Dwarf Fortress: Very Ambitious Roguelike


This is an alpha release of a new roguelike that is one of the most ambitious projects I’ve seen in a long time. Fully randomized (HUGE) world with sensible kingdoms, history, monsters, etc. It’s kind of two games in one - the first (and primary) game is a sort of rpg/sim where you build a dwarven fortress/mine. The second is a pretty basic roguelike in the same world.

It’s very playable at the moment, though kinda tough to figure out, but if the designer manages to implement a good chunk of what he’s planning it has major potential.

wow, that sounds very cool. I don’t know why you would put that much effort into a game and not go with even the most basic of tilebased graphics and a mouse driven interface.

It’s still in alpha - from what I understand he may add those things later, but wants to get the underlying mechanics right first.

What happened to Chapter I? This Leonard Part VI parallel is a bad omen.

“Slaves to Armok: God of Blood”?!

Chapter II

The word on Chapter I is here - http://www.bay12games.com/cgi-local/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=000269 - he apparently doesn’t link to it from the front page because he’s not sure it’s worth sharing.

Fuck that shit. I’ve been getting back into Zangband and it’s kept me on the edge of my seat. I just lost a character at level 13, a Human Sorcery High-Mage who relied on recharging wands for his offensive capability. The hardscrabble gameplay, my runs of bad luck, my doomed attempts to loot ruins in the wilderness, my final ignominious death by troll poison on the banks of some nameless river… I don’t need any fucking graphics. They’re nice sometimes, but necessary for enjoyment or immersion? Never. I’ve gotten a million times the fun out of Zangband as I have out of Diablo, Diablo 2, Sacred, and a brief poke at Titan Quest combined.

I found it after getting to the DF forums, too. Funny.

I was thinking more easy of use and accessability rather than eye candy. But hats off to you, mr super ascii dude, you are truly hard core.

I don’t mind the ascii graphics, I actually prefer them to most tile sets. The tile sets could of course be superior to ascii, but they rarely are.

No, my biggest complaint is the arcane control system. I love complexity in a game’s rules, not it’s interface. There is little reason to require the use of the entire keyboard plus the shift and ctrl keys for these games. I like the complex macro system most have, but you shouldn’t have to use it to play. Casting spells in angband requires a cryptic “m b 3 * t” string of characters just to cast a magic missle and target the nearest creatures. Good luck playing it without macros.

One project I always keep meaning to tackle is a complete remake of angband for ease of use with nothing more than a console gamepad.

I actually find roguelikes easier to play without tilesets most of the time.

TOME and the THEME module have been my roguelike of choice for some time now. Fantastic fun.

I could never play the *bands with tiles; battles get messy too quickly to keep track with little blots of colour, and you really want that big D to pop out. It looks like Dwarf Fortress would benefit from tiles though, with a greater emphasis on terrain(?) and stuff in the background. Some of those screenshots are pretty overwhelming.

I love Zangband, but I would never play it without the TK mod, which adds the tiles. I hate looking at that ASCII shit. It’s just a simple conversion program, so it’s not like having the graphics tiles ruins any of what you like about these games. You and I are playing the same game, but my eyes aren’t bleeding.

TOME is great, so great I ported it to the psp. Need to get off my ass and release the update that lets you play with the modules. Finally got it working but neglected to package it up and release it.


ASCII graphics are JUST FINE. Moria was the first game I really spent a lot of time with. In fact, just remembering makes me want to go back to it. I played the hell out of Nethack and Omega and ADOM. This is good news. I know what I will be doing tonight.

Tyrant fits that description pretty well. One of the best graphical roguelikes I’ve played.

Another good one is Lost Labyrinth.

Anyway, Dwarf Fortress looks very very cool. That’s what you get with ASCII: the ability to extend roguelikes into all kinds of funky new realms without needing a scrap of artistic talent.

I much prefer ascii to any graphics tile sets I’ve seen. With ascii, it is really simple and easy to tell what everything is. It has a very clean, crisp look. The problem is, there are so many monsters in most roguelikes, that with tile sets I’m always left squinting at the screen trying to figure out if that thing is a pink jelly that saps your strength (and thus is best avoided or killed by missiles) or just an ordinary blue jelly that I don’t mind beating up in melee.

Plus I haven’t found a graphics set yet for any of these games that does not look so amateurish that it annoys me more than just playing the ascii version. There is something very simple and refined that comes with ascii, and I don’t find it difficult to play at all for some reason.

I think we recently had a thread that devolved into roguelike discussions, but I am heavily playing right now Oangband, Sangband, and Dungeon Crawl. Truly the best of the best that I’ve played, after playing some others and researching many more. (Including Nethack, which in my mind is living on legend alone and is far inferior to the above mentioned games.)

I actually occassionally think of how much of an idiot I am. I’m paying $15 per month for an Everquest subscription, have Dawn of War, Rise of Legends, Civilization 4, Battlefield 2, and probably about 5-10 other “modern” games that I spend a total of 4-5 hours a month playing, and then I sit there plowing about 10 times that into a free game.

EDIT: Though I keep forgetting that ascii graphics on a “normal” dungeon only roguelike like Angband or Crawl look a hell of a lot cleaner and better than they do on something like Tome or Dwarf Forest. Good lord, after checking out their screenshots, I understand what you ascii haters are saying if you are talking about those types of games.

ASCII tiles give off an “early prototype” vibe, which costs you users on first impression. Even the most basic artwork would probably double the number of casual gamers who’d take a second look.

But I haven’t yet seen a roguelike with a tiled graphics mode that wasn’t much more playable in ASCII mode (e.g. Nethack, Angband). The graphical roguelikes that have been most playable have been the ones that didn’t have an ASCII mode, and simplified the gameplay to the extent that a lot of people don’t consider them roguelikes at all (e.g. Diablo, Toejam and Earl).

Yeah, TOME and Dwarf Fortress both have very “busy” ASCII, so the screens look very cluttered and confusing. Still, I usually prefer ASCII. And you are all missing one key benefit of ASCII over graphical tiles: ASCII makes it easier to get away with playing the game at work.