Archives for category: Work in Progress

First Dwarf Fortress Update In Two Years Arrives Next Month

By Graham Smith

Dwarf Fortress has long been one of game development’s most interesting blogs, owing to its creators’ propensity for adding absurd amounts of detail to their fantasy world simulator. But for the past two years, none of those updates have actually been available to play. That’s about to change. In this month’s Bay 12 Report, Toady One says that a new update including all those various tweaks and expansions is finally just around the corner.

 

The time has come! We are planning to release the next version of Dwarf Fortress in the beginning of next month. We are grateful to all those who have contributed time, energy, and money to help us along! Many of you understand how this process works, but the rest need to know how Bay 12 Games operates. Dwarf Fortress is more than a game. It’s a kind of art project that has been in production for over 10 years, and you are part of it! We need everyone to help find bugs, show newbies how to play, and generally spread the word. It will take time for the new version to be as stable as the one that’s out there now. Not to mention all the mods that will have to be re-calibrated. We know that without all the people working and contributing, Dwarf Fortress would be just another failed oddity of a game. But people are getting involved with the project. Everyone is doing their part, answering questions on the forums, contributing to the bug tracker, building great mods, and telling their friends about DF!

I’ve written before about how Dwarf Fortress is deceptively simple to play, and in that regard the new update seems likely to be a double-edged sword. Two years of work will bring all kinds of new additions to the Fortress mode, which are bound to introduce whole new ways to manage your expansion and hasten your own demise. That’s an increase in complexity in a game that’s already difficult to control.

The upside is that a large focus of the update is adding to Adventure mode, the more traditionally roguelikey mode which was previously the simplest way to play. It should still be easy to get in and control just a single hero as you explore the game’s generated worlds, but now there should be a lot more to do.

Two years of work means there’s more additions than can be easily listed, but a recent post in the Future of the Fortress thread mentions a few. Townfolk now get angry if you kill relatives they like; armies and guards can now split into sub-units during battles; cowards will try to flee from battle or collapse into sobbing piles; and sweat and tears now evaporate.

DWARF. FORTRESS.

“The tear evaporation is awesome.”
–Thumb Bros, 10/10

Party Bois

Party Bois

Man, now that i have that miserable discovery off my chest we can get on with the learning part.  I ended up doing several levels of disassembling, cleaning, rewiring, recapping, and preserving to get this Simmons SDS V back into shape and onto the block to continue hustling.

1, First, there was a major hurdle in trying to get at all the related boards inside.  The back plane PCB that all the cards seat into was riveted to the chassis.  So i got out the trusty stepped drill bit set and drilled out all of the rivets.  I bought a bag of lock nuts and bolts to reassemble it later.

2, The back plate PCB was also soldered to the Mix/PSU card and had about 20+ pins to it.  I really wanted to figure out some kind of connector for this but there just wasn’t enough space to make it happen.  I was forced to delicately desolder it without damaging the back plate PCB to get the boards entirely out.

3, I also managed to disassemble the cards themselves.  The faceplate covers up a double row of trim pots that are used to determine 3 of the ‘programable’ presets.  These were completely saturated with white silt from the flooding and i wanted to have good access for cleaning purposes.

4, To clean the chassis, boards and other parts i used a combination of soap with warm water, vinegar, isopropyl alcohol, and elbow grease to repeatedly wash and delicately scrub the parts.  I did this several times.  Each one removed more of the cemented silt until i had cleaned out all the pots, and removed as much as i could from all internal and external surfaces.

5, There was a fair amount of corrosion that had occurred on some surfaces that were exposed to air and the silt water together.  I carefully scrubbed these and tried to remove any rust, corrosion, and decayed paint without hurting the surviving lettering and original pained look.  I then treated these surfaces with Rust-oleum Enamel to seal the exposed metal as protection.  This was applied to the outer chassis and both sides of the black back connector plate.

6, While i had the electronics apart i  recapped the whole chassis and also added some connectors to ease any future work.  this included socketing the ribbon cable that connects to the PSU board, and also popping a connector on the other side of the back plate board so the whole unit could be disassembled in the future.

7, The back connector panel has a host of ground leads, ribbon connectors, and power wiring attached to it.  When i cleaned the back panel i was careful to save all of those harnesses so i could use them again.  It was difficult and required a ton of patience.

8, I was able to source a new set of knob caps from Ed Rose on the Yahoo Simmons List so that the cards could have a spiffy new look.

9, Lastly i salvaged an old Peavey head cabinet that fits the Simmons SDSV pretty well.  I may keep it in there permanently!

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More to come…

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I had a Simmons SDSV in storage in the underground garage of our apartment building.  It’s exactly like the other one I have written about here before.  It had the Kick, Snare, Tom, Tom, Tom cards and an MFB sequencer that i installed in the last two slots.  One day I went to the basement garage to retrieve it to loan to a friend for a recording project and got a surprise.  Much to my dismay, the cement ceiling of the garage had a leak and it happened to run along that ceiling to directly above the box i had stored the Simmons in.  I didn’t even worry at first after the initial shock because i had wrapped the boxed gear in plastic for storage.

This is where things got ugly…

Apparently the water had saturated the top of the box and began to run into the large wrapped bag protecting the gear.  I really couldn’t believe it, the entire bag was FULL OF WATER.

Not just crappy rain water either.  I was mineral rich leeched water from the cement Which had solidified again and formed a crusty hard calcium like layer all over and inside of the Simmons.  After the shock, anger, depression, and acceptance of this catastrophe i decided with resolve that i had to save this instrument.  I felt like it was my duty to do so.  It took a long time to accomplish and a subsequently longer time to be able to get my thoughts together into a post on the subject.

So it begins.  Part One: The Damage Done

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While we are on the subject of Garfield Electronics gear…

I have been trying to get this one going for a little while and i haven’t quite figured it out.  I got it as ‘completely working’ from Ebay and of course its not.  Luckily i have another one that works great to compare it against.  As with most topics i discuss on this blog, it’s impossible to find a manual let alone a service document for these.

Upon receiving this unit i noticed that the triplet triggers weren’t firing but the straight divisions were.  When i opened it up the arpeggio trigger wiring looked completely different from the other unit i have.  So i reconfigured the wires the way i assume they are supposed to be and it didn’t fix the problem.  I also replaced some caps that were leaking and obviously bunk.

At this point i decided maybe one of the chips had failed.  They are all cheap and easy to find so i bought one of each and plan to start at one end and hope to fix it before reaching the other!  These multi pin chips are a pain in the butt to pull so i am socketing the replacements…

More to come…

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