Dwarf Fortress Talk #10, with Rainseeker, Capntastic and Toady One, transcribed by mallocks

Rainseeker:Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of Dwarf Fortress Talk. This is Rainseeker here and I'm here with our illustrious leader, Tarn Adams.
Toady:Hi hi, I'm Tarn Adams.
Rainseeker:Also known as Toady One. I'd like to celebrate our newest podcast because it's been a long time coming and we're finally back with our yammering. That's today's topic ... Toady yammers.
Toady:That's right. I'm coming off of little sleep and that should enhance the process ... I don't remember why we didn't choose a topic this time ...
Rainseeker:We were not sure what to choose, I think ...
Toady:Yeah ... We read through the thread but just didn't settle on anything. We might go back to topics or not depending on which way the wind blows I guess.
Rainseeker:And we are changing up our format today: we're going to be breaking up this podcast into two segments, the first one is Toady and I, the second one is Toady and the Capn. Basically we could not co-ordinate our schedules this month so we just wanted to get it done.
Toady:Yeah there were enough aborted scheduling problems ... and Tarn disappearing and doing things, and then people getting sick and all this other stuff. It won't hurt to have an extra episode inserted between the times when we can actually all get together.
Rainseeker:And actually we could insert Capn's voice ... and insert it right ... here.
Rainseeker:Okay, so that was ...
Toady:That was Capn ... I almost heard it. I should pretend I did hear it. Hey Capn! (as Toady-Capn) How you doing guys? (end Toady-Capn) I'm doing alright.
Rainseeker:But no really, that was magic editing.
Toady:Magic editing.
Rainseeker:Alright, so. You seem pretty excited about this new release, are you happy?
Toady:Yeah ... It's still bumpy because we moved to a new compiler and the new compiler cut out Windows 2000 and I think Windows XP Service Packs 1 and 2 or something like that, and it seems to also cut out Mac ... not just the PowerPCs but also the 10.4 operating system, that's my understanding right now. There may or may not be ways around that and that's all kind of in a slow process ... I haven't got anything definitive at this point. So that's going to be an ongoing adventure.
Rainseeker:Okay, so we got the new version up and we are looking at what new features; do you want to summarise? I know people can read it but ...
Toady:The main feature this time is that adventure mode's broken because we added the new villages and we didn't want to delay another month to put adventure mode back together and that's just what we're going to do in October instead. Mainly because there's not a lot to do in adventure mode before, so we didn't feel like we were cutting people out too much to have it delayed for a month, and there were some dwarf mode bugs we wanted to fix ... I can't remember them off the top of my head, but it fixed a few annoying bugs in dwarf mode for this time around. But we have set the stage for the rest of the game now, the changes to come, by setting up these civilization populations that are much larger, and having the sites spread out so that there's now farmland surrounding cities that don't exist yet but they're marked with plus signs on the map right now, that's where the towns and cities are going to be for the humans. The sprawl of the civilizations for the other races isn't as well defined yet ...
Rainseeker:Can you still embark on a human civilization or any civilization ...
Toady:No. This was one of the main hiccups with the release. Partially because the site sprawl with all these villages is completely useless right now, people still mainly look at the map as 'where am I going to embark in dwarf mode?' It's kind of silly right now embarking on a human site, there are no consequences for doing that, no problems that they have with you doing that, just sitting there digging up their houses and collapsing them and stuff ... also because of the way the new sites are stored I wasn't sure that I wanted to get in to the overlap situation there until we actually care about supporting that properly, so it's just not allowed. But because the sites sprawl so much and lay claim to so much more territory it sections out large portions of the map that you can't embark on. So right now that just looks like a straight penalty because there's nothing to be gained by just taking away embark sites and not adding anything else to the game; so I can understand that being a downer for people. So for this week I just put in some options that are easier to get at to control how much the sites spread out and made the default map the medium setting map that you get by doing 'Create a New World' just not have so much sprawl as it stands. That'll probably be coming back, but we want to handle a few things, make it justify its existence and also decrease its memory footprint a bit before we bring it back. But this is the direction things are going to go. The only reason, as it stands, to have calm empty areas surrounded by civilizations that go on for a thousand years that would have exploited that area is to have new places for your dwarves to go that are calm and surrounded by other civilizations. So you might want to have some areas like that but they should be able to justify their own existence, and once there are more things going on in world generation it won't be that hard because in Europe there was resettlement going on all the time; new groups moving in over where the old ones were, fighting them off but sometimes just resettling areas that had been emptied or ravaged previously, that didn't then get resettled because of whatever was going on at the time. So there are plenty of ways that we can be respectful of keeping a simulation going, a kind of real world simulation, and all the good things that come out of trying to be respectful of that, while at the same time maintaining the integrity of the dwarf mode choices. Now that whole situation's going to change a bit when we finally get to the start scenarios where you have a reason why your fortress is doing what it's doing, but those will still be ... it'll still be the same choices of places you can go, so it's a problem that ...
Rainseeker:It should be interesting too, right, during world generation, because you're going to eventually have the leaders making decisions about what to do, right? So depending on their personalities they could leave stuff alone maybe for religious reasons ...
Toady:Sure. I forgot what they were called, the Urnfield culture or something ... it's one of these ancient cultures where the reason they're named the Urnfield culture is because they have all these fields that they left open, and they left behind the urns where they buried people, and I think that's all they know about them. There could be areas like that where your dwarves go 'oh, what is this nice calm peaceful river location that's completely untouched' and then you go to the river and right as you're digging down and thinking about defeating the aquifer or whatever you're thinking about, you find all kinds of interesting buried things, and then when the human's arrive it's like ...
Rainseeker:You've defiled our ...
Toady:I guess the human traders wouldn't arrive at all, they'd know; once you start exporting they see all these dwarven trade wagons being exported out of their burial grounds and they're like 'are you selling the bones of our ancestors?'
Rainseeker:But they're very handsome trinkets, sir!
Toady:Care for this skull cup? ... No.
Rainseeker:No! Aunt Mary! No!
Toady:Nothing but trouble, coming out of that. That points to why it feels weird to have people embarking on the human sites, although we had this conversation before and then I allowed embarking on the human sites, so part of it is really that the sprawl's a little difficult to manage; the way the sites are stored with this overlapping dwarf embark on the sprawl area. Because it used to just enlarge your embark site to encompass the three by three human site, but now the human sites can push sixteen by sixteen ... It's a little stranger to do that because your computer wouldn't work but it's not like it has to load the whole thing anymore either, it was just a little weird. It's not impossible, it's just delays and that kind of thing.
Rainseeker:You've got to figure out a way to not cut buildings in half and stuff like that.
Toady:That part I'm kind of handling already just because I've got small buildings now, these little cottages, I move them to dodge potential lines of cutting. The villages in the end will probably look five percent more square because of that, but it's the price you pay for having to avoid writing artificial intelligence that's like 'well, I'm in half of my house right now, and if that guy moves right then, well I'll be in the other half of my house too'. I wouldn't want to inflict that on anybody. It's going to be that way with castles probably though, or especially things like city walls ... you can't really load in the entire city ... if the very largest cities encompass that entire sixteen by sixteen area then you can't load the entire city, so it's going to need to understand what it means to run off the top of the wall or run through the inside of a wall, or run around either side of the wall. It's all doable, it's just going to be these little special cases probably, to handle that.
Rainseeker:Out of curiosity, the human walls; are you going to make them be bigger than the normal one by one tile or is it going to vary, or ...?
Toady:Like actual city walls?
Rainseeker:Sure. And can you take them apart in dwarf mode?
