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This article is about an older version of DF.

Download: Linux · Mac OS X ·Windows · all versions · starter packs


You can always get Dwarf Fortress as Toady One, the developer, released it from the Bay12 site (listed at the top of the page).

You can also download the latest version here:

Windows Main 1 2 Small
Legacy 1 2 Small
Linux SDL
Mac (Intel) SDL

Windows users should generally download one of the "Main" (SDL) versions (listed in the first row), unless the "Legacy" version is required for some reason. The "1" and "2" links are mirrors (but should be identical to their Bay12-hosted counterparts), and the "Small" link does not include sound.

Mac and Linux users should generally download the SDL version for their platform. While it is possible to run the Windows version under wine, it is often slower and less stable than the native version.

Third-Party Packages[edit]

These packages include the game as well as several utilities, graphics sets, and bugfixes (through DFHack), configurable with an included launcher.

The Dwarf Fortress community often creates custom graphics sets and tilesets. They're like graphical mods that make DF look prettier or just different. A lot of people pack the game folder with the tileset installed and everything already set up, so all you have to do is extract and play. Among the most popular of these are Ironhand's Graphics Set and Phoebus' Graphic Set. Most notable graphics sets are included in the packs above.


Also see: System requirements


There is no installer for the game. Simply extract the archive file to a folder somewhere and run the game from within the folder.

Make sure to actually extract the archive; do not just open the archive and run the game from the window that appears. If you do this then it may appear to work, but your save game data will get discarded. This is the cause of many "my saved games keep getting deleted" complaints. The game also needs to be able to write to its own folder, so do not install it in C:\Program Files if you are running Windows Vista or later.

OS X[edit]

The OS X version is not a single application bundle, but like the Windows version it consists of a folder containing the application along with data files and there is no installer. The entire folder can be dragged into the Applications folder or placed elsewhere. As with the Windows version, the game must be able to write to its own folder.

To start the game execute the launch script "df". Launching "dwarfort.exe" by itself will not work (since the "df" script sets up environment variables pointing to DF's libraries).

For development purposes (such as changing libraries or patching), you may want to install Apple's developer tools.

On OS X 10.8 and above, you will need to download XQuartz to run Dwarf Fortress, which is no longer bundled with OS X by default.


The Linux version of the game is shipped as a compiled 32-bit x86 (Intel/AMD) application. It will also run on a system with a 64-bit AMD or Intel processor and a 64-bit kernel, provided that you have the (32-bit) shared libraries available that the program needs.

Dwarf Fortress for Linux is meant to be run from a terminal (command-line) interface, and so the instructions here will assume you know how to login and get to a command prompt. At least in the default mode, however, Dwarf Fortress is an X client (graphical desktop) program, so you should be in a terminal inside an X session before starting the game. Dwarf Fortress will create a new X window outside of the terminal window, so don't worry about the size of the terminal.

  • Unpacking: Dwarf Fortress is shipped as a (bzip2) compressed tar archive. It will extract into a new directory called df_linux. So, cd to wherever you want the game to be unpacked, and then run tar xjf /path/to/df_XX_YY_linux.tar.bz2 (where df_XX_YY_linux.tar.bz2 is the filename). Then run cd df_linux to change into the new directory.
  • Running: Run ./df to execute the Dwarf Fortress wrapper script.
  • Troubleshooting: If you get an error like this:
 ./libs/Dwarf_Fortress: error while loading shared libraries: libSDL-1.2.so.0: cannot open shared object file: No such file or 

it means that your system is missing one or more shared libraries.

To fix this problem run the following command in a new terminal:

Ubuntu 16:

 $ sudo apt-get install libsdl1.2debian libsdl-image1.2 libSDL-ttf2.0-0

Ubuntu 14 (or systems without ia32-libs):

$ sudo apt-get install libgtk2.0-0:i386 libglu1-mesa:i386 libsdl-image1.2:i386 libsdl-sound1.2:i386 libsdl-ttf2.0-0:i386

Ubuntu 13 and below:

$ sudo apt-get install ia32-libs libsdl-image1.2 libsdl-sound1.2 libsdl-ttf2.0-0

After the last command has finished (it should take about 5-10 minutes) go back to the old terminal and retry the ./df command.

Linux Mint 18 will produce this error

 ./libs/Dwarf_Fortress: error while loading shared libraries: libSDL_ttf-2.0.so.0: cannot open shared object file: 
 No such file or directory

Simply download and install the missing library with:

 $ sudo apt-get install libSDL-ttf2.0-0

  • Upgrading: Since every new version of Dwarf Fortress unpacks in a directory named df_linux you have to manage upgrades yourself. As on all systems, you should not unpack a new version of DF on top of an old version's directory -- this will cause things to break, usually in subtle and mysterious ways. Instead, you should either delete or rename the old df_linux directory first, before extracting the new version.

