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40d:Catsplosion

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The catsplosion is a mighty force of nature and a serious concern at the Mountainhome. Much like the captain of a popular starship and his Trouble with Tribbles, dwarves fall prey to the fecund habits of the furry, lovable creatures known as cats.

There are two varieties of catsplosion: conventional catsplosion, and thermonuclear catsplosion.

Contents

[edit] Conventional catsplosion

A conventional catsplosion is an uncontrolled overpopulation of cats, believed to be intended as an elven ploy to prevent the further development of the game Dwarf Fortress. Dwarven scholars believe that the elves, in conjunction with Al Qaeda, are operating in order to reduce the frame rate of players by forcing them to waste CPU cycles on rendering the pathfinding of literal seas of kittens, queens, and toms. Eventually, players find the game too slow to be playable, and no longer provide any donations to Bay 12 Games, resulting in the destruction of the world as they know it.

Conventional catsplosions are an insidious poison which operate by using a lethal psychological attack known as "Cuddly Wuddly Syndrome". Dwarves, ordinarily content to manage an overpopulation of cats by employing butchers, tanners, soapers, leatherworkers, and cooks, may suddenly find themselves appropriated by a cat who employs mind control waves in order to take the dwarf hostage. The dwarf, now considering the cat its pet (when in fact the opposite is true), is no longer able to butcher the cat and will absolutely not tolerate anyone butchering his "bewuv'ed cuddlebug". Through this psychological technique, an insurgent is thereby successfully implanted into the fortress.

Over time, the number of insurgents grows so large that the dwarves must respond with open violence to protect their homes and (other) loved ones. Magma, water, and bridges are considered particularly effective countermeasures. Sadly, this results in significant unhappy thoughts and even open tantrums due to dwarves losing their "pets".

Recorded footage of a conventional catsplosion

[edit] Dealing with Conventional catsplosion

[edit] Part 1: Keeping "Cuddly Wuddly Syndrome" (CWS) under control

One word : cage

Do not leave stray cats wandering around or they will surely appropriate one of your citizens as a pet. Before your cat population gets out of control, quickly build a cage and assign all stray cats to it. If you do want some cat breeding in the long run, just leave a breeding pair outside and they will sooner or later become "pets". From then on, the moment you get an announcement that says "(SomePetName), Cat (Tame) has given birth to kitten(s)", quickly assign all new kittens to the cage. If they stay in the cage, they cannot mind control your dwarves. If you manage to assign the cats quick enough and even if they manage to adopt someone prior to be put in the cage, they still will be put in it.

[edit] Part 2: Getting rid of the unwanted cats

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

The options are as follows:

  • Butchering. This still has a certain risk that the cat will infect a worker dwarf with CWS on the way to the Butcher's shop, so care must be taken to ensure that the distance is short. It is highly recommended that the cage intended for stray cat containment is built right next to a couple of butcher's shops. You can quickly assign any newborn kittens to be slaughtered through the animals section of the (z)status menu.
  • Trading. This is the only 100% safe way to get rid of stray cats in a cage. When a trader approaches your fortress, deconstruct the cat cage to move it to the animal stockpile. Then set the cat cage for trading at the depot to move it there. Once at the depot, convert the cats into cash, or even just offer it outright to get rid of it.
  • Execution Traps. Put drop off 10 z-levels into a pool of water or magma with no escape or something to that extent.
  • As cats appear to be attracted to vermin inside a food stockpile, putting a pet unpassable door in the entrance of the food stockpile and constructing an upright spike on either side of this door and then connecting a lever to these spikes can kill the already "pet" cats in a relativaly safe manner. NOTE: Be sure to check the door for dwarves before pulling the lever or they might be harmed.
  • Modding. See Thermonuclear catsplosion below.


[edit] Thermonuclear Catsplosion

A thermonuclear catsplosion is only possible by modding, but is nevertheless possible with off-the-shelf parts and is rated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to be a Plaid level of terrorist threat. A thermonuclear catsplosion is started by assigning a ridiculous standard thermal temperature to the cats' homeothermy in the amount of 40000 degrees Urist - 30032 degrees Fahrenheit, 16666⅔ degrees Celsius, or 16939.81667 Kelvin—which is equivalent to over three times the surface temperature of the sun.

Through great expense and loss of dwarven life, a brave few managed to obtain a recording of a thermonuclear catsplosion. Their findings have been released to the public as part of the Shockingly Awesome campaign.

Recorded footage of a nuclear catsplosion

[edit] Inserting the detonator

Thanks to the Scamps Conventions of *0.28.181.40d, the number of Thermonuclear Catsplosions has been drastically reduced, for the ignition keys are now by law hidden in a very Fun place after worldgen. They are, therefore, unavailable to prospective modders elf-fondling terrorists to use after then without causing drastic, system-wide instability to their computer networks.

For historical purposes, the original instructions (for even older versions) are provided below:

This information brought to you by the Elven Al Qaeda through the Al Ja'treera network.

The detonation trigger can be inserted via a gene editor into cats (their genetic structures being specified in creature_domestic.txt in the raw object data) as follows:

Replace:
  [HOMEOTHERM:10070]
With:
  [HOMEOTHERM:40000][SEVERONBREAKS]

Do not worry about being required to generate a new world. All you need to do is save the game, insert the detonator, and reload. All cats will then detonate, causing much mayhem in the dwarven fortress! You may then repeat the process to remove the detonator, avoiding further suspicion!

Nature is great!

In version 0.28.181.40d, the above described steps will not cause existing cats to denonate, but only new cats as they arrive. A similar effect can be accomplished on all existing cats by inserting the tokens "[LEATHER_FIXED_TEMP:40000][LEATHER_BOILING_POINT:40000][HEATDAM_POINT:0][SEVERONBREAKS]" in the same location as above - while this method will not set the grass on fire, it will burn any nearby units and buildings (removing the [LEATHER_FIXED_TEMP] and [LEATHER_BOILING_POINT] tokens will suppress the fire, instead simply causing the cats to instantly gib themselves).

[edit] Differences between catsplosions

The most notable way to tell the difference between a conventional catsplosion and a thermonuclear catsplosion is its use of metaphor. Whereas a conventional catsplosion is caused by cats going into figurative heat, a thermonuclear catsplosion is caused by cats turning into literal heat.

[edit] Variants

Underground rivers populated with a breeding pair of cave crocodiles may be subjected to a population explosion if they are left unchecked after the arrival of the dungeon master. Other wild animals that get trapped on the surface (e.g. by falling into a dried up murky pool have also been known to reproduce uncontrollably, leading to massive FPS loss.

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