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A Dwarf Fortress Guide - Or How I Learned To Love ASCII Dorfs


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#1 Deets

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 02:46 PM

For the un-initiated go here,

http://www.thetales....?showtopic=2295

Interested in trying it yourself? Read on then.

Download the game from here,
http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/
Or from here to have some tilesets as well (recommended tbh)
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=XPRO3NJ0

Generate a world first, this can take a while, then start a new game.

Once your world is generated and you've chosen your starting area (make sure you have tree and a fresh water source) you'll be asked to press Enter to check what you're taking or push space to get on with it. Push Enter and you'll be taken to a screen which allows you to choose what skills to assign to your initial 7 Dorfs and what stuff they will bring with them.

For skills you basically want to follow something along the guidelines below,

Miner Dorf
10 Mining

Mason Dorf
8 Mason
6 Engraver

Carpenter and Woodcutting Dorf
8 Woodcutter
8 Carpenter

Mechanic and Stuff Dorf
8 Mechanic
6 Metalsmith
6 Mason

Fisher and Farmer Dorf
8 FisherDorf
7 Grower

Farmer and Hunter Dorf
8 Grower
7 Trapper

Jack of all Trades Dorf (the Dorf that can help the important Dorfs or replace them should they die)
6 Mining
6 Woodcutter
6 Grower
7 Cook
7 Brewer

Attached File  1dfstartdwarves.png   71.11K   3 downloads

This covers all the skills you'll need to survive your first winter, once spring comes again you'll get some immigrants with a random set of skills. This distribution of skills means that if your primary miner dies you have someone who can realistically pick up the pick and so on with all the critical skills.
I suggest you customize the names of the dorfs as well to make it easier to tell them apart. With a dorf highlighted push c and then n.

For items I usually go with the following.

Attached File  2dfstartitems.png   67.64K   3 downloads

Their are a few absolute necessities and they are the following,

Plump Helmet Spawns (basically seeds, these can be grown on farms and eaten. They can also be used to brew Dorfen Wine. As such, they are this: AWESOME.
Pig Tail seeds (nice to have some variety in the diet, though I dunno if that really matters ¬_¬)
Booze (Like Humans, Dorfs NEED booze to survive. Without it they will work slower and become depressed. Take 3 different types with you as some Dorfs like
wine more than ale etc)
2 x pics (Strike the earth!)
1 x axe (Strike the trees!)
1 x anvil (Strike the metal!)
Meat (to keep your Dorfs alive through the first spring, summer and autumn. A good choice is turtles, since you can eat them and then use the bones and shells left over to make crafts to trade with the first caravan that visits your fortress).

With what ever points I have left I'll grab some animals. Dorfs are animal lovers see. Bit of companionship. I throw in a hunting dog and a war dog. The thin red line if any weedy carnivores turn up.

Once you've made your choices push e to embark.

Attached File  3start.png   105.33K   4 downloads

You'll see something like that. This actually seems a fairly awesome starting location, as I have trees, fresh water and a cliff face which means that if I want to I don't have to bother with the pesky z axis. If you have no cliff then it's slightly more complicated but I'll get to that.

Let me explain the initial interface then. Pushing tab will rotate you through the three views available, push them lots until you only have local as 2/3rds of the screen and menu showing in 1/3rd.

1. Local area and where you'll spend the large majority of your time.
2. That's the menu section. It will also display information about highlighted things and some other stuff too.
3. This is like the minimap. Initially this is largely useless and you don't really need it at all tbh.
4. This tells you what "level" you're looking at on the Z Axis. (With numlock off) Shift 5 will move you up the axis and Ctrl 5 will move you down.
5. How many of your Dorf have nothing to do, or are too sad or injured to work.

Let's get cracking then. First things to do are the following.

Pause the game by pressing space.
Dismantle the wagon. Do that by pushing q (Set Building Tasks\Prefs). A little yellow x will appear in the local area map, which you can move around using the cursor keys. Move it over the wagon and the menu section will tell you what you've highlighted and any actions you can take on that building (yes, the wagon is considered a building). Push x to set it to be dismantled. Push space till you're back back to the top level menu (generally space is like Esc for menus).
Push p to set out where you want items to be stockpiled. A little green cross will appear on the map, in the menu section you'll see a load of different stockpiles, pick wood by pushing w. Find an area near some trees and push enter once to choose one corner and then move the green cross 5 squares horizontally and 5 square vertically with the cursor keys, push enter again and you will have painted a rectangle on the ground which tells your Dorfs where to stockpile the wood that the woodcutter Dorf will produce. Do the same thing with food and stone.
We've assigned stockpiles but right now the miner and woodcutter are doing bollock all. You need to designate areas for mining and chopping. Push d and you'll see another list, push d again and in the same way you set stockpiles designate where you want the miner to mine (tip: Don't mine out massive areas more than 7 x 7, or the roof will cave in and kill anyone in the area. If you're digging rooms bigger than that leave one block in the center as a roof support).

