Dwarf Fortress Developers Launch Patreon For Support

Dwarf Fortress [official site] has been donation funded since 2007 and according to its monthly status updates regularly pulls in more than $3000 each month. It costs a lot of money to develop and distribute the beguiling dwarven strategy game, however, and perhaps you’ve been one of the people wanting a new way to toss optional dollars in its direction. In which case, good news: Bay 12 have set up a Patreon for the game.

Patreon is a crowdfunding service but unlike Kickstarter, which is designed for one-off payments for single products, it’s designed to support the creation of ongoing works. Web video series, podcasts, and daily pieces of writing and art all use the service. In the case of Dwarf Fortress, your money helps fund a decades-long development project for a grand, unprecedented strategy game. Currently, the 26th best strategy game of all time.

Funding through the service is offered alongside rather than instead of the existing send-us-money-on-PayPal method and entitles to you the same rewards. $1 a month means your name will be listed on the “Hall of Champions” on the Dwarf Fortress website, and you’ll be able to choose between a short story reward or a crayon drawing inspired by the creatures in the game.

In case some sort of disclaimer is needed: when the Patreon launched yesterday, I pledged $5 a month to the continued development of the game. Just its regular development notes justify that price to me.


  1. Christopha says:

    I really hope some big publishers get behind this. DF is pushing the procedural boundaries and IMO has redefined PC games over the last few years.

    If I weren’t struggling to pay my mortgage, I’d get on to this – in fact, if I can figure out how to hide it from the wife – I’m in..

    • Harlander says:

      I don’t think a big publisher trying to elbow its way in to DF would work out well for anyone concerned, or even uninvolved bystanders.

      • Grendael says:

        I agree.

        Bay12 reckon version 1 will land around 2030. I can’t see a publisher allowing that.

        I will have pledged about 1500 of your US 6 inchers by then. And probably have had at least quadruple that figures worth of FUN.

      • Eery Petrol says:

        I agree as well. Dwarf Fortress’ worth is in its experimental nature. If a publisher would back it with a carte blanche that would be wonderful, but if they need to pin down some selling features, that would gnaw at the part of this game that keeps trying out crazy, novel things.

        • Machinations says:

          This is a brilliant game as everyone who has tried it knows. I would fund these brothers into their dotage in order to keep this crazy train going.

          By the way, feel free to steal my quote. Im cool like dat.

      • frightlever says:

        I think Christopha means that developers, more than publishers IMO, who’ve been influenced by DF over the years will throw some money into the hat.

        Hope it doesn’t change them too much, I can see this being very lucrative for them. I’m tempted to register an account on Patreon, though I really don’t want more internet identities. I typically donate at the big releases but can see the sense in smoothing that out.

  2. karthink says:

    This reminds me, I haven’t visited DF since the minecart update. I hear there are multi-tile trees and poetry descriptions now?

    I’m not a regular DF player nowadays, but I figure I can spare a couple of dollars a month for the few hundred hours of experimentation and !FUN! the game’s provided me in the past few years.

    • karthink says:

      Oh, and for the crazy stories it’s created for me. (Here’s one.).

      • Grendael says:

        Fantastic. I enjoyed this

      • Cockie says:

        That was awesome.

      • citrusninja says:

        Great writeup! I liked your style, do you have any more DF stories?

        • Machinations says:

          link to lparchive.org

          This is [b]the[/b] original LP, that convinced me to try an ascii game for first time in decades. I was hooked instantly.

          You are welcome.

        • karthink says:

          Oh, I haven’t played DF in years, so… no. In my experience, DF makes it difficult to tell if you’re in the middle of a memorable story. You’d think, say, a forgotten beast slipping into the fort is a good time to start making notes, but 80% of the time it’s captured by a trap, put away like chaff and sold to the next merchant caravan. Business as usual!

          I never tried the crazy stuff, like embarks in terrifying biomes which begin with rains of blood and necromancer assaults on your fledgling fort.

    • Michael Anson says:

      Poetry isn’t in yet, but will be in in the next update. There will also be dance, music, literature, libraries, taverns, troupes, and an entire new set of skills based around making books, scrolls, and other methods of sharing information.

      I’ve been waiting for this kind of depth since I first encountered the game, and I’m in awe at how quickly it’s being pulled off.

  3. rabbit says:

    been meaning to do this for a while, with this method set up and making it all e-z i finally got round to it. $5.99/m backed.

    of note – everyone who reads this, if possible then i’d suggest maybe use the patron built in payment thing rather than paypal? i don’t know exactly the T+Cs of patron and someone can jump in and correct me right here if it’s just as bad, but i know that paypal itself takes something like 30cents or 60cents or something plus a percentage of all money transferred – something like that – words from tarn adams’ mouth – so i imagine that they should see a bit more of the money you transfer if you do it outside of paypal.


  4. xfstef says:

    An 8 year old procedural generated, pixel graphic, card board like game still needs extra funding.

    Nothing comes to mind that I could say and not offend either the makers or the players or both.

    • Koozer says:

      Hey, it doesn’t bother with pixel art, it uses unicode!

      • xfstef says:

        Right. Sorry, now that makes a big difference :P

      • LionsPhil says:

        It’s a slightly mangled version of CP437 which is used as a spritesheet. It’s effectively very ugly ripped pixelart.

        • TillEulenspiegel says:

          Maybe 1% of the player base actually uses the default graphics, which are bad not so much because they’re DOS-extended ASCII, but because the tiles are not square. Everyone else uses Phoebus or another graphics pack.

          • Harlander says:

            Have you got some numbers on that? Given the kind of people I’ve observed playing DF, I bet the default tileset users are more than 1%. I’d guess it was closer to 50%…

          • TillEulenspiegel says:

            Just general impressions from the forums. I’m a huge Linux nerd who’s played Nethack and other stuff, and I use a graphics pack.

            Again, I could deal with the ASCII, though I prefer Phoebus. But I can’t understand anyone who actually plays with non-square tiles, which makes planning out a fortress very weird.

          • Great Cthulhu says:

            I personally play with the default graphics. It honestly doesn’t make a difference in planning your fortress, unless you care about square rooms looking square. (Which is a perfectly valid concern, just not something I personally care about.)

            I have no idea about the global ratios of tilesetters to non-tilesetters, but in my circle of friends the latter vastly outnumber the former.

          • LionsPhil says:

            For the (admittedly very stupid) point of thread, that’s neither here nor there, since all the graphical tilesets are third-party, let alone full-on visualizers like Stonesense.

            Indeed, most people don’t care that what Toady provides looks awful and has terrible readablility. They either replace it, or overlook it because of the rest of the game’s virtues.

          • jenkins says:

            Fonts with a 1:1 aspect ratio exist, and I’ve obsessively scoured the internet looking for them so that I can play with straight unicode and still keep everything square. I suspect the number is higher than 1%, but that the vast majority play with a graphic pack.

            Would love to see some sort of hard data on this out of pure curiosity.

    • Grendael says:

      Its all optional. Game is free to download. So i don’t think anyone should complain.

    • GHudston says:

      If they’re still putting work hours into improving the game, which they are, then they need to be paid for those hours if they want to continue to do them. It’s not that complicated really.

    • rabbit says:

      Are you being deliberately glib or are you actually ignorant? Cause yeah if you word it like that, it sounds like something that could be knocked out on the cheap in no time at all. But it’s actually incredibly deep and complex and detailed and an obvious labour of YEARS worth of love.
      I don’t see anything wrong with asking for funding. Tarn doesn’t work another job – he does this eight, ten, twelve hours a day. Why shouldn’t he ask for money? It’s not like a kickstarter or anything like that, it’s just a ‘please help me keep the lights on so I can keep making the game’

      • xfstef says:

        The main point is that it’s been 8 years and they’re still messing around with it and although the “procedural generation” might still seem like a novel and hard to implement idea for the public, as a programmer, I can safely say that there’s nothing novel or particularly complicated about it.
        Most of it is trial and error if you ask me so if they’ve been doing this for 8 years in a row and they still can’t “release” the game then that means either they can’t do it properly or they got stuck because of feature creep (which seems more realistic). Either way this project is going to eventually bury itself and will most likely never reach it’s full potential, which is a shame since I love both Strategy and Adventure genres.

        • Ashrand says:

          it’s funny, every few weeks i meet a new person who says that DF is doomed to failure because of feature creep, and the game continues anyway, almost as if it isn’t true!
          Nethack has been in development on a near constant basis since 1987 the PC community laughs at your notions of a 5-year commercial release schedule!
          They aren’t messing around with anything, they are competing head-to-head with their peers and in a timely manner too

          • xfstef says:

            … continues to go unreleased and find itself in a buggy limbo. Correct.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            Okay, firstly, you don’t seem to understand what DF actually is. I’d be surprised if there ever were a v1.0 of DF, and I don’t really think many people give a toss. It’s never going to follow the usual development process and everyone invested in it is well aware of that. It’s an ongoing experiment in absolute insanity and that’s what makes it great.

            Secondly, you played the “I’m a programmer, this isn’t hard” card, so I’m going to have to unapologetically do this. Point me at some games you’ve made. Hell, even one game you’ve made. Just because you’re a programmer doesn’t make you particularly creative. As my art teacher once remarked when one of his students complained that they “could have done that easily”, yes, but you didn’t.

            Thirdly, and I can’t stress this enough, oh who gives a damn? What are you actually trying to prove here? It’s fun, it’s unique and it’s not hurting anybody, least of all you. Who CARES whether or not it’s ever ‘finished’? Hell, I for one would honestly miss the devlogs and discussions if it ever were completed.

            DF will probably never be a completed, commercially released game, but you can experience both the game and the ongoing lunacy that is its development right now, for free, and if throwing a couple of bucks at them is a little easier now then great, they god-damned deserve it.

          • xfstef says:

            I do understand what is going on and to it’s sincerely just sad because of the opportunities that they are missing.
            I’m not ranting against the concept of the game or how they are coding it. Their choice of a business model, or therefore lack of, is what got me into this debate.
            They may revolutionize gaming as we know it ! Maybe, who knows. But if they do it like this, no one will know and give a crap, and by no one I mean most people.

          • Hedgeclipper says:

            They were writing about DF in the New York Times four years ago – how many indie developed games get called brilliant in the NYT while still in alpha? In short you’re completely deranged if you think no one knows about it.

        • notenome says:

          Oh wow, this is one of the most aggressively ignorant things I’ve yet to read about DF.

          First, it is an incredibly complex simulation. Read the new york times piece about it:

          “The processing power that Dwarf Fortress uses is on the same scale as modern engineering software for designing aerospace hardware,” says Ames, the engineer. “You have more cmplicated simulations in Dwarf Fortress than when you model the aerodynamics of a wing.”

          (link to nytimes.com)

          Talking about feature creep makes no sense in regards to Dwarf Fortress, much of the point of this insane experiment of a game is to simulate systems and then watch how the systems interact in a positive, creative way. Take for example the modelling of fat:

          “Every dwarf has individual character traits, religious beliefs, affections, moods, and skills, and every limb and tissue layer of their bodies is modeled and tracked. (For a while, the melting point for the fat layer of the dwarves’ skin was set too low, resulting in instant death for any creature that got damp and then entered a warm room—baroque and violent bugs like this are very much in the spirit of the game).”

          (link to newyorker.com)

          Dwarf fortress is, in my opinion, the most pc of pc games and it deserves so much credit in so many ways, like shifting the emphasis of the simulated community from buildings (simcity) to inhabitants. To be completely honest, its so outside the curve as far as what is typically conceptualized as software development that even thinking of ‘release’ doesn’t really make much sense. Sure, they might stop purposefully adding systems to the game at some point, but the system ecosystem is already so complex that it ends up creating its own new possible ‘features’, such as the dwarf computer (which incidentally, is continuously being improved by the community).

          Or to put it in other words, even without being released, dwarf fortress has already found its way into the Musem of Modern Art. And, to be honest, its one of the few games that I think really, really merit that classification. It shows that games can be art without trying to be like other forms of art, regardless of what direction the larger industry chooses to take.

          • xfstef says:

            Thank you for the information and the points you’ve made.
            Although I am impressed by their dedication and level of procedural generation that they’ve reached, I still do not think that this project will make it big.
            Sure there will be a couple of thousand of fanboys who will take their devotion for this project to their graves with them but the bottom line will be that this was an experiment more than a product and although you might hate the notion of games being “products” (which I personally sometimes also do), you do need to put your work out there and share it with the world else it will remain a little known piece of “art” that ultimately failed to become the game changer that it could have been.
            The gaming industry is spewing forth all sorts of procedural generated games that already have more cult following and will achieve more both financially and in terms of infamy than Dwarf Fortress (No Man’s Sky is one example).
            We could go further down the rabbit hole of what is art in gaming and why this is better than that but at the end of the day I care not to spend so much energy on this subject since we are talking about a means of entertainment for humans and not unifying the fields of physics.

            I am not hateful nor ignorant. I’m just pragmatic.

          • Machinations says:

            “Although I am impressed by their dedication and level of procedural generation that they’ve reached, I still do not think that this project will make it big.
            Sure there will be a couple of thousand of fanboys who will take their devotion for this project to their graves with them but the bottom line will be that this was an experiment more than a product and although you might hate the notion of games being “products” (which I personally sometimes also do), you do need to put your work out there and share it with the world else it will remain a little known piece of “art” that ultimately failed to become the game changer that it could have been.”

            Funny, that seems to be exactly what they are doing. For free. What a sanctimonious, pseudo-intellectual rant.

            “The gaming industry is spewing forth all sorts of procedural generated games that already have more cult following and will achieve more both financially and in terms of infamy than Dwarf Fortress”

            I’ve literally never heard of No Man’s Sky. So there’s that. Good luck with those strident opinions which are completely out of touch with reality.

            Anyone else heard of No Man’s Sky? Anyone? !*crickets*

          • wu wei says:

            I really don’t think O’Reilly would bother publishing updated versions of their guide if there was only a thousand fans…

        • Machinations says:

          You’re the same guy further down saying Toady is ‘laughing all the way to the bank’ and saying how much better you would do it.

          Well then, my genius friend, here’s your chance. Go build your DF clone and show us all how its done.

          Because for anyone with a discerning eye, your comments seem driven by envy.

          • xfstef says:

            The amount of fanboyism is too damn high. I’m sorry that I dared try to present the situation from a different perspective than yours. I highly do recommend that you get out of your DF fanboy cave more often. Thus you would see the world more clearly and maybe even hear about literally any other games than DF and how they are bringing the whole procedural generation to the table.

            Me a genius who could make a better version of DF with less money and in a shorter amount of time ? Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. What I am though, for sure, is an experienced coder who looks at what they’re doing with the cold and calculated eyes of a professional. Which makes it easy to apparently write “envious” comments for those who regard the DF developers as Gods waving around their all mighty PG spells.

            And no, they aren’t putting their game out there. You want to know why ?!?!? Well I do explain it in my “pseudo-intellectual rant” but I guess you either didn’t read it or couldn’t get the point. It’s because they regard this as an ongoing 20 year long project. That’s not putting your game out. That’s the exact opposites. It’s telling people: “oh look at our artistic vision and how we’ll wave around unfinished and buggy features in your face for 20 years to come ! But don’t worry ! We’ll release new stuff and maybe patch out some problems every couple of months ago so that you will keep funding this.”

            They are sneaky, I have to give it to them. But one day some serious game will come in with better graphics, less bugs and probably the same amount of procedural generation and it will steal their spotlight.

          • RanDomino says:

            You’re just mad because your forts keep getting overrun by goblins within three years.

        • rochrist says:

          As a programmer, I can safely say you’re full of shit.

          • wu wei says:

            Given his inability to see the complexity in DF combined with his dismissal of the effort it would require to get a large number of procedural systems to play nicely, I’m not even convinced he’s a programmer.

          • xfstef says:

            I actually do mention that I’m impressed by it, meaning that I understand the complexity and the work that was put into building it, but hey, let’s not read the whole freaking comment and assume that the other person is either a liar or trolling.

            My problem with this project resides somewhere else and I won’t repeat myself again.

        • falconne says:

          Cool story, bro

        • rabbit says:

          The sort of simulation that’s going on behind the scenes in DF is not what anyone would call simple or basic or straightforward. Yes, procedural generation /can/ greatly simplify design in games. But the points you’re making there just make it clear that you haven’t ever actually done your research on a lot of the work that’s gone into making the dwarf fortress ‘skeleton’

    • bit.bat says:

      What does card board like mean?

      • Harlander says:

        My guess was, it’s either meant to be “card/board like” – like a board game or a card game, or “cardboard-like”… in which case I have no idea.

        Either way it seems like a pretty dubious assessment.

        • LionsPhil says:

          DF is about as far as you can get from card or board games possible, since they want to abstract everything away to keep their simulations of a world manageable with a few physical tokens and some meat brains. DF meanwhile is simulating the flapping of butterfly wings and their impact on the price of !!pig-hide boots!! on the other side of the continent. For each individual trader in the world.

    • Synesthesia says:


      • xfstef says:

        oh yes, someone on the internet isn’t as enthusiastic as me, about an 8 year old unreleased game… quick ! stone him to death !!!

        • wu wei says:

          Or maybe, just maybe, it’s not your lack of enthusiasm but your ignorance that people are finding objectionable.

          • xfstef says:

            My ignorance ? Care to explain or are you just using their procedural generation engine to throw out random statements.

            The bottom line is that their procedural generation engine, although very complex, is not that novel and won’t be able to keep the eyes of the consumers forever stuck to DF as many other competing teams and companies are bringing their own stuff out.

  5. AngoraFish says:

    You don’t need a disclaimer if you’ve given THEM money. You need a disclaimer if they’ve given YOU something of value, such as a free preview build of a commercial game or free flights to visit their studio.

    • Ashrand says:

      their is an argument (that i disagree with, it should be noted) that he might be inducing us to pay by writing the article.
      It’s dumb if you have read anything at all by Graham (or you listen to the crate and crowbar) but if you don’t know him from Adam(s) it might sound like a shill i guess?

      • Wisq says:

        Yeah, it’s all rather silly. If anything, saying “I gave them money” should be treated not as a disclaimer, but as an endorsement, a reflection on how they liked the thing in question so much that they voluntarily paid for it.

        It’s about as ridiculous as a game reviewer saying “I went out and bought a copy of this” as a disclaimer. (The only value of which is that it indicates it wasn’t a free review copy.)

        • pepperfez says:

          A distressing number of Real Gamers identify really, really strongly with the companies that sell them stuff — see AMD vs Intel/Nvidia flamewars — so they assume everyone else does the same.

          • Wisq says:

            I would gladly support a Patreon if I knew that my money was going towards hiring someone to clean up the bugs and increase the performance, since Toady seems unwilling / unable to do these himself.

            Unfortunately, he seems equally unwilling to work with others. I seem to recall it was due to not wanting it to “feel like a job”. This, despite the fact that he does it full-time and effectively gets paid for it.

          • Wisq says:

            Gah, meant that as a top-level comment, didn’t mean to reply. Damn this lack of edit.

    • Nevard says:

      In a sensible world yes, any tenuous connection is enough to set off some peoples ethics buzzers though.

      • rabbit says:

        yep pretty much this. uproar over favouritism / bias / etc.

        • AngoraFish says:

          To put all my cards on the table, several RPS writers clearly feel that they are so far above reproach that the normal conventions of ethical journalism shouldn’t apply to them.

          This is manifest partially in a combination of grudgingly snarky disclaimers, snide defensiveness, hyperbolic conflation of concerns about perception of conflicts of interest as equivalent to outright corruption, or dismissing concerns about ethics as just another GamersGater rant.

          It’s also manifest in throw-away disclaimers when they are not needed (such as that above) because, you know, people get huffy about such things so let’s make a deal about the issue when it’s not needed because… well, clearly people are over-sensitive.

          Actually, it’s bog simple. If you get something for free (like a free review copy of a game), or you or your friends and family might benefit financially in some way from your article, declare it. Declare it prominently, professionally and without the snark. It’s a principle that’s so simple and easy to understand that a great many casual steam curator reviews do it, a great many casual reviews on Amazon do it, and more or less every mainstream publication does it.

          Actually, the main reason that the above disclaimer is unnecessary is that journalists SHOULD be paying for their games, SHOULD be buying into Kickstarters, and SHOULD be donating to free games they like. These are all times that journalists DON’T need to declare anything. For heaven’s sake, a TV journalist reporting on the Nepalese earthquake doesn’t need to ‘declare’ that they personally donated part of their weekly pay cheque to the Himalayan Red Cross.

          Suggesting that actually paying something for a game triggers the need for a conflict of interest declaration bizarrely turns the established code of journalistic ethics completely on its head.

          • Dawngreeter says:

            You are entertaining.

          • Nevard says:


          • Distec says:

            I largely agree with you regarding the snark over disclaimers, and your reasoning makes sense.

            Not sure what the problem is with the two simps who responded below you.

          • Premium User Badge

            Earl-Grey says:


          • ScottTFrazer says:

            Even the GGers can’t keep the party line straight apparently:

            “But most importantly, this section is in direct conflict to what the second paragraph of this section states: “Polygon staff are permitted to contribute to Patreon campaigns for members of the video game industry […]”. This is unacceptable.”

            From link to gamergate.me

            So to you, it’s glib, to the guy who wrote the gamergate.me screed it’s unacceptable. Maybe now you’ll begin to understand why so few people take even the semi-reasonable gamergate demands seriously.

          • Premium User Badge

            Graham Smith says:

            We do disclaim any conflict of interest that is relevant at RPS. We used to do it at PC Gamer too, when I worked there. This makes it difficult to deal with people who demand that we disclaim things in future as if we didn’t already, especially when they’re doing so by screaming at us, as they often are. You’re not screaming, but you are telling us things we already know and already do.

            In the case of backing Patreons, there is a segment of people on the internet who have made it clear that supporting them is very much, in their eyes, a conflict of interest. Some similarly felt that backing a Kickstarter should be disclosed. I agree with you that these services are the same as buying a game, but to others, it’s an ambiguous form of financial support. I erred on the side of caution in this instance – though yes, mentioned it also because I knew that it would express my genuine interest in the subject of Dwarf Fortress and the Patreon.

            As to the subject of free games: I think it is madness to think that this should be disclosed. Free games are not a gift or a bribe, they are the basic tools of our trade. If I had to buy all the games I was going to potentially write about, I’d i) have no money and ii) would quickly stop looking at new games in favour of those I knew for sure I was going to write about. This would be bad for obvious reasons. Do you think every music journalist buys their own mp3s or discloses every free download that arrives in their inbox? Film critics aren’t buying their own tickets to the local Odeon.

            I don’t think anyone’s perfect, but I don’t think we act like normal conventions don’t apply to us either. I think we act in an ethical way, make a lot of jokes, and in making jokes instead of taking them As Seriously As They Demand We Must, wind up people already angry at us because they think we did something we didn’t.

          • AngoraFish says:

            Thanks Graham. I appreciate you taking the time to write a detailed reply.

            Obviously I am a big fan of RPS or I wouldn’t post regularly. To be honest, if it wasn’t for the snarkiness I likely wouldn’t notice at all. Obviously, here, I am actually arguing against the use of disclaimers. At one level, you can argue that free games, at least, are somewhere at the equivalent of post-it-notes and cheap ballpoint pen giveaways.

            Nonetheless, I do find it interested that a great many casual Steam reviews do feel it important to provide such a dislaimer, which makes it more obvious when a more professional outfit does not.

            Anyhow, as above, it’s not so much the free games but the resentful tone in which potential ethical accusations are often addressed, which to me implies a more general problem, that is, that some writers seem to feel that they are above normal ethical principles.

