Dwarf Fortress Talk #16, with Rainseeker, Capntastic and Toady One, transcribed by mallocks

Army arc and maps
    Getting lost in adventure mode
Legacy modes
    Adventure mode legacy
    Adventure mode organizations
        Organizational goals
    Dwarf mode legacy
    Automatic character assessment
    Adventure mode planes
    Dwarf mode planes
    Savage biomes and deadly plants
    Game difficulty
    Befoulment and evil regions

Capntastic:Hello everyone and welcome to Dwarf Fortress Talk. Today we have me, Capntastic, Rainseeker ...
Capntastic:... and the illustrious Toady One.
Rainseeker:He's here ... and Scamps is there someplace, I'm sure, plotting.
Toady:He's up on his tree, he's up on his tree today, he's just looking out his window ... He wasn't on his tree, for a whole period of a couple of months or something, he wouldn't go up on his tree, then we moved it closer to the window and now he's up there every day; so he's been rehabilitated.
Rainseeker:Good job.
Capntastic:There you go. What's outside the window? More trees?
Toady:There are trees, birds, people moving dogs around, and cars ... There are all kinds of squirrels and critters and sometimes they can perch right next to the window and they'll just be there for a second and Scamps will go nuts. He makes that chittering noise ... it's weird to see a cat chirping. Our hadn't cats hadn't really been in the position to do that because they were allowed to go outside, so they just killed things instead of chirping at them, but Scamps doesn't really get to kill animals so he gets to chirp at them instead.
Rainseeker:So today we're going to talk about ... first off about what has happened since we last had a Dwarf Fortress Talk, as well as talk about a little bit of the future of adventure mode, in that ... I guess the destiny of the adventurer, maybe we should call it?
Toady:Yeah, that's part of it, but I think we can broaden that to talk about dwarf mode as well. It's going to be a little stranger because it's more than one person involved, but I think there's going to be a lot to talk about in every mode today.
Rainseeker:Cool! Alright, well let's start talking about what's happened.
Toady:Alright, what happened ...
Toady:Yeah, we went to Redding, that's right. We drove in our car for many hours and we went south and we went to a Wi-Fi equipped restaurant with ...
Rainseeker:No Wi-Fi.
Toady:... Well they had Wi-Fi it was just password protected.
Capntastic:Yeah ... they didn't know the password.
Rainseeker:Exactly, they didn't know what it was.
Toady:They didn't know the password ...
Capntastic:I guess the manager had left without telling anyone the password, and ... the waitress was really helpful and actually tried to call them up and get the password, but we didn't end up getting it.
Rainseeker:But we did make a small video after ...
Toady:Yeah, I've got a livestream thingy now. I don't ... I've got to investigate if I'm violating their terms of service by having livestream talks about Dwarf Fortress because they had some condition like that, that you couldn't advertise? I don't know if it counts as advertising or not because people talk about the games that they're playing and so on, so I'll just have to run it by them or something, because if so then I can make little videos and things, but if I can't make little videos then I can't make little videos. So, yeah, if people have any advice on that, that would be useful and I'm just going to contact them as well. So we have that capability anyway with my little web camera I've got now, so that's cool. It should be something that can come of that ... And that's ... and then, yeah, after Redding which, you know, everyone had an entertaining time - I think - that went there, I haven't heard any complaints about how horrible it was or anything, then yeah ... then there was the crazy magazine article ...
Toady:... which brought many peoples and is continuing to bring many peoples, lots of emails and things. My inbox hasn't really gone below fifty emails since that happened.
Rainseeker:Oh gosh ...
Toady:That's why ... I mean the dev logs have been pretty dry lately, because I've been kind of overwhelmed, but I think we're finally coming back into non-overwhelmed territory, which will be welcome; even if it means things return more or less to normal money wise, it would be good to get back to work. So it's been cool, it's been pretty cool. Lots of peoples, lots of peoples. I got to pick up a few copies of the magazine around town and stuff, so that was fun.
Rainseeker:That's very good. Have you posted a picture of that that we can see?
Toady:A picture of the magazine? It's basically the same as the online version, but you mean like the cover of the magazine where it shows Yemen on fire and it says 'The Brink of Hell' or something?
Rainseeker:Just the picture of the cover of your portion, or whatever, I don't know ...
Toady:Well I could ... I don't know when I run into copyright problems, because people post magazines when they're not supposed to and so on ... But I don't know, I'll see what I can do.

Rainseeker:So you also worked on the army arc a little bit more, got the armies moving a little bit better ...
Toady:Yeah, I got the army ... I had to rewrite the armies so that I could zoom in the map, because the army co-ordinates were being stored on the Dwarf Fortress embark/adventure travel level, which is sixteen times zoomed in from the world map, but we decided we needed to zoom in another three times to make walking around in the towns intelligible, and since when you're walking around you're stored as an army in adventure mode it now has all of the ... the army code respects that time scale instead, so even though there's not that much armyish stuff going on there was enough that that took some time to fix.

