Dwarf Fortress Talk #7, with Rainseeker, Capntastic and Toady One, transcribed by mallocks

Rainseeker:Well hey everybody. Welcome to a new Dwarf Fortress Talk. Number seven!
Toady:Yay. Seven.
Rainseeker:Say hello to our co-host, Capntastic.
Capntastic:It's just Capntastic. People put the 't' there ... It's not there.
Toady:That's right, and say hello right into your microphones everybody.
Rainseeker:I apologise ...
Capntastic:It's like I could never be sure if you were saying it or whatever, but ... Hello, I'm Capntastic.
Rainseeker:I was saying it in a formal way.
Toady:I've noticed people on the forum are spelling it out, Captaintastic.
Rainseeker:Say hello to Tarn, our programmer and creator and gaming god.
Toady:What? ... Hey what's up. Time for fun.
Capntastic:I don't think he qualifies for that until he's beaten Halo on legendary.
Toady:That's right. I have to learn how to play multiplayer first.
Rainseeker:So we are talking about artifacts.
Capntastic:They're pretty cool.
Toady:As cool as they are useless most of the time.
Rainseeker:Yeah! I think that for me artifacts are one of the shining moments in the game; you feel like it's all been building up to this, you get teary eyed when you see that stone trumpet with spikes on it.
Toady:It's certainly a peak because it doesn't go anywhere from there, except down ... They're just fantastic and worthless things. Occasionally you get lucky, but for the most part ... they don't even know how to play instruments yet.
Capntastic:It's post-modern art. It's useless, it looks weird, but it's worth a lot of money.
Toady:That's right, the dwarves are known for that kind of thing.
Rainseeker:I'm going to start our talk today with basics about artifacts for those who haven't really gotten an artifact. I assume everybody has at some point, but ...
Toady:Some people get wiped out each time I guess, start with seven dwarves and the wolves come and they then play again a few times, and then they quit but they still listen to the talks.
Rainseeker:Well, here's artifacts for those who don't know. What are artifacts in Dwarf Fortress, and what's their intended purpose in the game, and how are they supposed to affect the game?
Toady:Artifacts are these objects that the dwarves make, much like all of the other objects you can make like weapons and trinkets and furniture ... and everything else. It's a particular event that happens when a dwarf is inspired or otherwise ready to go off and go to a workshop and make these things; they collect the various resources and if everything works out - sometimes it doesn't - the dwarf will produce an object that is very valuable and has a higher quality than any other object you can make in the game. These have been in the game forever, way before it was released, even when the game was imagined to be a smaller game the artifacts were there just to add a peak for the story; these would be the things that your fortress would be most remembered for when the adventurer goes in there to check it out. As the game grew and took the mantle of the big bay12games fantasy game they kept the general idea that these are the biggest things you'd be doing, but we moved on. Initially they had a story or narrative function because the dwarves would create them and then one of three things would happen; they'd either hide them, and then they'd just disappear and an adventurer would be able to go and find them later; or they'd drop them on the ground for the fortress to use; or they become possessive of them, in which case if they ever became separated from the artifact they'd seek them out - like with babies, it would be 'Cancel job: seeking artifact' - they'd have to keep it on their person at all times. Even if they were hauling around a bed or something ... it was really ridiculous. That's out now, but the intention remains that these are the objects that are going to be driving a lot of the stories and interactions with other civilizations and so on, aside from any functional purpose they may have, it's just a very common thing in myths and more modern fantasy stories to have objects be important; and to have your fortress actually create them and have them persist will really bring that to the fore I think.
Rainseeker:I think one of my favourite artifacts ever was a turtle-bone door.
Toady:I guess it's one of those hanging curtains that you go through, and it jingles a little bit ...
Rainseeker:That would have been awesome. I did put it in my front entrance so everyone would look at it and get happy thoughts.
Toady:Turtle bones too, not even the shells. The few that you can find, little skulls and hands and things ... I guess the skulls would be separate too, so it's just little fingers.
Rainseeker:I think it used shells as well.
Toady:Oh they used shells ... That's right, the artifact probably had all kinds of components.
Rainseeker:Exactly, which is really fun. So what are the ways an artifact is made?
Toady:Right now, if we're talking about presently in the game, what happens is that a dwarf will get in a mood - there are a few different kinds but it's all basically the same - and they'll run off and gather objects and put them together; the few variants are that a dwarf might become possessed in which case they're doing things without knowing it and they don't gain any skill from the enterprise, and the other rare ones are the macabre mood when they'll gather little bits of remains and bones and things to make something disgusting, or the fell mood where they'll just start cackling and run around and kill a dwarf and drag him off to the butcher's shop and make something out of him. That's also a little more rare.
Interlocutor:You have to work for that one.
