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Dwarf Fortress’ roguelike Adventure Mode gets beta launch on Steam

Dwarf Fortress – the hugely influential, dizzyingly expansive colony sim that’s been in development for over 20 years – has just released its roguelike Adventure Mode over on Steam, albeit initially in public beta form.

Adventure Mode gives players an alternate way of exploring Dwarf Fortress’ ludicrously in-depth, procedurally generated worlds – specifically in the form of a roguelike RPG, complete with procedural quests, NPCs, and turn-based battles.

It’s a component of Dwarf Fortress that’s been in the free ASCII version for years, but when the game made the jump to Steam in 2022 – as a paid release, complete with sprite-based visuals, a mouse-driven UI, and Steam Workshop compatibility – Adventure Mode wasn’t included, although developer siblings Zach and Tarn Adams were clear it would eventually arrive.

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Dwarf Fortress- Adventure Mode beta trailer.Watch on YouTube

And now, with a big chunk of development work complete, adding everything from procedurally generated sprite portraits to environment-appropriate ambient sounds, Adventure Mode is finally available to all Dwarf Fortress players on Steam – albeit as a beta release, while work continues.

To access the beta, owners simply need to right-click Dwarf Fortress in their Steam library then going to Properties > Betas. From there, choose “beta – Public beta branch” from the dropdown list, and Steam should automatically begin downloading the Adventure Mode beta, no password required.

Existing Dwarf Fortress save files are compatible with today’s beta release, meaning your Adventure Mode party of explorers can visit any previous dwarven homesteads you might the made, but – as per a post on the Adams brothers’ website – while there are “lots of good bits” to the beta, there are “some missing bits as well”. Here’s a ‘non-exhaustive’ list of things still to be implemented prior to Adventure Mode’s full Steam release:

  • Clean up the big crash issues etc.
  • Quest log / information screen
  • Butchering and crafting
  • Ability use, from necromancy to pet animal to spit
  • Composing
  • Motion/attack indicators
  • Building interactions (levers, doors, etc.)
  • Wrestle button
  • Stealth vision arcs
  • Better UI for stuff like going through hatches over ramps
  • Some other info like movement speed / encumbrance
  • Tracking / odor / weather / light / time etc. information
  • Some travel map stuff like visible armies and zooming and highlights
  • Minimap / map memory
  • Trading and bartering (and the town shops being generally a mess)
  • Assuming false identities
  • Full personality customization in chargen
  • Graphics and audio that didn’t make it in for the initial beta release
  • Get Classic conversions for the new buttons etc.
  • The new stuff: chosen mode with deities, town improvements, dungeon improvements, healing options, and so forth

Also on the way from classic Adventure Mode is cabin building, but this is described as a “larger interface project” that’ll come in an update after the full Steam launch. And that full launch, as things currently stand, is expected to happen some time later this year.

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