You might not have a cliff face near your starting area in which case you'll need to mine some downstairs on the surface first, then Ctrl 5 and designate some upstairs in the same place as in the above level, then you can start digging out corridors and rooms as described above underneath the surface instead of into a mountain face. You might have to dig down several levels before you hit stone (which you WILL need as a raw material) so don't stop after the first level (which you can use for farming, since it's all mud), keep going down for stone and ore.

Attached File  4beginnings.png   96.95K   4 downloads

1. Designated areas in the cliff face for mining.
2. Stockpile for stone. Wood is out of the shot.
3. These are trees designated to be chopped (snowcovered pines to be exact, hence them being white and not green. We're on the cusp of spring still see).
They flash yellow in game which I didn't capture in this screenie.
4. Food stockpile. All the food we brought will be moved from the wagon to here before the carpenter dismantles the wagon.

Once all that's done, push space again for the game to resume. Watch your industrious little Dorfs go to work!

Attached File  5beginnings2.png   89.87K   3 downloads

Idlers are 0. Everyone is busy. Hurrah! An industrious Dorf is a happy Dorf.

Ok, pretty much those basics will see you through. The only other things to mention are Dorf job management, and buildings and building management.

Dorfs
Two things to consider here. First is how to assign jobs or see which dorf is doing what. Push j and you'll see a summary of your dorfs. Push m to go into the manager and type FISH. Choose catch live fish and select a number. This will be entered into the job list and the fisher dwarf will get right on it. The other thing to consider is to push v, move the yellow cross near to each dorf. This gives you info on the dorfs attitude, what he's carrying and what he's allowed to do. Push p and then l. A list will be presented for that dorf, and you can choose what that dorf should be allowed to do. Find your miner (move the yellow x with cursor keys) and turn off everything in the list (use +- to go up down list and Enter to select\deselect) except mining. That dorf needs to be focused. If at any time you spot your Mechanic hauling stone or other items instead of making switches or traps, this is where you can tell him what to do or not to do.

Attached File  6whatdwarvesdowhat.png   83.03K   3 downloads

Buildings
You have 3 dorfs that require a workshop before they can use their skills, the Mason dorf, the Carpenter Dorf and the Mechanic Dorf. Get your miner to dig out a room. Once done push b, then w and choose the Mason workshop and place it one corner of the room. Do the same with the carpenters workshop and put it in the other corner. Inbetween assign a furniture stockpile. To assign jobs to each workshop push q (like with the wagon) and highlight the workshop and the push a, and choose what you want to make. Might be furnitire or it might be a component. For example, assign the Carpenter to make a bucket and the Mason to make a block. You now have the parts required to build a well, water to supplement the booze.

Attached File  7buildings.png   88.3K   3 downloads

That's it. You've learned the basic principles to play the game. Your next priority is to set up a farm, which is very much like setting up a workshop or a stockpile. Read the wiki to find out how.

Build your dorfs a barracks and fill it with beds so they don't have to sleep on the ground. Build them a dining room with tables and chairs so they don't have to eat on the floor. And so on.

All that you will need now is the wiki, both the new one and the one that's been archived, which are here.

New: http://www.dwarffort...x.php/Main_Page

Archived: http://archive.dwarf...x.php/Main_Page (this may contain information that is now incorrect)

One final thing to remember. The aim of the game at the beginning is to survive. Odds are you will lose and your dorfs will die. However, you will learn and try again. Losing is fun! Remember that; and remember that they are your dorfs and you should get attached to them as the game goes on. Love them. Laugh with them and cry with them. They are your children and they depend on you. No pressure. Remember that.

Now go: STRIKE THE EARTH!
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#2 Male Taylor Swift

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 02:51 PM

Oh, man, Feet, you are a LEGEND.
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#3 Janek

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 02:56 PM

:thumbup1:
I have no idea what Hammertime is. Or how it differs from regular time.

Sandwiches are better than people. You can put anything you want in a sandwich, and it won't complain.

You spin me right round, baby, right round, in a manner depriving me of an inertial reference frame. Baby.

