Getting Short: Dwarf Fortress 0.31.01 Out

By Kieron Gillen on April 2nd, 2010 at 1:00 pm.

This is one of my favourite single RPS-headers, for the record.

Time to sit down and start singing about it going gold. Or, at least, the next version, which is as close as we get in the world of the ever-epic short-chap-simulation Dwarf Fortress. A list of mirrors can be found here and the full list of changes here. In short, lots of simulation improvement – including, intriguingly, souls which store an individuals mental attributes and skills. Also, fatness for tubby dwarves and – ooh – a massive expansion to the underground. Be a dwarf! Dig! Dig! Anyway, as I said, get from here, see tutorials from the last version here (i.e. obsolete, but enough to get the jist) and generally get stuck in. But Remember: initial releases tend to be a bit twitchy. It’s also interesting to read their April report, saying what they’re up to, including the amount of donations they get for hard-stats indie-number-crunchers.

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85 Comments »

  1. /V/endetta says:

    lmao 2 cat xD

  2. Snall says:

    Nice. I usually only check for release a couple times a month. W00t!

  3. Dominic White says:

    It’s great to hear that Toady is pulling in a decent amount of money every month from his efforts with Dwarf Fortress. It’s an absurdly epic labor of love that could only come from one absurdly dedicated, and probably slightly insane person.

    The fact that it’s free for all, and that all the money he’s made is purely out of people wanting to say thanks is just heartwarming.

    • Wulf says:

      That’s the power of an indie community really, isn’t it? I mean, I’m poor so I don’t buy much, and yet I’ve donated to a number of indie devs along the way. Considering how crap the vast majority of mainstream titles seem today, I’d rather wait a few months and pick them up in sales, and spread my money out between sales and donations, just keeping enough aside for the odd mainstream release I do want when it’s released (such as Alpha Protocol).

      More power to him, and I hope people keep donating so that he can continue his work.

  4. Dominic White says:

    Also, FINALLY! A HEALING SYSTEM! Now an injured dwarf can be nursed back to health instead of just lying there for the rest of his days.

    • Stromko says:

      Adventurers aren’t so lucky. My poor, mad axeman has had all the fingers on his right hand busted open for about a year of game-time. Thankfully it didn’t slow him down much. Fortress mode’s what it is all about of course, bit crashy though at the moment.

  5. Benkyo says:

    Yay!

  6. pierec says:

    There goes my free time again.

  7. Dood says:

    Reading the changelog is like christmas. This is the best gaming news in a long time.

    • Dominic White says:

      Reading that changelog is just mindblowing. I started just surprised, and my eyes widened further and further as I read, until my head actually exploded.

      There’s a quote in there about how a dragon got into a fight with a pack of lions, and cooked them mid-fight with its fire breath. Its physical description afterwards noted that it was covered in sizzling spatters of lion-fat.

      Holy mother of fuck that’s awesome.

    • Dood says:

      My favorite quote was

      “Underground animalpeople can use crude weapons and mounts now

      * Batmen could ride giant bats and shoot poison darts at you with makeshift bloguns made from giant cave spider legs – whoa
      * Their goal is to cause as much havoc as they can before sneaking back home”

  8. TimA says:

    WOOOOO. For those that like graphics, there’s a prepacked Mayday tileset version at DFWiki: http://df.magmawiki.com/index.php/Main_Page. Also a pretty vital source of information for the new version, as it seeps through.

    The new military stuff is really confusing at first, my dwarfs wouldn’t stop sparring and ended up collapsing from starvation/dehydration on the barracks floor, but it’s powerful once you know how to use it. Also I just did some exploratory mining and discovered my first underground cavern – AMAZING.

    Best game ever.

    • TimA says:

      Oh, and for anyone still on the brink of learning to play the game for the first time, besides the excellent tutorials above you might want to check out captnduck’s video tutorials on youtube. Taught me the game from scratch.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      I’d advise not using that version because (for me at least) it blocks out a lot of letters, i’m trying to keep an updated list of graphics versions on this thread

      http://www.bay12games.com/forum/index.php?topic=51961.0

      Also I’d like to warn that joining dwarf fortress for the first time right now may be a bit difficult with all the bugs, complications, and outdated wiki information. But the players are always very helpful and the ‘gameplay questions’ section of the forum is invaluable.

