Dwarf Fortress Talk #22, with Threetoe and Toady One, transcribed by PT_Fort, Tonjevic, smirk, and others.

New dev pages
    Job Priorities
        Future of VPL
    Fortress-mode inns and taverns
        Instruments, recipes and reputation
    Adventure-mode taverns
    Non-player artifacts
    Fortress starting scenarios
    Hill- and deep-dwarves
    Directional Zones
    Adventure Mode Building
    Version 1.0 Possibilities
    City/Dungeon-Generating Algorithms
    Dwarven Economy
    Multi-Dwarf Position Claims
    Idle Dwarf Activities
    Mode Combination/Intersection
    Service Quests
    Fanciful Creatures
    Hiring Mercenaries
    Alternate Creature Reproduction
    Constructing Furniture Outside
    Procedurally Generated Songs
    Alternate Strange Mood Types
    Chemical Interactions and Martial Law
    Scrapped Goals
    Soil/Stone Layer Modelling
    Mining Mechanics and Steam Power
    Planar Travel
    Magic Systems
    Wall/Floor Destructibility
    Art Specification
    Battlefield Looting
    Adventurer Cooking
    Deity Interactions
    Fortress Mode Time Dilation
    Fortress Mode Function Redesigns
    Raising Children
    Hospital Visits and Dwarven Social Life
    Noble Demands
    Threetoe’s DF Habits
    Development/Release Planning
    AI Adventurers
    Weapon Poisoning
    Fortress/World Interactions
    Fan Projects
    Yelling at Animals
    Fantasy Landscaping
    Old-School Influences
    Generating Landmasses
    Creatures Inside Mountains
    Sandalwood and Driftwood
    Fortress Goods in the World
    Twisting Embedded Weapons
Ending Thanks

SFX(Musical Prelude)
Threetoe: Welcome to the twenty-second Dwarf Fortress talk. This is the emergency version. We need to get this one out here because we're coming out with some new dev pages. This is Threetoe, Zach Adams. My brother, Toady One, Tarn Adams.
Toady: Yep. Tarn Adams here, Toady One. And uh yeah, we decided to, since we're putting up dev pages, you can go check them out now online, at the main website. The top part of the development pages has four new sections, and they're in order this time! Which is a shocking development. So we just threw together a quick team of Dwarf Fortress Talk hosts (meaning the two of us). And Capntastic and Rainseeker are living their pleasant, busy lives, while we just decided to answer some questions quickly and talk about these new dev pages.
Threetoe: Excellent. Well let's get to work. Onto the development pages, we have a new section at the start of our dev pages that is a list of goals, in order, that are going to be completed.
Toady: Yeah. We usually don't do this. We don't put up goals that are in order, but we got... The new dev pages should be posted as this talk is posted, so you can go over there now if you want, or just go check it later at the main Dwarf Fortress page, under "Development". And you'll see that there are four sections. Most of them are old sections, but they've been refurbished and moved to the top, in order. So the first thing we're going to work on (this is probably starting at the beginning of December) is job priorities. So we've been saying this for a long time now, as one of the top vote-getters on "Eternal Suggestions", and it's time to get some work done there.
We had to do some work to figure out what people wanted here, because the original suggestion was very general, and pointed in different directions, and had different approaches, and it wasn't really settled. So we have decided, first off, that we're not really working to change VPL [The labour list for each dwarf. Seen by pressing v-p-l near a dwarf in the game - Ed.] at this moment. We have some things that we're going to do later (we'll get to that in a moment) that will point toward big changes toward VPL. But the first push on job priorities is just going to be about the basic 'job selection' model. So right now, as people know, the jobs pick the dwarves, and that leads to bad selection sometimes. The job will just snatch up the first, nearest qualified dwarf to do the job, regardless of whatever jobs that dwarf might want to do, and that can lead to some really sub-par selections.
And there's a kind of symmetric problem if dwarves pick jobs. They'll pick jobs that another dwarf might be better suited for. So you can't really have jobs picking dwarves or dwarves picking jobs; you need to have a system that merges it all together and has a delay incorporated so that things can work themselves out. Not a big delay, almost unnoticeable, but just enough to get the right dwarf to the right job. And this will allow you to do things like taking a skilled dwarf, that you'd normally be forced to turn off their hauling, so that they would do the jobs you want them to do. And now you'd be able to leave their hauling on, for instance. They do hauling when they were truly idle, but they would still be able to go do their appropriate jobs when they were available. And by the same token you wouldn't have... We noticed that a lot of people were setting up this 'peasant class' of dwarves, unskilled dwarves, that were just set up for hauling. That should be a little less necessary now.
Threetoe: Except now we're going to be working with the last of these projects will be to implement new peasant classes of dwarves.
Toady: He he he. Yeah this is the kind of VPL change we were talking about. It should be exciting to see the status of your dwarves realized. And certain ones you'll be able to control more than others. Now there will be a circumstance under which you can control any dwarf to a large degree, and that's going to be the new 'Do This Now' prioritization for jobs, which will just snatch up the nearest dwarf that can do the job (like pulling a lever), and force them to do it. They'll drop what they're doing and save your fortress. Might stress them out a little bit, depending on the kind of dwarf, but you'll be able to do that finally. And furthermore we are mindful of things like the trading jobs, the harvest, and so on, and hopefully that'll be handled with the new job selection model overall.
We are trying to stay away from spreadsheets and numbers approaches that kind of open up every single job to be ranked, you know, according to different numbers for each dwarf or workshop because that is unmanageable when the number of dwarves get high.
Threetoe: Also, it's a hint where we're going with this, which is to get rid of VPL all together, eventually.
Toady: Yeah, we would really like to restrict VPL possibly to a smaller number of dwarves that are actually the types of dwarves you would be ordering around like that. And we're also aware of kind of the 'work crew' approaches that people have, and that will also be something that is under consideration when we do understand 'fortress-citizen' status a little better.
But for now we're just focusing on these kind of large problems. Those two things, the 'Do It Now' prioritization and the overall job selection mechanic, should help with most of the major problems. We have some other small ideas, kind of along the lines of the little suggestions we've been doing, like workshops being able to steal from hauling jobs if the item is nearby. We're also going to look at some of the mining suggestions, like ordered mining or vein mining, that kind of thing.
And so it should be an interesting set of job priority changes that'll do a lot of good. Just keep in mind that when we do get to the fourth section of the new development notes, the starting scenarios, there's going to be further changes to job priorities that should really make the whole experience more interesting and dwarfy.
Threetoe: Okay, after the first section, which is job priorities, then we move on to do dwarf fortress mode inns and taverns. Because we want to add something fun, so that we aren't just doing another giant release for the sake of everybody's sanity with their interface problems.
Toady: Yeah, the two-year release was really long, he he. And there was a lot of foundational work that was done. And we're trying to break this next one up. Well we always try, he he, but we're going to succeed this time! We're breaking this one up into some smaller fun stuff. There is some foundational work we'll get to, but this is not foundational. This is just taverns for fun. So we got the Fortress Mode taverns. Now we had the... I think it was Dwarf Fortress Talk episode 12 where we really went into how this would work, so we're not going to reiterate the details too closely here, but we will go through it.
So you're going to have the ability in your fortress to lay out several rooms. Rooms for people to sleep, meeting-hall-type places, some storerooms, that make up an inn or tavern, for people to come. They'll come at first just because they can. Your guests will be people like merchants, diplomats, adventurers, mercenaries, other travelers, and your dwarves will also be able to go. And the thing that you'll be able to do there... You'll be able to serve them drinks, for instance, you can sell them... We're not going for... We don't have the economy stuff yet, so we're not going for sort of full tycoon mode with spreadsheets...
Threetoe: Yeah it wouldn't exactly make any financial sense to do this, but it's just for fun.
Toady: Yeah, and it'll make more sense later, based on start scenarios and later when we do the economic work. Right now, we're just messing around. One of the big things that'll come out of this is... Remember back... When was that meetup? Was it like 2007/8?
Threetoe: It was the second meetup, or maybe the third meetup. It was a long time ago. And Koji asked us to... 'Why don't they ever use their musical instruments?' And we had no excuse... Finally, after seven years, now we're...
Toady: Hehe. Yeah it's about time. It's about time for the instruments, and... We're also going to do dancing and storytelling and some other things that people can do in taverns. And this will also carry over in general to any parties that the dwarves throw, I mean once you have a tavern it'll be more likely that dwarves will throw a party there, but they'll sometimes will still throw them in the statue gardens or other places that you set up for them. But they'll be able to use their instruments and probably also have children playing with toys, just get all the items up and running. So you have this little bustling stuff going on in your fortress. People, for a while now, have been clamoring for the return of recipes, which we had very briefly, and those will make it back.
And your fortress will be able to kind of get a reputation based on the services you have available, and the quality of the drinks you're selling. And we're toying with the idea of having a local dish, that kind of thing. So that's all, that's all on the table for this, and in the notes . You'll be able to rent rooms to people. Finally you'll be able to have games. We're trying to randomly generate some games. We'll do what we can with dice games, and board games. They've have all been around for thousands of years so it's all fair, and your dwarves will be able to gamble, he he he. And we'll be able to... We're thinking because we have it in adventure mode anyway, the ability to play games when we do that part, which we'll talk about in a second, that you'll also be able to play the games directly if one of your dwarves is playing, just to give you a chance to see it, and to experience the game.
Threetoe: And to stop your dwarf from gambling away all the treasure of your fortress...
Toady: He he he. It's also important to understand what property means in the fortress because until we have that, perhaps the dwarves will be able to gamble away your entire crafts pile. And it'll be up to you to stop them, or to kill the guest with magma... He he, after they win your stuff.
So the other part of this, of course, is adventure mode. And we're going to update the taverns so that they kind of align with the new fortress mode layout, and add some inns along the road with the ability to stay in a room or buy a drink.
Threetoe: This will also be the place to get your quests. Like any good RPG, the tavern is the central spot for that. Like it has been in all the previous versions of Dwarf Fortress like DragSlay, the tavern was the beginning and end of your quest.
Toady: Yeah it is kind of key. I mean, everyone meets up in a tavern and then they go on an adventure, that's how it works. And we can pull some of those... the underbelly of society out of the sewers and catacombs and get them hanging out in taverns instead. So you'll be able to- We're not promising too much in terms of like having the criminal underbelly yet, because we don't have the thief arc, and the economy, and that kind of thing. But there will be a lot of tie-ins, especially with the next section, which is 'non-player artifacts'. It's another fun thing. Might as well throw that in. We already have a lot of stuff for artifacts from fortress mode, so might as well have other fortresses making them and other ways for artifacts to be made during world generation. Then we can have them being passed around, and stolen, and offered to other civilizations. That kind of thing.
Threetoe: They should actually be useful. Like, it's swords and shields instead of just cabinets that your dwarves create.
Toady: He he he.
Threetoe: There could be these other treasures, so now you'll finally have this fetch quest to go along with your kill quest.
Toady: He he. That's right. I mean, of course we didn't want adventure mode to kind of become just another quest game but you gotta start somewhere so we've got... You can kill night creatures and so on, so now you'll be able to go hunt down objects for people. And we have - already in fortress mode - we have the thieves that come as actual armies that are moving on the map - of course you can't see any of it - but there's little armies of thieves and snatchers that move to your fortress and they go in and take things and leave. And we'd like to generalize that so we can get some thieves and snatchers running around the world, that you can meet, or even be. So they'll be hunting for artifacts, the artifacts will move around. You might attempt to liberate an artifact from a dragon, that kind of thing. You know, very normal stuff, but It's gotta start somewhere.
Now when we talk about non-player artifacts that doesn't necessarily mean we'll be diving into all the magic stuff we talked about from episode seven, where we were going into artifact powers and stuff. But not necessarily ruling that out either... He he he. You never know what might happen...
Threetoe: So the last phase of our dev pages is the fortress starting scenarios. Now when we first came up with the idea for Dwarf Fortress, the purpose was to create a bunch of artifacts that would be found by the adventurers later after you were inevitably destroyed, but now we've decided to add more framework to it - to spice it up a little bit.
Toady: It's never really been clear what the point was, especially when we stopped the original plan to have the adventurer dive in for artifacts. Then we were just like, well are you just waiting for your monarch to come and take over your fortress and you just sit there following orders. And so, what we're going to do is allow the player to choose what their fortress is about - now you can still do something like just say, "Hey I'm a frontier settlement and I just want migrants coming and I'm building for my own purposes." and that's fine - but you could also set up... some of the ideas we had were a religious site where you're setting up a temple, say, that has to obey certain guidelines and reach a certain level of magnificence and then you'd have pilgrims coming and people to work on it.
Threetoe: And you'd be getting messages from the gods to tell you exactly how they wanted their thing arranged.
Toady: He he he. Yeah, so it'll add some structure to the game. It'll be interesting. The other things we were thinking about - a prison colony would be fun. You'd have prisoners come and that adds its own challenges. We have a mining company, a military citadel. Since we'd have taverns and inns already, you could just have a place that you're setting up on a road just to be an inn. And you could be setting up the future palace of the monarch, but you might have to actually have some requests that you're satisfying in order to make that a reality instead of just going by general numbers. So it'll cause sorta drastic changes to how the game is played. The migrants that come - I mean there might not be migrants that come - they might have a certain type of character to them. To really understand that, we're gonna need to add a framework to the game that lets you understand exactly what it is that the citizen's standing is in the civilisation. I mean, are these sort of serfs that are bound to your fortress, are they kind of frontier dwarves, are they almost employees of your mining operation, you know. So there's a lot of different ways to think about it, and so we'd like to set up a framework of law, customs, rights, property, and status, so that we can understand these things and we can make these scenarios very explicit. We've been toying around with ideas of how the laws would be encoded: you could have one of those giant pillars with etchings of the laws on them set up by the first ruler, or you could have - I mean our gods already love writing slabs with different secrets on them - you could ‘have a commandments type situation that would let you know where you're starting from, but then you might be able to change the laws yourself depending on the scenario.
I mean aside from the migrants, the caravans... you may or may not have caravans come to your fortress, the diplomacy could be very different. You wouldn't expect, for instance, a giant army to attack a roadside inn that you've set up, but you may have bandits coming there and being rowdy guests that you have to deal with. There's a lot of different directions that that'll go, but we've written them down on the development page to check out. For instance, reclaim mechanics can all be folded into the start scenario system: Why are you doing this reclaim, and what is the overall situation? Kinda bring back that situation we had before where you were allowed to take several soldiers with you, several groups of soldiers really, into the reclaim instead of just always starting with seven dwarves. The general framework here with a start scenario, it gives you information about why the site is there and that can be generalised to every site in the game. This isn't a massive rewrite like doing the sitemaps was, but just a simple categorisation that'll make the game understand where it's coming from. Finally, with start scenarios, we're bringing in the hill- and deep-dwarves that we've been talking about because some of the scenarios-
Threetoe: Yes!
Toady: He he he he... some of the scenarios really require them. So, yeah, that'll be awesome. We've talked about it in previous episodes, I believe, but the basic idea is you can bring along a lot of extra dwarves with you, and they don't live in your visible site, but they live in attached sites. You can bring them in and out, trade food with them and so on. Eventually they're kind of foundational for the dwarf-mode army stuff because they give you a lot of warm little dwarf bodies to send on missions to kobold caves and stuff instead of having to essentially play a kind of adventure mode where you'd send out ten dwarves to the cave, you could send those ten dwarves but also another two hundred to make the numbers match up a little bit. It's exciting overall, I think. It's nice to have something in order with all this stuff that's coming.
Threetoe: That's right, that's right, except -- the promise is made.
Toady: Yeah, that's right. We try not to set up too many obligations for ourselves but an obligation is a good thing; it lets people know where we're going and here they are in order, and we're going to do them. The nice thing about this, I think, having it set up in four separate sections, clearly delineated, is that we at least know, unlike some of the previous releases, that there are going to be pauses, where we can do some bug-fixes, do some small suggestions, in between. We're going to try our best to do, when necessary, releases while we're actually working on one section. But at least we'll have that, that there's going to be some breaks, that there's not going to be another two-year release and it should be entertaining and really, when we get all this foundational stuff in with the start scenarios, we're looking at wide-open access to the, uh, we have enough framework then for the economy, we have framework for armies, we have framework for doing thief stuff, we can do all kinds of things. It'll be nice to finally understand laws and property and the status, you can start thinking about where these citizens fit into their civilisations and into the world.
Threetoe: Yes, and to tie it up to the beginning again, we finally have those job priorities done.
Toady: He he he he, yeah, people should be happy to see some of this stuff and, uh, yeah, we're excited, excited!
SFX(Musical Interlude)
Threetoe: Okay so now it's time for the question-and-answer part of the show. The first question comes from Dave, and he asks, "Would it be possible to set travel-restricted zones that indicated a direction? For example, two staircases: one that could be designated as up and the other one as down."
Toady: So the problem with this kind of thing, with secret doors and one-way pathfinding, is just technical, in terms of how you calculate that. It kind of screws up the connected-component numbers that we've got, so I don't really have a good solution for it. It's one of those things that we'd like to do, but it's a hard problem.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question is from Deceased Nacho, and he asks, "Will there be any possibility of chopping down trees in adventure mode to craft walls, doors and chests, so we could build houses and store items, like a safe haven?" And a related question from trekkie5249: "Will adventurers be able to do some or all of the things that can be done in dwarf mode?"
Toady: Yeah, so that's the idea eventually, is that you'd be able to do that. It's been on the development pages for a long time, but it's also tricky to just throw in because we haven't quite decided what sorts of tools and processes we want to use in adventure mode. We probably want to make it a little more intricate than fort mode, but fort mode can't really support those extra tools. You can already see with kind of the cutlery that we have people just carrying around in adventure mode. That kind of thing puts a little inertia on the process to getting started on it, but it's something we want to do.
Threetoe: The next question is from Luis and he asks, "What do you think version 1.0 would be like, in terms of gameplay elements, and also content features and interface, and may I add, music?"
Toady: It's hard to say. I mean, I don't even know if 1.0 is a special point anymore. We had wanted to get at least some kind of tutorial thing in. We had been thinking of doing seasonal music pieces and so on, but it's one of those things where it's hard to say that we're just going to stop and do some sort of graphical thing, and the mods are so far ahead of us anyway that it's almost pointless at this point to even consider doing that. So we're thinking mainly in terms of just the features and content in the game. I'm not sure how you differentiate those from gameplay elements.
Threetoe: Just more, more, more.
Toady: More, more, he he he. We have ideas of what's in and what's out, at least.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question is from Chris and he asks, "I was wondering if you would be willing to talk a bit about your algorithms for generating cities and dungeons."
Toady: The cities and the dungeons are mainly built up respecting the 48 by 48 tile restriction that you have to respect when you're moving around, and it loads in those chunks. So even the ones that don't really look that rectangular or square like the adventurer towns with the plots that are divided up - especially the ones that are more agricultural - they still are all just based on moving the centre of a point inside of a square and then connecting it to similar neighbours. Sometimes there's some subdivision that goes on, especially in the dungeons, but it's not all that complicated, it's just built up over time. Just all kinds of things built on top of them.
Threetoe: I'd like to jump in and say how good I think they look and just brag about my brother for a little while, because it is really hard to make maps look good, and it takes a lot of math and a lot of creativity. And if you just look at the modern-day ones that are mainly just hand-crafted or really poorly made, procedurally. I would just like to congratulate my brother on some excellent maps that he's drawn.
Toady: He he he he he... Yeah, well, no, well we're always moving forward. Algorithm-wise I'm not really sure where to point, because it's such simple stuff. But yeah, just look at subdivisions and Voronoi diagrams, all that kind of thing. But mainly just keep working on them until they look right.
Threetoe: So the next question is from Matthew, and he asks, "Is there any chance of seeing a return of the dwarven economy any time soon?"
Toady: The things that we're working on with the start scenarios, as we may have mentioned before, are linked in to adding information about property and laws. That should get us positioned to really put that stuff back in. We had problems with not having the armies moving around made it impossible to do caravans properly. And we didn't really have any good information on who owned what and that kind of thing. So we've been working on it framework-wise all this time, and hopefully, once the start scenarios are complete, we'll be in a good position to make decisions about where we are with that. Whether it's going to be working straight in on trading stuff or continuing to come at it obliquely.
Threetoe: Like the thief arc, say?
Toady: Yeah, that kind of thing.
Threetoe: The next question is from Justin, and he asks "If multiple dwarves can claim the same position, could they gain supporters and could have their rivals assassinated or such?"
Toady: Hehehe. Yeah that was the idea with those claims, which haven't really been fully realized, was to approach this question of faction in the fortress. That's also going to be part of these starting scenarios, they're going to allow for faction to develop. And as we put in ideas of the extended family, and different social classes, that'll give more opportunity for faction to develop. If we pursue our mining company idea, that'll allow different kinds of factions to develop. More between kinda the 'producers' and the 'people who own things'. So it's something we really want to explore, but we haven't gotten right into. Hopefully, as we do that kind of thing, we can move from the individual tantrum, and the individual insanity stuff that we have now, that, you know, is gamey and just make people fight, or move out of the fortress, or overthrow the government. Stuff that actually happens.
Threetoe: Okay the next question is from Zack, and he asks: "What mechanics are you going to have to implement before idle dwarves to start to have some personality? Say getting into fights, drinking recreationally, making art, or generally ruining the organization you have worked hard to implement." And related to that is, acaerofox asks: "Items with no functions bother me. I want to see children playing with toys, nobles wearing crowns, and I wanted to see dwarves drinking out of mugs and busting out musical instruments at parties, and cooks preparing dinners with their favourite pot and spoon. Any chance we'll see any of this?"
