Skip to main content

Towns: Fumbling After Dwarf Fortress's Crown

A copy/paste of a Steam Forums post I just made clarifies my position on this new game I just finished playing for a bit, Towns.

I like Towns but, after playing it pretty hard over the past couple days, I'm thinking I'd be best off waiting for a few more builds.

The biggest issue I have is that the division of labor is all off. Part of this is that the task AI tends to do last happenings first, which oft provokes the Townies to run extremely far away to do something even if there’s an identical goal right next to them. The other part is because, unlike Dwarf Fortress, you can't assign a person to only do woodcrafting, or stoneworking, building, or hauling, ect. Instead, you have a priority queue, which seems to roughly assign tasks for everyone to do.

Towns is a massive time sink.  It took me pretty much all day (real life) to build this inn,
and, as the second day, I'm up to the third floor of it and it still doesn't have a roof.
Because the configurable priority queue is too fuzzy to resolve it, you’ll typically end up with a nasty backlog where things are being done slower than their needs to be done, and it just builds and builds.

Even on the most basic level, Townies are coded to just throw everything on the ground. In Dwarf Fortress, you could have someone free who would haul the item to a stockpile, but not here, so this creates work for other townies to reach the stuff they’re dropping. In Towns, even if I prioritize hauling first, it will only assign maybe one or two townies to hauling. I can’t leave it set this way for long, because it seems to prioritize the last dropped thing first, and this will result in townies running into the arms of waiting monsters while leaving a giant mess at home.

The real trouble starts when people start dying.

First, because you now need to build tombs/graves to contain them. (Either that, or destroy their corpses, which is a bit of a cheat.) More townies run down to mine the needed minerals or retrieve the corpses, but end up getting killed, creating more corpses, creating a whole cycle of that same corpse-recovery task to do.  Given enough time, the corpses will sprout hostile ghosts, killing yet more townies.

Second, because the dead Townies have most of their equipment destroyed. Now, you need to take the time to recreate most of the armor and weapon they were carrying. Unfortunately, as everyone is now busy trying to pick up the slack of the dead townie, it’s probable that armor and weapon will not be replaced in time. 2-4 immigrants show up and get to work, unarmored and unequipped, vulnerable to adding another iteration to this cycle.

I suppose I could enjoy the added challenge involved in the Townies choosing the worst possible thing to do first. I could see the only real way to play this being in waves: clear a dungeon floor. Wait for the townies to clean up the mess. Finish up everything you need to do topside. A few months will probably pass in-game while all this goes on. Everything complete, and feel ready to tackle the next level? Alright, dig that ladder and lets start this whole cycle again!
4 comments

Popular posts from this blog

Resonant Induction Really Grinds My Gears... In A Good Way

From about 2pm yesterday until 8pm today, I've been dabbling with my latest custom mod mix for Minecraft 1.6.4, which is this time very much Universal Electricity focused.
Aside from the usual GUI enhancers and Somnia, the primary contenders in this mix were:
Calclavia Core - Of course: this is the base of the Universal Electricity system.Resonant Induction - This seems to be largely focused on increasingly more advanced methods of refining ores divided across 4 ages of technological progression.  It also includes some really cool things such as assembly lines.  I'll primarily be talking about just a few blocks out of this mod today.Atomic Science - A mod dedicated to generating more of those lovely universal electricity volts via the power of splitting the atom.  Build your own nuclear reactor!  Deal with nuclear meltdowns!  You maniac!ICBM - A mod dedicated to generating more destruction using those lovely universal electricity volts (and more than a little gunpowder), it cer…

Empyrion Vrs Space Engineers: A Different Kind Of Space Race

In my quest for more compelling virtual worlds, I have been watching Empyrion: Galactic Survival a lot this bizarro weekend, mostly via the Angry Joe Show twitch stream.  What I have concluded from my observations is Empyrion is following in Space Engineers' shadow, but it is nevertheless threatening the elder game due to a greater feature set (the modding scene notwithstanding).

Empyrion is made in Unity, whereas Space Engineers is built on a custom engine.  While this does put Empyrion at a disadvantage when it comes to conceptual flexibility, its developers nevertheless have a substantial advantage when it comes to adding features due to a savings of time spent that would have gone into developing their own engine.  Examples include:
Planets.  Empyrion already has planets and space to explore between them, whereas in Space Engineers planets are in the works but still awhile away (so you just have asteroid fields to scavenge).Enemies.  Space Engineers' survival mode boasts onl…

Ancient Warfare - What Is It Good For?

The Ancient Warfare mod for Minecraft threw me for a loop.  I was looking for "villagers" that would perform useful tasks while simultaneously resolving the glut of food with a need to eat, thereby turning Minecraft into a bit of 4X game you can play from the inside.  Millenaire wasn't quite there, partly because recent updates to Forge had broken its compatibility with Minecraft 1.7.10, and Minecolony's development is not quite fast enough to keep up with the state of mods in general (they probably need to make a core API).
In comes Ancient Warfare, which does indeed provide workers and soldiers who need to eat, you can even order around a little army of them to defeat your enemies.  It has working waterwheels and windmills, something I thought was awesome in Resonant Induction.  It has a warehouse with a built-in sorting system, as well as courier NPCs that can move things from building to building, and crafting NPCs that can create things for you automatically - w…