    • TimA says:

      Ah thanks for the thread, excellent. I download Mayday’s from the wiki and just replaced one of the bmps to fix the blank letters. I was always more of a fan of Dystopian Rhetoric so I hope that gets updated.

    • MWoody says:

      @Hexagonal: Great link. I grabbed the Mayday set, but I’ve been really unhappy with it replacing punctuation and letters with hideous atrocities. I tried to swap out the font tileset, but the wiki only has PNGs while 31.01 only supports BMPs (not merged with 40d# yet), and converting them via Photoshop doesn’t seem to output a usable format (or at least, I don’t know the settings necessary to do so).

      tl;dr version: Yay! Thanks!

  9. Uglycat says:

    Incredibly mean of them to release it on April 1 :E Been waiting 2 years for this …

  10. Phoshi says:

    Damnit, I really wish I could get into DF. Unfortunately, every time I try all my dwarfs end up wandering off and I can never find them again :(

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      You need a larger resolution phoshi :P Or press U then you can zoom to your individual dwarves. Keep trying with it! It’s worth it!

  11. OoiTY says:

    OH CRAP. It’s finally out after baking well over a year in advance. *Goes download*

  12. Sporknight says:

    Re-learning (read: losing) this will be fun! I haven’t played this game in nearly a year. I’m looking forwards to not-paying-attention in class to this game, hehe.

  13. Web Cole says:

    “It is now possible to “flay” a creature. Have fun”

    Hehehe.

  14. redpanda says:

    omg! omg! omg! omg! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG!

  15. Cutman says:

    I never thought a Dwarf Fortress update would get me so excited.

  16. Dominic White says:

    So, to christen this new release, I begin a quick Adventure Mode test-run. A basic axe-dwarf with a chunk of throwing skill, because throwing is fun.

    I walk into a human villiage, and do the first thing any self-respecting dwarf would do. Decapitate a passing human child. This seems to upset a nearby guard, who starts running towards me, so I pick up the childs headless corpse and throw it at the guard.

    The childs body hits the guard full in the chest with sufficient force to crack several ribs, and causing one of them to drive itself into the guards heart, piercing it. Just a couple of turns later, he keels over and begins dying of internal injuries.

    • Dominic White says:

      And replying to myself – that test-run ended when a crossbowman saw the slaughter, and managed to nail my dwarf full in the chest with a bolt. No major organs were hit, but I started bleeding out, and probably didn’t have long to live. So I went and threw my axe at the crossbowman, which deftly lopped off his left foot. Unable to escape, I then walked up to him, pulled the crossbow bolt out of my chest, and proceeded to stab him to death with it. I decided to leave it where it lay when it got stuck in his head, which seemed as good a place as any.

      The psycho murderdwarf managed to get halfway out of town before passing out from blood loss and dying. Anyone know how to bandage/treat wounds?

    • Armyofnone says:

      Dominic, that’s blood brilliant.

  17. The Pink Ninja says:

    *Longs for the day a professional Dev group put a friendly interface on this*

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Probably not going to happen. Toady One (DF dev) has a long-standing opposition to third-party interfaces, which the fans tend to respect. Closest they came was Stonesense, for the old version…

  18. Vogon says:

    I think their website has exploded :,(

  19. Will Tomas says:

    Since I’ve never played Dwarf Fortress before and run in screaming terror from ASCII, what’s the best tileset to use to make it more presentable?

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Mayday’s, definitely, although RantingRodent also does a popular one, really it’s down to personal preference. I despise ASCII as well.

      Although the new version is quite different to old versions so nobody has a proper graphics set up yet. If you scroll through the comments on this page you can see my link to a thread I started on the Dwarf Fortress forums trying to keep track of new graphic tilesets / update them

  20. Cynic says:

    Link to the official torrent in case the site explodes: http://brage.info/~svein/df_31_01.zip.torrent

    Loving the website’s revamp, also surprised as hell to see that using “Play Now!” one of the Dwarves is a doctor. Fantastic! The Mechanical Forest won’t know what hit it.