Toady:Now we have that little map, the little town/city map so you can walk right on the roads, you can't just ... you bonk into the buildings and you have to pass around them. If you want to cut through whatever alleys or whatever might exist ... or cut through the sewers, then you have to zoom in, it's really just for going from store to store in a faster way, and to see the city layout as you understand it, because you can get lost very easily. It might be kind of realistic to get lost in the city but you don't have ... it's not like you're looking out of your eyes; you can't see ahead and you can't see large landmarks, and you can't see cross streets way ahead of you as you could in real life, so it's more fair to give you this travel map than to not give it to you, I think, in terms of realism, although you do lose just a bit, the getting lost in the city, but we can always give that back to you by restricting your view on the travel map and then wiping it if you get hopelessly lost, then rotating by ninety degrees in a random direction or something.
Rainseeker:That's really exciting, I love that idea.
Toady:But we don't need to do that ... It's the same thing we were going to do to people when they're walking in the woods; if you get lost in the woods then it would wipe your travel map and then it would rotate it a random direction and then you'd be just stuck in the woods and you wouldn't know which way you're going until you get out, and then you'd be like 'I don't remember an ocean being here', and then the second that you've found some landmark you're familiar with like a town it would reorient your map. That's just an idea we were kind of tossing around, because it used to do that in fort mode, in your fortress. It was strange, before the Z levels, when you used to go to your fortress it would kind of flood fill out your fortress and give it fake levels and just label them '1' '2' '3' '4' '5', and it would put in fake up/down stairs and then it would rotate each one a different amount so it would seem like the fortress kind of folds over itself. That's what it did in 2D and then we went to 3D so you don't do that anymore, but you can still make someone get lost in the fortress, because all the code is still there that rotates the view, so you could be in a labyrinth of your fortress and it could be like 'Well, you've just walked down a bunch of passages and turned left and right five or six times and you're not very good at directions, so we're going to wipe your map and rotate your view'. It's the kind of thing that people will probably want an init option to turn off, but it's just our fun little idea for getting lost.
Rainseeker:Well if you can get good at finding your way around ...
Capntastic:Well they have ... there's like the memory stats and the awareness stats.
Toady:Yeah, yeah yeah. There's ... I guess it would be memory and your spatial sense, or whatever.
Rainseeker:Yeah, spatial awareness, sure.
Toady:Yeah, so you get what you deserve there.
Rainseeker:Yes: 'My mighty warrior can never find his way out of the bathroom.'
Toady:Yeah, then I just guess you press escape and say 'Okay, I'm starving to death' and that's it. I guess you could play one of those apocryphal goldfish or whatever that can't remember three seconds ago, where they were, so it just constantly wipes your map and constantly rotates you until you give up and quit ... Should write a different game if you're going to write one like that. In any case that's the kind of thing we've been working on with the maps and so on, and we've just now started ... not just now, but some days ago, I mean this month ... started the interaction interface where you can target based on your interaction effect which would be anything from red panda head-bumps, to retracting into your armadillo shell, to breathing materials at people cursing them, or giving them some kind of blessing, or cursing three people in a room or whatever ...
Rainseeker:... and blessing the fourth!
Toady:That's right, that's right. So there's all kinds of little things that need to be worked out, and it'll be awesome and should lay the groundwork, hopefully, for whatever magic systems it happens to randomly generate as we get further along on that journey. So that'll be cool.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)

Rainseeker:So now let's talk about how adventure mode is going to progress into more of a legacy mode, perhaps the adventurer decides that he wants to be a mighty warrior and so he explores and after a number of years he decides to perhaps retire and then maybe we talk about what happens after that? Is that what you're thinking?
Toady:Yeah, it's a broad topic so we can just kind of bat some things around, so let's take that. So your adventurer retires, and the question first off is where do they retire? Right now you select a town and you retire there and then you become a person who stands around in that town, right? That's how it's going to be for quite a long time. The first thing that we're going to need ... there are a couple of things to kind of improve upon the quality of your retired characters - we can take that direction first - which is the creation of sites, which is on the dev log, just being able to select a location and either build your own site or rent or purchase a place to stay, so that you have a home base. Then with your retirement ... it would understand your character better, it would keep them in the right spot, you'd be able to find them again and talk to them. Then the other thing that we have up there is being able to create your own kind of adventurer entity, which I imagine would start ... an entity is just a civilization or group of people in this game, and being able to create your own entity means having ... it's either your band of merry people or it's your ruthless scumbags group of people, or some entity that you've joined, rather than created, and when it understands your character in those terms then it would also be able to plan their retirement a little better; that means having them AI driven and doing the right things. That's one form of legacy, just can your character persist properly when they retire?

Rainseeker:So does that mean that I could create a new adventurer and go to the town where the old adventurer retired and meet him and possibly recruit him to my party?
Toady:Yeah, you can actually do that right now.
Rainseeker:Oh wow, I didn't realize that.
Toady:Yeah. It's funny, you can fight them and cause all kinds of trouble having a Old West shootout with your old adventurers in the town and so on. So we've already kind of gotten started on that, so I think those two things I mentioned would help make the retired ... Right now they're like this weird window dressing, though, it's like ... they go there, they don't really fit in and the only way they fit in is that they do join the town that they retire in, so starting trouble with them starts trouble with everybody and so on, but having their own group would be interesting.

Now if your adventurer were to actually die then the nice part about the sites that you create is that they still exist and the entities that you create actually still exist. So, if you created, say, a group of bandits and you were going and taking things from towns and so on, and people disliked you and hunted you down and killed you - which is actually in the list of the dev goals for that, so it's not just something I'm saying - you'd then have that group of people, and once we get succession in, which is very soon - we're probably going to do succession before we finish the caravan arc because it's ... well it is actually part of the caravan arc, I think it's release 5 right now - but once we have succession then the group that you've created, named, and everything, and you've told them all to wear little blue hats or something - assuming you can secure those things and actually help your people wear stuff, you'd probably have to hand them out manually at first, like 'Here's your hat, here's your hat. Now put it on, put it on here' and they're like 'Okay!' - so that group would persist; whatever position you'd created for yourself, probably just like 'I'm the leader of the bandits' or whatever, because you have these entity positions right, with names and so on, like when you're fighting bandits yourself it's like 'Here's the ringleader; here's the boss' or whatever, it just gives them silly names, you'd be able to do the same thing and you'd have your little group with the leadership position, and when the leadership position is vacated, when you meet your untimely demise, then the leadership position would be filled; when we get to release 5, or whenever we do succession, which is going to be release 5 or sooner, right. So you have that, and then you've got this group that persists forever, or as long as it has a breathing member, or someone willing to resurrect it after everyone's gone. Then you'd leave that behind and that would be one of the first real feelings that you've created something rather than destroyed something, because right now you can kill all the beasts in the world and then the world has changed in that way; that's a way of leaving a mark, but it's a negative mark.

