Underground hit Dwarf Fortress will soon emerge into the daylight on Steam, which definitely would be the games store favoured by dwarves as the punchline to a joke. Dwarf Fortress ‘Classic’ will still be available free, as ever, but this paid version will come with an official commissioned graphics pack for players who cannot fathom the ASCII art as well as new music. Bay 12 Games are still so so so very far from laying down their tools and ending work on their mega-complex management game, which they started over 16 years ago, but this will help keep them ticking over.
If you’ve been reading Nate Crowley’s ludicrous illustrated diary series, you’ll know that Dwarf Fortress is a fantastically intricate game about managing a colony of dwarves beset by all sorts of problems (many of their own creation, the idiots). And you’ll know that images really help make sense of a game whose graphics look like the contents of DOS’s guts.
This release of Dwarf Fortress will bring a brand new graphical tileset by Michał “Mayday” Madej and Patrick Martin “Meph” Schroeder, two fellas who’ve made free tileset mods for the game before. It will also have music and other audio by Dabu of Ko_op. You can see pictures and hear sounds in this here trailer:
Yes, you can still download Dwarf Fortress free from its site and yes, the free version will still be updated. It just won’t have these fancy premium features.
Fraternal developers Tarn and Zach Adams have funded their years of work on Dwarf Fortress through donations, but sadly that’s not enough right now.
“We don’t talk about this much, but for many years, Zach has been on expensive medication, which has fortunately been covered by his healthcare,” Bay 12 explained. “It’s a source of constant concern, as the plan has changed a few times and as the political environment has shifted. We have other family health risks, and as we get older, the precariousness of our situation increases; after Zach’s latest cancer scare, we determined that with my healthcare plan’s copay etc., I’d be wiped out if I had to undergo the same procedures.”
The premium version Dwarf Fortress is coming to Steam and Itch.io in a few months, with an expected price of around $20. Kitfox Games are helping Bay 12 publish this version and arrange the new fanciness. The Steam version will have Steam Workshop support for mods too.
I don’t know why they’ve stopped using the full name of Slaves To Armok: God Of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress.