Dwarf Fortress: The Song Of Onionbog, Pt 1

By Quintin Smith on September 23rd, 2010 at 10:25 am.

They're doomed, of course.

So, last week we finally gave MineCraft the love and attention it deserved. Since then I’ve received a bunch of emails telling me I should do Dwarf Fortress next. As in, it’s another deeply unique PC indie game that we haven’t done much coverage on, and it suits a diary perfectly.

You know what? You guys have me wrapped around your little finger. Presenting the Song of Onionbog, Part 1.

That’s the May Green tileset I’m using, if anyone was wondering. I am using it because otherwise, Dwarf Fortress looks like this:

If you don’t know about Dwarf Fortress, it’s a freeware ASCII fantasy management game where you run a camp of dwarven settlers, with a twist. The twist is that the developers, Bay 12 Games, have never stopped adding to it since it came out more than 4 years ago and even today they show no sign of stopping. Understand that Dwarf Fortress was pretty complicated when it came out, so by now the game’s depth is ludicrous. Check out this rudimentary features list. This game models everything from the weather, to wrestling, to madness and moods, to the entire history of your randomly generated world.

Oh, one other thing you should know about Dwarf Fortress. Nobody wins. Ever. The whole game basically amounts to a grand failure engine.

As of three days I hadn’t played Dwarf Fortress, I’d only read about it. Let me tell you about my first six hours with Dwarf Fortress. My first six hours with Dwarf Fortress put me in a worse mood than I’ve been in for six months. Learning to play DF is absolutely as big a pain in the ass as everybody says it is. The interface has a tough job to do, bless it, but getting it to do what you want is like teaching a beetle to cook.

To top it all off the Dwarf Fortress wiki was down for the day, leaving me with nowt but these excellent tutorials and, when they failed me, typing maddened questions into Google with tears in my eyes. “somebody help for fucks sake dwarf fortress how do you irrigate fields”.

But I’m better now. I know the basics. I can tell a dwarf to do a thing, and sometimes they even do it! Let’s get started.

After you’ve had the game generate you a world, the first thing you do in Dwarf Fortress is pick a site for your settlers. This will likely be your first experience with the incredible language that permeates the game. Browsing, I lay eyes on The Named Jungle, The Pregnant Dune, The Swamp of Scenarios and The Dull Hill. You can start wherever you want though, anywhere from a frozen glacier to a haunted beach populated by murderous, amphibious zombie whales. Read that last sentence for me one more time. Amphibious zombie whales.

Since I struggle telling my dwarves where to leave their rubbish, I’ll be choosing somewhere pleasant. Eventually I find a secluded, temperate spot, far away from my world’s omnipresent goblin fortresses. It’s at the mouth of a stream known as ‘Clashchanced the Faint Yarns’, up North in the Swamp of Treasures. So, yes. I’ll be making my home in a swamp. Nevermind. I can stow my dignity- the place has plenty of good soil, lots of trees and other useful foliage, and the surroundings are supposedly “Calm” (as opposed to, say, “Untamed”, “Sinister” or simply “Terrifying”).

Let’s prepare for the journey carefully.

Customising your settlers means deciding on your team’s skills and supplies, although the game still randomly generates their physical and mental attributes. I decide to shunt lots of points into four of my seven dwarves, who I name Aleck, Kerion, Johon and Jiim. Any resemblance to people real or imagined is strictly coincidental.

Aleck: The fort’s killer, Aleck is an axedwarf trained in fighting, dodging and kicking. I consider giving him a point in biting, but decide that would be overkill. Aleck will keep us safe. Will he keep us safe? It says here in Aleck’s fine print that he has “a poor ability to manage social relationships”. As the most dangerous dwarf in the fort, this is worrying.

Kerion: Our master miner and builder, Kerion will carve us our home. Smart, active and slow to tire, but with meagre creativity and a very bad sense of empathy, Kerion’s noble sacrifice of placing himself at our society’s coalface is probably best for everybody.

