Dwarf Fortress Talk #19, with Rainseeker, Capntastic, Threetoe and Toady One, transcribed by mallocks

Rainseeker:Alright, well hey everybody. This is Rainseeker, here with Tarn Adams, our illustrious leader. I am also known as Nathan Miller, but that is neither here, nor there, nor in Neverland.
Toady:That's right, the secret's out.
Rainseeker:Exactly, I just let it slip. Capntastic is not with us, currently, he may show up later. We don't know, but we wanted to have a discussion right now.
Toady:That's right. We're doing our stuff, man. It's been kind of a scattershot release, to start, because we're trying to find our footing with what we wanted to do with the world activation and the hero role. We've decided to use the adventurer hero role to basically give us a way for us to tour the world activation, so watch the armies running around and see what their doing, and give you a way to play with it immediately before we get the whole hill dwarves and dwarven armies up, which will let you run around outside, too. So it's a kind of straightforward way to let us explore. We've got our goblins running around and our bandits running around, and our tracking, and some changes to combat, non-lethal combat.
Rainseeker:Which I find really exciting, because then you could just pick on people without, like, permanent, you know, repercussions, hopefully, or the whole community just runs at you like zombies.
Toady:Yes, it's going to be a much more reasonable town to punch a horse in.
Rainseeker:'Punch a horse in'?
Toady:Yes, because when you punch a horse in the currently released version all the livestock will descent on you and tear you to pieces before the first person even gets there.
Rainseeker:'The chickens! No, the chickens!'
Toady:Yes, it becomes a horror movie immediately, the second you mess around with the animals, which might be an environmental message, but it's not really the one we wanted to send in the game. So there'll be more reasonableness all around, it'll be a lot of fun. We've just started up on our racial sites, or whatever you want to call them, the goblins and kobolds and elves and dwarves themselves getting their sites. There's obviously going to be a lot of cool stuff there for adventure mode, and also in dwarf mode. The main thing dwarf mode gets this time around is this world continuation stuff with succession happening and your civilization not just dying out while you're playing, or whatever happens now with your guys walking on the screen and dying of old age, or I think I may have put in the thing where they just don't show up at all anymore, but you'll actually have that. You'll also be getting armies that are real. So, all the things that we're talking about with evil lieutenants and villains and all this stuff in adventure mode also applies to dwarf mode in terms of who's actually going to be showing up; you'll get people showing up with a story and a reason now, instead of just, like, the yearly goblin attack or whatever. Although, you still won't be able to respond, which is the big thing with the hill dwarves and army stuff we'll get to later.
Rainseeker:Now, will there sometimes be fortresses that never experience a goblin attack, for instance?
Toady:That is going to be something that's a lot more common now, so if you want to be a fortress that's a fortress, then you'd have to embark on the frontier, more of a border where you'd be harassed. It'll tell you about what you're getting into so you don't have to guess, but if you want to go the other direction and place yourself right in the middle of where the dwarves currently are then you're just not going to have those kinds of problems unless you invite them on yourself by digging downward, or whatever. So it'll be possible to have more control over your starting political situation, and you'll still have people to trade with that you can mess with, so if you really want to invite fighting with the elves or something like that and you want to keep squashing their caravans under drawbridges or whatever you want to do, then that'll still invite trouble, although it could be that the trouble you invite doesn't affect you specifically. If you start a war with the elves you might not be the closest settlement to the eleven border in which case you'd start a fight with one of your poor other dwarven civilizations, or whatever; you'd get the elves to attack one of your other sites.
Rainseeker:What does that do for your relationship with your home country? Probably nothing, at this point?
Toady:Nothing at this point, but I imagine it's going to cause a little bit of grief later, you might get disowned. Maybe before the elves attack that site they just sell you out and have a joint elven and dwarven army march on your poor guys.
Rainseeker:That would make sense. It might even make sense to have a dwarven liaison show up and demand that the leader ...
Toady:Yeah, he just walks your leader off the edge of the map and then you hear about how he's been fed to the bears, or something, to fertilize the elven forest.
Rainseeker:Consequences like that would be really, really interesting, actually.
Toady:Yeah, I'm looking forward to that stuff. The dev logs are all adventure mode and stuff, because that's the camera that we're looking through to add this stuff, but I think even for this release there are going to be some exciting diplomacy changes and stuff for dwarf mode.
Rainseeker:Cool. Digging down to the centre of the Earth and releasing these hordes, does that affect your civilization at all?
Toady:It's going to be interesting to see, right, because people are thinking now, a little bit, and they're starting to move around the world a little of their own accord, which they just haven't been allowed to do for all the years the game has been out. The way the digging too deep currently works with, like, it releasing 50 or 100 demons into the fortress, I mean I'd imagine that's just going to be a nightmare for the whole world, so we're either going to have to put a little bit of a damper on that, or we're going to have to just let the world have its nightmare, because you invited it.
Rainseeker:One demon rules a civilization a lot of times, are those the same demons?
Toady:Yeah, and having that many of them is crazy.
Rainseeker:100 of them, they would go off and ...
Toady:Take over the world.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Rainseeker:What will they do currently, as the game stands?
Toady:As the game stands I think what they'll do is come out at night and patrol the premises of your fortress. We haven't told the dragons how to go from town to town and destroy things, so they won't have that willpower behind them, but they do know how to go round and just, kind of, poke around, like the night trolls do.
Rainseeker:So if you retire your fortress after they escape that's what they're going to do?
Toady:Yes. It would just be a very dangerous part of the world to go to. The whole idea of reclaiming it or something like that would be met with the same fate as Balin's poor party in Moria. You know, dead.
Rainseeker:So that could be some serious questing? If that ever happened your NPCs would have to talk about that, I assume?
Toady:We'll have to think about something, because 100 demons is too many for anybody, especially if the demons are the way they are now. If we downgrade them a bit then it'd be more feasible, or if we make them kill each other until one's left, or something. We'll do something about it, though, and then we'll have something land in the sweet spot of being fun and challenging, hopefully, instead of just being stupid one way or the other.
Rainseeker:Have them wander off, for instance, and start looking for goblin civilizations to enslave.
Toady:Yeah, I guess they could just parcel them up; if there's a big goblin civilization being run by one demon then there could be a balkanization of the area and they could start grumbling and fighting with each other. It's going to be interesting to see how it plays out, because once they get just a little more of a push, either in the dragon direction or in the ... I mean, I'm not even sure what a free-roaming demon is supposed to be doing, if it's just supposed to run around and take over civilizations, or try to ... I mean, there could be demons lining up to impersonate the gods of the human civilizations like they do. 'Just queue up. You look the most like our god of death, so you get to take over the civilization,' and the rest of them are welcome to try back in 100 years, or whatever. It's going to get strange once we put all the world gen stuff in, like the god impersonations and stuff. It's just going to be very strange.
Rainseeker:An option is to have them stay at the dwarven site and establish a larger apocalyptic staging ground for ...
Toady:Yeah. The hole is still there. It's something that we're having to come to terms with, with our current demons and goblins as well. In the currently released version, in world gen the demon 'escapes from the underworld'. That has certain implications, right, about existing holes and stuff. So we're messing around with that, trying to come up with some different solutions that meter the flow, so having the demon in control of a portal, for instance. In a lot of Threetoe's stories the goblins are from the underworld, so I think we're going to relate that to it, to make it have more of a goblinesque feel for the current portal that the demon's controlling, so it doesn't just pour through with demons. We already have these giant spires down in the underworld that were filled with demons, but perhaps they'll be filled with goblins, they're, kind of, bastions from the demons or something like that. We're just playing around with different stuff, we'll see what happens.
Rainseeker:You could have, like, the old impermanent portal that opens up once every hundred years, lets critters through and then closes again, and you have that problem on the world every hundred years or so.
Toady:Yeah. We need to find a solution that recover from the depredations of the player. It's, like, if you manage to call of them they need to come back. Of course it can just wing it and open another one, or something, if it really needs to, or you can have the peace that you've fought for and get bored to death and get to your mundane quests, right? You'd be moving pastries around until the next portal opens.
Rainseeker:Exactly. I mean, for goodness' sake, you need to up that skill in delivery. Delivery skill is really important.
Toady:Yes. It's one of the two fundamental skill, there's the slaying skill, and the delivery skill.
