It's by far the deepest – and perhaps most disturbing – Sim game out there.
Dwarf Fortress is the most incredible and impressive video game you've probably never played. Anyone who has enjoyed games like Rimworld, Factorio, and Prison Architect has been continuously evolving since (!!!) by Tarn Adams (!!!) and has seen some of the video game DNA Dwarf Fortress pioneered. About Refined 1
Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me summarize: The procedural world generation of Dwarf Fortress is the most complex and complex existence that simulates thousands of years of geology, history, myths and gods, songs, civilizations, animal life, and more. Then you can build a dwarven fortress in this world that is capable of achieving fanatical detail. This detail goes down to the smallest minutiae – body parts can be completely injured or torn apart in combat, dwarfs could vomit or faint at the site of the blood, or perhaps all urban cats get intoxicated by drinking spilled ale; The level of simulation feels endless. However, these details also extend to the highest levels of macro simulation. Wars can be provoked or prevented. The world economy can be postponed.
All this detail has its price. As you might expect, the Dwarven Stronghold is known to be dense and rude to newcomers. Although this complexity can be worked through – I've been playing and enjoying the game for over a decade, both in the original ASCII graphics and mods (see below). At first glance, DF looks like you're staring at the code in The Matrix.
And that's why the announcement that Dwarf Fortress is finally ready is out of its semi-mythical status and comes to the fore, on a paid version on Steam, is so exciting. Quality of Life features such as a brand new graphical tile set, new music, and easier modding through the integration of Steam Workshop should help make the game more accessible and friendly to newbies. This will not be a magic bullet – even a big fan is the user interface and nested menus of Dwarf Fortress …. something else – but it's a start.
For a small window on how this highly complex simulation actually works in a real game, I recorded the journey of my (spoiler) unfortunate Helmedstab fortress. It starts with my dwarves realizing that they have forgotten to bring axes to the New World, and from there things only get worse …
You can view their story in slideshow format (above) or read the entire article below.
When I created a new world, I found a huge, dwarf-looking mountain range – The Dominant Tooth. I found a place where there was a river, deep metals, flux stone, the works.
For some reason, I sent myself digging tools, many barrels of wine and rum, seeds and ostrich meat.
There's a HUGE goblin civilization in my immediate east, and the entry screen warns of saltwater crocodile attacks, but that's probably just the taste. With a fortress name like Helmedstabs, what could go wrong?
I immediately hit the ground, dug myself into the side of the hill and dug (where else?) Down several steps until work began on a modest central staircase. I put my food underground before I started planning a more permanent solution.
Priority 1: Supply of food (& liquor) via an underground farm. In the dwarf fortress water + stone forms mud and agricultural tiles. There are fancy ways to do this by pumping and mechanized locks.
Instead, I just dug up a large pit under a muddy pond and then drained the pond into the pit.
When food is made, it dawns on me that I have zero axes and zero ways to make axes. This means cutting no trees, no wood (except what I brought) and therefore very few beds. Dwarfs are crazy without a bed. I hope I can hold out long enough to act against axes. Migrants are already arriving.
I instantly built a few workshops (out there, I'm sorry, dwarfs – desperate times calling for desperate measures) to start with stone jewelry to swap for axes in the case , I also started digging a huge food production complex under my farms and started digging a huge, semi-impractical 52-bedroom dormitory complex deeper in the ground. It will look great when the entire stone is smoothed and engraved.
The # 1 Dwarf Fortress rule is all you have to do is to be tall and semi-impractical. I personally chose a dwarf and …
I may not do that anymore. I also began digging a really huge, half-impractical dining room (see above) under my food production site. Traders arrived, but they had no axes. I exchanged wood for myself and asked for axes (and lots of cheese) if we live in a year when they return. A Craftswald was struck by a strange mood, took over a workshop and shouted for metal bars. I have no.
The dwarf went crazy without metal to finish his project. He went into the apartment and literally hit a child's head with a pickaxe before I could militarize some dwarfs to take it out. They beat him to death.
Blood is everywhere. I started coffin production.
An Undead Skink (medium-sized lizard) has emerged. The Wereskink killed two wrestlers and mutilated another outside my fortress before being defeated. In front of my fortress there are pools of blood, bones and mutilated corpses. I started up the coffin production.
Immediately, new migrants arrived from the mountain huts in the west, causing my population to 56, including 22 children, to explode. They had to pass the pile of fresh guts to get in.
My dwarfs can not take care of the wounded because I have no buckets and no wood to do more. Another bad news: The dwarfs the wereskink had bitten turned into beasts at the next full moon.
They pierced my fortress and killed several before they were subjected. The dining room contains the remains of 10 dead dwarfs mixed with blood and vomit. The living dwarfs are usually too horrified to work. I did a million screenshots of what followed, and I wanted to give you one piece at a time, but I'll hunt directly – more and more dwarfs were turned into dwarfs, and eventually over 50 dwarves were killed
Only 9 more adults are alive. In the following days the situation worsens – I present you three vignettes from my underground labyrinth of death:
An unattended baby dwarf crawling through blood pools.
A human bard had his head "bowed" and his neck torn open.
I had no more coffins and began to stack the bodies outside. It took so long for a thick smell to fill the fortress.
But then the fortress starts to stabilize WHY.
Monster Hunter challenged the movement in. With their help, all undead dwarves were killed and no longer shot. There were more migrants doing the much needed rough work.
Besides, the fortress is now being pursued as shit.
It took weeks for enough coffins to bombard everyone. All the corpses are in a sad, narrow grave, but at least they stop the haunting.
I have finally traded axes and finally have wood for crafting! Fortress life usually returns to normal. I'm digging up deluxe bedrooms deep underground for my worthless midgets, building a huge extension of the dorms, and finally finishing the stone in the dining room. Children always make elaborate animal bones.
I have 105 now! It's hard to keep up with their demands on alcohol and goods. But fortunately, I have managers and accountants now, and I can create bulk orders to keep things under control. I am deeper looking for magma and working on an outer wall / moat.
A goblin "siege" appeared, but there were only a few strays and a few beaks. They will return in larger numbers next year. 10 dwarves are now military, equipped with leather and training with crossbows and hand-to-hand. While I was trying to create a steep rock wall entrance to my fort, I accidentally shaved a huge overhang. It collapsed, killing several, and (more importantly) destroying several masterpieces.
When I dug out my moat, I planned it wrong and when I dug out the last block, the water splash ripped up my dwarf and rammed it against the loamy wall. He fainted in the deep water. He survived, but was "very upset" by the whole thing.
The next year passed quickly. I search and find (finally) magma and prepare a smelting / metal production. I began to secure my outer fortress with some walls and built upper levels. I ended the lavish quarters and lavish tombs for my worthless nobles.
The following spring, the goblins returned. My heart sank. It's a huge siege force. 20+ beak-dogs and 35+ goblins, and that's before 9 trolls appear on the canvas. Brutal for the 3rd year. I mobilized my meager combat troop and set it up in an entry throttle.
The military dwarves are quickly overrun. I have no defense anymore. In a few moments, the goblins in the dormitory gush.
The fighting is going badly, but I'm happy about a few minor victories. A dwarf clung to a goblin with his teeth and tore off his head.
The Dwarfs fight bravely, but they simply were not sufficiently prepared. As the last adults fight, the children in the lower bedrooms play games and tell stories. I will not lie – that made me a little emotional.
Almost everyone is dead. A human visiting diplomat lets me know he's leaving. Thanks, dude. Only three dwarfs left: two adults and Sodel Fencedrills – an eleven-year-old. That's him and avoids the fight in the bedroom in the lower middle:
I surrender and incur the invasion. This backup game – and the entire world in it – is deleted in a defeat.
Although it is unlikely that the last living Axedwarf and Marksdwarf will encounter Sodel, he is sure to enchant him.
For three years, Helmedstab's Fortress scraped out a potentially glorious, perhaps inconspicuous, existence on a remote mountain slope before being discovered and extinguished by the forces of evil.
This is Dwarf Fortress.
The Dwarven Stronghold still has no estimated release date on Steam. But if the above story of dwarfish violence and overseer incompetence made you want to shoot the game, you do not have to wait. Dwarven Fortress is (for any reason challenging) completely free to download and play. Graphics packages that make the game very similar to the Steam screenshots are easy to manage and install, even for beginners. If you give the game a shot, go beyond the learning curve, and end up with more than 500 hours, the Adams Brothers entertain a Patreon to make the fans appreciative.
Justin Davis is an Editorial Manager at IGN. He first fell in love with the Dwarf Stronghold before having a Z-axis. You can post it on Twitter at @ErrorJustin