          • Premium User Badge

            kfix says:

            AngoraFish, you might consider that any resentfulness or snarkiness you hear (to the extent it actually exists) might just be because the writers are sick of hearing stupid and pointless and snarky comments. When even the placement of a particular game image in a six-game panel in an article which prominently disclaims an association with that game attracts a snide and juvenile accusation of corruption (oh sorry, that’s hyperbolic, you were just “concerned”), it must be hard to take the issuing of disclaimers seriously – some wanker is still going to pop up with some complaint.

            It’s a credit to Graham’s professionalism that he took you seriously enough to write a serious response. I’m not professional so I don’t have to. To claim that the writers here have to take your concerns so seriously that they not only have to disclaim every little thing (except the things you feel they don’t have to disclaim because that’s snarky, but other obsessed idiots also conflate that with corruption so how can you win) but be po-faced while they do it in defiance of the tone of this site and the style of the individual writers on it is narcissistic and ridiculous. To then claim that their failure to conform to your standards is a sign that they think they are superior is just hilarious and shows a total lack of self awareness.

            Your rants might get dismissed less frequently if they were about an actual issue of concern and not just how some writer doesn’t take your special snowflake feelings seriously. And you might not get snark back if you don’t indulge in it first.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Oakreef says:

    It seems like people are more likely to go in for the patreon donation model that clicking buttons for once-off donations. I don’t have any figures to back that assertion up, it’s just what it seems like to me. The psychology of different types of donation models would be an interesting read.

    • rabbit says:

      They can still do that though, via paypal… a constant and reliable income means that the devs don’t have to gamble and hope so much. They know that unless there is an enormous change in the hearts of hundreds / thousands of backers, they’ll have $xx.xx every month as a baseline allowance. Getting $5000 in one pop sure might be nice but it also might encourage ‘ahh I’ll just buy that new TV’ or whatever – getting $500 a month for ten months however could pay rent for the better part of a year.

    • caff says:

      An interesting point.

      I’ve donated to them once off before but it didn’t feel like I was helping… I just felt like I was buying them a few beers for their efforts.

      Supporting them on a monthly basis feels more right. I feel like I am rewarding a vision, an ambition, some crazy stoner wild imagination, to grow, or at least try.

  7. Nasarius says:

    Despite its many flaws and shortcomings, Dwarf Fortress is quite possibly my favorite game ever. It’s pretty much the only one in existence that attempts to be a true world simulation, though I suppose RimWorld is also getting there. Deep simulation is almost certainly the long-term future of a very large portion of the videogames market (eg, imagine an Elder Scrolls game with this stuff), and DF is the only game that’s really pushing that innovation right now.

    I already gave them $50, but I didn’t set up a recurring thing because PayPal is weird about subscriptions. So now I’m happy to throw them an additional few dollars per month.

  8. Wisq says:

    I would gladly support a Patreon if I knew that my money was going towards hiring someone to clean up the bugs and increase the performance, since Toady seems unwilling / unable to do these himself.

    Unfortunately, he seems equally unwilling to work with others. I seem to recall it was due to not wanting it to “feel like a job”. This, despite the fact that he does it full-time and effectively gets paid for it.

    • xfstef says:

      It doesn’t “feel” like a job but he’s laughing all the way to the bank at the beginning of each month. Good job internet !

      • LionsPhil says:

        How dare people support self-employed crafts! He should be suffering the 9–5 grind like the rest of us and our crushed dreams.

        • xfstef says:

          Need I explain everything on the internet ?!?!
          I was merely making fun of the notion that he’s acting in an irresponsible matter with the funding that people are giving him. Not accepting to work with others because it “messes up my artistic vision” is sketchy.

          Also, I do approve of and encourage people to stay away from the 9 to 5 hell and follow their dreams (something that I am doing myself by the way).

      • Machinations says:

        3,000 a month is ‘laughing to the bank’?

        I’d like to live in your fantasy land.

        • xfstef says:

          I bet you would ! It must be dark and damp in the DF Fanboy cave ;)

    • Great Cthulhu says:

      To be fair, it’s a very badly paying job. Most months they get 3.5 to 4K before taxes and without benefits. I don’t know exactly what the cost of living in the US Pacific North West is, but I don’t think that kind of money will get you very far there.

      DF is very much a labor of love, so I don’t fault the Adams for doing it however they prefer doing it.

      • AngoraFish says:

        Yes, he’s a very long way away from buying a second house and moving to the Bahamas on those figures.

      • Panther_Modern says:

        Toady is to blame for a lot of that- similar games like Rimworld and Gnomoria that are not near as ambitious but actually improve on a reasonable timetable and don’t egotistically force their users to adapt to a terrible interface have both grossed at least 2.5 million each so far, and they don’t have near the fanbase or brand awareness of DF. Towns probably has even made more money and been played by more people, which is a shame.

        If Toady were to be professional about DF and follow any conventions of the game industry, he could easily make a substantial sum of money and probably a better game that would be finished before 15 years from now. His unconventional approach to development and monetizing something that has insane potential is undermining what he considers his life’s work, and is why we see feature light clones being far more successful according to a lot of metrics, and that needn’t be the case.

        • Great Cthulhu says:

          But why should they? Tarn and Zach aren’t in it to make money. They’re in it because it’s what they love doing. And fortunately for them there are enough people who love what they do enough to support them financially. All involved are happy. There’s nothing egotistical or unprofessional about it.

          • xfstef says:

            Why should they ? Again, they aren’t unifying the fields of physics or working towards a general cure for cancer. It’s just a game, a simulation. Humanity works on peer review. That’s how we upgrade our science and culture. It’s by letting as many people as possible check out your work and review it. Their stubbornness to accept these life facts makes them look like unprofessional and childish hippies in my opinion. Those are not the kind of people that I’d gladly give money to.

          • Great Cthulhu says:

            Um… They’re giving their game away for free you know? Everyone everywhere can review it as much as they like without ever paying a cent. This has been true since the first release in 2006.

            Feel free to continue not giving them money while still playing the game they’re giving you for free. Seriously.

          • xfstef says:

            Well yes, obviously, but because there are so many bugs and the graphics are that spartan, most people won’t even bother with it.

    • FredZepplin says:

      That, and the elephant in the room: the fact that if you took away all of the utilities and add-ons that 3rd parties have made, DFHack, Dwarf Therapist, all of the recent strides in tileset rendering (TWBT), the game itself would be a buggy even more clunky mess. Toady relies on other people to fix his broken game.

      • LionsPhil says:

        So he’s the indie version of Bethesda, then?

      • Harlander says:

        I’m not sure ‘relies’ is the right word, if only because ending up with something robust and playable seems like a secondary concern to the exploration of the concept space. He doesn’t rely on other people to make it more stable because it being stable isn’t the point.

        • xfstef says:

          If they don’t care about ending up with a product then why do they even bother to make anything public. Oh wait, what did we all think of: they need money. I hate this discussion because these people find themselves between two worlds. The first is the world of the professional developer which hipsters and hippies seem to hate because he’s “doing it for the money” and then we have the world of the unknown genius artist who ends up dying alone among his masterpieces.
          Nowadays crowdfunding allows you to somehow live with one foot anchored in each of these worlds and I am not against it but there should be some limits to how long we support or trust someone with our money, especially since it’s becoming more clear to everyone that these guys never plan to release something enjoyable and approachable enough.

  9. vorador says:

    Hopefully this means they can afford to hire artist to develop a tileset that doesn’t bleed my eyes. It’s the main thing that holds me back from DF. Yeah i know, i’m one of those guys. But i appreciate my eyesight, however poor it is.

  10. bonuswavepilot says:

    Sign me up! I reckon Tarn can use a few of my hard-earned monetary units every so often. I would still dearly love a decent interface, but I can’t really see how that’s likely without making this less of a personal obsession project, which I suspect is where much of the magic comes from.

  11. DXN says:

    If ever a project was appropriate for the patronage model, this is it.