Toady:Yeah, you have to work at making your fortress miserable anyway ... So at the end you get a dwarf in a workshop making an object. Right now are artifacts are currently done in the game all creation takes place with a dwarf and a workshop. The newer version coming up has a kind of semi-artifact process whereby objects are named because a dwarf becomes attached to them and because the object has done important things, but that's a semi-artifact status; their quality doesn't increase or anything like that.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Rainseeker:Now this is arguably one of the most exciting and dreaded events in the game, raising questions like; 'What if I don't have all the materials?' or 'What if he goes insane?' Are there limits on what demands a dwarf will have on materials, will they to build an artifact if they don't have a correct workshop or if there's no workshops will they try to build something? Does it consider the materials that are present on the site?
Toady:It used to think a little harder about the materials on the site, but that was back when the dwarves asked for very specific stones, and that code never quite worked out the way we wanted it to, so now they only ask for very general things like stone and so on. So there's a higher chance that the artifact will be made, although I think things like glass are still problems ... and shells, glass and shells are problems that people still have that will cause the offending artifact dwarf to probably be crushed under a bridge or something. They still need a specific workshop according to the skill that they've selected; it selects a skill in the beginning and says 'this is the skill that I'm going to use to make the object' and that will determine what workshop they want to use. Of course they aren't very vocal about that, so you just have to have the right workshop around, which you'll usually have because they got that skill from somewhere, so you'll usually have it unless it's a dwarf that's immigrated in and has a skill you haven't used and so on. The fell mood is a little more versatile, they'll start with a butcher's workshop but if there aren't any they'll just pick whatever and really all they're doing is just dragging a dwarf there anyway. But they can use a jeweller's workshop if a butcher's workshop is not available ... I think it still spits out the same kind of objects though, it was just that I wanted fell moods to be successful compared to the other moods so that you'd be able to see them; they're rare enough already so you want to get some results out of them, especially because the guy murders somebody ... do they claim the workshop first? I don't recall actually, but if they do murder a dwarf first you'd certainly want the workshop not to be a problem after the deed has been done. But regular dwarves are more picky, you need to have the right workshop available and you need to have at least the general goods that they want available, including things that are overall rare like glass and shells. Whether that's going to change in the future ... At least what you should be able to do is trade for things that you can't trade for right now, like sand and that kind of thing. It might even happen in this version but it's one of those things where I've got hundreds of requests already and I don't remember if that's one of them and if it is how high on the ranking it is.
Rainseeker:About how long does it take to get your first artifact?
Toady:It isn't a set time so much as a population. You need to have twenty dwarves, so if you're doing one of your smaller fortresses ... I don't remember if this is an init option or not right now, I think it's hardcoded twenty dwarves ... but if you're doing one of those hermit fortresses your hermit won't make an artifact. But once you get up to twenty dwarves, now this is not any twenty dwarves, they have to be twenty healthy dwarves that are capable of making an artifact - including those that have already made them, those don't count against the total - once you get up to twenty it just starts flipping coins at that point, and eventually it'll trigger the chance, it's completely when it happens.
Rainseeker:Does it roll every season?
Toady:It rolls way more often than that, but it's rolling a one out of five hundred chance, but it's once every ten clicks, it's like 'Did you do it? Did you do it? Did you do it?' and then one of them gets nailed and they're off after that.
Rainseeker:Now after the first one how often does that happen?
Toady:After the first one it gets a little more complicated. The contributing factors after that ... It's no longer population, you have to have a dwarf available who hasn't made an artifact already ... and it looks at the items made, just how many items have you made in all of your workshops and any other way that it might happen - I think maybe even mined out stone counts - and then it takes that number and divides it by two hundred, and then it looks at your floor space, and evaluates how many unhidden squares there are, and divides that by some number - I think it's every two thousand unhidden squares, including the wilderness, so you get a starting buffer - and then it caps the items made by that so it's really the minimum of the items made and your floor space, except you need items made; floor space itself doesn't do it for you, but the items made gets compared to the floor space and it takes the smallest one, or it caps it, or whatever. In any case, it then subtracts the number of artifacts you've already made. So say you had, for instance, six hundred items made, divided by two hundred you get three, so that's three artifact credit; you've made enough items so that you can make three items. And let's say that you only had four thousand floor space, so divided by two thousand, that's two, so you actually only have two artifact credits. And say you've already made an artifact, now you have one artifact credit, so it goes ahead and lets you make an artifact. Then the next time it goes through if you haven't changed anything then you'd have no artifact credits left. Now this assumes that the artifact gets created successfully, so it's not like you're using up your chances or anything.
Rainseeker:So if it fails, it tries again later.
Toady:Yeah, people might have noticed, you just keep getting mood dwarves over and over, but then it stops once you have a success, assuming that your fortress is not producing a lot of wealth or is very small. So if you do notice that you've stalled out and don't understand the reason for it it might be that you need to dig a little bit, to get a little more space. It's just one of those things that doesn't make much sense really but neither does the whole artifact possession thing to begin with.
Rainseeker:What happens if you suddenly have an invasion that kills everyone but one dwarf, does he still get to make an artifact if you have an artifact credit?
Toady:You have to get back up to twenty dwarves. So you always need to have twenty dwarves to even get into this process, and if fifteen of them have made artifacts already that's fine, but they also need to be healthy. It's one of these quirky things where it's counting up the dwarves that are good for artefacts so one of the things that's required when it checks is that they have a grasp available because they're going to need to be hauling things to the workshop, so if you have twenty armless dwarves they don't actually have any at all for this process, so you have to keep those arms intact.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Rainseeker:How about, let's say you get an artifact that you want to get rid of or something, is there a way to sell it or to lose it?
Toady:You can't trade them away right now, we're thinking about processes for that that we might talk about later, but the artifacts just can't be traded; that's one of their fundamental properties. But they can be lost if you drop them down a bottomless pit or a bridge can do it if you smash them. Anything that would normally destroy an object ... except I don't remember how they react with flows and so on like magma, because it might just be invincible ... but anything that would normally obliterate an object makes an artifact ... they're never truly destroyed, but they disappear, and they get the hidden flag on them, as if - like when I was talking about before - the dwarves would hide the artifacts and the adventurers could find them. That's what happens here, so if you go back and visit the fort with an adventurer afterward and possibly during reclaim as well it'll put the artifacts back, just somewhere in the fortress. If an artifact is stolen by a thief I think it goes into the list of objects that that civilization has which is probably in limbo right now, except I know that the kobolds will come back with things that they have stolen; like if they steal a steel dagger which they can't normally make their next thief might come back using that, so you might see your artifact again in that matter, but it would only be if it's something that a kobold could actually use.
Rainseeker:That would be hilarious if he came back with the artifact dagger.
Toady:Yeah I don't even know if dwarves can make artifact daggers, do they? Do they make bows and pikes and things that they can't use? Probably irritates people a lot so I might have cut it out, but that hasn't stopped me in the past.
Rainseeker:Is there any way to increase the chances to get the artifact you want?
Toady:If you've got a material you want to use I think people use all kinds of forbid tricks, forbidding objects and then the guys bring them to the workshop and then ignore them or something, because I know there are artifacts that people have made that have like two thousand parts because they do all these things with forbidding objects and so on, but when it comes down to 'do you want a weapon?' then I think the only thing you can do there is just have a lot of weapon smiths around, because you have all of your dwarves and it's going to pick one of them at random and then it's going to look at their highest skills, so if you've got a peasants around that you use for hauling but your brought them up to novice weapon smiths first, just to game the system a little bit, then that would indeed work and then you'd end up with a guy making a weapon and quite possibly end up with a legendary weapon crafter and some kind of artifact sword. So it is possible to do that, it's a little trashy, it is weird having a fortress filled with novice weapon makers so maybe it's not completely out of line. If you wanted to do it you could do it.
Rainseeker:What's the most interesting artifact you've ever seen?
Toady:Probably ... I don't remember the name of it ... but the one where people messed around with the forbid tags and got ...
Capntastic:Planepacked? That's the largest one I know of.
Toady:Yeah, that has to be the most interesting one. People have had really interesting things with really funny names, but nothing comes to me there, so I'd have to say that that crazy artifact is the one.
Rainseeker:You get children that can build artifacts, do leaders and warriors build them if they're on duty?
Toady:For the next version, the children still make them and recruits make them, but soldiers don't make them. With the leaders the situation may have changed because I don't recall in the currently released version if things like mayors and so on are on the exclusion list ... I don't see why they would be but they could be for all I know. But since those as unit types are all eliminated - they're just entity positions in the next version - all of those guys are fair game as far as making artifacts now, because if you're just a mayor in the next version then you're actually a peasant in terms of your unit type because you don't have any job skills; you're just the mayor by appointment or by election, it's an extra tag that lives on top of you that the artifacts don't see at all. But yeah, plenty of little children making swords and stuff and all of the irritations that come out of that; there was some kind of bug that I don't recall off the top of my head that really bothered people because when the child becomes an adult then they're a legendary weapon crafter but ... there was some problem with that, it might just be that they were called a peasant or something, but it might be that you can't use it at all, I really don't remember. But that's still a problem if it is a problem.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Capntastic:So right now fell moods are pretty rare; is that mechanic going to change in the future, and will that be determined partly on the region where they are located or the gods they worship?
Toady:Right now fell moods seem kind of rare - and they are in effect - because when you've got dwarves running around, if you just spruce up their bedrooms a little bit or give them a masterpiece or legendary dining room to dine in they're all running around just giggling and rolling with their little fat dwarf tummies, even if their families die. The problem with the fell mood is that it's driven completely by the happiness the dwarf, so if a mood hits a dwarf and their happiness is above fifty percent - which just means 'I am fine' - then they can't get fell moods or macabre moods. If their happiness is below fifty percent then there is a fifty percent chance for them to get a macabre or a fell mood. So they should actually be pretty common if everyone weren't just zipping around on anti-depressants all the time, like the anti-depressant dining rooms ... The rarity there is partly a problem with balancing out the happiness numbers again to make it a more sane place but aside from that right now the fell mood is a kind of a strange non-magical event where a dwarf just decides to go a little crazy and kill somebody and then no-one cares, it's just part of life and death in the fortress. But certainly if you were in a region with all sorts of undead hippos and things then having artifacts - I talked a bit about having an artifact that wasn't really inspired by the gods or anything but was just such a perfect object that the surrounding nature couldn't help but infuse into that, it was just magic by virtue of being a perfect object - and if you're in a bad area that kind of thing could very well not turn out well for you, even if it isn't a fell mood. But then there's also the idea of expanding it beyond just happiness and unhappiness, the dwarf might not be permanently unhappy but the dwarf was wronged by somebody, and there are grudges in the game and so on right now that don't have a lot of meat on the bone. But we had various ideas ... even if your cat killed their mouse when they got away or whatever; this person might not be capable of making a normal artifact but would instead make an artifact that was evil in some way.
Rainseeker:He has invented the leash!
Toady:It's just a leash, yeah ... That's more of a tech tree thing, but yeah, people who are wronged might drive the technology in the fortress because dwarves are little curmudgeons. But there's also the question - I think you might have mentioned it too - about where are the villains and criminals? Where are the people that have their issues and all that kind of stuff? All of that can be fed into artifacts; what you get can really be filtered through the history of the dwarf that's creating it and not just by virtue of the fact that they've got a love for cheese which leads to pictures of cheese on their artifacts, but instead the actual history of the dwarf; were they present during a goblin invasion, or was their child killed during a goblin invasion, would that effect the kind of artifacts they make? It really should. Or if you've got these petty criminals in the fortress that snatch other people's things and you have to keep your eye out for them why they go about their regular jobs then those kind of dwarves - whether they're happy or not - might have a propensity to make problematic artifacts or something like that.
Capntastic:So will artifacts in the future have neutral effects that are mostly artistic or cultural in their value; like 'This is a painting that marks a very important time in art' and that sort of stuff, where it's not valued because it does anything but just because it looks cool.
Toady:Part of it is almost like words in a sense, because what is an artifact in Dwarf Fortress when you already have the masterpieces they make? In a sense the masterpieces should become a little rarer and maybe get names themselves. Some of them have names - a lot of the engravings have names - but if you make a masterpiece painting or sword or something like that, then even if it's not through the artifact process and even if it's not through the attachment kill-the-dragon process then those things maybe should oftentimes be elevated to the semi-artifact status where they can be known. Because there are all kinds of stories about people stealing a named diamond or something; it's not magical, except for the fact that it's cursed, and anyone who has the diamond will die! But aside from that - the obvious curse that every stolen object has - then a lot of mundane objects should be able to attain that kind of elevation, and when we flesh out exactly what it is that the artifact maker is doing - whether there's a god involved or whether there's this perfection of nature idea involved, or that kind of thing - then those might not be neutral objects, but the semi-artifact status really needs to be expanded.
Capntastic:Will there be multipart sets like the helmet of Deulath with the gloves of Deulath with the sword of Deulath, brought together.
Toady:It's kind of a thing where after you've played Diablo II you don't want to do it, but there should be stuff like that. Especially when you come down to a guy who becomes attached to multiple objects or something, the fact that those are kept completely separate from each other is odd. If the guy has a sword and a helmet that he's given names to, and he stabbed the dragon and then drove the helmet through the dragon ...
Toady:Yeah yeah! Then those things should be linked in history and perhaps even in some magical way ... but certainly historically there should be linkages like that. Now when you're talking about actually creating an artifact I think there was some development item about artifact sets; it's not just for things like the sword and the shield that go together, but more importantly the two gloves that go together that are separate objects, and then also things like several arrows, instead of just one. So there's certainly going to be some expansions there.
Rainseeker:I was wondering about possessions, I think there's an interesting idea ... I guess fey moods too are indicating that they're possessed by a fairy ... but will there ever be real spirits walking around looking to possess somebody?
Toady:This was one of the intents of the new soul mechanic in the new version; you can't really see it happening but all of the mental stuff of a dwarf and other creatures has been separated into a separate object that's just called a soul right now - that's not meant to evoke anything, it's just taken as a simple concept - then that is stuck into the dwarf but right now a creature could have multiple souls, because it's just a vector, it can have many things in side of it, and a creature could have no soul and still move around, it just wouldn't have any mental attributes. So one of the natural progressions from there is to make a unit without a body that just has a soul to it, and then you can have those things wander around and then join with other things and actually possess them and then set the creature's own soul into the subordinate position; there's always a soul that's marked as the active one right now, even though in the version to be released there's always one soul and it's always the active one. We're really not using this yet, but the framework is there and this was specifically ... one of the intents was to facilitate possessions, and all kinds of other weird things right where identities get mixed and matched, and souls can get swapped between bodies and all kinds of interesting stuff.
