Alpha Centauri 2

Other Games => Other Games => Topic started by: bvanevery on March 10, 2018, 08:06:11 PM

Title: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: bvanevery on March 10, 2018, 08:06:11 PM
In another thread, the subject of people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories came up.  That is, they don't know how to play the game and never actually play it.  Apparently such people lurk around Dwarf Fortress communities reading their After Action Reports forever.  I'm incredulous at this phenomenon as reported, as I have a strong "participant, anti-lurker" bias for gaming communities I've checked out.  Nevertheless it could be true, and I've started to learn a little about the DF community.

One thing I notice off the bat is its ecology is large, by say, the standards of this here current website.  DF clearly has enjoyed, and continues to enjoy, a much larger community than SMAC ever did.  Writeups about this bizarre game did things like land on the front page of Gamasutra, the major game industry developer watering hole.  Of course many of us scratched our heads and said, "WTF, why are they allergic to graphics?" and didn't get much farther than that.  Yes I'm intellectually aware of this complex simulation model they've written, but I have no firsthand experience with it.  DF seems to be a game inherently designed to weed out people who aren't looking for a diet of steep learning curves.  SMAC and Civ games in general are steep enough, it's not like I haven't put learning curves into games, but c'mon.

So I observe about DF, at least as far as its player base is concerned, that it exerts a strong "pass/fail filter" on what kind of person is willing to play it.  The "hazing" of the game seems to create a bonding experience within the community.  At least as they're inclined to tell each other on Reddit, this results in less nastiness in the community than internet norms.  Although on Reddit it is also pointed out that their forum is moderated, and the moderator considers it a lot of work to do so.  Maybe there are "drive bys" he has to contend with at times?  I wouldn't say I've observed all DF communities for all time, so I can't sign off on them being "drama free" or "drama lite", but they might indeed lean that way.

A lesson in all of this, may be the degree to which a game itself can shape a community, especially if a game is an odd duck that eschews conventional game design taste.  A more famous exemplar would be the early Minecraft Alpha, which in many respects is what DF could have been, if only they had been a little more interested in graphics.  "Steep learning curves" definitely drove early adherents of the cult.
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 10, 2018, 09:18:01 PM
I can only speak to SMACX/Civ on the game shaping community, and it's currently got a range from The Troll Pit (a struggling ghost, partly because the frogs got sick of it and founded their own pond) at one end, to the Civcentration Camp (strong, but populated by a hard-butt staff and impossible members, subtlely in decline) at the other, with in-between The Frog Pond (owned by Old King log and not really run by anyone, but quiet, but also in a coma w/ about ten regulars not impressively regular) and Dung Mountain, of which I am king (buddy-moderator, and growing for years, but showing early symptoms of the owner burnout that seems inevitable).  There are several others in the middle no longer with us, and also CivPlayers, which stopped being interested in being a forum years ago, and I hear the official 2K forums relevant are pretty Troll Pit jr.  I'm a member at all places mentioned but the last, and have participated at all, at least a teeny bit, and am currently active at the Pit and the Camp, I kid you not -  seems to me like the leadership at each place has taken Our Kind of People and shaped a pretty broad range of community atmospheres that draw members with a taste for whichever.

I can go into what I think that CIVilian personality is, if you don't think it's too far off your road and want to just talk about DF people...
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: bvanevery on March 11, 2018, 12:32:05 AM
Sure, Civ personas are of interest to me, long as DF personas aren't completely forgotten.

One thing I wonder about Civ personas, is I'm clearly one who plays these games, but the vast majority of my life has been fundamentally anti-social about it.  Such that I'm only discovering a community about SMAC now, long after the fact.  So I wonder how I might be different from other Civ players, and I might lack knowledge about how I'm different, due to my history.  Although in other respects I'm sure I'm thoroughly identical to something about Civ/SMAC players, despite doing it solo all this time.

For me, soloing was an inevitable consequence of Civ/SMAC games taking way too long to play with other people.  And I do have old board game experience, like Avalon Hill's Civilization and Diplomacy, so I know what committing an entire day to playing a game is like.  Of course, other people clearly did play SMAC multiplayer, which I think is a bit nutty but they managed it somehow.  And I have managed to play some Freeciv multiplayer, but deliberately stripped down to the bare minimum to make it manageable, plus goofy "simultaneous turns" pseudo-RTS feature.
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 11, 2018, 12:45:04 AM
(Aside about something you ought to  find lovely - this is my place, yes, but that was your call as OP.  Community tradition grants considerable -if variable according to whether the managers like to either make the calls themselves or decline to enforce topic discipline- discretion to the original poster's original post purpose, up to sometimes letting him choose what's on or off topic for the thread within reason, and here you can tell me what to do somewhat, when I post as just another member, and I'll even enforce for you with others, though this crowd is too cool for that to have ever come up.  Be tactful, please, with statements like "Let's get back on topic, please".  I have been slowly working on trying to get you edumacated about the rituals and whatnot of the tribe where openings surfaced - that's a moderating looking like I'm not function, which I just blew by telling you...  You're definitely ok to express diplomatic opinions about how much the conversation wandering abroad, provided it not get over-strict, the owner being the opposite of a topic Nazi and all.)
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: bvanevery on March 11, 2018, 01:00:46 AM
I'm no Topic Nazi.  In fact, on a forum for artists called WetCanvas, I very much resent it when moderators squelch the social conversations we were having fun with, in the name of "topicality".  At times I've pushed back on that.  They're a bit looser in the "social" and "debate" forums but sometimes they've been "too orderly" even there.  I think in a community of artists, who are a free wheeling folk on average more than not, it has the effect of driving various people away.  On the other hand it ain't no cesspool of hostility, so the moderation does have benefits.  Just sometimes they err on the side of c'mon, seriously?
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 11, 2018, 01:06:34 AM
;nod
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 11, 2018, 02:39:00 AM
A central thing about the archetypical CIVilian is that he's playing Civ and not AOE.  Age of Empires is great, but the little d00dz are running around ALL the time, and it can get stressful, and frustrating when you want to arrange something JUST so.  We're puzzle-doers, sometimes literally.  A lot of personality aspects that lend themselves to an inclination to read, SMACers pretty much all love SF and usually RW science; the straight CIVilian might prefer his Tolkien to his Herbert, and likes history, but has a distressing tendency to only be good at the wargamer history, not so good at making and getting jokes from Shakespeare, or knowing who Sir Richard Burton was and what he did.  A lot of engineers, a lot of desk jobs -although that might be self-selecting not-by-game 'cause even CFC would roll up and stop by the end of the year if nobody browsed/posted from work, but personalities that would tend to lend themselves to desk jobs anyway- and a preponderance of middle-aged, with many having been around forever and grew up at CFC or 'poly, and thus don't know how badly they're being treated.  Rather detail-oriented.  A surprising percentage seem to have mainstream-ish love lives, many married -to women and everything- and have spawned.  -Surprising, because there's no denying for a second that we're talking about, straight-up, a nerd -OCD/Aspergers tendencies being extremely common, when not outright sufferers- maybe more than a bit tending to the 'old school' nerd clich├ęs, rather than the comicbook guy thing that seems to be the default in recent decades.

SMACers seem to be substantially more notorious for drama - I cannot account for this, nor explain how I stepped on it here.

The sort of people I describe ought to prefer Star Trek to Star Wars, but it turns out not to be the statistical case; perhaps that's cultural, instead, the latter being simply more popular ever since IRL, and at the right time for the mode age demographic.

Is this of help?
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Green1 on March 11, 2018, 07:29:21 AM
Thing is though, some of the people that read the stories and watch the LPs donate. The AARs and YT vids were a major contributing factor in DF being put in the Museum of Modern Art and marketing the game.

