Never Too Deep: Dwarf Fortress’ Massive Update

Every time we post this a dwarf gets his pickaxe.

A massive update for alternate world simulator Dwarf Fortress just landed and, by the Sacred Caverns That Bristle With Features, it’s a big ‘un that has been eleven months in the making. I’ll list more below but for starters, it looks like Adventure mode has been guzzling down its vitamins, with cities now having more variety, tombs to explore, and better traps and abilities. As for Dwarf mode, let’s just say vampiric and lycanthropic infections and leave it at that, shall we? Oh, but there’s so much more. The temptation to begin a new chronicle is strong.

Here we go then. The first four points show an emphasis on the dark side of fantasy.

Protect your community from secret vampire dwarves or hunt them as an adventurer.

Defend your fort during the full moon or risk a werewolf infestion — hunt/be hunted as an adventurer.

Face armies of the dead in dwarf mode or visit their necromancers’ towers and learn their secrets as an adventurer.

Evil regions where the dead and pieces of the dead can come alive, with evil mists and rain.

First of all, these things should be in every game. Racing game, fighting game, space combat simulator, the lot.

Secondly, PIECES OF THE DEAD CAN COME ALIVE! I will end up being killed by an animated giant’s gonad as it trundles across the land and that is the sort of thing that can only happen in Dwarf Fortress. It won’t even be a cutscene or a setpiece, it will just be something that happens after brunch.

Some practical stuff now. I say practical, but tracking every item in a gigantic world isn’t so much practical as an unnerving level of detail. Good.

Dropped items/bodies tracked between plays in the wilderness anywhere in the world

More battlefield information tracked/war dead raisable in world gen.

Various new abilities for creatures.

New site travel map to make navigating towns easier.

And then there’s the additions which show that Adventure mode could well become the RPG I’ve always had inside my head but never had the ability to communicate in full detail, let alone create.

Eating/drinking required in adv mode.

Ingested syndromes are now possible

Ability to make campfire (from ‘g’) and warm items at campfire/fire/magma (from ‘I’) in adv mode.

Traps work in adv mode, once spotted they can be ignored.

Necromancers can write books about various topics (all books are in their towers as it stands).

Did you see the bit where it says “ingested syndromes are now possible”? It really is only a matter of time before every tear that is spilled in the world is tracked, as well as every poo that is unloaded.

There’s more and bug fixes are also listed over here. This just about kills every plan I had for the next week or so, which is ridiculous because it’s not as if I’d reached a stage where I thought, “man, I’ve really seen everything Dwarf Fortress has to offer, time to leave it until there’s a massive update”.

I’m frightened of what this game may become. I think it may be adventure time.


  1. Eich says:

    Finally! Defend all the Fortresses!

  2. Sigvatr says:

    I really don’t know if I should download this. I have a wife and son now.

    • Ridnarhtim says:

      That’s ok, as long as you’re willing to consider divorce, adoption and unemployment.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      I didn’t think it would come out for another month. This messes up all of my plans.

    • purblind says:

      But you must, and then you can get extra immersion by asking your wife to text you stuff like ‘human baby starved to death’ or ‘wife has gone into a strange mood’

    • Caleb367 says:

      *Sigvatr interrupts Marriage: Taken by DF new release.

  3. Kemuel says:

    Time to start playing again perhaps..

  4. Ridnarhtim says:

    I really wish I’d gotten into this game when it was fairly new, because by this point, I figure it’s pretty much impossible….

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      Adventure mode isn’t too tricky. Managing a fortress is but treat it as farce rather than work.

      Don’t try to keep on top of everything, just aim to learn one thing well every time you play. Your dwarves will hate you as you ignore them and place a system of garbage piles while they are being assaulted by zombie elephants, but you’ll learn what to do about THAT later.

    • Redem says:

      That’s defeatist talk! You won’t get to consume the candy and release the clowns with that sort of attitude!

      Thus far, I’ve done neither of these things. I am a very poor dwarf.

    • Nevard says:

      But Redem!
      Losing is fun!

    • wearedevo says:

      It’s not that bad. I just got into it, and it was worth it. There were a few false starts where I just gave up, and a couple of nights just watching tutorial vids, but now it’s gravy. Well.. my forts are still failing hilariously, but much, much later on.