Interlocutor:So they will learn a lesson! About love and life and family!
Toady:That's right, we aim to teach, that's what we write games for, pretty much. The only thing I ever think about, as having this teaching background I can never help but try to teach with my games all the time.
Capntastic:I think you've done something wrong Toady, Tarn. I just found this thread and someone's writing a paper for their human sexuality class on dwarves.
Rainseeker:You've taught a little too much, apparently.
Capntastic:Yeah, you've gone too far you madman.
Toady:'The subject of dwarven breeding in the game Slaves to Armok: God of Blood II is an interesting one encompassing a number of areas including speculative anatomy, observed behaviour, relationship patterns, child rearing and even the social hierarchy and economy.' It's not prurient or whatever, it's intense. Although human sexuality, I figure humans are humans, right? Dwarves are dwarves ... That's going to be intense.
Unspecified:(musical interlude)
Rainseeker:Welcome back, we're going to talk more about Dwarf Fortress and address your questions, beautiful as they are. Capntastic, will you do the honours of asking the first one?
Capntastic:Alright, from the top, going in reverse chronological order, this one was received a very light six hours ago. Joe asks; 'When sieges and armies start getting worked on will be getting raided by enemy forces with the primary intent of horking our shiny artifacts. I've wondered about this myself, I've put forth that there be a vault-type room where you hide all your best shinies ...'
Toady:Is it hork proof? I don't know what that means but ... That was kind of what I was getting at with the different drivers for actions surrounding your fortress. It's certainly plausible that if you've got some demon leading the goblins and he gets word that you've got some kind of bright shiny that he would be interested in then you could very well get a raid or army attack on your hands precisely for that reason. It all goes back to the artificial intelligence for the leaders of these armies being able to juggle so many things, but it is the primary intent of the next push on the project towards improved sieges and all that kind of thing, that they start thinking a little bit.
Rainseeker:I have a question from myself, I was just wondering about gremlins actually; 'Do gremlins pick levers randomly or if you had a ton of levers ... could you build decoy levers?'
Toady:Yeah decoy levers work. I think someone diagrammed on the forum a decoy lever attached to a support where the ceiling caves in and kills the gremlin, and that'd work. You're going to have to keep thinking about little things to do to save yourself from various threats.
Capntastic:To prevent being horked.
Toady:Yeah, horking is the new buzzword.
Rainseeker:I have a question; 'What kinds of plans do you have for megabeast worship. This question came to mind due to an actual in-game invent where the royal advisor arrived at my fortress as an ardent worshiper of a titan. The titan attacked my fortress a short time later and was captured in a cage trap. I had the cage moved to his bedroom. I also found it interesting that the queen consort worshipped a demon that died fifty years before she was even born, and the former leader of a goblin civilization subjugated by my dwarven civilization.'
Toady:It's one of those things where world generation got way ahead of fortress mode, so all the superstitions that develop around the attacks, that develop into religions over fifty years or something ... you get dwarves that carry those things, but then that creature still exists and attacks and it's not really used for anything right now. It's hard to chart these things out because it's such a long road but the priests and religions and things, those aren't a million years off, that's one of those things that's going to get worked on. Then once you've got those established they have relationships with the historical figures and so on that are linked to the gods, and I imagine around that time - because the megabeasts are such a glaring instance sitting right in the middle of the religious life of everyone in the fortress - that it'll come up there, like the actual relationship to the invading megabeasts. Perhaps one of your dwarves will in fact run out toward the megabeasts, and be like 'Oh! You're finally here!' before they get smashed; the kind of typical scene you might imagine from a movie.
Interlocutor:'We love you!'
Toady:Yeah, and then they might stop and be like 'Oh, I love you too, I've just never had anyone love me in my life' and then you can give the titan some trinkets and things and it'll be okay. You never know what's going to happen. When we start improving religions ... it's not next obviously, but it's something that needs to be done and it's also doing pretty well in the suggestion voting and stuff; it's not like it's never going to happen, we'll be addressing that kind of glaring strangeness.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Capntastic:StrongAxe, as a programmer, is curious to know your strategy for maintaining speed while you add more levels of simulation.