Rainseeker:So would you be able to set goals for your organization, or similar?
Toady:Well, the way that we have it set up on the dev page - and we haven't thought about this too much - is that you'd be able to assign little tasks for people and so on that they could do in your absence, but we haven't thought about, you know ... what is, and I don't even know if ... there's nothing really that says, that's anywhere, like what the overarching goal of your organization is. It's like the aggregate version of the personality rewrite, because the personality rewrite involves not just coming up with facets of the personality that are more interesting than the current ones, that allow you to tell better stories, but also new categories entirely of things, like what are the dreams of this dwarf, what are the dwarf's lifelong goals and that kind of thing. Then in adventure mode you don't quite have the same thing because you're playing, whereas your dwarves will have those things independent of your existence, but when you make an organization there's ... the two ways to think about it are, does my organization ... is the game going to try to guess what you're doing? It's like 'Well, they've killed their seventeenth person so obviously this is an organization bent on randomly killing people', or is it something that ... what will probably end up happening because the computer can never really be smart enough to tell, is that you just say what you're about, and if you completely violate the principles of what you're about then it'll probably start trying to come up with something on its own, it'd be like 'Well, you're supposed to be wandering around and helping the sick, but you keep killing them' and eventually it would decide that you're actually some kind of weird euthanasia organization or something. But that's all kind of wishful thinking; not the content that I just mentioned but just the ability that it would be able to do anything like that, but it's ...
Rainseeker:'Hey man, I'm just preventing an epidemic, okay?'
Toady:It's true, it's going to be dangerous when there are plagues, you'll have some difficult decisions to make. But that is the general idea of what kind of legacy you can leave behind, and that you'd be able to have an organization that made some kind of sense ... I mean at first you'd probably just be selecting from a list of ... like when you form the organization there are other people around because you don't just form it in your head, right? So you'd probably take your three or four adventuring companions that you'd picked up and say 'Alright, let's go rob wagons together!' and they're like 'Yay!' or some of them leave or one of them tries to kill you or something, but once they all agree that you are now an organization that goes and robs wagons together, which at first would probably just be as simple as selecting, you know, 'bandit' as your option or whatever ... Because that sort of organization already exists, right, you can just declare that 'I want to be a type of organization that already exists', it already understands how they work and so when the adventure is over either by retirement or death it would understand what to do with those guys, and then they'd fit right in; you'd get quests to kill yourself or whatever. Right now you can get a quest to kill yourself but only through the animosity between civilizations; if your adventurer is a notable killer of another civilization then retires back in a friendly town, and then you start at the aggrieved civilization you can get a quest to kill your adventurer, but they're still just window dressing over there. So that's that form of legacy, and then there's the familial legacy you can have, when we get to the relationship stuff you'll be able to leave behind little playable childrens and things. I suppose your spouse might be playable too, I wonder ... if you get killed it'd be fun to go on a vengeance quest or something as the aggrieved widow or widower.
Rainseeker:So is it possible right now to play until you die of old age?
Toady:Possible, technically, I suppose, but you'd have to be a patient person who sits and sleeps repeatedly until you die.
Capntastic:But isn't there going to be the kind of time skip adventurer thing like you were talking about a while ago?
Toady:Yeah, exactly ... I think the question was can you do it now? Now it would require patience, but definitely the idea was that you'd be able to skip years at a time if you want ...
Rainseeker:Right, because it'd be kind of cool to train your kids, you know? Like make them awesome warriors too.
Toady:Yeah, and then you could have your little team, and they could go on adventures with you and you could carry the smallest one and just run in there ... Especially if you're a dwarf, you just strap them on and jump into it.
Rainseeker:Of course you could adopt, too, if you wanted to I guess.
Toady:Well yeah, adoption is one of the things the game sorely needs, right? Because there's all of these orphans ...
Rainseeker:They're everywhere.
Toady:People should help each other out. So yeah ... it'd be something that would be fun in adventure mode too, because then you'd have your little orphan, or your little orphanage, I guess just tell them all to work on your farm or whatever.
Rainseeker:You have an orphanage ... that'd be great.
Toady:Yeah, so that's it. The only other thing - I wrote down a few things - the only other thing I had written down for the adventurer legacy are the things that can already happen but they could be focused on a little bit more; things like statues and artwork and people naming their kids after you, that kind of stuff, which we've touched upon, I think, before, and already happens to some extent, the statues and artwork. So there are a lot of ways to leave a ... I guess what I was trying to focus on this time was a creative impact on the world rather than a destructive impact, because obviously there's the legacy of slain dragons and so on, and then there's the creative impact of making new entities, new sites, having artwork created about you, having a family and leaving more people behind than you were yourself. Then I guess there's impacts of change ... more of, say, an army arc or trading thing where stuff moves around or changes ownership and I suppose you could also, when we get the crafting beyond ... Like right now I guess you could leave a legacy of sharpened stones, but you'll be able to do better than that in terms of leaving things behind.
Rainseeker:'Yes, he was a legendary stone sharpener.'

