the saga of tickwire – rfed

Rocks fall! Everyone dies!

So it’s been a few months since what will have to be the final Tickwire update. I’d been holding out hope that Toady would push a new update and got caught up in the dev blog feed for a while instead of playing.

And now we have DF 0.40. And it was buggy. Way buggy. Its 11th patch came out yesterday.

We, as a player community, deserve better than this.

Dwarf Fortress is a work of art. Horrible, deranged art born from a mad hyper-analytical mind, but art nonetheless.

Dwarf Fortress has a large fan community that supports its author in his pursuit of his crazy dream.

But it is his dream, not ours being pursued.

Toady writes the features he wants to write – world simulation systems. And the things that human players actually care about – like gameplay – tend to come along as an afterthought.

It had been over two years since the last DF update dropped. Twenty five months. In internet time, that’s an eternity. It’s longer than a cell phone contract.

Because he chose to wait this long and then drop a monolithic update on us, there were problems. The first week and 3 patches of 0.40’s life cycle made swiss cheese of people’s saves. Things got more stable after that, but the bugfixes have been constant – and from what I can tell, most of the bugfixes are with dwarf mode (ie, the real game).

Two years of development on systems that nobody cares about to sort of kind of make adventure mode almost a game worth playing (if somewhat ugly and imbalanced).

Adventure mode is NOT Dwarf Fortress. “Dwarf Fortress” mode is.

But Toady doesn’t care, he’s just writing what he wants to.

And that’s fine, sort of. It is his game after all. He interacts with the community and tries to be very transparent. When people donate to support him, they know what they’re getting.

But I don’t have to like it, and I will continue to complain in the future. I will regularly accuse Toady of not loving us. But I’m done complaining for today.

Since 0.40 breaks save compatibility with Tickwire, I’m going to leave them where they are – with an uncommonly bright and boring future ahead of them. But I’m going to imagine that the dungeon collapsed in on them and they all had a lot of fun.

Having spoken with several other people far braver than I (ie, those who’ve been playing the updated version), I think it is time to give the update another go. After all, how bad could it be? 😛

My next fortress will probably use a similar deployment strategy and will strive for weekly updates (one post per DF season, one season per RL week). Wish me luck. I might even play around with the cool new updates to Stonesense or something.

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