Toady:I've got a profiler now, I've been using that a little more, and we kind of know what the problems are, and this is one of the things that's going to come up as we're addressing pathfinding and some of the hauling issues and things that just come up with having a lot of items in your fort and so on ... Now when he asked about levels of simulation and so on; there are certain things like the temperature and the weather where they can be sped up but they are this lag that's hanging there. I'm not going to run the project completely into the ground just because I like adding stuff, so when we run into more serious speed problems that aren't from things that I just haven't really handled that well that are known - like pathfinding and so on - we're going to not run ourselves into the ground there. As far as my strategy for maintaining speed it's to optimise the things that we know about and not throw too many more monkey wrenches into the thing; I'm not going to suddenly start working on making the weather simulation more complicated, because that would really be shooting myself in the foot. So I'm not that worried about and I don't think other people should be either. This next release will probably be one of the slower ones because we've been working on a ton of crap and things like pathfinding and so on are just on the horizon but they're not done, and things like bodies are as complicated as they really need to be ... not that that's really slowing it down at all, there's not a lot going on there from frame to frame.
Rainseeker:Okay so we've got one from Geoff the Medeo; 'Are there any plans for communal childcare? Dwarves might never do this even though carrying a baby into battle is probably unsafe, but humans might prefer to send their children to school, children might prefer to be truant or make friends at schools that they might otherwise meet etc. etc.'
Toady:So right now the babies are just strapped on and then things happen; the battle will go on and the work will go on and so on. It's kind of become an image of Dwarf Fortress that this crazy stuff happens, but it's not something that needs to keep happening, even with the dwarves. We haven't planned specifically, culturally what dwarves like to do, whether they like to put all their peas in one pod and have them taught there, or whether they just mill around workshops and learn about stuff, or just play with all the mini forges and little instruments that are made. But they should do more than what they're doing now which is just kind of wander around and occasionally help with some weird jobs that they're allowed to help with. It's just very strange ... If someone were to make a movie of what the kids of Dwarf Fortress do it would just be these weird work crews ... it's very strange. So there are no specific plans but it's an issue to be dealt with, certainly.
Capntastic:Right now you have these big group teaching things, it's conceivable you could create a school pretty easily I imagine.
Toady:Yeah exactly. The new activities are pretty exciting to me as a technical undercurrent of the game, because I can use them for a lot of things that would have been a lot more clunky before. Things like parties that already exist and some of the conversations and meetings that you have with diplomats and stuff; I'd like to put everything under that umbrella, and it'll make things like little schools and stuff like that way more feasible, way faster to do.
Rainseeker:Alright here's one from LASD; 'How much natural selection is going on in Dwarf Fortress and how much is planned? Are there already some inheritable traits that make creature likely to die younger?'
Toady:There is natural selection on the genetics locally right now. It doesn't have larger population tracking, especially for wilderness creatures and stuff, but there is selection in the sense that critters die and there's some variation and so on, and some of the things would be positive as far as reproduction goes so you'd actually get evolution as well. For selection all you need is death for a reason, and that would include things like size right now; if you're a smaller creature you're pretty much more likely to die when you're fighting and so on; and that's selection against the small size because it gets passed on to the children and so on. The thing that's weird right now is that there's no downside to getting bigger and stronger and smarter and it's easier to do; having attribute variability to make a dwarf smarter, it's not like the evolutionary process has to work really hard to figure out how to make something smarter, it's just like 'Oh you're smarter. You rolled the die and you're a little smarter, you know'. So it doesn't take a long time, if you had this you could breed dogs that can write dissertations and open doors and walk around on their two legs in like two seconds, and it would be a very strange society that we'd be living in right now; because the dogs would be involved. So there's going to need to be some kind of change there, but it's in the game now although not for personalities actually, which was one of the things under question; those are all kind of random right now, but it is there for attributes, and appearance modifiers which govern size and anything else like the skin colour and hair.
Rainseeker:Alright here's something from BurnedFX; 'What are your thoughts no having locks and key requirements for things such as doors, bridges or floodgates?'
Toady:This has come up, it's something we've thought about because the principle obstacle to lock and key requirements is pathfinding; how does that work? Right now we simulate it in Dwarf Fortress by like forbidding a door, but that just means that all the dwarves ignore it. But to actually say 'this dwarf can go through this door' means that pathfinding can no longer work how it works, because you wouldn't have this universal connectivity map, so everything would need to be rethought. That's not to say it's not possible, generally for the past couple of years now the idea floating around for fixing pathfinding using zones and so on that's been tried by several groups of people now with varying degrees of success should work for locks and keys. Allowing an infinite number of locks and an infinite number of keys might raise issues about how that's stored and so on, but just the general principle of having locks and keys should be something that can work out ... As for more complicated mechanisms of getting through doors ... The more complicated it is, like having to stand on a pressure plate to open a door and then going through a door and so on, it becomes more and more difficult to teach dwarves how to do that; the more there is the harder that is. Things like an adventurer doing that of course is a completely different question, and it raises some difficult questions as well because if an adventurer sets up a little house for themselves where you have to place an object on a trigger plate to get through a door and then the door closes behind you and you can walk out the door but you can't go back through so you can't have anyone go into your house without actually breaking down the door ... Those kind of things raise a lot of questions about exploits and so on. I'm not sure what's going to go on there, but the lock and key issue is a pathfinding problem that's possible to solve, but that is the stumbling block.
