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Dwarf Fortress Development

Dwarf Fortress Development

Overview

The long-term goal is to create a fantasy world simulator in which it is possible to take part in a rich history, occupying a variety of roles through the course of several games. Dwarf Fortress has been in development on-and-off since 2002 and consistently since 2006. The game is designed by Tarn and Zach Adams. Fan suggestions are welcome. The suggestion forum can be found here.

It has also proven too time-consuming to maintain all of the notes in a presentable form, so we're sticking with incomplete lists for the foreseeable future. This page doesn't represent everything we'd like to do. It just has some of the things we're thinking about doing sooner rather than later. We'll be adding to it as specific roadmaps are drawn up and we are closer to using them. There is a discussion thread on the forum.

Color Key

Section Subsection Future Goal
Partially Done Done, Next Release Done, Released

Upcoming Development

The next major goal is to do some work on job prioritization in fortress mode. Then we'll take a break for some fun additions -- taverns and non-player artifacts. Finally, we'll do a lot of foundational work culminating in starting scenarios for your fortresses. These changes touch upon law, property, status, diplomacy and so on, which will position us for economic work and thief role development, though we haven't committed to a direction beyond the four sections below. We're planning to work bug fixes and small changes in as we proceed through the following in order.

Job Priorities

  • Move from jobs-pick-dwarves to a mixed system that can consider more factors together, allowing skilled dwarves to generally perform skilled jobs while not forcing the player to forbid them from hauling entirely, and allowing rare important jobs like trading to be prioritized
  • Do-this-now prioritization which might stress the selected dwarf but will get the job done
  • Ability of workshop jobs to steal from nearby hauling jobs if the item's location is close
  • Explore ordered mining and other mining options
Generally, we'd prefer to stay away from spreadsheets or a numbers-oriented priotization for specific labors on the labor list. We'd rather see the labor list removed entirely in many circumstances, depending on fortress citizen status, but that'll have to wait until starting scenarios are completed. We're also holding off on "work crew" approaches for similar reasons, and it's quite possible these might arise with guilds and other features when the nature of the fortress is understood through the scenario.

Inns and taverns

  • In the Fortress
    • Lay out the basic rooms/furniture in several associated zones
    • Fortress guests include merchants, diplomats, adventurers, mercenaries, bandits, travelers, etc.
      • Your dwarves can also visit
      • Extra interactions with certain guests, including the ability to hire them
    • Musical instrument use, dancing, storytelling, etc.
      • This carries over to all dwarven parties
    • Set prices/activities
      • Dwarves perform related jobs, serving and otherwise entertaining guests
    • Recipes/drink quality
    • Games
      • Dwarves can gamble with outsiders
      • Ability to play games directly if a dwarf is involved
    • Rooms rentable to outsiders
    • Fortress's reputation as inn/tavern tracked
    • Tie-ins with fortress justice if things go badly
  • Adventure mode
    • Update town taverns to the new layout
    • Inns in some towns and on roads, with rooms available for the player
    • Food and drink service for the player and others
    • New fort activities like songs and dancing in adv mode taverns
    • Games to play and player gambling
Without more economic activity, dealing with fortress mode tavern revenue and the supply of adventure mode taverns isn't the focus at this point.

Non-player Artifacts

  • World Generation
    • Have artifacts that are made during world generation from a variety of sources
    • Some historical events during world gen to get artifacts passed around (stolen, offered, etc.)
  • In Play
    • Villains etc. should seek to steal artifacts still possessed by active entities, generalizing the theft "armies" that currently move over the map to your fortress
    • Anybody attempting to acquire an artifact might entrust you with this task, providing you with information, support for the journey, and rewards for your service