Toady: A lot of those things came up when we were talking about taverns, right? So yeah. I think we're finally gonna start getting into moving away from these really boring parties and breaks where dwarves do even less, and giving them room to play around and to finally use some of the objects. I don't know about cooks using pots and spoons... That's a harder question. It's almost like those coins that blew out the economy the first time, by scattering all over the place.
Threetoe: Right, like, the workshops would have to have tools, then, too...
Toady: Yeah, it's a messy question that we haven't resolved...
Threetoe: The next question is from Baffle Jack and he asked "If the two main modes are heading in a similar direction, will they be combined so that you have the option to skip to where you're the leader of the fort or will a line be drawn between the modes or what?"
Toady: So it's one of those things, again, that we've been thinking about for years... lots of suggestions... The original game has this idea of being able to have your reclaim party be formed during adventure mode and that kind of thing. And that's all still on the table. The tricky parts are kind of, we don't have any real framework for adventure mode administration yet. You can take over sites in adventure mode now, at least the human ones you can form your own little entity and become the leader of a site. But it doesn't really mean anything. And when you're in fort mode, we didn't want to allow kind of cheap stuff that would allow you to take a dwarf and jump him off a cliff if they're being annoying, by controlling them directly. We want to kind of respect their autonomy.
And we've continued to think of ways that we could merge them together. We were talking the other day about having... when you abandon your fortress, being able to control some of the dwarves that leave by being one of them as an adventurer with the other ones following you. That kind of thing. But we haven't really decided which ways we're going to go with. We do hope to have these different merges and connections with the modes, though.
Threetoe: The next question comes from Nathan, and he asks: "Do you have any long-term goals of adding more service types to adventure mode? Like for instance, collecting a specific or unique item for someone that is possibly stolen or they heard of the item and they desire it. We just answered this question with the...
Toady: Yeah yeah. We talked about those. The non-player artifacts are gonna kinda be our next step with adventure mode service types or whatever the phrasing was there. I mean I was trying to get the game away from specific quests and so on, but at this early juncture, kill things, find items, that's all very fair. And hopefully it will organically move over to serving some particular cause, or helping yourself, or some people, when you do things like that. To the point where you make up your own quest and help someone out with your own initiative. But certainly when we do the non-player artifacts this kind of things is just going to be sticking right in our face.
Threetoe: Okay. So the next question comes from Sizik, and he asks: "You currently have three in-game, mythical, non-existent creatures: the centaur, the griffon, and the chimera. What are your plans for these? Did you pick these three to be fanciful? And not say, unicorns or minotaurs? What about procedurally-generated mythical creatures?"
Toady: Yeah, it's interesting because the minotaur is also a mixture of two creatures, like the centaur, griffon and chimera, right? The minotaur has the bull's head and the human body, and the unicorn is like a mixture of a horse and a narwhal. Those are real creatures.
Threetoe: It could be said that all the animal people are the same kind of thing.
Toady: That's true, that's true, the animal people. The real trick with, like, the centaur is that it, unlike the minotaur which is practically a human with horns or something, the centaur really does have pieces from two separate creatures, and the other ones have two or more as well. So it's one of those things we hope to do procedurally, where their bodies would have splicing points and you could kind of glue them together, but it slowed down a bit when we started worrying about like, well, what about the materials and how would the hair work. It's not an impossible problem, or even particularly difficult, but it's time consuming and just annoying enough that we haven't done it yet. I expect what will happen is that we'll just start getting procedural glued-together creatures and the specific ones may become real at some point, but I'm not sure.
Threetoe: [garbled] before, the owlbear or whatever.
Toady: He he he... You never know...
Threetoe: The next question comes from Dermal_Plating, and he asks: "Will it ever be possible to hire mercenaries in fortress or adventurer mode."
Toady: Yeah, we're adding that in with taverns, and we specifically mentioned that with fortress mode, that you'd be able to hire some of the people that come to your fortress and in adventure mode, we're practically there, we just need some money to change hands or something. All of that economy stuff is always a little slower than everything else, but it's coming, pretty soon.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question comes from Krasudreal Eranor Ksarth, and they ask: "When will you work on creatures that have an alternate reproductive scheme?"
Toady: He he he, I don't know exactly when we're going to work on that. We have kind of been plagued by the tadpole for a while, it's a difficult question about metamorphosis. Or caterpillars to butterflies, with the chrysalis in between, that kinda thing.
Threetoe: There's always the zombie that you cut off the arm and there's two of them now.
Toady: He he he, at least we've got that. We've got that and we've got our animated skins. But yeah, it's intriguing to add things like that. Part of the difficulty comes from abstractly respecting their reproductive schemes in world-generation and so on. It gets to be annoying if you had a civilised race, then it would have to figure out how to deal with it in some way, so we just kinda put that stuff off.
Threetoe: So the next question comes from Caz, and they ask: "Why can't dwarves build tables and other furniture constructions outside?"
Toady: That's a really old restriction. I don't know that there's really a reason for it other than that it seemed kind of silly at the time. Back when there was just a river, and the cliff, and it would rain outside, and you wanna kinda get inside. It wasn't like where you have this broad expansive outdoor area now in the Z-level release or whatever - the 3D version. But before, it really made no sense to try and build a fortress outside, except maybe a wall or something. I don't know if you could ever build walls in that one, I don't remember anymore, it's been so long. So it's a restriction that doesn't make sense now, it'll probably be lifted at some point.
Threetoe: The next question comes from Tim, and he asks: "Whenever you get back around to taverns, can we expect procedural/historical songs along the lines of the engravings?"
Toady: He he he he. Yes, yes, because when we add songs, we've promised musical instruments, and it's not just going to say something like, "Dwarf is playing instrument." You know we'd never stop there, he he he. So it's gonna, initially, it will at least name the songs, classify the songs as different kinds of artwork. Because, remember we don't just have engravings, we have the necromancers' books, and those go very specifically into the subject matter and so on, and the songs aren't going to be any different. They'll probably be stored in the same way. I doubt we'll get to lyrics and stuff now. We had kind of threatened to do the romantic poetry generator, but I think it would be a little premature to jump right into that. But there's going to be information there, and you'll probably even be able to go into the adventure mode tavern and sing a favourite song of your culture and so on.
Threetoe: Cool. The next question comes from Fred Lobster, and he asks: "Have you ever considered allowing alternative positive strange mood types?"
Toady: If this means things like where you aren't just building an artifact, but the architect has a weird mood or the miner has a weird mood and produces something more appropriate for their profession, those ideas have been floating around for a long time. We haven't really decided, we don't understand the strange mood itself well enough yet to have answers for those questions, we haven't really explored it. It's kind of tied in with magic and that kind of thing, so it's possible that things like that could happen when we get much further along.
SFX(Musical Interlude)
Threetoe: So the next question comes from superbob, and he asks "Will we ever get some chemical interactions going on?" and his other question is: "How about a lot of the player control for austerity measures in fortress mode, or even martial law where food and booze could be rationed?"
Toady: Hehe, so chemistry. Aside from the things we have like lye right now and making soap with fat, and so on, it's something we haven't done much with. I mean to the point where we have giant walls of anhydrite that just sort of sit there and get rained on and nothing happens. That's kinda the thing that makes it difficult to think about and also that I don't have a working, practical knowledge of that kind of stuff to know where to start and what they'd be useful for. And there's always the problem of fantasy acid: you want acid to be able to do horrible things to people, but that would be like magic acid, he he he. Yeah, so I'm not sure what we're going to do with that, I mean there's a lot of cool things to do, but yeah, hard to say how that's going to proceed.

For austerity measures, it's kind of interesting when we get to the laws and the new framework after the start scenarios go in. Will the player be able to enact laws and what kind of things will they be able to control? We've been poring over law books and so on recently to get a feel this as we're planning ahead. Even back then, you go into the minutia of things. There's a lot of possible control you could have. It's hard to say where's it's going to go, especially if you're running a prison colony or something.
Threetoe: Right, if you want to lockdown dwarves in their cells or something.
Toady: He he he...
Threetoe: Okay, the next question is from Antonio, and he asks "Do you plan on adding things such as genetics for selective breeding of animals? It would be nice to choose which animals reproduce so that we can raise cattle that give more milk or sheep that have better wool and such."
Toady: Yeah, we only got started on that genetics stuff. Right now the little genes sitting inside the animals control their color and their overall size and other physical characteristics that are controlled by the modifiers in the raws. But we don't have any modifiers in the raws for milk amounts and there's no wool quality at all. It's just another one of those features that needs to be extended as you go, and you'd have the breeding just come along for the ride with that. At least to a certain extent, because you have the individual animals you're breeding in the fortress, and then there's the matter of recognizing a breed. We already have a breed structure set up that separates out kinds of animals in different civilizations and even uses it on the civilized people to do things like hair color and stuff so that the people look different. But going from one to the other... It's not a super hard problem, it's just a little annoying. What is the specifications for the breed. What things are in, what things are out, that kind of stuff. Just all those extra variables when you actually want to make it matter economically. I mean size in important for things like war animals. Yeah, there's a lot more that can be done there, and who knows when.
Threetoe: The next question comes from Jimi12, and he asks "Have there ever been any planned features or goals that you had to scrap because it would be too impossible or time-consuming to implement? If so, what were they?" Well, the big fat example is the economy for this one.
Toady: He he he he, yeah, we had that briefly, it wasn't working, we tossed it. There's really a lot of things like that, that end up getting changed or don't get done. I always throw time travel out there, but there's plenty of them that have been very difficult. The different fluids, mixing fluids, that kind of thing. We really want to have flowing oil in the game and stuff like that, but there are tricks to getting that to work in the 3D setup. Even things like thin ice we haven't done yet, and there are complications to doing it. There's really a whole lot of stuff, but the whole game is growing slowly and eventually we'll get a few of them.
Threetoe: So the next question comes from Ignacio, and he asks "Are you planning to implement a better model of the different layers of soil and stone? It seems strange to find soil only on the first two levels or in underground caves and also underground rivers."
Toady: We put the soil on the top because we were kind of trying to do a sedimentary model with the bedrock underneath. I mean the whole thing is strange, it's got those giant caverns, and there's a lot of things that are missing in terms of how the soil is laid down or how the stones are placed and so on. We especially are missing the alluvial stuff, like all the river stones and how the rivers spill out sediment and that kind of thing. I don't know specifically what the issue was, but there's stuff to be done. But we're probably going to get to things like canyons and cliffs and stuff before we look at any of that again.
Threetoe: The next question comes from Pauli, and he asks, "Have you ever planned to make improvements to new features such as machinery, cave-ins, and collapsing aquifer-related functionality? It would be exciting to penetrate the aquifer layers and use some kind of cave-ins, pumps, or constructions. At the moment it can't reasonably be done. Also it would be awesome to create bigger constructions such as moving walls, lifters, and mine trains powered by steam."
Toady: I think people do break through the aquifer somehow, I don't know how they do it, but it's probably not a reasonable solution. I don't know much about that, like how people deal with large bodies of water, especially with period stuff. We do have the sort of moving fortress pieces and elevator type stuff that is going to go in and we're going to do boats with the same machinery. That'll come. It's on the dev page, when it comes in. We're not too interested in steam power. We don't really want to get into the whole steampunk aesthetic. Even though I guess, I read online recently that someone has classified us as clockwork punk or gear punk or clock punk or something like that. I don't know why it's punk, but there are gears in the game anyway.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question comes from Sotsepmet Koicei and they ask, "How's planar travel looking? How will adventurers and forts reach into the next plane? Will there be noble titles for each plane and requirements for each noble? Will they be available from the get-go via a workshop-like building? And simply contain too much danger for the unprepared fortress to breach? Will adventurers need to find special portals or magic items and train in planar skill?"
Toady: Hehehe. Well, it could be anything. Planar travel is a difficult problem to add. We're hoping when we add stuff like that in that it isn't just some fixed setup, but it's different every time. Since we haven't added anything, it's going to be procedural from the beginning. As for technically how hard it's going to be to do; it's basically like adding the Z-coordinate, that took some months. So we're not eager to jump in there and do it. We have a little bit of the framework set up, but not much. It's just one of those somewhat distant features that we're excited about doing, but we don't want to get sidetracked into right now.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question is, "How much magic will be available to dwarves, and what would you like to see it represented in? Will it be limited to alchemy or hedge-wizards, or will there be schools of magic available as different classes of soldiers are today?"
Toady: Well, we've talked a lot about magic in the previous episodes. With dwarves, our sort of baseline idea is all artifact based, and that beyond that it would kind of be slider based, you could go to the no-magic world, or the very minimal magic world, or you could start getting into this kind of factory-based magic that we'd prefer to stay away from for the default setting. I mean it's like D&D magic often seems kind of factory based.
Threetoe: Factory like your wizards are creating +5 swords every 2 hours or something like that.
Toady: Yeah. It's not magical, really, it's just fantasy I guess. We're kind of hoping to thread a needle with the default, but to throw in some options. Of course, you can't just talk about throwing in all kinds of magical options in fortress mode without respecting some kind of "how would the interface work?", or "how would you choose to organize these things?" especially if they're all procedurally generated. It's a difficult problem. We'll just see what happens, but we'll probably start with artifacts.
Threetoe: Okay, their next question is, "Will walls and floors remain indestructible at an ideal end of development?"
Toady: No. The walls and floors were never intended to be indestructible. When you have the magma slap up against a wooden wall, that's silly. It's just that there're some difficult problems to solve speed-wise to get those things to work. If the question is more along the lines of invaders and stuff, I think we've been over digging invaders a lot, that we're pretty much for it, but we understand that some people would want to turn it off.
Threetoe: Okay, and their last question is, "Will there ever be a way to specify what the subject of a statue or engraving ought to be?"
Toady: Yeah, definitely. I believe that's up on the dev pages, but it's in our notes for things and what you should be allowed to do. Now we'd like the dwarves to be as autonomous as possible; we'd like dwarves to come up with their own artwork and that kind of thing. But if you want something, especially if you're doing like a temple or something and you want a statue of the particular god at the northern wall of this room, situated in just such a way so that you can satisfy the requirements of what the temple should be like, that kind of thing. Or you want to make a picture of an elf dying because you don't like them and you want to stick it out front and make it out of wood. Yeah, that's all cool. And the dwarves should enjoy working on those projects in some cases, sometimes they should be a little upset to have to work on a commission like that. But there are lots of different ways to handle that.
Threetoe: The next question comes from Erich, and he asks, "When will goblins be able to take things from the battlefield, and how hard would it be to track what they take?"
Toady: It's kind of a similar question to just caravans in general, army equipment, all that kind of thing. We've got moving armies now. We don't have anything about their equipment. There are not too many complications to doing that, we just haven't done it yet, so getting things like having the attackers raid the battlefield and so on. We have some little stories about that. Remember "Battlefield Lunch" was a story with scavengers on the battlefield. We had some power goals about that kind of thing too. So it's on the radar. Well, we need battlefields first. I mean there's the fortress battlefield, which is one thing, but there are lots of other things that need to be done. Mainly the issue is item equipment, which will come in around the time of the caravans most likely.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question comes from Joao, and he asks, "Do you plan on having adventurers be able to cook their food? Do you plan on detailing the cooking so that things that will be made with flour are cakes or breads while others are made of honey or sugar would be called candies or something like this?"
Toady: Yeah, we used to - we just had a little bit of a framework for recipes originally, and then it was removed, as typically happens when we're pushing forward on stuff. We're going to come back and do that with the taverns; it's on the list, in the ordered development list. And this is kinda what we mean by recipes; you'll make things, with stuff, that have proper kinds of names. I don't know about requiring the adventurer to cook at this point; that's not right now in the plans, but I mean it's certainly reasonable that people should have to preserve food and otherwise not get all kinds of infections and nasty stuff crawling up inside of them and so on.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question comes from Red181 and he asks, "Will gods actually be implemented so that you can go and kill them with your adventurer? Or an attack by a god and his minions on your fort if your dwarves have lived in sinful ways? Maybe they could grant you a wish if you manage to find them." Okay, so this sounds like our friends, who would... We'd invite them over to play Dungeons and Dragons, and they'd want to kill Odin.
Toady: He he he...
Threetoe: Or Thor.
Toady: Odin had to go. I don't know why.
Threetoe: Yeah. We never did that; we always were stuck on level one. We were like - computer games, that was the way we ran our adventures.
Toady: Yeah, we were bad, we never tried high-level characters in any of the RPGs we played. Certainly, the gods right now in the game are in world generation. They're a little bit active, and they have their angels you can kinda find now in the world, so - and some of our power goals talk about physical manifestation - so, certainly at some point that's probably gonna happen, especially for pantheons that get weaker down on the human scale of things rather than being omnipresent and so on. So it's certainly fair, and especially attacks by gods and their minions. I mean, we have the minions now running around at least in their little homes, but it'll be an on-going process. We may see a little more activity from gods in the making of laws, and the making of artifacts perhaps, coming up.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question is from Andrew Montagne, and he asks, "Fort mode causes a form of time dilation to beset the world. I was wondering how ingrained into the code the time dilation in fort mode is, and whether it has any appreciable effect on the rest of the world, and whether it would be possible for the time dilation factor to be altered by the player."
Toady: Time dilation is pretty hard-coded. It's all over the place. It's faster that way, to have it compiled in as a constant, and I don't see changing that. It would be bad news to do that, speed-wise I think, so - and it's kind of the, the most... sort of irritating I guess, problem between the two modes, is that they work on these different time scales. Because it changes all kinds of things, like how much alcohol is the dwarf drinking when they drink one unit, and should it be the same amount that the adventurer drinks? So there are things that get abstracted. But then if you're switching between modes, is it supposed to generate more items to represent those items, and how is it supposed to put the genie back in the bottle when you go back to another mode or whatever? So there are a lot of problems with it, but it's also kind of important that fort mode go fast, so that you can see children be born and grow older and that kind of thing. That's just one of the difficult problems with the game.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question is from Robbert, and he asks, "Is there any particular function you would like to redesign, refactor, or even remove from dwarf fortress mode, and if so, why?"
Toady: We were thinking about this one a little bit and, uh, it seems like everything works that way, he he he.
Threetoe: Yeah, I think if you had to say something general, it would just be the interface, probably, right?
Toady: Yeah... I mean if we're going to the obvious things, the interface and all that is terrible. I mean, redoing the fluids, redoing the pathing, redoing everything... All of the industries, how the buildings work, I don't even know if I'd come back with workshops or just go with the zones approach that we've all been talking about for so long. There's really a lot of things that could be changed, and that's kind of just the regular process of game development, is just moving forward and gutting things, especially on a project like this.
Threetoe: That's right. Next question comes from Abanoub and he asks, "I've read in the forums that you've had plans to make children learn stuff so that they aren't totally useless before they grow up. How are you going to do this? Are you going to create schools with children that come and learn specific skills and where the amount that is learned is proportional to the teacher's skill and the student's concentration skill?"
Toady: Well I mean, that's how we run those training sessions now, for the military. But with children, I don't know much about any organised schools that were period, there are probably certain specific examples, but mostly it would be along the lines of the apprentice relationship is a big one. And then you could have, for instance, the child could actually be useful and move items to the workshop while the master works, for instance, and they could slowly pick up skills so that when they become an adult, they could already have a couple of skill levels that they have obtained during this process. I mean, that's not really a big deal when you consider the larger picture, since the dwarves gain skill pretty quickly. But when we do things like adding shoddy quality levels, like negative quality levels for people that don't have the skill, and we make it harder to gain the skill when you start from nothing because you don't know anything and you can't just invent thousands of years of work by yourself, it will be an interesting thing indeed, and the learning of children may actually become important if you play a fortress for any period of time.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question comes from FrankyPlaysGames, and they ask, "Will you ever consider having patients in a hospital be visited by their family and friends? Could this lead to last goodbyes and happy thoughts, or even sad thoughts for both the visitor and the patient? Perhaps they could do this while they were on break."
Toady: It's a good idea. We've considered similar things. I don't remember if we've considered that particular one. I mean we have things about funerals, anniversaries and wedding parties we already have in the game, kind of. I guess we are going to start making breaks a little more interesting anyway. Slowly we'll be putting things in as we're reminded about things like this, they'll start to creep into the game. Just having the dwarves be able to do some interesting things on break is going to be a good motivator to making that part of the game more interesting. It would be good if the dwarves' idle life is entertaining and interesting enough that you don't feel like you're just losing work when it happens.
Threetoe: The next question is from Jacob, and he asks, "Will nobles give a better explanation why they want something?"
Toady: Well, there isn't really much of a reason right now. They do have their preferences, where if they prefer a certain material, they'll ban its export and then demand that you make stuff out of it. And that's really all the reasons that we have right now. I think as the start scenarios and other things move forward, we'll probably slowly move away from arbitrary demands being one of the forces at work in your fortress and move it over toward things that actually make a little more sense. And then hopefully, by that time you won't need better explanations or we'll provide them when they're necessary.
Threetoe: The next question comes from Chevil, and he asks "How often does Threetoe play Dwarf Fortress and what mods does he use?"
Threetoe: Well, I don't use any mods, because I'm usually playtesting the legacy mode when it comes out, and I can't even resize my screen - that's how hardcore I am with Dwarf Fortress.
Toady: He he he, yeah, we've got him playing quite a bit.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question is from Jason Mel, and he asks "When you begin work on a major new Dwarf Fortress release, what process do you go through to determine the scope of its new features? How do you go about deciding what will be included in a major release and what its boundaries will be?"
