Dwarf Fortress Talk #3, with Rainseeker, Capntastic and Toady One, transcribed by mallocks

1. Animal peoples.
    1a. Are the animal people going to be like animals?
    1b. Aggressive goals of underground animal peoples.
    1c. Do you enjoy it when people lose tragically?
    1d. Dwarven detection skills. (spoilers within)
    1e. Underground titans.
        1e.1. Personal histories.
        1e.2. Habitats.
        1e.3. Population sizes.
        1e.4. Material limits.
    1f. Realism of cave entrances.
2. The underground.
    2a. Aquifers versus the underground.
    2b. What do you think is the most exciting thing about the new underground stuff?
    2c. Will an adventurer be able to go into the underground realms?
    2d. Accessibility of the underground.
    2e. Layers of the underground.
3. What are the specs of your own computer? How well does the game perform?
4. Relations between the underground animal men and the aboveground animal men.
5. How do you see the balance of simulation versus game play playing out in adventure mode?
6. Will the environment a dwarf is raised in affect what they like/dislike?
7. Will creatures aging affect their abilities?
    7a. Longevity of elves.
8. Dwarven stronghold tunnels in fortress mode.
9. How do you motivate yourself to get working?
10. Managing interactions between different religious, family, and guild factions.
11. What board games do you like?

Rainseeker:Hey everybody, welcome to Dwarf Fortress Talk. I'm Rainseeker and this is Capntastic.
Rainseeker:And Toady One.
Rainseeker:Hey. Great intro!
Toady:That's right, I'm on top of it.
Capntastic:Feel the power!
Rainseeker:We are back with you guys, and we enjoyed your comments and questions over the last month. We're going to be doing questions over the second half of the show.[1]First half we're going to be talking about the underground; mysteries of the underground: animal man kingdoms, or to be PC animal people kingdoms.
Toady:They really are the animal peoples, that's true.
Capntastic:It's animal people - smash the patriarchy.
Toady:Yeah, I mean there's hardly any antmen in an antman kingdom. They've got wings too, probably, if they're like regular ants.
Rainseeker:That's a good question; [1a]are your animal people going to be like animals - behave like animals - or are they going to be like they are know, kind of tribal?
Toady:They're going to be even more advanced really, than they were before. There was this 2D level of advancement back in the old versions where you had batmen flying on tame giant bats with blowguns that were made out of cave spider legs that had cave spider venom on little darts and stuff, and then we moved into the 3D version and I lost some of my ties to the underground there and so I had to drop all that. Then they just became these savage, rarely encountered monsters, and it was kind of boring. Now we're going back to having the animal peoples; at least the underground animal peoples like batmen and the snakemen and lizardmen and ratmen and ... is that it? Rats bats snakes and lizards? Olms, that's right olmmen.
Capntastic:I think there are slugmen too.
Toady:Yeah, are slugmen in the savage swamps? There's slugmen, tigermen, leechmen and snailmen outside, and there's going to be more animal peoples outside over time and they're probably going to use slightly different rules that the underground ones. The underground ones just because they're underground are going to be more evil in a sense and at least a little more civilized also with their little weapons and things. The aboveground ones were supposed to be a bit more at harmony with the overall nature and forest spirits and so on. Although this is one of those things that hasn't quite gelled yet. In any case for the underground this time around there's going to be little groups of creatures: they can attack your fortress, you can bump into them in adventure mode with their little crude weapons and they're probably going to be riding various cave critters and so on. So it should hearken back a bit to when the underground was more challenging for that reason, for having to deal with ... I remember back in the 2D version you'd have ratmen pour out of the chasm and snakemen come up out of your wells and stuff; that was a lot more entertaining than digging into the mountain and finding a really packed river that just has a bunch of garbage in it, which is how it works in the current 3D version; it's very tragic. But now that the underground is world-spanning you have edges of the map, and once you've got edges of the map to work with then it isn't a problem that you don't have these infinite bottomless squares that I was able to exploit in the 2D version. In the 3D version you can't exploit them in the same way - in the 2D version if you had a bottomless pit it would have access to floor squares next to it so you could have a ratman just jump out - but in the 3D version you'd have an actual deep pit with some infinite tiles at the bottom and you can't really have a ratman jump out of those because he'd just fall back, and be dead. So now we've got edges of the map for them to walk in on a floor, and once we've got these floors plus access off map suddenly it's a lot easier to make legitimate spawning that doesn't just feel like 'hey, here's a random creature'; which is something that we don't ever do. Right now every creature comes from somewhere; it comes from some edge or comes from some place. If you're suddenly attacked by a monster, even in the current version it means that it made it there, it didn't just pop up; it made it on an actual path from some edge of the map. Even if it's deep inside your fortress it means that you left some hole open for it to get in; it's going to be the same in this one except they're going to have a lot more access points once you break into a cave underground.
Rainseeker:[1b]So once you break into a cave, what is their goal going to be?
Toady:It depends on what you've got. So if we're talking about animal peoples, the animal peoples don't really have much more of a brain than they used to, and they're just bent on causing as much trouble as they can, violently, to your poor critters. I don't have a notion of them coming in there as kind of a raiding party, but it's possible that could happen, like the ratmen, if they're converted into food and item raiders - which would be kind of fitting their personality, although then they'd end up a lot like the kobalds - that's quite possible. Right now it's all about just killing as many dwarves as they can before they sneak back off. But we'll also have the return of gremlins for instance, if nobody remembers the gremlin it's because their profile in 3D shrank down to basically nothing whereas in 2D they were a lot more fun, coming in and - if you don't remember them you should block out your ears for about fifteen seconds - but the gremlin would come in and it would pull levers, jump on pressure plates, release animals from chains and release animals from cages, and it would be hidden, so you wouldn't notice it until it announced that something horrible happened. It's another problem that can sneak in from below that's a lot of fun to deal with.
Rainseeker:Don't monkeys and other primates do that as well? Like use levers and stuff?
