Can anyone explain what makes ramps usable in Dwarf Fortress?



  • I'm having some trouble understanding ramps.

    Taken from the Dwarf Fortress Wiki, concerning Movement Using Ramps:

    For the purposes of unit movement, a ramp connects the ramp bottom to the tops of walls adjacent to the ramp bottom. So unlike stairs, where a dwarf moves directly up or down, a dwarf moving via a ramp will change both horizontal and vertical location in a single move. This can make it seem like a ramp has "direction" or "flow" by itself, but in fact this depends entirely on the spaces adjacent to the ramp.


    More formally, for a creature to use a ramp, all of the following are necessary:

    1. The space directly above the ramp must be open.
    2. The ramp must have a wall next to it (including diagonals)
    3. The space above at least one of the adjacent walls must be open.

    If these conditions are met, creatures will be able to move back and forth between the ramp space and the walkable space above the adjacent wall. Otherwise, the ramp will be labeled as "Unusable" when examined using the Look cursor.


    Example A shows a situation where a ramp might be created that is actually unusable. Dwarves cannot ascend or descend (or cross) the ramp as shown because the walkable spaces above the ramp are not walled underneath, therefore dwarves cannot move between the ramp bottom and the spaces by the top of the ramp. If walls were added under the upper floor spaces, the ramp would become usable.

    Note: Fortifications CAN be used by ramps as the adjacent 'wall', provided those fortifications have walkable space above them (which would apply to all carved out fortifications, or those constructed with additional flooring).


    Finally, wagons follow a completely different set of movement rules on ramps. This can be exploited used to create separate paths for wagons and other (walking) creatures, for example to allow wagons to proceed directly to a depot while directing all other visitors through a trap filled maze.

    This makes zero sense to me at all. i.e. there isn't a single part of the explanation that makes sense to me at all. What makes ramps usable in Dwarf Fortress?



  • Ramps can be somewhat counter intuitive. Here is my understanding of how they work. A unit is standing in the ramp square. It is on the lower level. It has the option to move to one of the adjacent squares on the upper level, when all of these conditions hold:

    • The adjacent square is open (units can't walk into walls of course).
    • The square under the square that the unit wants to move to has a wall or a fortification in it.

    Under certain circumstances you can have a ramp with the square above it blocked. A ramp in these circumstances is useless. (except for certain minecart exploits)

    I have some ascii art side view diagrams of this. Let / be the ramp, _ be a square with a floor, but no wall, 0 be a square with a wall and floor, and an empty space be a square that is completely empty. A usable ramp looks something like this:

    0000000 ____
    _______/0000
    

    Another example is this:

    ___ ___
    ___/000
    

    When a dwarf is standing on the ramp square (the /) he can move up to the square just above and to the right in both of these cases and he cannot move into the square above and to the left.

    Here are some broken ramps:

    ___ ___
    ___/___
    

    Here the wall on the lower level is missing, so the ramp doesn't work.

    ___ 000
    ___/000
    

    Here the upper level is blocked, so the dwarf can't get up the ramp.

    Hopefully these examples help to clarify the situation.


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