Johon: Mighty and resolute, yet distant, Johon’s position of grower (and dabbling herbalist) is the most important in the whole fort. Without crops, there’s no food or booze. Without any food or booze, dwarves have been known to get upset. Johon takes inspiration from cave crocodiles, which he admires for their strength.

Jiim: A fat, grumpy dwarf with braided hair, braided sideburns, a braided beard and a long moustache arranged in double-braids, Jiim’s actually the most rounded and personable dwarf in the fort. He takes on the roles of mason, mechanic and trade negotiator. He will be the oil that keeps the fort running quietly.

This team is joined by two women, Tholtig (a carpenter) and Ingish (a brewer), and Tei, peasant miner and cook. I have some points left over and spend them on an extra bucket, as that seems like a practical thing to do (?), a couple of leather vests, and a cat and a kitten to take care of any vermin that live in the swamp.

Fooling around with the Fortress name generator, I come up with Anondudgoth. That’s the Dwarvish. In English? Onionbog.

EMBARK!

“CEASE,” commanded Jiim, bellowingly. The wagon rolled to a stop.

Jiim licked his fearsome lips. He supped the air. “This place,” he said, “will be our home. There is a river, for water, and trees, for murdering. There is a mountain, into which we will strike. We will contrive our fortress here. And we will call it… Onionbog.”

The others exchanged poison glances. “Who made you expedition leader, anyway,” asked Aleck.

“SILENCE AXEDWARF,” exclaimed portly Jiim. “MUST I THRASH YOUR BRAINS AGAINST THIS WAGON?”

As the map loads I discover, to no great surprise, that Jiim has been assigned the role of expedition leader. I have no idea what this means in a practical sense, but presumably if he died it would be a bad thing. I will definitely try and make sure he doesn’t die.

This impossible promise made, I get to work laying down the basics. I’m good at the basics. Kerion and Tei collect the two crappy pickaxes we have on the wagon and start tunneling out some basic rooms. Johon immediately begins playing with the team’s kitten, which acts as a reminder that I should set him to work foraging the local plants.

Let me help you out here. Know that the game shows you things from a top-down perspective. Now:

1: The tunnel entrance to our fortress.

2: Kerion!

3: Tei!

4: Understanding all these triangles is important. They represent upward slopes. An upside-down triangle means a downward slope. So, our fort is being dug horizontally into the steep incline of a hill.

5: A cat!

6: All of these are loose stones, yet to be cleared up because we have nowhere to put them.

Kerion and Tei mainly find olivine (the green stuff), but there’s also some loamy sand (the yellow stuff), thank God. Loamy sand counts as soil, meaning I can use that space for my all-important underground farm. But before I can do that, I have to “muddy” it. Water it, basically. This is somewhat complicated.

“You want what dirty madness?” asked Tholtig.

“I want you to take that bucket,” Jiim repeated, “and tip water on the floor of this chamber.”

“BUT THAT IS DIRTY MADNESS,” screeched Tholtig. Behind her, Tei nodded in stern agreement.

Jiim pinched the mottled flesh at the top of his nose and closed his eyes. He was in terrible pain. He turned to face Kerion, who stood nervously behind him, fingering the grubby pickaxe in his hands. “Alright,” spoke Jiim. “Kerion. Go outside, climb the hill, and dig a chamber directly above this one. Then dig a pit in the floor. Tholtig? You must make a pond in this pit that Kerion will fabricate. Ponds are practical, and can be used for cave-carp or drownings. A fortress must have one.”

The dwarves nodded their approval, and set to work immediately. Staying in the sandy chamber, Jiim watched as within the hour a hole had been punched in the ceiling, and soon buckets of water were coming splashing through.

Jiim stroked his belly, and he worried. It would be a long year.

This is genuinely the simplest method of irrigation in Dwarf Fortress. Telling your dwarves to create a pond in the room directly above your farms, thereby soaking the Earth, then when the ground is good and sodden you tell them to stop and let the water evaporate. That’s the kind of game we’re dealing with here.

More basics. It starts to rain, so I get everyone to shift our food supplies indoors so they don’t start rotting. Kerion and Tei dig some downward staircases, and once they’re down there they begin hollowing out what will become Jiim’s immense stone storage chamber and masonry workshop. I spot skilled miner Kerion taking a nap on the floor while Tei pushes on with the work. Rather than thinking him lazy, I imagine he’s just tired himself out.

Tholtig gets to work chopping down most of the trees around our fort’s entrance, then uses the lumber to throw up an outdoor carpenter’s workshop. Here, she begins producing beds, which I use to create a crude barracks for everybody. No more napping on the floor, lads, it’s bad for morale.

During all this the cats get on with giving the local wildlife a hard time. Scattered around our fort are the corpses of dragonflies, rats, toads and tiny lizards. I designate a refuse dump outside our entrance, hidden behind a hillock. Corpses and filth left inside the cramped confines of your fortress create ‘miasma’, which makes dwarves miserable. This can graduate to being lethal if, say, your fortress is also under siege, and the dwarves trapped inside start losing their grip on reality.

Alone in the peace and quiet of his masonry chamber, Jiim sets to work chiselling furniture for the fort. That’s not me getting fruity with my descriptions. Dwarf Fortress models noise and boistrousness, with workshops and bedrooms not functioning as well if you put them next to, say, a dining hall. Which is what I build next, actually. Excavating the dining hall-to-be, the boys make a discovery.

Tei heaved his pickaxe into the rock, and, upon pulling it back, found a strange stone staring out at him from the crack.

“Kerion come and look at this strange stone that stares out at me from the crack!” Tei cried.

Kerion marched over to him, wiping his perspiring armpits on Tei’s shoulder, which was Kerion’s privilege and his duty as chief miner. “Tis a jelly opal,” said Kerion.

“A jelly opal,” said Tei. “That is too strange!”

And Kerion turned to face him then, and Tei saw in Kerion’s eyes that same eternal stillness of the stone itself, and Kerion delivered Tei a powerful blow that nobody would ever see. And in that moment, Tei understood. He never disrespected the Earth again.

With the dining room hollowed out I get everybody hauling Jiim’s stone tables and chairs up the stairs to set them in place, which has got to be a massive pain in the ass but my dwarves don’t grumble. Aleck is the first person to use the new dining room, sitting alone at a table with a meal of dried horse intestine.

Outside, the rain clears. Inside, the last of the water in our underground farm has almost evaporated. Soon it’ll be time for Johon to plant his crop of Plump Helmet mushrooms, and then we can set up a kitchen, and a still to make mushroom booze.

Perhaps Onionbog will be alright after all.

, , , .

210 Comments »

  1. Zippy says:

    I didn’t ‘get’ minecraft either, i punched a tree hundreds of times and nothing happened. Got bored, stopped trying.

  2. starclaws says:

    Tile sets are a requirement… There are some tile sets that just remove the damn blockyness of the original letters and objects and that’s it. Smoothing out the lettering and lines and making them more clear is all I needed to help me understand the game a little more. That and lots of wiki time, tutorial videos, and Google. As well as moving the caves deeper into the earth so I didn’t hit them every time.

  3. Michael says:

    I’ve read this site since just after it started up.

    This is easily the article that I have enjoyed the most.

    I don’t play DF, but might start. Keep writing!

  4. omicron says:

    You have more than one cat. Therefore, you are dead.

    • protorp says:

      I was thinking that too – does cat-aggedon slowdown still happen? It’s several versions on from my last doomed jaunt these days.

    • President Weasel says:

      I think it depends on the PC, but I’ve had a fair few cats running round and a couple of hundred Dorfs without suffering death by framerate, although I had noticed something of a drop in speed.
      The dual purpose training room and cat murderiser as described earlier should be helpful in stemming the flood of cats, as will butchering the ones who aren’t already pets. The cat murderiser doesn’t make exceptions for pets, so that’s simultaneously useful (cats who are pets can’t escape the slaughter) and unhelpful (Dorfs who lose a pet can get sad, and you never know when one sad Dorf will be the last straw that starts a Tantrum Spiral and dooms your fort.)

    • Redd says:

      damn, i was hoping to be the first to 2cat.

    • Jhoosier says:

      The key to surviving cat-aggedon is to only bring one cat. If it’s a male, let it roam free. If it’s female, lock it up and/or butcher it. Then proceed to cage-then-butcher every stray female cat that enters your fort. It’s somewhat time-consuming, but if you cage them as kittens they won’t attach to any dwarf and you can slaughter them at your leisure before they grow into cats and start breeding. Leave 5-10 males free to run around, and you’ll be ok

      It’s brutal, but drastic times and all that. Not to mention you can decorate all your trade goods with cat leather to up the value

  5. El_MUERkO says:

    I started playing DF after a previous article on here linked to the the story of Boatmurdered.

    My most successful Fort had 50+ residents before it’s inevitable doom.

    I await the merger of Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress into the greatest, most addictive coop game ever!

  6. Ramsar says:

    The 2010 version of DF is indeed rumored to have quite a lot of bugs. Luckily it is still possible to play the 40d version (http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/older_versions.html). Most of the tutorials around are still based on this version.

  7. Taillefer says:

    Tei should have his own room with the lady Dwarves, and you can all be his slaves.

  8. 0graham0 says:

    Just in case you haven’t seen the dwarven computer: http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=49641.0

  9. Moonracer says:

    While I love Dwarf Fortress and am psyched to read this hopefully ongoing dwarf adventure I must admit that the complexity of the game often inhibits (while being the reason for) ones ability to enjoy the many smaller stories. Also, I think these narrated game diaries are a big part of the “gaming as art/story” argument.

    Most players will see the ground irrigation challenge as a fortress management/design issue. They will not see it as “story” until it is spelled out with dialogue and embellished narration. When your fort needs more beds and all the trees are chopped down. or when a dwarf is killed hunting and your other dwarves are getting upset because you haven’t built proper burial chambers it is easier for people to get caught up in the game play than it is to see admire the story that has come out of the game’s complexity.

    I think this need for more active viewing makes a lot of games (not just dwarf fortress) stand out as something very different from books and movies and closer to something like a painting where not everything is spelled out and you really need to think and read into things.

  10. Davie says:

    Quinns does Dwarf Fortress. It must be my birthday.

    Which makes me wonder what happened to the last nine months…

  11. Ricc says:

    Just started playing DF a few weeks ago. I’m so happy you are doing a diary about it! :)

    I’m currently sticking very closely to the “The Complete and Utter Newby Tutorials” (wich have been linked to on RPS before). Very useful for beginners, but not using the latest version of DF (so no Stonesense). I’d still recommend them, though. Starting my first own design and discovering DF2010′s new features will be an awesome adventure on it’s own. :)

  12. nuh uh no way says:

    TEI GET OUT OF QUINNS’ VIDEO GAME!

  13. Casimir's Blake says:

    Troll time!

    No, seriously, I find it utterly hilarious that there are people here that couldn’t get into Minecraft because they couldn’t work out how to hold a bloody mouse button down to do something. Minecraft has far less depth than DF, granted, but its interface is totally immediate (the gameplay still has a learning curve, but at least it isn’t bloody difficult just to move around and mine things). And, really, what is so hard about holding a mouse button down?

    Reading about Dwarf Fortress, let alone playing it makes me want to gouge my eyes out. It strikes me as being beyond the realms of the over-convoluted. A needlessly complicated, messy collection of strategy, management and “roguelike” (and god-knows what else). I look at those screenshots (and I’m not even talking about the ASCII), and begin reading what Quentin has to do to … “do” things, and just glaze over. No not my eyes, all of me glazes over.

    I suppose for those of you that truly have no lives whatsoever, DF is the ultimate, and only worthy timesink. Go nuts. Minecraft at least lets you save and return at any point, and that’s useful: I have an album to finish… >.<

    (But thanks to Quentin for an article that is, I should stress, up to the usual RPS standards. It's convinced me I never ever want to touch this thing again, for fear of losing any semblance of a life or social circle.)

    • Mattressi says:

      Err…you know that you can save in Dwarf Fortress too, right? It’s save system is very much the same as Minecraft Alpha. Also, learning to play it is a time-sink, but once you’ve learnt how to play it, you can spend as little time as you want on it. It’s the game that I go to when I get bored of my other games (though Minecraft has recently taken that place). I don’t play DF very frequently and see no need to. I enjoy playing it, but it doesn’t somehow command my whole life. I can build a much larger base and do far more things in DF than in Minecraft (not that Minecraft is bad, just pointing out that it really isn’t a time-sink). Hell, I’ve spent the better part of the last 3 days making two incredibly tiny houses plus a small minecart track in Minecraft, while it takes me less than five minutes to get a decent sized base established in DF.

      I really love both games, but I don’t like that you insult people who play DF. Minecraft takes up much more of your life and gives back less (in terms of game development like base size…but obviously it has much more in the way of graphics).

    • Clovis says:

      … while it takes me less than five minutes to get a decent sized base established in DF.

      Five minutes? What? I’m pretty much a DF novice, but I don’t see how that could be possible. Do you mean that it takes 5 minutes to mark all the “mine” orders?

      I do agree that if you’re pretty good with the interface that you can design a pretty fancy base faster in DF if you have plenty of dwarves. You’re just one guy in minecraft. But “establishing” a new base in DF takes awhile; you only get a few dwarves to work with.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Disclaimer: I absolutely loathed my time with this game and never want to touch it again. Because it takes up too much time and I don’t find it even slightly fun. That does not mean you or anyone else can’t or shouldn’t play it, I’m not THAT stuck up.

      Because neither would I claim that Minecraft is perfect, it likely never will be. I’ve half-stopped playing it because I have begun to find too much repetition in its randomness. But that will hopefully change and improve. DF is likely always going to be an enigmatic mess, though it sucks a lot less than the endless grind of pretty much any MMO RPG. I would never accuse DF of being soulless. Just utterly tiresome.

  14. nuh uh no way says:

    on a [more] serious note, i’ve tried to get into dwarf fortress a few times – three? four? – but always gave up quickly. might be time to take another swing at this.

  15. Torgen says:

    I haven’t gone back to DF since the last major update. All this about burrows and zones and stuff pushed the complexity past my threshold of “worth it”

    • President Weasel says:

      burrows seem heinously complicated, and then suddenly (probably with the second one you make) you’ll have an epiphany and really they’re confusing to explain but actually quite easy to do, and they’re actually quite handy.
      you can make cubes over multiple z levels, add different sized areas per level to the same burrow, make one small area on one level a separate burrow… takes a couple of minutes to set one up at first, but once you grasp the interface it’s simple to set up a specific area you can restrict your dwarfs to in times of danger, so they won’t keep running into the goblins because the guy they just killed had nicer socks or because they think they should be picking up the body and moving it to the graveyard.

  16. haircute says:

    Stopped reading as soon as you said you’re using a tilepack. Boo.

  17. Driadan says:

    They are incomplete, but for begginers is an up to date introduction to DF, mix it with the AAR tutorials and you are good to go:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/DwarfFortress101/

  18. Adam T says:

    In the Swamp! Well done, Mr. Quintin Smith!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bog_iron

  19. Marcin says:

    I think I may enjoy reading about other people’s DF shenanigans than actually playing the thing. Dig on, Onionbog!

    • Rinox says:

      What is it with people praying to the ASCII God? It’s the same game, and God knows it’s a lot easier to get into than the original appearance of the game. Any DF fan should applaud tilesets for making the game more accessible and this more widespread.

    • Rinox says:

      Reply fail. Was @ Haircute

    • Ricc says:

      @Rinox:

      It’s a kind of “Look, I can read the Matrix!” snobbery, I suspect.

