Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dwarf Fortress in the NY Times

There's an interesting profile of the creators of Dwarf Fortress in the NY Times magazine. It's a long piece but well worth reading. In it there are a few particularly interesting bits. First this:
“The processing power that Dwarf Fortress uses is on the same scale as modern engineering software for designing aerospace hardware,” says Ames, the engineer. “You have more complicated simulations in Dwarf Fortress than when you model the aerodynamics of a wing.”
Towards the end is an interesting statement echoing my earlier post about games on rails:
At bottom, Dwarf Fortress mounts an argument about play. Many video games mimic the look and structure of films: there’s a story line, more or less fixed, that progresses­ only when you complete required tasks. This can make for gripping fun, but also the constrictive sense that you are a mouse in a tricked-out maze, chasing chunks of cheese. Tarn envisions Dwarf Fortress, by contrast, as an open-ended “story generator.” He and Zach grew up playing computer games with notebooks in hand, drawing their own renditions of the randomly generated creatures they encountered and logging their journeys in detail. Dwarf Fortress, which never unfolds the same way twice, takes that spirit of supple, fully engaged play to the extreme.
 As I said, it's long but highly recommended.

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