Saturday, September 3, 2011

Two of each

Wow, not only did I switch over to Google Chrome because Firefox was just full of bugs when working with Blogger, but Blogger has offered me the option to switch over to a new interface and now I can't find anything. Oh well, maybe this new interface will prove to be better. Blogger is not as good as WordPress IMHO, and I am starting to regret having created the blog on Blogger and not on WordPress.

Anyway, getting sidetracked.

I've been kind of busy, yet I think we can call pre-alpha-3 finished. I looked over the planned feature set and except for snow, buildings and crafting, everything is done. Instead of these MIA features, we have some new ones that were not planned. I'll probably post and updated feature list, but the important thing I need to talk about is that this model is not working.

Choosing a feature set that seems like a good idea and working for months to complete this list, while my plans for the game evolve naturally, often invalidating the list, is not a good idea. I would probably work if there was and organized developers team, but it is just me.

Instead, from now on I will set smaller goals that can be designed, tested and implemented in 1-6 weeks. The goals will also be able to be developed in fair isolation, so that the code base feels like getting and add-on, not a rewrite. Since there seems to be no escaping the subject of Dwarf Fortress anytime soon, I'll add fuel to fire and call these goals arcs. There are two types of arcs. The first type is meta arcs, that have no real content of their own, but consist of a lot of normal arcs. These meta arcs try to bring a big feature to the game, and the division into small arcs helps with developments and tracking.

Currently, I will be tracking four meat arcs:

  1. "Take". This arc consists of all the operations that involve a dwarf, a tool and doing one single action that changes the environment, often taking or modifying natural world resources. This is what I have been largely working on up until now and consists of all the operations one can do on walls, plants, stockpiles, etc. This meta arc is largely finished, but one last pass must be done on floor and wall building from boulders and bricks. Also, the carve list is not customizeable with the editor, which seems like missed potential.
  2. "Build". This meta arc consists out of one functional component that serves as the framework for defining and building structures and one arc for each building. I will be executing this meta arc based on plants: for each produce for a plant I will add the necessary workshops, checking of arcs as I go.
  3. "Wear": a meta arc governing a very complex wearable equipment and clothes system for dwarves.
  4. "Fight": the fighting model. I am not sure yet, but I am starting to feel like combat is going to be turn based. Think Heroes of Might and Magic, but with fights on the entire map and each dwarf having special attacks based on their weapon skill. An untrained fighter will just try his best to make contact. A trained fighter will have the option to try and take advantage of holes in the opponents defense and hit sensible spots, causing extra effects with a greater chance.

These four meta arcs are actually the post "Stoneage" version of the game. Rather than having to worry about the entire feature list, I have small goals that I can try and implement one by one.

I'm hoping this system will be easier to manage.

As for the IndieDB launch, I am working on it right now, but it won't be up today. Maybe not even tomorrow. Should have not scheduled something like this for the weekend.

PS: I am starting to like the new design for blogger. Still a bug or two. Give it more time...


  1. Oh dear, you'll make us all so happy! Thanks for at least trying this whole stuff!

  2. I am a big fan of Dwarf Fortress and DwarvesH looks like a very good game too. It's a pity that there aren't more games like df, because I really like combination of strategy, building, surviving and creating amazing constructions (and Fun). I hope this project will continue as a very successful game.