Dwarf Fortress

29. January 2009

An awesome game indeed. I have already wasted like a bazillion hours playing it. Dwarf Fortress is a text based ascii game, made by Bay12Games. I seriously did not expect to find so much gameplay under the hood of this, well lets say, aged looking game. I mean I did not have this much fun playing Crysis or Far Cry 2 nor any other game except Empires, but you cannot compare Empires to any other game anyway.

I had a hard time learning the game and still have. But with a good teacher like Drag I did pick it up rather fast. Also enormously useful for a noob like me was the Dwarf Fortress Wiki.

I can only recommend to anyone to try out this game. It’s being actively developed and is thus better then many if not most commercial games, of course not graphic wise but I can not remember when I had such a feeling of a whole world living around your fortress like in Df. I realized that immersion doesn’t come from what you see, but from what you feel.

And there are these awesome moments, marked by huge failure or success. I had the first one today. One of my dwarfs was in a strange mood, ready to build some mighty artifact, he had all the material he needed ready, the only thing missing was a turtle shell. Well no problem I had a turtle ready in my stockpile. The only problem was, that I had no idea how to get the shell out of the turtle, or the turtle out of the shell.
First I tried to force my dwarfs to eat it, but that was not marked with much success. Those pricks rather drank beer then eating turtle. Then I dumped it and left it to rot. It worked, after some time. But Unlucky me, well unlucky dwarf, the one dwarf who requested the shells. He couldn’t wait wait for the turtle to rot. He went insane and probably killed himself until now.

Maybe that is one of the things that make dwarf fortress unique and great, it always keeps driving you mad. Constant immigration into your fortress, so you have masses of unwashed dwarfs in your mighty halls that you cannot possibly manage all of them (at least I can’t yet). Or missing alcohol that drives your dwarfs in a state of absolute inert. And no seeds to brew new one. You have to somehow survive a whole year until the next caravan comes to deliver seeds that will rescue your fortress. But you will probably end up with a dead fortress, because of cross linked tantrum chains that made every single dwarf suicide.

I agree with the Dwarf Fortress Wiki: “Losing is fun”. At least in Dwarf Fortress.

Many people will be scared of all those digits, signs and letters. For people like me there are versions with a graphical tileset. I’m using the one from here. If you don’t like that one you can look into the wiki and you will find a variety of tilesets that might fit your taste. Stay tuned for more adventures from underworld.