It’s been great to see the graphical version of Dwarf Fortress inch its way towards release. Things we’d take for granted in most games are small thrills for Dwarf Fortress players: nice pixel art and things like mouse support and tabs will make the game easier to play and analyze than the old keyboard-only ASCII interface. Now, wonders, one of the scariest computer games ever made is getting a tutorial. What wild idea will they come up with next?
“Dwarf Fortress holds the title of being one of the most torturous games to learn,” co-creator Zach Adams wrote in a recent Steam update. “There’s a lot going on, even after changing all the ridiculous keyboard commands and replacing the Matrix-like interface with some understandable and awesome pixel art. It still needs something. Something to alleviate the need to go directly to a wiki. Just to understand what’s going on. Answer tutorial of course it is.”
Based on screenshots from the Steam post, the tutorial will cover many of the major hurdles for new Dwarf Fortress players: the controls, the basics of mining, creating and allocating stockpiles, and dividing your fortress into zones so they can sleep properly. work, and have a grog. Nice color-coded text boxes for important features introduce these concepts and walk you through them.
Coupled with mouse controls and a clear graphical interface, I suspect this tutorial will take the sting out of Dwarf Fortress’ reputation for overwhelming complexity. It’s an incredibly deep game, but once you get past the Byzantine interface, it’s not that hard to get a fortress up and running.
Survival is another story. Tutorials probably won’t teach you how to dig into an aquifer and prevent your entire fortress from drowning or guard against the first invasion of bloodthirsty goblins, but some lessons are learned the hard way.
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Dwarf Fortress has been developed almost entirely by Tarn and Zach Adams, and the new tutorial is still a family affair: Zach’s wife Amy tested it, as she is not a Dwarf Fortress player. Or it wasn’t, until the tutorial. “After a failed attempt with the original, the latest version of the tutorial got him good enough at the game to tunnel under a bog and drown his fortress,” Zach wrote. “Our goal is to make this level of play accessible to anyone. We want the world to lose this game and have fun.”
The Steam version of Dwarf Fortress doesn’t have a release date yet, but I’m optimistic that we’ll be playing it sometime in 2023.
Colony sims 🤝 Interface designed by programmers pic.twitter.com/3F8euczCGaJuly 6, 2022