I'm a DF player and Forumite who stumbled upon the Indie Brawl project from TV tropes, and after figuring out how things were working, I searched out the Dwarf Fortress page prepared for the unusual greatness I've come to know so well...
-He represents an anonymous person rather than a specific individual. As a result, he does not have the personality of other characters.
-His move list is completely broken. He's not a fun character to play.
-He is difficult to animate, at least in his current form.
-Dwarf Fortress could be better represented as a stage.
...and have to agree with your synopsis. However... I think the main issue is that none of the people who worked on this character have actually played the game, and because of that they are all totally missing the point. The goal of Dwarf Fortress▬ that it climbs ever closer to▬ is to be a universal story generator; to be able to create any epic ever written in full detail, and fathoms more that no one has ever imagined. To bring it all together right before the player's eyes, and more, to let them act out any role in that story they choose; any man, any beast, any country, or any dwarf fortress. It is a game of both rich detail and vast ambiguity; many things are very exact, while those things leave so much else up to interpretation.
I understand that asking you guys to capture all that is completely unreasonable, but the Dwarf character and the Dwarf Fortress stage should be geared to making the battle more like a story; something more memorable and interesting than the simple game mechanics would suggest. The memes and details of Dwarf Fortress grow and change over time, some dieing out while others are born (or reborn!), but the core vision of the game never wavers.
So, both getting away from that vague stuff and keeping it in mind, here are some things I was pretty sure I had ideas about.
Will this character be represented by ASCII?
There are six civilian dwarves in the image here
, and there's a dwarf of the first tile-set in an image here
. I was expecting that these would be the graphics used in the game; kinda like Mr. Game & Watch in SSB(M|B). In DF these characters flash to other symbols to denote status, such as ↓
when thirsty, X
when stunned, and/or anything on this list
(the normal tile color depending on his profession
). Allowances could be made for various items, such as the hammer in the second link; probably all done in the style of the intro-videos mentioned earlier
Much work has been done here for a more ~proper sprite, but the only concessions to the game it's from are (a) it's a dwarf and (b) it has the right symbol engraved on its helmet (which isn't very noticeable, especially in combat). That little ☺ can represent any dwarf▬ from the average soapmaker and steel-clad soldier to the great Captain Ironblood, Morul, and the original Urist
▬ to pick just one generic dwarf is also to discard leagues of truly epic material, including various▬ ~ASCII▬ animations you could ask from the Bay12ers. [Track broken; post instead of hanging on it.]
Procedurally generated ASCII stage, right?
:D Because procedurally generated stages work best in fighting/semi-platforming games, right?
Actually, I think it would be cool to have one stage where you never know what you're going to get; something that will put all players in an equal state of bewilderment almost every time. It would probably be most commonly chosen in place of the "pick stage at random" option (and thus wouldn't be included in it), where players wouldn't be able to rely on reflex even after significant practice, and could thus laugh at new mistakes. The important part would be making and holding the distinction between "procedural" and "random", because although there is always a large element of chance, it is not the guiding mechanic; that would be the game's RAWs and World Perameters. I think that, very much like the DF world generation code, generation of this stage would be done in steps; land (in which directions is the rock?), water (who drowns?), vegetation (here, have some more platforms and obstacles), wildlife (here, die), civilization (castles, towers, or too many elves to count?), dwarves come, and then they...well, just take a look
. Boatmurdered could demonstrate its famed magma to lava conversions. Nist Akath could fight hoards of skelks, and eventually [spoilers], leading to a climactic [spoiler]. Battlefailed could build the Failcannon to eventually shoot both hot and cold liquid fail.
Of course, these are just examples of things that could happen; ideally you could have elements from any and all of them appear sometimes to wreak havoc, and most of the fight would be spent during the fortresses.
As something that just occurred to me (for I have lost track of my threads of thought), perhaps it would be better to only use characters from Adventure Mode for the fighter, and only use things from Fortress Mode for the stage. Aside from being very fitting, it makes creating the fighter a far less daunting task, as there tend to be fewer possibilities in that mode.