Dwarf Fortress, Now in 3D ... sort of.

I’ve made no secret of my love for Bay 12 Games’ Dwarf Fortress. I’ve returned to it this holiday season only to find there’s been a significant change: the game is now 3D.

It’s still a roguelike, mind you. But the environments now encompass a huge number of z-levels, which you can step through with the < and > keys.

I’m of two minds about this development. On the positive side, it brings a lot of freshness and variety to the game, and opens up a lot of interesting possibilities, particularly with respect to moving water and magma about. On the other hand, the user interface of Dwarf Fortress was already fairly punishingly bad, and this isn’t helping.

Perhaps a more significant change is that sites are more varied now. In previous versions of the game, every mountain was (essentially) guaranteed to have an underground river, a chasm, and a magma river. Now, you have a lot more flexibility. You can build your settlement on a mountain, or the plains (digging underneath the surface, naturally), or a glacier, or on the shore. It’s entirely possible to choose a site with no magma (or, as I have discovered in my current game, no unfrozen running water. Talk about a challenge).

For added niftiness, someone has created a 3D visualizer for Dwarf Fortress maps.

I’m currently playing it on my Mac via codeweavers’ CrossOver, and it works great. The author of the game, Tarn Adams, is currently trying to get it working under MacOS X natively. I can’t wait.