The New Dwarf Fortress Animals Are Magnificent

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The upcoming revamped Steam version of Dwarf Fortress is one of my most anticipated games, even though I only spent five minutes playing the original before shutting it down in terrified. For anyone intimidated by the harsh ASCII art of the original game, the Steam version’s more accessible pixel art should eliminate some the difficulty of entering the dwarven fortress.

Pixel artist Neoriceisgood collaborated with Bay 12 Games on some character sprites for the graphics upgrade, and they look gorgeous. In particular, Neoriceisgood has created almost 200 different animal sprites. Rather than, say, a “man cave swallow” represented by a lowercase “s”, it will look like, well, a man cave swallow. If you check the list of animals on the Dwarf Fortress wiki, you’ll see that there are a lot of them, ranging from Wombat Man to Damselfly Man and my favorite: Tick Man.

Animals can be wild characters encountered on your journey through the Dwarven Stronghold, or they can be playable in the original game’s Adventure mode. Although they are half-human, they tend to have their own traits that suit the animal they resemble, so you can probably expect the cave swallow to have the ability to fly. Here are the screenshots (I particularly like what I assume is Kangaroo Man):

Animals can be friends or foes, but because they’re part animal, you shouldn’t take their behavior for granted. “You have to remember where they come from,” reads the Steam Update. “You should always watch yourself around wildlife. Even recently domesticated ones are only a step away from wild savagery. Respect for nature is the best defense against wild animal behavior. The environment exists in a state of fragile balance, if the elves are to be believed. . Destroying the habitat of animal peoples makes you their greatest natural enemy. Beware in the wild lest you suffer their wrath!”

Bay 12 Games has been posting updates on the project for a while: in April we saw the news, much more parsable character sheets. More sensational was a video about killing goblins in a cursed hallway. I’m super excited to give Dwarf Fortress another chance when the new version is ready, although it may take a while: “time is subjective”, reads the release date on Steam.

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