Toady:That's right. So, yeah ... we can definitely improve on that. I guess that leads into ... The dwarf mode legacy is quite similar, because you're creating a new site and that's being left behind, and you're also creating a bunch of dwarves, and when you abandon a site all of those dwarves move somewhere, and they're all being left on site. You're trading goods around the world ... and creating artifacts; those especially are one of the main legacies that a dwarf fortress leaves behind. And then the analogue to ... I mean we've talked about it kind of a lot, but the analogue to retirement in adventure mode would be retiring your fortress, and I think we've gone over that a few times so we can skip it, but it is a very important thing, especially because you'd be able to be, say, the new capital of the whole dwarven kingdom ... when the monarch arrives, if you retired then that would be a huge geopolitical shift there, right, where whatever the old mountainhome was is now some little hamlet or something, or some ghost town, or just a large city without a king that used to have one, and you've got a new one ... So there's that ...
Rainseeker:Right, so we're thinking that we can retire fortresses and still have them be entities and still have them be technically active, the game considers them not ghost towns anymore?
Toady:Yeah, the part that we've probably spent the most time discussing is why there are technical hurdles to this, or whatever, so that's the part we'll bypass. But yeah, you'd be able to leave that active mark on your world and you can kind of spread out and cause migration or spread of the dwarven civilization over a few games and then it would actually stick, it wouldn't just be a litter of abandoned fortresses with a few monsters living in them or new places for goblins to live. But I guess that could be part of your legacy; when we get to the army arc decisions of, you know, why did the goblins attack your town? Right now it's because they triggered some kind of 'attack the town' event and then they don't stay there, but if they were attacking your town for a reason, moving over the map and then arriving at your town, then they presumably had some reason to attack your town and it might include staying there, and then you'd have caused that kind of political change to the landscape, where the goblins now have a new fortress that's quite powerful. So hopefully ... I mean some of these changes are coming in the shorter term, and some of them are farther off, but hopefully we'll start seeing some of this stuff ... like I was saying the kind of successiony thing will be the first non-negative changing we see in either of the modes, and that's not too far off now. Yeah, so I guess ... were there any other things about the legacy you guys wanted to talk about?
Rainseeker:Capn ...

Capntastic:I think that the way that the game's going to try and kind of guess what your characters and such ... what their goals are is going to be interesting, because I just imagine like some warrior adventurer who's like really ... you're playing him as a really nice guy and then he becomes the king or whatever and then you go retire him as the king and play some other dude, and then it turns out like 'Oh, your characters passing all these laws that are very evil and tyrannical; everyone has to give all their gold to him...'
Toady:Yeah, because it didn't properly judge where a character was coming from. I guess you can ...
Rainseeker:Well technically your character did hoard a lot of gold during his lifetime ...
Toady:That's true.
Capntastic:It's going to be skewed.
Toady:I remember there were those fighting games, like those boxing games or wherever where you can retire your character and then you can set their AI, it's like 'I want to fight like this' or whatever ... I guess sometimes they have it like that and sometimes they try and judge what you did, like did you throw the right jab most often, or did you skip that and just kind of run in and start slugging people; and it could be able to tell that by the percentages. So I think there will be certain low hanging fruit there, you know, if you went into town and killed people's dogs then that's something that it would be able to pick up on pretty easily ...
Rainseeker:'Hates dogs'.
Toady:Yeah. So there are things that it's going to be able to pick up on, and it can just look at the stats and you know if you've killed two hundred goblins - whether or not you were specifically targeting them - you wouldn't be shocked if you talked to your retired character and he was like 'You know, I really hate them goblins' or something, you know, that kind of thing. It's easy to pick up on certain things and certain overarching personality things are almost impossible to pick up on, especially if you've been role playing a certain way in your head that doesn't interact in any way with the game options available to you, if you thought of yourself a certain way ... if it turns out that there are a number of options like that that the retired character can take that are really important and there was no way for the game to arrive at what you intended then it could just give you a little questionnaire when you retire, optionally - you could just skip it or whatever - but if you want to have a little questionnaire saying 'When I retired I intended to live my life this way' or whatever, and it would just be your intention and that stated intention would be given weight by the game, I think.
Rainseeker:That would be cool.
Toady:You should probably get that option anyway, because even if you've been out ruthlessly killing people or whatever, when you retire it could be that you're like 'And then I realized the terrible things I had done and went off to live in the wilderness'. I think that that action of stating intent should be respected by the game more than anything, because that's what you intend for your character, and unless there's some actual obstacle, some tangible obstacle to that intent, then it should be respected.
Rainseeker:That would be kind of fun too, because you could introduce a lot of colorful characters that you maybe just played for an hour or two, and then like ...
Toady:Yeah, yeah. Then you'd be able to ... you could recruit half of them or whatever, and then you'd have this really interesting party of people that you understood and that the game understood how you understood, to some extent; it'd be awesome. That kind of thing would mix nicely with a world editor or whatever, just being able to create the kind of characters that you want, for people that want to reenact their favorite book or whatever, when we get to that. Because I mean it's the kind of thing that's just kind of sitting there waiting to be done, right? A site map editor or a world map editor that's better than the one we've got, and the reason I haven't done that or I haven't moved towards that at all is because I'm not sure what the character editor would be like or things like that, putting together the world that way; and because the world's changing so much it would just kind of be another anchor on the game making it slower to develop because you'd have to go back and look at the editor. But we're going to reach a certain point, when we start thinking about things like this, where it becomes very natural to add an editor that would already be tied into the intent of retirement, so it wouldn't actually be an anchor on the game because I'd have to change it anyway. If the editors ... Right now there's a name editor for naming your fortress and so that name editor always has to be kept up to date anyway, so that name editor can be used in the editing, in the actual world editing, so there's no loss there in terms of having a world editor. But the characters are different, like having a historical figure editor right now is a pretty heavy cost, but it wouldn't necessarily be, anyway.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)

Capntastic:Right now as it stands Dwarf Fortress is a fantasy world generator but currently it pretty much only generates kind of your Middle Earth kind of world, and I know a lot of people are looking forward to the future when you get these more bizarre alternate planes of fire and, you know, spirit realms and afterlives and just basically teleporting around through infinite layers of ... things.
Toady:That's right ... Even Middle Earth had that stuff, right? So we have ... we have the general idea of what we want to do in terms of other states of being, other realms of existence ... or whatever you want to call them: planes, dimensions ... and the main one we're going to start with is the afterlife, because it would just be amusing to die and then the game's not over and you pop up somewhere and then something happens to you. So the basic idea was that you'd be playing around and then you'd be running around in a world where it's generated other kinds of worlds, it's traditional to have a place where critters can be judged and either horrible things can happen to them or they just be obliterated, or there's a place where the dead are simply stored and they hang out there, or there's a place where people are actually awarded ... it's pretty broad to have that kind of delineation, and the exact nature of it is up for the game to decide, but it kind of fits into what we were talking about where it was judging your intent; now the game would be put in the position to judge what sort of person you were. Then you'd probably just immediately pop up in your place, you'd either just be wandering around some kind of landscape right when the final strike hits you, or you'd be standing before something that starts chastising you like the little bearded guy from Fantasy Empires ... tell you how horribly you played the game or whatever and that there's room for improvement but now it's too late.

Then it's a matter of what happens to you. If you're in a place when you're not completely trammeled by chains and people poking you with sticks and stuff, then you'd be able to probably speak to other historical figures, ones that you've seen before, you'd be able to - if there is a deity associated with it - you'd probably be able to talk to them, and I don't know if there'd be some kind of legends mode interface where the deity would be like 'Ask me any question' or whatever and then you could be like 'Yes, tell me about this' or 'Tell me about that' and then you have this sort of interaction with them, and it might include the option to reincarnate ... You might just, if you're in one of those places where the dead are stored, like at the bottom of some waterfall at the end of the world, you're just hanging out, then you might just have to retire. It's kind of funny, it's the same sort of retirement option: 'So I can retire in the afterlife' and then you can wait for someone to come rescue you, or you could return for a bit or you could ... there could be some kind of war going on that you could briefly appear and help with if someone asks that you intercede on your behalf or something; there could be events like that that happen. It's kind of weird to see how the timescale would work there ... Or you could just be stuck as a ghost, and we have plenty of ghosts ... it seems like something that our poor dwarves are stuck doing almost all the time if they aren't properly looked after, and as a dwarven adventurer you wouldn't be properly looked after almost all the time - dying off in the wilderness somewhere - so perhaps you'd be a ghost quite often.

It kind of leads to the dwarves themselves, when your fortress dies: since every historical figure in a universe that has an afterlife or a series of afterlives ... your whole fortress would also ... every single person in there would end up somewhere if you got flooded by magma or something. I don't think you'd ... when your fort is abandoned I'm not sure if you'd get to glimpse that ... the place where they all went, or if you would just have to go visit it with one of your dwarven adventurers to meet them, I'm kind of of two minds on that question. But it could do something like actually make a physical copy of your fortress but make it out of adamantine and stick it up in the ... wherever it is, and then they could kind of hang out there. It's the same problem as retiring of your fortress, of course, the liquids would probably be removed, and they would be hanging out there and you could go chat with them and however it works, and if we ever let you control one of your dwarves as an adventurer, like switching modes, then I guess you could activate one of your dead dwarves in the afterlife and then come and reincarnate or something ...

There are all kinds of things that could happen. It's really up to what's interesting and what are the most fun options. Now if you're just being ... we had this in Zach's most recent story where one of the characters was sent to the underworld and thrown in a pit of black liquid ... it was either boiling or not I don't remember ... If that happens to you - which would happen if you're one of those people who causes trouble running around, not just killing bandits and stuff but like going into people's homes and causing trouble for them - then you might end up glued to a wall with all kinds of things poking in you and then you don't really have many options other than retiring and hoping someone bothers to come down and rescue you, which might be possible. There's different kinds of ... I don't know if it's a bodily rescue or if they just can turn you into a ghost or something, but that's sort of the starting point with the otherworldly stuff and that necessitates a lot of thinking about how you get to planes, what kind of travel ... does your body travel there, is it just a kind of ghostly soul type form of you that travels there, if your ghostly soul type form travels there does it get a body on the other side or does it just remain inconsequential or intangible ... and are there other planes that aren't just for housing the dead or for the gods to live, are there other things ...

