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#0: 12-31-2013 @ 03:45:54 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=7010#7010

BountyHunterSAxBountyHunterSAx

  • Real Name:Ahmad Rasheed
  • Joined:2011-06-29

So, a while back, Bharroth, Arcanum.Zero, and several people who watch my Crawl videos recommended me to play Dwarf Fortress. On loading the game up, I was greeted with an indecipherable mass of hideous ASCII that was such a chore to try to work around that only by the loosest definitions would I call it a 'game'. I was joking when I said it, but honestly? I think getting good at Dwarf Fortress and getting through Medical School are probably on par with each other in terms of difficulty. Still, it's a shame, because with so many recommendations, I was sure there was something in there that I'd have fallen in love with.

Then came Gnomoria -- a game that is like Dwarf Fortress-lite, except minus all the soulcrushing misery, with a WONDERFUL mouse-driven GUI, and very catchy chiptunes etc. etc. On the strength of Arcanum.Zero's recommendation, and thanks to the ~$1-2 Steam "Flash-Sale" I picked it up. . . expecting to find myself facing rouge-like level "uber-challenge/misery" and micromanagement. I could NOT have been more wrong.

Holy Crap this game is fun! For any of you who had an eye on this game, I want to impress upon you just how much fun I've had so far. This game is like: Sim City meets Terraria, for reasons I will elaborate on as this review goes.

So, how to begin?

Gameplay:

Genre:
If you know how Dwarf Fortress works, just skip down to the next heading. Still here? Okay. So I said "SimCity meets Terraria" and I'm sticking to it. You begin with a handful of Gnomes (9-10), along with a few resources taht these Gnomads have brought with them - wheat seeds, straw, strawberries, some armor/weapons, etc. The game opens up to a large map, with mountainous areas, various heights, etc. And that's it - Wide Open Sandbox/ Simulation time!
SIMCITY:
Now you set about making orders. The SimCity/Sims comparisons set in right away. You can't directly control the individual members (Gnomes) or anything. But, you effectively make "to do" lists and arrange them by priority (default:5) for your gnomes to carry out. The game is paused - so you can issue as many such comands as you like without needing to race for it. . .which is crucial. Just like in SimCity, you zone (err... designate) a few areas as farmland, enough to contain the useful seeds. Designate an area to stockpile resources. Declare forests that you believe will need to cut-down. . . or cut saplings from. . . or harvest fruit from. Declare a pasture-area for your Yaks to enter. Declare dig-orders for areas of the mountain, etc. Throughout the course of the game that's how you're going to be doing it.. .. .. issuing orders for how your 'city' should develop. Satisfied with your initial batch of setup, you hit 'Play', and watch the Gnomes scurry about to carry out their tasks.
The Sims:
At first, it all seems to be pretty simple. They're busy carrying your stockpile of starting resources, and transferring them to the stockpile. Then. . .hello, what's this . . . they all start splitting up to do their respective tasks. That's when you check the window and realize: Each of these Gnomes is named. Each named Gnome has stats in various skills (Masonry, Woodcutting, Mining, Horticulture, Bonework . . . the list goes on and on) and has come pre-assigned to a specialty.

"Specialties" are a collection of tasks that can be performed. For example, a woodcutter is permitted to perform: hauling (of stuff), woodcutting, woodcrafting (of two varieties). As long as your Gnome is assigned that specialty he will *NOT* go galavanting about trying to help the miners mine or the ranchers ranch, etc. But these job-description are not set in stone. They can be re-written and edited (indeed: altogether new or custom ones created) to include as many or as few tasks as you desire. At one point during a playthrough, for example, i found it useful to create a temporary profession: "CommittedWoodcutter" who was incapable of doing anything but woodcrafting to make a bunch of planks. Very useful. An added wrinkle of possible complexity, but also - most the time - you can ignore this entirely and only deal with slightly less efficient gnomes.

Then there's basic needs. Your Gnomes need food. Drink. Sleep. These thought bubbles show up over their head and -- as a rule of thumb -- they will prioritize their needs and survival enough that unless you mess up somehow, they aren't likely to end up getting themselves killed. So that leaves you trying to provide for their needs.

