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Dwarf Fortress makes more sense with graphics, watch the new Steam trailer

A complete overhaul for the famously intimidating game

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Dwarf Fortress, the famously complex colony simulation from the two-person team at Bay 12 Games, is coming to Steam. During the Guerilla Collective online games festival on Saturday, co-creator Tarn Adams gave the world its first look at the brand new version of the game in motion.

Dwarf Fortress has been in continuous development since 2003, but it has not yet featured a proper set of graphics, relying instead on ASCII placeholder symbols. Bay 12 announced a partnership with Kitfox Games in 2019 to create a separate Steam version of the game, and has slowly been sharing progress over the past few months. No release date or price has been set, but work continues on the original version of the game — which remains free-to-play — alongside the new version.

Today’s trailer gave fans their first look at world generation, which creates a massive fantasy landscape and then runs a historical simulation on top of it. There’s just one dwarf model right now, but Adams promises many more variations are on the way. Even the extremely challenging menu systems will be getting an update.

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