Archive for the ‘News’ Category

So I’m writing a book on Dwarf Fortress

February 28, 2012 6 comments

Here’s what I just posted on the Dwarf Fortress forum on the topic:

Hi guys! Looks like the cat is out of the bag! I wasn’t sure when O’Reilly was going to announce this but I guess now is the time? I was hoping to announce it myself! Awww.  😥

Yes, I’m writing a book on Dwarf Fortress. It’s not done yet but I expect it will clear 150 pages. Easily. The horror 😉

And yes, it is a legit project by O’Reilly who have an editor or two who are as passionate about DF as the rest of us. I love the idea of this book sitting alongside books on C+, Lnux, MySQL and server maintenance. Dwarf Fortress is far more important than any of that stuff!

Why a book? Well, yes, the wiki exists, and yes, it is a [b]superb[/b] and unparalleled resource, but many, many gamers want manuals or huge chunky strategy guides that will step them through everything they need to know. My old 2009 Dwarf Fortress tutorials still net 2,500 views a day (double that figure whenever Toady releases a new version of DF) and the first tutorial has had 750,000 page views. I would like to think that they have been great introductions to Dwarf Fortress.

The goal of the GSWDF book is to provide a one-stop-shop for brand new players who want to try and tackle this game but find themselves lost and confused (for more people this sets in about 30 seconds after running dwarffortress.exe in my experience). The book covers how to create your first world, embarking, first steps (getting food production up and running, digging, etc) and then branches into chunky chapters on managing your dwarfs, industry, military, mods and tools, etc etc. It’s written in the same style as my tutorials (irreverent and, I hope, funny) and I’m excited that O’Reilly has let me take this thing where I want it to go.

Would I recommend you buying it? Well, if you’re reading this you’re probably already reasonably familiar with Dwarf Fortress and won’t find much in it that you don’t already know, so no, you probably don’t need this book, give your $15 to Toady instead.

That being said, I think the book is going to end up pretty cool and unique in the O’Reilly stable. The book will almost certainly include some art by Tim Denee inspired by stories people have submitted, and it will have a cool, custom cover (I’m hoping something involving elephants!), and it has a forward by Toady, but I’m not going to sit here and tell you all you can’t live without this book.

Your friends who don’t yet play DF though? Yeah, those guys can’t live without this book! When it comes out, buy them a few copies (I jest, I jest)! I also hope the book will pull in a ton more new players to DF (I really expect it will) and I encourage the reader to donate to Toady to support this project. I have high hopes that the book will be a great way of promoting DF, supporting Bay12 and introducing a whole new audience to the game.

Answers to some questions:
– It will be current to the DF2012 version.

– It does include information that you will also find in the wiki. It is impossible for anything on DF to not include material that is in the wiki as the wiki covers just about every DF topic you could imagine.

– This book represents an experiment by O’Reilly in “real time” publishing. This means the book is likely to get frequent updates – I believe that people who buy the book will actually get updates pushed to them as the book is maintained on an ongoing basis by me (and possibly others). I love being part of an experiment, makes me feel dwarfy.

– Toady’s involvement is limited to, very kindly, writing a forward for the book. If I make any money off the book I’ll be making donations to Toady off my own bat. And I really hope we’ll see a lot of new players who will do the same. You can’t play DF and not appreciate the time and effort the Bay12 guys have put into the game.

Thanks, hope that explains things.

Some updated information:

  • It’s actually not eBook-only; it will be available in print, PDF, epub, mobi, and on Safari. You can buy both a print copy and an ebook copy at the same time for less than the price of both separately.
  • eBook – If you buy directly from you are notified when new updates are available and can download the newest version for free (also DRM-free).
  • Turn around from me finishing an update to getting a new version out into the reader’s hands should be around four weeks – in publishing, this is super fast, I’m told!
  • Any errata that get reported to O’Reilly get listed somewhere for me to access and fix in due course.
  • The print book won’t include colour graphics inside. O’Reilly will be working to ensure art, etc, still look ok.


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Illustrating stories from Dwarf Fortress!

February 16, 2012 3 comments

I posted this over on the Dwarf Fortress forum. I’m really excited about this project and can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Hi all, I’m TinyPirate, you may remember me from some Dwarf Fortress tutorials.

Well, I’m currently working on a pretty awesome new project, which I can’t speak to in detail just yet, but which offers a pretty cool opportunity for Dwarf Fortress players: I’m looking to get a half-dozen, maybe more, cool DF anecdotes illustrated by Tim Denee, the guy behind the awesome Oilfurnace and Bronzemurder DF comics. Yes! Your name could end up attached to some story artifying by Tim!

If you’d like a shot at having a DF story of yours illustrated you need to:
– Write a reply here telling Tim and I your awesome, funny, sad or silly anecdote from DF. I’m talking things like your fortress being terrified of a giant who, it turns out, is armed with a sock, your fortress being destroyed by zombie mussels, that sort of stuff.

– Tim and I will be the final arbiters on ‘cool stories’. Tim will turn the ones we chose into one-page panels of art and text.

– You can tell me about stories that aren’t yours, but I can only use them if I can get hold of the owner of the anecdote.

– Be prepared to receive a PM from me if chosen so I can grab your real (or not real) name for an acknowledgement line.

– Get your anecdote here in the next 4 to 6 weeks.

I’m happy to answer any questions or provide any clarification and in a month or so I’ll be able to announce the project the art is part of more fully. Until then, I hope to read some awesome contributions soon!

Categories: News Tags:

Iron Man Mode – for charity!

January 30, 2012 Comments off

Reader Zeke let me know about a good cause he’s working on – playing games ‘Iron Man’ (that is, no deaths allowed!) for charity. Go read the stories of his gaming and inevitable demise in a range of games and donate to Child’s Play while you’re at it.

Categories: News

After Action Reports vs Let’s Plays

January 15, 2012 3 comments

I’ve been thinking about the term “Let’s Play” and the term “After Action Report”. I had considered them interchangeable, but I’ve decided there is a difference, and it’s in how the story is delivered. AARs are usually posted on a web page as a story without comment from the audience. Let’s Plays, on the other hand, are usually written up on a forum and often include a lot of reader interaction with the author.

With this handy and sensible definition I’m going to start using the terms on this blog with this distinction in mind.

Categories: News, Ponderings

2011 in review

January 1, 2012 Comments off

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

London Olympic Stadium holds 80,000 people. This blog was viewed about 770,000 times in 2011. If it were competing at London Olympic Stadium, it would take about 10 sold-out events for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: News

Easy Gold Farming!

August 17, 2011 5 comments

So I discovered today that my private email address has been used to register for a Battlenet account. I got an email telling me to click to authenticate the registered email, etc etc. So, thinking myself a clever-clogs, I clicked the link while planning to force a password reset on the Battlenet account so as to prevent the account’s use by miscreants and to stop any future use by gold farmers or spam bots or whoever farm these things… well…

BIG MISTAKE. In order to reset your Battlenet password you need to know three things, the email address registered (check!), the first name (“Zhang” was in the email, check!) and a last name. Shit. No last name in the email and ticking “no last name” on the password reset page.

I tried to email blizzard at, but the auto-reply says the emails are no longer monitored and I should visit the support center and put in a ticket. But first, what would I need to do? You guessed it. Log in.


So now some spam bot or gold farmer is happily using my email address to get up to mischief on Battlenet and there’s not a thing I can do about it. Well done, Blizzard, you truly are the masters of account security!

Categories: News

Scheming, spying, double-dealing and plotting – Another day in EVE Online

June 24, 2011 2 comments

EVE OnlineIf you’ve heard of EVE Online you probably already know a bit about this complex and convoluted space MMORPG. You may also know about the depth of politics and conniving that goes on behind the scenes. What you may not know, and was news to me, is the degree to which this politics, plotting and scheming plays out in the Alliance Tournament, the PVP matches organised by EVE Online developers, CCP. Well, now you can learn all about the plots of 2011 tournament winners Hydra by reading this awesome forum post mirror of a forum post by Duncan. Yes, it is rich with EVE jargon, but it is also rich with fascinating detail on how Hydra destroyed their alliance competition – and what’s great is that the Tournament itself was only a minor detail in all their work!

Categories: News, Sci-Fi Tags: