I've been patient since March 2019, when Dwarf Fortress creator Tarn Adams announced that the game would be coming to Steam alongside a brand new graphical interface. Adams has released a steady stream of update videos and screenshots since then, showing the work in progress, but this latest one has finally pushed me into making grabby motions with my hands and mouthing "give it to me now" at my monitor. This massive overhaul of Dwarf Fortress is looking—and just as importantly, sounding—fantastic.
Dwarf Fortress famously used ASCII symbols instead of art, but it also had a very sparse soundtrack of just two songs, played by Adams on acoustic guitar. The Steam version of the game is expanding on music alongside graphics, and the 10 minutes of soundtrack in this new video is darn near enrapturing. It starts with a similarly sparse acoustic guitar before layering in atmospheric touches and exciting crescendos. I don't know who's doing the soundtrack, but it makes me think of composer Darren Korb's music for Supergiant Games, and I mean that as a compliment.
The main purpose of the video is to show off the new desert biome tileset for the first time, and I think it looks quite nice. Dwarf Fortress is typically played from a pretty 'zoomed-out' perspective, so it's not easy to identify everything on screen as the video bounces between the surface and the fortress underneath and in and out of menus. But hey: it's got menus, and they look pretty easy to understand. So do mouse controls like drawing zones to designate storage rooms or places for dwarves to dig.
There are probably a thousand little things left to do before the graphical release of Dwarf Fortress is complete, but it's really starting to look ready. Hopefully I'm not going to be sitting here doing grabby hands a year from now.