Tackling “The List,” and Dwarf Fortress

I intend to get a ‘to do’ list widget, but until then, I’ll post here that I’m firmly aiming to do a Nintendo DS game. In fact, I’ve already ordered the R4 card. But until that gets here, I intend to dedicate this weekend completely to Dwarf Fortress.

I love that insane game with all of my ACII-art lovin’ heart, but I’ll be damned if the tiny window it uses doesn’t make my eyes well screaming for relief from deciphering one tiny mark from the next. The creator has said in an interview in which he talks about ‘losing’ his own project, saying: “I’m leery about third party interfaces. If a third party interface becomes popular, I think I might lose control of the project. I don’t want to be in a position where I have to accommodate and work with other people.” That’s a pretty scary notion, and one worth worrying about.

But at the same time, when my eyes hurt trying to play the game, it’s pretty hard to say that everything’s okay. I mean, I’m not saying I want 3d, or even a tileset, I just want it larger, so that I can see the stuff, y’know? Ahhh well.

But DF has something special. That thing; that “special something.” It does exactly what I want to see games do, tackle data complexity over graphical complexity. I want to be able to chop a bed up into its components, and breed war dogs, and when enemies (be they goblins or attacking wildlife,) enter your fortress, close the gates and flood the entrance with water through a system of levers that leaves your foe lying dead on the soggy ground.

Like Crysis goes to graphical extremes, and Grand Theft Auto goes to physics-interactive world exploration extremes, Dwarf Fortress juggles data like no other game out there, and it’s a shame that no one’s decided to back this guy, and hire him an additional coder to work with him (or some type of help that he’d have, anyway.) I mean, I could only imagine if a few other programmers were put under him and he was still given creative control.