The whole elemental planes, I think, was kind of a very Dungeons and Dragons thing, I don't know if there was an earlier source than that, but ... so if that's not some kind of massive copyright infringement then that's a thing that people would like to have hanging around for whatever reason, but in general it just allows you to have an exotic world where ... it might be limited now to the most savage, evil, regions - which can have strange things going on in them, especially now with the new interactions, you can do all kinds of strange things in the places - but mostly that should probably be reserved to places that are actually in another world, and then you can add thing like the fairy lands and the shadow worlds, and all that kind of stuff. They're definitely going to be randomly generated, because that would be a trip, to create five or six places and then just connect them with random lines and random connections and see what happens, so that's our intent. We've already moved a little bit on this because we wanted to have it around for night creature interactions, that kind of thing, we were thinking we might want to start having this stuff around ... I don't know if anybody remembers the conversation crash that happened some months ago in one of the releases but that was actually be revamping the entire region code for the game to support multiple worlds, and then when you talk to a guy he was like 'Where am I?' and then it crashed. So we've made some steps towards being able to have multiple places to hang out ... It's a big project but it looks like it's doable, and it's just a matter of when do we want to do it. So it should be cool, I don't know what ... there's all kinds of specifics we could go into but I don't know if we'll talk about that now or later.
Capntastic:So with multiple worlds and stuff, that would be a great thing to eventually have ... like, as a curse, you just straight up get sent to a bad world ... you know, there's lots of rocks here and not much else. You make a mummy mad, and then that's what they do ...
Toady:Yeah, yeah ...
Capntastic:Maybe the mummy, even though the mummy's physical body is in a pyramid somewhere, his spirit and all that are in an afterlife world kind of zone and he's really powerful there, and then you make him mad and then he sends you there and then you have to deal with all that, you kind of have a Stargate thing going on ...
Toady:Yeah, just kind of hide under the boulders and eventually get the undead peasants to rise up against him in his own world or something. Yeah, yeah ... It really opens up all kinds of crazy things like that that could happen and it's like, we've thought about some of them, but obviously there's a zillion possibilities here that we haven't even touched upon or thought of that exist in literature and elsewhere that's just ... it should be a really powerful tool to have to be able to have extra places and there's all kinds of technical concerns about memory and all that kind of thing, I mean in general the other places wouldn't be as complicated as the main world, because the main world's already kind of pushing the computer a little hard ...
Rainseeker:Indeed, going through the wardrobe to find Narnia ..
Toady:... and Narnia would just be a smaller place, it would be a certain ... I mean, it doesn't have to be super small ... well, the one thing that's going to help it quite a bit is that most of these places probably won't be very deep, it's not like there's going to be three separate underground layers and then the lava underworld, all that kind of stuff. So you can do things like ... if you wanted to have a parallel universe in the sense that it has the same general topography to it then that could almost just be a variable on you or something, right? It's like 'I've entered this state of being' 'I've entered this state of being' but if you wanted to have different topographies so there could be ... maybe the landscape looks generally the same but in one parallel world that you can shift to there's a giant cliff and in one there isn't, then as long as those cliffs aren't too big you can actually store those worlds in the same memory just one sits above the other spatially but you can't get to them by getting up through the sky so they kind of just sit in the same place and it knows how they correspond to each other, because then you can have all kinds of stuff, like it could redo, say, how critters like the bogeymen work where they could be in the shadow dimension and then ... with the whole teleportation mechanic now that they've got could be them shifting in and out and you could also maybe learn to shift between them and they'd be stored in memory, so you could, if you wanted to hide something, you could shift to the shadow dimension and drop it and then shift back and just remember where you put it.

All kinds of things could happen with that kind of parallel mechanic and it's not something where you'd have to blow the memory out on your computer and there would just be ... doing an actual parallel world is kind of the same level of annoyance, perhaps, as adding the Z coordinate in terms of path finding and that kind of stuff, but it doesn't have to be as bad because there would be ... it's not an actual fourth coordinate so I don't have to change most of the code, I just have to have certain parts where they're thinking about it properly, so I don't think it's nearly as bad. Ones where it's just a portal or something, or that you can't normally travel to - like there's the one that you travel to when you die, there's the one you travel to when you sleep, that kind of stuff - that's easier to handle.
Rainseeker:There's the one you travel to when you eat magic mushrooms.
Toady:It's true, it's true. Maybe your soul travels there and your body is just sitting there unconscious, well not actually unconscious but just kind of rolling around in a stupor.
Capntastic:Maybe your body goes there and your soul stays here.
Toady:That's right, that's right ... That would be kind of annoying, that would be very annoying, wouldn't it? You eat it and then you're a ghost; your body is off laying against a beach somewhere, just kind of sitting there and you have to go find it.
Rainseeker:Maybe when you're a werewolf or werebeast your body stays and your soul goes someplace else into this dream world and you come back and ... 'What happened here?'
Capntastic:'Oh not again!'

Toady:I wanted to bring something up in particular, because it sounds like a very adventure mode thing, mainly, that we've been talking about here, with other places you can travel and what happens when you die and I kind of said, well, there might be some way to do a dwarf afterlife or whatever, and to at least teleport your fortress people there and check them out, but this can go well into dwarf mode as well. It's like right now we just have that kind of underworld thing which is physically located below where your dwarves are, but there could be all kinds of planar interactions that your dwarves have, some kind of weird shift into another dimension where you start mining some strange thing that when you go to a certain part of your fortress it shifts to a different map section ... You don't know it's shifting, but it would be located in a different part of memory and your dwarf would be kind of going off into the fifth dimension or whatever; there're all kinds of strange things that could happen down below, down near the underworld, and it could lead to some very interesting problems and ways of thinking about your fortress.

So as long as it doesn't have too many of those to keep in memory at a time - we've been thinking of just having slices of them - right now your main fortress is say, about two hundred by two hundred squares and then up and down it's about another hundred, or hundred and fifty, or whatever. That's a fair chunk of memory but if you added another twenty deep slice above that that's two hundred by two hundred that doesn't add a lot to the memory cost but it could be a whole new world, and then you can add several of those. Not that many, but a goodly amount. The only ones you need to do that for and the ones that are active all the time, so it could be very interesting in fort mode as well when your dwarves find themselves wandering through the wrong clump of trees and then you've got dwarves stuck in fairy land or whatever. Then you start chopping down the trees in fairy land, I guess, and trying to figure out a way to get the wood back ... causing trouble for the universe.
Rainseeker:That would piss off the elves for sure.
Toady:So there're all kinds of possibilities and that's why ... It's a thing that's pretty far removed from the typical concerns of caravan arcs and army arcs and combat arcs and so on, but it's another kind of power we want to have in the game, to be able to mess with stuff like that. I guess it basically holds the same place as night creatures in terms of something that'll find its way in, whether we like it or not, it'll just kind of come.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)

Rainseeker:Now it's that time of the show where we talk about your questions! Haha! We shall look at questions from a number of people. A really simple one I'd like to start with is from Agent, he asks, or she asks: 'What are your plans for savage biomes, can we expect deadly plants in the future?'
Toady:Well we should have deadly plants. I think you have to have deadly plants or it can't be a savage biome. Savage biomes should have giant dinosaurs and deadly traps ...
Rainseeker:Yeah, like big old Venus Flytraps.
Toady:... and giant trees that go up and up and up and up and up and up forever and ever, and then they've got deadly plants at the top and pterodactyls and stuff.
Rainseeker:Exactly. When's the dinosaur update coming out?
Toady:Yeah, I don't know what our policy is on calling something 'stegosaurus' or whatever, but certainly there should be giant beasts. Now, that's the most vanilla form of a savage biome, I think; one where the environment is incredibly dangerous and monstrous. Not monstrous in a negative sense, that's more of an evil biome thing, but monstrous in the large predator sense, and that you have to ... kind of like a psychotic sci-fi jungle place or whatever, right? Where things are out of control, as opposed to the evil biomes which definitely have a dark turn to them and the good biomes which have a fluffy happy turn to them, with the bunnies with lacy wings and stuff. But there's not a lot of specific plans, when we have giant versions of the beasts we throw them in the savage biome, and when we have animal mans we throw them in the savage biome, and when we have other large beasts we throw them in the savage biomes, but I think the person bringing up deadly plants is definitely a person that understands where they should go. Although I suppose we'll have to think about how deadly plants work; the problem with deadly plants is if they're not just poisonous they're kind of a cross between a creature and a shrub, right? So, do you give them full unit status or do you just have certain shrubs which, when you walk by them, can kind of lash out and attack you; I guess both could work. So that means ... it'll be interesting to see if, when we do the multi-tile rewrite, if that gives us further horrible ideas for deadly plants, deadly multi-tile giant trees, because the main problem with multi-tile creatures is the path finding, right? So, if you don't have to worry about the path finding because it's a plant - you know, and assuming it's not a walking plant, which it could be, but ... - if you have a giant multi-tile tree, the giant multi-tile tree can be like a dungeon of death itself by doing evil giant deadly plant things over multiple tiles and stuff so I think that sounds lot of fun, doesn't it ... or you just kind of die, I don't know if that's fun, but that's okay ...

Capntastic:Tim asks ... well basically he wants to hear your thoughts about the current difficulty of Dwarf Fortress, dwarf mode specifically, he says 'I'm interested in both the general consensus of the older versions being more difficult as well as more specific things that are seen as too hard or too easy in the game currently'. I suspect he means things like farming ...
Toady:Farming most likely, yeah ...
Capntastic:Yeah farming, and walling yourself up ...
Toady:Permanent flooding ...
Capntastic:All those fun things.
Toady:Yeah, I think there's definitely that ... farming is definitely one of the things that's gotten very easy, and especially with the hill dwarves ... I think when the hill dwarves go in farming is going to ... that'll be its time to become much more difficult. It's kind of strange to have a completely self-sufficient fort without some work; it should be work, instead of just having one dude that can go off and grow two hundred food without thinking about it. That doesn't square with any kind of reality, and any kind of interest or any kind of fun of any kind, so I think that's definitely one of the big things ... I think it's too easy in terms of attacks ... I'm not sure if attacks used to be any easier because traps have always been a spoiler for attacks and I think the main thing that's going to help there - and where I think that should be made more difficult - is in the difficulty of making traps, but not just the difficulty of making traps, but the fun of making traps. When traps are multi-tile, which is the main thing that's going to happen here, and you'll be able to think about and do many more horrible things ... they won't just be a little button that people step on and then die, but they'd be a button that people step on and then something is put into motion and then somebody dies, but then maybe it has to be reset every time or something, unless you've got a whole infrastructure invested to make it reset itself. But that should be something that you have to do, then it would be up to your own creativity in terms of defending your fortress, and we'll have to reevalute the difficulty level at that point. But if traps are larger, multi-tile, things, then they'd also be easier for people to stop once they've fallen for the first time because they could do things like dig through them or otherwise mess them up. There's the whole traditional notion of being able to disarm traps, and if siegers did that that would be quite a trouble, and it wouldn't even involve digging.

So farming, sieges, and I don't know if part of the difficulty increase has been in terms of things like you mentioned, like re-walling, which is stuff that just made sense to add that didn't exist before. Certainly the fluid mechanics have improved over what they were in the original game where you had to deal with all kinds of buggy flood issues that completely ruined your fortress and that certainly made it harder. But there were also interesting flooding effects; like the seasonal floods that made farming more interesting, and there was more of a threat ... when you had to progress to the right, you had more of a threat from the underground than I think currently exists. So I am for bringing all those things back, I mean it's not ... it happened that the way things went was the game became easier as new mechanics were added; I don't think that's a foregone conclusion, that it would have turned out that way, and it certainly wasn't driven completely by intent, to have the game become easier as we've added things. So the main retool is still a way off; when we do the preliminaries before ... like after the caravan stuff and before the army stuff is when we're doing the hill dwarf retooling of fort mode which is a big change. It should entirely revise the difficulty curve of the game; not necessarily making it all more difficult, but it'll completely change how the game is, especially if you have to appease those little guys out there without having them come in and be your biggest problem in terms of chopping you to bits. I think it'll really change how the game works and, well, I mean I've been cognizant these discussions that things are getting easier to a point where it's probably ... it's arguably much too easy at this point; especially for a game with a motto like 'Losing if fun' where losing is no longer ... once you become reasonably decent at the game losing is no longer even a consideration really, you can make do all the time. So ... yeah, anyway, the person wanted to hear my thoughts, I guess that's good enough, unless there was more you guys wanted to say.
Rainseeker:I actually have enjoyed losing when it's been in an interesting way, probably.
Toady:Yeah, that's the thing, that's the thing and I think when the game becomes ... if we were to, say, make sieges more interesting, that makes them more difficult but it also means that as long as there was something ... not necessarily something that you could have done, but something that you felt like you could have done before, or something, that you could do at that time ... you know, you felt like you had a chance, perhaps. There are some ways to make a foregone conclusion still an interesting and fun thing, but the thing, as in the first version, the demon timer that was just a timer for losing your game, that's obviously not compelling. I mean, there's a sense in which we wanted to ... we were thinking about the game differently at that time; we wanted to end the game and then have an adventurer go in and have an adventure in there but those modes have diverged a bit, so it certainly makes sense to have gotten rid of the mechanic there. But in any case ... yeah, there we go, there goes the train of thought, down into the ravine ... Whoooooooo... (sfx vox: explosion)