  21. Latterman says:

    But….But….next semester of university just started…..i wanted to work hard and and….nooooooooooooooooooooo

  22. Xercies says:

    I tried getting through this game but even with the tile set it was just a bit complicated for me…is there any tutorials on how to use it with the lileset on because all the tutorials i see is with the original ASCII. I want to love this game because it sounds intriguing but its a bit to high for me. I am a complete noob :(

  23. durr says:

    “Fractured bone can be knocked inwards to cause damage to organs, like forcing a jagged piece of skull into the brain. Bones can also pierce layers, like having bone sticking out of your skin”

    This is just crazy!

  24. Tei says:

    Heres the most awesome (If work)

    “The DF window can be resized on the fly.”

    • kulantan says:

      Some of the feature (like window resizing) still aren’t in as they are part of the openGl upgrades of the 40d# series which hasn’t been merged. If you’re not already into dwarf fort I would wait a bit ’cause this release is pretty borked (but tis fun!).

  25. Latterman says:

    “Guts are under pressure and can pop out of a wound”
    YES!

    “”Eyelids clean the eyes so you don’t have to soap them off, but if an eyelid is torn off, I think they might soap the eyes”
    AWESOME!

    “It’s possible for an adventurer to enter a massive underground cavern on one side of the world and journey all the way to the other”
    RAD!

    “Speaking of beards, as if it wasn’t obvious by now, but this means Dwarves finally have beards
    On a more startling note – so do elves!”
    Whait – what?

  26. geldonyetich says:

    Thanks very much for the list of changes, I was wondering exactly what the hubbub was, and the changelog file just says something generic like, “oh hey, yeah, everything from last year and a half we were talking about doing now is in, but it’s kinda unstable K?”

    • geldonyetich says:

      And what a changelog it is,
      “I had a dragon fight some lions, and after a little bit of dragonfire and close combat, I ended up with a dragon covered with the gramatically-in-progress “lion melted fat spatter”.”
      National Geographic needs a Dwarf Fortress division.

  27. gryffinp says:

    Man when I read “Tissue layers” my brain just popped.

  28. zakkmiester says:

    Watch out for carp!
    also,
    DORF

  29. Bob says:

    Has there been any GUI changes, or is it still a pig to get around?

  30. GetOutOfHereStalker says:

    this is the best ocd i’ve ever seen, now i can finally know exactly which one of my dwarves are fat, skinny, short(er), tall, which has green eyes, and who has lovely braids!

    gotta check out my 20+ stats and slay an ogre in incredibly graphic detail!

    it’s like one of those horribly complex home brew pnp rpgs autistic people make but this one is fun!

  31. Mugrul says:

    Absolutely awesome (especially combat logs in Fortress mode), but the new military system is an utter swine to get your head around. IT HURTS MY BRAIN.

  32. Moonracer says:

    thankfully I have the patience to wait a bit for this to be stable and graphics set to be tweaked. Spent a good part of this winter getting into this game and experimenting with lots of crazy stuff. I think it is about time I sent them a rather nice donation though.

  33. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Dwarf Fortress.. truly a.. a.. superlative game. Now if I only could get into it..

  34. Froibo says:

    FINALLY!

  35. fearghaill says:

    So, the dwarves are getting proper healthcare at roughly the same time as the americans?

  36. Yougiedeggs says:

    In the new Arena mode, I was controlling an axedwarf fighting a dragon fighting an elephant.
    After the lion set fire to the elephant, he bit into his leg and started shaking it. Result: Boiling elephant blood spattering all over the three of us. :D

    • jarvoll says:

      Niiice. I had a Grand Master Axedwarf clad in adamantine armour face off versus 20 naked, female elves, figuring it’d be a hilarious elf-slaughter in which any true dwarf would revel. Turns out that poor little Urist McElfhater got really tired swinging that axe around, and finally collapsed on the ground from exhaustion, whereupon the remaining naked elf-women, covered in the blood and detached body-parts of their friends, fell upon him in a circle and, finding that they couldn’t injure him through his armour, eventually resorted to strangling him. As punishment, I set a dragon on them, but after melting two elves with flaming breath, she went down too (apparently naked elf-women have strength in numbers).

      Moral of the story: fear the naked elf-women.

  37. Urist McGoodNews says:

    This news menaces with spikes of awesome

  38. HairCute says:

    I don’t know anyone in America who is getting proper health care. It is better to be a dwarf in Cadem Yugar “THE FIELDS OF HONESTY” than it is to be an American in America “THE FIELDS OF CORPORATE MALFEASANCE AND DESTRUCTIVE RACISM.”

    • HairCute says:

      That comment was @fearghaill. RockPaperShotgun Comment system: TALES OF USELESSNESS AND FRUSTRATION.

  39. id says:

    I love Dwarf Fortress.

    Mind you, I will never, ever play it. Not in a billion years. Not if you paid me. I would rather fall down a flight of stairs and die.

    But god, I love Dwarf Fortress, because other people play it, and then write about how their game went, and it’s always full of crazy shit like killer elephants and engravings of the mayor embracing werewolves and making giant beer steins full of lava that pours out all over the landscape incinerating trees and elves and goblin sieges alike. Dwarves fall into fey moods and lock themselves up just so they can make a pair of silk underpants with an image of a donkey on it…worth a million dwarf-bucks. Dwarves get set on fire and just keep going on about their business. They run outside and get cut down by goblins just so they can pick up the vomit-covered clothing of the last dwarf who ran outside to get cut down by goblins.

    It is a crazy goddamn game, and while I can’t believe that people are actually playing it, I am immensely thankful that they do.

  40. DMcCool says:

    Dwarf Fortress is so weird. The most baffling thing is why it is the only game of its type. What people, by this point at least I hope, should be starting to realise is that its one of the most significant creations in human history, or is becoming one. Dwarf Fortress is, simply put, the most compelling, throughough and lovingly crafted vitual reality we have ever made as a species.
    Y’know, vitual reality, like what they write about in Sci-Fi.
    The fact that while making this ludicriously complete (is it really ludicrous, or is it just strange that everyone else has poured their time into making things LOOK real, not actually simulating their reality?) Toady has managed to make the game not only funny but infinately capable of throwing up the most interesting stories is just mind-boggling. We can forgive him for the UI.

    Just imagine, if you will, what gaming today would be like if for the last 20 years people had put the effort they had dedicated to graphical fidelity into computational simulation, like in Dwarf Fortress. Think of all the wonderous, vibrant, different worlds we would have to play in. The stories we’d be telling (Dwarf Fortress is, more than any game, true to the ideal of games = devices that help create meaning, not provide it on a plate).

    Dwarf Fortress is probably the most courageous game ever made. And that he keeps adding to it, is unable to ever give up making it better, knowing that somewhere out there people will appreacite this wonderful toy he is ceaselessly crafting…why aren’t there more developers like this? Is he just a better programmer than them all?

    Why is Dwarf Fortress so singular?

    • geldonyetich says:

      Why is Dwarf Fortress so singular?

      A) Efficient pathing is hard.
      B) Such attention to detail is way above the ken of developers working under deadlines.
      C) Well, technically speaking

    • DMcCool says:

      Ah, Dungeon Keeper. In many ways Dwarf Fortress is a spirital sequal to those games, only in the inverse way we are used too (gameplay has become vastly deeper, graphics have gotten much, much worse). You have to wonder that if one day we got bored of good graphics this might be the norm.

      What makes Dwarf Fortress so unprecented is the depth of the simulation though. I mean, even before this massive update it had the deepest combat I’ve ever heard of in any game (easily including any game actually about combat). I also can’t really name a game with better fluid simuation, the Dwarfs themselves are roughly as emotionally complex as your average Sim (or moreso) and the world itself (or whatever world it generates you) is more varied and unique than most MMOs.

    • DMcCool says:

      If Toady is a bad designer then I think our notion of a good designer is seriously messed up. He’s a stubbon designer, I guess, and maybe could do with a better publicist (it was only after playing Dwarf Fortress for a while and reading interviews that I actually worked out what the game was about) but he is just subcribing to the philosophy that the more love you put into a game, the more ridiculous details and depth you put in places you can’t even imagine how players will discover it, the more time and effort and the deeper you can make your game, the closer to perfection it becomes. Its that exact oppesite of the lowest-common-demoninator philosophy that has ruled the mainstream for so long; this type of design philosophy is catering instead to the player even more intelligent and dedicated than the designer himself.

