Getting Started With Dwarf Fortress – sneak peek!

May 12, 2012 3 comments

Below is a sneak peek of one of the Tim Denee illustrations that will be in Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress.  The story was told to us by one of the players via a thread on the Dwarf Fortress forums.

The book is out in a couple or three weeks! Hurrah! I have some more news about the book as well:

  • If you buy the ebook through O’ you get free updates as I update the manuscript, which I will do at every major release. If you buy the ebook through Amazon, you may end up paying less than O’Reilly but you don’t get the updates for free. You have to go to O’ and pay $4.99 to upgrade to a version where you get the book updates for free. I don’t know why this is the case, publishing is weird.
  • I am passing all this on to try to ensure that those who have pre-ordered through Amazon or O’Reilly aren’t going to get less than they hoped for.

Story by imperium3

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

DayZ – ARMA 2 Zombie Mod!

April 23, 2012 Comments off

I love me some zombies. And I love me some persistent gaming. Now we all can enjoy both with ARMA2 mod DayZ. The mod features zombies, a world in which players can build camps and band together to scavenge for food and water, and lots of fun by the look of it. Here is the first of several Let’s Play videos featuring the mod!

The Days Ahead – Part 1

Categories: Modern, Multiplayer AAR Tags:

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.


Categories: News Tags:

Hatoful Boyfriend – It’s gone gold and Angie is back!

February 18, 2012 Comments off

Hatoful Boyfriend, the bizarre game of pigeon dating in a (nearly) post-human world has gone gold and the masochistic Angie Gallant is writing another Let’s Play on this strange creation with the terrifying FAT BIRD.


Categories: Modern Tags:

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:

How to play Crusader Kings 2 (abridged)

February 14, 2012 5 comments

So Crusader Kings 2 is out (or is inside a few hours) and if I had the time I would love to be playing it as I loved the demo. I have tried to enjoy Paradox games in the past and while I found HoI3 approachable I’ve not really jelled with any other game. Except CK2.

There’s something wonderfully personal and intimate about managing a single dynasty and engaging in the petty squabbles of courtly life. I’m not one to take on playing a huge kingdom and blasting my way through wars and relations, I love getting close and intimate with my own family (er… that didn’t come out right) and watching all the courtiers and vassals closely.

But what’s great about CK2 is that there are a variety of ways to play. Friends from demonstrate this well: Aeon221 plays an extremely bloodthirsty game, CSL, on the other hand, loves to play a more ‘courtly’ game, like me. Then there are those who play like the guy behind the ParadoxianLP streams, who whizzes at speed through CK in a way I find slightly dizzying!

All of this makes for a great read for you and me but these amusing tales don’t take away from the problem that many Paradox games have: It’s easy enough to know how to click the buttons and even the systems are easy enough to understand, but it’s really hard to understand the way to actually go about playing the game. Playing a Paradox game is for many what looking at a car engine is to me. I know, roughly, what all the bits do, but I have no idea what on earth I could tweak to make the engine stop rattling. And how do I know if the car is running well? And what on earth would I do if it wasn’t? Yes, I could read a description of all the car bits, but how would that help me diagnose the problems? And what minor tweaks would I apply to rectify little concerns?

Damn. I really stretched that metaphor.

So, I thought I would write up a few tips for any starting CK2 player based on some ideas I’ve had playing the demo, playing CK and playing other, similar games. This is by no means a really good guide to CK2 – I hope we’ll see some awesome guides in due course (for example, the Hearts of Iron 3 strategy guide was really great), but perhaps this will help a few people. Hell – I’m not even sure my advice is entirely correct.

These thoughts presume that you’re playing a small holding – I suggest the King of Scotland or the ruler of the larger Welsh (click on Powys county) or Irish lands (click on the Thomond county). They assume you’re starting with some simple goals such as unifying Scotland, Wales or Ireland. If you can play through those goals well, even if you lose the game later on, you should be on your way to ‘getting’ it.

So, without further ado, some random thoughts and ideas in rough chronological order of “things to do and think about”:



  1. Examine your ruler. What are their strengths and weaknesses? If they have some horrid weaknesses, it’s going to affect the relationships with your vassals and family.
  2. Examine the ruler’s family. Who is the heir? How many kids? Is the ruler married? How many siblings? Are they weak or strong? Do the family get along or do they hate each other? Who is unmarried?
  3. Next, the vassals, look at the counties and then the holdings in the counties. Who controls them? Do they like you or not? Are they married? Do they have kids you could offer to educate for some favour?
  4. Check your council – do they all love you? Can you replace the ones that do not (careful with those who have power)?
  5. Check vassals and courtiers in provinces or areas you want to capture. Do any of them have claims on territory you want. Can you invite them to come and be your vassal and then press their claim for them?

First Actions

  1. Determine your goals: if you’re unifying a small nation examine the other holdings: Who are their heirs? Could you marry your heir to a daughter and then assassinate everyone else until your heir inherits? If you can’t work out a way to get your family in there, plan to use your steward to fabricate claims.
  2. Do you have quality courtiers? If not, and you have a surfeit of single women, arrange matrilineal marriages for them so their husbands will join your court and be available for useful work (or to be ennobled once you gain lands!).
  3. Do you have too many sons? Can you give some of them bishoprics to take them out of contention for attempts to take power and messing up your lands?
  4. Do you have vassals you would prefer to get rid of? Eg, ones who very much hate you and are unlikely to be won over by hunts and feasts (which is worth trying). Perhaps it’s time to save some money and, in due course, work out a way of getting them arrested or causing them to rise (and then crushing them with mercenaries and taking their stuff).
  5. If you have daughters, can you marry them off to important nearby land-holders who will become allies? For example, a neighbouring King or Duke you could call upon in an emergency?
  6. Can you use your council members to try and destabilize a neighbour? Especially if that neighbour is part of a De Jure duchy you might control. When the rebels rise, put them down and ask for the neighbour to become your vassal! One just did for me in Ireland!
  7. You can invite title claims to your court so you can press their claim:
    Click on a title on, say, a noble’s list of titles, go to claimants. On the portrait, there’ll be a green thumbs up or a red thumbs down. The ones with green thumbs up can be invited to your court via the diplomacy screen. You’ll get a casus belli on their claims.
  8. You can right click on a province’s holdings to get three menu items. You can then right click again to get even more options!
  9. Anyway. Some random tips on how to approach the game. I'm sure someone else will produce a lot more and in a lot more detail soon.

Categories: History Tags:

New version of Dwarf Fortress is out!

February 14, 2012 Comments off

There’s a new version of Dwarf Fortress out, and, as always, you can get it from the Bay12 site. The change log is extensive and I haven’t had a look at the new client yet to explore all the implications. Go enjoy!

New stuff

  • cities in adventure mode that have various buildings, dungeons, items, livestock, etc.
  • protect your community from secret vampire dwarves or hunt them as an adventurer
  • defend your fort during the full moon or risk a werewolf infestation — hunt/be hunted as an adventurer
  • face armies of the dead in dwarf mode or visit their necromancers’ towers and learn their secrets as an adventurer
  • evil regions where the dead and pieces of the dead can come alive, with evil mists and rain
  • tombs built in world gen which can be visited in adv mode, either beneath towns or out in the wilds — beware the dead!
  • revamped justice/witness/death notification system in dwarf mode
  • immigrants to your fortress will now be historical figures whenever possible, which means more family relationships and history for each one
  • dropped items/bodies tracked between plays in the wilderness anywhere in the world
  • more battlefield information tracked/war dead raisable in world gen
  • all sponsorship animals and their giant/man versions are in the game now
  • various new abilities for creatures (see file_changes.txt for list and syntax)
  • adventurers can use creature abilities/learned powers and they can be tested from the arena
  • new site travel map to make navigating towns easier
  • reading/swimming/observer (for traps) relevant in adv mode now
  • established historical figures can lead bandits
  • rivers block movement in adv mode travel
  • eating/drinking required in adv mode
  • ingested syndromes are now possible
  • ability to make campfire (from ‘g’) and warm items at campfire/fire/magma (from ‘I’) in adv mode
  • traps work in adv mode, once spotted they can be ignored
  • gems now have different cuts
  • necromancers can write books about various topics (all books are in their towers as it stands)
  • moon phase indicator in fort
  • alphanumeric world gen seeds and some more world gen params (see file_changes.txt)
  • the legends xml has a lot of new info for historical figures

Major bug fixes

  • buffer overload from aborted world gen fixed
  • fixed cave-in-on-embark issue with hidden underground structure, and a few others

Other bug fixes/tweaks

  • designations over z levels all at once now possible
  • unit screen divided into four sections
  • rivers/pools have ramps now
  • able to trade portions of stacks in both modes
  • messed with adv mode currency trading and made items teleport to you
  • tweaked how fire damage works
  • made vision work through floor grates and bars properly
  • fixed some road/bridge problems
  • crystal glass items possible again
  • tweaked adventure mode swimming and alt-movement readout (use alt-movement to get into a river you want to cross)
  • skeletons/zombies replaced by animation effect
  • demons masquerading as gods will try a little harder
  • restricted mandates so they’ll be more reasonable
  • stopped blank map from being exported when you back out of detailed map export
Categories: History Tags:

Choose Your Own Adventure forum game!

February 3, 2012 Comments off

I had a rather neat idea the other day – why not try and write a Choose Your Own Adventure story on a forum using thread post numbers instead of pages and having forum members contribute to the story. So far it is a raging success (I would like to think) and we’re nearly 40 posts into a story that a number of people have contributed to. It has been great fun trying to stitch the story together as each person throws a spanner in the works with a new plot line or new location and, of course, it is all rather silly and fun.

One of the contributors, Chequers, has also rather brilliantly made a graph that automatically updates (after we edit a Google Doc) and plots out the posts and where they link to. Quite clever!

Categories: Sci-Fi 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

Let’s Play Rig ‘n’ Roll

January 18, 2012 Comments off

Rig ‘n’ Roll is a game about driving big steel around the highways and byways of the US of A…. ok it’s a game about driving trucks and I really should try to avoid getting into the patois of the truck driver community. But anyway, ZekeDMS over on is working on a let’s play to spite the person who gifted him this in the Steam Christmas sale. It’s quite a laugh, go read!

Categories: Modern Tags: