and put them all to work at various tasks, be it making clothes, forging steel weapons or gold crafts, tending the farms, or building a vibrant meat industry.
As the game develops, two major concerns emerge: keeping the dwarves alive, and keeping them happy. Goblin sieges can start harassing fortresses once they reach 80 population, and will spell doom to an unprepared player. In addition to sieges, stealthy ambushes and the possibility of the appearance of massive megabeasts (both from above and below) create another threat. The appearance or absence of foes is based on the amount of wealth generated by the fortress; the more net worth the fortress has produced, the more attractive it is to attack (and, on the flip side, the more attractive it is to more immigrants). This threat can be met with a dwarven military, (sometimes quite elaborate) traps, or a combination of both. Keeping dwarves happy can be achieved by keeping them out of harm's way and by providing them with pets, good living conditions, replacement clothing, and good public facilities.
A major feature in the game is trading caravans, one for each of the major sapient races that the player is at peace with (typically dwarves, humans, and elves), which arrive once a year in designated seasons loaded down with goods. The player may trade goods created in their fortress in return for the supplies and goods carried by the caravans; these traders are an important feature of the game, and often carry goods that the fortress does not have access to at all, or supplement what it already has. Because these caravans often arrive alongside enemy attacks, their appearance requires military alertness; if too many caravans are lost to enemy attacks, their civilization will declare war against the player and send their own attackers, sometimes at the same time as an ongoing siege.
Eventually the player may dig all the way to the bottom of the map and encounter magma, as well as adamantine, an incredibly strong, light, and sharp-edged material that can be used to create the best weapons and armor in the game. Digging too deep, however, will cause the player to breach hell, unleashing a likely game-ending swarm of demons into the fortress. As the game has no predefined ending or final challenge, breaking into hell and defeating the demon swarm is seen as the greatest challenge of all. Similarly, as there is no predefined end to the game, every fortress will eventually meet its demise. New fortresses are frequently lost to poor resource management (which leads to dwarves dying of thirst or starvation), enemy attacks, or mining accidents which can lead to deadly cave-ins or flooding. Older and more highly developed fortresses are less vulnerable to these problems, but the loss of even a few dwarves can still lead to a so-called "tantrum spiral," where dwarves who have become critically unhappy due to the loss of friends or family throw tantrums, injuring or even killing other dwarves and leading to more unhappiness and tantrums - ultimately the fortress can descend into uncontrolled riots and fall apart from the inside.
Adventure mode is a comparatively standard mode, gameplay-wise, when compared to fortress mode, being much less complicated and panning out more like a standard, if open-ended, roguelike. In adventure mode the player takes control of an adventurer, choosing a race and civilization, giving them attributes and skills, and then setting off with bits of weapons and armor to adventure in the wider world. Adventures quickly have the opportunity to meet and befriend other sapient creatures, many of whom may be willing to go adventuring with you and join your party. Talking to locals can help give a summary of the local and regional situation, and asking for service from civilians will have them give the adventurer quests, to do battle with various beasts and bandits.
As the adventurer progresses, they will gain access to better arms and armor, be it by looting the corpses of defeated enemies or by buying them in shops, and gain fame as they carry out quests. Famed adventurers will attract more and better companions to join them on their quests, and will receive greater and more dangerous tasks. A major element of adventure mode is the presence of and ability to become other creatures; adventures may read books of the dead to become necromancers, or drink the blood of a vampire to become vampires, or get caught in evil weather and become zombie thralls.
Legends mode is a third and relatively unique piece of the game, and less a mode of gameplay than a historical archive. It allows the player to browse the history created in the world during world generation, listing creatures, births and deaths, and lists of events sorted into ages, with the name of each age being determined by the relative demographics of the world at that point in time. An additional feature is the world map, which gives a view of civilization lands and settlements as time progresses. Because legends mode cannot be accessed while in an adventurer or fortress game, many players chose the export to XML option, which saves a copy of legends mode for browsing while the world is in use.
Dwarf Fortress has been praised for its depth of gameplay. Tarn "Toady One" Adams is the programming half of Bay 12 Games, the company he runs with his brother Zachary. Although the game is currently in its alpha stage, many of the core elements are already in place, or at least have the basic foundations already laid down. Part of the development for the game is done through user suggestions, stories written by players and Zachary Adams, as well as a series of overarching goals, called arcs. Development is funded by donations to Bay 12.Template:R
Tarn Adams' father worked at a treatment plant, writing software that analyzed data and helped maintain the plant; in an interview with The New York Times, he explained that "My earliest real memory is when my dad taught me how to use a 'FOR loop' in BASIC when I was 6, to make something go across the screen." Adams was fascinated with high fantasy and science fiction, and read J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series, played Dungeons and Dragons, and had in interest in myths and movies such as The Beastmaster in his youth. In an interview with Gamasutra, Adams explained that he had grew up "surrounded by that sort of thing...along with generic sci-fi, generic fantasy is part of our heritage." Inquisitive, withdrawn, and having moved between state lines many times in his youth in support of his father's job, Tarn developed a close working relationship with his older brother Zack, and the two collaborated on most of their projects, a partnership that lasts to this day.
When Adams was in fifth grade the two began working on a BASIC text-based hack and slash game called dragslay, a simple Dungeons and Dragons adaptation in which the player had to fight through a number of enemies before fighting a dragon, and then repeat the process. In high school Adams taught himself C and expanded upon the game, adding an overworld and goblin tribes that the player was free to "depopulate." dragslay provided Adams his first experience with fantasy games as well as with saving and loading outside of a high score list, as goblin populations and kills were tracked by the game; both would be important to his later work on Dwarf Fortress.
The project eventually fell away, but the summer before entering graduate school on a mathematics track Adams began working on on a project they dubbed Slaves to Armok: God of Blood, named after a deity in dragslay, himself named for a variable named "arm_ok" that counted the number of limbs the player still had attached. Slaves to Armok: God of Blood was meant to be a two-dimensional isometric (later fully three-dimensional) dungeon crawler in which the player encountered and fought goblins "in loincloths" while exploring a cave, the final version of which was released in 2004. At the same time, Tarn took some time off once in a while to program small side projects, one of which was called Mutant Miner. The game was inspired by a MS-DOS game called Miner VGA and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. The premise of the turn-based game was that the player would dig holes underneath a number of buildings, searching for ores, fighting monsters, and carrying radioactive "goo" back to the surface for "application" in growing extra limbs and other abilities.
The direct origins of Dwarf Fortress stemmed from Adams' dissatisfaction with having a single miner. Adams wanted to include additional characters in the game, however the changes caused the game to lag too heavily. In his interview with Gamasutra Adams explained how the idea evolved:
After exploring the idea more deeply, Adams put the project on hold to make room for the original Armok. By 2004 however Slaves to Armok: God of Blood was "floundering," so Adams began development on Dwarf Fortress in earnest.
Development and releaseEdit
All through his personal projects Adams continued pursuing academics, earning his doctorate in mathematics from Stanford University in 2005. He received a postdoctoral position at Texas A&M University. However, Adams had grown sick of the workload and competitiveness of professional mathematics even in his time at Stanford; within a year of arriving at A&M Adams quit, "breaking into tears" before the department head. He planned to spend his time and his $15,000 saving coding Dwarf Fortress, a sum later supplemented by a $50,000 stipend from the university.
The Adams brothers founded Bay 12 Games soon after, consolidating their work amongst a fanbase of about 300 people. As it was Armok's spiritual sequel (and, in fact, borrowed many of the game's ideas and material definitions), the game was dubbed "Slaves to Armok, God of Blood II: Dwarf Fortress;" Adams explained that the project's long name was mostly "for kicks." The game was to use ASCII graphics in the roguelike tradition, as he had become frustrated with the time-consuming processes of three-dimensional graphics.
Development continued through August 2006, when the first alpha, version 0.22.107.21, was released. On-screen displays use slightly modified code page 437 characters in 16 different colors implemented as bitmaps, rendered with OpenGL. This makes the game capable of switching to full screen on Windows Vista and Windows 7, unlike pure text-mode programs. As released, the game initially supported 2D landscapes only, with X and Y axes corresponding to the four cardinal directions. The first version also contained the first version of adventure mode, the inclusion of which Adams had kept a secret during development.
Dwarf Fortress is in a state of constant development, and is far from complete. Later versions added a z-axis and multilayered maps, retaining two-dimensional graphical representation but adding a great deal more complexity to the game, allowing geographic features like hills, mountains, and chasms and player-created features like multilevel fortresses, waterfalls, above-ground towers, elaborate deathtraps, and pits.
Adams has stated that the development of Dwarf Fortress will proceed across several feature "arcs". Each arc is a series of goals and priorities all grouped together under a similar subject, and is named accordingly. For example, the current arc being developed is the Caravan Arc, which focuses on game features related to trade and economy. The arcs help provide guidance in development, but are not a strict project plan. Adams has been known to delay certain features, or add in popular user requested features even though they might not fall under the current arc. He has also stated he will not focus solely on one arc at a time anymore to avoid grinding at the same features month after month without a release.
Dwarf Fortress is under continual development with features being added regularly. The development website lists "Power Goals" in terms of small story excerpts, which at one point might emerge naturally in the game.
The latest major release was February 14th, 2012, when version 0.34.01 was released. The developer has stated his intention to release several smaller updates within a small period of time to fix bugs. While the bulk of the game is programmed solely by Tarn Adams, portions of the OpenGL code in the experimental branch were programmed by third parties.
Dwarf Fortress has received wide press coverage, including a review, and a six page feature, in the December 2006 and July 2011 issues of PC Gamer UK, a lengthy article in the New York Times magazine, an article in Games for Windows and PC Powerplay, mention on the Eurogamer website, the Roguelike of the Year award from ASCII Dreams in 2007, Indy PC game of the year at the 2006 Gamers With Jobs Community Game of the Year Awards, and various interviews including ones for The Escapist, Gamasutra, Gamers with Jobs, GeekNights, and Dubious Quality.
Several reviews praise Dwarf Fortress for its deep and rich content and gameplay. Some of those reviews also state that one first has to overcome the quirky interface and extremely steep learning curve to really appreciate the game. One review argued that the text-based graphics actually add to the game: it helps the player mentally visualize game events, making the game more immersive.
- Minecraft, a game inspired by Dwarf Fortress.
- FortressCraft notes Dwarf Fortress as an influence.
- Dungeon Keeper, another fortress building game.
- Dwarf Fortress official website at Bay 12 Games
- Dwarf Fortress Wiki
- Bay 12 Games forum
- Dwarf Fortress Stories stories and pictures about the gamede:Slaves to Armok II: Dwarf Fortress
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