#4 Masked Dave

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 02:58 PM

Dorf?
"It's amazing how deep we had to drill to find our key difference, but it seems that whilst I am Amazing you are Ultimate." - Lu

Then I thought: "Hang on, I know what might be going on here. Maybe everyone involved in this dispute is awful." It would explain a lot. Most people, if they're not very religious and see someone displaying a cross, would think anything from: "Nothing wrong with that" to: "Mental note: this guy's a bit of a God-botherer – don't get stuck with him at a party." It takes quite a leap of self-importance to decide: "I'm going to put a stop to that!"
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#5 Deets

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 03:06 PM

I'm sure myself, Jan or CDave can field questions or clarify anything unclear. Like controls and stuff. Once you ahve the general concept of how to get around the nemus and the other interface bits, your best bet is just to try stuff out.

And I spent 2 hours typing that up at work. Woo for 14 month redundancy notice! :P


And yes, Dorf. It's DRs fault.

EDIT: one thing I forgot to mention, the game classifies alot of stuff as buildings even though they really arn't. Like wagons. And furniture. And doors. For example, if you tell your mason to make some nice stone doors at the Mason Workshop (so your dorfs can have a bit of privacy), they'll be moved to the furniture stockpile once made. You place them in exactly the same way you would place a building, push b and find Place Door (somehting like that) and then use cursor keys to place it. :)
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#6 Insert Name Here

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 01:09 PM

I've been having a go at this...

I'm slowly getting there. I forgot to buy an axe, so can't cut down any trees, had a few problems building stairs, then assigned some guys to soldiering without realising so they stood around doing nothing. But I've finally managed to dig out some rooms.
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#7 Deets

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 01:36 PM

Not having wood isn't the end of the world in the short term, it will cause you problems in the long though. You might survive your first winter but unless you can trade for an axe when the caravan comes, or one of the immigrants brings one with them, your fort will not be able to grow in some crucial areas. Carry on playing as a learning excercise. I also realise that my description of how to build stairs is slightly vague so I'll go correct it now.
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#8 Janek

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 01:39 PM

Also you can trade for wood if absolutely necessary. But yeah wood is vital in the long-term, unless you happen to find a source of magma.
I have no idea what Hammertime is. Or how it differs from regular time.

Sandwiches are better than people. You can put anything you want in a sandwich, and it won't complain.

You spin me right round, baby, right round, in a manner depriving me of an inertial reference frame. Baby.

#9 Insert Name Here

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 01:41 PM

How easy is it to make my own axe?
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#10 Janek

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 01:44 PM

Not easy.

Ironically you'll need quite a lot of wood to get all the metal production going.
I have no idea what Hammertime is. Or how it differs from regular time.

Sandwiches are better than people. You can put anything you want in a sandwich, and it won't complain.

You spin me right round, baby, right round, in a manner depriving me of an inertial reference frame. Baby.

#11 Deets

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 01:46 PM

Not all that easy, it has several stages.

You need a metalsmith dorf.
A metalsmith workshop.
Iron ore (called something weird ingame).
An anvil.

Then you need fuel. If you haven't found any coal, you'll need to turn wood into charcoal, so yuo'll need to build a Woodburner and burn some of the wood you'll have got from dismantling the wagon. Then you'll use the charcoal with the ore at a Smelter to smelt the ore into metal bars. Then yuo'll use more charcoal to make something with the bars at the metalsmith workshop. In this case an axe. Question is do you have enough wood from dismantling the wagon (assuming you haven't found coal)? Probably not is the answer.
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#12 Insert Name Here

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 01:46 PM

Bah. What about irrigation/farming? Through some reading of the wiki I've managed to work out that I can only plant the seeds I got at the start underground, but I need to find soil to do that, or irrigate, but that looks even more complicated.

EDIT: Ooh, looks like I've found some silt!
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#13 Deets

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 01:50 PM

Locate a water source and tunnel toward it or under it. You should find Loam nearby (you can check what it is you are mining through by pushing k and moving the yellow cross across the places you've dug.) If you find loam then dig out a 5 x 5 plot and follow instructions in the wiki for starting a farm. If you can't find loam then you'll need to irrigate first. And that is complicated, especially since I'm not sure how irrigation has changed in this version.
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#14 Innokenti

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 05:42 PM

So is the objective of this game to be entirely and pointlessly complicated?
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#15 Deets

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:12 PM

View Postinnokenti, on Nov 2 2007, 05:42 PM, said:

So is the objective of this game to be entirely and pointlessly complicated?