    • torchedEARTH says:

      There are those Captain Duck youtube vids. They really help. Also, I found it best to think of it like a simulator. I imagine I was the last person to get that.

      It will take effort to get going, but even just seeing those little bastards dig some trenches for the first time is a thrill ride to adventure.

      My new wide screen laptop was made for gfx mode. I will be riding that learning curve to multiple wipe-outs. Come, take my hand…

    • Apples says:

      Get the Lazy Newb Pack or at least Dwarf Therapist (when they’re updated to be current). Then once you figure out how to tunnel and build farms and workshops, you are already halfway to being able to play competently. After that learn how to build/use beds and barrels, and how to assign nobles and rooms. Finally learn how to manage the military and burrows, and how to trade (these may take a long time). If you know those few things you know basically everything important and everything else will follow from those. It’s not as hard as it seems!

      The text interface is baffling at first but soon you will find yourself slamming out esoteric key combos as second nature (and downloading lots of utilities to stop yourself having to do that).

    • Wisq says:

      Sometimes I wish I could wipe my memory of all knowledge of how to run DF (aside from how to use the interface itself) and experience it all from scratch. The problem these days is that I know too much about how it all works to be surprised by anything, and I’m always prepared for everything, and I always over-prepare too, such that I end up with excessively huge forts for just a few dwarves.

      I can put artificial limits on things, or deliberately play in a “crippled” style, or even cheat and give myself e.g. extra dwarf speed (so I don’t have to pay as much attention to layout) or unlimited ammo (marksdwarves are hilarious – it’s like they’re armed with machine guns), but none of it manages to recapture the olden days any more.

    • Stromko says:

      I’d wait a week until they have the most common crash bugs fixed. Or, go for one of the legacy versions. I started with the 2D version, and I can see how it’d be a lot less intimidating. There’s likely more and more tutorials the further back you go, as well.

  5. Ross Mills says:

    I will try this game again when it has a GUI that isn’t horrendous.

    So, likely, never from what I’ve seen. :(

    It’s such a pity, I love the game, I just can’t play it because I’m not attuned to the eldritch magics that others are linked to that makes them entirely comfortable with this control system.

    Give me draggy-mouse functions and buttons, and I’m a happy Dwarf-leader.

    • protospork says:

      I can cope with the awful UI-and sometimes I do welcome an immersive game that takes no clicking-but the default graphics make my eyes hurt badly after an hour or so, and I’ve never seen a tileset that’s anywhere close to better enough.

    • Prime says:

      While I completely share the sentiment I do have to ask a question: when did we get so spoiled by W.I.M.P environments? I grew up on the ZX Spectrum; If this game had been released back then I may not ever have emerged from my bedroom.

    • Kdansky says:

      The ZX Spectrum certainly had the better UI! If DF offered sensible and alphabetical menus and shortcuts, it would still be a pain, but playable.

      Is “sort the menu by alphabet” really asking too much?

    • Caleb367 says:

      Pfah! Shiny graphics? Fancy GUI? A true dwarf cares not for these things!

    • MasterDex says:

      The GUI is probably the only thing that could stop DF from becoming a commercial success should the Adams brothers ever decide to put a price on the game. There are a few simple things they could do however to improve it.
      1. Create an official non-ASCII tileset. Ironhand and Mayday are great but a default non-ASCII tileset would be better.
      2. It’s a PC game in the year 2012. Add proper mouse support. It’s not a sin to do so.
      3. Make management of your dwarves easier. If I see IDLE: 4 in the corner of the screen, let me click it to centre on an idle dwarf.

      I can’t say I have a lot of faith that the Adams brothers will ever improve the GUI though, which will be a shame because someone’s gonna come along and replicate Dwarf Fortress to the same complex level but make it more user-friendly and they’ll make some serious bank.

    • NathanH says:

      Mouses are great tools. They should be supported.

      Functional graphics are also good. It would be less of an issue with mouse support and a box in the UI displaying info on whatever your mouse pointer is over, though.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Same opinion. It’s not a matter of “pretty graphics”, ASCII is a style like another. But the actual user interface is really awful.

      It’s not even “Vi/emacs” kind of awful. Those are complicated, but ultimately you can be faster using them. Here, it just feels overly complicated when it could be so much more pleasant to play.

      Anyone want to talk the guy into starting a Kickstarter project for a DF version with a proper UI? Because I would pay for that.

    • frymaster says:

      compare and contrast nethack and angband. From everything I’ve seen, nethack is the deeper, more rewarding game. I simply cannot play it; I’ve been spoiled by Angband’s much superior UI.

    • Consumatopia says:

      No, it doesn’t need a better UI. It needs a better API, so that someone else could make a better UI. It’s pretty clear that UI isn’t Toady’s main interest or “comparative advantage”, so to speak, but there seem to be plenty of chumps on the internet willing to make support tools for DF for free, so just make a documented client/server protocol or something and let the internet solve the problem.

      My suspicion is that this doesn’t happen because there’s a larger problem with DF than usability–it lacks modularity and, in a sense, scalability. I suspect it’s too difficult to hand off a piece of functionality (e.g. user interface) to someone who cares more about it because all of the functionality is all tangled together. See also parallelism/multicore difficulties.

      Usability and technical difficulties aren’t the real problem, though. Dwarf Fortress is incapable of something that far simpler strategy games can do. DF cannot play itself. You can’t tell the computer to manage your fortress for you. You can’t invade a computer-run fortress. Other habitations occupied by NPCs weren’t constructed by the computer building things within the simulation, but by procedurally generating something that visually resembles the sorts of things you can build in the simulation. DF automates the actions of individual dwarves, but they can’t coordinate themselves in any sort of higher way–the fortress collapses without constant human micro-management. As the game is now, this is part of the fun–running the fortress is like running a giant, comic Rube Goldberg machine, with the goal of failing in the most spectacular and hilarious way.

      So long as the game is so micro-management driven, adding a better UI doesn’t really serve any purpose. Fiddling over an impossibly huge number of details is the whole point of the exercise. People who want a better UI (such as myself) really want a different game–one in which busywork can be automated.

    • Jnx says:

      As much as I enjoyed my time with fortressing dwarves, I just can’t do it anymore. It’s too tedious to play. The game should’ve had a feature lock ages ago and they should’ve concentrated their efforts to making a better UI, graphical or not. Now it’s just a bloating feature creep and with every update it becomes less playable.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Hm. I admit that I never managed to go really into the depths of the game, so I didn’t really know about micro-managing.

      In this case, I agree that this is highly missing too, the fact of automatizing tasks. It indeed makes no sense to have a good UI if you have anyway to do everything by yourself. I guess that if you really have to micro-manage everything, then the basic keyboard UI is good enough anyway. You will do these tasks so often that indeed, you will be faster with a keyboard. And you will probably learn the keys with the amount of time you repeat them.

      I guess I also am looking for another game, then. A game in which you can manage a city/mine/place full of people, but controlled by “tasks” rather than direct actions.

    • Consumatopia says:

      Another way to put it–I’d like to play a game where I can be Architect and Prime Minister. Where I lay out the design of my fortress and make high-level policy decisions.

      In DF, you do spend a little time making a high-level plan, but most of the time you’re the Foreman–you’re the one who watches over the workers and makes sure they’re actually following that plan.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      The GUI works pretty well actually, you just have to put in the time to learn most often-used shortcuts by heart. Granted it’s painful to learn, but once you do it goes faster than anything mouse-driven.

      As an experienced player, the only things that I still find a pain in the butt are job management (thankfully there’s Dwarf Therapist for that), army management (caused me to stop playing the last release, I sure hope it’s fixed in this release), and digging designation. This last one is the only thing that would really benefit from mouse lasso controls.

      Oh, and it’s annoying how the game pauses every time you enter any designation mode.

  6. Elos says:

    It’s going to be so broken. 11 months worth of bugs ahoy

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Sadly this. I gave up on the last major update when game breaking bugs weren’t being fixed leading to a complete inability to test anything. Hopefully ToadyOne has been on some Software Development courses or read a book or 2 on the topic since then.

    • MyPetHamster says:

      It did take Toady rather a long time to get round to the bug fixes, but most of them were fixed for the last release. That’s dated Mar 28 2011.

    • jrodman says:

      The correct solution here is of course to open the source. There are so many fans who would love to hack on dwarf fortress.

    • Wisq says:

      I don’t think they can really open the source, not until the game itself is feature-complete.

      Thing is, the moment the source goes public, there’s going to be (at worst) a thousand spin-off attempts and (at best) a single central dev team a la Nethack. Either way, Toady ceases to control the authoritative version, and it’ll be next to impossible to introduce new features or steer it towards his vision.

      I suspect that after the major bugs are fixed, the first thing to fix in DF would be to do some major rewrites of the core game loops, pathfinding, etc. Modularise stuff. I doubt it even needs to be parallelised; rather, it probably just needs to use better algorithms and caching.

      But by the time that’s done, it’ll be a whole different beast, and Toady won’t even be able to add a tiny new feature without spending a bunch of time learning about the new architecture. And, no offense to Toady, but organised design/development and architecture are reputedly not his strongest points.

      (That’s even before you get into the issues of people adding new content that doesn’t fit into his vision of the finished product.)

      In that respect, he’s actually doing exactly the right thing. Rush to completion, so that you have a final product in your hands and everything else is just polish. Hopefully he does decide to open source it at that point, and the community will be able to solve all those bugs far faster than he could on his own.

  7. El_MUERkO says:


    I’ll wait until a decent tile set gets updated lest the game melts my mind but I’m looking forward the watching the Waredwarfwolfs fighting the reanimated remains of my kin while all around them the doomsday device fills my hold with Lava.



  8. Scoops says:

    Every time i play this game: link to

  9. Zanchito says:

    This game SO needs a decent UI. Toadyone should find a trusty partner who would only do UI stuff.

  10. MadTinkerer says:


    Oh cruelty of cruelties that I cannot play DF for at least several weeks…

    • Caleb367 says:

      Man, have you learned anything from DF? Chug down a barrel of ale and dwarf it up!

    • fiddlesticks says:

      But if you don’t play it, your poor dwarves will starve. Surely, the death of one is preferrable to the death of many.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Last time I played DF while drunk, it was not pretty. But at least there were fewer nobles, elves, and human traders to worry about.

      Actually, maybe I should try it again some time after backing up the world…

      But not for a few weeks. ;)

    • jrod says:

      Creatively killing off elf caravans has become a passion of mine. So many benefits: wood for days, fancy bitey animals to chain up outside, elf bones to spruce the place up, etc, etc.

  11. Tunips says:

    But but… Crusader Kings II! My time! All of it.

  12. caddyB says:

    Strike the Earth!

  13. westyfield says:

    Is there any way Adam could get Quinns’ Onionbog file and continue playing from there? Maybe set up a rival clan, then invade Onionbog and claim it as his own, in a clever echo of Adam’s rise to power?

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      I’d love nothing more than to play in Adventure mode and discover the long abandoned ruins of Onionbog. I’d go all CSI on the place and try to piece together what became of it. I imagine it’d end up being like a cross between Mountains of Madness and the finger-pointing parlour accusation at the close of an Agatha Christie.

    • Oozo says:

      This might be as good an opportunity as any to mention that Quinns has announced his comeback to freelance journalism. Just imagine: A Clash of The Smiths, with zombie elephants and vampire dwarfs clashing all around them!

  14. Ericston says:

    Staring eyes!

  15. karthink says:

    Every year I have a go at DF and am wracked by waves of anticipation, glee, horror, frustration and finally apathy.

    It doesn’t matter how much more elaborate DF gets, if they don’t fix the interface I’m not getting sucked back in.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Pretty much what this guy said + graphics in general(although some tilesets are bearable I guess).

  16. Maldomel says:

    Shut up and take my social life!

  17. Larington says:

    I just wish I could fine tune the migration rate. Been playing the last version on and off for the past few weeks and even with Dwarf Therapist setup, when a 20 strong migration happens I just throw my hands up in resignation as to what I’ll do with all these damn dwarves (No, I’m not going to kill them).

    • Mr Bismarck says:

      Polish and engrave the entire fort. Unless a Dorf had a very obvious particular skill they would be sent to polish everything until they either died, became a legendary engraver or died.

    • 4026 says:

      Dogsdwarves, assigned to nothing but clean, fetch and carry duties. They’re the lifeblood of a smoothly-running fortress!

      And any time they look a bit idle, put a big stone stockpile topside that accepts every type of stone. Then, assign them to build a giant tower with it.

    • terry says:

      My technique (albeit in the old 2d version) was to send them out hunting with their bare hands. And then a bear would embrace them with its bear hands.

