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Dwarf Fortress Gets Biggest Update In Years 138

An anonymous reader writes Dwarf Fortress, the epic, ASCII text-based, roguelike citybuilding game, just released its biggest update in years. The game is notable for its incredible depth, and the new release only extends it. Here are the release notes — they won't make much sense if you don't play the game, but they'll give you a sense of how massively complex Dwarf Fortress is. It's also worth noting the a team of modders has recently released a new version Stonesense utility, which renders the game in 3-D from an isometric point of view. "[T]he utility relies on DFHack, a community-made library that reads the game's memory and can be parsed, thus allowing for additional utilities to render things while bypassing the initial ASCII output." If you're unfamiliar with the game, here's an illustrated depiction of an amazing story generated by the game.
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Dwarf Fortress Gets Biggest Update In Years

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  • by loufoque ( 1400831 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @06:39AM (#47413787)

    Who the hell calls 'go' 'weiqi' ?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @06:58AM (#47413843)

    The type of person who has waited for months to come up with a slightly on-topic post to show off that he uses the term "weiqi" and thoughtfully provide a link to the Wikipedia article on "Go" to show how smart he is.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:37AM (#47414547) Journal
    In terms of replay value and intricacy, 'computer games' are arguably several largely different things that all just happen to be amenable to running on computers and being sold in software boxes:

    The trivial analog to simple games is (of course) those games implemented on a computer. Being the trivial case, this is mostly a wiseass cop-out; but it's worth mentioning because computer implementations have made a substantial difference in what games are considered 'solved' and how strongly. Some games are so simple that children can solve them by hand (tic-tac-toe, most notably, since people do actually play it; but it's simple enough that most players eventually solve it and lose interest); but solving checkers, or the partial solutions for chess and go, are exercises that require ingenuity and cunning; but a lot of brute force.

    The slightly less trivial analog is extensions of classic games that would be impossible or impractical to fabricate as board games. Mostly 2d games adapted to 3 or more dimensions(or 3d puzzles, like Rubik's cubes adapted to 4 or more [] dimensions). These usually have some improvised implementation that doesn't need a computer (multiple chess/checkers boards with rules for pieces moving between them in the extra dimension, that sort of thing); but computers make them easier and less knock-over-and-abandon-in-frustration prone.

    Then there are computer games that are really, in terms of playability and intricacy, basically team sports, rather than anything analogous to deterministic games of perfect information like chess, checkers, go, etc. Something like Counter-Strike is replayable much like soccer or football are (ignoring the fact that operating systems and Glide/OpenGL/DirectX tend to break backward compatibility more often than 'grass' does, so a single, specific, implementation may not remain playable in the long term without porting, though games with robust port support are in decent shape). There is strategy and teamwork; along with individual expertise in implementation, so most of the 'churn' in these games is either abandonment of older engines in favor of nicer ones, or iterative tweaking of weapons and balance. Specific 'games' in the sense of 'Program X sold under name Y' tend to come and go; but the overall dynamic is similar to regional variations, changes in equipment, occasional rule tweaks, and the like in traditional sports, except that traditional sports tend to treat variants as all being flavors of A Sport, while the trademark and SKU-focused game market tends to treat each variant as a separate game.

    Then there are the 'games' that really shade into choose-your-own-adventure books with pictures, or movies with reflex tests: I enjoy these myself, and they are a perfectly valid form of entertainment; but they are about as dissimilar from classic 'games' as something called a 'game' can be. Single-player FPSes, relatively 'closed world' RPGs, that sort of thing. Hardly identical to a film(in all but the worst excesses of the early days of "Wow, we have a whole CD to fill with shitty, overcompressed FMV!" era), the tests of reflexes, RPG party management, or whatever are genuinely part of the experience; but they aren't terribly replayable because, sooner or later, you run up against the fact that there is only so much manually-generated, written, and voice-acted plot to uncover. Likely good for more than one playthrough, unless brutally linear; but each 'branch' costs so much dev and artist time that there aren't going to be too many of them.

    There may also be a category for the games (the Civilization series being the most prominent example that comes to mind) that could have been implemented as board games; but would be near insanity if you had to keep track of teeny plastic wheat counters for every single square. If these are single player, they often wear out their welcome sooner or later because the AI opponents just aren'
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:38AM (#47414565)

    Actually, simulations are basically made for multithreading. DF performance should scale up linearly with the number of threads, as long as it doesn't need huge amounts of conflict resolution in the simulation. ...
    can be parallelized easily if old_state and input are constant

    See where you go too far with assumptions? Sure, you can parallelize it easily like that - when your actors are nicely synchronous and independent. For a quick example: there are two entities that are bound to end up in the same cell at next time step, how do you resolve that step in your easily parallel fashion?

    When dealing with discrete simulation, you're usually dealing with a stream of events, not independent actors. You can separate them into independent domains that can be simulated at once (and then still take care about effects taking place in proper order), but it's not "easily" and nice looking as you make it out to be.

  • by praxis ( 19962 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:55AM (#47415975)

    The irony of such a predictable response...

    In addition, if you had an inkling of imagination, you'd be creating, not playing around in someone else's creation.

    So if one did not create the sandbox in which one creates, one is not a creator? You have an odd view of creativity.

Happiness is twin floppies.