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The Brilliance of Dwarf Fortress 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-all-its-ascii-glory dept.
The NY Times is running a story about Dwarf Fortress, an independently produced, ASCII-rendered fantasy game that thrives on its own uniqueness and has influenced countless other game developers (and runs on Linux). Quoting: "Though it may seem ungainly at first, the game’s interface — rendered in what are known as extended ASCII characters — has a sparse elegance. As seasons change, trees, represented by various symbols, shift from green to yellow. Goblins’ eyes appear as red quotation marks; if you shoot out an eye with an arrow, the symbol becomes an apostrophe. On a message board, one fan likened the ASCII experience in Dwarf Fortress to the immersive pleasures of reading a book: 'You can let your imagination fill in the gaps.' The community that has arisen around Dwarf Fortress is remarkable. Fans maintain an extensive wiki, which remains the game’s best (and, effectively, only) instruction manual, and which even Tarn and Zach admit to consulting. ... Perhaps most fascinating are the stories that fans share online, recounting their dwarven travails in detailed and sometimes illustrated narratives. In a 2006 saga, called Boatmurdered, fans passed around a single fortress — one player would save a game, send the file to another player and so on, relay-race style — while documenting its colorful descent into oblivion."
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The Brilliance of Dwarf Fortress

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  • The UI problems (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sloppy (14984) on Friday July 22, 2011 @06:44PM (#36852920) Homepage Journal

    The UI desperately needs improvement, but whether it's graphic or not, I don't give a fuck. When you have 200 dwarves it is a total bitch to find the ones you're looking for. Quick: where is my dwarf who knows how to suture? Which is that immigrant dwarf I got a little while back, who already has just a little bit of skill in using a sword (I want to recruit him into the military). Beats the hell out of me. Seriously, I can sometimes spend 10 minutes on the Units screen (alas, leaving and then trying to go back to the 'next' unit) just trying to find a particular dwarf.

    I love the game early on, but at some point it switches from game to chore. And (IMHO) it's all about the size of the population. If you have less than one screenful on the Units screen, things are very nice.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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