Fortress Starting Scenarios

  • Framework
    • Expand framework of law, custom, rights, property and status as needed to provide a variety of scenarios
    • Foundation of laws, both natural and supernatural
    • Explicit standing of different citizens vs. civilization authorities
    • Possible expansion of religious and family concepts to provide sufficient scenarios
  • Starting scenarios
    • Various possiblities that guide or govern fortress activity: frontier settlement, religious site, prison colony, mining company, military citadel, roadside inn, secondary/future palace of the monarch
    • Drastic changes to migrants based on starting scenario
    • Caravans/diplomatic relationships based on starting scenario
    • Reclaim mechanics should be folded into this
    • Generalize starting scenario relationships to every site foundation
  • Hill/deep dwarves
    • Ability to bring extra dwarves appropriate to the starting scenario
    • Entity populations surrounding your fortress in appropriate environments, both above and below ground
    • Ability to move dwarves in and out of surroundings
    • Relationship with surrounding dwarves
    • Ability to trade/demand food in depot or similar place with surrounding dwarves

Development Lists

Below are the things we'll be working on after the ordered list has been handled. The idea for the much-neglected adventure mode is to focus on facilitating some specific roles that should be fun by themselves but especially when taken together. The named roles are for planning purposes only, not for use in the game explicitly. Dwarf mode will see a round of fan-suggested improvements as well as interaction with the upcoming adventure mode villains, raiders, etc. The lists below are unordered.

Adventurer Role: Hero

  • Villains
    • Historical figures that come out of world gen and come to control segments of entity populations (bandits, etc.)
    • Hostile civ leaders and the new hist figs being able to harass others by sending out groups
      • Need to handle seeing them depart, seeing them raid, seeing them arrive back, and running into them during travel (with or without spoils)
      • Tracking information from hunting needs to apply to following these groups
      • Generally, "villians" are just leaders of groups you oppose at the time, and in this way can include squabbling petty warlords in nearby towns as well, so the groups can be large armies or assassins, though the former will probably come through the dwarf mode expansions below
      • Changing populations, food use and other world gen stuff moved to actual play
      • Succession and succession struggles
      • Towns destroyed/rebuilt in play
      • Villain groups can include degenerates harassing people in towns
    • Various evil plots realized in play through regular AI actions
    • People that have been raided or are otherwise under duress need to tell you what happened
    • Better opening explanation of the surrounding situation in your home town
    • Historical figures allied or working under greater, possibly hidden, masters
    • Hideouts with some basic fortifications
    • Megabeasts
      • Variety and randomization within constraints (e.g. various dragons)
      • Reproduction
      • Share any intelligent/diplomacy behavior that other hist figs have when appropriate
  • Your followers
    • List of followers and ability to look at their information
    • Being able to take along aggrieved people for a time if you are seeking justice for them
    • Reputation with entity (see below) allowing for easier followers
    • Being able to issue orders to attack targets
      • It should depend, but orders to kill civilians, especially people they know, should result in various negative reactions, possibly including hostility and violence -- your behavior should cause these reactions as well
    • Being able to issue orders to distract and lead off targets
    • Being able to issue orders to stay at a site for general purposes (defense, caring for livestock, etc.)
      • Depending on loyalty, they should not follow unreasonable orders for long (like guarding a random wilderness location)
    • Expansion of personality system to support more value-judgment-based properties such as bravery vs. cowardice/apathy/recklessness
    • Better morale failures
    • Having your own entity name for your group if you have a high enough profile (or before that, but nobody will care)
  • Capturing people alive and interrogations
    • Non-lethal fights, AI understanding the difference and the possible escalation to actual combat
    • Ability to disarm opponents
    • Ability to hold somebody and immobilize them
    • Ability to attempt to knock somebody out without killing them
    • Surrendering in the face of impossible odds, death or death threat coupled with inability to escape or win
    • Being able to ask people for the specific location of another person or place
    • Allowing people to lie
    • Ability to offer quick deaths to mortally wounded people to get them to talk
    • Being able to force a prisoner to guide you somewhere
    • Other interrogation stuff
    • Making sure tracking works to the point that you could follow a released prisoner or other group back to a hideout
  • Breaking into fortified locations
    • Having locations alerted, being able to yell for help
    • Disguises and impersonation through use of entity uniforms
    • Closed doors and passwords
    • Sneaking mechanics
      • Making hiding impossible in wide open areas (at least in adv mode)
      • Vision arcs for patrolling guards
    • Gagging people and tying them up
    • Allowing constructions to burn, use of kindling/hay/etc. where reasonable
    • Responding properly to personal fire issues (all modes)
    • Fleeing burning buildings
    • Fighting fire (all modes)
    • Designation to set item or tile on fire in dwarf mode
  • Reputation
    • Reputation with entity populations, site governments, families and individuals
      • Increases with heroic acts but can rise out of stranger status just by going to markets etc.
    • Townspeople fractured among various overlapping allegiances to lords/villains/etc.
    • People offering free goods to heroes
    • Being called out by others if you are famous or a stranger in town
    • Revenge from villains/relatives/superiors of people you have killed or troubled (likely through tracking you down, see Thief role)
    • People should be more forthcoming about adventure opportunities if your reputation precedes you, especially if your accomplishments align with their interests
  • Combat flow
    • Aimed attacks
    • Random "opportunities" that increase/decrease the efficacy of all aimed/specific moves as combat progresses
    • Reaction moments and controllable counter-strikes/movement chances
    • Notion of stance/guard, with varying bonuses/penalties
    • Ability to jump up on and ride opponents if they are large enough (can happen to you too of course)
    • Not being able to hit a giant in the head, hitting a dragon in the head as a reaction when it attempts to bite
    • Notion of overall wrestling position (who is on top of or controlling whom, etc.)
  • Combat styles
    • Combat styles involving weapons or natural attacks with associated stances and moves
    • Ability to learn moves, etc. from others with whom you have a high enough reputation
    • Certain moves may only be available as specific counters, while others might just be regular attacks
    • Ability to create new moves/styles when highly skilled
  • Mounts
    • Can buy them as with livestock, handled as with livestock
    • Combat move/speed split
    • Movement speeds, turning and inertia
    • Combat effects (velocity addition, body part selection, trampling)

