Dwarf Fortress is a simulation game that is probably most widely known as an ASCII game that is prohibitively complicated. While the graphics are ASCII-based, and while it is one of the deepest, most complicated simulation games out there, Dwarf Fortress is not nearly as hard to get started with as people think it is. I could try to sum up how to get started, but the best resource by far comes from the official wiki.
Dwarf Fortress Wiki Quickstart Guide
If you’re a Dwarf Fortress beginner and are looking for a guide to help you get started, there is no better option than the Dwarf Fortress Wiki Quickstart Guide. The quickstart guide will only teach you what you need to know to have a functioning fortress up-and-running, and lets you figure out more of the game once it seems less intimidating. In fact, if you just follow the quickstart guide (which shouldn’t take any more than half an hour), you might not even feel like installing any mods like the Dwarf Fortress Therapist or the Lazy Newb Pack.
Things To Keep In Mind When Learning Dwarf Fortress
One of the most important things to keep in mind about Dwarf Fortress has to do with its graphics. In some games, like Nethack, you have to remember what each ASCII character represents, like doors, stairways, enemies, and items. This is not the case in Dwarf Fortress. In Dwarf Fortress, you can just navigate your cursor onto any character and the game will tell you what that character represents on the right side of the screen. This way, you never have to wonder or alt-tab to Google to figure it out.
If you’re exploring around trying to figure what each character means, you can pause the game so that you don’t neglect your fortress while doing so. This is another key of getting started with Dwarf Fortress: pausing. If you don’t pause the game, your fortress can quickly succumb to disaster before you even know what’s going on. While you’re learning the ropes, make sure you always have the game paused.
Finally, the last thing is to not be intimidated and just focus on the basics. There are a million things in Dwarf Fortress that can be confusing at first, so just stick to the fundamentals (feeding your dwarves and keeping your fortress safe) and figure out the rest later. It’s really quite simple if you just follow the quickstart guide.
Have Fun With Dwarf Fortress!
At the end of the day, Dwarf Fortress is an incredible game development achievement, as you can play god in a way no other game truly offers. It’s sometimes thought of as an ASCII Minecraft, but it not only predates Minecraft but also far outpaces it when it comes to what you can do in-game. Since there’s so much going on under the hood, your computer needs to be pretty solid to handle a full-sized world with a rich history as your fortress gets into the later stages. If you stick with small worlds and small fortresses, though, Dwarf Fortress can be one of those games you play on every computer you get your hands on.