Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dwarf Fortress updates

I've been avoiding DF for a while, just because it's an incredible time sink. Whenever I start the game up, I blink and it's 4am.

The last update left me with windmills and water pumps figured out, so after I did that, I set about draining the small arm of my moat which my anvil wound up at the bottom of. The pump works beautifully, but the water has no direction, and spills out all around the end of the pump, and back into the river I'm pumping water out of. I order some walls built to direct the water, and it manages to pool the water long enough for some helpful dwarf to hop down into the temporarily shallow moat and lug that anvil out of there! Blacksmithing, here I come!

I want obsidian so I dig channels between a small lake and the lava pool, and when they meet, they form obsidian in that square. Unfortunately, the lava and water are on opposite sides of this obsidian, and if I were to mine it out, it's unlikely I'd be able to obtain the obsidian before the water cools the lava and reforms the obsidian wall, or the miner digging out the section succumbs to the scalding steam. A challenge... I think about it a bit, and figure out a solution, I dig out a large square pool in the walled off area next to my water pump, and connect it to the lava pool. After the area fills with lava, I kick on the pump and cool all the lava in the square, and let the steam dissipate. Plenty of obsidian, all cooled and accessible without danger. Now I can get to work on those obsidian swords that traders seem to love.

With my anvil in place, I set out to figure out how to use magma smelters and forges. Unfortunately for my earlier best-laid-plans for safe lava access, the felsite stone the mountain is full of melts under the extreme heat, leaving lava floodgates are currently out of the question. Instead I isolate my lava-accessible workshops at the end of a hall lined with traps, hopefully this will work. After I get the magma forge going, I turn out my first item; a pick to replace the one carried by that miner who won the "who can breathe the most water" contest. (unfortunately in games such as that, even the winners are losers)

Worried that I might have to "obtain" some items from the traders in dire circumstances, I build the trade depot one level down, with a floodgate blocking the river, and a lever-controlled hatch to block the staircase down. I've yet to work out effective drainage, but I'm not too worried about it.

During my obsidian excavation I foul up the digging designation and create a cave-in which results in a cloud of dust which must have somehow blinded or confused my fisherdwarf, since he attempted to beat the "who can breathe the most water" high score. While the fisherdwarf wasn't carrying anything particularly hard to replace, my population is now down to 5, and migrants are nowhere to be seen. Hopefully, next year will be better.

I have yet to test if water pumps have enough power to pump water vertically. When I get back in the game I'll test by walling off the pump area with a floodgate for drainage, and seeing if it overflows. Vertical water pumping would allow for some interesting defensive mechanisms.

I also began construction of a proof-of-concept for the steam trap I concepted out. It took a bit of planning, but I think I've got a good design. If it works I'll have to figure out a way increasing the scale while making it reusable. Should be a challenge. Since lava isn't subject to the same fluid dynamics as water, it will not flow vertically up a shaft even if it's connected to a pool that have lava at higher levels. This makes me want to set up some trap doors that drop hapless foes into pools of lava instead of onto some uncreative sharpened spikes.

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