Rainseeker:And the tip-gaining skill, like, you have to learn how to tip your hat just right and smile at the lady when you delivery your pastry and she gives you a good tip, you know?
Toady:That's right, and then you can escort her child somewhere. Can have an escort skill.
Rainseeker:That's right. 'Would you like me deliver your child to school, ma'am?' and she'd be, like, 'What a polite young man. Thank you. Have another copper.'
Toady:That's right, and then your reputation will increase and you can go to other parts of the town and they'll give you other child escort quests and you can start a real business. You have employees, delivery and day care. You could assign all your companions to different neighborhoods and stuff.
Rainseeker:And that's when you take all of your children that you take care of and bring them on an adventure to kill crocodiles.
Toady:That's right, or at least to beat up the competition.
Rainseeker:Yeah, you beat up the other kids. Oh, jeez.
Toady:It's not good to have a freeform sandbox game in the end, is it?
Rainseeker:Well, yeah, especially with children involved.
Toady:That's right. Yeah, we accidentally put them in the game and now we're in trouble. We really should have gone with the adult stork, so the stork comes carrying a fully grown adult. Maybe it takes two storks to do that, so they've got this big hammock between them and they drop off the adult.
Toady:Yeah, they'd have to have some kind of cyber-chip to educate them, or something.
Rainseeker:How do you feel about mundane quests?
Toady:That stuff's all cool, it's just, like ... it's about the order of operations, I guess. It's always such a hard thing with quests, because ideally I'd like to get rid of the idea of having a quest, but that doesn't mean that you don't do favors for people that aren't specific things, which is exactly like a quest as the concept exists in a computer game.
Rainseeker:I guess you call in, 'Can you do me a favor?' That makes sense.
Toady:I guess it's the timelessness of them that's the strangest thing in the computer games, right? That you have an infinite amount of time, generally, to go pay off the loan shark or whatever your quest is. Almost all the time, and time limits are very annoying when you have a game that doesn't react to things, because then you just get screwed over and have to restart, or you just lose out on something, right, with nothing to replace it. Since we're going for something where you have a continuation of events no matter what then having timers on quests isn't nearly as annoying and so I guess it would still be like a traditional quest system, if someone asked you to do a particular favor then they want it done and they want it done pretty much a particular way, whereas with these giant wars going on it's going to be more up to you to figure out how to deal with it, and there's not going to be just one set series of things you have to do to go finish it. We do have to throw you some bones at first in terms of things to do because a demon is just too hard to kill, so we've put in some extra stuff that just lets you surmount the demons in various ways. It's like the whole Sauron thing, right? You can't just kill him, so you have to go on a quest and so on, and that quest ... no matter how you get to Mordor, the quest always has to end the same way. You don't have infinite branching choices, but you have a lot of leeway and that's what we're hoping to accomplish eventually. It'll seem a little stilted at first, probably. It's just for the demon examples because the demon is a little too powerful, but if you've got goblins leading a civilization, for example, there's no quest like that where you depower or do whatever to the demon to make it winnable. Then you just have to deal, and if you want to go kill the guy you're going to have to go and figure it out. There are no armies, like giant armies that you're leading right now, or anything like that, so it's pretty much all assassination and flummoxing invasion plans by assassinating people. We're probably going to have you just leading some people out of harm's way, too, especially your home town that you start in. If your home town is in trouble, because it tries to put you in trouble spots now, if you want; if you select a civilization that's in trouble it'll put you in the worst spot to begin with, or whatever ... so you might be able to just save some people at first instead of just trying to fight. We'll have to see how it plays out exactly, but that's what we're shooting for right now. There are so many people in the world and there are actual armies and things that for one person to make a difference something has to give somewhere, and it's either that you're going to be leading large numbers of people, or you're super, super cool, or you're sneaking around a lot, or you're trying to gather powerful allies, or something.
Rainseeker:Or gather magic powers, or something like that.
Toady:Yeah. There's something there that isn't just you being a foot soldier or a dead civilian.
Rainseeker:Yeah. I think part of that, that would help, would be the establishment of schools or dojos where you can go and learn to become this bad-a fighter, you know? Part of the problem right now for me is that I can't just start as a peasant and hope to get anywhere because you have to ... a lot of the forums are talking about ... 'You wrestle a badger, or a mole and you release it, and then you grab it again, and then you let it go again and it increases your skill slowly ...'
Toady:Yeah. The thing people used to do when we had the undead pyramids, they would go and break a zombie's limbs and then just sit there wrestling with this animated dead body. Just a little freaky, but the flipside of that is that if you've got these school things and you're supposed to have this arc of progression where you're improving and so on, the world now is a little too fast paced to give you twenty years to learn how to be a master of this or that, which means you've either got to come into the story with that, which is kind of the demigod choice, right, where you're just, like, 'I want to get started, and I'm going to go cause some trouble, and I want to be the type of person that can just face down a goblin army' or whatever, then that's the choice for you. If you make the hero selection you're probably, like, 'I want to go and do the Sauron-style thing, where I have to overcome some obstacles but I'm not going to be just fighting 50 guys at once,' or you've got the peasant option where you don't want to be that person, necessarily.
Rainseeker:The way you have it now, I like. I think it would be interesting, long term, to eventually have some story options where you're telling your own story, like, 'Yeah, my character trained for twenty years at the dojo and then trained under ... to become a necromancer hunter,' or something like that.
Toady:Yeah. The long-term goal is to scrap all that stuff and do something a little more in-depth with the background. I think we've talked about this before in-depth. We're just starting with that stuff now, where now we've got a starting situation in your village so it doesn't just pop up that window anymore where it's, like, 'It's time for adventure! You got your stuff together, now let's go!'
Rainseeker:'Go kill local wildlife until you get more powerful.'
Toady:Yeah. You just wander around asking people, it's, like, 'I really want to kill something! How can I help?' and they're, like, 'Well, there's this guy, this guy, and this guy, and this monster, and this monster, and this monster, and this wild animal and this wild animal. Go knock yourself out.' So we're trying to change. We're trying to change and not be that way anymore.
Rainseeker:In a way it's funny because every game does that. Every game does that, but I like that you're breaking that up. That's good.
Toady:Yeah. It just takes a lot of extra world stuff to do that, and we're finally getting that. I think we just naturally settled into doing the racial sites next because it's like, what, 80% of the sites in the world didn't have maps? That's a pretty extreme hole that we've just been living with for a while. So now it's going to be filled in and we'll have our interesting goblin gigantic pits, and cave systems, and evil towers, and places with prisons, and all kinds of things for you to wander around in and hopefully not get too overwhelmed by goblins and so on. They should be fun to run around in, and we've got our elf sites so we'll be able to see our gigantic trees, finally. Going to go for it, go for it all the way. Gigantic trees.
Rainseeker:With rope bridges or something between them?
Toady:Oh, yeah. Whatever they do. It's going to be something like that. We're just going to wing it. They'll either be grown together or they'll be bridged together. Our elves have varied in their magic abilities through our different telling of them, I mean some of them can shape the wood and sometimes they've built things, so I'm really not sure how that's going to play out. It's going to be one of those things where it's just decided at the last second, to just run with something.
Rainseeker:You can't randomize that choice?
Toady:It can be. I mean, right now the elves are one of our stock creatures, so the choice is made for them, depending on what this whole forest spirit thing even means, right? There can be magical elves and non-magical elves through that. Right now they're all given a forest spirit they worship that does nothing, so it can either do something and that's how they access the trees, or it's some innate thing they have. We'd like to err on the side of having a bunch of choices, but the more choices you have the longer it takes to finish stuff, too. So we'll see what ends up happening. Our baseline is to have gigantic trees, many, many tiles. I don't know how tall we're going to go because we don't have dimensions of tiles, but most recently I've just been running with six feet by six feet by ten feet, or two meters by two meters by three meters, or something. It changes, but roughly like that. It's a person wide and more than a person tall, or something. I mean, I don't know how tall your average tree is, I'm not much of a knowledge-of-trees person. The biggest trees are those redwood trees that they name after Civil War generals or whatever. The Grant tree and the Sherman tree or whatever they call them. Yeah, one of the trees is General Grant in the sequoia park and Wikipedia tells me that it's 267 feet tall and 28 feet across.
