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For anyone who is thinking about giving it a spin for the first time, do yourself a favor and don't get this .01 version. Either wait for a few patches or download the far more stable and mature 0.40.24 (http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/older_versions.html)

Dwarf Fortress is basically a perpetual beta with lots of major bugs as it is, but especially brand new major versions like this one usually have multiple game-breaking bugs, including crashes, corrupted saves, etc. It would be a shame if people willing to give it a try would give it up due to the poor quality of the initial release of a new major version.

Dwarf Fortress is a truly unique game and really worth putting in the effort to learn simply due to the stories it generates as you play.

Here's an example of a story that happened to me. https://www.reddit.com/r/dwarffortress/comments/1mb0cw/the_s... Note this story is in no way embellished by me. Everything described there was actually simulated within the game.

Against my better judgment I downloaded this and started it up. World-gen seems to be crashing more than half the time (but not every time). Then it crashes most of the time in the "Updating World" phase when you try to start a game, before the embark site selection screen. When I did get it to embark, it crashed in the first minute. So, yeah - wait for patches.

What the game actually crashing or was world gen just restarting with a different seed?

World gen works with different parameters and will scrap worlds that are generated with in compatible conditions (e.g. There aren't enough evil biomes to support the minimum number of goblin fortresses).

I mean actually crashing.

This is the kind of story that makes me think that when all human life will have disappeared from Earth, an alien civilization would be able to find artifacts of the world we live in by digging into still-running instances of Dwarf Fortress.


You might even want to go a little further back from 0.40.24 to start out. The game has grown and evolved over time, and some of the recent features raise the price of entry. (These days, for example, you need soap production and a hospital up and running before the beginning of your second year...)

I've never had to produce soap even during extended sieges. The only instance it would have helped in was with a FB that had poisonous blood (and killed half my fortress). I always felt that the medical aspects were a bit too easy.

And too bugged - last I checked, hospital zones still take unlimited amounts of cloth - even stealing it from visiting caravans.

The game looks pretty light on graphics... can't I try it out somewhere online from my browser?

edit: some quick googling led me to this: https://www.rollapp.com/app/dwarffortress

Looks like you can't save but at least I can get a quick idea of how it feels like

It's light on graphics, but not on processing power. There's an immense amount of calculation and simulation going on.

Each cycle calculates ridiculously detailed things like the temperature of the rear left femur of a water buffalo passing through.

Is that an exaggerated example or an actual thing that happens?

No, it's not exaggerated. It doesn't actually go so far as to call it a femur, but it does indeed keep track of the temperature of the left rear upper leg bone, as far as it is distinct from the temperature of the left rear upper leg's muscle, fat, skin or hair layers. After all, if the water buffalo were to stray into the path of a dragon's fiery breath, or a stream of molten lava, then it's vital that it be able to tell you whether the hair has burnt, the fat has melted, etc.

You can turn off temperature in the config file if it takes too much cpu time though, in which case everything just has an assumed temperature, with no heat flowing around to change it.

Pardon me while I pick my jaw off the floor. I had heard stories about the random instances of absolutely obsessive attention to detail when modeling the physics/chemistry of things in the game, but did not expect anything like that.

Out of curiosity, how do details about these things become known if the code is not open sourced? Is it in official documentation somewhere? Is there any sort of list of these ridiculous examples of awesomeness?

Through a combination of playing, reading bug explanations, and modding the game through the raw text files, which define everything from what types of organs a creature has to the different types of cheese that can be made from it's milk.

Since the learning curve is high, the best way to start understanding it is to first learn how to play. From there you can start tinkering with the available mechanics.

This aspect of it is fairly easy to observe from inside the game; the Health screen goes on for three pages of possible symptoms, diagnoses, treatments, etc. This is just an overview, arranged like a spreadsheet with a row for each dwarf (and their pets and livestock) and a column for each symptom and so on.

