Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dwarf Fortress video tutorial

If you're looking to get started in Dwarf Fortress, without spending a few days studying the wiki, this video tutorial by DJ Fogey might be your best bet. (You might need the wiki anyway, but not so much.) I just stumbled across it, and thought I'd post the first clip here.

Dwarf Fortress is a great game - and free to play - but it's not exactly user-friendly. This video tutorial helps by using the Lazy Newb Pack, but also by being extremely clear to understand. And he pauses the video to skip a lot of the waiting.

I must say that Dwarf Fortress isn't exactly the most thrilling game to watch (although it's great fun to play), and although there are a million play-throughs on YouTube, they're not always too entertaining. Besides, many of the other tutorials are from previous versions of the game and aren't entirely accurate - or, at least, not completely up-to-date - now.

Admittedly, there should be a new version of Dwarf Fortress out soon, but I think the upcoming revision will mostly affect Adventure Mode, not Fortress Mode, which is the gameplay demonstrated here. I'd really like to start a new game myself, but I want to wait for the new version. Unfortunately, I'll have less and less time to play as spring gets closer.

I've only watched the first few videos of this tutorial series, but it should get you started pretty easily (well, as easily as anything in Dwarf Fortress). The motto of the game is "Losing Is Fun," so you just have to jump in and play. However, that's easier said than done, especially if you don't have the slightest idea what you're supposed to be doing.

It's been a year and a half since my last play of the game (documented here and here), and I didn't stick with it for long. But that's because I don't stick with anything for long. I really do love the game.

I did play Adventure Mode a bit last summer, and that was far improved from the first time I tried it. I'm anxious to see what he's done with that in the upcoming version, too.

But Fortress Mode is the heart and soul of Dwarf Fortress. There really is no other game like it. It's a labor of love for Tarn Adams, which is both good and bad. The interface is truly atrocious. And the graphics are non-existent. (I highly recommend one of the graphics packs. Note that the Lazy Newb Pack makes that easy, too.)

But, oh, it's an incredible game. As I say, the game is completely free to play. The developer lives on voluntary donations from his fans (more than $42,000 last year; $54,000 in 2010). He's not going to get rich from this game (although he's been offered a lot of money to license it to other developers), but he's doing what he really wants to do.

Edit: Note that I posted some detailed instructions for beginners here.

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