Rainseeker:So four tiles across and twenty or 30 tiles high?
Toady:Yeah. So if I can do twenty or 30 tiles high I can allow for extra space in the biggest forests - these are, like, the really giant trees - then that'll work. Right now I think the default in the world gen settings is to have fifteen tiles, and fifteen tiles would be enough, I think, to go up, but we can do more. There's a processor thing. I think it's not that big a deal but I think some people set their levels above ground lower, and in that case you'd have some very funny looking squat trees. It's, like, there's the trunk and then above that's the giant elf city, or whatever. We'd really like to have tall trees. So you'd ...
Rainseeker:Climb up into them?
Toady:Yeah, and there could be a cool branching algorithm where it makes the branches come out and spread and then, you know, every season or every year, or whatever, it can go and make a branch grow out. The only thing that I have trouble with in real-time in dwarf mode is making the trunks bigger. It's, like, does the trunk suddenly, 'bam!' blow out and blast your fortress to death, or whatever, and there's also worrying about underground, like the underground becoming glutted with mushrooms and having it impossible to move around, or whatever, but it's already kind of that way, when the mushrooms grow in your hallways and that kind of stuff, so I think it would be that big a deal. That should just be a lot of fun, making the trees, and it's going to involve some probably minor changes to the dwarven lumber industry. I don't know if I want to jump to far into having, like, gigantic logs and stuff that are multiple tiles ... might be too annoying to do.
Rainseeker:What would happen when you cut one down? Especially one supporting an elven village. That is something people are going to try to do.
Toady:Yeah, they'll go ahead and hack it so they can embark on the elven village or whatever and, yeah, I guess it'll be timber time. I'm hoping to allow you to ... I don't know, you never want dwarves to make decisions, but if the dwarf chooses the direction the tree falls then it would just probably do a one-to-one correspondence thing where it's, like, if you're two tiles up then you fall two tiles to the southwest and if you're three tiles up then you fall three tiles to the southwest. I don't know if that means you'll get more logs per tree, I mean a simple way to do it would just be to lay down logs in the direction the thing fell, pre-cut for you, and that would mean if there's an elven village on the fourth floor then it would splash down four tiles away, or whatever. You'd get these poor elven corpses and items and things.
Rainseeker:That would be pretty sad, and funny at the same time.
Toady:Yeah. Well, that's always the theme of our game, sad and funny, I think. So, that should be cool, I'm looking forward to those.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Rainseeker:Is a minecart an effective defensive weapon against megabeasts?
Toady:Yeah. You can fill it with weapons and then when it strikes the megabeast the weapons will fly out of it and impale the beast. I think people have seen that. I've seen pictures of that and I've tried it myself. You can fill a minecart with trap components and then put the minecart on a hill and then have a pressure plate that releases the minecart to have it roll down; if it smacks into somebody they're in trouble. You could also just fill it with heavy stone and then it would have more momentum. That strike sand it can break bones and shoot things through megabeasts and so on.
Rainseeker:What is the toughest thing right now, a bronze colossus?
Toady:Yeah. You'd probably have to use a steel minecart and fill it with lead, or something. Then you'd be able to make a dent.
Rainseeker:So they could potentially stop the momentum of it, because they're strong enough, or would they still get pushed?
Toady:It takes all their mass into consideration so I don't think it would do much to them. Now, if you filled it with adamantine saw blades or something then when it stopped those things would just shoot out and probably cut the bronze colossus to pieces, because adamantine goes right through the suckers. You'd have to get the largest blade you could get, so probably the giant axe blades. I don't know how many adamantine it takes to make a giant axe blade but you could use that, and you can set up projectile traps that way, too. If you put, like, a stopper on the track, way before it gets to the monster, then the item will fly out of it, so you can set up a launcher for adamantine axe blades and launch them across the field at people.
Rainseeker:Would they stay on the same z-axis?
Toady:It's more of a mess, now. You'd have to test out your device a few times because things actually fly in parabolas now, so you'd have to test the landing ground. If you set it up so that your minecart hits a wall the projectile's set to the z-level higher, then eventually it'll come down. So you need to set the range, you need to do a few range tests. Then you can attain victory.
Rainseeker:That also reminds me, you said earlier if you set up your fortress at a calm location in your kingdom you don't have to worry about goblin invasions so much. That does not include megabeasts, I assume?
Toady:Megabeasts? Right now I haven't done them in adventure mode and I'm not sure if we're going to get to them this time or not. If I get to them then they're going to have the same kind of proximity restrictions, where if there's a target before they get to you then they'll attack that, so if you really surround yourself with other civilizations and buffers then you're just going to be unattacked by pretty much everybody unless you get bandits or something; we might have something like that, if you've got a bandit camp nearby, because the bandit camps are all over the place.
Rainseeker:Is the goal to have news get to you, so you can be aware that this might happen to you in the next year or two, that there's been a dragon that's being laying waste to the countryside and it might come by?
Toady:It has to update you somehow, and it's got to mesh in with what we're hoping to do with your own armies eventually, which means showing you some kind of world map or of the surroundings or whatever that you're going to be able to use to order your armies. We haven't thought about it too much but if it's going to give you, like, a snapshot of the world as you currently understand it and then the next time a merchant comes you get to update your snapshot or whatever ... then it can give you the same paragraph or a related paragraph that it gives you at the beginning of adventure mode, so that it would tell you about what's going on a little bit.
Rainseeker:Yep, like, 'Applemackles the dragon who's been laying waste to the countryside ...' because actually that would be fairly interesting, if your megabeast didn't stick around and just lay waste, but maybe decided to wander off if the site was not interesting enough.
Toady:Yeah, if there's not a big pile of treasure to lay on I don't know why they'd bother staying. So they can just torch some of your cows and then leave. Maybe snatch a cow and leave with it. It's always the cows catching the trouble.
Rainseeker:Or your domesticated elephants. One or the other.
Toady:That's true, you've got big animals in the game. There are gigantic animals ... So, yes, I think it would be fun to get your merchant caravan and then ... because you get different caravans every season, sometimes, from the different civilizations, so they could share with you different parts of your map; when the humans come you get to see how the dragon has been destroying their civilization, then when the elves come you can see the different elven forests that have been burned by the goblins, and then the dwarves can come and tell you about the latest mining accidents that have unleashed demons in the various mountainhomes, and you can just wait for the first one to reach you.
Rainseeker:That would be pretty great, too, if you literally had a little conversation with them and they told you what was significantly new, as opposed to just seeing a little bit of an icon change, or something.
Toady:Yeah. I like the opening paragraphs. I think that should end up being pretty cool. We're slowly getting there. Our focus for this release is to finally get to some of the places that we said we were going to go for years, so it'll be a while yet but we'll get through them. I've found that the human town code has been very handy for doing things like goblins because if you want a giant evil tower with an interconnected tunnel system beneath it then that's actually quite similar to a human castle with a dungeon beneath it connecting to the sewers and catacombs. So all of the code moves over, pretty much, you just want to then take the dungeon mapmaker and sort of goblinify it so that the flavor is completely different. We're thinking about having giant pits with rooms connected to them; the pit has a ramp going down, but it also just has an actual pit that goes down and connects into the first underground layer, and then they just drop all their sludge down into the ... it's like their garbage disposal.
Rainseeker:Or perhaps a pit with spikes sticking out of it, or something.
Toady:If you've got spikes to hurl people into maybe that could be where they harvest their maggots; they throw all the bodies into the spike pit and they throw the rest of their waste and debris into the underground. We were figuring if the pits didn't have an opening down into the underground layer they'd just fill up with sludge in no time and the goblins would have to go find a new home, but if they go into the underground river then they just contaminate the world, or whatever.
Rainseeker:Yeah. You need to get your purring maggots, somehow. You need to milk those bad boys.
Toady:The purring maggot is one of the great mysteries of the game, because a maggot is a larval form, right? 'What is the adult form of the purring maggot?' is a question we've been holding out on for many years, now.
Rainseeker:My philosophy is that it is the adult form, the maggot. There's nothing else to compare it to, so you just call it a maggot. It probably starts as something else. It probably starts as a little fluffy bunny rabbit or something.
Toady:It could start as a fly and then turn into its adult maggot form.
Rainseeker:Who says we have to go with the natural order of things?