Rainseeker:Alright I'm going to ask a question from Jokermatt; 'What sort of new mechanics have you thought about adding to the game? For instance, some sort of moving wall/floor/ceiling trap that could be used for crushing; conveyor belts of some sort; timing mechanisms; etc.'
Toady:I am not personally a super engineering mechanically minded person - in terms of my own skills, I like having that stuff in the game - so when it comes down to saying what kind of mechanisms have I thought about having ... I've thought about breaking up traps, I don't like having traps be just this thing that you make that does something, it would be better if they had to be made out of certain components and pieces, but I don't know enough about this kind of thing to say what those should be, but I think they should be universal things that help you make all kind of stuff, because people like having the axles and wheels and things and the different pressure plates that are currently in the game that help them make computers and whatever else they've made. I'd like to add more things like that that can be used in traps and so on, I need to sit down and read the threads from the more engineering-minded people to figure out what's feasible and what the best components are to add; I remember that this was doing pretty well in the suggestion stuff, so I'll be thinking about this in the near future where the near future is the next series of releases. Yes, number five is improved mechanics, so there's that thread over in the suggestions forum, in the Additional Mechanics/Traps Wishlist Granite26 has taken people's suggestions - I guess that's how this was built - and there's a giant list of mechanisms and the thread is pretty long itself. I'm going to be going over that and similar threads and just seeing what sort of things people want to do. As has been said there are certain things that are out; crazy steam engines and nuclear bombs and all that kind of stuff.
Toady:Yeah, I know it's depressing, but you're just going to have to play Balance of Power or something. So I have no specific answers but I think it should be a favourable outcome.
Rainseeker:Well thanks everybody for joining us on this seventh podcast for Dwarf Fortress Talk.
Capntastic:The lucky one.
Rainseeker:We are quickly running out of things to vote on, so keep helping us, think of things to vote on in the forum there, there's a thread for that, Tarn you remember what that's called?
Toady:It is called, Dwarf Fortress Talk: Topic Discussion, and it's stickied in DF General Discussion and we're discussing various topics that we could discuss in the future. There are quite a few ideas but every time we make a talk there's one less, so it always helps to have some discussion there.
Rainseeker:And Capn, thanks for joining us.
Capntastic:No problem.
Rainseeker:We always enjoy your frivolous presence.
Capntastic:I enjoy it aswell.
Rainseeker:Bringing much frivolity.
Toady:That's right. And the music was by Ollieh, and the transcript will be provided by mallocks.
Capntastic:He does a swell job, he is perhaps more important than me. Because talk is cheap, but letters you have to hit them on the buttons ... Think about it.
Rainseeker:That is deep, very deep.
Toady:Yeah, it's important to be high-minded every once in a while.
Rainseeker:It's kind of intense to think that right now mallocks is typing my words in.
Rainseeker:So I'm going to say a word for him to type in: hippopotamus.
Toady:Don't torture the poor guy.
Capntastic:Alf Garnett.
Rainseeker:Thank you mallocks. And thank you everyone who's joined us, we appreciate it. Tarn, sing us out to your kitty.
Toady:(singing) Little Mr Scamps is sleeping in his bowl, he's all rolled up but he's nice and warm. He's not scratching my thumb and he's not scratching my face, because he's sleeping in one warm place; the warm little bowl, the kitty bowl. Kitty kitty bowl, kitty bowl. (end singing) That's right.
Rainseeker:Bullet bowl?
Toady:Bullet bowl, bullet bowl. Kitty bowl? He's not even paying attention to me because he's trying to sleep; he's in his heated bowl.
Capntastic:In the future of Dwarf Fortress we'll all have heated bowls. This I foresee.
Rainseeker:You could put a bowl over magma.
Toady:That's what I was going to say! You could have this honeycomb pattern ... this metal honeycomb frame and line it with leather and then with cloth and so on, and then dip it down into the magma and have all your kitties herded down there so they can sleep there and kind of roost. And then you can get the honey later.
Ollieh:(musical postlude)

Bonus section

Rainseeker:I just can't wait for us to have chickens.
Toady:Chickens and pigs, chickens and pigs and goats. Sheep and chicken and pigs and goats. Llamas, and sheeps and chicken pig goats and things.
Rainseeker:My dwarves are going to breed large chickens and they'll ride them into battle.
Toady:It's important to increase the size of the chicken.
Capntastic:The goat, not so much.
Toady:No the goat needs to retain the same size, whereas the chicken should be increasing in size, until it is as large as the goat, and then you breed the chicken and the goat, and then you get a chicken goat.
Capntastic:Game over.
