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The new Dwarf Fortress UI looks so much better

(Image credit: Kitfox Games)
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When Dwarf Fortress finally comes to Steam, it's going to have a whole new look. There will be graphics (opens in new tab)! You'll be able to gawk at pixel critters (opens in new tab), handsome monsters (opens in new tab) and maps that actually look like maps (opens in new tab). 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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) isn't going anywhere, and it will continue to be free and updated. 

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.