Dwarf Fortress 2012

By: Alehkhs

On: February 14th, 2012

Dwarven Throne Room

A new release of Dwarf Fortress has arrived from the Mountainhomes!

Release 0.34.01 fleshes out world generation (including massive cities complete with sewers, dungeons, catacombs, marketplaces, and outlying farmland), creatures (including werewolves, vampires, mummies, and necromancers capable of raising the dead), and many other features.

Click here for a more comprehensive list of changes and additions.

(Image Source: Fault, of the Bay 12 Forums)

  • Bob Churchill

    But still no aesthetic improvements for those of us who don’t live in the Matrix. :-( I seriously think this game could have out-Minecrafted Minecraft *years* ago and made a lot of money if Bay12 had paid attention to the massive, massive new-player barrier created by the interface.

  • http://twitter.com/rex303 Renato

    It’s not even the graphics, just a functional mouse interface would do. I’d definitely pay for that.

  • http://www.bramet.info/ 4572301

    i think that “virtual insanity” is a fitting description for this game. Still it can be very rewarding to play it

  • http://www.facebook.com/keith.burgun Keith Burgun

    You are correct.  They could have cashed in at any point, and made a lot of money.  But the problem is, adding graphics would have basically slowed any further progress.  I’ve talked to Tarn about this, and according to him, the game is still in a sketch phase.  Once it is feature complete – which may not be for another 5 or 10 years or god knows how long – then they’ll add graphics.

    Money isn’t everything.

  • K

    I don’t care about the graphics, just usability, and that’s less expensive to make.

  • zagibu

    I don’t think it would work. Or at least it would be a completely different game. I don’t want to see the goblins. They look cooler in my head than what any artist can draw.
    You sound like someone saying books are always better when they are turned into comics.

  • Anonymous

     Time to lose again, ’cause it’s fun. Strike the earth!

  • Alastair

     Good graphics is progress! One of my favorite kind of progress.

  • Elephantfluff

    Game is amazing. This list of changes/bug fixes is getting me to play this again. If you can’t play this game because it has “simple” graphics or “unusable” interface then I feel sorry for you. This game isn’t half as complicated as it looks.

  • Anonymous

     Not half as. . . wait, what?

  • Elephantfluff

     I feel once you learn the keyboard controls and the basic gist of what you’re supposed to be doing, you can generally just learn the rest of the game yourself. There are some “complex” systems like military and hospital. Complex in that you probably won’t learn all about them just by trial and error. But I play Dorf Fort by doing everything I know I’m supposed to do and then if I get an idea for something to do which I haven’t and am not sure how to do, I’ll just look it up in the wiki or in a guide and within 5 – 10 minutes know what I’m doing again. But there are things like farming, animal trapping/training, traps, clothier, kitchen, trading outpost, engraving, mining, fishing and similar small things that can be learned through the game. There are a TON of ideas in this game so most of the learning curve, I think, is spent realizing that things exist and are possible in this game.

    Plus there are complete beginner’s guides and tilesets. If there was ever a time to get into dwarf fortress, now would be that time. The amount of resources out there for new players should help relieve a lot of that Dwarf Fortress stress.

  • Anonymous

     Don’t get me wrong, Dwarf Fortress is perhaps my favorite game of all time, but you’re kind of defeating your own ‘not that complicated’ argument.

  • http://profiles.google.com/valzibacktrack Michael Bacon

     I don’t care about the graphics. Users can make tilesets. I mostly just want a much better interface (I don’t care if it’s mouse-centric, I just want it to be CLEAR and intuitive.)

  • dontfeedthetrollskids

    minecraft ripoff, amirite?

  • http://www.derekyu.com Derek Yu

    As much of a graphics whore as I am, I’m content to wait. This is partly due to (what I perceive) as the difficulty of dedicating your life to making a single game. It seems to me that if you want to get the kinds of results that Bay12 gets, you need complete freedom to pursue your own goals, without compromise.

  • broAhmed

    I’m no developer, so forgive me if this is a n00b question: what does Toady gain by not improving the user interface? It seems like this has been a long-standing complaint from players…would fixing/improving the interface greatly detract from implementing new features?

  • Anonymous

     The short(ish) answer is that the game isn’t yet feature complete, so any time spent reworking the interface now will have to be re-spent later after more features are added.

  • HeckHavock

    oh wow, oh wow, oh wow!
    Best gam evar got even bettarrrrrrrrr!
    You losers try Dwarf Fortress with due respect, do not bring Minecraft jokes around, nothing has come close to Dwarf Fortress yet. Heck, nothing has come close to deliver even half of what Dwarf Fortress delivers. Nothing. So shut up. And for the people who don’t appreaciate the ASCII “art”, there are tiles out there, use them as you see fit. 

  • Oakheart

    “protect your community from secret vampire dwarves or hunt them as an adventurerdefend your fort during the full moon or risk a werewolf infestion — hunt/be hunted as an adventurerface armies of the dead in dwarf mode or visit their necromancers’ towers and learn their secrets as an adventurerevil regions where the dead and pieces of the dead can come alive, with evil mists and rain”     ————I JUST CAME. REALLY. 

  • Bob Churchill

    Of course money isn’t everything, but adding some static tileset support and/or improving the interface so you can, you know, click on stuff with a mouse, cannot be *that* time-consuming. Put it this way – could it really be more time-consuming than the developers drawing pictures for everyone who wants to give them money? 
    http://www.bay12games.com/support.html Instead of doing that, they could improve the interface, find someone to donate a nice static tileset, and then take (probably much more money) for the game itself rather than drawing everyone pictures with crayons. (Don’t get me wrong, I love that that’s how they make the money, I just want to be able to click on stuff.)

  • http://www.derekyu.com Derek Yu
  • http://www.facebook.com/svonvoigt Sly von Voigt

    This game is actually so hard to learn that when you stop playing it for half a year or so, you completely forget how to play it and you will have to deal with the hardcore learningcurve again. I started playing DF two years ago and came to the point where the new settlers are moving in. Then it went too complicated for me and i quit. When i saw the first Comic-Storys of DF, about a year a go i becam curious again and gave it another shot.  I was surprised that i had totaly forgotten how to play it and had to look up everything in the Wiki again. After a few hours and half a dozend abbandoned fortresses later i kind of got into the game again and i enjoyed it for a few weeks . But i wanted to save some of the fun for when the game is content-complete (or at least untill a considerable ammount of new stuff is added.)  Now i am reading about this awesome new stuff but i am actually too lazy to do the learning again.
    Long post short: I would buy the sh*t out of this game if it was a little easyer to controll.

  • Anonymous

    I stopped playing DF 2 years ago, with tilesets, and have no trouble picking it back up. Yeah, it did take me a full week to figure out how to play DF, but doesn’t require much time after that and I was so instantly hooked that I wrote a uni ethics paper on DF that same year (and got a distinction for it)

    As has been said multiple times, the game is still in alpha. The interface is not finalized. As it is, I actually find it a lot easier to play than most roguelikes.

    There’s only two really major interface problems: Micromanagement, and the combat for adventure mode.

    But DF is, in itself, an incredibly deep game (no pun intended). There are many things that isn’t even reflected in other games. The world, the history, the towns, the legends are almost fully procedurally generated. The game goes down into very fine detail, from what kind of wood the chairs are made of, to the snake leather and amethyst decorations on it, to the etchings on the wall describing how a dwarf was traumatized by witnessing another dwarf casually eating cats. Personalities are finely detailed, the ground is based off geology, metals and rocks use RL melting points, you can craft detailed rooms, arenas, magma cannons and the like. It’s an entire fantasy world. I love games that model the real world, and as such, DF is a dream game.

    If the interface is holding you back, there is nothing wrong with playing Minecraft. Minecraft has the fun building aspects of DF, combined with multiplayer. It’s just as good a game, but focuses on the people and the buildings, unlike DF which tries to simulate an entire fantasy world.

    Bay12 won’t make a better interface until the game is effectively finished, and it’s just not done yet. They have seriously taken into consideration that the interface is driving people away, but at this point they’ve decided that it’s too much work to rebuild the interface later, so DF in its current form is just a coder’s perspective. I think they even said that it would later be put in 3D form, like the original Slaves to Armok.

  • Bob Churchill

    Totally appreciate all your praise for the game and in particular the richness of the simulated world and why that is appealing – very much share that view.

    But this issue with having to “rebuild the interface later” is odd. I was a systems developer for a time, and it just doesn’t ring true. Normally you can develop your core interface, with a bit of forward-planning, without having to “rebuild” it for every feature that comes along later. In DF each entity falls on a grid, has various properties, can be acted on in various ways… so adding, for example, a new item, doesn’t break that basic format or render the interface unusable. Compare: you don’t have to “rebuild” the Windows interface every time someone wants to add a new icon, install a new bit of software, etc.

    It’s highly unusual to try and make software totally “feature complete” before you add something as accessibility-enhancing as mouse support! (I wonder if the developers just quite like being a bit eccentric? – I don’t mean that in a derogatory way.)

  • BananaPie

    I hear this game has caves, and also a whole lot of stories… 

  • Matt

     If he had made a solid interface from the start, there would be no problems adding new features.

  • zagibu

    You all make it sound as if it was easy to implement a good interface for DF. I don’t think it is. Mouse based wouldn’t help much, you’d still have insanely deep, nested menues which would be tedious to click through.

  • BananaPie

    I just don’t understand why don’t they add some graphics? a few sprites would do!

  • theidiot

    im glad df doesn’t have the same community as minecraft

  • Johnfreeman

    But unlike a book and a comic, a game with poor graphics is not a different medium than a game with good graphics.

    Perhaps an artist will draw goblins that are cooler than you could possibly imagine. Maybe you will see the goblins and think “HOLY SHIT, I HAD NO IDEA GOBLINS COULD LOOK THIS COOL!!”.
    It’s not like your imagination will suddenly turn off when a little green “g” is replaced by a small goblin sprite.

  • Jack

    They need 3 things.
    Graphic Interface. Even a crappy one like Terraria would do.
    Mouse Interface,
    UI Revamp (i.e. usability)

    “oh, forgot to capitalize this key  in the middle of the keyboard to open this menu”

    I want the guy to die happy with his game, and poor.

  • Machomanstillfightinginmyheart

     No. You are wrong.

  • Machomanstillfightinginmyheart

     Did you see what was added in this version?  “massive cities complete with sewers, dungeons, catacombs, marketplaces, and outlying farmland”

    Do you see all of that? Do you know how much longer it would have taken with functional graphics? Toady has always said those things are coming but way in the future when the game is fleshed out. He’s adding MAJOR FUCKING THINGS without the graphics getting in his way.

    Besides, the graphics are fine anyway.

  • BananaPie

    you are right, sir

  • Anonymous

    Huh, I thought I replied. The interface is not just minor additions like new items. There are drastic changes with every new version. They plan to later on add major things like allowing adventure mode to do most of the things that the dwarves in fortress mode can do (which is probably far more in depth than what you can do in Unreal World). They revamped the military and health system 2 years ago, meaning that if they had spent any time on military or health interface, they would have to do it all over again.
    And besides, like I said, the interface is actually better than most roguelikes. You can already have tilesets. There is limited mouse support, like being able to designate which tiles to dig out and which trees to cut down. Clicking through the menus would actually be more difficult, as it’d involve a lot of scrolling. You can control assigning dwarves jobs and stuff via third party tools.

    DF’s real problem is not the interface, but rather that there’s no in-game tutorial. The manual is a joke (quite literally). Even the best interface in the world would not soften the learning curve.

  • Anonymous

    There are sprites… you just have to install them..

  • Arne Döring

    Segmentation fault

  • Anonymous

    It’s not so much the graphics or interface that deters me from playing
    Dwarf Fortress.  It’s the micromanaging and busywork.  The new features each version
    adds only make it worse.  Even with better graphics and mouse support, accomplishing anything in DF would still be a pain in the ass. If the dev wanted to fix this, fortress automation (so that I could delegate boring tasks to some kind of AI) would be the highest priority, definitely a higher priority than adding new kinds of objects and abilities that only make automation even harder. In reality, if we don’t like the fact that it’s a huge pain in the ass to accomplish anything in DF, that game probably isn’t for you (or me), and graphics will do nothing to change that.  The people who play DF are the kind of people who like it when it’s a pointless pain-in-the-ass to do anything.

  • Tiganon

    Perhaps you should try this new game I just heard of called World of Warcraft.  It sounds more like your difficulty level!

  • Anonymous

    The problem with both DF and WoW is not difficulty but tedium

    Compare two math problems.  One is challenging–it involves higher, abstract math that’s difficult to comprehend, or some highly counter-intuitive approach to solving a problem.  The other is laborious–like, say, multiplying two 20-digit numbers without a calculator.

    Spacechem is challenging–you’re presented with a few tools (few compared to DF!) and arrange them to solve problems.  Sometimes they can be arranged in highly counter-intuitive ways.

    DF is, most of the time, laborious.  It has an incredible multitude of object types and features, an unimaginable number of things to fiddle with, but the fiddling necessary to keep the fortress running tends to be work, not challenge.  DF tries your patience a lot harder than it tries your brain–the greatest obstacle you’ll encounter when you’re playing it is the feeling that it’s not just work, it’s fairly boring work that nobody is paying you for (at least it’s a step above WoW where you have to pay to do the work!). 

  • https://picasaweb.google.com/103959285857593424249/Gallery Konstantin Vernikovskiy

     Eh, depends. After you get pretty good at juggling the variables, having a self-sustaining fortress is very easy. Then it becomes a problem of creativity – what crazy nonsense can you make with your fort? Does it tickle your fancy to build a giant army and outfit it with best gear? Would you prefer some sort of large building project – say, an arena with caged goblins that fight your army for your amusement? Would you like to make a self sufficient fort that is super optimal at producing tons of booze to sell? Level up everyone to legendary in something? Lots of options. The limiting factor for me is mostly processing power and certain bugs at this point – eventually with enough dwarves the fortress slows to a crawl, and a few somewhat key features are bugged in a few very annoying ways.

    Eventually your fort smoothly runs itself for you, and all you need to do is wave your hand vaguely in the direction of a project of your choosing, and your fort does it for you. So satisfying.

  • Anonymous

    You’re probably right–there’s a good chance I’ve got the wrong impression of the game from initial experiences. 

    I’m still kind of hesitant to take it up again because it seems to occupy a sub-optimal point on the work/creative spectrum between Minecraft and Blender–with a great deal more effort, you can construct somewhat more things in DF than MC.  But with a little bit more effort than learning DF, you could learn Blender and create literally anything.

    I also think the game is developing in a less interesting direction.  Take a look at the development goals: http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/dev.html    You see an amazing array of new entities and actions proposed.  What you don’t see is any capability of the dwarves, or anything else, to self-organize or otherwise manage themselves.  There is very little economics, and even less that can be described as politics. 

    Not only does this mean you can’t delegate management work, but it means the simulation, as immense as it is, is missing something that much simpler simulations have–you can’t play against a rival with available moves that mirror your own.  You can have a fortress with goblins and trolls attacking it with great pathfinding algorithms but little other planning.  You cannot have two competing fortresses launching sieges against each other.

    And the more complexity the game adds in terms of entities and possible actions, then the harder it becomes for simulated entities to choose actions intelligently on their own. 

    I’d love to see a stripped down, 2D version of Dwarf Fortress that focused on the social and economic side of fortress construction.  Like a Spacechem/Crusader Kings hybrid.