Weekend Download №16


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Weekend Download

JohnBThis edition of Weekend Download is the most love-filled edition ever. There's so much love below, you might think it's Valentine's Day. But it's not, it's just a whole lotta love. For example, tons of people love Dwarf Fortress. Tons. That collective love is now focused here on this very page, and if you download and play, you'll experience some of that love, too. Dr. Daisy Pet Vet is all about the pet love. Just look at those cute animals! And the kitty, she's reading a magazine! The energy orbs in Ballhalla love each other so much all you have to do is click them and they get all cozy with each other. And to top it all off, Mr. Heart just straight-up loves you. Very much, I hear.

drdaisypetvet.jpgDr. Daisy Pet Vet (Windows/Mac, 25MB, demo) - Resource management has never been so adorable! Dr. Daisy Pet Vet puts you in the shoes of, surprisingly enough, Dr. Daisy, the pet vet! It doesn't depart from the time management formula we've grown to love in Miss Management or Cake Mania 2, but the setting is fresh and animal lovers will gush over all the cute puppies and kitties. When a pet comes in, check it in at the desk, then wheel it over to an exam table. Start your exam with another click, treat the animal and send it on its way. Making pets feel well kinda gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside, doesn't it?

ballhalla.jpgBallhalla (Windows, 25MB, demo) - Meet Professor Quark and his matter transporter. In order to open portals to mysterious new lands this contraption needs energy. By clicking orbs that are sandwiched between orbs of another color they get sucked in, causing the original ball to get heavier. As you pull in orbs and make heavier pieces of energy, the bucket that holds all everything starts to tip. Make orbs as you can as heavy as you can while trying to keep the container balanced and hope the sweeper comes by and removes the weighted pieces soon. It's frantic, it's fun, and it's a little different than most of the puzzle game offerings out there.

dwarffortress.gifSlaves to Armok II: Dwarf Fortress (Windows, 5.4MB, free/donationware) - First released in late 2006, Dwarf Fortress is an ambitious, massively detailed game that blends real time strategy with role playing and "god-game" elements. It gives you an entire world (and I don't use the word loosely) to interact with, complete with named landmarks above and below ground, thousands of creatures living persistent lives, an economy, weather, seasons, and a complete world history, all generated fresh for each player. But even that description doesn't do it justice. It has a decidedly old-school look and attitude, so don't jump in expecting flashy, in-your-face... anything. But still, it's an amazing feat of gaming brilliance. Dwarf Fortress recently received a massive update, giving you no excuse not to join the legions of addicted fans around the globe.

mrheartloves.gifMr. Heart Loves You Very Much (Windows, 0.5MB, freeware) - Winner of my own personal "Best Name for a Video Game EVAR" award, Mr. Heart is an original action/puzzle game entered in Kokoromi's Gamma 256 showcase. Guide Mr. Heart to, well, the heart locked inside the walls of each level. The controls are explained as you play, but expect to do a lot of stage rotation and wall pushing to complete each puzzle. And remember: Mr. Heart loves you.

roachroundup.jpgRoach Roundup (Windows/Linux, ~5MB, freeware) - Everyone who likes roaches, raise your hand! Ahh... that's what I thought. If you despise the crunchy little buggers like the rest of us, Roach Roundup is the game for you! Using lamps placed around the screen, you must frighten the roaches to the trap where they meet an untimely doom. It's a puzzle game that relies on timing, though you won't get your reflexes in a bundle. Great visuals, a catchy musical remix, and you get to rid the pixel world of bugs.

28 Comments

Haha, yay for Dwarf Fortress!

So that's why you asked me if the latest revision was more accessible to the casual gamer, Jay? =p

Anyway, despite it having a steep learning curve at the beginning, it is a truly magnificent game.

There are two game modes, one being Adventurer Mode, which let's you run around a huge world, going on quests to kill monsters for local mayors, for example, a typical RPG/Rogue-like.

The second is Fortress Mode, which could probably described as a city-building sim, except the city is inside a mountain, which you need to mine out to have room for your buildings and quarters.

Occasionally, your Dwarfs will give birth, and on other occasions, there's going to be blood. See for yourself.

Losing is fun!

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Mr. Heart Loves Me Very Much! And I love him too!