Adventurer Role: Thief

  • Valuables and mansions
    • Towns with large entity populations should have sections/quarters with varying residence quality etc.
    • Mansions/villas out of the way as well
    • Many high quality dwarf mode style items in these places
    • Guards, servants and watch animals/pets associated to the owner wandering the premises
    • Inns associated to roads and entity pop sprawl where you can stay and get information about the surroundings
    • Overhearing conversations as you move about town
  • Selling stolen property
    • Unscrupulous people in markets and others willing to take stolen goods
  • Sneaking and disguise portions of the Hero role above are required
  • Bounties and being hunted
    • No automatic recognition that you have stolen an item
    • People should notice when items are missing and raise an alert
    • Strangers found around town when crime is suspected should be stopped and searched
    • Your identity/appearance should be remembered for a time if you are seen in an area
    • If your identity/appearance is associated to an alert over a crime, somebody responsible in the entity should put a bounty on you if appropriate for the entity
    • You should leave tracking information and it should keep track of the last many people you have talked to
    • Entity warriors and other adventurers should follow your tracking information
    • Villains/raiders/etc. from the Hero role should also receive bounties that you can fulfill
  • Justice
    • Surrender to those seeking you
      • You have to follow orders to remain in surrendered state (generally to go to a location or drop your weapon)
      • When you make a command that follows an order, there should be an option to skip ahead to stages of the journey (such as to a dungeon or halfway through the journey back if you want to attempt to escape from your captor)
      • If you leave the surrendered state, you should be attacked until you surrender again, though force should not necessarily be lethal immediately
    • Punishment
      • Initial beatings
      • Cutting off some small body part
      • Branding (requires wounds to support art image from crafts)
      • Stocks, buried to neck, tied to post
      • Caned, whipped, hammered
      • Executions
      • Imprisonment (until there are ways to escape, might as well retire the character, at which point rescue might be possible by a subsequent character)
  • Concealing your identity
    • Being able to assume a different name
    • Changing your clothes should affect the appearance tracking
    • Covering your face/hair with hoods, masks, etc. should affect appearance tracking
    • Skills for changing voice and mannerisms convincingly
      • If you screw up, you can be regarded as a suspicious stranger, which is worse than being a regular stranger

Adventurer Role: Treasure Hunter

  • Adventure sites
    • Non-town sites need to created and used for various purposes in world generation (prisons, tombs, temples, mines, castles, etc.)
    • These places should often fall into disuse (or not be active entity pop locations, as with a tomb)
    • Old abandoned structures can be partially buried in available soil layers
    • Sites should contain any appropriate items to their (possibly former) purpose
    • World gen should utilize defunct sites and get them new inhabitants
      • Underground monsters
      • Villains/bandits/etc. hideouts
      • Outdoor creatures
      • Megabeasts
      • Night creatures (see below)
      • Regular entity sprawl/migrants near surface
    • Existing town-style sites should be updated as possible (dwarf fortresses, etc.)
  • Movement
    • Improved swimming (holding breath, currents, etc.)
    • Ability to climb in adv mode
    • Ability to jump in adv mode
  • Lighting
    • Proper environmental lighting
    • Construction and use of torches
    • Candles/lamps/lanterns
  • Traps
    • Whatever comes out of mechanics (below) should occur in the sites you explore to the extent that the traps can be detected and surpassed
  • Writing
    • Phrase storage and grammar updates
    • Have books around that can contain maps/locations/names/traps/purpose/artifacts of older sites
      • Sometimes you might just have a name and know an artifact is there, and then be able to cross-reference that in the next source you find until you feel you are prepared
    • Some sites might contain additional tomes/tablets/inscriptions that lead to more information

Adventurer Role: Slayer of Night Creatures

  • Night creatures and the undead
    • Replace skeletons and zombies with generalized generated types of creature corruption/undeath etc.
    • Causes -- existing from the beginning, death circumstances, being cursed, focusing on specific historical figures at first
    • Goals, if any, as individuals, even if it is murdering or mutilating wayfarers in the woods
    • Weaknesses, restrictions on movement, other limitations
    • Nicknames for them that are used by the villagers
  • Torment the living
    • Night creatures must act out their goals during play
      • Villagers should react using the same systems as with villains or player thieves, so that you can overhear conversations or use bounty-type systems
    • Some victims can end up drained as subvillains or slaves in the same way a bandit leader has subordinates
    • Stranger/thief tracking systems could be used to generate some paranoia surrounding night creatures with a human/etc. appearance or that utilize human/etc. slaves
    • Diseases/plagues could be included as indirect torments, as well as famine once site resources can be assailed
  • Hunting them down
    • Sometimes they are trackable through methods above, sometimes there are special signs
    • Killing them might ultimately require burying or burning a body, etc.
    • Religious or other groups might be able to tell you how to defeat or protect yourself from a night creature and support you with supplies if you can provide reports of its activity/victims etc.
  • Curses and exposure
    • Can be cursed by night creatures when you put them down
    • The slaves of night creatures could have extreme effects from proximity that also affect you if you make a business of hunting them

Adventurer Role: Explorer

  • Mapping and obstacles
    • It should be possible to optionally hide sections of the map during world generation
    • Store region names by entity, not all places would have names, ability to give names to the regions/rivers/peaks etc. that you discover
    • Should not be able to cross every river square from travel map unless there's a bridge
    • Fording rivers
    • Ferries
    • Ports and boats (even if they are just used to teleport to other ports at first)
  • Lands and beastiary
    • More overland map features and local variations
    • Scrap good/evil lands for lands with more variety
    • Randomized critters in other categories (vermin, roaming creatures, soil critters, plants, etc.), naming them
    • Being able to look at a list of all known creatures you've seen and where
  • First contact
    • If you are exotic enough, leader might be interested in speaking to you even if you are a stranger
    • Might be able to exchange gifts between civ leaders and accept and give gifts yourself
  • Animal people and other protectors
    • Being tracked and hunted if you kill creatures in places you shouldn't
  • Scouting and rewards
    • Tracking information about new locations and being able to share it with civ leaders

Adventurer Role: Trader

  • Site resources
    • Track resources in quantity instead of just by type
    • Should depend on trade/tribute relationships as well as available professions and sprawl sites
    • Villager/farmer schedules/activities
    • Work with 3D mineral veins, mine maps and other industrial sites
  • World economy
    • Supply/demand based on current available entity resources etc.
    • Expand on trade/tribute relationships formed in world generation
    • Realize trade/tribute relationships with actual caravans moving on the map
    • Ability to get some supply/demand information about nearby locations from travelers and others
    • Ability to get that information yourself and trade it to merchants, especially as explorer
    • Replace dwarf mode generated caravans with actual caravans
    • Improved dwarf mode trade agreements incorporating all the world gen/supply/demand/merchant info etc.
    • Fairs
  • Ability to lead a trade caravan
    • Ability to load stuff onto pack mules
    • Ability to hire bodyguards
    • Wagon/wagon teams (might do some teleportation travel with them to avoid annoyances for now)
    • Being able to trade from wagons, large markets might have people to move objects more quickly
  • Mansions for sale
    • Renting/buying cottages and other properties
    • Might have to get information about struggling nobles
  • Court
    • Attaining a certain level of wealth and property should help with access to powerful people, though we have yet to decide what if anything this will grant you in the short term

Basic Adventure Mode Skills

  • Some survival skills
    • Ability to butcher corpses with an appropriate tool
    • Ability to make clothing and some other objects from hides
    • Ability to obtain a sharp (or at least non-smooth) edge on a rock
    • Extend adv mode starvation/dehydration times to appropriate number of days
  • Wood use
    • Ground debris/sticks/underbrush
    • Ability to chop down tree using appropriate tool
    • Ability to make simple wooden weapons and ammunition
    • Ability to use logs to make constructions
    • Site recognition for saving adventurer-made sites (will require entity pops first, see below)
    • Ability to name site
  • Digging and stone constructions
    • Ability to dig out soil tiles
    • Buried boulders in some soils
    • Ability to pull up surface boulders
    • Ability to make rough stone constructions
  • Hunting/tracking animals
    • Everybody leaving trails of information that can be tracked with the appropriate skill
    • Trails generated for offscreen animals
    • Ability for animals to flee into offloaded areas and have some information maintained briefly
    • Ability to track blood from wounded partially offloaded animals
    • Ability to find bodies of wounded partially offloaded animals, which could also be slowed by wounds
    • Ability to search for trail information from travel mode
    • Having it point out animals you happen upon and perhaps some auto-sneak settings for those events
    • Make sneak status clear to player
    • Better overall wilderness population tracking and regeneration
  • Entity populations
    • Track larger entity populations during world generation
    • Update site storage to account for a variety of sprawl
  • Growing crops
    • Ability to till tile (faster with tool)
    • Ability to plant seeds
    • Ability to pass time quickly (unlike current sleep command)
    • Ability to harvest plants
    • Ability to make a quern from a boulder
    • Ability to grind grindable plants (designating any proper container for products)
    • Ability to cook and appropriate tools for this
  • Raising livestock
    • Farms associated to entity population sprawl
    • Ability to buy a livestock animal and lead it around
    • Keep track of your animals as with hunted animals so they are not easily and permanently lost
    • Ability to build fences (more than one fence tile per tree used, as opposed to wall)
    • Ability to perform decisive attacks on unsuspecting or heavily injured opponent (a cow being slaughtered, for instance)
    • Tracking livestock breeding/pregnancy information
    • Grazing and drinking for livestock
    • Eggs, chickens and associated objects
  • Markets
    • Small markets associated to entity population villages
    • Markets need to replenish goods and manage ownership changes

Hauling Improvements

  • Being able to haul multiple objects
  • Having multiple dwarves involved with item hauling for a job
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Minecarts
    • Wooden, stone-carved and metal tracks
    • Can be filled like stockpiles and moved between destinations
  • Work animals to tow carts and haul objects

Standing Production Orders

  • Production triggers for new work orders
  • Being able to link work orders and triggers to buildings

Workshop Material Use and Specific Object Construction

  • Ability to specify material used in jobs
  • Ability to order the construction of a specific item or decoration of item in complete detail

Improved Mechanics

  • Better traps
    • Stone traps should require the stone be placed above the tile that is targeted
    • Stones should be able to roll (perhaps if they are started from or land on a ramp tile)
    • Weapon traps should be multi-tile and require a spring or other potential energy source -- automatic resetting should require some explicit establishment of a feasible mechanism
  • Large pipe sections -- walk on them or crawl inside them, allow passage for fluids
  • Moving fortress sections (lifts, crushing traps, etc.)
  • Waterproof axles through some mechanism
  • Rock grinders? Fans? We'll do some other machines around this time -- whichever feasible ones are the most entertaining for dwarves and treasure hunters

Vein Auto-mining

Farming Improvements

  • Soil moisture tracking and ability to moisten soil (buckets or other irrigation)
  • Soil nutrient requirements for plants and nutrient tracking to the extent the farming interface can provide decent feedback for you, fertilizers can reflect this
  • Harvestable flowers and fruit growing on plants, ability to plant trees
  • Weeds
  • More pests

Fortress Subgroups

  • Skilled dwarves should form guilds
  • Dwarves with similar religious views should formally associate at times
  • Guilds and sects should be able to make demands for meeting halls, temples, specific furniture or the resources and time to prepare their own furniture, statues of specific gods throughout the fortress, etc.
  • Dwarves that have grudges or personal altercations should be able to drag their groups into it
  • Removal of guild dwarves from their professions should result in trouble between the guild and the currently appointed manager/leader
  • Various benefits to having a well developed guild or sect are under consideration

Military

  • Dwarven armies
    • Ability to send out fortress dwarves to lead larger groups of surrounding dwarves out around mid-level maps (or just go alone)
    • Ability to send equipment and fortress dwarves out to train surrounding dwarves
    • Ability to attack sites and entity populations with your dwarven armies
    • Ability to set fires and select supplies to haul back when sacking a site
  • Villain interactions
    • Must adjust villains etc. to allow them to operate at dwarf mode time scale
    • Make armies/beasts that attack fortress come from actual groups moving on world map
    • Ability to fight other armies with your dwarven armies
      • Larger armies should spread over multiple mid-level map squares
      • Ability to create fortifications/lines/etc. instead of spreading haphazardly
      • There are complications to be worked out if you can zoom in to battles and control them at the local level, concerning what happens to your fortress
      • If you can zoom in, situations like being surrounded need to be respected and have the desired results regardless of what area is zoomed in on
    • Allow villains to attempt to demand tribute from you
  • Improved sieges
    • Eliminate remaining edge-of-map exploits
    • More highly trained attacking soldiers when approprate
    • Many trap exploits are handled above by requiring more to produce a trap, things like cage traps should make more sense vs. large creatures etc. (respect strength/ability vs. material, large cages might be separate object)
    • Coming up with a plan to overcome pathing obstacles to reach fortress innards
      • Ability to dig (optionally, default on)
      • Ability to build bridges/ramps
      • Ability to use grappling hooks/ladders/climb
    • Learning from mistakes if first attempted assault plan fails badly
      • For instance, if many siegers are killed, caged, etc. in a given hallway, they shouldn't generally go that way again, even if that means building/climbing/digging
    • Siege engine improvements depend on state of boats, lifts/moving fortress sections, since these should all use the same framework