    • MasterDex says:

      Just set them to hauling and cleaning. Smoothing and engraving might be undesireable if you’re not equipped to handle an enemy force. Also, using their proficiencies as a guide, assign some to jobs professions that you’re in short supply of and could use more. Mining is a good choice.

    • Torgan says:

      I never get that attitude. More stuffs=more fun. I get a bit bored when it’s just 20 dwarves or whatever.

      If you cba building bedrooms just make a dormitory any dwarf can use, I usually end up overflowing with food and drink as my brewers and planters become legendary so that’s no issue. I do usually make my forges at the bottom of the map above the magma though so that does account for quite a bit of hauling though I guess…

    • Torgan says:

      The Daily Mail fortress would only allow the seven original settlers then no more in, any immigrants can go back where they came from.

    • jrod says:

      What I do is create the “Ellis Island” Migrant Welcoming Center.

      “Ellis Island” is a micro fort on the other side of the map and all new migrants are immediately assigned to a borough that is comprised of only this area. Next I look through the new dwarfs. Anyone who has useful skills becomes a “citizen”. Any that don’t make the cut (ie: almost all) get to eat rodents until they go stark raving mad and the Welcome Center turns into a scene from a bad slasher movie.

      A) this is entertaining to watch
      B) no one gets upset when Dwarfy McUseless dies because no one from the main fort has ever even met him
      C) the main fort gets to remain happy and smug in their competence and awesomeness

    • Wisq says:

      I sometimes go one step further and create a group of “elites” (initial dwarves + legendaries) and “peasants” (or exiles, or whatever).

      The elites live inside a completely sealed fort, the only entrances being a careful vertical airlock system, whereby items are dumped down a deep shaft (deep as in “splat”, to prevent accidental immigration), or dumped back out for the peasants to use (usually rock, or bins of stuff to trade).

      The peasants do menial work outside, sometimes stuff like dry screw pumping (that sounds bad) to improve their physique, but mostly mass activities like gathering plants (to feed themselves) or chopping wood (to dump down the shaft for the elites). When they become legendary, they can be let in, if they’ll be useful.

      Trade can either be done via a careful depot airlock, or by dumping goods outside, letting the peasants trade them, and then dumping the resulting trade goods (and empty bins) back inside.

      The peasants outside are generally self sufficient (you’d be amazed how easily they can get by when everyone’s fishing and gathering plants), but completely insecure. A small kobold ambush is enough to wipe them out, though I usually do make some attempt to band them together and fight the attackers hand-to-hand.

      Of course, if I’m feeling really nasty, yeah — I’ll just set them all to hunting and watch the mayhem.

  18. SquidgyB says:

    “…as well as every poo that is unloaded”

    That’s been a bone of contention for years now on the bay12 forums – to have faeces/poo/sewer/clean water management. It always boils down to arguments of “but the forums will be full of threads like ‘I made a poo drowning machine for killing elves!'”

    Myself. I’m all for it.

    I do feel that toady should put *some* effort into streamlining the UI to make it more accessible. I have a good few friends who like the idea but are put right off by the complexity and obtuseness of the UI. There’s some good old fashioned elitism right there. I get on fine with it, but then I’m happy with odd UI’s.

    Sad to say though, this will be another 12 months of bug hunting and waiting patiently for tools to be updated. It’ll probably be another few weeks before it’s properly playable…

    Love it so all the same.

  19. Mungrul says:

    Time to break out the annual Toady donation. Here’s hoping the Lazy Newb Pack gets updated soon.

  20. TazzAtNL says:

    Reading this makes me wan’t Castle Story even more…

  21. Mike says:

    Surely this guy’s earnt a Staring Eyes tag by now.

  22. kikito says:

    I’m not going to say “until they give it a decent UI, I will come back”. Sure, it is quite horrible. But I was mostly ok with it. Until they made the military overhaul.

    That destroyed the game for me. I could not manage my army any more. I was forced to play like an elf – playing only on “very nice” settlements, where monkeys were the only initial enemies, and leaving the fortress when the first kobolds appeared. Very sad.

    • Mungrul says:

      The answer to that was Danger Rooms. Legendary dwarves in mere moments!
      My main problem with the last release was the persistence of filth, such as vomit and blood or worse, forgotten beast excretions that ended up destroying whole fortress, even after developing complex dwarf bathing systems. And why did the subsequent syndromes always inevitably involve exploding eyeballs? This stuff would re-appear even with liberal applications of dfclean.
      That and breaching the HFS would result in unplayable framerates.