PS: Please don't do more love-filled Weekend Downloads...

2nd PS: What happened to the WD banner?

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in mr heart, what does it mean by jump by walking?

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I love Dwarf Fortress. Good call

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Roach Roundup: Nice idea there! However everytime to completly restart? -> frustration -> not fun

Dwarf Fortress: Maybe its nice once you learned it, and I generally have nothing against the charm of ASCII graphics. However its too steep for me, I dunno have a single idea what to do. A tutorial mode would be nice...

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Wow, DF is a surprising add here; yes, it has a steep learning curve, and it is quite a bit of fun to play once you get through it (asking around for help on the forums is a Good Idea, as well as looking at the Dwarf Fortress Wiki).

I've got a recommendation for those who want to try it, though: The latest 3-D version of this game (v0.27.169.33a) is not quite as 'gamey' as the last 2-D version of this game (v0.23.130.23a) when it comes to Fortress mode (there's actual geology, which means depending on where you start you might strike gold on your first day or have to make do without iron, as opposed to a guaranteed progression of better and more valuable metals as you go further into the mountain), and when it comes to Adventure mode there's an unfortunate holdover from the 2-D version (when there was an actual seam to the map of an area) which kills a fair amount of the reward factor in playing a more unsavory sort (you basically can't steal unless you don't mind being unable to travel over the map, which means that you can't heal your injuries and will have to find food, water, and go to sleep every so often). Also, Adventure mode is easier and more compelling (for anyone who enjoys violence to some degree, anyway ;) ), but surviving battles with the quest monsters isn't easy even if you spend all your points at the start, and there's always a chance of dying (even the most well-armored players can go down to a lucky arrow through the heart or brain). Also also, the motto "Losing is fun!" is a good thing to remember when you're cursing that band of zombies dragging you down to the ground and breaking every bone in your body. :)

>_>; Sorry about the wall of text...

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I've been playing Dwarf Fortress for a while, good call. It's a fantastic game, though does have a steep learning cliff to begin with- on the plus side, you don't have to take everything in one go, thanks to the progression of more complex elements the more you play.

Right now it's also in bug-squashing mode thanks to the new version, I think, so it's not a completely stable build. Still, a lot of fun and the community is great.

Also, watch out for the zombie cod.

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So far, Dwarf Fortress is a blank screen that plays music. That's not nearly as exciting as it sounds.

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Actually - it looks like if you have multiple monitors it will only work on your left one. Not the primary monitor, the left one.

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Uberubert November 3, 2007 3:49 PM

Dwarf fortress has indeed a steep learning curve, but thats what happens when you pack a game with tons of details and opportunities.

Learning the game is hard, but it is SOOO Worth it! I know that lots of players (including myself) have spent countless hours on this game enjoying happiness, alcoholic dwarves, blood, tragedy, tantrums, kobolds and lizards.

There is nothing more enjoyable than diverting a lavapool into a floodchannel and send it down a chasm to clear out the creatures dwelling below... Muhaha.
Strangely enough, it's kind of fun realizing you've done it wrong, and accidentally flood you own fortress killing off everything left alive.

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Yes, a tutorial mode for Dwarf Fortress would be sweet. This one seems to be over-complicated. I quite like playing ascii based roguelikes like Adom and NetHack which you can say are quite complex as well.. but they are more intuitive. I want my games to be more intuitive as I hate reading manuals, and I try to avoid reading them if possible, even in real life :P

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Wow... *falls over* JohnB wasn't kidding about each Dwarf Fortress world being huge.

I haven't immersed myself in the Fortress mode yet, but Adventurer mode is a lot of fun once you've taken the time to get yourself comfortable with the way things work.

So far, I took down a dragon. Yay! It was scary; upon my arrival, it spewed out huge streams of flame that I just barely managed to sidestep. Eventually I managed to lash the dragon's eyes out with my iron whip, and from then on we engaged in a frantic brawl on the ground as I tried to strangle the dragon. Eventually it bled to death from the injuries I had inflicted on it, though. Phew! Very enjoyable.

So anyway, my character's self-introduction is "My name is Fathri Whiskednatures the Trifling Deviant Jail-Shaft of Insanity." I'm not sure how that title fell upon me, but I like it.

