Dwarf Fortress, a game that has been around forever and will be around forever, has never been the most welcoming experience for the average, curious player. Something its developers have finally decided to work on for the game’s upcoming Steam release.
Writing on the game’s store page, co-creator Zach Adams says:
Dwarf Fortress has the well-earned title of being one of the most torturous games to learn. There is a lot going on, even after we changed all the ridiculous keyboard commands and replaced the Matrix-like interface with some understandable, and awesome, pixel art. It still needs something. Something to ease the need to head straight to a wiki just to understand what’s going on. The answer is the tutorial of course.
Zach shared some screenshots of the new tutorial in action, showing stuff like initial greetings, and guides to basics like woodcutting and stockpiling your resources:
“To make the tutorial all it can be, we found the ultimate play tester: my wife Annie”, Zach says. “There are a lot of base-building games out there now, enough to make Dwarf Fortress easier to get into. She doesn’t play any of them. The closest she gets to DF is Overcooked 2. After one failed attempt with the original, the latest version of the tutorial allowed her to get good enough at the game to tunnel under a bog and drown her fortress.”
The Adams brothers first started working on Dwarf Fortress in 2002, so why only get around to this now? The upcoming re-release of the game on Steam seems as good an excuse as any, of course, since dropping the game on Valve’s shopfront—which will also bring stuff like much-improved visuals—will be exposing the game to a potentially huge audience of new and curious players.
“Our aim is to make this level of play achievable by anyone”, Zach writes. “We want the world to be able to lose this game and have fun doing it.”
The Steam version of Dwarf Fortress doesn’t yet have an official release date, though fans digging through SteamDB think it’ll be coming sometime in early 2023.