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The new Dwarf Fortress UI looks so much better

(Image credit: Kitfox Games)

When Dwarf Fortress finally comes to Steam, it's going to have a whole new look. There will be graphics! You'll be able to gawk at pixel critters, handsome monsters and maps that actually look like maps. Perhaps more importantly, however, the way you control and interact with your burgeoning dwarf empire is also getting an overhaul.

In the latest dev update, designer Tarn Adams has given us a look at the new and improved UI. Though it might still look rather plain compared to some of the flashy, elaborate interfaces other modern games sport, it's quite a big leap compared to what Dwarf Fortress veterans are used to. 

Here's what you can expect if you start playing the original, ASCII version:

(Image credit: Kitfox Games)

And here's how the new version is shaping up:

(Image credit: Kitfox Games)

Instead of having to navigate using your keyboard, the Steam version of Dwarf Fortress will finally let you take advantage of your mouse, making navigating its menus considerably less fiddly. You can expect additional tabs, too, and the ability to  more easily find what you're looking for by using a text filter. 

There's still work to be done, however, and there's no word on a release date yet. The team started work on the new version back in February, but it's no small task to effectively rebuild the game. In the meantime, Dwarf Fortress Classic isn't going anywhere, and it will continue to be free and updated. 

Fraser is the sole inhabitant of PC Gamer's mythical Scottish office, conveniently located in his flat. He spends most of his time wrangling the news, but sometimes he sneaks off to write lots of words about strategy games.