Toady: He he he...
Threetoe: Well, this is exactly what we're doing now. We're coming out with a series of things that are coming in the next releases and we're going to try to make this kind of contract with the fans with what we're going to do next. It's all new, this is a new experience.
Toady: We had that two-year release, and that was a really painful process. I'd say that, when we talk about major releases, sometimes we don't know they're going to be major releases, other times we know they are. It's been different every time; there's not some process that we've been sticking with for the last 12 years that we just do it, just "okay, it's time to do the process again". We're trying, this time, as hard as ever to keep it reined in, keep clear divisions between the things that we're going to add and make sure that we can get several releases out when we do start working on new stuff in December. And hopefully we'll be successful this time. You can see the lists, it seems like it will work. He he he. We'll have to wait and see. It's easy to overlook stuff. There's so many interconnections, so many different things going on, that it wouldn't surprise me if we had to go on some tangent and then that can get out of control. We're just trying, trying to think about it and do a good job.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question comes from Nwob, and he asks, "Toady has mentioned in past episodes, in relation to putting more randomly generated things in the game, that he's worried about the 'gray sludge' problem. Essentially that's an excessive amount of randomized materials and animals that will lead to people simply not caring either way. I was wondering what plans you had, if any, to stave this off as the amount of randomized content continues to increase."
Toady: Well, our main plan, and it's not really a specific plan, is just handling the whole world, basically, through exposition so that you're introduced at first to the main concepts. And now this is assuming a completely random world or one that has really important random elements, say if the map had giant, random, strange features on it and there was a whole civilization of creatures that was completely different and randomly generated and, say, half the plants were generated or something. Then we'd first want to add to world generation some extra paragraphs (because right now world generation is not too exciting, the years go forward and you just look at a map that hardly changes most of the time) so you could interact a bit more with that, or you could have a paragraph or two explaining the general, really big picture stuff that everyone who lives in the world would know, like what is the major geographic point, what's a strange civilization, and what about it. And then as you encounter things, continue to feed you that information with some paragraphs and so on. It's, I think, manageable because the default setting would be sort of at the mid-level where a few paragraphs would handle the strange points from the beginning, and then if you encounter a few weird animals later you can look at their descriptions and feel pretty well at home with what's going on.
Now, if you crank the slider so that you get to scrap the raw files entirely and just go with 100% random content, then, I think as the player, you would know what you're getting into when you do that and it might nudge you a little bit and tell you, "This is what you're getting into," so that you'd be prepared to read some more material and also just roll with the punches. If your dwarves suddenly die because they step into some kind of carnivorous grass or something and you're just like, "Well, ok that's part of life and death in this world.". So, I think as long as I don't just dump it right now and just go make all my generators and just throw it all over the game, I think we'll be fine.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question comes from Pooky, and they ask, "Are we going to see AI adventurers passing through the fortress, going on some weird quest, and requesting some of your guards and gear to help them, and a promise of a reward if they return and succeed, and the deaths of the followers if he doesn't?"
Toady: Well, that's kind of a specific example I guess. We're starting with the dwarf inns with a kind of, say, a mercenary that comes through that you can hire. The trick with expanding AI adventure activity is the 'repair of the world' issue. If you have a bunch of monster hunters, and night creature slayers running around slaying night creatures and killing monsters, they will quickly depopulate the world if there are too many of them, or if their job is a little too easy or if the night creatures don't replenish themselves, so it's something to approach with some caution.
Once that's in, though, then those people will visit your fortress, because that's what they do. I don't know exactly when we'll get to this sort of specific diplomatic interaction with them that would cause them to actually involve you in a specific quest. We're starting with the mercenary stuff, and that will have a bit of that in it because that's their job. It's something to be cautious about though and not actually jump into too quickly until we, for instance, get the vampires to convert more people or... the werewolves do a pretty good job converting people actually. But the night trolls don't do any of their conversions, they only do them in world generation, they don't do them after. That would be a requirement before we got those kinds of things set up. And we'll have to see what happens with the artifacts as well.
Threetoe: The next question is from Eggman360, and he asks, "Do you think that it would be useful for object interactions to include such actions as dipping items and weapons into other containers, liquids or contaminants?"
Toady: Yeah, definitely. We actually had, the veterans will remember this, the old bat-people that rode around on their giant bats and went up and down the chasms had blow-guns that were dipped in giant cave-spider venom. And it worked, it paralyzed your dwarves when they got shot. That code is still in the game: a coated item will pass along whatever syndromes to the person that is stabbed, so dipping would work immediately once you had access to a poison like that. So it's just something that's missing from the adventure mode interface. I'm not sure about dwarves---we never really thought of them as poisoners, but we'll see if that changes when we get our prison colony up.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question is from Adventurer, and he asks, "I'm wondering, now that the world is slowly becoming alive, what are some ways that you imagine Fortress Mode will interact with the world in the future? Things like maybe sending help during a siege to nearby hamlets, or exchanging hostages."
Toady: Yeah, so that's one of the major development goals and actually the reason we're adding hill-dwarves in with the start scenarios is to allow you to have the numbers to take part in the broad range of things that can go on in the world and we have a plan, more-or-less laid out for sending out patrols and gathering a number of hill-dwarves as well and sending them out and maybe being able to stomp out a kobold cave, for example, or to respond. There's actually a power-goal about getting a request for help from, say, the humans and sending out a squad that actually manages to help resolve the conflict in their favor and having it actually be a part of the world that you're involved in and just getting that done would have satisfied that power goal. So it's definitely something we're pointing toward, something that's been on the menu for a long time. We're continuing to make strides in that direction, and this directed development plan's going to be part of that.
Threetoe: The next question comes from Christoph, and he asks "If you had to pick just one amazing thing that your fans had done in-game, what would it be? Turing computer, for example, or an overly complex trap of some sort is another. I'm not sure. What is your own personal choice?"
Toady: Well, we recently looked back at that Life computer, right, that was -
Threetoe: Yeah, I think that's probably the best one, but one of my favourite things that the fans have done is when they climbed to the top of the highest mountain in their world, before we had really conceived of that as a possibility, and when they did that they actually escaped the atmosphere and froze before they could make it to the end, or just in time. I always thought that was pretty cool.
Toady: Yeah, in honour of those people we actually added the announcement for summiting a mountain, that wasn't there before. Yeah, there are so many different things.
Threetoe: The water computers are crazy.
Toady: Yeah, the water computers and we were troubled by the mermaid bones, of course. And troubled by the well filled with vampire blood that allowed people to kind of make a vampire army and stuff.
Threetoe: Oh, right, yeah. The way they weaponize every little thing.
Toady: And of course the stories have been amazing, the YouTube movies and stuff. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, you guys are awesome.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question comes from Hermes, and he asks "In one of the Conan stories he goads a monster into attacking by yelling at it from the top of a rock. In the new combat conversation systems, will such kinds of interactions be possible, even if the beasts themselves can't participate in the conversation?
Toady: He he he. So yeah, you can talk to your god, that doesn't talk back, but you can't talk to beasts. I don't think it lets you, and you should be able to. And also it should kind of understand that sound is being produced and that it should give away your location. It doesn't do that yet, not a hard problem, just kind of the growing pains of the system. I expect you'll be able to do that in time. I mean, you can already see the sound indicators for conversations that are going on inside of buildings and it's just something that they'd need to be taught about, basically.
Threetoe: The next question comes from Martin, and he asks "Fantasy worlds are known for their abnormal, natural or human-made landscape features, which constitute a significant anchor-point in the legends, conflicts, or just to add a bit of style to the storytelling. Dwarf Fortress world-gen tends to generate perfectly realistic and rather un-fantastical worlds. Do you consider, in the foreseeable future, some sort of modification to world-gen in order to provide a less earth-like and more fantasy-like terrain and structures?"
Toady: Yeah, definitely. And not just the planar stuff, I mean that's one side of it, but that's really extreme. Before then we'll probably see one of the other dev items that was posted, I think, and it's certainly on our own dev pages as a kind of world-spanning feature. We've had these kind of evil/good regions but that's really just a very small chunk of it. I mean, we've talked in the past about sphere-designated regions and we've kind of played around with that a little bit with the vault angels. But, more than that, having features that are region sized, that can kinda twist throughout the world in different shapes like spider webs shapes and stuff, and be analogous to rivers but not be rivers, or be analogous to a forest and not be a forest, and just kinda be blobs and webs and all kinds of things. And having it understand, you know, what it means, what it does, where it came from, if anywhere. That's all part of the plan and I guess the only reason that kind of thing hasn't been done yet is that it is sort of a side note to basic frameworks, rather than leading to other things. It's just cool by itself. But we do do that kind of thing occasionally.
Threetoe: The next question comes from Simon, and he asks "How much have you been influenced by the weirdness of old-school D&D and fantasy literature in your game? Things like fungi forests, randomized creatures, forgotten beasts and the low survival rate of adventurers are all characteristic of old-school RPGs, much so less in the modern era."
Toady: Yeah, we were influenced by a lot of that stuff. The, uh, yeah, I don't remember where the first fungus forest was or was that just Journey to the Center of the Earth or something? I mean, that's where that kind of thing comes from. It doesn't seem like a normal thing to think about, but there it is. Randomized creatures from Starflight, pretty much, and we, yeah, we played those unforgiving games, he he he, in the past and we read a lot of those books. I think the original email that had this question referenced the appendix N of the D&D books, and that was just kind of a list of literature that influenced Dungeons and Dragons and we had certainly read many of those things. So I think it's fair to say, especially because our game has basically been, even though we didn't achieve too much,it's been the same idea from around 1993 or 1994, the same basic idea and the same kind of level of characters dying, that kind of stuff. Yeah, we just haven't been influenced so much by the modern RPGs, although we probably have a lot of similar influences.
Threetoe: The next question comes from Onebadterran, and he asks "Will we be seeing an option in world-gen to select a continuous landmass or separate continents?"
Toady: So I think you can kind of do that now if you use the grids and subdivide the grid and put a lot of variance for different - if you want separate little islands, but there's not a lot of control right now. And I think that's a fair thing to do, but it's kind of a hard question, like which sort of options should be brought up to the main menu and which kind of things should be left down in the detailed menu. Certainly those kinds of suggestions, just like as happened with the polls recently. Those things eventually creep in when people suggest them.
Threetoe: The next question you had was, "Will we ever find dwelling creatures deep within the mountains that live in their own little room?"
Toady: Hee hee hee.
Threetoe: So, I would say that the night creatures already have their little rooms in the mountains.
Toady: That's true, that's true, and we just kind of lack a, uh, something you can stumble across when you're mining that's analogous, he he he, like "What lives down deep in the rocks there?" We don't know the secret hidden lives of gremlins and gorlaks, he he he.
Threetoe: "Will we ever see sandalwood and be able to use its fragrant oils that can be extracted from it, or driftwood?"
Toady: Yeah, I guess we have driftwood on the beaches, but you can't really harvest it or do anything with it. And the oils - I mean, we expanded this game, the vegetation, greatly recently. That kind of thing... Probably not going to push on that again for a bit, but certainly that's where it's headed, just using all the different economical properties of trees and plants.
Threetoe: Okay, the next question comes from Terrapin, and he asks "How will experts from the fort affect their civilization and others? If we have a fortress churning out masterwork steel armor and weapons and sending them to the mountainhomes for free, will we ever see our civs starting to cut down other civs?"
Toady: We kind of addressed this earlier. Once we add equipment that the armies understand without having to load up individual historical figures' inventories, but just say, "This army has this stuff, this caravan has this stuff.", then the caravans that leave your fortress with your items will actually track those items. I mean, they already do, actually, but they don't use them for anything. But the armies themselves, the caravan armies moving on the map, will track those and then dump them in the civ's stockpile. The sites also have stockpiles of goods, but they only come up when you go to the shops. There's this kind of patchwork that's slowly building the economy with little disparate points that are all just going to kind of suddenly form into a picture. It's weird how it's been growing up, but we have some information, and just a little bit more and suddenly all of your trade goods would have some impact. Especially when we start doing things like army equipment, then it will really matter and you will see big changes with how your civilisation can respond to threats and so on. It should be interesting when we get to that.
Threetoe: The next question comes from Florp Incarnate, and he asks "It seems that in Dwarf Fortress 2014, twisting wound-embedded weapons no longer exists. This is suboptimal for a true dwarven torture chamber simulator. Are there any plans to bring this feature back?"
Toady: Yes. The thing that happened there, kind of like with the bows reloading and stuff, when we did the combat movement speed split, we switched everything over to a new system of unit moves, which are - it gives a little action and it has a timer and so on and units can be doing several moves at once and all that kind of thing. Twists were not moved over to the system just as a time expedient. I just commented them out and put a note somewhere and the note is sitting in the short-term development file, and it's just one of those things that's sitting there flopping around waiting to be done. We're all for twists. Twists are well within the parameters of what we want the game to be like, and we'll just get to it when we get to it.
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Threetoe: So that brings us to the end of another Dwarf Fortress Talk. We'd really like to thank everybody now, take some time and thank everybody who's helping us with this project. The people who contribute financially, that's very important, we wouldn't be able to do any of this without you. We'd be teaching math and working at the shipyard.
Toady: Yeah, and thanks to everybody that asked questions this time, and we're going to need your help again, because we're out of questions. We did sit on these questions for quite a long time, but they've been answered now, and we'd like some more. Especially now that we have a new release to talk about, which was kind of one of the things holding up all of these DF talks, is just having such a long release process.
Threetoe: Oh, thank you for listening by the way, listening to all of our babbling.
Toady: Yes, it takes some patience and fortitude, but they can do it. Especially since we cut out - if you hear feedback, it was a million times worse, this is our second try at this podcast. He he he, we had to relearn how to do it, he he he.
Threetoe: Let's see, who else... The wiki, everybody who works on mods to make the game more fun to play for those who can't suffer through the ASCII.
Toady: That's right, people who answer Future of the Fortress questions, all of our intrepid bug-tracker managers, who always have their work cut out for them, he he he.
Threetoe: That's right. So congratulations to the generous, with your time and everything else that you've done for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Toady: And look forward to the next Dwarf Fortress Talk... In the future some time...
Threetoe: Ha ha ha.
Toady: He he he. Maybe fewer than 18 months, but in the future... The not-too-distant future.
Threetoe: Foreseeable future.
Toady: That's right, it'll be foreseeable...
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