Rainseeker:It's called a choak.
Toady:Yeah ... yeah ... that's right. It's okay ... Everything's just fine ...
Rainseeker:Until the cat sees the size of the chicken.
Toady:That's just not fair. Then you'll have to breed your cats to be the size of tigers.
Capntastic:A chicken eating a tin-can forever.
Rainseeker:Or in this case, discarded armour.
Toady:Well it'll solve all the refuse problems.
Rainseeker:It'd be cool if your goat ate your refuse. If it just ate anything, ate the rocks ...
Toady:Yeah you don't need miners anymore, you got a goat.
Capntastic:That's it, I'm quitting, I'm programming my own game: Goat Fortress.
Toady:That's right.
Rainseeker:Eats the mountain, eats it away.
Capntastic:You just have to be careful for bridges.
Rainseeker:Because of trolls!
Toady:That's right, that's why we get paid the big bucks.
Rainseeker:Wait a second, I haven't gotten paid a single dime for these podcasts!
Capntastic:I just wrote down your address as my address.
Rainseeker:Send donations to Capntastic and Rainseeker.
Toady:That's right, because it's hard to talk. People get paid to talk.
Capntastic:Yeah, look what happened to Conan.
Toady:Yeah, he only got paid forty five million dollars to not talk or something.
Rainseeker:What they gave him a settlement?
Capntastic:But he can't be on TV for a while.
Rainseeker:Can he write? He should go back to writing The Simpsons.
Toady:Well we've entered now the pop-culture phase of this Dwarf Fortress Talk, so we're topical.
Rainseeker:Topically lame.
Toady:That's right. Now we can start talking about the State of the Union, and we can have a political segment.
Rainseeker:Well we really haven't talked until we've talked about Britney Spears, or Christina Aguilera ...
Toady:Are you trapped in the past or something, man? I thought it was all about Lady Gaga and stuff now.
Capntastic:Yeah, get with the times.
Rainseeker:I was going to say Lady Gaga but I didn't want to seem like I was too up with the times.
Toady:Yeah, you've got to be fashionably late to the party.
Rainseeker:Exactly. Okay well thanks Capn ...
Toady:I'm sure all of this is eminently keepable.
Capntastic:At least some of this will make its way in.
Rainseeker:It will be humorous.
Capntastic:It's because when you're adding it in you'll pretty much just zone out and forget to cut it all.
Toady:Well you've just got to cut the pauses because we were kind of sitting there with the bong talking really slow, like 'Yeah, and there was like stuff ... and other stuff ... you know? Well let's talk about goats for a while you know ...'
Capntastic:What if we're all just ... atoms ... in a dwarf's beard ...
Rainseeker:There you have it folks.
Capntastic:This is what happens when we don't have topics to talk about.
Toady:Yeah topics are cool, we like topics. We used to have topics, that's why we have topic discussion now.
Rainseeker:And don't forget your EQs.
Toady:Yeah EQ, EQ is important.
Capntastic:Question for DF Talk, put that in the topic, and then put the name you'd like to be called by. If you do not provide one we will make one up; you will not like that.
Toady:Yeah it's good to get questions, and good to get topics, and good things happen to good people, and stuff. I think that's not the name of the controversial debate is it; 'Why do good things happen to good people?'
Rainseeker:I blame god!
Toady:Well I guess we don't need a topic for the next talk now.
Capntastic:I'm going to take off now.
Toady:Alright, adventurers. Adios, adios!
Capntastic:I can't wait ... to listen to this.
Toady:We'll have to Alvin and Chipmunk it or something, it's going to be exciting.
Rainseeker:(chipmunks from here on) I'll just Alvin and Chipmunk the whole ending, all this chatter ... we'll just make it super fast.
Capntastic:Alright bye, seriously leaving now. Oh I close it and it's still open, what? Okay here we go, hang up ... bye.
Toady:Alright that was intense, well intense might be the wrong word for it, it was meandering.
Rainseeker:It was meandering.
Toady:I have no idea what you want to do with that, if anything.
Rainseeker:Well let's hang up ...
Toady:Yeah let's hang up ... (chipmunks conclude)

Toady:No it hurts going to read those things you know, that's why I always keep a bottle of whiskey on my desk.
Rainseeker:We all know how much you drink.
Toady:Yeah, yeah.
Capntastic:Yeah how's that working out? I can just imagine like ten years from now we're going to have to make a donation drive for your new liver.
Toady:That's right ... Well it'd be a dwarven thing to do, you can't fault me for getting into what I'm doing.

Cacophony:(singing)Who's this little tummy boy, who's the little tummy guy? Sitting on my lap, scratching my crap, scratching my crap. What you doing? Thank you not for scratching, thank you not for biting, thank you not for chewing. Complete behaviour.
Rainseeker:Okay just stop...
Capntastic:Just stop! Shut it up now ...