Dwarf Fortress will likely never be finished with its quest to simulate (nearly) all of existence, but it is about to be finished with a major milestone: launching on Steam. The graphical version of the PC's deepest simulation is releasing on Steam on December 6, complete with cute sprite art we've been watching progress for the last two years, a completely reworked user interface, and a lovely acoustic soundtrack.
This release will include the primary Fortress mode, where you grow and manage a community of dwarves and try to survive vicious elf attacks and underground aquifer floods, as well as the Legends mode, which essentially generates an entire world and history for you to peruse. The Steam launch will not include Adventure mode, however, which is a sort of roguelike D&D that has you controlling individual adventurers instead of managing a colony simulation.
"Bay 12 Games continues working hard on making sure these modes are their best when they arrive on Steam & Itch and will continue to communicate with the community when further updates are available," said the press release announcing the December 6 release date. According to the Steam page, the unique UI for Adventure mode will require several months of additional work. Once that's finally done, the devs will move on to working on Dwarf Fortress's next big update: a long-in-the-works procedurally generated magic and myth system.
Developers Tarn and Zach Adams and publisher Kitfox noted that a few final details are still up in the air pre-launch:
"We're not totally sure whether we'll have Arena mode or Steam Workshop integration or Classic mode at launch, but we do know all are very very close and already partially working," they wrote on Steam. "Those three things might end up in the launch or they might end up being patched in in the weeks after. For the months following launch, we have more graphics we want to add. We'd like specific graphics for more plants (evergreens, real world plants, etc), for example, and we'd also love to put in images for baby animals instead of just scaling down the adult versions. Kittens and red panda cubs and giant eaglets!"
As I highlighted recently, the tutorial launching with the new Steam version looks like it'll make the notoriously impenetrable game vastly more approachable, and its new mouse-friendly menus should go a long long way, too. I hope everyone who played RimWorld—which was heavily inspired by Dwarf Fortress—gives it a shot. It'll be $30 when it launches.