Toady:Not in our game, I don't know if they can be trained to do that in labs and things; I'm sure they can. But no monster but the gremlin has the mischievous tag on it; monkeys right now they'll come and steal your stuff from you, they'll steal your food, they'll steal your items and they'll generally harass you and surround your camp, especially in the beginning when they're most troublesome, but the gremlin is particularly set up to case mechanical chaos in your fortress.
Rainseeker:Especially if you have a flood mechanism, boy.
Toady:Yeah, there are important levers, and you used to have to care about that; you used to have to station guards at levers or something like that to prevent trouble, but that just hasn't been the case for more than a year now ... or a couple of years, and that's not good, we need to bring trouble back to the fortress. Because it was always one of my greatest kicks, looking at the forum and someone was like 'It said someone has pulled a lever! Then my whole fortress was flooded!' or whatever; and I enjoy that kind of thing, I enjoy it when that happens, because it's not a bug it's just something horrible that happened.
Rainseeker:[1c]So do you enjoy it when people lose tragically?
Toady:Yeah! It's great fun ...
Capntastic:Yeah, that's the point of the game.
Toady:Yeah, I mean if it's a bug or something, that's another story; that's always miserable, but if there's actual trouble that came about through some series of game mechanics and player mistakes or even a random event; that's good, I like that, and I don't think ... I mean, it's just part of the idea of the game is losing to further the richness of the world; we're only getting started on actually having that matter, but I always want to have that be a centrepiece, so adding more ways for people to die and to have fun losing is going to be a continued theme here, even after this release. I mean I'm going to get right to improved sieges after this and that's going to have ... we talked about those before. It's just the same thing again, right? From within and from without your fortress is going to be squeezed, I mean you can shut it all off in the init if you just want to have a peaceful time making your mega-constructions and so on, but if you want to play something that feels more like an active universe, or an active fantasy world or whatever, where there's a bit of torment and a bit of trouble, then there's going to be plenty, even in this next release, and then continuing on after that even more.
Rainseeker:So we're going to have dwarves now saying 'Ach! You! Stay away from that lever!'?
Toady:Well they usually don't notice before it's too late, but I think that would surprise gremlin, it might pause a few turns.
Rainseeker:[1d]Can you have these gremlins be noticed by dwarves if they have skill high enough?
Toady:Yeah, there's actually a new skill for that. Before spotting a sneaking creature was difficult and you pretty much had to have them in the same square. But now as they're on duty looking out for people more and as they spot people like this they practice their situational awareness which will increase their range and ability to spot little critters. Of course the gremlin is pretty good at sneaking around, so having some passive defences like locked doors and so on protecting the levers [might] help although it's quite possible that the gremlin can pick locks. Oh we have Mr Scamps, [he] came down from his tree to visit. Hopefully he will be peaceful, we're going with the not locking him out method this time so that he doesn't add his meow soundtrack, but that means that he's an ever-present danger lurking in the room.
Capntastic:Jumping up on your levers and such.
Toady:Yeah, jumping up on me and scratching me and so on. He's generally friendly but he likes to scratch from behind when you're sitting in a chair, he likes to go up and just whack you and run away.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Rainseeker:[1e]So Tarn let's talk about some about of those titans that are going to be coming in through the underground.
Capntastic:Forgotten beasts.
Toady:That's right.
Rainseeker:I like your vomit creature.
Toady:The vomit wambler. It's got a round shell! Someone called it an oyster. I personally am of that opinion as well, I don't like oysters that much. The thing about a vomit creature is ... you have to wonder who ate the food that made it but it's kind of a frightening thing. I've expressed reservations about it but as of now it is still a creature in the game. Anything can be composed of vomit, or glass, [or] mud; and it also dips into the raw files and picks out any of your rocks or metals. Right now it leaves out the super metals like adamantine or whatever, just for the sake of not making the creatures impossible. But it's still there.
Rainseeker:So an alligator without its skin on as opposed to a lobster with iron skin; those would be different difficulties basically is what you're saying.
Toady:Right now it doesn't even bother trying to assess the difficulty because it assumes that these megabeasts; they are classed with the megabeasts that come from underground. They're supposed to be the ultimate challenges of the game, so it just tosses them at you. Especially when we start getting to random creatures that aren't individual megabeasts but are supposed to be a whole species of creatures in a population - which is not going in for this time, but it's where we're heading - then we'll have to probably gauge a little bit if they should be a little deeper or if they should be way out in the savage wilderness or something like that, rather than just wandering the plains with a giant steel twenty foot tall monster. That kind of makes the place savage by definition; there shouldn't be a lot of cities there. We're slowly easing our way into this process, but it's yet another thing to make the underground difficult, or more interesting, as it were.
Rainseeker:[1e.1]Are these guys going to have histories and stuff? Like 'this guy was born under a cursed moon in the year four' ...
Toady:They are created at the beginning of world generation, and as we mentioned last time I think, you have the titans aboveground, which are randomly generated, aboveground creatures which are oriented towards a particular region. So right now as it stands in the code if you've got a titan in a neutral region it just makes a new big monster that isn't particularly disgusting - it keeps its skin on and so on, it doesn't strip its skin off and strip its nose off or whatever and do sick things to it - but it's just like a large creature; and then in the evil regions it does more twisted stuff to them; and then in the good regions right now all it does is avoid making it a carrion animal or something, so it's not like the big happy vulture of love, but it avoids carrion animal which is sort of a biased thing but I thought it was okay, and scary venomous animals, and it also gives them a sentence that has no meaning in their description that makes them sound like they're a contemplative or good creature. The last good titan I looked at was a giant shrimp with hair, it had purple hair or maroon hair, and a long swinging trunk - so it was like a shrimp version of Snuffleupagus or something - and it said that it emenated an aura of giving and kindness, so even more like Snuffy.
Capntastic:Ah what a cute ...
Toady:Yeah, so it's just a happy big shrimp that's lovable and lived in a good ocean or something.
Capntastic:Does it kill you on sight or are they neutral yet?
Toady:There is a thing in the note that says that they shouldn't kill you on sight. But right now ...
Capntastic:It generates an aura of kindness and it will snip your head off ...
Toady:But right now it kills you. There's a note to take that out ...
Capntastic:[1e.2]Will they have lairs and habitats, like 'oh, here's a ring of rocks and this is where it makes its nest'?
Toady:Right now they would all just be stuck in caves like regular megabeasts - the ones on the outside - and we of course want to do more with that, especially for the good ones; because just putting Snuffleupagus in a cave is kind of cruel, like some kind of cave mammoth. But right now they're the same as ever, I'm not sure if we'll change that this time or not; it's going to be one of those things where it's time-based and we're out of time. But we're thought about that a little bit, like what kind of homes each of the megabeasts should have. Even [with] the regular stock megabeasts, putting them all in caves is a little weird. Things like giants ... I guess giants live in caves, but maybe they shouldn't live in caves. And those are the above ground ones, I don't even remember what the original point was but I was also going to talk about the underground ones, but they all get ... there's the kind of good/evil/normal titans above ground and all of the ones that live underground ... yeah we were talking about histories. So the ones that live aboveground are treated like regular megabeasts, so if you have an evil or normal titan they will occasionally go on the rampage like they do during regular world generation and so in that way they can build up a history for themselves. There isn't an explanation of why they're there, we haven't gotten to mythologies to so on and whether or not gods exist and when the religions popped up and so on. We do have those religions popping up for the megabeasts but as for the normal pantheons and so on, they don't have any explanation, and the beasts are the same way. Right now the forgotten beasts, the reason we named them forgotten beasts is so that we could not give them histories ... they're forgotten you know? They don't have histories. But they're generated at the beginning of world generation and just sit there, so theoretically they could be given histories as well in the future.
Rainseeker:When you say they sit there, do they generate more of themselves? Or are they just like, you've got a certain number and that's it.
Toady:Yeah it's just like megabeasts, there's a certain number ... Like there's a certain number of titans in the world, there's a certain number of forgotten beasts. There's many more forgotten beasts because you'll clear them out not super fast, but not give them histories ... they're forgotten you know? They don't have histories. But they're generated at the beginning of world generation and just sit there, so theoretically they could be given histories as well in the future.
Rainseeker:[1e.3]When you say they sit there, do they generate more of themselves? Or are they just like, you've got a certain number and that's it.
Toady:Yeah it's just like megabeasts, there's a certain number ... Like there's a certain number of titans in the world, there's a certain number of forgotten beasts. There's many more forgotten beasts because you'll clear them out not super fast, but you'll clear them out fairly quickly as you dig fortresses throughout your world and bump into the layers. There's a forgotten beast per layer right now. That's quite a few layers because the underground is huge so I think a smaller world which is thirty three by thirty three would have a couple dozen forgotten beasts and ... I can give you the exact number in a second ... twenty seven. So there's quite a few, but they don't really have histories, whereas a world that size would only have, say, a single titan in it because there's just not a lot of space for them. And there would also be the standard four megabeasts as well, you have a dragon and that kind of thing. So there're plenty of little critters running around and if you're in the largest worlds there're hundreds and hundreds of forgotten beasts and dozens of titans and then on top of that is the even more Hidden Fun Stuff which I'm not really going to spoil. But the actual Hidden Fun Stuff people talk about - the kind of game ending stuff when you dig down to the bottom - that's all changed as well; there are some random elements down there as well in terms of critters. It should be cool, lots of new little random critters and pain and suffering when you go down below. Stuff you guys deserve.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Capntastic:[1f]Concerning cave entrances like for the megabeasts - I just know this from adventure mode - when you're sent to go kill a dragon or something you go to the area where the cave is and the entrance is just like a hole in the ground, is that going to be changed eventually/soon? Where it's like it's actually a cave? I mean I'm sure it's going to be eventually ...
Toady:When cliffs come back - when we get a notion of a cliff as an external feature - the problem with cliffs coming back was that you didn't have a way to climb, they were everywhere and you didn't have a way to climb in adventure mode. But cliffs can start to come back first probably as external features, just like the lava and so on, like lava and bottomless pits used to be these features underground, there are going to be special features above ground where you have a bit more interesting things that it also can have a handle on so it doesn't just put them everywhere and at that time you can start to think about a cave entrance that looks more interesting. The problem was that there's no real sheer faces to make a cave entrance look more like you'd expect a cave entrance to look like, so it just has to dig down, right? It has to dig in the dirt until it gets a cave entrance for you, which is really disappointing because you go and they all look like these little pits. So it's something we want to change but it's something that has an intermediate step that needs to go in first and I'm not sure when the aboveground thing ... when we put in things like canyons and mesas and other interesting constructions aboveground.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Rainseeker:[1e.4]So there's no poo creatures either?
Toady:It was a close thing! Because it was literally a decision I had to make, going down this list, because in the Hidden Fun Stuff of course if you get the tentacle demons then you get a layer scattered with various filth on the ground; and there's brown filth and yellow filth and so on and it's not clearly stated but it's a material that I had to put in properties for right? So there's these hard-coded filth materials, and when I was going down the list, you know 'Do I want creatures made out of mud? Do I want creatures made out of vomit? Do I want creatures made out of glass?', there's all these hard-coded materials, and I was just like 'Yeah, yeah, yeah ... No ... No ...' on the filth. But there are creatures made out of the grime, and the grime material is the material that collects on your body slowly over time, and it's also the material that's used in swamp water, so there's this ... I just needed this material called 'grime' for these miscellaneous purposes, it's just crap, just stuff that collects over time and when a creature is made out of that it just says 'composed of grime and filth'. So if you want to call that 'poo' even though it's not it's possible for you to extend your imagination.
Rainseeker:What about an infection? Can you get infection material?
Toady:There's no actual microbes at this time, the grime is the closest you can get to that because as your grime increases on your body - it slowly collects over time, and you can wash it off most of the way with water and the rest of the way if you use soap - and the grime material highly increases your chance of infection; it's just the filth and so on that collects on your body. That's the closest we've got to actually being ... I mean like having a giant blob of bacteria or something that's currently supported although you could have a blob of like slime that could use the slime tissue template, and in the same way you could have generic blobs of muscles or whatever; I don't think I have that but these are possibilities for exploration.
Capntastic:So you could have something made of bone, just describe it as 'something made of bone'.
Toady:Yeah, using the templates, that's right. You can use bone, skin, fat ... a big fat blob with a tail or something. It's always interesting when it puts things like shells on the blob; it's always cute when it's like 'this is a big mass of coal ... and it has a tail!' Sounds very cute having these little ... I mean they're all huge monsters, but they can have little tails, or little wings.
Rainseeker:It's here to avenge the death of thousands and thousands of little pieces of coal.
Toady:That's right, that's right; and the trees and so on that were burned to make them; so it's like a big elf ... big, dirty elf.
Rainseeker:Well elves are dirty too, right? They don't use soap.
Capntastic:Are they magically immune to grime?
Toady:Right now they would just get kind of nasty; they can wash themselves with water to get their grime level from seven to three, but to get down below they'd have to break all of their principles and so on, unless they can find some kind of material that has the soap tags on it that isn't actually made out of an animal.
Rainseeker:Can you use sand, maybe? I mean that's what we used to do.
Toady:You can't do it now, but you're welcome to explore these kinds of things. I don't know much about historical uses of sand like that, all I can see is the animals like elephants dusting themselves and so on; taking baths like that. I don't know much about the mechanics there. Because they seem to always come out dirtier, maybe it's useful for them ... of course it is, but I don't know quite what's going on there.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Toady:Oh god I've got a little baby cat in my lap now. He's wandered over here, he jumped down from the cat tree and wandered over to my lap, he managed to put the mouse on the ground.
Rainseeker:[2a]So, Tarn, what's going to happen with the aquifer layer, with the new underground caves?
Toady:So, the aquifer's still there, much to people's eternal disgust. I haven't quite knocked the geology out of me yet to get rid of the aquifer. But it's just like the regular features in the current version - you've got bottomless pits and so on in the currently released version - and those, at least if things are working correctly, won't interact with the aquifer when you start the map, it puts this dead zone around them so that the aquifer doesn't immediately start pouring into those and mess up your CPU and so on. In the same way if you've got an aquifer running through the soil layers on a map when you start it will be separated from the underground caverns. Now that still means that you'd have a really hard time punching through it and once you punch through it you'd probably start flooding the underground, but the flooding of the underground ... if it lands in some water and so on - and there's quite a bit of water underground - it shouldn't flood the entire cavern. And because there are things like underground lakes and so on ... Flooding the underground's always going to be this lingering or looming threat anyway, aquifer or not. I'm not quite sure how that should be handled in the end, because people definitely want to have water underground, things like lakes and rivers and so on but as you can always channel that down and flood the deeper areas there's sort of a problem with that, in terms of thinking attacking from below and so on. We've thought a bit of it through in terms of the really deep underground stuff being able to work around that a bit, and with the siege improvements we'll probably be working with that a bit more but right now it's still going to be a problem but not really more of a problem than it already was.
Capntastic:[2b]What do you think is the most exciting thing about the new underground stuff?
Toady:For me, I kind of like exploration and things, I like that a lot, and I think just the fact that - especially if you haven't played the game before, but even if you have - when you break into the underground, the fact that it's not like it was before where it suddenly breaks out and reveals the entire area so you'd suddenly see the entire cave when you break into a hidden area. Now that there's this - I guess you'd call it a fog of war thing, it's kind of like that - it's just this area around each dwarf as it walks that's ... it's not really CPU expensive, so it's not giving a perfectly accurate picture ... but it's just when a dwarf gets near to the boundary of the unexplored area it explores a bit more of it for you; but just being able to explore out through the cave like that's pretty exciting for me, especially as we add more and more underground features so you can actually find a new place and it's something that you're bumping into and then the monsters will be able to flow in from places you can't see, through the boundaries of the explored area and so on. I think that's all going to be really cool. I really like the random creatures too, that's another thing that's really a lot of fun for me to work on. But those kind of things I guess.
Rainseeker:I'm trying to come up with a strategy to actually be able to go down and get minerals without being destroyed.
Capntastic:Use magma and traps.
Toady:Traps are still cheap, it's true. There's always going to be these problems, like if you're digging down and you break into a new area, if your first inclination is to go in with wall-building dwarves and just wall it off, that might be safe but it's a problem from an overall design perspective if when you hit the exciting areas the first reaction is just like 'AAARGH!' and just bottling yourself up and so in, instead of a risk vs reward system; there should be reasons to go in there and right now we've got things like mushroom forests and so on which would be easily accessible wood, if you're going to attacked by ...
Toady:That's the kind of thing where we're eventually going to need to bring in some more of this fantasy crap, right like utter crap, like 'here's a big buried underground temple with some ghosts and stuff and it's got golden swords and giant chests' and it's just there. It would be preferable to have reasons for it to be there but there are plenty of reasons you can come up with, right? So it's not like it's breaking the fact that we have this holistic world thing going on if we throw in some crap, as long as the crap has a reason to be there; and it would make it more fun to dig underground. But right now it still has a sort of naturalistic type of feel to it where there's ... it's like new biomes and things; there's not a lot of super-weird - unless you count a blob of vomit with a shell as super weird, which you probably should - there's not a lot of super-weird stuff down there in terms of forgotten civilised stuff. We're not against that by any means, it's just harder to add. (aside to Scamps) What are you doing Mr. Cat? (singing) Mr. Cat likes to chew on the finger, Mr. Cat's got claws and teeth. (end aside)
Rainseeker:[2c]I don't know if this has been answered yet, I've probably asked it and I'm sure other people have asked it; but will an adventurer be able to go into the underground realms and rampage across the underworld?
Toady:Adventure mode gets shafted all the time, right? Adventure mode just gets worse and worse, basically. Adventure mode's basically unplayable now. It was slightly playable in 2D I think; more so than it is now. So we're going to take some time - next month most likely - to rectify that situation somewhat. The idea is that the caves - whereas a cave used to be an annoying place disconnected from everything else that was just like winding tunnels where you try and search for a giant and not find it, that used to be what a cave was ...
Capntastic:And you'd get messages of it crushing your friend's heads ...
Toady:Yeah, it's really bad. While it still will probably be difficult to find individuals, the caves will at least more than likely connect into the underground layers, and when they connect down into the underground layers then that gives your adventurer more to do down there - Aargh! That was the cat, by the way, causing trouble - especially if the new entities associated to the animal peoples are realised with little things. Now we're kind of in between on deciding the properties of the animal people entities in terms of, you know 'Do they rove around with camps? Do they have permanent settlements?' So mostly they'll be attacking you from the edge when you're in dwarf mode; in adventure mode you might find a few more things that we throw in around and about down there. That should add some more for you to do; without the amazing forgotten temples and so on there's not going to be a lot of looting for adventurers to do. But it leaves something to do down there, and also we're going to tie caves into the actual Super Hidden Fun Stuff in terms of allowing an adventurer to go down and encounter troubles that are beyond their ability to handle; with some interesting fun and good times ... and restarting your game after you get wasted.
Rainseeker:So the way I understand it is that you can dig down into a cavern; [2d]how many tiles is it below the initial surface? Is there a set, or is it [a] random number?
Toady:It's a bit randomised; I think it's in general - after you account for the soil layers and so on - below the soil you might have two to five; something like that. So you can pretty much count on, if you want to make a shallow fort, you can count on being able to do that without a lot of difficulty if there's no caves around. Once you dig below that then as the settings are currently set, and what will probably be the default setting, is [that] you'll pretty much always hit something after that. You'll have room to build your fort but you'll have to explore the caves around it a little bit to see which directions you might have to turn and so on. Whereas if you're more of an architect type of player that doesn't really want to deal with that crap messing up your perfect designs and so on, I know a lot of people are like that; there will be at least generation parameters available to - not necessarily, I mean you can shut it off entirely if you want, if you just want to have nothing down there and just dig around and so on that's fine - or you can just dial it back a bit so there's not huge huge open caverns everywhere and so on. I think it's good for the default settings to have a lot of encounters with the underground because it just makes the game more lively, and I think lively default settings are good.
Rainseeker:[2e]And are there multiple layers of undergrounds?
Toady:Right now it's set so that you've always got three; you've got a couple [of] regular layers and then you've got down at the bottom you can pretty much be assured to find some magma and stuff down there. You don't have to fish around for the perfect magma map in general, or always start out next to a volcano. The benefit of starting out next to a volcano would be immediate access to magma, instead of magma that you have to ward off three layers worth of underground creatures to set up a single workshop.
Rainseeker:That's awesome, though.
Toady:Yeah there should be cool stuff down there, and even more of course as you get down at the very bottom.
Rainseeker:I wouldn't mind - I'm kind of a conservative player myself - but I wouldn't mind dealing with first levels of critters attacking me if it progressed like the top being easier then the middle being a little harder and the bottom being the hardest.
Toady:Yeah there's going to be some progression, which is a concept we lost almost entirely in the move from 2 to 3D. It'll be coming back, a notion of progression. It shouldn't be entirely artificial because there are some in-universe reasons for going down to [the] bad, which people are more or less aware of right? [That] there's bad things down there? And that that has a corrupting influence on your animal peoples and so on. So you'll find worse things down ... So you can kind of control your level of threat; it's not going to quite as stark as it was in 2D where you knew that you had; 'this vertical strip, I can dig out my fortress; this vertical strip has the river; this vertical strip, I can dig out my fortress; this vertical strip has the chasm; this vertical strip, I can dig out my fortress; this vertical strip has the lava' and so on. It's not quite that straightforward but there is a feeling of ... you'll kind of get a feel for the places where you can dig out your fortress I think. You'll have a notion of that; it'll occasionally be interrupted but mostly okay. Which is probably how it should be, you should kind of be able to spread out how you want, but occasionally have little hiccups in your plan. The overall variability of the features right now is basically 'How mushroom jungle-y is it? How wet is it?' and I'm going to be throwing in some more features like stalactite-y [and] stalagmite-y curtain-y type things down there to make the caves seem a little more cave like. Overall I think the proponents of the underground diversity thread where they went crazy with all kinds of different things that you might expect in a fantasy underground ... overall it's not going to be a very heavy coverage of that, there's just not enough time to do that yet but we're going to be slowly adding more and more things over time; it's not like this is the end of the story by any means.
Rainseeker:Okay so let's take a break, we'll play some cleansing music here and we will come back with some questions from the forums. Mwahahaha ...
Unattrib.:(musical interlude)
Capntastic:Welcome back to Dwarf [Fortress] Talk. We're going to answer some of the community's most burning questions. First up, Darkerson [3]'What are the specs of your own computer (Operating system, RAM, CPU etcetera) and how well does the game perform for yourself?
Toady:Eh it performs alright. I'm on a quad-core - I don't remember if it's like 3 [Gigahertz] or something - I got it recently, it was $400. It's pretty good, it's got one of those ... what are the crappy video cards called? What is it when you're ... you've got a ...
Toady:Integrated. I have an integrated video card so it's not ... Actually that seems to be a good thing because I'm not running into the problems that people have when they have good video cards and the game suddenly slows down to ten frames per second because the OpenGL is outmoded. So I don't need to use the 40d16 or whatever number we're up to releases to get the full frame rate ... so I managed luckily to get a computer that actually runs Dwarf Fortress pretty well. When you get up to a lot of dwarves of course I have the same speed problems that other people do when you have two hundred dwarves running around and so on. Which is good because that means that I have a chance of speeding those up and seeing that it's happening and so on, the same way as everyone else does. But it's alright, I don't have a totally crummy computer anyway, it works.
