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Thread: A Game of Dwarves - Development Diary #15

  1. #1

    A Game of Dwarves - Development Diary #15

    Good day,
    So first up is a quick update on whats going on right now.

    The Beta have been going strong for a couple of weeks and the feedback have helped us something immense. We can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. We still have a couple of months of development left but we are getting there.

    This week the paradox on tour event is in full motion over in San Francisco and as far as I know everything is going great over there. Hopefully there'll be some new interviews or reports on the game up in a week or so.

    The game itself is looking better than ever, it's now quite stable and the bugs are getting fewer each day.
    Lately there have been quite a lot of questions about the teleport order so I guess I'll explain that particular feature in a bit more detail than I intended.

    Teleport Order
    Left Click on a dwarf to remove him from the game world and right click in order to drop him again. You can carry up to 5 dwarfs at a time. When you drop the dwarves the Order is given a cooldown before you can use it again.

    We implemented this order for a couple of reasons; First and foremost, it's really convenient; it makes the game more comfortable to play. We've also had some issues with the path-finding when your dwarves need to find their way home in unusually large settlements.
    There I'll stop for now since I don't have much more to say about the teleport order and I'm running out of time for this weeks post.

    I'm also running out of topics so if you have anything you want me to talk about just post it down below

    //Thorwaldsson

  2. #2
    Is the light at the end of the tunnel a candle?

    That teleport order may be useful but isn't it a bit gamey? Also, it almost smells like magic and dwarves hate magic

    As for future topics. I would love to see how cool you can make your fortress above the ground level. Might be interesting.
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    The teleport should really be magic ring-powered, not regular magic. This is a game of Dwarves after all.
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    I'd love to see a post on the military techs and or unit progression. Will there be special armors/weapons available for certains classes or levels within classes of dwarves?

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    Would there be an option in the difficulty settings to disable teleport?

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    Can teleport be used to 'rescue' non-military dwarves that are in combat? That would really be lame if so, I just can't see any way that teleport doesn't lead to micro-management both for offense and defense.

  7. #7
    Maybe it’s just me – but you can always just simply not use it if it seems “odd” in any way.


    . . . . . But I do agree, it would seem to be an easy way to by-pass any mistakes you might have made along the way instead of paying the consequences.
    . . . . . But I also can see its usage in simple “honest” mistakes though.

  8. #8
    Sounds like a feature ripped straight out of Dungeon Keeper. You could pick up an drop Minions where ever you wanted in that too. I would agree it is a bit gamey. But it can also help lessen frustration of your little AI's being stupid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thorwaldsson View Post
    Good day,
    We still have a couple of months of development left but we are getting there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thorwaldsson View Post
    We implemented this order for a couple of reasons; First and foremost, it's really convenient; it makes the game more comfortable to play. We've also had some issues with the path-finding when your dwarves need to find their way home in unusually large settlements.
    Does that mean that the teleport feature will stay for the full game, or it will be removed if you manage to make the path-finding better in the final game? Or have you created this feature because you don't believe that the path-finding can work good enough in unusually large settlements, but want to include the ability for us to build those unusually large settlements anyway?.
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    Beta...

    And multiple months of development left! Nooo.

    I don't know, if I like the idea of being able to move dwarves around by hand. I agree it is convenient (Dungeon Keeper did it). I guess I am a sucker for letting things take their own way, letting the AI do their thing. Maybe you could link it to a shrine that the dwarves must construct. The teleport would then be a favor the god grands you from time to time (a timer charged ability).

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    Considering how long beta are (it's at least 5-6 months after the start, which was in July I think...), I would bet on November/December which match the available info : "Release Date Q4 2012"

    For the hand of god teleporter, well, still better to leave the possibility to the player than refusing him this possibility. If someone doesn't want at all to use it, nothing force him.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Zarine View Post
    For the hand of god teleporter, well, still better to leave the possibility to the player than refusing him this possibility. If someone doesn't want at all to use it, nothing force him.
    Exactly. It always amazes me how people will debate a feature of a game they think should be removed that is not forced to be used.
    It is simple – if you don’t like that feature then don’t use it and move on.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerkis View Post
    Exactly. It always amazes me how people will debate a feature of a game they think should be removed that is not forced to be used.
    It is simple – if you don’t like that feature then don’t use it and move on.
    The logic is faulty because the game-play difficulty may necessitate using a feature which is very powerful, which I think teleporting would be. I particularly worry about features that involve micro-management because the OCD types (like myself) feel compelled to use them even when they are a huge time sink for very little reward. Lastly the nature of plucking and dropping dwarves breaks the player out of high level 30K foot thinking and requires you to think very locally and individually and be aware of ware each dwarf is individually, that's all running contrary to the spirit of the management game genre.

    I'm hoping that the game will be modable to go in and improve the Path-finding code, given the size of map and the number of moving entities it shouldn't be an insurmountable barrier. I suspect Zeal is using plain A* which is industry standard, but if a good hierarchical system is added on top of that as well as caching of common paths then performance can be improved several fold. Multithreading also offers a modest improvement for people who have the cores but I haven't heard if the game is or is not multithreaded. This would allow larger maps and more entities as well as reducing or eliminating the need for teleporting.

  14. #14
    Sometimes you need 5 military dwarves and none are to be found in a certain location. With teleporting you can make sure they don't attack the enemy 1 at a time. I have yet to find a game where your troops stop and gather in numbers before attacking, they all die single file.

    Be a great feature to add though! Check enemy numbers/strength and if they are higher than your local dwarves, and you have more troops on the way, then wait to attack until a higher % of your troops have arrived. Have a button so they can ignore this as well

  15. #15
    Going from the 30k foot level and down to the micro-managing level of the individual and trying to figure out the logic down there is precisely what I enjoy doing in a game. I want to “play” a game – not just always “watch” it.

    Being able to bounce back and forth between micro-managing and 30k foot level is the way a game should be – but only if the player wishes to be at that level of management. You shouldn’t be forced to be down there using those things – the game should take care of those things if the player chooses not to. Just like you shouldn’t be forced to use the Teleportation in agod, if you choose not to use it. And by all things that I have seen so far – you’re not forced to use it. Sure it might be a cheap way out – but you are not forced to use it. It is the player’s choice.

    I agree completely though that if it is there purely because pathing on bigger maps doesn’t work right – well then, that is a poor excuse and needs to be fixed before release. And I’m sure it will be. Zeal and Paradox knows better than to let that go as is.

    As far as the Military attacking one at a time issue and using teleportation to solve that. Yeah, here again – it is a cheap way out of not doing the extra coding that is suggested of having a better AI in the Military to not attack until they are more organized. But as Rujikin points out, it doesn’t seem like any games ever do this. It would be nice if agod would be the first. But if agod does or doesn’t – it is the player’s choice to use teleportation in this situation.

    Point being – let the individual players have the choice.

    If you don’t like a feature of a game – then don’t use it. If you do like a feature of a game – then use it. If you don’t like a feature and the game isn’t forcing you to use it, but for some reason you feel obligated to use it anyhow – why should I be penalized?

  16. #16
    I was largely unconcerned about the teleport feature previously but having gone back and played Dungeon Keeper I've reconsidered the implications of the teleport. In DK the ability to pick up minions at a simple click more or less eliminates any strategic value in minion placement. Being able to just pick up and place them anywhere trivializes much the thought required in designing a defensible fortress. Granted the unlimited grabbing of minions in DK may be vastly more extensive than the limited teleportation of dwarves but it undoubtedly reduces the significance of designing an efficient, well-guarded fortress in the first place.

  17. #17
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    Unsure about this teleport feature. To me it seems more in there due to poor pathfinding :/

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    Quote Originally Posted by midget_roxx View Post
    Unsure about this teleport feature. To me it seems more in there due to poor pathfinding :/
    I can see that there would be a reason for it anyway. It would get old quickly having to watch your dwarves shuffling across a large map if you are waiting for one particular thing to happen.
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