Thursday 1 April 2010

Dwarf Fortress 2 open beta coming soon (design notes - part five)

We were confident enough at this point to open up DF2 to a select group of beta testers and put feelers out to those we knew would take an interest in a multiplayer procedurally generated kick ass fantasy world. It was one of these, Randy Pitchford who was ultimately responsible for the radical change in direction of the visuals for DF2. Randy was concerned that the look of DF2 was 'too shit brown': mostly because he kept locking the doors to the washroom in the fortresses he built, so his dwarves would work overtime. We brainstormed this over Skype - and during the chat, it was almost like a light bulb went off above both our heads at the same time. There was a power cut in my house, and Randy was turning off the lights to save on power bill costs since the light from the monitors was enough to keep his developers awake while they worked overtime. When we reconnected, we were both babbling 'how about red and blue'. I made Randy promise that we'd get to use the look we discussed for our game, not his, and started revising the engine.

What you see in the open beta of DF2 is the original engine ultra-realistic graphics, which are then rotoscoped and painted using another algorithm Chris came up with. Overall, the look was well received by our beta testers, except Eskil Steenberg, who suffers from a rare visual condition that means everything he sees looks like an impressionist painting and who found the new appearance 'derivative'. I'm telling you this story now, ahead of you playing the game, so you don't blame Chris for cartoon like appearance.

1 comment:

Derek said...

I would love to beta this one. ;)