Toady:It's always a weird thing because if the city wall is built of pieces of stone it seems legitimate to me to have it just be one tile sections. But when you get to something like a log cabin the one tile sections become very weird, it's like you're taking out pieces of the log and you can put them back and replace them with another log. It seems very strange. I don't know if I'm ever going to deal with that ... it's low priority in a way because what we've got now kind of works and we're trying to race off toward the future for once instead of getting bogged down but that's the plan for October anyway, we'll see if that works out. But I imagine that the wall segments would be little pieces of stone that you can ... I mean the weird part is that you kind of just chip them out of there in any way without feeling that they have weight on top of them or whatever, I guess you're mining them out of there ... mining a tunnel through the walls, but getting this one boulder back. It's all very strange, but I expect it will be the same. The walls themselves are not going to be one tile thick in most cases. They'll be able to support towers ... the same kind of stuff you're going to build in dwarf mode. If you see those amazing city wall pictures, I don't remember the name ... there were like eighty seven towers surrounding the city, it was really cool. That kind of thing, and more! It's a fantasy game so if you need to go fifty or one hundred percent larger for your city walls for certain fantastic and amazing people then that's all good, right? Or make them out of glass or whatever. So it'll be cool, and we'll get to that sometime. Probably when we get to towns. Zach has really been gunning for castles, he's like 'you have these villages, but I want to have castles again, and not just those big squares that we made before but like an actual thing that looks nice.' There are so many things now that are essentially low hanging fruit, and now that we've sort of freed ourselves up so that October is like 'let's put something fun in adventure mode so that we've got a game there'. That's the cause of October. It's cool to be able to do that finally. We're still well aware that there are bugs and we'll be fixing bugs as usual, but ... we knew that the entity sprawl that needed to go in early and was going to be very annoying, so we kind of lost a month there. There might be a few other candidates, like when we do the trade rewrite, or the resources rewrite, to actually store resources on site. That part itself is not so hard, you could almost add that in a day, just tracking the numbers, but it's when you start to get to the repercussions; it's like 'they eat now, so we have world generation famines' and if you screw up the numbers there or wars screw up the numbers or it's trying to track something ... then it's going to be worse than real life for a long time, with the numbers working correctly you'll just have these massive famines and horrible ...
Rainseeker:Because they're not thinking through their problem, they're just dying.
Toady:Yeah. Any time in human history where someone had to think of an innovative solution to a problem, the computer's not going to be able to do that. I expect trouble when we get to that part. So that's another one. The site sprawl was one, that site resource tracking and using them is another ... but other than that I can't remember any adventure mode stuff that really seemed ... like, as a single item on the dev page, seemed like a nightmare. There are some dwarf mode things that I expect will take time. Job priorities because that involves rewriting the entire dwarf AI, but it's more than job priorities ... it's actually rewriting it to allow all kinds of things, to get them to think a little bit about whatever you might think of, so they can priorities things like parties better and their little personal life stuff along with their jobs, and make it less of a strict hierarchy that it runs through. It should be really beneficial but it's a big rewrite, that's another one down there. And of course things like moving fortresses ... we mentioned 'oh yeah we're going to have moving fortress features ... I can see how I want to implement that, vaguely, how I'd store the stuff, and how that's going to be neither a large nor a small project strictly speaking, but I imagine that the ramifications are going to be as bad as the problems that still exist from the 3D cave-ins where the ice floors don't work right, or whatever the current errors are. There's going to be all kinds of fun time there. Fortunately the code for adventure mode when you're walking around the map, how it shifts everything as it loads new areas, that's going to save me a whole ton of time ... moving a fortress section, so it's going to be easier than it might look in a way. But also it'll just be hard in general, and I'm sure there are a few other things down in the dwarf mode list on the dev pages that are tricky and time consuming ... maybe the linguistic stuff too although I don't know when that's going to happen in the first place. But the good news is there are a lot of things that can be done pretty quickly now, and we're going to focus on that so that we reclaim some enjoyment from the game.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Rainseeker:I have some questions here from our readers and players ...
Toady:And listeners! We have listeners too.
Rainseeker:Let me re-explain. I have some email questions! From people! Who probably enjoy the game ... I have one here from Elijah. He says: 'Could Tarn spend some time talking about the possibility of implementing different languages and written works. Is there any possibility of old languages, and what about books made of sheets, metal, paper, papyrus or even clay tablets.
Toady:We're into that stuff and it reminds me of the Steles, the big pillars that the Syrian kings wrong all their conquests on and so on, and the translations of those were some of the inspirations for some of the world generation tortures after the towns were taken over, like stretching out skins and sticking them on walls and stuff. We like that kind of thing not the tortures, personally, for ourselves, but the written languages so we're all for it, especially when we get to the treasure hunter section where we've mentioned old books and things like that that we'd like to throw in there. It'd be cool to find one of those old libraries they had, I think they had an ancient library with these cuneiform tablets, they looked like little triangles pressed in different configurations on this clay tablet ... to find a library of one of those things would be really cool. The issues that come up there's a couple of them one is displaying the language written out. It would be cool to use different symbols for it, and it would be a time to go add some tiles. These are the kinds of tiles that we can actually draw without total failure, doing it ourselves, so it might be possible to extend some language tiles or ... I don't know if that would involve Unicode in any way since we have better font support now. It's not clear to me exactly how we'd go about doing it but we're definitely ... even if it's just adding some symbols like the graphics for creatures currently, you could just add some more symbols, then it would be cool to actually display the words that are written in the books or on the tablets or whatever, and see them there, and then be able to translate them. It might be difficult to ask the player to do that manually, but they could do it based on their characters skill, and translate pieces of the tablet and then reveal them as you translate them. The other issue is if you're having the game randomly generate a language, which is something that we've avoided up to this point, even though you can throw something together, especially with as little structure as our languages have now we don't really have any grammar for them or anything, it's just here's a word, here's how you write it the only reason we haven't done that is because we're afraid of getting too many words that are real life words. So for our dwarf language we didn't want the word for 'mine' to be randomly generated as 'pepsi', and have the word for 'dwarf' just be some swear word because of what it comes up with ... so if your name is 'Dwarf Mine' your name would be like 'Poop Pepsi' or something. it's just not what we imagined for the dwarf language.
Rainseeker:That does become a problem unless you're using random characters.
Toady:That's why there're a couple of solutions, there's using different characters for the languages, or, when the language isn't as central it's not the dwarf language, but is just some language of some randomly generated three-armed squirrel people that live in the forest and fight with leaves, but they still use, for whatever reason, the same alphabet then if they had something that was called pepsi, that doesn't really matter. I'm sure there'll be ... if you've got thousands of people playing, I'm sure someone out there is going to get a screenshot that's just horrifying, horrifying in the worst possible way and we'll just let it go at that point and hopefully the news doesn't pick it up. But that's basically the only obstacle. I kind of had a pet fascination with linguistics in college, I was fishing around for a double major for so long when I was doing math; I went from computer science to animal behaviour to chemistry to linguistics, and so I never actually ended up getting one. But I took like six or seven or eight classes and I got all the books from the advanced classes ...
Rainseeker:Makes you a very interesting person, that's for sure.
Toady:Well ... I don't know ... But I read them. I missed the coursework and I can read online ... so I don't really know where I'm at with that stuff, but it is one of my little fascinations. That's why it's always been up on the dev page even if I never get to it.
Rainseeker:So how do you see that affecting adventure mode? You have your adventurer, he finds this 'leafen tablet' scrawled by the squirrel people that he just slaughtered and he's like 'hmm, what does this say?'
Toady:It might be harder to learn the language now you've killed them all.
Rainseeker:That's true, so you could maybe have an ability to talk and learn their language gradually?
Toady:Yeah, that's what we're hoping for. The thing that's neat is in a rudimentary way it would be impossible to pull this off, for me anyway, in a really satisfying way but if you've got ... Right now the grammatical structure of all the languages is the same, well they can only say one phrase, like 'Johnny run/walk the dog of war', there's only one kind of phrase they have but they're all the same. So even now you could say 'you know thirty percent of the goblin vocabulary, these are the exact words you know' and then whenever you hear a phrase it could translate those words and not the others. But the thing that'll be neater, if we're storing the things that people will say in conversations ... this conflicts with other things, so I'm not really sure how this is going to work, it might just be the writing, it might not be with the conversations; I'm not quite sure ... but if you have the basic sentence trees syntax ... noun/phrase things or whatever, sitting behind the sentences then the grammatical rules can take those trees and turn them into all kinds of different stuff, shifting the word order, cramming certain things together, putting little helper words everywhere, all that kind of stuff ... and still have your knowledge of the language interpret parts of it, or let you pick out pieces of it, in a really straightforward fashion while still preserving all the diversity of the languages. It would be pretty easy to do overall, except for the part where you actually build the sentence trees for everything you want to say. So it's like, you want to say 'the sword is hidden in such-and-such a cave'; that sentence tree's not so hard to build, it involves two of those noun type phrases we already have, like the 'shiny sword' or whatever it's called and the 'cave of darkness' or whatever it would be called, those we can already do. Then you just need to say how the verb works, and once you can construct that you can translate that into all the different languages and they can apply their rules to how those things work. It's nowhere near as complicated as an actual language where you just need all these little rules that modify them, and people don't even have a complete theory; but the game can have a complete theory, because I know what sentences are allowed to be in the books. We control that information and it allows us to complete the picture, so it should be cool. I guess that's a 'yes' for that question, if it was a 'yes/no' question. Is there any possibility of old languages? Yes. It should come in with the treasure hunter stuff, that's where it's on the dev page, if I remember.
Rainseeker:Let's see ... Noah wants to know if you could talk about how world gen combat works. Maybe we could briefly talk about this, because I know it's something we could go on with forever.
Toady:I'll address the conversation in terms of what happens when two monsters meet, or what happens when two armies meet and just briefly run through what happens. So when two monsters meet it looks at their strengths relative to each other ... the reason this is as simple as it is is because it needs to run through hundreds of thousands of these battles or whatever; I threw that number out, it's something like that ... so there's a couple of monsters, they look at each other, relative to each other's race, so if one guy has fire immunity and one guy's only attack is to breathe fire then he's going to have really crappy numbers. Then basically they just get a number from that and then they start rolling dice at each other like a simple skill roll and whoever wins gets to either wound or kill the opponent and the wound is chosen from a list of viable wounds like if you breathe fire then it'll try and burn the other guy then it will continue until the battle's over. Sometimes it just adjourns the battle and the guy escapes, sometimes one of them dies or is wounded and then escapes ...
Rainseeker:How does it pick the adjournment, when it adjourns?
Toady:If I remember there's a number of rounds, or if you have an escape chance, you roll a die and can escape. It's really simple, there's no spatial information or anything like that.
Rainseeker:So you just pit two monsters against each other, they don't find each other, the game decides these two monsters are going to have a fight, basically.
Toady:Yeah, so for instance if you're a world generation hunter, you go out, it pulls something out of the world region that you're hunting in; it's like 'okay, you're fighting a cougar', and then it's like 'alright, put them in the jar, and shake it', and then they roll die at each other, and then someone makes it out, maybe both of them, and then certain duels are designated 'to the death' on one side or the other so one guy might not be able to escape, and that's why town defences are so weird right now, because the whole town defender side is designated that way. World generation battles right now are not that different. It gathers the armies up from the entities' available people, and it also skims off a portion of the entity population, I think it just uses a tenth right now, and it says 'these are the armies', and it picks the most qualified general from among those historical figures that it's chosen. Now, qualifications; there's a new tactics skill and there's the pre-existing leadership and organisation skills that are now applied in world generation, and we'll get to that in a second. Now, it doesn't always pick the best general because if the entity has an official general position, someone who handles military strategy, then it'll choose that person instead, even if they're fresh and for some reason the civilization had someone fighting battles before that had some skill developed; unless they got the general position they won't be used. Unless the general position is empty, then they'll be used. So you've got these two armies, they're both being led, and there are bonuses from terrain right now, and the type of site if there's a site being defended, and it takes the tactics, leadership and organisation ... because there's no strategic versus tactical right now, because not a lot is going on strategy wise at this point, so it's all rolled into one right now, and they just roll those skills and the outcome of those rolls heavily skews the battle. That part is going to be amplified later ... we're thinking like that Civil War documentary when you see the lines of troops and how they moved, and this arrow 'this guy is flanking', that kind of thing, that's what we're hoping to have for a little readout of each battle, but that's not how it works right now. How it works right now is very creepy and it was just because I needed to get something done. So what it does is it has all of the entity population people and it has all the historical figures. It picks one from each side and throws them at each other: so you could have two historical figures thrown at each other in which case it does one of the duels we've already discussed; or it could throw two entity squads at each other in which case it does much the same thing, but the numbers are decreased, it just kills people off; or you can have a historical figure fight a squad. Right now because we're trying to amplify the heroic nature of people they fight a duel against a single guy who might have some bonuses, I don't remember, and if they win then the entire squad dies ... or maybe some of them escape, but they beat the squad of ten ... the squads all have ten I think. So it runs through this until the attack wave is over, and then if the attackers choose to continue they can continue, and the battle is decided when the attacker gives up or the defenders are all dead which is the big flaw right now, it's to the last. Which is also why you can have one hero because of this duels system you can have one hero if they've got amplified skills sitting there and shred assembly-line an entire army, if the army continues to attack, they may just break it off, but they might think they don't have to break it off because 'it's just one man!'
Rainseeker:Well you know there are some Biblical accounts of one man driving off entire armies.
Toady:Oh we're all for heroes.
Rainseeker:That is so legit.
Toady:Yeah, just plug the hole in the wall and sit there and hack at them. So ... we're all for heroes and we're going to continue to have heroes, it's just right now it's always like that, and there's no bonus for 'if you have a thousand people against one on an open field' ... it doesn't matter. They still just line up like practically single file and get buzz sawed. So that's all subject to change when we start getting tactics in. Part of the thing is that I am not a well read military historian, and Zach's more well read than I am but I don't think either of us are really comfortable with describing the nuances of what happened in a battle, so we just need to read and that'll take care of itself.
Rainseeker:So what you're saying, eventually, you're planning on having a graphical representation of every battle.
Toady:Yeah right now over on the right it shows the world map and shows where it was during legends mode, whereas what I'd like to have over on the right is probably the local embark, the sixteen by sixteen or whatever area the battle is ranging through when you're choosing your embark rectangle, that scale of map and then maybe have four or five different frames from the battle. Like 'first, the soldiers were arrayed this way, and then this group moved to the right and there were many casualties and then this group moved through and then there was a frontal charge, and then they set up an ambush here and the battle was decided.'
Rainseeker:And then Eric the great ...
Toady:Yeah there's always going to be great people. They could take their pet dragon and this army could be eliminated ... all kinds of interesting things going on there, and hopefully that's going to be how it works. What I'm really hoping is that when that kind of display is in that that will also inform or be the same as what goes on when you're actually fighting in dwarf mode with your armies, or in adventure mode when you're with an army. You'll actually be able to move these groups around on that mid-level map when you're deciding a large engagement, and then when there's actual fighting that you're involved in it could zoom in to a small dwarf mode or adventure mode map and you could have a little fight, an actual fight, and then you pop back up and that part of the battle is over and it continues and so on. So it should be really cool, and it's not ...
Rainseeker:Do you anticipate having a way for you to skip past the building of your fortress straight to controlling armies.
Toady:We've talked about that a little bit ... that's start scenarios. There's sort of a question; should you be able to take over the entire dwarven civilization with the press of a button? It's a tricky question in a sense because you don't want to completely destroy the sense of progress that you feel, but at the same time if it's super fun and it's super hard to get to then you should just be given it so that everyone can have super fun. There are all kinds of compromises to explore there; it could be a world generation option, I've done that with some things ... I don't know what people think of that really, but it's a way I've been thinking about handling those things is just to say 'I want a world where I can assume all these roles' so that you never have the temptation of just taking over your whole civilization and killing the guys who were bothering you and then going back to a little fort because you can't do it, because you said when you generated that world that 'I want to be a strict iron mode' or whatever ... 'iron dwarf ... and I'm not going to do any of these wide ranging options'. Whereas another person might be like 'I want the complete sandbox, I want to control all the civilizations at once and just mess around with them', it would be like an arena in the world. I've got no problem with that, it's all super fun ... well will be, hopefully. So that's the issue and I imagine it will come to a head as soon as fighting with armies, like sending them abroad in dwarf mode, is fun; that will be when that is put in, because it would be kind of mean otherwise.
Rainseeker:I want to diverge topics. You mentioned dragon pets earlier. I was playing the other day and I realised something, that my dwarfs really like the idea of the humans getting large eagle pets, because they always make engravings of this. I've never seen engravings of, like, the humans who have tamed the cow or a dragon or something else, it's always large eagles ... giant eagles.
Toady:Yeah ... it's because there's such an obscene amount of villages now, and I believe they travel off to a nearby region, possibly a nearby savage region, to collect their buddies, and so every single village has a warlord, and they're always going off on these little excursions and perhaps it's that mountains or wherever the eagles live are often bordering the places, like they often form the borders of the human civilizations; perhaps that's it. Or perhaps it's just that they are one of the few savage creatures, like giant lions and giant ... whatever. There are not that many of them, it's really one of those deficits in the game.
Rainseeker:'Ach! Urist! The humans! They've tamed these giant eagles!'. 'Ah, that's great! I'm going to make a statue of that right now!'
Toady:Really, if there are three hundred human villages, which might be normal, and you let history run just two hundred years then how many different warlords have you gone through? You've gone through thousands of warlords, all of them probably, like 'I need those eagles!'
Rainseeker:'Eagles, for my village!'
Toady:Yeah, so they can fly around. Why would you tame a giant lion if you can tame a giant eagle and fly around. It's not like baby Scamps or something, it's not safe to play with a giant lion; even if it's playful it'll still hurt you... I need to tone that down a little bit. Well the main thing that's going to be toned down is having a warlord in every single village who's running off and taming giant eagles and bringing them back ... they'll be like 'but can we attach the plough to that?'
Rainseeker:'... I hadn't thought of that'
Toady:They'll be soaring over the fields, like one foot above the fields, pulling the plough ...
Rainseeker:'My lord your giant eagle just ate my donkey!' You'd have a real problem keeping livestock at that point.
Toady:Yeah, those things have to be fed and there's probably more tame giant eagles than humans in these villages. This is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about when I say that site resources are going to destabilise the game, because when it starts trying to feed your eagles all of your horses or all of your cows, and then you can't plough anymore, then your food goes down, then everyone downs and the eagles just go back to the mountains ... it's like mission accomplished.
Rainseeker:'Whatever you do, don't go tame eagles when you grow up'. 'Okay mummy ... but I must have eagles!'
Toady:Yeah, it's going to be grossly destabilising when we add the actual economy to the game, but it should be entertaining. If we have to we'll just put strict controls on certain things ... not the same kind of strict controls that might stagnate the economy or whatever, but just actual magical strict controls that give things where there was once nothing. Hopefully we won't need to do that, and just make the overall situation like there's enough food being farmed ... we're going to have a slightly higher ratio than what they could get away with so that there hopefully won't be quite as many artificial problems and just real famines caused by the game saying there's a drought, or the game doing this, instead of just like 'well, the numbers didn't work out that year because some random crap happened'. Random's good too, but it's going to be really kind of horrifying.
Rainseeker:Is there any way to teach the leaders through these problems, like maybe they have learned that taming giant eagles is bad, and maybe we should eat some of those giant eagles, or maybe we should not do that again, or ...
Toady:There are certain things you can record ... of course there are these advanced AI techniques that a) I don't know and b) might not be practical on this kind of scale, especially if you want to have them learn ... if the game's taking turns in weeks and then they learn over a period of years that something's bad then they don't have a lot of chance to correct. Mostly what it's going to be is us as programmers learning from our mistakes and teaching them coping strategies in advance, but maybe withholding some of those things from them. It would be the same way a technology kind of things works, that eventually you develop good ideas. The economy might work that way too, I've been working through economic history books in preparation for the trade and site resource stuff, and there were these things that were innovative over time, these ideas; ideas like insurance, I don't know if our game should have insurance but it certainly existed before the 1400s if that's our cut-off.
Toady:Yeah, all kinds of stuff. They were just as concerned as we are about losing their money, so they came up with all kinds of things, and it was really complicated. I don't know if we're going to go there or not, I don't want to pin myself to having systems like the Italians had near where our cut-off is, because we kind of decide based on the flavour and the atmosphere of the game as more important. But in a sense for the biggest cities to have that kind of feeling to them, at least in some cultures, of having some things like that going on instead of it all just being Conan-esque, is not really a problem for me so much. We'll see how it turns out, we certainly want a lot of those heroes running around doing things and not having to worry about if their sword is insured.
Rainseeker:Well there've got to be insurance heroes, right? And banking heroes. Heroes that are geniuses, Thomas Edison kind of people. Isaac Newton.
Toady:That's right. You can invent a way to kill a dragon.
Rainseeker:Let's talk about ASCII characters!
Rainseeker: Because your game is ASCII, and ASCII is probably the most fun graphical representation of a game I've ever played. It's definitely old school ... but I think that the complexity of your game totally overwhelms even noticing it's ASCII after a while. Macbeth asked this interesting question; 'As the project gets more complex do you expect that these ASCII character sets won't be able to support the detail you're adding? What are your plans for displaying that information?'
Toady:It's already at that point, if you've seen the elves versus elephants or goblins versus goats or whatever issues come up ...
Rainseeker:'Why are those elephants shooting arrows at me? I don't understand!'
Toady:And there are methods of getting around that to some extent, but eventually you hit a wall. You saw with world generation recently the human sprawl I went with lines and whatever the letter is called () when you put an 'a' and an 'e' together for the hill farms, and eventually your bag runs out of ... bag stuff ...
Toady:There's no more tricks in the bags, no more little characters in the bag. And so then you hit that point where you're like 'do you just go over to a tileset at that point? Do you experiment with Unicode stuff? If you add just a new IBM codepage r256 grid characters or whatever ...' If we add another grid of characters that look promising and just stick with that, that's kind of counterproductive in a way, because once you jump up beyond 256 you're free to move about the country at that point and go up to 65'000 or millions or whatever the rewrite entails. At the same time there's something to be said for the ASCII mode of the game, which I like because I can develop it quickly and I don't have to ... Zach and I drawing is not the same as other people drawing ... or maybe the problem is it's the same as other people drawing who aren't artists. And we can't use other people's tilesets without worrying about legal business, and more so not just legal business but ongoing development; if we've got a tileset then are there release delays when we wait for new pictures, or if a person drawing a tileset bails do we try and find somebody that can draw in the same style as they do, or does it become some kind of hellish hybrid of different art styles. It's difficult when we don't have an employee that we can employ for several years, or a person who will stick with the project. People stick with the project, like Baughn's been helping us for quite a long time, but what happens? If Baughn leaves, I do have some trouble with linux and mac support and so on, and other people can help with that, and I'm not sure graphics is the same way where someone can just step in and do the exact same thing, although artists are talented and there's probably someone who can do that, but I don't know if I can count on that or not. Then there's the legal question, I don't know how to do that properly; I have to make sure I can find someone I can trust who isn't going to lift a glyph from Nintendo without me noticing. So there're a lot of questions, it's not completely ruled out, but there're a lot of questions. The other method would be just to add another 256 characters if I don't just go with some Unicode font or something. And in a sense there's a charm at least with the vanilla, of adding just another 256 characters, because it's an extension that's required, but it still sticks within the same kind of poetic form. But there's going to be like seven people that agree with that assessment and a whole crapload of people that are like 'what the hell are you thinking?' So we're kind of there in a sense ... not super pressing at least, not anymore pressing than adding graphics to the game always was with running out of characters to display the information. But it's certainly already hit that wall in several places, and it's only filling it out more as time goes on.
Rainseeker:Cool. Well, let's take a break and when we come back I think that Capn will be here with Tarn and I will be gone.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Menendez:(musical backing)
Rainseeker:Do you feel like your Dwarf Fortress is too quiet? (background sfx: 'Ach what are you doing you (words)') Are you disappointed with the fact that your dwarfs aren't screaming obscenities at you? (background sfx: (dwarven words?)) Is so, SoundSense is the program for you, come find it on the mod section. (background sfx: 'Your ridiculous decisions are smelling like (words)' 'All my buddies are dead because of you!' 'Yeah, he killed them all with his poor decision making process!' 'Oh, please stop your poor decision making!' 'Ach, they're dead, they're all dead!' 'Oh no my son has died!')
Toady:'I've been lied to!'
Rainseeker:Yes ... So I just played a bunch of these sounds for Tarn and he likes them. Check it out, because it's fun. I've been working with a couple of guys over in the SoundSense mod and they were gracious enough to offer me the chance to record dwarven voices, and of course my fake Scottish accent is in there, so ...
Menendez:(musical backing ends)
Toady:Yeah so ... big adventure mode coming up. [1:00:40]
Capntastic:I'm excited.
Toady:I'm excited too! Hopefully it'll be exciting. There'll be like stuff to do next time ... all kinds of plans, hopefully.
Capntastic:I'm not a role-playing systems guy, but I've been reading about One Roll Engine which is by Greg Stolze who did Unknown Armies, but there's all these supplements for it. It's like a really easy to learn system, and I have the worst time trying to remember role-playing systems, like 'oh, what do I roll for this, what do I roll for this', but with One Roll Engine all you do ... it's the same roll for anything, you just roll the relevant stat and the relevant skill. But anyways one of the core settings for it is Reign, and it takes place on this crazy world where the continents are two human shaped things, and there's all this crazy stuff, and I'm just reading it and like 'oh this would be the best thing for Dwarf Fortress to have', you know, just the fact that everything is really kind of Conan the Barbarian, you've got all these guys and swords and torches and fire arrows and stuff, and then you've got mysterious magic that does all this crazy stuff, and it's very adventurey, is what I'm trying to say, and that's the sort of stuff that's fun.
Toady:Yeah ... it's going to be interesting when we start bending the rules, because we've got more and more and more rules now, but they don't change that often. Like we've got all of those material properties and things now but we don't really go out of our way to change them that much. It'll be intriguing when we're using them enough that you can just change them during the game, like if you go off to some alternate parallel world trapped up in some forest or something, and everything changes about how your materials work and how the gravity projectile numbers work and that kind of thing. Right now gravity projectile numbers means 'go down one square every click' so it's not very impressive, but it's pretty easy to add, doing a little bit better physics with the projectiles isn't that hard. So that stuff can all be changed, and how the flows work ... Even simple, simple stuff like the dragon fire going twice as fast or really slow ...
Capntastic:Huh ... it's just kind of dribbling out of its mouth there.
Toady:It'd be entertaining to dodge through that stuff, because mostly you just get blasted. Well you have a shield and then you don't get blasted and you can kind of just walk right through the poor thing.
Capntastic:Now I'm imaging like a Touhou-style bullet hell game where you're moving your adventurer around a screen full of fire.
Toady:Yeah, it'll be interesting when we make the ruins and dungeons and things ... to see what kind of very interesting things that you can stick in each area ... it's a nice little world unto itself. You could have all kinds of weird things moving around, because you don't need much of an excuse. You've always got the wizard excuse, you've got deranged people doing deranged things, and you can also ... I mean if you just pull demons out of the underworld and they have enough time leading a goblin civilization to build prisons and I'm not sure what they'd need a tomb for but they might do it and what other little typical adventurer environments that you have. But just an excuse to do things like that, so that they have a little bit of relevance. It's like you get to the place, there's a little bit of a back-story behind it, but it doesn't need too much of an excuse to exist, but as long as it's got a little bit of an excuse to exist, then we can put it in. Then it's whatever we feel like, and that's going to have to be part of what improving adventure mode is, because going into adventure environments and getting mind boggled by weird challenges is part of the RPG tradition.
Capntastic:Seeing that sort of stuff is fun, where you're like 'oh, I've got to pick the lock' but then you decide 'oh, I have an idea, I'll move this boulder up this ramp here and push it', and I can imagine that in the future Dwarf Fortress will saw 'oh, he's pushing this boulder', it'll see its speed and mass and velocity and physics and it'll count how many physics it has and see if that's enough to break the wall.
Toady:That's right, you're pushing the boulder up the ramp and you have some gunk on the bottom of your shoe, and you slide and that was it for you; and you don't get all those chances, like Sisyphus gets ... constant chances, rolling the ball there, then it rolls back down, but then he gets another try!
Capntastic:No no ... that's not it. I don't think he gets another try, does he? When he pushes it up, he gets to the top and it rolls back down ...
Toady:Does it make it all the way to the top? I'm not familiar with the exact geometry of the situation, I always had the feeling that he was disappointed. But it would be disappointing to lose it once he get it up there too. (aside to Scamps) Hey mister, that's a mechanic pencil, you can't operate it.
Capntastic:Don't be so sure.
Toady:Well he can activate its gravity potential, and that's what he's been trying to do, get it on the floor. He always likes to knock things off of the desk so he can examine them on the floor, or is that just because he gets attention when he knocks things off the desk. He's troubled.
Capntastic:It's interesting, because, like we've talked about the different drives people have in the game, you've got people who play it as a game, people who play it as a fantasy world novel adventure game, and then the people who play it like Legos, they open the box, put them together, make a giant crocodile that breathes magma; it's fun, it's awesome.
Toady:Yeah, it's good that there are different ...
Capntastic:It's the sort of thing where I don't imagine that when you were creating the game originally you'd say 'ah, this is going to appeal to these people, this is what's going to get this audience', it just diverged that way where different people like it for different reasons.
Toady:Certainly different play styles ... The people that stick around stick around for all kinds of different reasons; there are some people that just play legends mode.
Capntastic:Can you make it so ... those people waiting for that to be more literary, so they can just print it out and have a novel to read on the bus, like 'a kobald flayed a dude, and then an elf got him', only you know, more flowery.
Toady:It's one of those things where you can put time into that and you wonder where you're going to reach any kind of threshold where it's satisfying. We always wanted to make legends mode sound better but it's inevitably stayed a list so far, and we mainly just added things like battle maps and stuff like that. But I've been playing a little bit, just a little bit, with combining information into paragraphs and so on with the wounds and to a small extent with the attributes; just packing things in just a little bit and hopefully it'll be able to do that with the historical information. It's a lot easier when you have things like a battle where it knows what kind of events are going to be in there, and they're stored within the battle and then the battle contains sub events, or there's a war and the war contains just a few kind of events like site conquering events, site destructions and battles themselves. And so when it's got that kind of information and it knows what to expect than it can go ahead and write it. And then the embellishments we add can be things that we do the other way around, so that we'd write the description for a war, and then if you want to make it sound a little more literary you think of what kind of details that would imply it's like the story planning that I do with Zach and we'd all those kind of details in to flesh it out a bit perhaps. But so far it's just all been going the other way in the legends mode, where we just catalogue things that were already in the game, except for the tortures ... after the battles, that's kind of the first main embellishment we put in ... unfortunate things to make a little more descriptive, because you never find any evidence of that. Although, that might be changing as we get some of the ruin information in there, or being able to go to old battlefields, which is part of the plans. Then you'd be able to see some of the horrifying things that happened, like if you've got those grotesque sculptures, maybe those are still hanging together as bones on one of the sites. But then it might come alive, and kind of shamble towards you ...
Capntastic:No, that's just the wind.
Toady:Yeah, it just rattles like a wind chime ... No going out at night in adventure mode, hopefully. It'd be good not to go out at night, you get surrounded by spirits and eaten.
Capntastic:Plus it's cold, and if it's cold it's like 'oh, you're cold, your hands start to shiver'.