      I swear there were more games like this when I was young. I vividly remember playing the X-Com series and being flawed by the depth..The Elder Scrolls Games brought up similar moments. Hell, Elite itself. If there is one thing I miss in modern mainstream gaming its totally superfluous, needless game modes, mechanics and characters. As late as the turn of the millenium games used to come with more features than anyone really wanted. I miss that, because those pointless features were always the ones me and my friends would enjoy the most.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I tend to compare Toady to Proust. Because I’m like that.

      KG

  41. scharmers says:

    For folks who are a little less OCD, Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup released 0.60 last week

    http://crawl.develz.org

  42. Vinraith says:

    I really, really, REALLY must learn how to play this thing. The stories that come out of it have consistently fascinated me, but it’s so damned intimidating.

    • DMcCool says:

      Its actually suprisingly easy to get a very modest little fort going once you get past the graphics and learn the strange interface. The fact that the game is only as deep as you want it to be (normally anyway) really helps the otherwise terrifying learning curve.
      That said I’m pretty awful at the game. All I’ve really succeded in is lots of dead or mad dwarfs. But I’ve got stories to tell, y’know?

    • Dominic White says:

      Seconding that it’s really not nearly as complex as it looks. For the most part, the dwarves are pretty industrious and self-sufficient little guys, and if they want something, it’ll show up in their wants page. For the most part, all they ask for is a small stone-walled bedroom, regular meals, and enough alcohol to blur out everything else.

      The ridiculous number of hotkeys makes sense after a day or two, too. Just like any good roguelike.

    • Web Cole says:

      Vinraith, this might work for you. Its a sort of AAR/tutorial-as-you-go-along. Try it out :)

      http://afteractionreporter.com/dwarf-fortress-tutorials/

    • Taillefer says:

      It’s hard not to be intimidated, I know I was. But you should keep in mind that just because people are playing it, doesn’t mean they’re experts at it with thorough knowledge of every aspect. Most people will be making mistakes, setting things up badly, accidentally flooding their fortress, digging out vast swathes of rock, only to realise they meant to do it on a different level, then being killed by a single goblin because they’re not familiar with using military dwarves yet.

      But, it’s easy to have fun with just basic knowledge. And it doesn’t take too long to learn that. One of gaming’s great moments, though, is when you realise you’re able to construct the ideas you have in your head. And things become glorious! And then you make a mistake and kill all your dwarves again.

      So, yeah, reading some of the bloodline games, you can read the comments from some players about how badly some things were done by the other players. And you realise they’re not all experts at the game, that one doesn’t need to know everything, they’re just having fun playing it.

    • Web Cole says:

      Exactly, I love Dwarf Fortress, and am by no means an expert, I mean, there are things I am still intimidated to try, but were all like that and the point is to just jump in :D

      After all, losing is fun! :P

    • malkav11 says:

      The thing is, the graphics and the interface are what’s intimidating. I don’t care if I understand every mechanism of the game perfectly to start with – it’s a game where horrible failures are amusing, after all. And very likely. But failing because I accidentally did something incredibly dumb or misunderstood a game mechanic and failing because the UI (or my lack of understanding of it, I suppose) got in the way are vastly different experiences for me. The latter is -much- more frustrating. To give an example in a simpler game – the first time I died in Desktop Dungeons, I did so because I accidentally sacrificed all my max HP to a god as a first level character. This was hilarious. Dying because the game did not register my clicking on the fireball glyph and chose to straight up attack instead? Infuriating.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Everyone

      Thanks for the encouragement and tips, folks. I’ll take a crack at it again soon, though I’m really trying to put in serious time on the Witcher right now so it’ll have to wait. That’s the other problem, really. I find it hard to set aside time for free games when I have a backlog of paid-for games starting at me menacingly. It’s something I need to get over. :)

  43. pimorte says:

    I guess this is an appropriate time to link to Boatmurdered if anyone hasn’t read it yet:
    http://lparchive.org/LetsPlay/Boatmurdered/intro.html

    The best Dwarf Fortress story I know of.

    • Web Cole says:

      Hahaha, the mother of all AARs, imo. And the ending is just perfect :P

    • geldonyetich says:

      The trials of Boatmurder made for a great Saturday morning, thanks for posting it. It makes me want to go boot up 0.31.01 and hazard the bugs to see what great tribulations may be in store.