Terraria:
And so we come to the real measure of progression in this game: your worldbuilding. Unlike in SimCity where currency determines what you can and can't do, in Gnomoria, the system is far more Terraria-esque. Digging into mountains or deep under the surface will unearth veins of various kinds of stone, ore, etc. all of which can then be processed in a smelter (provided you have the furnace, which will make the coal, which needs a table to make, which needs a woodcuttery . . . etc etc) to produce a plethora of useful items for your Gnommish colony.
I'm a couple hours into the game - twice now - and it's been very satisfying working my way towards trying to gather the resources required for proper beds as opposed to the tartan straw mats they are currently sleeping on in their pre-assigned communal dormitory. Strawberry wine, Yak milk, apple-groves and the like have thusfar served my gnomes' needs. But I have *finally* got a kitchen up and running now (1-2wks in) and am able to craft wheat-loaves.
Being driven ever onwards and greedily deeper and deeper into the earth in search of yet more exotic resources.

Eventually, you start dealing with Goblin-raiders, various above-the-surface issues (think "disasters" in SimCity), and I suspect underground things will eventually get dangerous as well. Though probably a sight deeper than the relatively shallow digging I've done thusfar.

I could go on, but I think this has already gotten dangerously wrong, so I'll stop.



Graphics/Interface:

I'm going to be straight-up with you, I was comparing this to Dwarf-Fortress when I showed up. Compare:

To:

 

Now, I freely grant you that neither of these is gonna be winning any beauty-pagaent contests or "Game Graphics of the Year" awards. But HOLY CRAP the difference is staggering! There are issues with the isometric viewpoint to be sure, and the total lack of a tutorial meant that playing with Arcanum.Zero watching and giving me a hand for the first half hour/hour (or a good FAQ) was a near-necessity for me to maintain interest through that part. But once you're past that point, the game is incredibly easy to play. Further, the more I play the more answers I've found to these 'issues'. For example, you can rotate the perspective with ,/. or zoom in/out with L.Ctrl+ +/- (although i've reassigned this to something more convenient).

Interface-wise, the developers have gone out of their way to provide you many ways, all reasonably easy to find and utilize, to perform the duties you need to do. As the screen shows, you've got the pictorial "action-bar" which lets you access all the things you'll need (building, agricultural, cancel order, designate area, etc.) for your control. You can also access these same commands however from a Right-Click "drop-down" menu that's really easy to navigate through and well-organized. Double-clicking an object brings up more info on it. The 5 tabs at the top give you a birds-eye view of various properties of your colony. Etc. Etc. Finally, *all* the commands possible in the game are available via hotkey, though initially unassigned. I, for example, have opted to hotkey "pause/unpause" to z, and dig/mine-wall to "x" - for convenience when mining.

Music:
Inoffensive, certainly. Nice at times. Nothing to write home about, despite the occasional really catchy beat or overly familiar one. There was one soundtrack in particular that played that sounded so much like FF II/IV's opening, I coulda sworn it was the same. Otherwise, they include the option to play it in orchestral mode OR in 8-bit mode, which is nice for people who care about that kind of thing.

Challenge/Difficulty:
I have yet to up the difficulty past Easy. I don't honestly know that I ever will. The game doesn't feel hard in much the same way that SimCity or Terraria doesn't feel "hard". The game is meant to be a chance (for me at least) to enjoy a nice wide-open sandbox/exploration/buildup/digging. I don't see any reason to make that more violent/"hard". . . yet.

But there are several difficulty settings. The lowest is Peaceful - moreso than Easy, from there there's normal, hard, and some kind of extreme. Plenty of room to go back for replayability if I care to in the future.


Conclusion:
Fun game! Surprising how many hours you can end up playing without meaning to -- the SimCity effect, I believe. In any event, as with any wordy description, it doesn't do the game justice. I may end up doing a gameplay vid of it at some point and if so rest-assured I'll post it here. But for the time being, the game is still quite reasonably priced and still in further development (not even out of beta, iirc). If this description, therefore, sounds appealing to you I think it's worth your while to have a look at it or even pick it up to try it out.
Just be sure to have someone around to help you through your first 15-30minutes ;). Much like Minecraft or Terraria or the newer SimCity's, it can be awfully disorienting to be plopped down with no reference or clue what is what or where.

