Stonesense – Dwarf Fortress Visualizer

By: Derek Yu

On: November 3rd, 2009


Now this is a dream coming true right here! Stonesense (alpha) is an open source isometric visualizer for Dwarf Fortress, created by jonask and Solifuge. It can run side-by-side with the venerable roguelike/sim to provide a graphical view of the game. The sprites are being contributed by various members of the DF community.

Here’a video of the mod in action:

Thanks, Michael Komalarajun, for the heads-up!

  • TeamQuiggan

    Oh, wow, That looks really awesome.

  • HandCraftedRadio

    This looks incredible!

  • cigarettes

    damn. that is awesome.

    makes me want to get in the game, however it still seems to be a severe mindfuck to actually learn it.

  • Ben

    Total confusion… now in 2.5d!

  • ssp

    Sweet baby Jesus in a jar! There’s so much good stuff coming out this fall it’s insane!
    Gonna try this ASAP

  • Renton

    Maybe I can finally understand what’s going on in this game and actually get into it. Maybe.

  • SpeedRunGames

    This is really cool!
    Great project!

  • Anarkex

    This looks like exactly what I need to actually start playing this game.

  • Caliber9

    Finally, this looks so great! I have a feeling Dwarf fortress is about to get alot of new fans.

  • Alex May

    holy shit

  • Cymon

    This is it. This is what the game’s been needing. When it’s done I may actually consider playing the game.

  • Cliftor

    Damn, that looks good. After I finish playing my current obsession… maybe it’s finally time to take the DF plunge!

    IIRC, there’s an article on TIG about some really thorough guide. Time to dl and start reading!

  • Ricky

    Awesome. Now it just needs a proper GUI, and I’m there!

  • Solifuge

    Greetings from the Stonesense team!

    With Toady’s blessings, we’re ultimately hoping to make this a full GUI, but for now it’s just a live visualizer using good old-fashioned 256 color sprites.

    I must admit, I did not expect this kind of response, much less from TIGsource and Mr. Yu, to take notice of this thing. Apparently there is a bigger desire for full graphics support in DF than it seemed!

  • John Evans


  • mania

    This game is so complex that I have no idea what I’m doing while playing it. This causes frustration, but at the same time I’d love to understand everything because it has to be awesome!

    It’s driving me nuts

  • Michael “Kael” K

    @Solifuge: It’s the kind of thing people have been clamoring for since… ever. It’s bloody fantastic and as such that’s why I thought it’d be a good thing to share. (Now if only I didn’t try talking about it while brain-dead at 2 am)

    With the attention it deserves, Stonesense will hopefully have much more sprites and progress. Toady has the actual game to work his magic on~

    Much thanks to the great team at TIGsource for posting it :]

  • kavs

    Awesome! That is just… awesome!

    Awesome awesome awesome.

  • namuol

    This sounds a lot like Toady’s biggest fear is coming true, according to multiple interviews he’s been given…

  • Hypersapien

    Oh god! Oh GOD! NO!!

    I deleted the damn thing and finally got my life back! And now this! I don’t want to get sucked back in!

    But… so.. pretty..

  • Nikica

    I prefer ASCII graphics over tilesets so that’s why a tool like this, which runs side-by-side with the game is great for me.

  • Skofo


    3D next?

  • seth


    the graphics are way too happy though

  • Echo

    3D views for Dwarf Fortress exist. Most of them are not real time (you run them seperate from the game), but few few projects that are have begun popping up.

  • peterix

    3d should be comming eventually. Don’t hold your breath tho.

    Btw: dfhack, on which stonesense is based, needs reverse engineers and hackers. I’m just a single guy and this thing is getting into the ‘barely manageable’ territory very fast.

  • Ezuku

    I must confess, this is so awesome I actually thought it must have been an april fool’s joke.

    This is amazing. Must get right back into DF this instant.

  • Ezuku

    I mean, when people say “oh, they’re working on an open-source visualiser”, you don’t really figure that it’s ever going to be completed and to such a high quality.

    Also, I love the cute SNES-like graphics.

  • TinyPirate

    If you want to try Dwarf Fortress, but have been scared off before, come try my complete newby tutorial. Comes with a save file and many pictures and details!

  • Pyabo


    Looks incredible… exactly ONE HALF of what this game needs. Now if someone would come up with a good UI… :)

  • Cliftor


    Oh sure! I’m sure ASCII has it’s charm for many, many people, but there’s always an audience for this kind of addition.

  • Matt

    Nice. Looks very neat. Maybe my friends will be more interested in my obsession now that I can show them sprites rather than ASCII.

  • Thomas

    Holy fucking shit!

  • The Monster King Ren

    this shows how pretty DF is, even though its (and only its, I can’t get into (other) roguelike) ASCII looks almost as good; but this, this is beautiful

  • Lily

    That is beautiful. My fortress and its wall are gonna look AMAZING in it. :D

    Alternatively, the fort I plan to start later to address the shortcomings of my current system will look TEN TIMES AS AWESOME in it.

  • msarge

    While this is fantastic I really wish someone would make the user interface slightly more intuitive. If I could see what was going on AND I could control the game, I would probably be able to have lots of fun with this game.

  • Phasma Felis

    Ha! About god damn time.

    @Solifuge: I dunno who you’ve been talking to, for every person I know who actually plays DF there’s like five who would like to play it if it were less like staring into the Matrix. :D (And had a less miserably impossible interface.) Those people just don’t post on the DF official forums, for obvious reasons. Keep up the good work!

  • Gustave

    Man I LOVE pixel art and merging the depth of DF with pixels can only be a good thing :D

    I would pay for this…

  • Jay

    the ascii graphics look better O.o

  • MOK

    Looking fantastic, if only something would be done about the user interface I might have another crack at learning this game.

  • Cokho

    OH WOW! HANDSOME! Can’t wait *_*

  • Come On Toady!

    One less excuse to keep that dreadful interface.

    I mean, ASCII looks cool and everything and I guess the whole DF aesthetics are a comment on the the slowing down of game development by excessive 3D requirements (isn’t the predecessor to DF a 3D game?). But it’s getting ridiculous. There is a todo list with priority entries like “make dwarfs limp on left foot” or “add ‘grip’ value to hammer shafts”. No word on making the game possible to play without learning 200 hotkeys. It’s like a mockery of interface design.

  • shipwreck

    Is this heaven?!

  • lp

    i dont have problem with interface at all…

  • ecto

    i’ve played it many many hours and i still very much hate the interface..

  • Ezuku

    I’ve played DF way too much, and I can cope with the interface. That said, it takes way too many keypresses to do a lot of things, especially fine designs. I can also understand how a lot of it is very unaccessible to newcomes, especially since there’s a lot of bloat in the menu system (things you’ll almost never use, or which are broken, higher than much more useful things).

  • Chris L

    This is blasphemy at its finest.

  • xot

    Huge image is huge. Ever heard of JPEG?

  • Figgin

    Actually, that -is- a JPEG. For oldschool sprite stuff like this, you want to use PNG or GIF, with 256 indexed colors.

    You get uber-tiny graphics that way. TXT file sized.

  • nobody2

    It’s actually an unoptimized PNG.

  • Andiaz

    This is freaking excellent. I’ll definitely give DF a new try thanks to this. :D