Dwarf Fortress is only half finished after 17 years of development

Dwarf Fortress gets a graphic version on Steam that does not rely entirely on ASCII representations.


Dwarf Fortress gets a graphic version on Steam that does not rely entirely on ASCII images.

Dwarf Fortress is a fascinating game. Behind the supposedly unspectacular ASCII graphics hides one of the most exciting fantasy simulations in the entire gaming history. Since 2002 the game has been continuously developed.

Currently the counter is at 0.44, soon followed by a Steam version including real graphic representations. According to chief developer Tarn Adams, one is about halfway to the final release after 17 years (!) Of development .

Why Dwarf Fortress excites? There’s an incredibly detailed simulation in the game. You control the fortunes of a small dwarf colony, in which up to the social life of each inhabitant an uncountable number of things have to be considered. For example, the game world simulates its own background story with each new iteration. From this theoretical depth of play, we get ridiculous stories that you yourself write as a player.

For fans, Dwarf Fortress is the best fantasy sandbox you can imagine. And “imagination” is actually a top priority here: Because when your own head cinema designs captivating stories out of ASCII characters, the lack of actual graphics virtually does not matter negatively. You just have to get involved. If you want to get a taste of the fascination, our community member belerad has written a great introductory article to the world of Dwarf Fortress.

In the interview with Gamasutra, chief developer Tarn Adams talks about the development of the game. In the coming months, you want to work on the graphical interface of the Steam and Itch.io version. Thereafter, the game is fundamentally reworked, in order to simulate procedural magic systems, creation myths and other complexes.


“And there’s still a lot to do after that, we’re not even halfway to version 1.0, and even then we’re not necessarily done with the game, so maybe we just will not have much time left after that Dwarf Fortress to work. ”


Adams may be referring to his own age. If the 41-year-old needs another 17 years to version 1.0, then we would be in 2036. A quirky thought experiment.

The Gamasutra interview contains many more exciting aspects of the story behind Dwarf Fortress. Reading is worthwhile. Incidentally, a beginner’s version of this type of simulation is Rimworld, which takes on many of the virtues of Dwarf Fortress:


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