Dwarf Fortress recently made several changes to hauling (moving resources around your fortress), in particular the addition of wheelbarrows and minecarts. I've already noticed that my fortress seems to do move much slower, particularly around moving stone.

How do these changes impact how I design my fortress? Should minecarts (and their tracks) be an integral part of my design?


It's all up to you actually :) (you never thought you'll get an answer like that now, did you?)

The thing that will have to change is the way you handle stockpiles. Slowly you'll realize that you need a specific stockpile for ... e.g. iron furniture with below exceptional quality. Or maybe you already use stuff like that?

Anyway... minecarts. Minecarts can operate even without lines (as of df 0.34.10) you just need two stations - one to load stuff (best keep this one next to one of your larger general stockpiles) and one to unload stuff (this one gets where you want to get the stuff hauled to). When the cart is full a dwarf will come along and haul it to desired location, really slow though (this might be sort of a bug actually, in the end you've got one dwarf carrying enough stuff for 10). And of course you can build tracks for the minecarts (this way they will get pushed by a dwarf). But keep in mind the fact that carts are actually moving quite fast and anything that comes in their way gets trampled and injured or even killed, be it pet or another dwarf. So it might be a good idea to designate special tunnels for tracks (a minecart needs only one track in both directions, unless you build a complex transport-tycoon-ish kind of transport network inside your fortress) or at least designate the tracks as low traffic areas (from the d-o menu).

That being said - if you've built your passageways to be at least 3 blocks wide you don't need to change your core design ideas. Otherwise if you insist on using carts on tracks you might want to try to expand the passageways and/or try to find alternative routes for designated track tunnels.

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    Why would the stockpile usage change? – Anna May 30 '12 at 21:56
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    I try to keep the hauling paths as short as possible and that often means that I designate many small, specialized stockpiles next to my production zones and more general, larger stockpiles further away to offload from the small ones. Each stockpile gets several wheelbarrows and in the end hauling large amounts of heavy stuff is not that much slower than it used to be. Also, before I would simply say build this 30 z-levels of tower out of marble from 300 squares away. Now I would first designate a pile for marble next to the construction area and let the haulers (with wheelbarrows) fill it up. – ingenious May 30 '12 at 22:36
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    Even before the changes using binned stone blocks and stockpiles was a great way to speed up large construction jobs. – kotekzot May 30 '12 at 22:52
  • How do you set a path as minecart only? – Canageek Jun 2 '12 at 15:17
  • @Canageek: well you actually can't do that just yet. (and a dwarf is needed to push the cart anyway). Mine tracks are automatically set as low priority traffic zones atm, but low priority is not the same as forbidden. Building a side tunnel however, that is only one square wide and only connects two stockpiles which are in turn properly configured (you can give orders to stockpiles too) will most surely mean no one ever walks in your cart tunnel (but the dwarf that pushes the cart). This part of the game is still somewhat messy, maybe the oncoming versions will work on that. – ingenious Jun 3 '12 at 10:04

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