Toady:It's certainly very unnatural; it's a purring maggot. It's born trouble.
Rainseeker:It's sweet. It purrs.
Toady:It is sweet. It's a friend. It's a friend to the world. I guess you can trade them outside the fortress, there's a market for it. They probably don't like sunlight, though.
Rainseeker:They probably get burned.
Toady:You could slather it with sunscreen, I guess, so you could have your maggot outside.
Rainseeker:It could live inside your beard, if your beard is big enough, of course. 'Is that a purring maggot under your beard or are you just happy to see me?'
Toady:Oh dear ... Who knows what they eat?
Rainseeker:They probably eat dandelions and weeds and stuff like that.
Toady:That's right. It's like one of those little robots that you use to vacuum your floor, except it's like a lawnmower.
Rainseeker:Yeah, exactly, it's a Roomba. You can replace goats with purring maggots, if you want.
Toady:My aunt has two goats, now.
Rainseeker:I thought you were going to say your aunt has two purring maggots.
Toady:It's like that, but she has goats. She has two goats.
Rainseeker:Which she milks?
Toady:Well, it's the opposite, she was feeding them milk out of a bottle. I got to bottle-feed a goat, and then the goats grew up and I haven't seen them since they grew up. She also got a new puppy, there's a little puppy running around causing trouble and learning how to shake hands.
Rainseeker:Do the goats in Dwarf Fortress butt heads?
Toady:I don't think they do anything. I think they've been left out, so far, of the ... because the cats do all kinds of crazy stuff, now. The cats are licking themselves, licking each other, and they do the head bump; they head bump everything, so you're walking through town you just get spammed with kitty head-bumping messages.
Rainseeker:And if you try to kill one you are instantly slaughtered. 'Get away from me cats!' and they suddenly turn evil.
Toady:Yeah, it's too bad we're going to be removing that kind of true justice from the game. It's just going to turn all reasonable, and stuff, they'll be terrified and run away from you, and not be able to call their human masters with the mind control beam or whatever.
Rainseeker:Psychic link. 'I'm under attack! Master, save me!' I read a number of funny stories about adventuring underneath the sewers. There was a cat in their way, he finally attacked the cat and all hell broke loose when that happened. Killed by a thousand cuts, apparently ... a massive group of cats down there.
Toady:It's a dangerous life. I wouldn't mess with a sewer cat. More dangerous than an alley cat, you've got a sewer cat eating sewer rats that are, like, a foot long, or whatever.
Rainseeker:Creatures you don't want to bother, there. It does provide some interesting questions.
Toady:I think we've actually touched upon most of the additions for this time, I mean there's just been some stuff that we did with, like, the reaction moments where you can, like, catch people's arms when they're trying to punch you, and stuff. The whole combat thing's different now. There's the pre-attack period, the actual attack and then the post-attack period, so everything's way messier than just being a turn-based system now.
Rainseeker:It takes a long time to follow through with one full combat, kind of ...
Toady:It's the attacks. Each individual punch has the wind up, the hit and then the recovery, so when you attack you're not guaranteed to hit first anymore, depending on what happens, but it gives you some chances to react to what the enemy is doing and so on. Hopefully it'll feel just more alive than trading shots.
Rainseeker:Is it going to be more difficult now when you're surrounded by multiple opponents?
Toady:Yeah. There's a lot of trouble there, although in a sense there's the chance that you can recover from someone who attacks you from behind; it might give you a chance to roll out of the way and so on. It would be automatic before, now you get to make choices. It's about the same difficulty, actually, I think; you just get to make more choices. You have more of an advantage direction-wise now, there's the whole sneaking thing, right, with the Metal Gear-type arcs and that kind of thing. So they have a clear notion of being attacked from behind now, which was really fuzzy before where you could hit someone from behind if they had been attacking the other direction before, like if they were attacking one of your buddies and you attacked them it would just say you hit them from behind and give you a big bonus, but now the whole idea of front and back is more easy to see, especially when you're sneaking around, so you can definitely just come up behind and shiv people, or whatever, if you want.
Rainseeker:So for those who haven't seen the preview, basically there's a view of every enemy's visibility, or how far they can see, create?
Toady:Yeah, it's got their direct vision and their peripheral vision, in different colors, and then it also shows little exclamation points outside of your view from the general location from where you're hearing sounds, so if someone's walking you'll be able to tell that there's something there and avoid it before you get caught, because if you're sneaking around and there are a lot of buildings, and things, you can just get spotted if you're not watching out for the footsteps and things. We may delve into climbing because of the trees, and if we delve into climbing then you'll be able to rise above a lot of the arcs, in some places at least.
Rainseeker:Hide in a tree, for instance.
Toady:Yeah. Hide in trees, hide in rooftops. The trees will just be a lot more interesting, now.
Rainseeker:Bushes, perhaps?
Toady:Bushes right now are still bushes, but hiding in bushes is certainly a reasonable way of life. Hiding behind boulders when you get in one of those boulder squares, or whatever. There should be plenty of ways to hide, because it's so hard to hide now. The stealth is not like before where you could just sneak up to someone and they don't see you until you're right next to them, or whatever. Now, if you're in the direct vision arc you're in a bad position, no matter how good your skill is, because there you are. You don't get to invisible anymore with your super invisible special invisible abilities.
Rainseeker:So your stealth ability, right now, the way it is in the new version is that it is about listening or moving silently, more than ...
Toady:There's listening, moving silently, and there's being able to move faster silently. So if you're really good about it you can set it up on, like, the run setting, because now you can set your speed anywhere from creeping up to a sprint, so if you're very good at sneaking you'd be able to move silently faster so that you can get through the obstacles you're trying to get through faster than the guards. If you're not moving faster than the guards you're in a lot of trouble, because they're just going to come up on you, so you need to be able to move fast and silently. The other benefit is that when you get caught in the peripheral vision, which is a pretty large slice of the vision arc ... if you're sneaking it's presuming that you're crouching and so on, to reduce your profile and also you're not moving as much so that you're not noticeable, so it gives you a big bonus for avoiding detection when you're in the peripheral vision arc, but if you fall into the red part, the direct vision arc, then it doesn't matter.
Rainseeker:It doesn't matter, even if you have, like, that grand master stealth.
Toady:Yeah, it's like the grand master is still sitting in the middle of a gravel field. All the black clothing in the world's not going to help you. I mean, there might be cases where the dude's half drunk, or something, and you don't move and that helps, it's, like, maybe we'll add, like, a very small bonus versus the inebriated, or whatever. It's supposed to count for something. I mean, it adds a bit of player skill into the game that's, I think, legitimate. I mean, people can be concerned about, like, 'I'm role playing and I don't want to have to be good at something.' You still have to make the sweeping decisions that determine how your character's life turns out. I mean, the idea is the stealth game shouldn't be hard if your character's good at it, but it's still possible to fail.
Rainseeker:Especially if, like, five people are looking and you're walking through the middle of the town square, you know?
Toady:Yeah, you're there. I mean, until we get to more magic stuff; if we add more magic stuff then you could not be there, you could be invisible, or whatever.
Rainseeker:'Where's that shadow coming from?'
Toady:Yeah, that's right. It's getting there. I mean, it's not super-duper fun, yet, we're still working through it, but I think we're the goblin sites we're going to iron out some more of those things, because that's going to be one of those places where you're sneaking and if you screw up your sneaking you're suddenly going to have a very, very large problem. The human capitals have 10,000 people in them and they're spread out through an entire world map square, which is, like, 768 by 768; it's actually a little bigger than that because the human towns get bigger than one map square, so it's more like 800 by 800. So if you go to a goblin site then they can be the same size and also the same number of people, so you've got these giant cave networks and towers and things, and they're just loaded with goblins wandering all over the place, but most of the goblins are just going to be hanging out in living spaces and arguing with each other, and so on, and there'll only a certain number of goblins walking the hallways. I mean, we're going to let the fun of the game dictate that as much as anything.
Rainseeker:Yeah, will all the goblins suddenly descend on you, or will it be just, like, some, the warriors?
