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Dwarf Fortress 0.31.25: probably got flying cars powered by plump helmets and beards

DisruptedCapitalistDisruptedCapitalist silly fellow, silly fellow, is against meRegistered User regular
edited July 2011 in Games and Technology
Welcome to Dwarf Fortress!!
(or Histories of Gruesome Combat Mechanics and Ubiquitous Alcohol Dependency)

April 19, 2011: Dwarf Fortress gains sentience.

Welcome to the mountainhomes of the dwarves! Starting out with a hardy band of seven pioneers, you will be beset on all sides by the threat of starvation, exposure, rampant idiocy, inexperience, tantrums, monkey attacks, hostile goblins, kleptomaniacal kobolds, accidental drownings, those goddamn hippy elves, being set on fire, upper class nobles that will make lives hell for your peasantry, and the mortal enemies of the dwarves: elephants carp goblin lashers.

v 0.31.XX FAQ

Since the last thread started the game has gone from 0.31.03 to 0.31.18. A lot has changed during that time, mostly for the better.

Q: So what's Dwarf Fortress?
It's a rather bizarre little huge roguelike/ fantasy world generator / colony management sim hybrid. With lots of dead dwarves guaranteed.
You start out with a tiny band of 7 dwarves, a wagon, mules and a pair of cats that multiply without any restraint and flood your fortress with kittens.
With a little luck (and if those goddamn monkeys don't steal all your food off the wagon again), your fortress will make it past the first winter. Or more likely it will collapse and you'll start up a new fortress, avoiding the mistakes of the first.

...before it all ends in a tide of blood and dwarf parts!
And then you start AGAIN!

Q: So what does it look like?
Though it may seem ungainly at first, the game’s interface — rendered in what are known as extended ASCII characters — has a sparse elegance. As seasons change, trees, represented by various symbols, shift from green to yellow. Goblins’ eyes appear as red quotation marks; if you shoot out an eye with an arrow, the symbol becomes an apostrophe. On a message board, one fan likened the ASCII experience in Dwarf Fortress to the immersive pleasures of reading a book: “You can let your imagination fill in the gaps.”

Q: This game is overwhelming! Where do I start?
A: An old-fashioned text tutorial is available here: Your First Fortress (our own BahamutZERO wrote that! Originally. It's been thoroughly edited and made more awesome since then.)

A: A few keys will come up a lot. Pressing these keys will bring up a yellow X cursor which you control using the arrow keys. PROTIP: use the keypad to move the cursor around- it's more comfortable.

Q - Assigns orders at workshops and structures, or used to create rooms from a placed structure, like tables, beds, archery targets, etc, or to destroy them.
R - Battle Reports! The fun (and biting) really happens here.
T - Mainly useful for examining the contents of a building or structure, to see how cluttered a workshop is or what it's built out of.
V - Examines an individual dwarf, where you can look at their stats, gear, thoughts and alter their job list.
K - If you'd like to see if that U is an attacking Unicorn or a friendly hUman trader, this is the key you want. It basically lets you examine the contents of a tile. Pressing enter examines objects in greater detail, if any is available.
D - Designates an area for tasks. Hit enter to start dragging out a rectangle, enter to stop. Or hold down the mouse button and draw it in. Everything in this area will now be designated for whatever task you had selected, from Digging out rock, cutting down trees, or picking plants, or whatever else it might have been. Use this to dig out your dwarf-hole.
Z - Brings up your fortress report and tells you how depressingly low you are on food.
U - displays a list of all units on the map, along with current job. Useful for finding idlers and wild animals
< and > - Change the levevel displayed by one (up and down, respectively). Since you'll be using these a lot, it might be wise to remap the keys (I use / and * on the keypad). To do this, press ESC and use the "Key Bindings" option ("move/view cursor up (Z)" and "down (Z)" )

Q: The UI requires so many keystrokes, can't I use a mouse??
The latest version supports the mouse, however it's still somewhat hard to use effectively since it's limited to "drawing" selections.

Alternatively the latest version also allows you to make macros for all your common keystrokes. See the wiki for a howto guide.

Q: Do graphic packages work? UPDATED 3/8
A: Some do. The most popular, May Green's, currently uses 0.31.21 (March 8, 2011). Note that Mayday's version has a completely unique configuration from the plain vanilla version of DF, most notably some changes to the key bindings. See his website for more info.

It makes the game look like this:

Other graphics packages: Phoebus' Graphics Set

You also may want to take a gander at Stonesense, a third party isometric visualizer. Keep in mind that it's a companion to, not a replacement of, the normal Dwarf Fortress interface.

What rhymes with Stonesense?
A: SoundSense.
Mr Ray wrote: »
I'm loving the shit out of it right now. Not only are the sounds awesome, they're incredibly useful for providing feedback on things you might otherwise miss. Really can't recommend it enough. Go download it. Go.

Q: What's different since 0.28.xx?
A: A lot. That's the full list - beware spoilers. You may want to try playing the game before reading the list. Here's a fun update from December 13: "Your dwarves can shear sheep and other woolly beasts now. There are sixteen new domestic animals. Eggs, vegetable oil and clay upcoming." Yay!

Q: What happens if I do this?
Just try it first! It's no fun if we tell you that you would have doomed all your dwarves to a horrible agonizing death beforehand. No fun at all!
Besides, it just means you get to do it better next time.

Q: I have a talented biter in my military and he is currently leading a biting demonstration. What the hell does that entail?
A: The military is a bitch to set up in the latest version, but Furlion has come to the rescue and prepared a military tutorial for us peasants.

Q: I'm water. What should I do?!?
A: Big flow chart: (hurr hurr)

Q: By Armok, this is amazing. How can I give back to the legendary Toady One?

Q: Are there stories to be told?
A: This is what is so great about Dwarf Fortress. Every fort or adventure has a tale to tell. No matter how bad you are, there is always SOMETHING interesting that happens. Here's a short list of notable forts that have been immortalized in art:

Now get out there and establish a new outpost for the glory of the Mountainhomes!

Important Note: Dwarf currency is to be called dimdums dwarfbucks dimdums, no exceptions.

(This introduction was edited by jaunty, jdarksun, SynthOr, Bahamut0, J3p, Xtarath, and Mayday. Thanks to InfestedGnome for the idea behind the latest military question)

DisruptedCapitalist on


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