Dwarf Fortress faces mind-boggling reality of hiring second programmer

A comparison image of Dwarf Fortress with ASCII Glyph graphics against the modern tileset
(Image credit: Bay 12 Games and Kitfox)

After 20-some years of working as a solo programmer, Dwarf Fortress developer Tarn Adams will have a second pair of hands in there. Bay 12 Games and publisher Kitfox have announced that due to Dwarf Fortress' success a second programmer has been hired from the longstanding Dwarf Fortress modding community.

Modder Putnam has been hired has a full-time programmer for Dwarf Fortress, making Putnam the third member of the DF team following brothers Tarn and Zach Adams. Tarn has historically done all the programming, while Zach serves as a producer for the project and designs game features alongside his brother. 

"This is a historic moment, as never before have non-Adams eyes seen the Dwarf Fortress code," noted Kitfox.

Putnam is known among the Dwarf Fortress community for her contributions to modding, like a tool that converts real-world materials into Dwarf Fortress and scripts for popular mod DFHack, and is a name I'm at least familiar with from long hours perusing the Dwarf Fortress Wiki. Putnam is also known for her work on mods converting Dwarf Fortress into worlds like Dragonball Z and Homestuck.

In addition to Putnam, Kitfox has brought on streaming creator SalfordSal to join their community team. She'll be hosting streams on the Kitfox Twitch channel and helping out with the community Discord.

Alongside the announcement, Dwarf Fortress released its classic mode for the premium Steam release, which shows the game in its old-school ASCII glyph glory. Delightful. As always, the original edition of the game is free on Bay 12 Games' website, while the Steam release is $30—though the classic branch hasn't yet updated with the new user interface. Bay 12 says that's on the way soon.

You can read the full announcement on Steam. Our fortunes rise and fall together.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.