The long-awaited sequel to Conquest of the Aegean, the hard-core real-time wargame, is out. Battles from the Bulge can be bought from the Matrix store for.. what.. this is a typo, right? … ok so it’s not. Right. Well. If you wish to buy BFTB you can go and buy it for EIGHTY US DOLLARS. Yes, $80. Note, this doesn’t even get you a printed manual!
I really wish I knew what those guys at Matrix Games smoked. They like to wring their hands about how wargames are so niche and hard they are to make and how much loving work goes into them and oh we’re such precious little snowflakes. But this just doesn’t wash with me. If Steam can put up weird little niche games and then cut their price to the bone while seeing sales lift 31000% (yes, that’s right, go google it) and great profits to their devs, then why can’t Matrix get creative with their niche?
I’ve blogged about this before and nothing has changed and nothing is likely to. I guess I’ll give up on any plan to play BFTB this year. Hell, based on Matrix’s strategy of keeping prices high until simply removing the product from stock I doubt I’ll ever play it.
I just wish wargames developers would start courting Impulse (or vice versa). Those guys know how to sell games.
Reader Dirk Flinthart has sent in a Dwarf Fortress after action report in the form of a short letter to the King of the Dwarfs wherein the fate of Fortress Alebaldness is recounted. It’s a good laugh, have a read!
Despite the reputation for being very silly people, Goonswarm can be very, very useful contributors to the EVE Online community. Two very useful contributions are presented here. First up, the Goonswarm Newby Guide, which is a hilarious and educational read. Second, Grid-Fu: A Practical Manual, which should be required reading for anyone involved in PVP, or wishing to avoid it!
Now, before you click away, seriously, go read the newby manual. It is awesome. I wish these guys wrote all my game manuals!
I’ve written a book – Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress, available at O’Reilly and Amazon! It covers the current version and takes you from knowing nothing to being a confident Dwarf Fortress player!
So you’re busy enjoying the latest build of Dwarf Fortress, marvelling at the complex health system and the confusing military system when a thought strikes you, “I’ve just built all this great stuff for my Hospital, but how will I get my medical dwarfs some doctoring experience?”. Indeed, this is quite a conundrum! If you don’t train your medical staff perhaps they will screw up when some really important doctoring needs to be done.
But don’t fear, dear reader, we have a solution! Controlled dwarf torturing: it’s not really torture, it’s just dropping them a few levels on to rocks and then using them to practice medical techniques on. They love it really – it’s all for the good of the fortress, after all!… Read more…
I was starting a new fortress the other night and it struck me that sometimes the hardest part of playing Dwarf Fortress is deciding where to dig that very first tunnel. There is so much potential locked into the average Dwarf Fortress map but every tap of the miner’s pick reduces your options. I almost feel a degree of analysis paralysis contemplating the options when I look at a fresh map. Do you? How do you go about starting what will end up as hours of real-time effort? There’s nothing worse than being several hours into a construction and realizing you’ve made some major mistake that makes routing magma to where you want it impossible, or that your dream of a waterfall based defensive network is now going to be horribly complex to build, or that your fortress is just plain ugly! And if you make that crucial mistake then how will you ever be able to build a truly amazing fortress?
Since I always have grand schemes in mind when it comes to designing a fortress I am almost tempted to not let my dwarfs live anywhere but on the surface until my first major constructions are complete; until the entrance tunnels are dug, the initial workshop spaces are complete, the farm system laid out and the storage bunkers prepared. I can’t help but feel I’m spoiling my mountain if I dig some quick spaces early. Yes, my poor dwarfs will, in future, survive in rough wooden huts under the horridly bright sky and among the squishy green stuff. And sure, there will be upset dwarfs moaning about the sun and filth, but damn it, my inverted obsidian pyramid isn’t going to look pretty mixed up with random diggings, channels and culverts, is it?!
The denizens of the Dwarf Fortress forums have been pondering the problem of building submarines to explore the watery or magmary depths of the Dwarf Fortress world. There are two main challenges in building a submarine. The first challenge is that any object (say, a built submarine) cut free from the world (to drop into a magma pipe or into the ocean) will automatically have be deconstructed. This means that, for example, any doors built to seal the submarine will fall off, letting in the water or magma! No good!
The second problem is that the fall itself will kill the dwarven explorers. One suggested solution is to fill the submarine with water, a uniquely dwarfy solution to the problem! The water cushions the fall but could drown the dwarfs. Hmm, tricky! Will we see a dwarfy submarine in the next few months? Who can tell, but I plan on following the dwarven submarine thread closely.
Every month or so Toady, coder of Dwarf Fortress, releases numbers on the donations fans have made to support the project. Yesterday the stats for April were released and Toady revealed that fans had donated an impressive sixteen thousand dollars! Release months are always great months for Toady’s bank balance (he survives solely on these donations) but April has to be one for the record books! Well done Toady (on releasing the latest version) and good work fans for keeping Toady going. And, if you haven’t already, why not go donate? For interest, here’s a graph showing the month-by-month donations to Bay12.