Dwarf Fortress’s new pixel artist crushes it

dwarf fortress, the beautifully complex colony simulation game from the two-man team at Bay 12 Games, is getting a major facelift. Developers released a new batch of sprites today that are teasing more of its animal folk, and pixel artist Neoriceisgood definitely looks to knock it out of the park.

have developed dwarf fortress since 2003, Tarn Adams and Zack Adams have chosen to join Kitfox in 2019 for (among other things) medical benefits. The announcement was accompanied by a revamped set of tiles that began the hard work of replacing the game’s multicolored ASCII art with delicate, pixelated sprites. The art team has seen some turnover in recent years as the back-end systems (like mouse support and revised menus) are hammered into shape, but it seems things are really starting to come together.

New art released on Wednesday.
Image: Bay 12 Games/Kitfox Games

“The mysterious animal people have come to your fortress to visit you, some for amusement, others… for revenge!” Zach Adams wrote in a newsletter on Wednesday. “They come from the wild regions of the world in all shapes and sizes. If you choose to open your taverns to outsiders, they will seek you out. They can come for entertainment or work. Some may be adventurers seeking danger, others may be poets or scribes.”

Animal People can also participate in the game’s Adventure mode, allowing you to create a JRPG-style party and travel through the game’s vast, procedurally-generated worlds – a bit like being The Oregon Trail would be placed somewhere in Middle-earth.

Zach Adams notes that all of these images show new animal people sprites from Neoriceisgood, and there are nearly 200 new sprites in the hopper. (The image at the top of this article is from May.)

When is the graphical version coming out? dwarf fortress are ready for public consumption? “Time is subjective,” the Steam page says – something we’ve all come to realize over the years, I assure you. Bay 12 was, it seems, ahead of that philosophical bite in 2019.

dwarf fortress is available for free on the Bay 12 Games website. The studio has a Patreon site. No release date has been announced for the Steam version, but you can add it to your wishlist.

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