Rainseeker:Question here from Gorobay, he asks: 'If befoulment, as in Threetoe's story Forest Befouled, will be an interaction?'
Toady:Well that was a pretty messed up story if I remember that ending there, where the poor ... there were various dead things ... Yeah, so it kind of leads to the main overall question, like 'Where did these evil regions come from?' Some of them probably started out that way, but ... they obviously have to arise during play, I think, because that would be very interesting if you've got some kind of evil thing sweeping over the landscape or some horrifying event that happened that caused a whole place to turn corrupted in some way. So there are various ways to consider it and if he means would befoulment be an interaction in the sense of interactions ... he must be talking about interactions as we've been talking about them, as in a kind of magical effect that changes the world, and I think that's the best way to do it, because it's either that or it's some kind of scripted thing that says 'This region became evil' which is kind of how they're made now right at the beginning of the world; it just picks some regions and makes some evil.

But if it has internal consistency to it then it can lead to all sorts of interesting things as ... you know, it's kind of how we've strived to make all of our mechanics so that they all lock together, so if there's an interaction somehow, like if you take the evil thing example, that some horrifying thing happens - I mean there would have to be some kind of like 'How horrible is this event?' meter; in that story I don't remember quite what it was but it was bad, what happened in the water, there was something very bad that happened in the water in that story, that you are welcome to read - and that would count as ... The game should be able to recognize - especially if its matters of life and death, it's the easiest thing to recognize - 'Something bad just happened to a bunch of innocent critters' and that means that the interaction ... what I was getting at is that the interaction, then, there could be a regional interaction that has a trigger of something happening - there might have to be other conditions because you don't want it to happen necessarily all the time - but if something horrifying happens, whether or not it's a specific sacrifice or just some bad event, then what it could do is call down the effect with the target being the region, and the effect would be some kind of evilification procedure. Then that would go ahead and happen and what that would do would be to put evil regions on the same footing as cursed individuals, meaning that there would be a rhyme and reason now to what's happening, and I think that's definitely how it's going to go when we finally do answer the question about where all these evil regions came from; there are going to be procedures by which they're generated.

I think ... it's not just that, right? There could be ones that still are starting as evil regions because I think that's also a traditional way of doing things; 'This place is bad, it's always been bad, and no one asks why' and there is no why, right, there's just a bad area, but it's more interesting when there's a story behind it so generally I think that's how it'll actually go. We've already got some regional effects that are the region acting on people in the region, like something that ... you could make an evil region that gives you blisters or make an evil region that curses you for the rest of your life so that you can never perform a skill roll again, which is bad news, so you wouldn't go there. But the regions ... it isn't in now, but the region could just as easily be a target for that kind of thing, it's just the sort of thing that needs the will to push through the couple or three days it takes to do it, and that's it. Hopefully that answers the question ...

Rainseeker:Thanks for joining us for another Dwarf Fortress Talk. This was Rainseeker along with Capntastic and our illustrious leader Tarn Adams.
Capntastic:Thank you for allowing us into your lives.
Rainseeker:We really appreciate it. We'd also like to thank a number of people. Tarn, would you do the honors?
Toady:Yes, we would like to thank everybody that asked questions, whether they were read or not, and we'll continue slowly picking some and going through them ... So thanks to everybody that asked questions, there's a forum thread that's linked from the Dwarf Fortress Talk page where you can see how to ask questions. We'd like to thank Ollieh for providing music, and we'd like to thank Emily Menendez for providing music. We'd like to thank mallocks for writing up a transcript and going through all of the rambling and faithfully rendering sound effects and so on ... all the trouble that mallocks has to go through, and ... well, we've been bringing up that you can in fact contribute and support Dwarf Fortress, there's information on the Bay 12 Games page and it's nice when people keep us going, and we give you little prizes; we can write stories ... Zach will write you a story, a unique story, your own story, you can even make requests, and we've been sending out crayon pictures to people. We just drew up forty five crayon pictures last week ... that was a project, we had extra help in the family come and judge them and arrange them in their proper order and say which ones they liked and so on ... We even had one that we ripped into little pieces and threw away. So, we did a lot of work drawing those up and we should get them sent out, and you can have you own! People make all kinds of requests and stuff, we can have ...
Rainseeker:Yeah, I have my own!
Toady:Yeah, yeah, it's fun times. And Rainseeker is working on rattownstories.com, there'll be a link up somewhere, and that is his webcomic.
Rainseeker:Yeah, check it out. It's hilarious!
Toady:And Capntastic is at peace.
Toady:Ommm ...
Rainseeker:Ommm ...
Toady:Ommm ...
Rainseeker:Ommm ... We really appreciate you guys coming and listening, and it's been really fun, we had a really good time at our little Dwarf Fortress get together. Hopefully we'll do one next year, maybe, maybe ... maybe. We don't know any details but if someone wants to start thinking about it, you're more than welcome to ... I don't have to do it again. I don't have to, but ... Anyway, I guess that's it, thanks guys.
Capntastic:Thank you!
Toady:Okay, yep. Till next time!
Capntastic:Have fun!
Ollieh:(musical postlude)