There’s a subset of Dwarf Fortress gamers who do not actually play Dwarf Fortress. They do not handle a mini civilization, retaining their dwarves fed or doing battle with elves. They do not play the Journey mode, both, to traverse their generated Dwarf Fortress world in a ground-level roguelike. 

They learn. They’re archeologists who use Dwarf Fortress’s procedural technology techniques to create 100 or thousand or 10,000 years of simulated historical past after which pore over the tales that come from it. I’ve learn paperback fantasy novels much less fascinating than the worlds Dwarf Fortress snaps into existence with just a few megabytes of code and a few CPU grunt behind it.

But the historical past Dwarf Fortress can create now’s rudimentary subsequent to what Tarn and Zach Adams have deliberate. Their subsequent large endeavor, after some remaining upgrades to the Steam model and some small however important options, can be a magic and fantasy system they have been speaking about for 5 years, and dreaming about since jotting down their first notes for Dwarf Fortress 20 years in the past. 

“We have now pages and pages of notes, virtually for the reason that starting,” Zach says.

“For a fantasy game, we do not have a lot [fantasy] now,” says Tarn. “We have now just a little little bit of interplay with gods, and we’ve got necromancy. However the plan for the game, after we get via this Steam course of and some issues, the large plan is to do procedural creation myths after which have these creation myths actually have an effect on every part that comes after.”

For instance: “If there have been two worlds going through one another throughout an enormous void… you may get that,” he says. “The magic techniques will relate to what we generated in these creation myths in a means that is extra how a novel feels. Every thing is smart and works collectively, and the maps will be capable to change extra.”

Alongside this basic overhaul to how Dwarf Fortress worlds are procedurally generated, Adams plans to develop instruments for gamers to edit maps and myths themselves. Consider it just like the distinction between Survival and Artistic modes in Minecraft. For years Dwarf Fortress has been centered on the survival side of simulating a Dwarven civilization, however with the myths & magic update, you’ll play god whereas actually creating and naming the gods your dwarves worship.

Dwarf Fortress is already an distinctive story generator. (Picture credit score: Bay12 Video games)

“The concept is that folks can construct their very own worlds that they will share which can be extra static, they usually can do extra creative work,” Tarn says. “If you happen to’re making a Greek gods mod, you might put all the particular Greek gods, Zeus and many others., and provides them personalities that match. Zeus would have some sliders set fairly far over in a single route or one other, right? You too can work within the thunder stuff.

“Then say you could have a selected picture of Olympus in your thoughts, you might simply actually draw that in an editor. Although the remainder of the world could also be generated, it’d have this static half glued on a part of it that is a part of your Greek gods mod. That’d be cool, right? After which you possibly can journey there in Journey mode.”

This update is probably going nonetheless years away; the Adams brothers have a historical past of spending 2-3 years engaged on Dwarf Fortress’s most complicated updates. As Zach explains, the procedural technology side of the magic system itself is not what is going on to take so lengthy to create; it is actually rewriting how Dwarf Fortress’s maps work that is the largest impediment.

Presently the map is comprised of easy layers. Dig down far sufficient via the crust of the earth and you may hit magma. Alongside magic the world’s layers will now not be completely stacked and horizontal in order that they will do issues like have forests that magically disappear beneath the sunshine of a full moon, or teleport your dwarves to a fantasy pocket universe.

Dwarf Fortress, but a wizard

(Picture credit score: Bay 12 Video games)

“I’ve at all times considered the magic system like an enormous debugger,” Tarn says. “It has to have, like, an API that hooks into as a lot stuff as you possibly can within the game. Are you able to make a love potion that will truly have an effect on ideas and relationships that exist already? We have now a lot to work with, which is what is going on to make this a lot enjoyable to work on. It is like payoff for all of the work we have been doing, lastly making this an precise fantasy game, fairly than simply having some fantasy components. It may be a lot stuff.”

Tarn talked about their plans for the magic system in-depth again in 2017, however now I am enthusiastic about it another time, with the Steam model reaching tons of of 1000’s of recent gamers. Magic is not the very subsequent function they’re tackling: the Adams’ have some excellent Steam options to complete, and upgrades to the villain and army techniques. It will be some time but. However in the event you’re marveling at every part Dwarf Fortress can do now, simply give it just a few years. It is gonna be a complete new world.