  20. Layne Staley Is Not Dead says:

    I have tried and tried and tried and tried, to learn how to play this game. And it’s the most frustrating and overwhelming experience I’ve ever had with a game.

    I have always found, reading others play experience were far more entertaining, and less painful.

  21. EthZee says:

    I volunteer for Second Goblin with Spear.

  22. Jharakn says:

    For more dwark fortress related crazyness check out Oilfurnace (http://www.timdenee.com/oilfurnace/)

  23. jalf says:

    Btw, is anyone able to explain DF’s versioning convention to me?

    So we’re at 31.13 now, yes? And a year ago or so, we were playing 40.x?

    Is there some kind of logic here that I’m missing?

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Old version was v0.28.181.40d.
      Current version is v0.31.14

      Just because people referred to the old version as “40d” doesn’t make the versioning any different to normal versioning conventions.

    • jalf says:

      oo, I see. Thanks!

  24. TooNu says:

    Hello!
    Fantastic timing on this, really truly fantastic timing because I started laying angband and Dwarf Fortress a few days ago. I can’t believe my luck that you are doing this, it’s awesome.

    Though I have a worry, what happens if your fort is successull and you can’t ever quit, what are you going to do then?

    • jalf says:

      Your fort isn’t going to stay successful. So the question never arises.

    • Junior says:

      Then it’s time to order the Big Red Lever pulled.

  25. James says:

    @Casimir’s Blake

    Claiming the game is fine for people who “have no lives whatsoever” sounds more than a little stuck up. Maybe you’re just stupid and didn’t realize that? It’s cool.

  26. Aldehyde says:

    I have a really hard time knowing what it is I am looking at in those pictures.

    Other than that, though, the game sounds pretty cool.

  27. Vinraith says:

    I really do need to get into Dwarf Fortress. I’m sure I’d love it if I pushed past the interface, but I have this psychological defect that insists I play the stuff I paid for before I devote time to something freeware, and a coinciding defect that ensures I keep buying crap even when I haven’t cleared out my backlog. The result is that I’ve been saying “I’ll try DF as soon as I’m done with this game I’m playing” for the last few years.

  28. threedliams says:

    Small hint: instead of building a large room to house all your stone for use in the mason’s workshop, define a one tile garbage zone instead. This way, your dwarves don’t waste all of their time running to pick up stone to fill up your stockpile (since hauling is a rather high priority task) and it takes up a lot less space. You can instead designate stones for dumping using “k” to view and “d” to dump individually, or use d-b-d and then select a large area to tell the dwarves to dump all stone (and any other objects) in the single space. You can then just reclaim the space by using d-b-c and selecting your garbage dump, allowing you to use all the stone stored there as well as any other objects you may have designated along the way. Hopefully your fortress lasts past part 2!

    • grasskit says:

      also known as quantum stockpile alongside other fine wonders such as dwarven atom smasher

    • adonf says:

      the first answer points to this page, congratulations you just invented recursivity !

  29. jboy_2009 says:

    The thing I love about both Dwarf Fortress and MineCraft is that they make me giggle. The other day in MineCraft I saw a cow commit suicide by jumping off a huge cliff. “Haha, stupid cow.” The last time I played DF I wanted to set up a zoo but the trapper could only catch toads. When I put one of the toads in a cage a child decided to throw a party for it. I guess the toad was pretty disgusting because soon the floor was covered in vomit, but that didn’t kill the party at all.

    • threedliams says:

      I agree, some of the best video game moments, in my opinion, come not from events scripted by the creator, but instead from quirky, randomly-generated happenings.

  30. Karandraz says:

    Quinns!

    If your just getting to grips with DF these tutorial videos really help!

    http://www.youtube.com/user/captnduck

    Enjoy :)

  31. MycoRunner says:

    “Dwarf Fortress models noise and boistrousness, with workshops and bedrooms not functioning as well if you put them next to, say, a dining hall.”

    Is this true? What other unknown things affect efficiency?

    • President Weasel says:

      put your bedrooms a couple of levels away from your workshops (or a few corridors away).
      Out your dining room somewhere there are stone walls and floors, not earth. Then smooth the stone, and later engrave it. Do the same for the bedrooms. Your engraver will get to the point where he starts doodling masterpieces on the walls.

      Dwarfs have an interesting value system. “Sad because best friend killed by goblins” is cancelled out by “recently ate in a legendary dining room” leaving a satisfied dwarf.

  32. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    MOAR

  33. pipman3000 says:

    lol name a dwarf dongfart butts or you aren’t a true gamer.

    build a giant dong or because if you dont you might as well be a console gamer.

  34. leafdot says:

    Query – anybody spent any time with the “adventure” part of the game? If so, how is it? If not, why not? I have yet to try it, thinking I should figure out the interface on the fort-building part, first, but seeing as how I’ve never had more than a couple dozen dwarves before starvation and madness kicks in, I’m not sure that will ever happen. But the possibility of a world that big & consistent still intrigues me..

    • Moonracer says:

      adventure mode is pretty empty still, but getting better I hear. I tried it once in 40d version and got lost trying to figure out how to find my old fortress, then got killed by a pack of wolves. I’m guessing adventure will remain only for the most die hard (amongst DF fans) for quite some time. But it is a pretty promising element of the game.

      I also agree with others that it is better to learn the game by playing the 40d version. It is very stable and enjoyable.

    • threedliams says:

      At this point, adventure mode is, as mentioned, rather baren. There is not much to do in relation to normal roguelike features aside from the occasional difficult to find quest and random monster grinding. That being said, adventure mode is a really fun way to go back and revisit an old fortress that was destroyed by goblins, or megabeasts, or any other type of fun. It’s nice to go through and have to dodge through your old traps and get to see all of your old furniture scattered about. Another cool feature about this is the ability to read the history of the fortress through any engravings you may have done, and having information on your fortress added to the “Legends” mode as you discover. Toady has recently said that he is going to begin working hard on improving adventure mode, since there isn’t much to do at this time, and has outlined ambitious plans for more skills and the addition of roles on the dev page: http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/dev.html
      Also, I agree that 40d is a really great stable version, and a nice way to learn without the added curve of a more complicated military system and more difficult farming requirements, both of which are crucial elements to any good fortress.

    • Jhoosier says:

      I found it completely pointless the few times I tried it out. The interface and everything is even more impenetrable than the fortress part. I love DF so much that I can’t play it for fear of losing myself to it, but I won’t touch adventure with a 10m pole.

  35. saphroneth says:

    I should probably point out here that the development team is ONE MAN IN HIS SPARE TIME.
    He is awesome.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Hi bug fixing skills are legendary. He set up a bug tracker, people submit bugs, gameplay breaking bugs go ignored while new features get added.

  36. Ninja says:

    I’m too spoiled by fancy interfaces to get into this game :(

    If they ever update it to the isometric overhead view (As in, all the time) I’ll definitely play it, but until then I’ll just enjoy reading these diaries.

  37. sinister agent says:

    Okay, I’ve got:

    Starvation – 1 : 9
    Goblins – 2 : 3
    Wildlife – 4 : 9
    Flooding – 1 : 2
    Tantrum spiral – 2 : 17
    Metal shortage – Evens

  38. Pianosaurus says:

    @Quintin: I find it interesting how every time you accidentally misspelled Kerion’s name, you did so in exactly the same way. You wouldn’t happen to know someone called Kieron, perchance?

  39. MadZab says:

    The stonesense-GFX-Package does that to dwarf fortress. Thank me, for I have just destroyed your (non dwarf-fortress-)life. ;)

  40. Tuumi says:

    No, they wouldnt be smelting. (Nor would the be burning).

    Magma proof stone is needed only on items that are submerged in lava/magma. Ie. floodgates when down, mechanisms to operate them, pumps (in theory they aint submerged)