Author Topic: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories  (Read 535 times)

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Offline Green1

Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2018, 10:32:06 PM »
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  • 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.

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    Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
    « Reply #16 on: March 12, 2018, 10:36:35 PM »
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  • ;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.

    Offline Green1

    Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
    « Reply #17 on: March 12, 2018, 10:44:45 PM »
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  • It's easy to get stuck on just a few games and not be aware of others.

    There's only so much time.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
    « Reply #18 on: March 24, 2018, 11:02:32 PM »
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  • 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?

    Offline Green1

    Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
    « Reply #19 on: March 28, 2018, 05:16:25 AM »
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  • 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.


    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
    « Reply #20 on: March 28, 2018, 12:22:57 PM »
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  • 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 addressed many of these issues 20 years ago.  They're finally working on a spiritual successor called Six Ages.  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.

    Offline Green1

    Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
    « Reply #21 on: March 29, 2018, 04:59:48 AM »
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  • 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 addressed many of these issues 20 years ago.  They're finally working on a spiritual successor called Six Ages.  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.




    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
    « Reply #22 on: March 29, 2018, 06:27:54 AM »
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  • 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.

    Offline Green1

    Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
    « Reply #23 on: March 29, 2018, 11:27:32 AM »
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  • 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.


     

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
    « Reply #24 on: March 29, 2018, 02:16:21 PM »
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  • 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.

    Offline Green1

    Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
    « Reply #25 on: March 30, 2018, 04:16:32 AM »
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  • 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.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: people who only read Dwarf Fortress stories
    « Reply #26 on: March 30, 2018, 04:33:21 AM »
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  • 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?

     

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