Rainseeker:Fieari asks: [4]'You've previously stated that all the animal men have at the very least friendly diplomatic relations with each other, if not actually being the same nation. What is the relation of the underground animal men to the aboveground animal men?'
Toady:We're still working some of the political considerations of the animal peoples out. We always ... Zach and I are always: 'let's talk about this more' and then we fail to talk about it that day but right now the idea is that the underground animal peoples, being that they're [...] closer to the bad things that are down there, are a bit twisted and don't relate well with the aboveground animal people, and they're basically hostile. The aboveground animal people have that kind of tense relationship with the elves and they work well with each other to some extent although we've had this back and forth when we're discussing the stories about ... The key question here - what almost all of it comes down to is - does a tigerman eat a deerman? I think the latest answer to that question was that 'Yeah, yeah a tigerman probably eats a deerman' except in the situation where you have the elves working as a glue between the animal peoples in areas with forest spirits and so on, there might be less predation going on with the actual animal peoples. But left to their own devices they'll act more or less like the animals that they are humanoid versions of, except they're more intelligent. Down below, as I think we mentioned before, they're going to be more civilised in a sense, but they're also all at war with each other and with your guys. I mean war in the sense of just mindless violence right now.
Rainseeker:So if you see two different groups coming on the screen at the same time, they're going to be fighting each other?
Toady:It's quite possible, it's quite possible that that'll happen. I have yet to finalise the group variables for them, but this would be the idea, yeah.
Capntastic:Granite26 wants to know; [5]'How do you see the balance of simulation versus game play playing out in adventure mode? Specifically, what sorts of 'cheats' to make things more interesting are there going to be?' If you remember there was a thread and he suggested that the game should make events happen to fit the player a bit more, like if you're a warrior then you go into a town and suddenly a bandit will rob someone so you get hooked into the plot that way ...
Toady:Overall my gut instinct is to avoid any kind of plot aspect like that where a plot is generated then somehow based on your character, but your character should also be able to integrate in the world and then they should be able to react to who you are. That's not something that ... if that sounds difficult or pie in the sky it's really not; just if you've affiliated yourself with certain groups or you've killed certain people on the road, they should respond to you in that way. Whatever the groups are going to be doing ... with the improved sieges coming up we're going to have to start working on AI for individual leaders and so on, and whatever they do on behalf of their groups or for themselves, those are the kind of actions that you'd be getting tied into, and that is a plot. I don't think simulation and game play are separate aspects; whatever game play is I'm not really sure. As far as artificially creating something, it shouldn't be necessary when things are working well, once we have the entities as actors. Hopefully, that's the idea, we're putting everything on that idea right now, if it's a failure, we'll have to adjust. But right now I feel pretty good about where it's going to end up, even though adventure mode is admittedly not fun to play right now. I think we have to give that a chance before I think about scripting strange encounters and things like that just for game play purposes or whatever. Now at the same time there's the notion of your starting situation, and the starting situation is ... it's difficult to simulate that depending on how the timeline works and so on, so there might be ... certainly at first, that might be a bit more canned. Right now it's just like 'you're in the town' or whatever, there's no history for your character at all, and if we change that it's going to be difficult to simulate, so it'll probably be a bit hacked up, even if it's just like 'you're starting because you've been tossed in a cave and sacrificed'. If it's something like that, that's fine with me, as long as it doesn't randomly happen later then I still feel good about what we've got. That's the idea, anyway.
Rainseeker:I have a question from guyinthecrowd: [6]'Will the environment a dwarf is raised in affect what they like/dislike? For example, if a dwarf is unhappy as a child being raised in a fortress made entirely out of mined Orthoclase, will said dwarf dislike Orthoclase as an adult? Or as a counter-example, if a dwarf is happy whilst being raised in a room of Kaolinite, will said dwarf like Kaolinite when they become an adult?'
Toady:That's kind of a specific example, and I guess that's what it comes down to though. We've had discussions in the past about how the babies pop out right now with fully formed personalities and likes and dislikes and so on, and how that's silly. So then you've got to answer some nature versus nurture questions yourself and then decide what is it that influences these things? I haven't thought about that deeply what's going in the game and what's not for that, it's just recognized as one of those third-tier problems that eventually needs to be dealt with in terms of future development. So I don't have specific opinions on the things put there, but certainly children should acknowledge their parents' professions and if they're given toys as a child that should be able to influence them and so on. It's not difficult to do any specific example of that, especially if you add things like kids playing with toys which obviously has to happen sometime - we have these toys that no-one ever uses; right now they're just trade goods which is kind of silly, the same thing for musical instruments - and once they can use those things then adding a specific influence there is something that's pretty trivial. You just need to have enough of those things that the process seems natural. Like I said it's not a high priority thing, but it's something we'd like to do, vaguely along those lines.
Capntastic:Aqizzar asks: [7]'Considering other changes in the ways bodies work, will creatures age and will that affect their abilities?'
Toady:Creatures age now in a few ways. They age numerically and then they die of old age if they in fact have an old age parameter, and the first thing we've done that isn't just a number - or a single number representative of their age, anyway - is wrinkles, hair greying, and stuff like that. As for actual, say your attributes fading and eventually accumulating illnesses and so on, I think that stuff should definitely go in the game. I think that adds a lot of - aside from just being a simulation, when you look at the storylines of a bunch of fantasies and myths and so on, having an infirm character or a character suffering some kind of disability or so on as they get older - it can add a lot to a story. So I think that kind of thing, just putting it in the game would lead to a lot of positive aspects in terms of storytelling and so on, so I'm definitely all for that. It's just a matter of doing it, I don't think it's that difficult to do. When we get to things like diseases and so on we have fair game for even getting rid of ... Right now there's just this silly 'you die at this time', it's like every character, say the dwarf - I don't remember what the numbers are anymore - but for a human I think it's from sixty to one [hundred] twenty in the game, so it just picks a number right at the beginning of the game when the creature is created, it says 'you're going to live to be eighty seven years old' and it looks at another creature and is like 'you're going to be sixty three when you die' and so you've got this death clock hanging over each of the characters, and it would be the ideal situation I think is to just rather use our overall health variables, and maybe their previous injuries and all that kind of thing - whatever factors figure in to diseases - and use that to come up with a more realistic aging system to that they ... In a sense it's going to be kind of depressing if you have a fortress that runs for a long time and you can see these diseases accumulating and so on, but I think it would be a good change overall and we're definitely going to do that sometime.
Rainseeker:[7a]How old do elves live right now?
Toady:Right now they are immortal. 'e'mmortal? 'Im' 'Im' ... 'e' ... 'e'mmortal. I don't know how to pronounce stuff.
Rainseeker:Does that mean that we're going to have tons of populations of elves?
Toady:Well that's kind of what happens. People talk about the elf zerg rush; they do become populated. It's a question you have to answer anytime you ... People - including ourselves - flippantly include immortal races in their fantasy settings and a lot of questions go unanswered; like 'How often do they breed?' 'What does it mean when you have someone working really hard at learning a skill for a thousand years?' Those quests generally just get ignored, and there's nothing that special about immortal races. Or they answer those questions but only in really specific ways for specific parts of the story or whatever. But with a larger simulation then all of the side effects also kind of rear their heads, like we've got these giant elven armies making the forests not safe to be near. So right now just the fact that the elves don't expand outside of their forests is the thing that saves you from having a world full of elves. Goblins are the same way, goblins are also immortal. We're going to keep them that way, though, and we're just going to try and make the necessary adjustments; they'll either be cultural adjustments or physiological adjustments so that the immortality can stay. [...] We want to have immortal races because it raises a lot of interesting questions and plot points and so on; it's good to have them in there I think. Right now they haven't been answered to satisfaction because the elves are breeding machines, they're just kind of locked in their forests. The forests are very dangerous to get near if you've seen those world generation battles where it's like four thousand versus one hundred, as the elves have just been stocking up. There are artificial caps right now on populations, that's just supposed to simulate food or something but it's not wholly satisfactory, especially when we get to the pre-caravan arc resources stuff where it's actually tracking more closely how much food there is and so on; the problems are only going to escalate I think. Although it could just end up self-correcting as well, which would be nice.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Rainseeker:Okay, XSI asks: [8]'Dwarven strongholds seem to have tunnels between them, would it be possible to eventually make one of those in fortress mode; probably useful to get migrants and dwarf caravans while being sieged?'
Toady:I think there's a dev item on that, I don't know if it was called 'deep outposts' or something like that, and I think it originally sprang forth from a suggestion someone posted so there's probably a few posts on it as well. We're definitely for that; the issues that arise are the same issues that always arise when you have off-site sites. How do you connect it up? How does digging commence off map? And the same thing would go to like building an aboveground wall, or aboveground roads and that kind of thing; how do you build that site when your view is restricted to a single fortress? But I think those questions are just a matter of making a good decision about it; I don't think that they're super hard and we're definitely planning to do that, especially because those tunnels are there. The fact that the tunnels are there is one of those things that kind of demands satisfaction in terms of actually being able to do it yourself or getting rid of them. So it's just a matter of ... Right now you can't designate digging on the edge of your map, and if you can designate 'I want to dig there, I want to dig a tunnel' then that's got to be some kind of special requirement or you have to have say five or six miners leave the map and do that digging for you and it's going to tie into a number of things. It's going to tie into having little - like when you become a capital - having outposts outside of your map and sending armies off the map, having those larger populations that we talked about last time; all of it ties in again to that kind of thing so I imagine those questions will start to be answered around that time.
Capntastic:Flaming Dorf and PMantix ask: [9]'How do you motivate yourself to get working?'
Toady:I like what I'm doing so it's mostly just something that I want to do, but sometimes when I'm tired or so on ... coffee, now. I didn't used to be on caffeine, I'm trying to get off it again, but yeah ... drinking coffee, and [eating] sugary foods and so on. It's not a matter of ... I always want to work on the game, it's always something I want to do, but just if I'm in a physically bad state I further mess up my body for short term gain to drive myself on a little bit harder. But just having a project that you really want to work on is enough motivation; if you have something that you really want to do then, at least for me, getting up and working on it for a long time is something that's kind of a joy. I like the fact that I get to work on it now and, mostly it's just intermittent grumpiness and so on, and distractions like forum stuff or certain emails; that kind of thing that pull[s] me away from it. But otherwise it's kind of my default activity, is to be working on the game now.
Rainseeker:Cool. I have a question from Zantan, he says: [10]'In the first talk you mentioned that sometime soon the interactions between different religious, family, and guild factions would become important to game play. Could you give more specifics on the game effects of these interactions and how you would be able to affect them, other than managing room quality and changing the happiness of various people?'
Toady:If we're talking about - just for specific examples - say in dwarf mode you have - because it would apply to all of the modes, but if you're talking about a fortress here - and you have say, a miner's guild and a couple competing religions and a few other things you could imagine I guess that tie into that - your family groups and so on - then in terms of management right now the powers you have are the official powers of your dwarf site. So right now I think the mayor makes decisions when he meets with people - or at least it was this way in the 2D version - when people are meeting with him, it might happen still to some extent. For instance he'd get a bunch of requests from the miner's guild to go ahead and add more mining jobs and he might mandate something; mandate a certain number of jobs be completed, or change the wages, that kind of thing. Those sorts of actions, because they do have a really official air about them, putting more of those actions in the control of the player I think just kind of ... I mean it's sort of a legislative matter but it's also taking requests from those groups. What do they want and what are they fighting about? If it's something that's related to the economy like with guilds I think it's a lot more manageable. If you have two religions competing with each other then digging out the temples and things they request would make them happy, keeping those things roughly the same size, [and] proportional to the populations and so on might be what's required there. I don't think it would descend into total randomness and misery except in those ... I guess sometimes it always does, but it should be manageable. So what you're going to need is more control through the official actions of the nobles of the site - nobles/appointments/elected officials, whatever you want to call them; nobles is the shorthand because they used to all be nobles - I think that's going to be the main method of player control over the situation, and as well as just being able to read their requests and see what kind of strife is going on; there should be more feedback if you've got something that's really messing with you like that. But other than that I think when certain conflicts break out in the fortress then ... It's almost like one of those prison games where you have to put them on lockdown or something; I'm not quite sure how you'd deal with an actual something that erupted if it's a little too late, if you just have to keep them in different burrows or something. It reminds me of those things where you have to keep the prison gangs in different cell blocks or whatever ... different parts of the main yard. I wonder ... it's not something that's fully thought out obviously, it should be interesting.
Rainseeker:[11]What board games do you like?
Toady:What board games do I like? I haven't played a board game for a long time pretty much, except for chess and go I guess. I stopped playing a couple of years ago, and before that it was just stuff [I] played as a kid. I remember someone asked me about German board games a couple of months ago and I've seen a German board game played - I think at our get together ... were they playing one of those? Like Settlers [of Catan] or something? - but I've never played one, so not a whole lot of experience there, especially with the new stuff that really seems to be taking off.
Rainseeker:Well thank you Tarn for joining us and for programming Dwarf Fortress, we all appreciate it, and hey everybody! While you are listening and if you could, why don't you throw a couple of dollars in the tip jar over on his site there.
Capntastic:Do it, it'll make you feel good.
Toady:That's right.
Capntastic:Give him all of your money!
Rainseeker:Or at least a couple of bucks, you know, enough to buy a latte or something.
Toady:That's right, we'll feed the cat. The cat needs a lot, he's a growing kitty.
Rainseeker:So everybody that's for joining us on our third podcast on Dwarf Fortress Talk. This is Rainseeker and I've been joined by Capntastic and Tarn Adams, and Tarn has agreed to read the credits, but Tarn you have to read the credits ... while talking to your cat.
Toady:Alright ... Mr. Scamps, where'd you go? See if he leaves ... no there he is! He's up on the tree. It's hard to find him now, he's always ... the tree is about as tall as I am, so he's way up there. Alright Mr. Scamps. So Mr. Scamps this time this time the music, as usual, was brought to us by the lovely and talented Ollieh ... someone will have to tell me how to pronounce that ... and the transcript will be transcribed by the talented and hardworking mallocks, and of course this is Scamps. Is he sleeping? He's not even listening. (sighs) I try really hard to teach this animal to do the right thing, but he never pays attention. Constant violence! And I think it might be time for Ritalin. Scamps. Scamps! No he's not even paying attention. (whistles, clicks tongue) Mr.!
Ollieh:(musical postlude)

Rainseeker:I just know someone on the forum's going to take that seriously. The Ritalin thing.
Toady:I'm not going to drug my cat! Well ... no, we drugged him when he got de-nad-ified, we gave him oral pain medicine, so I guess I have a history ...
Rainseeker:Was there any feedback about that?
Toady:No one seemed to think it was a negative thing, the de-nad-ification. Of course people were like 'are you getting your cat declawed?', I'm like 'no, I'm not getting my cat declawed.' So, he still has his claws, I can tell.
Rainseeker:Oooh yeah.
Toady:There's much violence going on in this house, I got wounds on my hands and so on. But no, people don't mind the ... there wasn't negative feedback as far as the de-nad-ification goes, even though it was a kind of selfish procedure on my part because I didn't want him spraying all over the house and starting fights with me and trying to roam outside and so on when he's trapped inside here, he's an indoor cat.

(dramatic pause)

Toady:(sings) Duh-d-d-duh-duh!
Capntastic:What? Who said that?
Toady:(sings) Me-me-me-me-me! Me-me-d-d-duh!
Toady:I'm here! Who else is here?
Capntastic:Am I here?
Toady:Captain Tastic ... Captain ... Capntastic is here.
Rainseeker:I just want to warn you guys I will be stepping up soon to put some spaghetti in my pot.
Toady:As long as its not your pocket, yeah.
Capntastic:Yeah I thought you were going to say pocket too. I envisioned the whole standing up and it's like 'oh I'm going to put spaghetti in my pockets'
Toady:Like, 'let me warn you guys, I'm about to lose my damn mind'
Rainseeker:Then following with root beer in my eardrum.

(Sfx vox: wind)

Rainseeker:That's the wind going through the ...
Toady:Unfortunately there's no such real thing as dead air on a podcast, but.
Rainseeker:This will be gone in a flash.
Toady:That reminds me of sound effects from the Dragslay game when we had sound effects when you were running through the entire battle. It would be text like from adventure mode except it'd just kind of scroll up the screen when you're fighting because there's no spatial component and so it just had the text scroll up the screen [and] you'd just press enter while you're fighting and whenever you hit something with like a sword and chopped a limb off it was like (sfx vox: whoosh, splat [rough transliteration])

(Sfx vox: tactical nuke, impact and detonation)

Capntastic:Tactical nukes.
Toady:That's right. There's always little things going on, especially when you have seven thousand animals in your house. I've only got one and he's majorly messed up one of the recordings already so I can only imagine what having a bunch of parrots and rats and things running around your house ...

(dramatic pause)

Toady:(to Scamps) What are you doing Mr.? Mr. Cat. Mr. Cat has no tail, Mr. Cat's got little ears. What you doing Mr. Cat? (sfx vox: trumpet) (end aside) Alright, I'll try and keep the interruptions to a minimum.
Rainseeker:That's going in, at the end.
Toady:I might have to sing to the cat occasionally, you never know. He's just sitting here, inviting song!