Toady:Yeah ... there's not a lot you can do about that now. You could cover yourself with sharp rocks and pieces of meat, with intestines to hold them all together ...
Capntastic:Use sinew ... 'You make rock and sinew hat. Body heat plus one'
Toady:We're working on it. It's one of those things where I want to get to making it so that you can do kill things again, because obviously the ability to do that has been degraded over a series of releases to the point now where mostly they just tell you to kill their own leader or whatever. So fixing that up's a priority, but you always want to augment the little crafting abilities we started up, because there's such a lack of things you can do right now, just like 'okay, sure, get a rock' ... 'butcher the body' ... and that's about it. At least being able to make some crappy clothes for yourself and a spear ... We're also going to at least in the market towns get some places to buy things back, regardless of how they aren't backed up by the whole caravan arc thing, just get them back so that you can ... In a sense it's a little bit disappointing just to have to return a little bit to the typical RPG structure of killing things and upgrading equipment, but it's a starting point, and we have to get back to that after the villages obliterated everything. But it should include some of the things like the start of night creatures and so on, to add a little bit of diversity, and also having some soft targets like simple groups of goblins and bandits and things that have been driven out of their own larger civilization so that you don't just have to stage suicide attacks on goblin towers.
Capntastic:So what sort of cool stuff is going to be added to the Dwarf Fortress economy? I can't wait for the caravan arc where it's like 'oh, buy my spices, I'll trade you spices for silks'.
Toady:The economy is, I think, the next major thing where we're like 'well, we don't know if this is going to take a month or not', so that's why we're not doing it in October. October is about the repair of adventure mode, the funification. It's partially just for our own enthusiasm about working on, because it's a little more fun to work on something when you can take a little bit of time out to just play it a little bit, you can't really do that with the current adventure mode. But hopefully we'll end up with something this month in October that you would at least be able to sit down and play it for a while. It's not going to be possible to make something that you'd sit down and play for as long as people play dwarf mode, just because it takes a while to add in mechanics and so on, but hopefully something that you can sit down and play with for a while. Then it'll be easier to say 'okay, we're taking some time out again to revamp the entire economy'. And of course there's going to be bug fixing and things for dwarf mode in there as well. If we make it unsafe to travel at night then we're definitely going to have to put in the fast sleep button which should be good ... the current sleep button where you press it and it just presses 'wait', the period button, for you, like eight thousand times, and you watch the z's slowly move across the screen.
Capntastic:I was so confused when that first happened, I was like 'did the game break? What did I do?'
Toady:It's like 'we do not want to interfere with the integrity of the simulation, so here you go, you can sit and sleep for five minutes while it finishes up keeping track of how everyone's staying in their cottages and doing nothing'. But yeah ... there are going to be problems with that eventually, even now if you set a fire and then you press the fast sleep button then the fire won't have moved after eight hours, but it's a small price to pay and we'll work on that stuff over time. Kind of the same problem as abandoning a fort and then reclaiming it while you've got water moving around, but it's not a big deal. We're just going to let you sleep quickly, and obviously going to have to put in some combat fixes, like fixing up the wrestling interface and allowing you to aim some of your shots, that kind of thing. With aimed shots we have to do those attack opportunities where it randomises the success of thing and actually displays how well you think a shot might go based on some random stuff, and as we put in more there'll be more there but just to start with it'd be a random number, just so that it's not like 'headshot, headshot, headshot, headshot, headshot, headshot, headshot, headshot, headshot' because that's the most effective use of your time; sometimes it shouldn't be. So we'll probably put that in because that'd be really fast to add, but we're not going to change the combat until we actually have you going off and fighting some things again, because there's no point. But hopefully that'll happen within a few days anyway, so we'll be able to get some more done. And if it's two weeks, two weeks is going to be a long time, so I'm hoping to get quite a bit done, hoping to make a little bit interesting, even if I'm mostly just trying to reclaim pre-existing aspects of the game at first. But we're going to do more with not having to go out and hunt down quest givers in such an annoying way. It's like if there's some creature haunting a town or some bandits harassing travellers then every peasant is going to know about it. Except maybe the one year olds and even they'll probably know at first ... So you could take a quest in that sense, loosely defined, on behalf of the town and I'm not quite sure what the standards of proof here are, if you're just going to have to bring back a bunch of ears or some stolen property that the bandits or whoever might have taken ... bringing back proof of having killed a troll is easier than for bandits, because trolls have big ears ... if they have ears at all, I don't remember, I think they have ears. But if they've got big giant double-fist sized ears then people will be like 'oh yeah, he probably killed the troll or at least he made it really angry', and as long as the troll doesn't come and destroy the town that night then you'll receive the recognition of the town which in terms of how we're going to do things now I believe it'll probably be the ability to more easily get a peasant to let you sleep in his house which might be important if you're going to get dragged into the woods if you're outside, and the ability to get more important tasks from more important people who might ignore you at first ... and perhaps a place to stay and a place to store some equipment at first. Just some simple stuff, it's not like we want to wed ourselves to anything too complicated yet ... placeholdery at this point, because we're just trying to reclaim enough of a fun experience to springboard off into what we want to do, and make adventure mode feel like it has a reason to exist. So if we can't reward you with equipment that's incrementally improving at least we can do some things. Although there's room to move with the equipment, even without worrying about having itemised lists of magical powers that you mix and match in different combinations until you're happy; I don't think we ever want it to go that way. But there is, from dwarf mode, the quality of the object's material, and the craft quality of an object, and getting something like an exceptional steel longsword should be really hard. If an item like that represents a year's income for somebody or more then it should be that hard to get, you can't just go into a shop and be like 'I will pay fifty dwarf bucks for this super sword you've just got laying around', it should be a little harder to get anyway. Slowing down the rate at which you get good equipment can make the game last longer, so we'll meter that a bit even if it's ultimately really simple right now. Of course bandits and goblins can be in possession of some stuff, and caves can have crap in them from the dawn of time ... So there'll be a bit to do, even if we spend two weeks I think we can get just up to the point where we can feel like it's okay to specialise again, improving the hero role or adding the caravan stuff; adding more crafting and building your own house and that kind of thing. Because that stuff, it's all ... A lot of what we did with the village was to allow you to have the frame work to build your own house and that kind of thing. We want to set the tone, I guess, for adventure mode with some simple things like what I was just talking about. Killing things, buying thing, making people like you, and one thing I forget if I mentioned or not, as you improve your reputation by helping out villages then you might be able to take more people with you based on your reputation. And then you could go fight larger groups of bandits, or goblins in little forts and things; we're hoping to put all that in within this timeframe. Just to set that kind of tone for the game and then go back and do some of those things that I've been laying the groundwork for, because I think if it's all about making houses and raising chickens without bringing the other stuff back then ... I don't want to establish that as the adventure mode, that should be called something else. We want you to be able to do that stuff, but not the very first thing we work on when we're making adventure mode fun. Hopefully this plan will work out ... I have the dev pages up there and in a sense I just want to work from top to bottom of them, or at least within the adventure mode and dwarf mode, working from top to bottom in either of those, but it didn't feel like it was going to work out that well. It took so long to get these villages up, it took a month or more, and it just feels like I've got to pick and choose a few things for adventure mode to justify itself more, and then go back and start filling in the other things. So it'd certainly be better to be able to have your own house when you have some goblin heads to put in it again, to decorate; right now there's just not a lot there. That's the idea, anyway ... if people are in it for the long haul it doesn't matter that much, because we're going to get to the stuff on the dev page sooner or later, but just wanted to get started, and felt like getting that kind of thing back in.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Capntastic:You could raise the chickens and train them to fight.
Toady:Yeah ... Or at least have a horse or something, sure. That's going to be the thing; as soon as you can buy your first chickens, living chickens, not dead chickens, and bring them back to your place you're not restricted to bringing them back to your place, you can bring them anywhere with you. These things will just happen naturally, the second you can buy livestock then you can go on livestock adventures, and have a livestock party, and name your chickens. I don't know what would happen if ... Because they are creatures in the game, which means depending on how mechanics like giving people equipment and stuff work, then maybe you'd be able to give your chickens things ... like put a necklace around your chicken's neck ... I don't know, that kind of thing will be happening ... I mean certainly cow bells, people put bells on cows. They don't put bells on chickens, I guess they don't care that much about the chickens. But there are lots of reasonable things and unreasonable things that are going to be going on once we can move livestock around. It will be exciting when you can get that stuff done. So ultimately I guess this October release is going to be incredibly disappointing for people that were waiting for chickens. But we're getting to chickens, we have cows and camels and we have mules and ... well there's not a whole lot more that we have ... and cats and dogs, but not too much else. So I can see why people are disappointed. The reason chickens never got added in is because I was always insisting on doing eggs right and doing feathers right. Now we can do feathers, we have feathers in the game, we have feathers for forgotten beasts and birds ... in a sense, there's no individual feather that you can get, but the material is in, the feather material. So we can do that part of chickens, and we still just need to do eggs. Of course eggs are really important, because of dragon eggs and chicken eggs, and any other egg that you might imagine, but I guess those are the most important. Fish eggs, people eat fish eggs ... not sure what other eggs, there's all kinds of important eggs in the universe but ... The egg. I still haven't really ... it's the kind of thing that I don't feel like I need to think about until the day I'm going to do it. I haven't thought about chicken eggs that much, like what are the raws going to look like for chicken eggs and the chicken egg object, like an egg object ... There are different kinds of eggs; there are eggs that are kind of jelly eggs, and eggs that have hard shells, eggs come in different sizes and colours, and eggs have different materials associated to them, there's the eggshell for the hard eggs especially and the yolk and the white of the egg, at least for the birds. The egg might as well be composed of the different materials and then you'd have an egg, but having eggs hatch, so you have an item that turns into a creature ... Then there's the further question of, in the raws, how generalisable should that be, is it like 'this creature gives birth to this item'; that's their form of reproduction, that it lays an item ... It's not going to work unless the item actually turns into a creature, so only the eggs item will likely matter here for that, if you lay a chair then it's not going to make more of the creature out of the chair after a period of time if you sit in the chair as if it were a nest. Eggs are doable, just have an item with a little timer on it that turns into a critter, maybe leaves the shell behind and then you'll end up with your chicken farm with all these annoying shells all over the place, then you'll have chickens, and eggs, and you can throw eggs, and eat eggs, and raise more chickens.
Capntastic:A never-ending cycle.
Toady:It is. It'll be chickenful. I don't know how you bring your chickens back, you don't herd your chickens back I imagine, you put them in little baskets ...
Capntastic:You put one under each arm.
Toady:You can carry your chickens, that's true. You might not to bring a chicken basket. It wouldn't be a wooden chicken cage, it'd be some kind of chicken cage, some kind of woven baskety open chicken cage. What are those, reeds, or something? What do they make those out of.
Capntastic:Reeds probably.
Toady:I can see it in my head but I have no idea what it's actually made out of.
Capntastic:Sticks ...
Toady:A chicken basket. You can bring your chickens ... because if you've got a chicken basket then you can haul your chickens around and release your chickens at any time. I imagine that would work as a diversion, if you're attacking the bandits you could bring your chickens and then release your chickens and they might have a hostile reaction toward your chickens which will allow you to sneak in and take some things. Recovering your chickens might be hard, though, so you'd want to take at least enough to buy your chickens back. We've talked about all the bandit camps and reputations and critters roaming around, you're going to have trolls, like Bad Bob the troll, we're going to give them little nicknames, and they're little monsters jumping around causing trouble for people. It'd probably take too long, with the funification procedure which I'm hoping not to get stalled on anything, it'd probably take too long to have them actually sent out to cause trouble in the towns, rather than just allowing them to do bad things in world generation and then going off to kill them in stasis. After world generation they don't have active lies anymore, just for this first one, but they can still have little names, and the guys can talk about what they did bad during world generation, and then you can go find them in their little dugout burrows with all the skulls of their world generation victims and incidental treasures, I suppose. We would like to make the caves look a little creepier, especially the places where the night creatures are living; make them somewhat horrifying.
Capntastic:There needs to be glowing fungus, and bats, and all of that ... spider webs. Once you get those three things in, everything else is just icing on the cake.
Toady:That's right, like skulls on sticks and spooky voices talking to you.
Capntastic:And monsters with lairs: 'oh, you find a pile of rocks, it's a monster nest'
Toady:Well I guess ... ever since ... I don't know if it was The Ring that started this or what, but scary little girls are popular again. We had The Exorcist before, but now we've got The Ring and now there's all these ... there was F.E.A.R., the video game, and there's a new vampire movie with another scary little girl in it. There's lots of scary little girls in movies now, so we could always just put one in the cave, it just appears. It's terrifying, terrifying. Or maybe we won't do that. It'll be alright, there'll be some things to cover for it halfway, like all kinds of bodies and cobwebs and bats and things, and howling wind ... in night time you can't see that far in Dwarf Fortress so it'll be scary. And then the thing can jump out, jump out, jump out.
Toady:You'll be like, 'it's Bad Bob!' Then I guess you have a boxing match or something, and use the new aimed attacks and try and poke out Bad Bob's poor little face and bring it back to show people, you're like 'This is Bad Bob ...'
Capntastic:He puts up his arms and blocks.
Toady:That's right, defensive wounds, defensive wounds on the arms. Because you just came to his house to kill him. You just have evidence that he did something wrong in world generation but you don't actually catch him in the act or anything. But he'll get defensive wounds on his arms, and then eventually I imagine you'll get an attack in or he'll just box you in the head or something, and you'll fly against the tree and blow apart into five pieces. So it should be entertaining, again, if it ever was. And like we were saying we're going to add a few of the combat improvements to help that along. I know we have a ton plan there but we'll just get the simple ones in now, and have you fighting the night creatures. The bandits we were hoping to ... if there's just two or three then they'd probably just be living out either in one of the ruins or in just a little cottage or something, out in the woods, and people would just be able to tell you where that is for now. There's a whole tracking thing we want to do, but if I feel like tracking's going to bog me down, I'm going to just have you know where they are once you know that you're supposed to do something about it. So just a few goblins or bandits or something might either have a cottage or just be hanging out in the woods, but if there's a larger group like as your reputation improves and you're allowed to take five or six people with you then they might have little things like doing the sneaking stuff and the patrol patterns and being able to alert their buddies so that you have to think a little bit about what you're doing when you attack one of the larger hideouts. So hopefully we'll be able to get to that stuff without getting bogged down again, and just check off a whole bunch of things. That was one of our angles: there's the night creature angle, there's the bandit hideout angle, and then there's the cave angle; tombs and ancient prisons, large ruined castles and things for you to run around in, because doing some improvements there would be easy too. It just has to have a fun payoff now, we're looking to reach a certain threshold of fun and whatever makes the cut makes the cut. There're going to be castles, I guess castles are castles, big castles ... and not like the castle we used to have. We had the square castle, occasionally it would stand on stilts ... because you have a choice with the hilly terrain, you can either dig it in or you pile dirt beneath it. That's what I do now, but what I used to do, instead of piling dirt beneath it, was just make a big stilt come down from the corner. It's always the safest, I think, for a defensive structure like a castle to put a stilt under one of the corners to support its weight ... So we'll have to do better, we'll have to do better than that. We're making ... I think one of the generators we might afford to sink a little time into this two weeks would be a little castle generator, just to get a feel for how that stuff's going to work, and to give important people a place to be important at so you can get your important tasks, and you can get some people from there. If you have a high reputation and the king asks you to go kill a bronze colossus or something, you might pick out some people from the castle to go die with you. That's probably going to be the peak of the adventure mode release, taking a bunch of guys to go out and fight a megabeast, or to fight a really large bandit encampment. There's things like being able to fight another town, but that's the advanced stuff that we're actually hoping to get to, when you can change the political situation of the world by, for instance, conquering a neighbouring minor lord for your guy, and then replacing the person you took out and being either independent or a vassal of the previous guy you were working for. So, you can suddenly have control over a larger section of the world, and change how the world worked. But for now changing how the world works just means removing people from it. There are fewer people in the world. That's what adventurers do; depopulate areas. We're still working towards actually respecting the dreams of our forefathers; making the game world a little more dynamic. The villagers dropped a bomb on that and we'll need to repair first. It'll be good though, it'll be good.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Toady:Now the night creatures require a lot of ... to do them properly require a lot of special framework that's half like magic, to get the creepiest parts of the night creatures in. But at the same time we might still do some of the random generation there for things like if you wanted to have a night hag type creature that goes and kidnaps and skins your children or whatever the example was I gave before, with long iron fingernails and one eye then that's like using the forgotten beast generator, and using that to make a kind of creature that's going to be almost exclusively humanoid and a little bit larger, and that would be a type of night creature generator, just to get started. Then you can give them the 'can only killed by iron', or 'can enslave people with its mine', or 'bites people and turns them into more of itself' or that kind of thing. That sort of stuff is a little harder to do, just because it requires some kind of framework for supernatural abilities, unless we just hardcode more; like the fire breath is hardcoded, or the material breath is hardcoded. We can either add just a few more hardcoded tags, or poison effects, or whatever, or we can just leave it with troll-type night creatures which are just big things that are bad that don't have supernatural powers necessarily, or supernatural weaknesses, like weakness to iron or dying in the sun or not liking to see a mirror or whatever it might be, that you will have to use later as we enhance night creatures. But that'll probably be the next style of randomly generated beast to go in, and it will go in immediately it's just ... it's kind of like sticking a forgotten beast on the surface and not making it look so goofy.
Capntastic:Yeah ... 'it has a big feathery trunk'.
Toady:Yeah ... Those work as creepy things underground, that just kind of slither up at you, but having it be the thing that comes out of the woods and kidnap your children ... Well, it'd be like Monsters, Inc. then I guess, just these weird things ... and that's not quite what we were going for with night creatures. It's not like that's not a valid way to do things, maybe there'd be a new world generation parameter, like 'the levity of your world' ... all of my night creatures are pink furry things with big feathered trunks that kidnap any children ...
Capntastic:Takes the kids away to a magical fairyland where they get all the cake they can add.
Toady:That's right, we can finally add in roller coasters and stuff.
Toady:And tea parties. Tea, and tea parties. And dolls. Then all the night creatures would have to have 'Mr' or 'Mrs' in front of their name, like 'Mr Bad Bob'. Mr Bad Bob the night creature with his top hat. It's not like there isn't going to be potential, but at first it's just going to be the same old negativity. We were thinking of having in places that are magical and dangerous, where you don't want to be out at night, if you get attacked by some creatures that come out and attack because you're walking the road at the wrong time then you'd kill them, it's not like you can go to the peasants with pieces of their dead bodies and be like 'look what I killed!' They're like 'well you're an idiot, you were out at night. They weren't harassing us or anything, except when we're idiots and go out at night and they're just going to reform from rotten logs later, so don't waste your time'. They should probably warn you about that stuff in advance, though.
Capntastic:Yeah. Freaks come out at night.
Toady:That's right. So there'll be certain creatures though, like the night creature troll type things that are ... now when I saw night creature troll type things I don't mean to put down night creatures, or to say that they're going to be very limited, but our original night creatures are going to be limited and more just like trolls ... but when you have the night creature troll type things then those are the types of things where the peasants know that their threat level has gone down significantly when you kill them, where it's not just like the typical things that might be plaguing them in some particularly supernatural area; although I'm not sure those guys will care too much if you kill their troll. If they're already being dragged off by living shadows every night, it's like 'yeah, you killed our troll, so what? Why don't you stab your sword in the dark heart that lives in the center of the evil woods, that'll make us happier.' I'm not even sure if you'll be able to clear out everything, like places that are just inherently dangerous, like that. It might be that you need to ... it's more of a dwarf mode thing, or more of an advanced adventurer mode thing where you go and have that place deforested; just settle the whole place and eventually the magic dies. Then once you kill off your world you'll just be playing intriguing adventure mode human stuff instead of going off and killing night creatures. Although, night creatures are basically the only type of thing that can survive the settlement of the world, because you still have ... in completely settled areas you can still have things like ghosts and zombies and vampires and things. Those things spring up from civilization rather than existing before it got there, because they rely a lot on the dead, so ...
Capntastic:Everything's connected.
Toady:That's right, there's a big chain of being and undead and stuff. The circle of life ... and death ... and undeath. Where does undeath fit into the circle of life? Is it just a longer detour or something? It'll be intriguing. Bring back some of the world generation corpses and have them torment their cities and you have to deal with it. They can talk about their poor father that's been raised from the dead and has been eating chickens. It's like 'yeah, Pa's been coming out of the woods to eat our chickens, we're afraid something worse is going to happen. He's been clawing at our door every night, asking to be invited in.'
Capntastic:'It's cold!'
Toady:'It's cold and I've been out here eating your chickens. Why don't you let me in and have some real food.' But he's a zombie, so you might have to deal with that. They might want you to deal with it delicately, just give him a proper burial or something ... You have to go around naming unnamed children's ghosts that are flitting around everywhere, walk through the town shouting names at all the ghosts, then they go to bed. You never know what sort of strangeness will be upcoming. I did want to mention, because there have been like five people in the past two weeks who are like 'Wow! I didn't realise when I donated I get a reward!' I guess it's worth mentioning that Zach'll write you a little story if you want, or you can have us draw a crayon picture and send it to you. You can also get listed on the Hall of Champions with your own little picture and name and quote; you can use a nickname if you want. Those are the rewards currently available for donating, and I thought I'd mention that because so many people seem shocked!
Capntastic:I have two framed images from the brothers Adams.
Toady:High quality artwork.
Capntastic:One of them is a dwarf trying to feed a leg of lamb to an elf, and the elf is making a plaintive gesture. I guess now is the time when we say goodbye ...
Toady:That's right, so from all of us here in Dwarf Fortress Talk land to all of you out there in Dwarf Fortress Talk listener land ...
Ollieh:(musical postlude)

Bonus section

Toady:Alright I'm going to dislodge this animal ... Disloooodge ... place you here. Now I can see my taskbar.

Toady:Aah! Ahaha! Blood! Witness the blood! Aha-owww. (singing) There's rivers of blood/flowing from my thumb/Little baby Scamps/is a violent one.

Capntastic:Do you have chickens now man?
Toady:Yeah. Chickens. And enlarged chickens. I guess it's kind of obligatory that we put giant chickens in the game, we have some other giant animals, you can have giant chickens. We need a Night of the Lepus or whatever the rabbit movie with giant rabbits ... giant chickens. And we'll have giant pigs. First we'll need regular pigs. The pig is a more shameful omission, because I have my excuse with feathers and eggs, but I'm not sure what my excuse ... Can just add a pig. We have mountain goats, but I don't know that we have regular goats, seems like we don't.
Capntastic:Do you have sheep?
Toady:I think my excuse there was wool, I have more of an excuse there. But the pig doesn't have an excuse.
Capntastic:Gotta have it.
Toady:Gotta have pigs. Doesn't every mod also just incidentally do the pig?
Capntastic:Yeah, it's like 'yep, and a free pig'.
Toady:Yeah, because the pig is ... To my eternal shame until I add pigs, and then my eternal shame will be over, and I will have redeemed myself somewhat, although the pain might linger, of not having pigs for all these years. I don't know if I can make that up to people, I guess it depends on their position on ... do we forgive and forget, or do we forgive but not forget that there were no pigs in the game for four years? I'm saying four years, but we're already past four years now, right? It's four years and a month that we've had no pigs, almost coming up on two months; no pigs.