Toady:Yeah, I think the thing is that a lot of the goblins just aren't going to give a crap. I mean, if they hear a scream that's probably commonplace. They're just not going to care, sometimes, but if you're too brazen about it, there are too many screams, or you make yourself visible to too many people then you'll have to deal with it. I mean, we were thinking of running it with different groups, because the goblins don't get along, they're not supposed to get along with each other, it's supposed to be the power of the demon that keeps them under control and able to take over a bunch of civilizations instead of just descending into violence among the goblins themselves, so there are going to be different groups of goblins that don't care about the other groups of goblins and I think the only thing keeping it together is going to be the demon's secret police, set up with goblins and worse, like undead things and other kind of horrible night creatures and stuff.
Rainseeker:'Hey, you! No fighting, okay? Thank you. I will suck your blood if you don't stop fighting.'
Toady:That's right, and those humans that they're kidnapping, that grow up and so on, can bring some order to the situation.
Rainseeker:'Okay, guys. Let's talk about our feelings now. Let's not raise our voices, just use healing words.'
Toady:That's right. That's why we bring the elves in there, and if they don't like them, they keep mouthing off, then they'll eat them. The idea would be, then, that those guys would be people you absolutely don't want to be spotted by because they could actually marshal an organized resistance. So if you can sneak up behind the human and shank him a few times before he can alert anybody then you'll just have a bunch of goblins wandering around and then it won't be a big deal.
Rainseeker:Or perhaps making friends with him?
Toady:Yeah. Aren't you nice? Maybe he'll want to overthrow the demon with you.
Rainseeker:Exactly. 'Hey, do you want to, like, leave the goblins? We could do this together.'
Toady:Yeah, or perhaps he'll just sell you out when you get to the throne room.
Rainseeker:Yeah, but that would be an interesting thing, if you could try.
Toady:It is going to be something that we mess with sometime, maybe not this time but just the fact that the goblins might not actually attack you, with this racial enmity, or whatever, right? I mean, we had some of our silly power goals and stuff where you actually brought them a child from the village, or whatever, it's like you're being a freelance snatcher, and in that case you should be able to bargain with them, as long as they see the benefit in keeping you alive rather than killing you then, you know ...
Rainseeker:Or are scared of you because you look like a powerful warrior.
Toady:Yeah, you are quite scary sometimes in this game, wandering around with your adamantine plate mail that you stole from your dwarf fortress, and so on.
Rainseeker:Exactly. I don't know, if you are sneaking around everywhere does that build up your skill, and does that look suspicious to human towns?
Toady:That was something we've promised for this release, is that you're not supposed to do that. You keep your weapon around and, yeah, you shouldn't skulk around like some kind of shifty character.
Rainseeker:How are people going to react if you do?
Toady:I'm not sure. We haven't really decided if they should just be, like, 'What is that dumbass over there doing?' The problem is there are no guards, right now. We've got to bring the guards back, sometime, because then you've got real trouble, right? If you're skulking around with your dagger out then that guard will just come over and clock you in the head, or something, like, 'What are you doing?' The other people? I don't know if they would just not talk to you, or they'd ask you if the renaissance fair's in town, or what on earth you're doing. I mean, I'm not sure what I'd do if I saw someone skulking. I wouldn't necessarily call the cops, I'd just think they were being a dumbass, sometimes. Especially since you see them, right? You see them and they know that you see them and you're still sneaking. People will just ask you if you had a bad back, or something.
Rainseeker:'Does your back hurt? I could sell you some medicine for that.' Have people whisper about you as you walk past them, but I mean if that makes you better at that I think every player is going to be doing that when they walk through town.
Toady:Yeah. There has to be punishment, and there has to be punishment for sitting there throwing rocks for 90 years or whatever people do to start their game. I guess you just become known for that, or something, and your heroic reputation would bleed away, they'd kind of forget that night troll that you killed. Maybe they think that it kind of touched your mind, maybe the night troll hit you in the head or something. You came back and you throw rocks and skulk around all the time. You've been touched by darkness, or whatever.
Rainseeker:That would be really funny if you had someone observe you training, just the same thing over and over again. Spread rumors about you.
Toady:Especially if you were wrestling with badgers, or whatever. They'd just be scratching their heads. Maybe someone would bring you a badger in a cage next time you come to town and just say, 'Here's our gift to you for all the great things that you've done.'
Rainseeker:Yeah, if the game kept track of the things you liked to do and then responded to that, I would die of laughter, because that's just the game's way of winking at you and saying, 'You're stupid. That's not how real people behave.' I love it.
Toady:It's all about role playing. What role have you played and so on.
Rainseeker:'I'm going to the library and I'm going to stamp books all day, get my book stamping skill raised. It must have some impact on the gameplay, right?'
Toady:Yeah, I mean if you're into books you'll have books in the library. We've got books. Mostly books about demons writing about their days in the tower, or whatever.
Rainseeker:The demons are all very literate?
Toady:Yeah, yeah. It's funny when there's a demon impersonating a god and he just hangs out in the keep writing books about the underworld, or the book about how he fooled the people into thinking he was a god, and it has his true name there, and it's, like, 'Blah fools the world,' or whatever. Yeah, they're not very bright. It's like they're really testing. It's a test for their subjects, or their worshippers.
Rainseeker:'Let's see if they notice this book. I'll put it right here on the shelf.'
Toady:Yeah, they scatter them around their tower, they're just laying around, all these horrifying revelations.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Capntastic:I like how there are a few square rooms with doors, and then there are lots of little winding passages.
Toady:Yeah, it's supposed to look like an organic mess, and some of the cells are big, some of them are small. When all of the goblins come back then you'll have more goblins living in the giant, giant rooms, unless it's an important goblin, or a goblin that can carve out that little space for itself, but since goblins die all the time I guess it's going to be like after the big plague, there'll just be more space for people. Sometimes when they get overcrowded I guess there'll just be more murders until everyone has their own little room. It's a nice place to live. I'm getting started on watchtowers and trenches up above, so it'll be a place for you to sneak into from up top and you'll have to occasionally negotiate an obstacle or two, and eventually make it down into a tunnel which will probably go into one of those living areas. Then the living areas will connect off, when it has the arrow that goes off to jobs and towers it'll take you off to ... if you go down one of those passageways you can stay on the main road, you can kind of see the larger passageway, so you don't have to walk into a room where 50 goblins are forging swords or something, because then you'd probably be in trouble and you'd start getting whacked with sword blanks that are on fire and so on, and be forged yourself ... everyone's going to have to get ready for troll-shearing pits. I don't know if goblins have looms. They must just walk around with a ... I forget what it's called when you have the little stick you put the yarn onto. I used to know the name of what that was. You have this little stick and you carry it around and you just kind of move it around and you start making yarn out of wool. I imagine there'll have to be some goblins that do that, unless they have some horrifying contraption. Then they get to make their little troll-fur clothing. Little dainty clothes; goblins are quite small, I guess they're 10% less than a person, or a seventh. I think they weight 60kg on average and the average human in our game is 70kg or something. Then they make their little teenage-sized clothes with their little troll fur. Then you get to the prisons with the little children in them. I guess there's occasionally an adult captive, that they grabbed and were interrogating for information, so you'll occasionally see one of those. I've seen lots of children in the goblin fortresses that I've been in, so far, so you actually should be able to rescue children for your first games after world gen, and then we have to start sending out snatchers again and making the snatchers that hit your fortress. That would probably be fun, if you had your dwarf fortress and then the goblin snatchers came, took a few kids and then you could, when you're done with your fortress you've probably still got several years before the children grow up so you could start an adventurer and rescue the old kids from your fortress.
Capntastic:Yep, before they get turned. Stockholm syndromed.
Toady:Yeah, that's right, sympathizing with the demons. Always dangerous to do that because there's not a lot of sympathy there.
Capntastic:I know that there are traps that you can get stuck in, do those still crash the game?
Toady:I think cage traps, if I'm not mistaken ... I often am about old changes like this, but I think the cage traps are just turned off in adventure mode, and the other traps are turned on. It really doesn't like having your character pulled out of the action, still. I don't know why I haven't gone ahead and just added some stupid thing like 'Pick the lock?' and then you get out, or whatever. Maybe I'm hoping that cage traps get replaced or something, because they are one of the cheesiest kinds.
Capntastic:It'd be cool to have, like, 'Oh, you got put in manacles and you're in the prison,' and you wait for everyone to leave and then you use a rock to break them or something like that.
Toady:It's the inevitable future of the game that you're going to get captured.