    • Torgen says:

      Tribulations of a friend with the new version:

      I just had a hairless giant porcupine daemon capture a miner, rip his legs and arms off, carry him over a hundred z-levels down to a sea of magma and then chuck him in. The daemon then renamed the minor’s pick, came back up into my fortress and began to slaughter all the dwarves with his new artifact pick. I forget the name he used but it was pretty weird.

      Time to restart a new fortress and maybe take a bit more caution while digging down.

  44. Dominic White says:

    Thinking back, Dwarf Fortress still have mostly the same UI, but it’s a whole different game now to how it was when I first saw it. When I first played, the entire world was a 2D plane. In Dwarf Fortress mode, you were playing in an abstract pseudo-region, where the deeper your tunneled horizontally into your mountain, the higher the chance of you encountering an invisible wall that’d trigger an automatic game-over screen.

    It was simpler, but it was also much less logical and organic than what we have now. Now you’re largely just limited by your imagination. There’s no right way to play, because there is no ‘winning’. In fact, you’ll lose every time, usually in a spectacular firey meltdown of some description that ravages your entire civilization, so don’t sweat it about getting everything right.

    I can’t wait to see how this game looks in another five years, assuming Toadys brain hasn’t actually outgrown his skull by then.

  45. Psychopomp says:

    Is taking two cats still suicide?

    • Dood says:

      I found catsplosions not that much of a hassle in the previous version. Usually I just worked all those surplus kittens into ☼kitten biscuits☼. Another amusing way of disposing them was stuffing them all into a cage and release them at attacking goblins to keep them occupied until the wrestlers arrived to rip their arms off.

  46. Bunny Mazonas says:

    Loving the current “feature”. Last time it was coma-dorfs. This time? Players noticed their dorfs dying en-masse of a mysterious ailment that would first cause their blood to seep out of their extremities, then cause their fat to boil, causing the hands, feet and fingers to slough off, followed by other extremities, followed by death.

    The cause?

    Turns out some forts have an issue with water apparently being deadly to dorfs. One person watched a dorf die after being hit by the spray from the sea. Could make the new necessity to wash with soap a little tricky!

    Man, I love DF.

  47. Robsoie says:

    I have some performance problems when there are much immigrants, while it is not a surprise as DF can be affected by such problem when the fortress population is big enough, in the SDL/OpenGL port (.40d19) the performance was much better at the kind of population level i struggle a bit in DF2010 :
    http://www.bay12games.com/forum/index.php?topic=50514

    Apparently from what i read it seems the 40d19 improvements have not been implemented in this new DF version. Hopefully it will be done sooner or later.

    For folks who are a little less OCD, Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup released 0.60 last week

    http://crawl.develz.org
    I agree wholeheartedly.
    Crawl stone soup is extremely fun, and unlike many roguelike, is very accessible to the beginner with a good mouse interface, while keeping the gameplay charactistic to the rogue genre.

    The tiles version is very good too, sometime tiles are not implemented very well in a rogue like, but the Stone Soup ones are nearly perfect at what they do (and looks very nice).

  48. dsi1 says:

    @HexagonalBolts: If you’re missing characters, restart DF, it is a bug that occurs when you generate a world, and it also occurs in arena mode. New characters (except the Medical Staff IIRC) do not have custom graphics yet, but their graphic should be replaced by ASCII.

  49. Baughn says:

    First off, if you’re having issues with framerate you should have a look at this.

    To those who claim d# not being merged in 31.01 is bad management, nothing could be further from the truth. There are several reasons:

    - d# was developed against 40d, not the main DF branch. This was partially so the test releases could be playable, partially so any bugs would be known to be in d# and not DF itself.
    - For this reason, the d#/DF merge has to be redone for DF2010. That’s not as much of an issue as you’d think; most of the changes are the same. However, it does mean that DF2010 could be released before the d# merge started, and people thus get to play it a few weeks earlier. There would be no point in waiting until after the merge, and in fact..
    - By releasing DF2010 without the d# code, we can similarly be sure that bugs in it are DF2010 bugs, not d# bugs. That won’t be as easy post-merge.