A continuation of the story told by The Dwarfening of one gamer’s attempts to crack open the inaccessible shell of the Dwarf Fortress user interface to feast on the soft and succulent game beneath.
The Fonz was chopping wood. Much of the formerly magnificent forest surrounding my future mountain halls (majestically named Oilyteachers) was now reduced to so much lumber laying unclaimed on the floor. For a moment, surveying the devastation, I felt ill. Then one of my cats gave birth and I realised that I’d need to build a butcher’s shop soon. Dwarves need food after all, and just eating mushrooms from the farms wouldn’t — wait. Mushrooms. From the farms. The farms…
To say that my forgetting to build any farms was a minor oversight would naturally be to hugely understate the mistake I’d made. Was I already well on the road to losing? Had my obsession with clear cutting the forest and opening vast chasms in the rock led me so astray that even now my dwarves teetered on the brink of salvation? A quick check of their status revealed that fortunately all was not lost. Though many of my food reserves were gone, I estimated that what I had left was probably sufficient to keep my dwarves alive until my farms were producing. Besides, my dwarves could probably do to lose a little weight anyway.
Farming is not simple. I found that out the hard way. If you want to grow food underground (and honestly, who doesn’t?), there are a number of steps to take. First you need to issue the order for your miners to excavate the room for the cave, then the next logical step seems to be to place a farm in that excavated room, right? I can hear your answer to that rhetorical question, and it’s “right!”
You are wrong, and why are you answering rhetorical questions? No, in fact it turns out that although you can place a farm anywhere it won’t actually grow crops unless you place it on a muddy floor. This makes perfect and complete sense in bizarro land, where a slightly dirty floor is capable of sustaining fields of wheat. I discovered this state of affairs the hard way, and only a trip to the main wiki for Dwarf Fortress clued me in on the mud situation.
So, mud. Fine, I would just mud up the floor a bit. Except I need to flood the room, which means I have to abandon the excavated room with its barren, lifeless farm and scout out an underground reservoir. Of course the only one I am able to find is so massive that the resulting flood covers the entirety of my burgeoning fortress in layers of foetid mud and leaves me feeling despondent. Halfa Scargill (my mining dwarf) narrowly avoids drowning, whilst my tailor Liberace looks displeased when he is roused from his nap in the middle of a corridor by a cascade of filthy water.
Still, as the flood waters eventually evaporate I am left with mud, glorious mud. Now I can farm!
It has been over a year since my dwarves arrived at Oilyteachers and dwarves from far afield begin flocking to Oilyteachers, clearly desperate to crawl around in the stinking mud. Some time spent on the Dwarf Fortress wiki let me know of a program called Dwarf Therapist. See, the interface in Dwarf Fortress is almost exactly as painful as receiving a mallet to the testicles. When new dwarves arrive they need to be told to do the jobs they’re good at, and without Dwarf Therapist the process of finding out what their skills are and altering their job priorities accordingly is excruciating.
A few clicks in Dwarf Therapist and I’m done! The original dwarves of Oilyteachers have been joined by Michelle Jackson (a natural ability with music, a poor understanding of social relationships) who will be a general dogsbody to help Bald Rick as her actual area of expertise is as a tailor and Liberace is much better than her. Another new arrival was highly skilled as a carpenter and woodcutter, he was promptly named Al Gore and assigned to fell every tree in sight. The last arrival was gifted with charm and social graces, as well as being a masterful appraiser. Hilary Clunton, my previous chief appraiser, was an amateur compared to this new arrival.
I named her Sugartits and I would go on to hate her with a fiery passion.