If you’ve not played Dwarf Fortress, the staggeringly detailed fantasy world simulator, you can’t fully comprehend what a nightmare it is to play. It’s not the ASCII gaphics that bamboozle you, it’s the menus, which hide information and common actions across umpteen different enormous menus, each of which must be accessed with a different button press.
Look at the screenshot above, then. You might think it looks like the UI from an early 2000s Paradox game that’s yet to have an art pass. But to me, it looks like heaven.
This is an in-progress view of the menus from Kitfox’s upcoming Steam re-release of Dwarf Fortress, which aims to make the game accessible with a good tileset and a set of menu improvements. What you’re seeing above hasn’t had an art pass yet, according to the Steam blog post about it, but it represents an attempt to bring important information and actions together in one place when the player is inspecting a particular tile and the creatures upon it.
“The tabs and overview boxes are still in flux but the screenshot here is where we are so far in-game,” reads the post. “Between physical attributes, mental attributes, personality facets, and beliefs, the game picks the strongest or most unique six and displays them in the overview. You’ll still be able to get at the full set of data within the tabs; the intent of these boxes is to answer simple questions and provide the best flavor and context. The same is true for items, skills, positions and the rest. The full data and options can be found in tabs, with a short summary at the top level.”
If there is more than one dwarf or creature on the tile you’re inspecting, you’ll be able to cycle through them via “little tabs that pop on the right side.” This should make it easier to cycle through the birds in Nate’s bird hole, for example.
There’s no proposed release date for the Steam version of Dwarf Fortress yet, but there are multiple development updates each month for anyone who wants to follow along. It’s the game I’m most looking forward to in the world.