Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dwarf Fortress: Interface Suggestions

So I've been playing this game for a couple of weeks now and while I love it's crazy variety and think it has a lot of potential, it also has an extremely clunky interface. So, I've compiled a list of suggestions and issues.

Note: This notes were made based on an old version (~2 weeks ago).


The first issue appears when choosing extra equipment for your initial dwarf party. It's extremely awkward to scroll through a list of every single possible item. How about dividing it up by item type? If I don't want to take leather armor, I shouldn't have to look at all the the leather armor variations. I suggest having an option to view items by category. Give the users a list that they can drill down into via the +/- keys.

Once the game starts, the first thought that I (and many others I've spoken to) had was, 'My God this is an extremely cluttered mess'! The complex grass option should default to off. It just makes everything more confusing. And the player certainly doesnt need extra confusion when they're first starting.

Easy location option for items. When 'v'iewing an item, there should be a 'z'oom to option for easy location of that item (this would mainly be useful for artifacts). Same for the Room listings.

The option to turn off engravings should be an all or nothing setting. The 2nd level engravings are confusing, considering that they use the same symbols that are used for everything else. The 1st level engravings look great. 2nd level engravings simply add to the cluttered feel.

Text hangs off the edge of the screen in many places (inventory, when viewing items using 'k', etc, etc). Add in some word-wrap functionality or otherwise alter the layout so that this doesnt happen.

Dwarves gather refuse even when gather outside is set to off. Seems to be related to the chasm (at least I've noticed it more when I have chasm items turned on)

A simple option to page through all dwarves when examing a dwarf. (IE, when I have a dwarf selected, I can simply hit a key that will take me to the next dwarf)

Ability to easily see quality of furniture when looking at it after its been placed. If you hover over a placed furniture item with the 'k' or 'q' option, there is no way to tell what the quality is for that item.

The biggest problem I had with the interface was lack of consistency. Some menus use the arrow keys, some use +/-, some use both! Storage areas and harvest areas are designated by marking the opposite corners while bridges, farm plots and roads are created via a clunky square system. Pick one menu navigation method and stick with it.

Way to set butcher commands via the 'v' menu. There were times were I had a severly wounded animal that was worse than useless, but finding it through the 'u'nit menu is a slow, painful process.

I would really appreciate an option in the room ('q') menu that allowed me to set that room as one to be detailed. I would limit this to the user defined rooms (bedrooms, barracks, dining, etc) and it should detail all the floors and the walls that are considered part of the room.

On the pets submenu for dwarves, show how many pets they already have. It would be nice to know if I'm assigning dogs to someone that already has 5 of them!

The 'U'nit screen displays every mobile in the game, even if they've passed away and been chunked into the chasm! While it's nice that all of this information is saved, some options to filter the info on the unit screen would be great.

Injured status should be seen on the 'u'nit screen.

Animals gathered during hunting are rarely butchered immediately. Corpses get thrown into a refuse pile or worse, the chasm! Animals placed into butcher shop should be flagged for butchering and so that the corpse doesnt get picked up as refuse. If the corpse becomes rotten, then the butcher flag should be removed.

Along similar lines, materials that are taken to a workshop for a job, then left there because the worker dwarf decided to take a break, often get placed back into the stockpiles.

The ability to designate an ore stockpile as smeltable. IE, any ore in that stockpile will be auto-queued at the nearest smelter. This option would only be available if you have a Manager.

Ability to change ini settings from within the game.

An option to temporarily turn off all objects and mobiles so I can work on the layout without the distraction of hundreds of symbols, many of them flashing.

And last, but certainly not least, we need Orc Fortress!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"And last, but certainly not least, we need Orc Fortress!!"

maybe not a fortress rather a orckish horde camp manager to make it diferent than DF the camp should be easely moved frome spot to spot, no diggin allowed (without dwarf slaves workers) and gatherin goods by attackin other fracktions, also ill be nice if we have Ork Boss that could be controled in game like an adventurer ahhh... dream ^^

Sry for Very bad Eng ;/