Topic: Dwarf Fortress

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Anybody played it? It's amazing- a huge learning curve, but the payoff is fantastic.

For those not in the know, it's a management simulation (it's WAY too detailed to be called a game) in which you start out with a small group of dwarves in the wilderness and must attempt to eke out an existence while supplying your group with food, drink, entertainment and safe housing. The level of detail is insane - each dwarf has all their body parts tracked right down to individual teeth, and this level of environment tracking leads to some incredible interactions - read some stories on the forums for some hilarious stuff that's not scripted but happens due to the sheer detail of the game world.

Random world generation includes erosion algorithms to carve out mountains and rivers, about 1,000 years of history is simulated to generate civilisations and their mythology - it's nuts. A big part of the game is mining rocks, the distributions of which all follow proper geological patterns. Real physics is used throughout the game so if a dwarf's hand is hacked off you can see it go skidding along the ground from the impact.

You can do a crazy amount of stuff in the game, so people challenge themselves to create huge monuments or extravagant killing devices. If there was ever a game where your only limit is your imagination, this is the one.

It's still under (very) active development so there's some really cool stuff being implemented right now - minecarts being a recent addition. Read the development blog on the website linked above for an idea of how ridiculous the game is (in a good way) and some hilarious stories, especially when he's debugging things.

Unfortunately it needs a pretty beastly computer and it's highly CPU-intensive. The graphics by default are ASCII, but plenty of people have developed graphics packs to spruce things up a bit if you want.

I've been playing it for several years now. I'll drift away from it every now and then, but as soon as I get back into it I'm instantly hooked and can't put it down. I must have spent a good couple of hundred hours playing it! It's entirely moddable too, so you can add in extra creatures or make them easier/harder to kill if you want.

Anyway, I can't really cover how amazing this game is here without rambling on for hours. I'd really recommend picking it up and having a go. As I said, the learning curve is steep - mainly due to the interface, but some of the mechanics of the game are pretty complicated - but there's a great wiki and an amazing community on the forums who will help people out straight away, as well as pitching crazy ideas for creating traps to bathe goblins in magma with, or how to set up a gladiatorial arena where you can make captured zombie capybaras fight to the death with your dwarves that have gone insane. Stick with it and you'll be rewarded.

And remember - losing is fun!

Edited on by Wheels2050

I used to have a blog link here. I'll put it back up when the blog has something to read.


Slayer of Fathkal the Dwarf whose hammer shattered on the anvil of my power
Slayer of Urist the Dwarf who was too short to live
Slayer of Ulol the Dwarf who was returned to the rock and muck from which it was spawned
Slayer of Slusna the Goblin who lies dead, now only an embarrassing memory
Slayer of Nguxur the Goblin a spineless slug whom was crushed under my might
Slayer of Arin the Human whose insignificant name I struggle to recall

5 seconds later, Eturstoling the giant is on his knees, the life being choked out of him by a pair of trousers Davy the elf found on the floor behind a tavern.

Davy dies shortly after, after being fatally eviscerated by a well aimed spear.
Truth be told, I haven't played it for a long time. I'm quite experienced with it, but I usually end up restarting (just like Minecraft).

I can now comfortably set up a farming operation (it's easier now you don't have to faff about with floodgates to irrigate mud), and I can being metal production, but somewhere along the line, I just give up. I'm not sure why.

Every map I do, I like to try and build an above ground town, but as you might imagine, invasions and raids would make your dwarves sitting ducks. Building small walls around the starting area tends to use up a lot of my time and resources, but it's the only way. After all, if your dwarves stay underground for too long they become accustomed to the darkness and become queasy on entering the daylight.

That being said, Dwarf Fortress is a marvel of a game, and like I said in a previous topic, the amount of detail in the game is tremendous. All dwarves have attributes like the the facial structure and hair type, and this, along with their lifetime achievments and cause of death are catalogued in the Legends Mode, an extensive database of everything that has happened in the currently rendered world. Kingdoms that have risen, then fallen. Wars that have occured. Monsters who have terrorised any of the thousands of settlements in a worlds 1000 year history. But after being documented in the Legends mode, these entrys don't become irrelevent. Dwarves carve stories of heroic dwarves into masterwork swords. A raiding party of elves being slaughtered may be inspiration for a wall carving in a lord's bedroom, alongside a particularly relevant leather thong a dwarf from 200 years back crafted.
And when a beast bellows his name at you, then lists the 20 dwarves, elves and humans he's killed, you can search their life stories, and they may have been one of your former dwarves. When you kill said giant (either in adventure mode - A NetHack style game, or in Fortress Mode), one of your dwarves may become the inspiration for a masterwork or wall carving.

One last thing - I suggest anyone who is tempted to play the game research the Lazy Newb Pack. It includes several utilities and pseudo-graphic packs. The graphic packs make it easier to determine what symbol means what (like wheels2050 said, all graphics are represented (though not rendered) in ASCII), while the utilities make it easier to play, while offering cheats if you want to ease yourself into the game.

One such utility is DwarfTherapist. As it stands, in the base game, in order to change a work order of a dwarf from, say milking cows to mining, you have to open up the list of dwarves, then find the particular dwarf, open up his/her orders page, open up the right category in the sub-orders page and select the relevant task. With DwarfTherapist, the program runs alongside Dwarf Fortress, and changing a dwarf's work order is as simple as checking a box for one task and unchecking a box for another. Then you click a button to write all changes to the game, and your dwarves should be updated with their new task orders.

I really do love playing the game, even though I havent giving it a proper go of it yet (despite having it on my HDD for at least 2 years), but having read this post, I'm tempted to have another go. The trouble is, a mod set in Minecraft which I've been waiting for since 1.2 came out (with the higher world limit) has finally been updated, and I'm wanting to play that too.

Edited on by edhe


In Dwarf Fortress there is a phenomenon called a "Catsplosion" where the cat population grows uncontrollably. Culling the cats can lead to depressed dwarves, although this becomes becomes neccesary when you've got hundreds of cats milling about slowing down the game. Depressed dwarves can become homicidal, which can lead to what is called a tantrum spiral, where a death of a dwarf sets another dwarf on a murdering spree.

Anyway. Here is a link to a Dwarf Fortress video of a literal catsplosion. This was achieved by setting the cat's body temperature to 40000 and activating a particular attribute in the creature's data file.

Dwarf Fortress comes with an inbuilt utility that records clips that can be then shared online. Elsewhere on the site, you can browse through user uploaded maps to see some pretty cool builds. You just need to be familiar with what each symbol means, then you can use your imagination.

Finally, for anyone who's interested in giving the game a try, I've found a collection of videos that might be useful. The playlist is called Dwarf Fortress For Dummies 2012 by a youtube user called 51ppycup. Although I consider myself familiar with Dwarf Fortress, the videos helped me understand some new concepts that have been introduced since I was last playing. He has plenty of other videos on Dwarf Fortress (albeit from before the 2012 update), so be sure to have a look through those too.

Also, I highly recommend captnduck's Dwarf Fortress related videos. In fact, he has a new series up for [url=[]Dwarf Fortress 2012 that I've yet to look through, which on first examination looks to be in much more depth than the youtube user I mentioned further up the page.

And once I familiarise myself with the new concepts (ceramics and wheelbarrows/minecarts), I'm definitely going to give Dwarf Fortress another try.


The minecarts sound pretty cool - haven't gotten around to playing with them yet, but I'd like to rig up a trap using them. Fill the minecarts with something heavy (blocks or something) and have a pressure plate cause the minecarts to scream down the track into the face of my invaders. With a sharp corner, the minecart should be derailed and spray blocks into the crowd of enemies, hopefully splattering a few of them.

I had a pretty successful fort going but gave up on it - my marksdwarves stopped picking up ammo, so I was having trouble getting them to kill anything. I've since started an above-ground castle, which is going pretty well. I've got it to the point where I can seal off my fortress from invaders. It will have a keep for my communal areas, plus lots of little houses and workshops scattered around the place. It won't be the most efficient fortress, but it should be fun.

Unfortunately I'm playing on my old laptop and my frame rate drops dramatically once I get more than about 60 dwarves. I need more than that at the moment to keep up with construction - I'll probably try and find a fun way of disposing of some 'extra' dwarves once things are mostly finished.

On the somewhat hilarious side, I found some magma and was channeling out some space for some workshops with a couple of miners (one was legendary). Unfortunately I wasn't too careful when designating the areas, and I had my legendary miner fall in the magma and disappear. I also had a mum with her baby fall in - the mum died, but the baby managed to escape (albeit on fire). I felt really bad, but couldn't do much about it.

This game is brutal!

I used to have a blog link here. I'll put it back up when the blog has something to read.


Wheels2050 wrote:

With a sharp corner, the minecart should be derailed and spray blocks into the crowd of enemies, hopefully splattering a few of them.

Can you really do that? That sounds amazing!

As for my project, when I get to playing, I plan to carve out a giant hollow cavern and build my city; roofs and all in the empty space. Something that would resemble a dwarven city in fiction. That way, I can also plan a giant gatehouse leading to the HFS and maybe a castle without being threatened by the outside wildlife.


Haha yeah that sounds sweet. I especially like the gate to the HFS - you could make some skull totems and position them strategically around the entrance

I'm still astounded by all the stuff the player base comes up with. I found the page on the wiki last night regarding a giant cave spider silk factory - it turns out it's not that hard, but I never would have come up with such an elegant solution by myself (it involves fortifications enclosing a GCS and a target, so the spider shoots silk that flies through the forts into the surrounding room. Then there's a lever that opens the room and also raises some bridges around the forts so the spider is hidden from view and your dwarves can collect the silk without seeing the spider, getting scared and running away).

I used to have a blog link here. I'll put it back up when the blog has something to read.


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