The object of the game is to frustrate those with puny brains. And kenti. :P

No. Here's the thing with Dwarf Fortress, and why it's so popular.

It's the graphics.

Or rather, it's the lack of graphics. No animation, no polygons, no models, no textures, no high resolution. This is what makes the game great.

Since the coders can concentrate entirely on the actual game part. Which is why there's soooo much to it. My brief guide barely scratches the surface, it's literally only to introduce you to common menus and how to get to them. The part I described is about 10 minutes of gameplay, but there's so much depth, so many layers, so much to manage that's fun. Here's a picture of someone's fortress,

http://img213.images...fesholontx7.png
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#16 Innokenti

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:16 PM

But the thing is, you need to become an expert at it to get any level of depth out of it. Sure, it's great not concentrating on the graphics, all for that, but why not spend time on gameplay?

There's no need to say, dumb it down, but it would help to make it user-friendly and accessible. The beauty of a good game is when you think "I want to do this" and then knowing (or knowing how to get to) which buttons to press to try achieve it.
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#17 Male Taylor Swift

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:20 PM

Kenti, I think you have to accept that some things just aren't for you. This may be one of them; the fact that it doesn't pander to you or I is probably part of what makes it so enjoyable for Janek and Feet. There is no sense of being wrapped in cotton wool.
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#18 Inflammable Jim

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:35 PM

Aye, if you want slightly more accessible, there's always Pharoah and suchlike.
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#19 Innokenti

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:51 PM

View PostJosh, on Nov 2 2007, 07:20 PM, said:

Kenti, I think you have to accept that some things just aren't for you. This may be one of them; the fact that it doesn't pander to you or I is probably part of what makes it so enjoyable for Janek and Feet. There is no sense of being wrapped in cotton wool.

Oh no, I accept that! I just wonder if it's possible to figure everyone in there and make it as appealing for Jan as for you. It would certainly be worth a try methinks.


Jim - Pharaoh, Caesar and the ilk are all very well, but they fail on the user-friendly front too to some degree.
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#20 Deets

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 07:15 PM

You get mouse control and a reasonable GUI in Pharaoh. What more do you want?
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#21 Masked Dave

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 09:26 PM

I agree with Kenti, in that I can see that the game is fun, but just getting to a place where you are able to play it seems like hard work. If it's hard because of the mechanics of the game then that's fine, but if it's just because you can't work out how to make a staircase... well, that's just bad design.

Edit: Although please note, I'm not knocking the designers ability here, I think this is an astounding achievement. Just that there's room for improvement.
"It's amazing how deep we had to drill to find our key difference, but it seems that whilst I am Amazing you are Ultimate." - Lu

Then I thought: "Hang on, I know what might be going on here. Maybe everyone involved in this dispute is awful." It would explain a lot. Most people, if they're not very religious and see someone displaying a cross, would think anything from: "Nothing wrong with that" to: "Mental note: this guy's a bit of a God-botherer – don't get stuck with him at a party." It takes quite a leap of self-importance to decide: "I'm going to put a stop to that!"
David Mitchell

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#22 Dystopian Rhetoric

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 02:30 AM

Toady, the developer, recognises the need for a better interface and more documentation, and implementing that sort of thing is one of the major arcs he's got down as being a requirement for version 1.0. It may well take a couple of years to actually get there...

#23 Insert Name Here

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 10:31 AM

I found by a couple of hours I knew pretty much what was going on, and I think my second attempt should be a bit more successful. Yeah, the initial step is quite big, but you soon get the hang of the various menus.
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#24 Deets

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 10:46 AM

View PostDystopian Rhetoric, on Nov 3 2007, 02:30 AM, said:

Toady, the developer, recognises the need for a better interface and more documentation, and implementing that sort of thing is one of the major arcs he's got down as being a requirement for version 1.0. It may well take a couple of years to actually get there...

I'd much rather he concentrate on things like adding a z axis (and all that entails), or other improvements to the actually game. The interface really isn't all that bad once you get to grips with the menus you need most regularly. And there IS an existing logical system as well, for example when I was learning it sometimes seemed non-sensical why some menus let you use cursor keys to scroll and some you needed -+ to scroll. Then I worked out that some meus you used the cusor keys to move the "selection cross" (kinda like a mouse pointer). It's this kind of thing you need to get used to, like INH.
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#25 Insert Name Here

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 11:09 AM

Yeah, that change between arrows and +- is confusing at first but then it makes sense.

What do you mean about adding a z-axis though Feet? Surely this most recent version does?
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