So! Time for some Dwarf Fortress. For some inexplicable reason I have a sudden urge to do an LP of it. This won’t hurt a bit.
As always, when I play Dwarf Fortress, the first step is to get the newest version. It updates fairly frequently, and I haven’t played it since November, so let me just –
Oh. Okay. It’s actually still on 0.34.11, which came out last June, and is actually the version I have installed. It’s still in active development, it’s just been a while since the last version. Cool. Now to get Dwarf Therapist, which I’ll come back to – and actually I still have the latest version of that too. Well, alright then. Time to get started.
The first thing I realize is that I need to upgrade my screenshot-taking methodology. Printscreening and alt-tabbing to Paint.net every time I take a screenshot just isn’t going to work. It takes too long, and I know there are better options. Luckily, Kat and I got FRAPS a while back because we needed it for all of those coop LPs we’re totally doing. So I load up FRAPS, load up Dwarf Fortress, take a screenshot and — well, I have a very pretty screenshot of my web browser. FRAPS completely ignored Dwarf Fortress and took a screenshot of Chrome instead.
I’m already getting irritated. I know how this song-and-dance goes. I’m going to disappear down the rabbit hole of the internet, tracing some obscure bug because Dwarf Fortress does weird rendering things that FRAPS doesn’t like, and three hours from now I’m going to quit in a huff and never try anything this crazy again. I google “FRAPS dwarf fortress” and start at the top.
Five minutes later, FRAPS cheerfully takes a screenshot of Dwarf Fortress, which also now displays a Steam overlay when I start it with Steam. Well, okay then. It turns out it just took a simple change to the init file, which I found from the very first linked forum thread on Google. Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
World creation time! I’ll just take the default settings and go. As primitive as the game looks, it’s always been a very deep game, which is most of what I love about it. Plus, I have played a lot of Dwarf Fortress – I mean a LOT – but not as much in the past few years. I probably peaked around 2008 or so, which was . . . *cough* a while ago now. Man. Time flies. So there are a lot of things in the game I don’t really understand very well any more. There were a lot of version updates? I think farming was overhauled? It’s okay, I was never very good at the game anyway.
And done. A few years back one of the game’s updates changed it to where it defaults to about 200 years of history instead of, I think, 1000? 1200? It was a while. You could pretty much go and cook a nice lunch waiting for your world to generate. Now to fullscreen it, which I don’t usually do in this part because it still doesn’t support–
Oh. Oh, I guess it does. Maybe I’m biased, but man, that’s a beautiful world.
Let’s get started.
I already have a pretty good idea of what I’m looking for in a fortress site. I want somewhere on the intersection of a mountain biome and something else, preferably savannah or forest of some kind. I want a river, so I have plenty of fresh water, but I don’t want an aquifer – or if I must have an aquifer I don’t want it in both biomes. Aquifers are a pain. So looking at the map, there’s ooh is that a desert?
Hmmm. It’s a tropical savannah, actually, and while there are several sites I like (despite the sparse trees), I’m a little worried by what I’m seeing on the local map. Is that, just, like, a huge city? “Noramducim.” Eh. Keep looking.
Different mountain range, same thing. The edge just looks like the edge of a giant building. Am I missing something? Is that just what cliffs look like? I really don’t think so. To the wiki!
Eh. I spend a few minutes looking for key to the world map and decide to just look elsewhere on the world map.
Here we go. An intersection of four biomes, including a mountain and a wooded area, with a river running through. Soil, clay, shallow and deep metals, temperate surroundings. Home.I make the embark area just one step bigger in each direction, because I like to do that, and I embark.
Of course, it’s not that simple, and I spend a fair amount of time customizing my dwarves and my supplies. It used to be that you could load every dwarf up with ten points’ worth of skills, but now your dwarves’ skills come out of the same budget as your gear. I settle for a mason/carpenter, a grower/brewer, a grower/cook, and a smattering of useful skills in low quantities. I also bring along a breeding pair of dogs, to train into war dogs, and two breeding pairs of bunnies, so that I can eventually eat all the bunnies. Then I embark for real.
It’s beautiful. A broad, flat site with a calm river flowing through it, a sizable island of rock jutting up from the plain in the south. I already know that I will be smoothing the ramps leading up the sides and building fortifications onto the top: it’s practically a preexisting castle, just waiting for my dwarves to move in. Windreined will be a glorious hall.
I strike the earth.