The engineering nature of the game attracts more educated, older,  and more likely to have money people where having a few dollars a month taken out of your account to support a favorite dev who makes possible wild stories is no big deal.

Looking at Patreon and the monthly reports, Bay 12 Games averages around 5 K on bad months to 10 K (US Dollars) on great months in donations. Divided by the 2 "employees" of Bay 12, the two brothers Zach and Tarn Adams take home probably 2.5 K to 5 K a month each if they divide equally. That's not enough to be rich, but there are places where you can live fairly comfortable for 2.5 K a month.
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: bvanevery on March 12, 2018, 01:51:46 PM
Age of Empires is great, but the little d00dz are running around ALL the time, and it can get stressful, and frustrating when you want to arrange something JUST so.

Yeah I hate RTS as a genre.  I also hate speed chess.  Drives me nuts, very stressful, even though strictly speaking I can do it.  Not enjoyable for me.  I want to take all this time to make perfect decisions.  If I'm going to play a fast game I want it to be a body reflexes game, like a FPS or sparring someone in real life.  I don't want my brain strained with "fast, fast, fast!"  The only RTS games I've liked, deliberately stripped down all the crap you had to do in them.  Like Ground Control (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_Control_(video_game)) only gave each team 4 units to manage.  Technically a Real Time Tactics game, not Strategy.
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 12, 2018, 03:48:29 PM
Yah - as fine a game as anything in the AOE series is, it's still a little bit chocolate in your peanut butter in an unfortunate way. -Neither fish nor fowl.

It's not at all that uncommon for people in our community to like twitch games, but that's scratching a different itch than the one that brings us together.
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: bvanevery on March 12, 2018, 04:24:07 PM
Considering DF, I can understand being interested in the details of a simulation.  I've had that regard for most games I've played, i.e. Dungeon Keeper.  What I don't get, is being interested in painful, picky details of a simulation.  There's a point at which I feel, for that same level of mental energy expended, I could be writing a game, poring over the US tax code, or fixing the innards of a difficult car repair problem.  All of those things are work.  I may be adept at it, but there's a point at which it's just work.  It has no aesthetic elegance; as a mathematician, I like simple closed form results.  Eternal resonances of the spheres, as it were.  Not grungy crap of "this happened, then this happened, then this happened...."  For the same reason, I've never been interested in hacking, as it's all just piles of trivia.  I could see myself being interested in cryptography because that would be a purely mathematics + optimization problem.
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 12, 2018, 04:59:10 PM
[shrugs] I'm a puzzle-doer from a family of puzzle aficionados - but I play solitaire on easy settings and cheat at SMACX, because I like finishing the puzzle.  A little challenge does a long way at that, to a certain mindset.
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: bvanevery on March 12, 2018, 05:16:52 PM
Doability and non-doability definitely attract different people.

I got frustrated with adventure games in their heydey, ending with Grim Fandango.  Always they'd devolve into games of "guess the author's mind", which would be inscrutable.  In time I just didn't apologize for it anymore, I'd reach for a walkthrough.  When the adventure game segment of the industry tanked, it sucked the life out of developers ever making any progress with the core problems of the genre.  New generations of developers would come along, and for lack of reposited wisdom and effort, would repeat the same basic mistakes over and over again, resulting in frustrating games.  I lost confidence in that kind of game, what anyone would aspire to, and haven't tried to play one in a long time.  A few years ago I poked my head up and made a slight effort, but the few titles I tried, didn't grab me and seemed to have the usual "brick wall" things in them.

Some people revel in the non-doable, either by temperament, or because they haven't challenged themselves in enough games for it to have gotten old.  Witness the runaway success of Flappy Bird, for instance.  In previous generations it would have been regarded as basically a crap game.  I figure what happened with that fad, is the casual gaming audience had gotten exponentially large, and those players hadn't really challenged themselves the way "old school" gamers did.
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Green1 on March 12, 2018, 09:16:47 PM
I think one of the things about DF is there is really no way to win. But it is a feature, not a bug. I could see it not wanting to be for the crowd that is all about "win,win,win". It's more a very detailed and simulated story.

Your fortress is more than likely going to perish one way or another.
Eiher some fire breathing iron colossus that's touch causes flesh to rot off moves through, one of your dwarves butchers an emu in an evil biome and the emu skin reanimates and kills everyone, you run out of booze and the dwarves go  homicidal, or the fortress eventually gets so large even a 16 core gamer computer grinds down to 4 frames per second trying to keep up with all the calculations.

DF is not even a true RTS, either. It has a pause button where you designate tasks (which may or may not be done depending...) then set them loose. Pause buttons are blasphemous to 4x. Unlike a 4x, it is very hard to control a single dwarf. The dwarves have personalities with psychological profile and AI. It is more like you "suggest" they do something and they may do it. How well or if at all depends on their mood, ability, and other things.

In Boatmurdered, the most famous AAR on the internet, the fortress died because the engraver got mad because a section of wall with one of his epic (and morbid) engravings was accidentally destroyed. He jumped in some fire, survived, then started murdering the other dwarves while on fire catching the rest of the dwarves on fire.

The point though of why the topic came up in the first place is this:

The AAR people did not make money on it though. Boatmurdered was originally hosted on the Something Awful forums that you have to pay 10 USD to post in (nowadays to even view, too. Don't worry, though LParchive has Boatmurdered mirrored as well as other places if you want to read a long LP). None of the goons got paid (Boatmurdered was a succession game). The only ones making money off DF stuff are Tarn and Zach Adams and a few of the modders. 
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 12, 2018, 09:21:27 PM
Somehow, I've got DF and Minecraft lumped together in my head as similar - set me straight or whatever...
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Green1 on March 12, 2018, 10:32:06 PM
Somehow, I've got DF and Minecraft lumped together in my head as similar - set me straight or whatever...

No.. you are right on target.

Notch Persson, the creator of Minecraft was inspired by Dwarf Fortress. He was a DF player. Minecraft's existence is a direct result of DF.
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 12, 2018, 10:36:35 PM
;nod  I had a friend skype me the other night -seemed to just feel like talking- telling about what he'd been playing lately.  First time I'd ever heard of a single game he mentioned.
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Green1 on March 12, 2018, 10:44:45 PM
It's easy to get stuck on just a few games and not be aware of others.

There's only so much time.
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: bvanevery on March 24, 2018, 11:02:32 PM
Also in some genres, there's no improvement.  Why should I put big learing curves into other 4X TBS games for instance?  Nobody's done better than SMAC.  Frankly most haven't done nearly as good.  Even if one goes space opera / star systems rather than planet based, I think I got off the bus at GalCiv II.  When you've paid enough galactic credits to subvert enough entire star systems, what more is there to do?
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Green1 on March 28, 2018, 05:16:25 AM
Also in some genres, there's no improvement.  Why should I put big learing curves into other 4X TBS games for instance?  Nobody's done better than SMAC.  Frankly most haven't done nearly as good.  Even if one goes space opera / star systems rather than planet based, I think I got off the bus at GalCiv II.  When you've paid enough galactic credits to subvert enough entire star systems, what more is there to do?


End game and sandbox is what you are getting at here. I agree. That is what makes a good story.

See, in most 4x's, there are maybe a few end possibilities. And, by that time, the game is a forgone conclusion.

There is no drama, intrigue, or struggle. The story ends because the story loses it's villain and no new threat arrives to challenge the hero. Nor do new characters emerge. Once you have met them all, you have met them all. The son of the former evil galactic empire does not lead a rag tag group of fanatic followers to be a thorn in the side of your occupation. SMAX suffers the same as well. If you have made it to mid game in good shape, it's over except for build orders or pushing units to a victory hours lately. It's monotonous click, click, click to get to a victory screen you have seen before.

You also really can not do much due to the linear goals of certain games.

This is where Dwarf Fortress and to a lesser extent Rimworld excel. There are so many things you can do and this is not defined. The end game is not shoehorned into just a few pre-defined victory conditions. The story does not end and there are generations of heroes, villains, commoners, and warriors. Not one all powerful immortal dude that is not even a unit in a game other than a diplo screen.

That is the reason the stories for Dwarf Fortress are so compelling as opposed to 4x games.

But, you are also right. Learning new games, particularly deep games, a lot of gamers are taken back about it.

It's like Eve Online, a MMO. the stories from Eve Online have stories even the big game media people cover. The game itself is incredibly hard to learn and has been referred to as spreadsheets in space. Mining is like a pretty wallpaper of a space scene you click on occasionally while trying not to fall asleep and questioning your lack of life.  But, oh, the drama and the things you can do! You can be a space pirate, a captain of a ship in a major military power ruled over by a real life (not AI) overlord or fight against them. You can be a con man conning people in cons that would earn you a permaban most other MMOs as long as you don't scam them IRL for IRL dollars.

But, the interface....

I tell you, though. If someone could come up with an engine that allows such deep level of sandbox, procederal generation that never ends, AND is easy to get into....

The veterans don't want the plebs from League, Fortnite, and Halo getting in. They like the learning curve because it keeps out random, bored dabblers and idiots. Yes, there are folks on even Bay 12 and CCP's forums that actually oppose any attempt to "baby-fy" any component of the game. Even if it would be good for it. Look at Minecraft, though Minecraft has no real story.

Till then, those people read the stories but will never play. They also secretly long for the day the UI or gameplay is easy to use and exciting enough they can live their own story.

The solution? A music guy, a mathematician level simulations, a UI wizard, a sociologist, and artist needs to team up to combine all of those and continually develop it. Will it happen? Who knows... There is Star Citizen - ambitious simulation with MMO elements. Latest alpha looks great and I like the direction. But, I will probably be 70 by the time they get to Beta 2 and there is the very real fact they have collected 100s of millions over 6-7 years and still have only an alpha that is extremely buggy.

Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: bvanevery on March 28, 2018, 12:22:57 PM
Good food for thought on what "narrative depth" means, and that SMAC lacks it once you get past the midpoint of the game.  But I do not believe that MMOs are the answer.  King of Dragon Pass (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_of_Dragon_Pass) addressed many of these issues 20 years ago.  They're finally working on a spiritual successor called Six Ages (https://www.sixages.com/).  It should be out this year.

I have often wondered what a KoDP style of SMAC would be.  I have found it difficult to think about SMAC's faction leaders as real flesh and blood characters because they should all be dead of old age in 50 years.  Trying to reason about characters on the timescale of SMAC is like counting mayflies.  One answer is to greatly shorten the timescale of what is dealt with.  For instance, all important wars could take place in a period of a few years, and that's more realistic from the standpoint of moving units around.  But what happens to the glorious tech tree that's part of the genre?  The narrative of human evolution fades out.

As for Eve Online, I've been put off to even trying.  I've heard it's just like real life, all the incumbents have the advantages of capitol and you're not going to gain their advantages.  Sounds to me like a gamer's griefing pyramid scheme.  I might change my mind if I heard any credible tale of "upward mobility" within the game's terms, that didn't take forever to enact.  Having fatcats available to push me down, is something I can very much do in real life already, for real money and career purposes.
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Green1 on March 29, 2018, 04:59:48 AM
Good food for thought on what "narrative depth" means, and that SMAC lacks it once you get past the midpoint of the game.  But I do not believe that MMOs are the answer.  King of Dragon Pass (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_of_Dragon_Pass) addressed many of these issues 20 years ago.  They're finally working on a spiritual successor called Six Ages (https://www.sixages.com/).  It should be out this year.

I have often wondered what a KoDP style of SMAC would be.  I have found it difficult to think about SMAC's faction leaders as real flesh and blood characters because they should all be dead of old age in 50 years.  Trying to reason about characters on the timescale of SMAC is like counting mayflies.  One answer is to greatly shorten the timescale of what is dealt with.  For instance, all important wars could take place in a period of a few years, and that's more realistic from the standpoint of moving units around.  But what happens to the glorious tech tree that's part of the genre?  The narrative of human evolution fades out.

As for Eve Online, I've been put off to even trying.  I've heard it's just like real life, all the incumbents have the advantages of capitol and you're not going to gain their advantages.  Sounds to me like a gamer's griefing pyramid scheme.  I might change my mind if I heard any credible tale of "upward mobility" within the game's terms, that didn't take forever to enact.  Having fatcats available to push me down, is something I can very much do in real life already, for real money and career purposes.


No, MMOs are probably not the answer, especially theme park MMOs like World of Warcraft which is basically a queue system for the same event "rides" over and over again with a very static, crap AI world stapled on to it.

Now, I mentioned Eve Online not because it is an MMO but it has one - just one - essential key to the story telling. It half way allows emergence. Emergent narratives are stories that are not authored by a single person or by any person really. They are stories that emerge from the interaction between players and the systems that govern gameplay. Yes, the AI counts as an author! Eve fails, though, in the fact it neglects it's AI. The PVE is dry and sucks. The "rats" (Eve Online's mobs) do not have any real AI to them. They just sit in a belt or a spawn when someone accepts a quest from a scripted NPC agent who is also dry and devoid of character. The task of emergent gameplay is NOT just on the player, but on the AI and system itself. For all the supposed greatness of the powerful NPC empires of Eve or the Pirate factions, they serve only as loot pinatas or direct players to loot pinatas. They lack routines, motivations, feelings, personality, or the ability to act against other NPCs or players other than a crude reputation bar that affects what loot pinatas are available. The local military agent of the Amarr Empire can't gate a 2000 ship fleet on top of a Minmatar outpost. The Empires of Eve will never fall unless a developer scripts it, nor do they lose people, nor do they develop or grow except for scripted "live" events that affect few players. Yes, human players can be pretty inventive and create narratives, but if your world has NPCs, those need to be deep and be thought out as well. Otherwise, the "story" can become inaccessible as people tend to segregate themselves as they do in real life.

Dwarf Fortress solves this because everything has a personality. Every creature in the game has motivations (even simple) Empires rise and fall. There is no "pet dev storyline NPC with plot armor". It is possible to go out kill the king of another faction. And, there's also no quest panel telling you that it can be done.



Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: bvanevery on March 29, 2018, 06:27:54 AM
My historical objection to claims of "emergence" is I never really saw any in games I played, nor do I believe they existed in most games that people talked about.  Rather, all game phenomena could have been reasonably anticipated by a game designer and probably were.  I don't think there are that many inarticulate "whooa duuude" game designers out there, although it's possible that production teams on tight deadlines, might end up behaving as such.

A game with as much simulation as Dwarf Fortress does change the calculus of what could conceivably emerge, but I don't have experience with it, so my jury is out.  I'm not convinced that "you can kill a king" is revelatory.  The usual problem with killing kings, historically, is one having to forfeit one's own life to do so.  People who were willing to do that, jolly well just up and did it from time to time.  I think killing things is one of the more basic kinds of simulation that a game typically offers.  Why should it be regarded as emergent meaning or action?  Wouldn't shock me if I can kill squirrels too.
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Green1 on March 29, 2018, 11:27:32 AM
My historical objection to claims of "emergence" is I never really saw any in games I played, nor do I believe they existed in most games that people talked about.  Rather, all game phenomena could have been reasonably anticipated by a game designer and probably were.  I don't think there are that many inarticulate "whooa duuude" game designers out there, although it's possible that production teams on tight deadlines, might end up behaving as such.

A game with as much simulation as Dwarf Fortress does change the calculus of what could conceivably emerge, but I don't have experience with it, so my jury is out.  I'm not convinced that "you can kill a king" is revelatory.  The usual problem with killing kings, historically, is one having to forfeit one's own life to do so.  People who were willing to do that, jolly well just up and did it from time to time.  I think killing things is one of the more basic kinds of simulation that a game typically offers.  Why should it be regarded as emergent meaning or action?  Wouldn't shock me if I can kill squirrels too.


You have, actually. Alpha Centauri, and most of the Civ family has a bit of emergence. But, only a taste.

- The world is randomly generated.
- Each game is a different scenario, though the overall "story" is hardcoded and never changes.
- The AIs have coded personalities and preferences and you can ask or demand limited things. Those personalities interact with the player as well as other AIs.
- There is a native (environment) threat.
- These AIs and the native life can be interacted on, interact with, and change those interactions based on interactions.
- There is some (limited) choice.

That's the reason you see LPs of it along with LOTS of LPs for any 4x. It's the reason for "One More Turn".

Problem is, it exists in a box and ends there.

As far as "whooa dude" developers and emergent gameplay, they have been around since before Richard Garriot (Ultima Series, Tabula Rasa, Shroud of the Avatar) was trying to figure out the ecological effects on his virtual world as player were killing all the wild life to get skill ups and virtual goods like a carpet of fire ants.

Of course, you will not find a culture like this if you are looking at AAA dev houses like EA, Activation-Blizzard, or some the other usual suspects.

It has to come from something with a long development cycle. One where the game is out, but constantly added to. Not abandoned for Game Version 201X - in time for this season! (Which really should just be an update pack. EA's Madden series - I am looking at you.) Only MMOs/ MMO-likes, MOBAs, and little games like Dwarf fortress have a cycle like that.


 
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: bvanevery on March 29, 2018, 02:16:21 PM
But what is the notable exhibition of 'emergence' in MMOs?  The MMOs I have tried are all quite shallow.  Granted, I didn't stick with any of them long, but I did manage say 80 hours of gameplay demoing them.  You can do that if you've got a 10 day trial and you're lifeless.   ;lol  Never saw any emergence.  I saw predictable time wasting experiences designed to get the developers their subscription money.
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: Green1 on March 30, 2018, 04:16:32 AM
But what is the notable exhibition of 'emergence' in MMOs?  The MMOs I have tried are all quite shallow.  Granted, I didn't stick with any of them long, but I did manage say 80 hours of gameplay demoing them.  You can do that if you've got a 10 day trial and you're lifeless.   ;lol  Never saw any emergence.  I saw predictable time wasting experiences designed to get the developers their subscription money.


There are plenty of examples of emergence in MMOs. From the early days of UO to the heists of Ultima Online. The early MMOs were pioneers in this. Ultima Online, the npcs had routines and attitudes. If the PCs hunted all of the predators in an area, the prey population would explode.

But, you are correct, it's getting a lot less common with modern MMOs with the exception of outliers like Eve or certain areas of Second Life.

Any remaining emergence is buried in grind-y, Skinner's box type game play designed to increase micro transaction sales or subscriptions. Emergence that definitely does not show up in a trial period. All that is for is to get you used to controls and maybe show you a thing or two, and get you to pay.  It's the reason you don't hear stories about World of Warcraft.

That's the reason so many eyes are on DF.

It's also the reason MMOs are not the answer as you say, but we need to study them to understand the psychology of players so the NPCs can act more realistically and carry over some of the pioneering work of sandbox devs like Lord British, CCP Games, Notch Perrson, Tarn Adams, and others.
Title: Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
Post by: bvanevery on March 30, 2018, 04:33:21 AM
If the PCs hunted all of the predators in an area, the prey population would explode.

I'm not seeing why ecological balance should count as emergence anymore, as opposed to "yeah we expect the bunny population to go up / down".  Or why it was such a shock to anyone to begin with.  We did learn about that sort of thing in grade school.

Quote
Notch Perrson,

What did he emerge?