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Interview: The Making Of Dwarf Fortress
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Interview: The Making Of Dwarf Fortress

February 27, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 6 of 10 Next

"Losing is Fun!"

How about the "Losing is fun!" motto in the instructions and on the site? Where did that originate?

TA: Ha ha, that was originally just a throw-away line in the manual. But some people like it.

I think it's really an important thing to say, when I think about it.

TA: I put it there to try to create some comfort with the concept of permadeath. Reloading every time you fail will really hamstring you in DF, especially later on. I've also tried to put out a concept of "playing the world, not the fortress." Though in a sense it's a bit premature, since the best parts of the persistent universe are still in the works.

Right. Permadeath is generally a roguelike concept, of course.

TA: Yeah, I've seen some of those 7DRL contests. It's too bad it takes so much time to undertake a large project. Time is really the only barrier for a lot of people.

Yeah, true. Still some of the 7DRL games are surprisingly good. ChessRogue impressed me to no end.

TA: I like short projects. I used to have a thing I called a three hour knockoff. I think Squiggles might be the only one I've posted.

That reminds me a bit of the Experimental Gameplay Project. To return to "Losing is fun!" for a moment, the suggestion helps the player to get over losing, so he'll leave behind exploration sites for Adventure mode. I'd say one of the game's breakthrough ideas is how the fortress gameplay naturally encourages the player to create areas that are challenging to overcome in an Adventure Mode game. An excellent strategy in one game becomes a dire challenge in the other.

TA: Yeah, that was the original premise of the smaller game, and it was one of the things I thought would be very interesting from a metagaming perspective. On the Bay 12 Games forums, they've gotten together and are now making an "Adventure Park," where they each take a small portion of one world map square and make a for-adventure-mode fortress. Then they'll upload it, and anybody can play, wandering through the varied creations. It kind of reminds me of a MUSH. This kind of sharing and moving between game modes is definitely fertile ground.

Do you think DF might become internet-capable in the future, and facilitate this kind of sharing itself?

TA: I'd need help with that, since I've never made a multiplayer game. A lot of people are interested in this kind of thing, and it's kind of counteracted by my own complete lack of interest in multiplayer games, but something could happen. The community certainly finds a lot of ways to go multiplayer without my involvement though.

Article Start Previous Page 6 of 10 Next

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