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Dwarf Fortress crafts a vibrant new world in new premium edition footage

The halls of the mountain king never looked quite so clean. As part of the Guerrilla Collective’s big not-E3 Showcase, Dwarf Fortress co-creator Tarn Adams ran us through the early stages Dwarf Fortress’ prettied-up new paid edition – casually commentating over the genesis of an entire fantasy world before closing on a merry band of dwarves striking their first picks against a colourful new mountain home.

Dwarf Fortress’s “Classic” ASCII-art look has been forging ahead since 2006, and will likely keep digging until the end of time. But today, we got our first proper gander at the game’s upcoming paid Steam release, a collaboration with publishers Kitfox Games to create a jumping-on point that’s a little easier to get into, and a lot nicer to look at.

Naturally, the biggest feature is Dwarf Fortress’s new look. The subterranean sim’s had visual tilesets for years, mind, but this official one does a fine job in turning the ASCII tilesets a clean, 2D look. Watching a hundred-year-long history develop feels far grander with Dwarf Fortress’s new world maps. Even the game’s simple new tilesets paint a more vivid picture of windswept mountainsides and winding caverns than symbols ever could.

This is still all quite early footage, mind. Kitfox notes that much of the gameplay UI is still a work in progress, and “not indicative of the final look”. But coming to Steam is Bay 12’s attempt to make the dwarven story generator a little easier to get into. Beyond a spruced-up style, Adams hopes to keep providing updates on new usability features that’ll make crafting dwarven carnage easier than ever.

Dwarf Fortress’s $20 Steam and Itch debut isn’t quite ready to announce a release date. That hasn’t stopped more stubborn dwarves from creating intricate tales of grudges, alcohol and intrigue, mind. The original remains free over on Bay 12 Games, and one needs only take a step inside Nate Crowley’s Basement of Curiosity for a taste.

For the love of Lorbam, please do not feed the animals.

Whatever you call it, hit our E3 2020 tag for more from this summer's blast of gaming announcements, trailers, and miscellaneous marketing. Check out the PC games at the PlayStation 5 show, everything at the PC Gaming Show, and all the trailers from the Xbox showcase, for starters.

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Natalie Clayton

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