    • Strange_guy says:

      Yeah, that’s what made me quit fortress mode. I’ve given it a few stabs since then, but given up when it came time to make a defence. Still I’m looking forward to more adventuring fun. Not sure if it’s good idea to start playing before some of the bugs have been trimmed though.

  23. Bhazor says:

    Anyone else miss the 2d version (no z axis)? I just think it’s lost some of the charm now you don’t have to worry about layout any more. Before you had to plan out every square because there were no take backs or redos and finding that you didn’t have space for a door or that your mason cant leave his workshop would haunt you for the entirety of the dungeon. Or finding that your layout meant a patrol took fifteen minutes to get from your workshops to the storehouses. But now you can just dig up an extra level and add in a shortcut or build a wall. I also miss the underground river which made irrigation so easy and more importantly gave you solid goals in the first season or two. Whilst allowing for regular lizard invasions. Now theres no real direction in the first year and if you’re unlucky you can start digging out your fort only to find theres no stone there and its all on the other side of the map. Also getting a well is way too frickin hard.

    Now I mostly just play in adventure mode where the 3D bits do improve the game even if I still can’t workout how hills work.

    • Harlander says:

      You can demand a site with an underground river when you’re picking a place to embark – it won’t help you find exactly where through the rock it goes, of course.

    • RogB says:

      i also miss this version. The Z depth thing is amazing, but I enjoyed the straightforwardness of the original one where you knew the site had everything you needed (somewhere), and going further right = getting progressively harder.

  24. Daniel Klein says:

    * demons masquerading as gods will try a little harder

  25. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Gah! Game developers! Don’t these people realize that I DON’T HAVE TIME TO PLAY ALL THEIR AWESOME GAMES!

    God. I’m not even really finished with Skyirm. :(

  26. Lemming says:

    First screenshot is a bit misleading innit? You can only get DF looking like that with a mod I thought? Unless that’s part of the main game now.

  27. pistolhamster says:

    Oh bloody hell. Wrong season. Too little TIME!

  28. Coreaxe says:

    Fine, take all of my time. I didn’t like that social life anyway.

  29. JackDandy says:

    WOOHOO! I’ve been waiting for this for so long!

    This will undoubtedly create some great new stories. Off to download the new version!

  30. Kynrael says:

    Oh yes please do make a chronicle, Dwarf Fortress stories are the best !

  31. wererogue says:

    Must… get… for… beekeeping… fixes.

    Seriously, it’s heartbreaking to see my beekeeper ignore all the lovely hives he set up in favour of trying to find new bees in a hive he can barely even pathfind to. Paralysed by indecision, he looks over the ravine at the new hive, so rich and ripe, but with no empty compatriot back at the fortress to fill with bees. Because he filled them all already, and then forgot they were hives once they had honey ready for collection.

    The twit.

  32. tomshreds says:

    I never understood that game well, I don’t know why, but it seems so much fun!

    What’s the graphic version (in the article) ? Is it some plugin, the new version, or what else?

  33. jrod says:

    for those wanting to learn the game, captain duck’s videos are good, but 51ppyycup’s are much more entertaining (at times hilarious) and were more than adequate to give me a good grasp on the game and all its mechanics. Here is “part 0” of his series link to

  34. shadowzombie says:

    i am a dwarf fortress newb but was curious where that graphical image comes from? is that from the new release? or a mod. the one that looks like there in a inn or a horse bar cause i see tables and a horse sitting at one of them

    • Strange_guy says:

      From a graphical tile set, might be maydays but it’s been a while since I used his tileset. Hard to tell which version, near undoubtedly not this one since none of the tilesets have proper support yet, though many have got minor updates that make them usable if incomplete. Heard of some issues even then though. Could be any version post z axis really. Looks like a dinning room, which animals tend to congregate in.

  35. ScorpionWasp says:

    My particular experience with DF is somehow different from everything I’ve heard about it. It’s the second time I start a fortress, only to quit later because nothing of consequence is happening. Migrants come bringing a buttload of stuff and animals (thus rendering your initial budgetary choices pretty much meaningless), you have larger and larger and larger stockpiles of, like, everything, and and then you can’t help but wonder, “Why the heck am I playing this? There’s nothing requiring my attention here, nothing challenging. Only having to manually assign the mining out, furnishing, smoothing and engraving of another 10 rooms for the last pack of migrants, like a fucking bureaucrat.”