-AHMAD


#1: 01-03-2014 @ 09:36:29 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=7020#7020

BountyHunterSAxBountyHunterSAx

  • Real Name:Ahmad Rasheed
  • Joined:2011-06-29

So, I've got a good 20+ hours of gameplay underneath my belt in this game. Much like when I play SimCity and turn disasters off for a more enjoyable "amateur" experience, I turned off goblins/invasions. All I left on in terms of enemies were the periodic wild animals (honey badgers, bears, etc.). Made a nice, tiny map and off we go!

 

I've since gone through my first year (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) and gotten *robust* food-production, wood-production, fruit harvesting, stone-working, cloth-working, leather-working, and metal-working operation going.

Check out my colony:


#2: 01-03-2014 @ 09:59:35 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=7022#7022

DominionDominion

Dominion Photo.
  • Real Name:Mark
  • Joined:2010-01-22

Sounds pretty cool so far! I know I tried Dwarf Fortress awhile ago and while I was able to get over the graphics with a tileset mod, I was bogged down by the insanely clunky ui. I certainly found fun in the game but couldn't get past those issues. Sounds like this game fixes much of the issues so might need to pick it up... after I'm done with the bunch of other games I received for Christmas that is.


"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock and roll." Shigeru Miyamoto
#3: 01-04-2014 @ 08:28:42 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=7025#7025

BountyHunterSAxBountyHunterSAx

  • Real Name:Ahmad Rasheed
  • Joined:2011-06-29

So - amazing discovery.

Its getting towards the end of Year 2 in Trivialia, and I'm about ready to quit this map. I mean, at this point I have food value upward of 1000, total power, etc. And I'm thinking, it might be worthwhile to go up to actual difficulty that involves some portion of goblin invasions. Let's just try to get my kingdom value up to 50k first.

But, on a whim, I throw up a Gemcutter and a Jewelcrafter -- the workshops that can work with my precious emeralds/sapphires that I've found in my mining. I'm like: "What the heck, might as well make a necklace". I do. .  . .it has a trade value of 500!!!! An intrinsic worth of 1k-range. To put this in perspective, the worth of my ENTIRE KINGDOM -livestock, food stockpiles, resource, 10-yaks, vast farmland and lumberyard, etc - in total - was worth 35-40k. Within just a couple days of crafting these necklaces with my emerald/sapphire stores, I end up with a kingdom value upward of 72k. Best of all, the moment winter rolls around? SEVEN Gnomads show up in my kingdom!

Moral of the story: In future attempts at playing, if/when I want an infusion of Gnomads, craft jewelerry. Raising the kingdom value will attract a bigger crew. Population: 26.

-AHMAD


#4: 01-06-2014 @ 11:11:40 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=7044#7044

BountyHunterSAxBountyHunterSAx

  • Real Name:Ahmad Rasheed
  • Joined:2011-06-29

Meant to post this before, better late than never:

Started a new game on normal difficulty, normal map. Have since gotten about as far as my easy-mode run. Year 2-summer, with a healthy 22-population Gnome colony with 1.4k stored food, ~250 drink, loads of wealth, and a mostly-fully outfitted, dedicated, 5-gnome military squad with dual-wield bronze swords and malachite armor.

And holy crap this game hits a serious difficulty spike!

Firstly: there seems to be no such thing as a watch-tower of any kind. The first warning you get that an enemy is within your territory is when one of your gnomes (any of them) is wihtin visual range. Enemies seem to spawn from just about anywhere they want, which really sucks. For example: a goblin "appeared" inside my yak-pen and by the time one of my fighters got to him the yak was already bleeding to death (and died).

Still, this was quite awesome in its own way. It made the first few months of year 1 a lot more vibrant and lively. Having to *deal* with these losses - and even the one dead gnome - felt very real. Even though, ya'know, the way they made it happen was to drop a gobling on top of him.

Still, an invasion every 2-4 days was pretty intense. It took a while to finally get enough military put together that I'd be able to manage it.


Now? It's year 2, summertime. I just reviewed my battle log. Now, bear in mind, that I have advance torches lighting up both above and below ground in every direction at least 12 tiles away from any space inside my fort. And yet:

Summer:
Day5:2x Beetle, Mant
Day6:3x goblin, goblin, beetle, mant,
Day7 Beetle, beetle, beetle, beetle
Day8 Summer: Bear, Mant Ogre


Seriously. They sent a friggin' OGRE. And make no mistake - I did pull it off. No casualties, all enemies killed. But dear god, how am i supposed to be able to keep this up?

I intentionally avoided increasing the value of my kingdom earlier on (rich kingdom -> increased invasions). Well, this bullshit incessant ramp-up of enemy strength, frequency, and such has pushed me the opposite direction. To hell with conservation! 17-20 neclackes later I have 2x'd, possibly even 3x'd my kingdom value. Come next season I anticipate at least 4-8 more gnomes. Enough (hopefully!) to try and get some legitimate patrol routes set up without compromising my "elite" military group. If only I were more confident in my ability to dig deeper and get *more* ore to armour my troops up. . .


-AHMAD


#5: 01-11-2014 @ 07:51:05 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=7098#7098

BountyHunterSAxBountyHunterSAx

  • Real Name:Ahmad Rasheed
  • Joined:2011-06-29

So I decided to make a vid-series on getting a Gnomoria colony up and running. And then I had the further idea: if I'm going to be making a vid-series, for a somewhat-confusing-initially, relatively niche, game... and my usual style of LPing is informative/instructional, why not try intentionally making it a tutorial?

So I give you the first hour or two of my Introduction to Gnomoria tutorial. The goal: Survive the first year and build a solid "base" for a colony while explaining how to set things up. Not necessarily how to do so optimally, mind, or even how *I* would personally like it precisely; just how to get things going and why. I'm striving to demonstrate the organic process of discovering needs and how to fill them as well as the video series goes on.

Anyway, enjoy! Still relatively early on in the game:

http://youtu.be/eKxJ5Wd0cEg : The First Orders (01)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4g25c7SWdY : Professions and Tasks (02)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xG5zjN_o74s : Of Building and Crafting (03)


-AHMAD


*EDIT*: Just posted this on Reddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/gnomoria/comments/1uym1x/video_introduction_to_tutorial_for_gnomoria/) Figure it's worth a shot for possibly getting people who might be interested to find it.

This post was edited by BountyHunterSAx on January 11, 2014, 10:59 am


#6: 08-08-2014 @ 01:09:36 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=8530#8530

BountyHunterSAxBountyHunterSAx

  • Real Name:Ahmad Rasheed
  • Joined:2011-06-29

Apparently "StoneSense" is a 3d visualizing utility that was made for Dwarf Fortress:

 

 http://i.imgur.com/hJdsMiC.png

 

Just at a glance? This looks so very very much like Gnomoria I've gotta say I wonder if they borrowed some of the artwork!

This post was edited by BountyHunterSAx on August 8, 2014, 4:09 pm


#7: 08-31-2014 @ 08:33:51 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=8660#8660

DominionDominion

Dominion Photo.
  • Real Name:Mark
  • Joined:2010-01-22

Picked up Gnomoria a little while ago and just wanted to say I've found your tutorial videos very helpful Bounty! I'm basically up to the end of Spring and will eventually start doing military type stuff soon. Made figuring out what I needed to do next extremely helpful. The way Gnomoria is setup I probably would've stumbled my way into getting proper workshops setup but the video's been helpful in keeping me on task. Only issue I had was making ramps and stuff. At some point my miners got stuck downstairs. Thankfully I was able to notice it and rebuild some stairs at various point so they could get themselves out before it was too late but I was fairly confused as to why my initial ramps suddenly became useless. Oh well, all is good by now.

On a secondary note, Gnomoria is far more intuitive than Dwarf Fortress was last time I tried it. Basically fixes all my issues I had with DF.


"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock and roll." Shigeru Miyamoto

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