Alternatively, downloading the windows version and running it with the wine emulator works fine. This also avoids any issues with 32-bit versus 64-bit mode.

If you get errors, it is likely that others will have had the same problem; Try searching the bay12games forum with the error message.

32-bit vs. 64-bit systems[edit]

Modern desktop PCs (of the Intel/AMD persuasion) contain CPUs that can run in either 32-bit or 64-bit modes. When you install Linux, you choose one of these architectures. The programs on your system will then be compiled either for the 32-bit (i386, x86) arch, or the 64-bit (amd64, x86_64) arch. If you've forgotten which one you have, you can check:

$ uname -m

The above would indicate a 64-bit system. Here's one from a 32-bit system:

$ uname -m

Dwarf Fortress is compiled for 32-bit systems, so if you're on a 32-bit system, things will be slightly easier. If you are getting errors about missing SDL_image libraries (etc.) then you simply need to install them. Use your distribution's package manager for this -- details will be extremely distribution-specific. You don't need the development versions of the packages with the headers (although that won't hurt) -- you just need the runtime versions, with the actual shared libraries.

If you're on a 64-bit system, then things get a bit trickier. Since DF is a 32-bit application, it needs 32-bit versions of the shared libraries. Some Linux distributions provide these in one or more packages that you can download. For example, in Debian, the ia32-libs package contains most of the common 32-bit libraries, including libSDL. If your distribution does not include these, then you may have to supply them manually.

How-to for Debian and similar[edit]

On Ubuntu/Debian and its derivatives, installing 32-bit libraries is as easy as appending ":i386" to the name of the library. For libsdl-image and libsdl-ttf, this amounts to:

 $ sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
 $ sudo apt-get update
 $ sudo apt-get install libsdl-image1.2:i386 libsdl-ttf2.0-0:i386 libgtk2.0-0:i386 libjpeg62:i386 libglu1-mesa:i386 libopenal1:i386


After doing this, DF will run, but will complain that it cannot find the OpenAL library and cannot play sounds, even when OpenAL (i386) has been installed. This is due to a bug/feature in which there is no link from the name of the library that DF is looking for ("libopenal.so") to its implementation ("libopenal.so.1" - technically another link). To fix this, simply provide the necessary links in DF's own libs directory:

 $ cd df_linux/libs
 $ ln -s /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libopenal.so.1 ./libopenal.so
 $ ln -s /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libsndfile.so.1 ./libsndfile.so

Manually installing 32-bit libraries[edit]

If you do need to manually install the libraries, then the first step is to figure out where you will be putting them. Check to see where your other 32-bit libraries are already installed; for example, on Debian, some are in /lib32 and others are in /usr/lib32. Since libSDL is in /usr/lib32 on a Debian system, that's where we'll want to put libSDL_image and libSDL_ttf. On other distributions, the path could be different.

The second step is to get the 32-bit libraries. You can typically do this by downloading them directly from your distribution's 32-bit package repository. Again using Debian as our example, we can perform a search at http://packages.debian.org/ for files containing the word libSDL_image for the Intel x86 architecture. This takes us to a results page from which we can proceed to the libsdl-image1.2 package page with a list of download links arranged by architecture. Grab the i386 package from here, and repeat this for the libSDL_ttf package, and whatever other library you are missing. Store these package files somewhere convenient.

The third step is to extract the libraries from the packages and get them in the proper location. You probably won't be able simply to install the packages using your package manager, because they are for the wrong architecture. Instead, you'll probably have to extract them by hand. The steps for doing this are distribution-specific, so when in doubt consult your distribution's help resources. I'll show the steps for a .deb package.

  • cd into some temporary working directory such as /tmp
  • Extract the files from the .deb archive, which is in ar(1) format:
 tar x /path/to/libsdl-image1.2*_i386.deb
This creates three files: debian-binary, control.tar.gz and data.tar.gz. We only care about data.tar.gz.
  • Extract data.tar.gz:
 tar xzf data.tar.gz
This creates a subdirectory named usr with various files inside it. We only care about usr/lib/libSDL_image-1.2.so.0.8.2 (or whatever precise version yours has).
  • Move the shared library into place:
 sudo mv usr/lib/libSDL_image-1.2.so.* /usr/lib32/
  • Create a symlink to it:
 cd /usr/lib32
 sudo ln -s libSDL_image-1.2.so.0.* libSDL_image-1.2.so.0
 cd -

Repeat this for libSDL_ttf and whatever other libraries are required.

NOTE: If you get the error that libsndfile.so is not found, you must use the following:

 find */libsndfile.so*

cd to the correct directory, then use ln as shown above.

How-to for Fedora 20[edit]

 sudo yum install gtk2-devel.i686 SDL_image.i686 mesa-libGLU.i686 SDL_ttf.i686

And you need to employ the fix for preloading zlib by adding this line on line 2 of the df shell script.

 export LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libz.so.1

"Not found: /data/art/mouse.png" and similar errors[edit]

Fix 1: Preload zlib[edit]

Due to incompatibilities between DF's included zlib and newer versions of zlib, libpng can fail on newer systems. A solution is to add this line to the beginning of /your/path/df_linux/df (or /your/path/df_linux/dfhack if you use DFHack):

export LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libz.so.1

Note that this path can vary - be sure that it is referring to a 32-bit zlib.

Fix 2: Use bmp instead[edit]

Another solution (if preloading zlib doesn't work) is to force DF to use the BMP versions of image files. You must first edit the /data/init/init.txt file and change all occurrences of "png" to "bmp". This should solve all the error messages except for one: "Not found: data/art/mouse.png" since there is no setting in the init files to change it. The workaround for this is to edit the Dwarf_Fortress file found in the /your/path/df_linux/libs folder which contains the setting for the mouse cursor. If you don't know how to do that, you can try this:

  • cd to the /df_linux/libs folder
  • open Dwarf_Fortress in vi or any other editor of your choise:
 vi ./Dwarf_Fortress
This opens the file for editing (text mode). If you are not familiar with vi, it would be a good idea to follow these steps exactly and not press any other keys since they all activate specific commands. If you do press a key though, you can press the ESC key a few times to cancel the command.
  • With vi open, write the following string and press Enter:
This will search for all the strings that contain the word "mouse" and place the cursor on the first match. Pressing the n key will cycle through all the matches.
  • Press the n key until the cursor moves to the desired string, which is "data/art/mouse.png". If you accidentally move past the string, you can cycle back through the matched strings using the N key (shift + n).
  • Once you find the right string, you will have to move the cursor over the "p" in "[..]/mouse.png". You do that by pressing the l key which will move the cursor to the right. There is also the h key to move the cursor to the left, in case you move past it.
  • With the cursor in the right position press the following key sequence:
This will replace the .png extension with the .bmp one which solves the problem of the missing /data/art/mouse.png error.
  • All there is left to do is to save the modifications to the file and quit vi. For that, press the ESC key once or twice and then press the following key sequence after which you press Enter:
This saves the changes and quits 'vi'

Now the game should work properly. Have fun!

Install on Arch Linux[edit]

Although Dwarf Fortress may be installed using the method above (with some modifications), it is available through pacman (Arch Linux's package management system), in the [community], for 32-bit, and the [multilib], for 64-bit, repositories. These packages are updated as Dwarf fortress is updated, and handle required dependencies.


All of the following commands must be run as root

First, download and install Dwarf Fortress with pacman

 pacman -S dwarffortress

Any required dependencies will be installed, too.

Next you need to add the user(s) that will be playing to the game to the games group

 gpasswd -a [users] games

Any users you added to the games group must now be logged out, if they were logged in

Now Dwarf Fortress should be playable by typing:


As any user in the games group


Installing Dwarf Fortress on 64-bit installs of Arch Linux is the same as installing it on 32-bit systems, with the exception of the [multilib] repository needing to be enabled prior to install.

These commands also must be run as root.

To enable the [multilib] repository run:

 nano /etc/pacman.conf

And delete the pound symbol(#) in front of these three lines (Make sure the top one says #[multilib] NOT #[multilib-testing]

#SigLevel = PackageRequired
#Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

So that they look like this

SigLevel = PackageRequired
Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

Save the file by typing

 ctrl x

Then run:

 pacman -Sy

After that you can continue the install as detailed in the 32-bit section. Required 32-bit dependencies will automatically be installed, however you may have to install more dependencies, depending on what sound support you use, and you graphics card

If you use alsa sound, install lib32-alsa-lib with:

 pacman -S lib32-alsa-lib

If use use pulse sound install lib32-libpulse with:

 pacman -S lib32-libpulse

If you have ATI graphics install lib32-catalyst-utils with:

 pacman -S lib32-catalyst-utils 

If you have Nvidia graphics, install lib32-nvidia-utils with:

 pacman -S lib32-nvidia-utils


Fortunately the documentation on this wiki is very detailed and extensive. You may want to start out with:

Then move on to: