Dwarf Fortress v0.28.181.39b

By: Derek Yu

On: July 15th, 2008

Dwarf Fortress

Yes! New Dwarf Fortress release. Actually, two releases – the second version (39b) patches up a lot of bugs that were found by players in 39a, including a nasty (and kind of hilarious) bug that caused dwarfs to sleep indefinitely.

The biggest changes to the game are in World Generation. Heroes will duel with heroes, civilizations will wage bloody wars against one another, and megabeasts like titans and dragons will roam the earth, hunting and being hunted… all in savage detail that is readily available to you in Legends mode (see the screenshot above). Jeez. Thousands of yarns spun before the game even starts!

Not only that, but you can create your own worlds using an in-game editor.

Boy, the mind reels at the idea of a fantasy world whose in-game history is enriched by the depth of these “real-life” adventures. It’s nuts. I love it. Be sure to read Tarn’s development journal for more insight into the new features.

TIGdb: Entry for Dwarf Fortress

  • muku

    This whole “procedural fantasy world in a box” thing sure boggles the mind. I haven’t played DF in a while, but I have subscribed to Toady’s development RSS feed, and every now and then I shake my head in disbelief at the things he’s doing with his creation.

  • Pita

    Dwarf fortress blows my mind. I have to force myself not to annoy my friends with bringing it up in conversation. I swear I can talk about this game for two hours non-stop.

    A victim to this conversation bantering said she mentioned it to another person, who also happened to love dwarf fortress, and suffered the same fate once again. I’m not alone!

  • Pnx

    … Ok, so I check the site every day for updates, and I mean EVERY day, yet somehow I missed this?

  • Gutter

    Now this is amazing work. DoomRL and Dwarf Fortress are two games that really blow my mind at every updates.

  • Henk

    IT still looks really boring, can someone tell me why this game is so amazing

  • robolee

    believe me Henk, if this game had amazing graphics it WOULD be THE BEST game ever* (by the time it’s finished).

    But you would literally need a super computer to be able to play it, thus ascii is used.

    Games are not about graphics, this is perhaps the best example. You can make your dwarves do almost anything, the AI is amazing and it has one of the best combat systems ever.

    *possibly in the top ten anyway.

  • robolee

    Also I hate people who look at this stuff and say it’s ugly.

  • Kongming

    You know, Henk, you could TRY it and find out. This is probably going to blow your mind, but see, some games are what we call “free”…

  • Zulgaines

    It’s not so much the graphics that keep me away as the interface.

  • Zulgaines

    Besides there’s pretty extensive graphic patches for the game as it is, so even for people who don’t like ASCII there’s a little help.

  • http://sophiehoulden.com GirlFlash

    I tried it once and its just not easy to get the hang of, I do want to try again and I love the sound of it and all, its just that starting out is way more complicated than it should be. still though, for a game I haven’t really gotten into yet, I have a lot of respect for it ^_^

  • Squidi

    It’s not that the game is ugly, it’s confusing. ASCII can’t convey information as precisely or as quickly as pictures. For someone just starting the game, a lot of the information they need to know just isn’t there on the screen. To make matters worse, Dwarf Fortress seems to use the ANSI standard, rather than ASCII, so it features a lot of tiny unique symbols that a lot of people who haven’t used computers since DOS won’t recognize easily.

    The game is stupidly complex, but to good effect. The graphics and interface are stupidly complex, to the detriment of the experience.

  • http://www.mawsoft.com/blog/ Impossible

    >But you would literally need a super computer to be able to play it, thus ascii is used.

    This is exaggerated. The game doesn’t use ascii because you’d need a super computer to render anything else. Rendering sprites is just as much work as rendering characters. Full 3D would be a little more work, but most of that work can be done on the GPU.

    The biggest reason DF doesn’t have better graphics is because lack of a real artist for the project. The ascii doesn’t bother me though, I’d rather see a streamlined intuitive interface.

  • Oob

    The man’s a machine. My mind boggles at how much drive and enthusiasm must be keeping this going.

  • Derek

    Actually, I’ve written Tarn about graphics tiles before. Specifically, I told him he should ask Arne if he ever needs an artist (hehe, sorry Arne)! Tarn’s reply was that he hopes to support more tiles in the future but isn’t really interested in having an “official artist.” He’d rather people share graphics on the forums and wiki.

  • Flamebait

    I’m probably gonna think this is the best game ever once it has a better interface. It’s certainly the closest to what I want games to become to anything else that I know of.

  • Pyabo

    For those of you who tried it once and rejected it… give it another go. I actually had to give it three tries before I really got into it, but once I did I was very happy about it.

    I highly recommend the tutorials from the wiki. The game is pretty much impossible to just pick up and play…


    Check out the other guides as well, some are better than others. I see there are also some YouTube tutorial videos now. Don’t know if they’re any good, as I haven’t watched them.

  • Pyabo

    Hmmmm…. that URL did not work for some reason. Just check out the main wiki page and look at the “New To Dwarf Fortress?” section.


  • Zulgaines


    Yeah the community can handle doing the graphics, the problem is he needs to make it so they can do more of the graphics. As it stands it’s impossible to replace more ASCII without messing up the games text or other hard coded issues.

    But like I said before the interface is the real player barrier, way more than the graphics.

  • MedO

    I’ve just started a new world and looked through the legends, and found some lunatic elf who (without any reason I can make out from the description) shot and ate a human, and ten years later he killed six one-year old human babies (drowned, beheaded or fed to wild animals). This game is seriously messed up. :)

  • Sappho

    The interface is indeed difficult to master, but that’s because the game is still in alpha. If you have the determination to master the controls (aided by the very friendly and helpful player community and the wiki) and give yourself a short time period to get used to the ASCII display, it will become easy very quickly, and the rewards you will reap for your effort will be infinitely more worth it than you might expect.

    Remember also that the entire game is being programmed by a single man. Once he has created all the things he considers most important, he will turn his attention to things like interface and graphics. This is really coming along at a staggering rate when you take into consideration the fact that it is a one-man show.

  • Chris L

    Is there some kind of record for hours of programming by a single man, for a single application? Should someone contact Guinness? Ripley’s?

  • idiotmeat

    What’s amazing is that with all the features added since the z-levels release, the game has actually become a bit more accessible, in the sense that it’s harder to lose in the first year.

  • gulo gulo

    man this game gives me such an uncomfortable boner whenever it comes out with a new build

  • apl

    I haven’t seen anyone here mention the best part of this update: **you can now mass-designate constructions**, which means it’s much easier to build towers, aqueducts, arenas, or whatever insane blood-projects your twisted heart desires.

  • Melly

    People seem not to realize this game is still in goddamn alpha. Most games in alpha will work for 5 minutes and then crash, taking your computer with it. DF, while most obviously not perfect, is more stable than quite a few commercial games I can think of. The developer is focusing wholly on the game’s structure. Before he calls the game done he’ll be focusing on the user interface to make the game more accessible, as told in his page. So just be patient. (admittedly god only knows when he’ll be done with this monster to start doing that)

  • Foppy

    My money is on Timta Machinemorning. ;)

  • Gutter

    Playing this game is like reading The Matrix.

    And Zulgaines, “graphics” != 16×16 tiles. Ascii characters are little bitmaps, graphics could mean 8×11 tiles (or whatever font size they use). It wouldn’t be very detailed, but then again, ascii ain’t either.

    That said, I’d rather see graphics in DoomRL and only a better UI in DF

  • Zulgaines


    I’m talking about this patch graphics patch:


    Which can’t be finished because of hard coded issues.

  • Ezuku

    In all honesty, if they weren’t tileset/ascii graphics, this game would end up censored/banned everywhere. A game where babies can commit suicide, dropping cats off tall platforms/into lava is considered “good for the general welfare of the fortress”, and (recently) thousands of elves zerging everything to death by eating them would probably set off more than a few moral sensibilities.

  • AndyGusto

    Dwarf Fortress is a story generator. I think my favorite moment was when the Dutchess of my fortress flew into a rage because her demands and orders were being ignored, strangled her son while he slept, and then threw herself into a magma pit.

    My favorite part of the game is creating a defense strategy. Every so often, goblins siege my fortress. I leave the front gate tantalizingly open, and force them through a narrow choke point filled with cage traps. About half of the invading forge gets caught before they turn and flee. The prisoners are then taken to a holding area, stripped of any objects of value (giant cave spider clothing, and non-iron metal objects), and then ceremonially shoved into that very same magma pit. I like to imagine my dwarves chanting “KAL-I-MAH!”. Every couple seasons I flood the magma pit with water, dig out all the iron items that don’t melt in the magma, and melt them down for my craftsdwarves. My engravers carve a lot of pictures of goblins on fire.

  • Neon

    I really wanted to get in to this game.

    It looks and sounds great but the learning curve is a 90 degree angle for me.

    I looked at the wiki for some starting tips, still couldn’t manage to crack into it.

  • Ezuku

    It’s really not as hard to get into these days as the stories (like boatmurdered) suggest. Food is hardly a problem, and most accidents (except flooding) only really take out 1 dwarf or a small portion of your fortress. A lot of the game ending stuff is pretty rare…

    Biggest tip though would be to start your fortress somewhere without an aquifer and yet with farmable soil.