Dwarf Fortress 3d Visualizer

By: Derek Yu

On: January 27th, 2008

Dwarf Fortress 3d Visualizer

Dwarf Fortress player sinoth has developed a great utility called “”http://www.bay12games.com/cgi-local/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=2&t=001450&p=“>3dwarf” that lets you rip map data from the popular Roguelike, and then view them in 3d. 3dwarf lets you explore the maps via a floating camera, and has various helpful options for viewing the map, like “height map mode,” which colors each layer based on how high it is.

Now if only there was a “dwarf mode” to let you walk through your fortress FPS-style!

(Image Source: Dorten)

  • Hyudra

    Wow. Fantastic

  • Zeno

    Can you actually play the game like that, or is it just used to view a game at one point?

  • Stij

    Sadly, you can only use it to take “snapshots” of your fortress. Too bad, ’cause that would be awesome.

  • PHeMoX

    Definitely a great idea, I’m really looking forward to the first Dwarf Fortress game with an easier interface. It should be a very fun game and not so hard to get into by then. :)

  • whatwhat

    Now that is just freaking awesome.

  • John H.

    Pretty cool! (But the Fortress mode is definitely not a roguelike….)

  • Dominic White

    If this is able to reliably render Dwarf Fortress maps, then there’s no reason why in a year or two, we’ll see a realtime 3d renderer in-game. It’d definitely help, ever since the game actually is in 3d now, just represented as 2d slices.

    Remember, Toady mentioned that he does have some 3d graphics experience – he just decided not to use it in Dwarf Fortress so that he can focus on the important things – the game mechanics, with graphics/interface coming later on.

  • MindSnap

    That is awesome. Yet another reason to go for aesthetics over efficiency – show your work off in style.

  • 21GP

    this is amazinggg

    now i can really appreciate my aboveground archer arch

  • DrRetard

    That deserves major recognition. The fact that someone would take the effort blows me away. Major respect.

  • Advenith

    I haven’t gotten into Dwarf Fortress yet. As much as I like roguelikes, I usually use graphical versions. My eyes bug out after too much text.

    Anyway, this is the final straw. I WILL PLAY THIS GAME. I will stop being the final holdout on the sidelines of TIGSource.

    It’s just that kickass.

  • Nikica

    Whoa, you all didn’t knew it before, it isn’t really new but I just love ASCII and don’t need this !!!

    Congratulations Advenith !!!

  • wormguy

    I’ve always thought that a part of Dwarf Fortress’ appeal was the abstract graphics that let you imagine things. I don’t know if I’d want a full in-game 3D renderer.

    This is an awesome tool, though.

  • Eclipse

    pretty bad 3d graphic versus ascii?
    ascii wins…

  • I Like Cake

    I think it’s a neat idea. It isn’t like anyone’s making you use it.

    Now if only someone could invent an add-on for Dwarf Fortress which gives me an extra two hours a day to actually have enough time to put into it.

  • Nikica

    ACSII wins always !!! :)

  • Nikica


  • Eclipse

    yes, it’s neat and it’s a nice idea… and I apreciate this because 99% of indie developers haven’t 3d skills nor coding skills at all.
    But the graphic is simply horrible.
    a 3d Dwarf Fortress would be awesome, but if it will look like this, i simply prefer the 2d or the ascii version!

  • http://www.anthonygoes.com anthony

    NO. FUCKIN’. WAY. now normal, stupid people like me can start playing DFortress!

  • haowan

    It won’t help you play the game, particularly. IMO

  • MisterX

    Very nice, I just recently thought about just that when I finally got into Dwarf Fortress after having had the new version lying on my disc for quite a while. Although I’m using the graphical tileset (as also featured here a short while ago) I also appreciate the ASCII version. Yet having a full 3D picture would be great in my opinion, just so you can actually _see_ what you’ve built in true 3D.
    But I also think it’s ideal that Bay 12 work on other things, as different graphics wouldn’t actually help the game much. DF is already quite a stunning and well playable game, graphics wouldn’t help that much. But some time, when all else’s done, why not :)

  • http://gnomeslair.blogspot.com/ gnome

    Speechless… I’m feckin’ speechless…


  • Lopin

    Dwarf Fortress showed me the power of imagination, no 3d graphics will beat the true face of dwarf fortress,

    DF just puts a guideline, a blueprint of whats happening, all the game goes in ur head :P thats my opinion, contrary to Crysis etc which look Cutting edge, ur just… dont know… DF has a stronger feeling

  • BeamSplashX

    If only there was a compromise… one problem with the 2D frontend was that DF uses the same symbols for different things, but perhaps a reference tag of some sort could say “ASCII symbol = x, graphic = 22” in some fashion.

  • Adalore

    Even if this is considered “Bad”
    it’s still great for those who build giant things.
    Full forts above ground. really It’d rock to see your castle in full three D right?

    even if it does not work in game, it’s there so you can truely see what you have worked on.

    plus It’s just better to be able to LOOK UP at your giant super castle of doom.

  • trav

    everyone touting the idea of ascii being better is an idiot.
    Dwarf fortress is good because of the depth of game mechanics, the community and toady’s constant injections of new content.

    At best the other awesome features make the graphics irrelevant. A real time 3D renderer would be awesome, but the only way I could see it happening is if Toady separated the simulation from the rendering and published an API for people to write open source renderer’s for. Even then I think it would be a pretty hard challenge

  • Lim-Dul

    *everyone touting the idea of ascii being better is an idiot.*

    Oh, how I love such statements. ;-)

  • http://www.g4g.it FireSword


  • Voodoo Master

    Look here, ASCII and graphics aren’t “better” than one another. They’re just different. ASCII allows you to use your imagination, and I happen to like it, because it looks cool. So do 3D graphics. They leave less to imagination, but for many games they’re great.

    In fact, there’s no such _thing_ as bad graphics. Graphics can only be different, never better, and each style is good for different games. In many games, any graphics would work, and in many games, only one style can fit it well. Roguelikes usually have text graphics. They fit. Dwarf Fortress has them, and they fit, and 3D might not feel like it fits. That’s _good_, hey?

    …But maybe my thoughts on the matter aren’t important.

    The program is cool. Kudos to sinoth.

  • Lim-Dul

    @Vodoo Master: +1 :-D

    By the way – graphics can be better or worse but within a given art style/technology.

    There are good 3D graphics and bad 3D graphics and the same is true for 2D graphics like ASCII art.

    Having said that I’d prefer GOOD ASCII graphics to crappy 3D graphics all the way. =)

  • Zulgaines

    Except ASCII is a style that you have to adjust to, and no matter how good your imagine is that @ representing a person is still an @, even if you’re able to glance at it and know it’s a person.

    You can take an 7 year old, show him a graphical representation of a castle in a game and he sees a castle, you show him an ASCII representation of a castle and he sees a jumbled pile of crap.

    ASCII is one of the two barriers keeping this wonderful game from becoming truly popular, second being the interface.

    The ASCII graphics in the game in the first place are due to the developer not having a strong ability with them, the truly amazing part of DF are the depth and span of the gameplay. There’s no need to be so defensive about the ASCII it uses.

  • Voodoo Master

    But the game isn’t for 7 year olds, and the interface is fine. It’s the steep learning curve that’s a “barrier” if anything, and the author plans to make some more in-depth help files to soften that.

    There might not be any need to defend ASCII, but I know there is no need to say its use is the reason DF isn’t “truly popular”.

  • Zulgaines

    The point of the 7 year old comment was that anyone can tell that a horse is a horse if it looks like a horse, without any extra need to LEARN or adjust to something, trying to play ASCII for the first time is a daunting experience that for people who haven’t play rouges(The majority) isn’t worth getting used to and learning for one game.

    The graphics drive off most players on the first play, then even more players are driven off by the interface. You wouldn’t NEED a frggin’ encyclopedia worth of knowledge to play the game if it had a more intuitive interface with more mouse control. You wouldn’t even need to stop and check the help file every five minutes when you’re first playing the game.

    First impressions are one of the most important things, regardless of how you feel about the game or how used to it you’ve gotten most of the gaming world doesn’t feel like going through the needlessly tough learning curve to play it.

  • ryan


    Your criticisms apply equally well to nethack. Nethack is unplayable for your first five attempts, and unfathomable for your first fifty unless you use spoilers. That’s just the way the game is.

    Most of the gaming world doesn’t like nethack either. However, both dwarf fortress and nethack are both awesome games.

    Objectively awesome.

    The players who are driven off by the graphics are not for DF.

    The players who are driven off by the interface are not for DF.

    Those who persevere through both are for DF. And DF is for them. All you are saying is that DF is not for you. :P

  • Zulgaines

    I’m 1337 because I play Ninja Gaiden on master mode with the guitar hero controller and my eyes crossed.

  • Joey

    Nope :(