Capntastic:Got to have the daring escapes.
Toady:The current plan was to do that with the thief role, because a thief's whole job is to get thrown in prison, or whatever, and get lashed and hammered and all that.
Capntastic:Sounds fun.
Toady:Yeah, it's a great masochist simulator. We haven't thought about tackling that stuff yet, of course we're constantly thinking about it now, when we've got these heroes sneaking around in places, because the only outcome of being caught right now is just, again, the crazy alarms, and people running at you and killing you and so on. That doesn't necessarily make much sense, especially because they'd want to know why you're there. Goblins probably have ways of getting that kind of information out of people, or at least encouraging people to say random people. I guess you'd have that choice, too.
Capntastic:People are always psyched about how the elves are portrayed and how it's not a generic elf; these guys are crazy and probably going to eat you when you die, which is awesome. I think a lot of things are going to progress in that direction, where once you have everything put together you're going to bake it in the over and it's going to come out all nice.
Toady:Yeah. We're starting to feel the fact that we were missing, like, 80% of our ingredients in the world. No goblin sites, no kobold sites, no elf sites, no dwarf sites.
Capntastic:I like the elf sites because all the trees are named.
Toady:I have to make sure I still do that with my big trees. Big trees are going to be fun. They can be very big and you're going to be able to fall a long way if you screw up. 'Aaaaaaaaaah!'
Capntastic:Have it make a test against some of your mental stats to see how uncontrollably you scream. Like, 'Oh, you manage to not scream,' or, 'You scream.' All that stuff. There are a lot of things that could happen.
Toady:That's right. You'll be like the x-men and you'll just start flying.
Capntastic:I'm excited that a lot of the stealth stuff will probably be using some of those mental stats.
Toady:They're all tied into that. It should tell you someplace which skills use which stats so that you can make intelligent decisions.
Capntastic:Yeah, like, 'I don't know what proprioception is. What the heck?'
Toady:I think right now the musicality is the only one that doesn't come up. In adventure mode I don't think the linguistic ability is used either, because there's not really any skill-type rolls in conversations, yet, although that'll change sometime. I don't know when you're going to able to start walking through the town playing three-card Monte with people, and stuff. That's right, 'Miss the red nine, your money's mine.' Nothing but trouble. Overall it'll be really cool. It's one of those things where it doesn't start to work until you have a whole lot of different stuff going on. You keep adding stuff and keep adding stuff and you see little parts of the game that start working here and there.
Capntastic:Little gears start touching and moving together.
Toady:Yeah. It's all just going to get a lot better. We were missing these sites, so these sites are going to be just one of the things that doesn't probably gel 100% at first, but each of them is going to be put there with a few things for you to do in mind, and then we'll have them to work with from here on out. It's not like sites are like the rest of the game where as you add stuff the frontier just keeps growing and you can just keep adding stuff and you never feel like you're going back to polish things off or make more fun stuff with other stuff that's already done, because the world's in a box and the boundaries of the box are set, and we're making stuff in the box neater, so that makes the world better instead of just having the general expansion. If we were working on something like other dimensions to travel to, that would be a problem, at this point. We need to stay in our box and get all the sites done and get all the critters moving around. There are a lot of critters running around now, and we get critters running around, we give societies the ability to heal themselves so that we have succession and populations increase, and we have broken sites that have been destroyed, or so on, get rebuilt and you get sites expanding and so on. Then you're in a really good position to start actually thinking about individual needs and individual stuff that will drive all the stories, but you need those sites.
Capntastic:Yep, got to have interesting places and interesting things to do.
Toady:Yeah. I mean you can, of course, because the real world is this way, make a full game interesting based on human sites, and if the world were filled with human sites and just human sites, that would be true, but the way we're trying to think about, like, having the bandits move around and having the humans think about war there was always this big vacuum where, like, 'Well, the whole north region has site x in it, and site x doesn't have maps or anything so don't think about that.' Now everything's going to be think-aboutable, because it's it all visitable, and if it's all visitable and think-aboutable, then the whole game can actually work, and it'll be great. There's going to be all kinds of cool stuff going on.
Capntastic:Throw in some random ancient ruins to explore and all that sort of thing, get some Stargate stuff going on.
Toady:We're not going full-on treasure-hunter arc yet but there are going to be dwarf fortresses without dwarves in them because it usually ends up that way in world gen, that something has gone wrong, somewhere. A lot of my goblin sites seemed pretty empty and I was wondering where they were and I was, like, 'Oh yeah, I sent them all off to kill people.' There's an awful lot of void and emptiness in the goblin sites, but actual ruins are another critter. Also, once we've got these sites, like all the different ways that the races build things, we'll be able to start thinking about things like 'What does a place look like if it was owned by humans for the first half and then owned by dwarves for the second half?' There could be, like, the old town part and then extended past that it suddenly dips down into the earth and there are all this dwarf mining operation surrounding an old human city. Theoretically we should be able to do all that stuff; it's all pretty modular the way things glue together by necessity because in adventure mode when you're walking around you load sections of the map, right? So everything is subject to these restrictions of having to live in a certain-sized space, but that means that if you want to have the flavor of the map change it's really not so bad. I mean ideally you'd like things to intermesh in a not-square way, but for a starting point we certainly have an easy problem and then it only becomes harder when you try and make it look really organic, but it's good, it's always possible to move forward with this stuff, so we're going to have all kinds of cool things going on. Going down, talking to the kobolds and trying to steal things from them, and getting giant centipedes thrown at you or something.
Capntastic:Bugs. Then Zeus can show up. I remember looking through the data for Kobold Quest and it's like, 'Yeah, just ... whatever. Zeus. Done.'
Toady:Is that one of the things that the adventures kill or something?
Capntastic:Yeah. Eventually you start getting just, like, ridiculous things. I don't even know if it's possible to trigger them in game, but I just know they're in there, somewhere.
Toady:Yeah, it is pretty ridiculous. It's all about sacrificing kobolds to people, right, and sacrificing powerful ones, so you kill a bunch of new adventurers and then you spot that a veteran is coming and feed them a warchief or whatever they were called and then that guy leaves with, like, way more experience than he normally would, and then he gets to have a big adventure, and it looks at his total experience level and rates his adventure. Once it gets up there then, yes, they start doing crazy stuff and their level titles are all weird, too. It's an interesting little games. Dwarves are going to be hard. Making a fortress that people would accept as a dwarf fortress these days ... it'll hard to do, like, magma pump stacks and all that kind of thing, and I can't have any levers that trigger something more than twenty tiles away or you might have one part loaded and one part not loaded, so everything will have to be a little more vertical than it would probably be in a player fort when it comes to mechanisms and stuff, or just not interesting, like, 'Yeah, the lever opens the door and the door's right there.' Yeah, we're going to try and do all the main things. The main thing I'm not sure about is whether or not there'll be workshops. The workshop is something for fort mode, and I was hoping not something for adventure mode.
Capntastic:Yeah, it's not really fitting. It's an abstraction of other things, I think.
Toady:I was hoping to just eventually do the other things, and so I don't know if I want to litter workshops around. So that part might be different, but we'll have to see how it turns out, because if it's done like the human ones they'll just scatter a bunch of items around without having the means of production at this point, which will be a thing I probably do as I let the player do stuff. At the moment you just have a little knapping factory where you can make sharp stones. It's great excitement.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Rainseeker:Okay, cool. Well thanks for chatting about the stuff. We're going to transition to the second half of the show when we're going to have Tarn and his brother, Threetoe, also known as Zach, come aboard. What are you guys going to talk about?
Toady:We're going to be a question and answer session where we answer questions from Dwarf Fortress Talk.
Rainseeker:Sounds like a good time.
Toady:It's going to be nothing but entertainment. So, yeah, stay tuned for the next part of the show.
Rainseeker:This is Rainseeker signing out, I'm leaving now but I will look forward to hearing you guys chat. Bye bye.
Toady:Bye bye.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Threetoe:Okay, welcome to the question and answer portion of Dwarf Fortress Talk. I'm Threetoe and I'm going to be reading your questions. The first question comes from the_game_hunt. He asks, 'When I entered a house I saw a lot of peasants, rangers, etc., all of them with knives or forks in their hands. When are we going to get civilians with proper weapons for self defense when you attack them as an adventurer, like in The Elder Scrolls? When are we going to get those guys to put their weapons in some sort of pocket that they carry?' I suppose, like, their belt or something.
Toady:The second part we can answer now. We did a little work on sheathing weapons for non-lethal combat. We've got fistfights and things now in the game, at least when you get accosted on the street by ne'er-do-wells, so you can put your weapon away. There are no sheath objects right now, but you can just put it away and we'll add the actual object that's used to do that later on. Right now you can just put anything away, there's a key you press, you press it, it goes away, and you can press the same key and it takes out the items again. So that part's handled for the purposes of non-lethal combat and so on, so you can carry around weapons without being actively hostile and just chopping everyone in half when you have the first signs of argument. For the other part, I don't think we're necessarily going to have civilians that all walk around with swords, that just doesn't seem accurate to me in terms of how a peasant would have lived. So there are not going to be civilians walking around with broadswords and giant tridents strapped to their backs and stuff that they whip out when you bother them, but they shouldn't be carrying around their boning knives and carving knives like they do now - or forks, or whatever - they should keep those on the dinner table or whatever it was at the time. When we get a few guards back in towns that should have guards or at least watch people, or whatever, then you might have a little more trouble, but we just haven't gotten to the crime mark yet.
Threetoe:Right, with what's coming up after the hero section we'll be getting more into the crime and punishment and civilians should be reacting to you more actively than they do now.
Toady:Yeah, even if it involves running away which would be a first, instead of having three-year-olds trying to kill you. And ducks.
Threetoe:Okay, so the second question comes from King Mir: 'You've stated previously how the good and evil regions are ultimately going to be replaced by sphere-aligned regions. Recently you added a lot to the evil regions; how have these changes affected your future plans? Are you going to put as much work into every sphere? Will some spheres be much more distinct than others, or will you just stick with good and evil?'
Toady:We did add a lot of undead and blood rain and mists and things floating around in the evil regions because we were just on our continuing night creatures drive, to get through those. It hasn't really affected the long-term plans. We still plan to diversify what the regions look like. The spheres ... talking about them specifically, like sphere-regions, is ... when you say, 'Will some be more distinct than others?' there are spheres like 'trade', or something like that, where because that's such a civilized concept ... there are probably going to be some spheres that simply aren't appropriate for regions, and a sphere is really just an idea, or a concept, so if you want to make one region more musical, or fiery, or evil, or torture-based, or darker, these different concepts ... that's really what we're getting at, that we wanted to have a strong sense of flavoring to the regions that sets the atmosphere but doesn't just go along this linear scale of good or evil, that allows things to be more diverse. So in a sense just adding stuff to the regions moves us along the way there. We haven't really started that project yet, but I it's still something that I think we're planning to do.
Threetoe:A lot of the other plans we had for portals to different dimensions where the spheres would be a lot more powerful ... that might come out, too. The next question: 'Are vampires and werebeasts going to be more fleshed out? At the moment vampires do not need to feed and werebeasts don't need to kill anything to survive.'
Toady:We were working on several night creatures in a row. We had plans to do this random generation to make the vampires semi-random and diverse and we had ideas about things like maybe they'd be killed by sunlight, or not, and for werebeasts we had things about daily transformations or controlled transformations. There are all these kind of myths from different parts of the world where you'd have, like, someone turn into a serpentwoman every night or something like that. There are different ways that basically get at the same idea of a werebeast, but it's not just the moon-cycle type idea. We just didn't get to all that. It's like the rest of the night creatures; when we go on our next night creature kick we're just going to do more with it.
Threetoe:Another question: 'Are werebeasts going to be more in control of their powers, like being able to manually transform instead of being naked peasants that you can just kill?'
Toady:I mentioned the manual transforming, that we had some ideas about doing that, but there is the other issue there; a werebeast in the game currently means someone that will actually be a werebeast, say, one out of fifteen days because there are a couple of days where they're transformed, and the rest of the time they're just sort of huddling in their cave, waiting to die. That goes to stuff that also got put off, which is the idea of integration into society. A lot of the werebeast stories have werebeasts, like, when they're people.
Threetoe:Yeah, so you have to actually go hunting for them in the city, instead of having them just hang out where they're easily hunted down and killed, like the vampires.
Toady:Yeah, the vampires are currently done a little bit more properly, at least, than the werebeasts were, and that's because we didn't really handle the idea of what you do when the werebeast undergoes its transformation when you're talking to him or when he's just in the town and starts killing people. I mean, that's great in a sense, but the game doesn't really handle that well, in the long run.
Threetoe:Okay, so another question speaking of vampires: 'So, are the vampires going to be semi-randomly generated?'
Toady:Yeah, I think I also addressed that in the first part. That was a plan, and we put it off.
Threetoe:Okay. 'Will there be a cooldown on the revival rate of the undead things coming back to life in the evil areas? I had a plan to get rid of corpses in those areas but it is impossible because they revive every few seconds.'
Toady:That part did end up pretty hardcore, maybe a little harder-corer than we intended. We might modulate that a bit, I know some people have fun with it but I think probably more people don't, so at least it should be something that you have ... I don't know if 'more control over' is the right phrase, but a little more warning, or more regions are a little more sensible than others. It's not quite a traditional idea that the undead are utterly unstoppable; that's more like someone who's been cursed because they did something wrong. It just doesn't stop, it's like a revenant is coming for each of your specific dwarves, instead of just being in a bad area.
Threetoe:This question is kind of involved, it says, 'Will the nature of corpses change? I know you plan to have them as containers, but will it be simpler just to make them dead with a dead tag, and have all the respective stuff on them when they die? This would allow zombies to have clothing, and weapons, allow dwarves to be buried with their belongings, and allow you to look at the wounds of the dead and allow people to target corpses. I always wanted to collect heads of my enemies, but it's hard unless you get a clean decapitation kill.' So, yeah, the nature of how it stores dead bodies.
Toady:I'm sure I said I planned to have them as containers, or whatever. That's just shorthand, basically, for the same idea, I think. The corpses have gotten more and more complicated. It tracks where all the exact wounds are and all that stuff, it's already tracked on the corpses, and I'm sure when I get to the items I'm not just going to use the container code I'm going to use the inventory code; so you can pry something out of somebody's cold, dead hand. It's going to know where everything is, I don't think you have to worry about that; I can almost guarantee that would be done right the first time, when I get to that. As for collecting the heads of your enemies, which is a different question, right now I think we just have the general butchery option in adventure mode when you just turn them into a pile of guts, or whatever, it's all prepared; chopped liver and everything. For specific decapitations and things ... I think when we were talking about Armok, and we had this whole corpse-processing section for Armok, I don't remember if we were just about to start that, or if we did anything with it, but it was very specific, so I'm sure we'll eventually allow you to ... especially for things like bounties. It seems very popular to cut off ears and, you know, bring in the ear or bring in the tattoo or whatever from the guy's arm, and that kind of thing. I remember some strange power goals about that, so I think we're definitely going to have that kind of thing, no matter how disgusting it gets.
Threetoe:Okay, so the next question: 'Does world gen track entity populations in a way that acknowledges creatures have been laid but not hatched? I'm thinking about a clutch of dragon eggs that could survive the death of all the adult entity members, for example. Should the entity persist after all of its population is dead except the eggs?'
Toady:We definitely don't track that, right now, and it's interesting because when we get to things like antmen that would be a really big question, but even with the kobolds ... is it still an open question about eggs? We were leaning towards eggs, if I remember, but not 100% sure what our theories were, there. At the time of this recording we're working on dwarf sites, and kobold sites would be after that. I still don't know that we'd be coming to terms with the fact that there are multiple life cycles, and an egg stage, and all that kind of thing. If kobolds do have eggs there will be eggs, but I'm not sure it's really going to track carefully what's going on. I mean, I think it's cool to have, like, the last members of the society living in egg form, and you can kind of resurrect the race from the dead after you dig them up 80 years later, or whatever, but it just doesn't track that stuff right now.
Threetoe:Okay, so the next question: 'Are we likely to see the old 80-dwarf reclaim teams again anytime soon? I miss being able to command a huge military of dwarves to reclaim that legendary metal from the invaders, and a starting seven kitted out with bronze weapons just doesn't do it.'
Toady:I don't remember why we got rid of that, because it was cool. I think the issue was more of a technical one, and a release-time one. This is me trying to remember stuff from years ago, but I think it was when the military screen changed and the whole military structure changed, and we started having to track all this extra information about the military; it became a pain to set up the reclaim squads right. It could just be something like that. I don't think we're against that because the start scenarios that we're doing for fort mode are going to have all kinds ... there could still be a core seven dwarves, if we want to stick with that out of a sense of tradition, but there are going to be scenarios where you start with a bunch of hill dwarves outside of your civilization, and starting with a larger military group - especially to reclaim a really dangerous fort - seems as cool to me as back when we had it before.
Threetoe:Yeah, especially with all the military dwarf stuff coming up pretty soon; it's going to fit in there to have the larger group.
Toady:Yeah. I'd think we could see that stuff again.
Threetoe:Okay, so the next question: 'With the new combat mechanics separating attacking from moving, how many presses are going to be required for one attack? Already attacking things that are not hostile and stay not hostile, probably due to a bug of unconsciousness, requires Shift-a, letter for person, Alt-y, letter for body part, letter for swing type. If moving/fighting is being taken out, will every swing at anything be some intolerably long action/reaction chain that just sucks all flow and fun out of it?'
Toady:No, that's not how it's going to work. When I say that we're separating attacking from moving, that refers to the speed, so something like a cheetah could run fast but then it doesn't just get to go all ninja on you when it gets to you and hit you 27 times before you get to move. You still use the same keys, though, because if a person is standing next to you and you press toward them, the game can still reasonably interpret that as an intention to attack, rather than an intention to move, especially if you've got an enemy. So it works the same way; you initiate an attack when you press toward somebody. You can still press Shift-a if you want to get all down-and-dirty about, like ... now you can be doing even more stuff when you're attacking but, still, pressing toward them just picks the optimal attack in the exact same way that they pick an optimal attack when they try and attack you, where 'optimal' is not really optimal, but just a napkin calculation that the game does to say, like, 'Oh, should I swing at this head this time or not?' So you don't have to worry about that part getting more cumbersome. There is a little more interface, because when you get attacked now you have choices to make, but the whole point of that was to add more flow and fun, so I don't think we have to worry about the flow and fun being decreased by interface trouble this time around.
Threetoe:Okay, so the next question: 'How is distance calculated between diagonal tiles? With the dragging of time you have being somewhat more accurate than in most rougelikes, a reasonable approximation of Euclidian space doesn't seem impossible.'
Toady:Yeah, we do use root two for going diagonal. It has an approximation, it's the one that's, like, 363 over 256 - I don't remember the exact number - something like that, that basically comes out to 1.41... whatever. I've gotten rusty in my math, but something like that. So, for the 2D calculation that all works, it doesn't go into 3D, like if you're moving diagonal in 3 dimensions, it doesn't try to do any better approximations with different numbers, if just uses the 2D diagonal, but, yes, you really do get different move times for moving diagonally, so it's there.
Threetoe:The next one: 'Will whatever your dwarf characters are wearing have an influence on the effectiveness of their striking, etc., for example a dwarf wearing slade boots having a particularly nasty kick?'
Toady:I guess if he's strong enough to kick with them, or even walk ... he'd just be sitting there, shuffling along the ground.
Threetoe:Yeah, that'd be kind of crazy.
Toady:It's one of those things where I don't remember what's in or out, I'm assuming it's out by the question. Of course the armor effect is in, where you're protected by them, but if it doesn't use the hardness of the gauntlet it will at some point, I don't know when. It's come up before and we've thought to do, people have suggested it, to do things like gauntlets so you can box someone with your gauntlets, kick them with your boots, then that moves into, 'What about all these things adorned with spikes?' The dwarves have a habit of adorning things with menacing spikes, and then there should be ... like, when you're punching people, or when you're wrestling, all that kind of thing ... it should have an effect and it just hasn't been done yet, but it certainly stands as a hole in the combat system right now.
Threetoe:Okay, so the last question: 'I was reading the suggestion thread on interspecies breeding the other day, and I was hoping that you could discuss the notion of extending the breeding system to include such things as hybrids to a greater extent, primarily half-breeds among the sapient beings like elves, humans, dwarves, etc., and all the possible fun that arises from that, aside from stuff like discrimination, ethnic cleansing and increased interracial tensions, a more diverse and less static set of races populating the world would no doubt contribute to the richness of the game.'
Toady:Yeah, I mean we're for it. The snatcher story, for instance, had an elf-goblin hybrid which didn't even have a human component to it.
Threetoe:Yeah, I've written a few stories about this. We definitely want to entertain these possibilities.
Toady:Basically, we would have done it already, it's just a matter of overcoming some technical challenges. Do you just create new raws for all of the half forms? Then what happens if there are quarter forms and so on, or if you have one part elf, human, dwarf and goblin? Does it try and average the raws or come up with a one-to-one correspondence between the different body parts? It's kind of like the polymorph problem where you turn into another humanoid and right now your equipment just drops on the ground, even though the werewolf could theoretically hold things and wear things that were stretchy enough, or something, or just stayed on, like a little hat. It doesn't know how to do that, or transfer wounds, for that matter. Once we understand how that works, which is an easier problem than coming up with a mixture of creatures, then there's also the centaur problem, of taking pieces of creatures and gluing them onto each other; taking the top half of a person and gluing them onto most of a horse, except for the head. These are all easier problems than trying to procedurally just come up with the child of two creatures, but it's still an intriguing problem. So I'm not sure I'd just jump in and be, like, here's the half and two-halves breeding can just do a Mendelian genetics type thing, and sometimes they're a whole, sometimes it's one race or another, sometimes it produces another half, like half-elf/half-goblin. It could work that way, but it would be interesting to be able to get something more smeared, but it's difficult. That's part of the reason it hasn't happened yet; it's an intriguing and difficult problem.
Threetoe:Okay, well that's the end of the questions. Is there anything you wanted to talk about? What's lately going on in development?
Toady:Yeah, so, the first part of this recording took place way back in September, and now we're in the middle of November, because of my remissness.
Threetoe:We've been busy. There's a lot of stuff.
Toady:Yeah, there's all kinds of stuff going on. We are now into dwarf sites, and having fun making little mounds for the hill dwarves and little gardens and so on.
Threetoe:I was thinking, you'll be able to reclaim your own fortresses and now the actual mountainhomes themselves that the other dwarves created.
Toady:Yeah, there's going to be just a menu of interesting options right from the beginning of the world, if the dwarves had a hard time of it and their whole civilization was wiped out.
Threetoe:And you get to visit these places as an adventurer, too, so you can see them.
Toady:Yeah, imagine buying from a depot and going to the depot and seeing a grumpy little dwarf there selling the fortress goods, just like your trader does, your broker.
Threetoe:And retiring your own sites, and visiting your own living sites.
Toady:Yeah, that's going to be a whole lot of fun, because you'll get to see all your dwarves, and talk to your dwarves. It should be really cool.
Threetoe:Okay, well I think it's time to wrap this up so we can finally send it out.
Toady:Yeah, we can finally edit this.
Threetoe:Alright, well thanks a lot for everybody who contributed, and everybody else who's enjoying the game.
Toady:Yep, thanks.
Ollieh:(musical postlude)

Bonus section

Toady:Like a hamster.
Rainseeker:A fantastic hamster.
Toady:Fantastic hamster, that's right. Maybe it walks on four stilts. That'd be a pretty amazing skill for a hamster to have.
Rainseeker:That would be fantastic. I don't know how that would aid battling evil.
Toady:I'm not sure if Capntastic battles evil. Maybe he battles something more minor.
Rainseeker:Capntastic battles ignorance. That's what he battles.
Toady:That's right, and the hamster teaches people to read.
Rainseeker:'Stumpy, turn the page!'
Toady:That's right, the exceptionally literate hamster who walks around on stilts so it can talk to the children.
Rainseeker:That's right. 'Children, you must read, or you too will become a hamster with stilts!'
Toady:So it's more of a negative reinforcement lesson for them.
Rainseeker:It's a fear tactic, yes.

Capntastic:I knew a kid in middle school who said his grandpa was the best chess player in the world and they put him up against a computer and he was playing chess as hard as he could but there was so much electricity in his brain that it exploded.