I like huge-sandbox-world-that's-randomly-generated-and-can-pretty-much-be-explored-however-you-want games. Dwarf Fortress seems amazing, and I've barely even tried Fortress mode. Thanks for introducing me to it!

mushroom:
That part confused me too. I had to rearrange the blocks so that there was no gap to fall down, and I could just walk straight into the hole containing Mr. Heart.

I liked Mr. Heart Loves You Very Much. Short but sweet!

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Mr. Heart is pretty fun, a nice idea. Could be worked out into a more full game, I think it has potential. :)

Dwarf Fortress... the world generator looks impressive, good results as far as I can see, but the game... too hard to get into for my taste.

Roach Roundup, while the core idea sounds interesting, is really pretty meager. Often, it's just waiting untill a roach finally decides to move away from a couch. Which isn't fun considering that you've got a very limited time, and that no time is added between levels.

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Dear god, please. Someone get me a good tutorial for starting Dwarf Fortress because it looks fun but I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

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But that's part of the fun. Like the other guy said you can look at the wiki for help and ask on the forum for help. Also the IRC channel is pretty good for getting info about little things.

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Just more Dwarf Fortress love here. If you have any interest in strategy and managment, give DF a shot. I popped my ASCII cherry with ADOM, a great Rogue-like, so It might be easier to visualize the world if you are already familiar. But remember, DF isn't your grandma's rogue-like that can run on a 386 running DOS, it needs Open-GL.

Re: Zor, I had the blue lines and noise problem before on an IBM Thinkpad, but once I got the game onto a desktop with a P4, a good bit of RAM, and up to date drivers, it runs perfectly.

DF beats the pants off of any mainstream fantasy builder, especially with the latest version, and it's still an ALPHA. I was able to lurk the forums and wiki to learn anything I needed, and everyone is polite.

Kudos to Jayisgames for digging up some

[rough...color]

gems!

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DF is definitely one of those games that are actually rewarding when you lose.

I like to think I'm getting better and wiser each time I lose and start a new game in Fortress mode but I still lose again and again. Damn!

It's good fun and highly addictive through :D

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mr heart is an excellent idea and even though I'm utterly stumped on know that plugging away at it I'll get somewhere. A kind of lateral thinking geographical space that is in the same world as the Portal mind-flip.

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I've been very much enjoying the Fortress mode of Dwarf Fortress, but with both of my fortresses so far, the game starts to freeze after playing my fortress for a few hours, despite the game running perfectly smoothly for those first few hours. Not small freezes; the game literally completely freezes for a minute or more, then unfreezes for something like 2-5 seconds before freezing for another minute or so.

I've tried closing all other programs, reopening the game, restarting my computer, making sure the hard disk is properly defragmented, and changing the priority of the game in Task Manager, but nothing seems to fix it other than starting a brand new fortress. Even worse, my two fortresses were in entirely different locations (of the same world) and both were afflicted with the same problem after a few hours each.

Does this sound familiar to anyone, or does anyone know what may be causing this?

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Ballhalla seems to contain adware, so I didn't finish downloading it. I thought others might like to know about this too.

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I took the time to get acquainted with the Dwarf Fortress aspect of the game of the same name. It has extrordinary depth, countless features, and limitless potential due to the masterfully written game mechanics. However, this game will -not- appeal to the larger mass of casual gamers out there. But for those of you who want to spend the extra time to get to know this cross between Nethack and Sands of Hell, here's what I found useful to know:

-Take the time to read, this game lends nothing to intuition, unless your familiar with other games like it. There is lots of material, including an entire wiki.

-Patience, you'll screw up lots of times, so have fun on your first five or ten goes. The game's motto "Losing is fun" can be surprisingly true.

-You don't have to worry about a lot at first, so it's important to -not panic-. The game itself seems to employ a graduated difficulty system, throwing tougher stuff as you grow into it [or it might even be a "more difficult over time" approach. But trust me, an hour or so passes before anything happens pertinent to your longterm survival, and even longer passes [3 hours?] before a wave of immigrants comes.

-Learn the commands, for which the wiki is useful. It takes a lot of learning, but they do become intuitive after a while, and you'll find yourself building up a decent beginners fort in 15 minutes.

-Not everything needs to be thrown into the effort of survival. Surviving isn't even the goal sometimes. I generally take an artistic approach. Just see what you can try: I've build waterfalls and smoothed out dining halls, and I have plans for a freestanding tower and moat too.

The game itself basically creates a self consistent world every time you "create a world" not every time you enter in. This means, if your patient, a considerable backhistory can build up on one world. This self consistency works both for adventure mode and fortress mode what you do in one affects the other, you can even visit your own fortress, though you can't affect each other that directly.

The draw is amazing, what you can create can be beautiful but I don't know if this is exactly "casual" gaming. But I do speak here because I really do believe this is an amazing addition to gaming in general.

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I started playing Dwarf Fortress about a week ago, having come across it elsewhere, and finally deciding to try it out myself. Despite everyone saying it has a steep learning curve, I found it surprisingly easy to get into.

The guides on the wiki are a great help; they'll point out what the most important things to get set up in the beginning are. Once you have those, you can just mess around with whatever you like, and learn how everything works.

I kept going back and forth between the wiki, forums, other documentation, and the actual game for some time... I might be annoyed if I had to do that for other games, but the sheer detail, possibility, and flair evident in every bit of the game had me ecstatic. Even a crash that wiped out a year of work on my first fortress didn't phase me; I just abandoned it and built a second with better design, using what I'd learned! And I'm normally very harsh on games that do that kind of thing.

Protip: check out the \data\init\init.txt file. It has many helpful options that can be tweaked. I highly recommend setting [AUTOSAVE:SEASONAL], at the very least.

I'm in the summer of the second year of my second fortress now. It may be in somewhat boring land, a flat forest with a thin aquifer... but I'm having fun! I managed to dig through the aquifer and wall off a safe section with a couple pumps and windmills, so now I have plenty of stone, and I can do (*giggles maniacally*) anything! I think I'll create an open-air porch above the stairs leading down into my fort and see if I can build a stairway that pumps water from the aquifer to create a waterfall flowing over the sides of the porch. And I'll probably build something to funnel the water away from my fort, lest it flood. Probably.

Maybe I'll see about flooding everything -except- my fort. I'd probably have trouble getting traders... and wood... but it'd be a small price to pay for the best moat ever!

Once I get bored of this, there are so many other possible kinds of terrain to try out...

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Mr Heart is a cool guy. In the later puzzles, you'll have to figure something out that isn't quite clear, but once you do, it'll be crazy.

When you tilt the screen, when you land on the ground you can immediately tilt the screen again. This is how you move the heart so that it comes to you. Just stand in a corner so that you land before the heart does, and use the tilting to guide the heart through the holes to get to where you are.....and of course, the E button rotates the screen in the other direction than the R button, if you were wondering how you can do that.

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Oh, man. Losing is part of the fun? My first fortress, because I couldn't tell what anything was, was an autostart (not choosing equipment) in an arctic mountain, with no wood on the map or in my storages.

Read. The wiki. It is your only chance to have basic understanding. My biggest suggestion would be, if you have two computers or someone you know has a laptop, hijack it and use it to look at the wiki while playing. It helps, a lot.

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LOL now I spend much more time on DF and DF forums than on this site! You've converted me-the wrong way! :)

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Woohoo, Dwarf Fortress version 38a is now out, the biggest update to the game since I first started playing it.

I downloaded version 38a, generated a new world and then began a new fortress in it. I was immediately greeted with the announcement, "You have located Anaÿaniceÿicèthutha Emura, "The Dead Undignified Mines of Doom", a cave."

Charming. What a pleasant start.

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V2Blast Author Profile Page May 30, 2010 5:18 AM

Dwarf Fortress!

I think it deserves a new nostalgic review of its own by someone who's had the time to play it for a while and get used to it. I think it pays more attention to every tiny detail of every character than any game... ever.

Also, I'm from the future.

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stonesherrill Author Profile Page October 21, 2014 4:04 PM

I'm from slightly further into the future and I agree that DF is easily the best out of the rest of these games. I've only played in depth the 2012 and 2014 updates of dwarf fortress and I can say I'm loving this game. Its only because of my dinosaur of a computer I can't play as much. I predict that when Toady One the Great, the creator of DF, finally finishes making DF (he predicted a while ago that it'll take 20 years or so before he finishes his main goals in the development) that most couldn't even play it on their computers.

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