Tag Archives: dwarf fortress

the saga of tickwire – part 2

Early Spring 251

We have just arrived at the future site of Tickwire, fortress of … fortitude or something. It looks like our initial pack animals are a male horse and a female donkey. Normally, this would mean that we could breed mules, but I am pretty sure the game overlooks that sort of thing because it would be one of the only viable cross-breeds possible.


Our initial loadout is full of animals. One of our first priorities will be setting up nests for the turkeys and pasture for the sheep and goats. But, before we do that, we need to look around.
Continue reading the saga of tickwire – part 2

the saga of tickwire – part 1

As is wont to happen, Dwarf Fortress was mentioned during the lunchtime video game discussion I was having with coworkers… and I grew homesick. And after looking at the dev blog’s depressing changelog, I decided that it would be pointless to wait any longer for a new release. I’m going to start playing DF again now (v0.34.11).

Between Rift with family, Diablo with friends, and Minecraft with umm, the Minecraft community(?) where do I plan on finding time to play DF? Everywhere. Since DF is such a pause heavy, information dense game, I need to take extensive notes… which I may as well attempt to make entertaining.

So. I am going to attempt to take notes in a more narrative way than I normally do – and take enough notes that I can actually keep track of what’s going on when play alternates between 3 different locations and 7am, lunch, and 2am. It’s going to take forever, but it should be fun. Wish me luck.


I created a world with the default settings and made a sandwich. Or at least, I would have made a sandwich if I was somewhere I could have done that. What I actually did was kick off a stubborn recompile on the build server and think about sandwiches while both it and the world creation ran. The recompile finished first.

When my world finally finished and I hit embark, I was presented with this interesting decision:
I am always tempted to accept the first location the game proposes, largely because I find the search so tedious, but also because it has resulted in some interesting challenges in the past.
Continue reading the saga of tickwire – part 1

dwarf fortress loadout manifesto

Dwarf Fortress is a notoriously complex game, and it isn’t getting any simpler. The barriers to entry are enormous. One of the worst culprits is the process of saying “Hey, I want to start a new game”. Before you start actually bossing dwarves around, you must:

  1. Create a world. This is trivial but time consuming, even on modern hardware – the process is increasingly complex with each build. Thankfully, you only have to do this once, so I consider this the final part of “installing” the game.
  2. Choose an embark location. This is fairly simple but possibly equally time consuming – because see #1. The world is big and there are a lot of possible places you might want to go. Some simple advice can help you get through this quickly enough, and I’ll address this later.
  3. Choose an embark loadout. This should be simple but is one of those choices that can bite you. You can either choose your own dwarves and equipment or you can trust the ever-changing default loadout. Traditionally, the default loadout is pretty mediocre and leaves a lot of room for improvement. I would like to go over my preferred build and the reasons behind it – as well as some reasons to do something else.

I have taken various levels of notes during 14 different playthroughs over the years (starting with 40d up to and including v0.34 builds). Using my notes as reference, I’d like to propose exactly how a person might consider going about the process of choosing an initial loadout.

The current (v0.34.11) default starting loadout is better imho than previous initial loadouts, but it’s still suboptimal – and leaves you open to several potential problems during your first year. If you are aware of your loadout and take care in your embark, you’ll be fine – but isn’t part of the point of the default that it should “just work”?
Continue reading dwarf fortress loadout manifesto