It also tracks nerves and blood flow in a generalized way; any strike which penetrates or cuts the tissue layers has a chance of damaging the nerves in that body part. Nerve damage may or may not heal with the rest of the wound, and that will cause chronic infirmity or paralysis. Blood loss can cause dizziness or loss of consciousness, etc.

The combat logs are quite thorough, and after your first combat (which includes hunting and sparring) you'll quickly see how each actor is choosing from a "menu" of possibilities that varies from moment to moment. If one combatant loses a hand, they won't be able to strike with it, and nobody else will be able to target it with an attack.

If you then play the Adventurer mode, which is part of the same game but played as an individual character's perspective, you can see those menus reified as actual menus for you to choose from. Some of them are generic: you can swing your sword with or without targeting a specific body part. Others are much more specific. If your weapon gets stuck inside your opponent, you have the option of twisting it to cause pain (and probably more nerve damage).

In one game I played I fought a megabeast which had some kind of contaminated blood. My dwarves won the fight, but tracked the blood all over my fortress. I had them cleaning it up, but couldn't keep on top of it; eventually it was everywhere. A while later I noticed that a significant fraction of my dwarves and animals had rotting wounds on their feet...

The development log (http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/index.html) and the game data files (which are all just text) also supply a lot of information, but they're not required reading; all of these details are pretty visible in the game. This is one of the things that makes the game so rewarding. Even when you lose a fort you can figure out what happened, and you can figure out how to avoid it or solve it next time.

They simulate the dwarves' individual teeth..

(not sure about water buffalo femurs though, but I wouldn't be surprised)

If you ever wanted to see what an ASCII game with framerate issues would be like, install a copy of DF and load up a big fortress.

This is misleading because in DF usually when talking about frame rates we refer to how fast the game's cycles are progressing (and this can get slow), while your reference to graphics implies frame rate in terms of graphical computation. The game could redraw at 60 fps all the time, it just wouldn't have anything to update until it was done calculations, and that is the bottleneck here.

Why is it misleading? Not every instance of slowdown in a 3d game is because the graphics are too intensive to maintain the framerate, there are instances of insufficient CPU time.

Watch some lets-play videos perhaps?

Not as engaging as the story of Boatmurdered, but amusing nonetheless.

If you like DF stories, check out Bravemule's Matul Remrit or Bronzemurder.

Roomcarnage is the ongoing state of the art


> Before the end of the first month, a weight is lifted off my shoulders. The dwarves will still gain unhappy thoughts when caught in the freakish weather, but compared to some of the procedurally generated horrors I've dealt with in the past, elf blood blizzards look like a fluffy wambler infestation.

> Besides, an active volcano comprised entirely of ice and coated in crimson snowdrifts of frozen gore? Fucking metal. I love this game.

I love Dwarf Fortress.

My #1 recommendation is to play along with a youtube "let's play". Otherwise you get lost pretty fast.

Amazing story. Did you not know she was pregnant when you decided to sacrifice her? Did she have the baby still born? I've never played the game but almost want to now.

By "The dwarf was a mother carrying a child" I believe the OP means that the dwarf was carrying a baby in her arms. Maternal dwarves are rather infamous for carrying their infant children into harrowing situations, e.g. when conscripted into a militia and sent out to slay dragons (though they're just as apt to give birth right there on the battlefield).

This is correct. She was carrying a baby with her - a fact I couldn't immediately see because it was only one dwarf icon walking around. If I had checked her details, I would have seen it. When the high pressure water hit, the baby was basically blasted out of her arms and bashed against the wall... :-(

> It would be a shame if people willing to give it a try would give it up due to the poor quality of the initial release of a new major version.

I appreciate the intent but when, in the same message, you say:

> Dwarf Fortress is basically a perpetual beta with lots of major bugs as it is, but especially brand new major versions like this one usually have multiple game-breaking bugs, including crashes, corrupted saves, etc.

you are actively dissuading everyone from ever trying the game.

I think what he meant is that the game is usually at beta quality - which is to say, it has funky bugs sometimes but it's rare that it corrupts your saves or lights your computer on fire - so this "beta" release is actually closer to another piece of software's alpha level of quality.

I'd call this release an alpha. Either pick up the previous release, which is solidly in stable-beta territory and is only not an RC because DF's features list is approximately as long as the equator, or wait a bit until this alpha reaches beta status again.

Is there a beta vs alpha scheme for the versions that would designate a good "starters" release?

Go with the previous version before this release, 40.24

While getting a handle of the basics of the game you really won't miss out on any of the new features in the latest version. They're at a somewhat more advanced level and you'll be spending your time trying to figure out the menus and how to not die of starvation and thirst, and less concerned with what instrument bards should play.

This story is the most I've ever heard about DF. I'm suddenly incredibly curious about what this game is all about. Thanks for sharing.

I remember the overpopulation of Mothmen. It was terror.

This comment, while interesting and helpful, would be enough to keep me away from DF forever. Game-breaking bugs? Ain't nobody got time for that.

I already know about DF so I know I'm not interested in games like that, but man, I'm glad I never tried to pick it up.

Anyone who would be kept away by a warning about crashes because he “ain’t got time” would also be kept away by simply trying to play Dwarf Fortress for 10 minutes. It’s not a game for the faint hearted or impatient.

Hey you can read it however you like, but I find an expectation from an established player that the current released version is bug-ridden and may corrupt your save to be... scary. How many saves must he have had corrupted in the past? That's just not cool, man.

If you're not the kind of person who can take flaws like crashes or game-stopping frame-rate issues and work them into your gameplay, DF is not the game for you. It isn't a friendly game. It can take hours just to figure out how to do core game tasks. "Don't do this thing that crashes the game" is just another task to learn.

I can't say as I remember ever having a save get corrupted on me, though I suspect it must've happened to someone at some time.

Usually the bugs are strange, hilarious or both. For example, here are some issues that have been fixed:

Werebeast arrives, attacks livestock and dwarves but is not attacked by dwarves while in its werebeast form. Necromancers afraid of/killed by their own undead Dwarves with permanent injuries inevitably spiral into depression Moody dwarves claim workshops outside their burrow, haul infinite number of items, never start construction Lye in wood barrels can't be used for making soap Haulers carry (heavy) full bin to pickup single item (lighter) Happy thoughts do not affect stress levels; Dwarves slowly spiral into depression Dwarf misses completely unrelated dwarf Bogeymen attack elf/dwarf sites while sleeping in them Brewing stack of >6 plants produces a stack of >30 booze, which doesn't fit in a barrel Tantruming dwarves perform dozens of fistfights/throws in a second DOES_NOT_EXIST does not remove creatures from embark list Large grazers (elephants and giraffes) can't eat fast enough to keep from starving

It's one of those games where bugs just add to the charm, if you like that sort of game. It's an ant farm that you're only sort of partially in control of even when it's running perfectly.

DF is not a game like you might be thinking of a game, like Call of Duty, Warcraft, etc.

It's a distant grandfather of Minecraft, but complex and detailed in ways that make emacs look straightforward.

It's a lot of fun, but it's not a 'game'. :-)

I mean it's free and written by 2 people, you can only expect so much.

It's actually written entirely by one person; Zach is just an idea man.

> It's actually written entirely by one person; Zach is just an idea man.

At some point when you've mastered basic code writing, ideas become the hardest part. This is especially true in game design, but also true even in solving business problems.

It made me want to play. Not the bugs but the story. To have an experience like that with characters in a game is special...

There are enough players and fans that "got time for that", testing releases for stability so you don't have to.

A pity you've chosen to miss out, as the depth of simulation in DF truly is astounding.

this is to games as jazz is to music.

you have more fun developing DF than playing.

That's apt.

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