    • LionsPhil says:


      That or you start somewhere evil, and get wiped before the first season is out. If you survive, unless the victory was truly phyrric, you’re not going to then be challenged for years.

      I know people have these tales of invasions but I’ve never seen one. A game that’s fun if and only if a 5% random event happens is kind of wasting my time.

    • ancienttoaster says:

      Oh my god. I thought I was the only one!

      I’ve been trying to play DF for years, hoping to witness the sort of hilarious debacle people always talk about. But I always found that, no matter how incompetent I was, two hours in my fortress was still humming with something approximating smoothness, while I descended ever deeper into micromanagement.

      I don’t want to have to wait three hours for my first hilarious TFK (total fortress kill, obvs).

  36. xaphoo says:

    It’s quite ridiculous to be able to say this, I admit, but it cannot but be said: Dwarf Fortress is really the greatest game of all time, including all future time. Its imagination and sheer courage, not to mention its breathtaking range and capabilities for fun, are matched by nothing whatsoever. If someone made a slick 3d interface for it, many different genres of AAA game would quickly be made obsolete.

    • hemmingjay says:

      Toady dropped this on Valentine’s day, thus dooming my marriage. Why does he want my marriage to fail? Is this his subtle way of coming on to me? It worked.

  37. adammtlx says:

    Dwarf Fortress would possibly be the greatest game ever if Toady One had any understanding of the value of presentation and aesthetics. The micromanagement of DF is not really the problem. The problem is that the micromanagement is tedious because of how awful the interface is. It’s hard to play a game with an interface that hates and resists you every step of the way. It’s a testament to what an amazing concept DF is that so many people can still play and enjoy it.

    The interesting question is whether or not you could make a game as complicated as DF playable with decent in game graphics and a decent GUI.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s not even just aesthetics, though; it’s plain old usability fail. Look to Nethack or—even better—Stone Soup outside of tiles mode for how ASCII-and-head-crushing-depth can be done without gratuitous “ok in this menu you scroll up and down with the arrows but in that one it’s pgup/pgdn and that one over there it’s numpad 2/8 and it’s enter or space to do something unless space is back or pause but sometimes that’s escape or q…also everything is in a series of disconnected and badly organized menus. Have fun!”

    • adammtlx says:


      Yes. Basically that. It’s an amazing, astounding piece of software that is a nightmare to use. If Toady One spent one year of his life refining, optimizing and redesigning the interface, he’d easily triple DF’s user base.

    • ancienttoaster says:

      Or better yet, look at Brogue. Still just plain ASCII graphics, but extremely consistent, intuitive, and even beautiful.

  38. Saiko Kila says:

    “It really is only a matter of time before every tear that is spilled in the world is tracked, as well as every poo that is unloaded.”

    Not so sure about that last part. The majority of players on forum seems to be against it. So it probably won’t happen. Which is a shame, I always wanted to build a working sanitation system which means something more than a decoration.

    Also, based on my previous experiences, it would be probably wise to wait a week or two to get some patching done.

  39. Wubbles says:

    Oh my god, Evil regions are absolutely grueling now. There isn’t a single second during which my dwarves aren’t either fleeing from zombies or killing zombies.

    I’m being attacked by mussel shells! D:

    • Stromko says:

      My first fortress was settled under an evil mountain. All was well until both my miners fell during a disastrously poorly-orchestrated mining of a well reservoir. First one died on impact, the second one died when his buddy got up and smashed his skull in. I was almost able to get a grip on it, but eventually the zombie spiral got the better of me.

  40. Francois says:

    How does Dwarf Fortress handle Multiprocessors, big Amounts of RAM, slow File Operations?

    How about a Mainframe Version of DF?

    Alternatively what is the closest Approximation of a Mainframe? High-Performance Computing or High-Throughput Computing?

    A Cluster-Capeable Version of Dwarf Fortress could be fun.

    • foop says:

      It doesn’t – DF is essentially single-threaded. Toady (the writer) is a one-man band and isn’t happy with rewriting for multiple cores. AFAIK, it’s only 2GB-aware on the RAM side of things too.