23a:Technical tricks

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This article is about an older version of DF.


In order to configure Dwarf Fortress to your liking you need to edit a text-file containing the settings, namely init.txt, or the init file.

Locating your configuration file[edit]

Your configuration file is called init.txt and is stored in the [installation folder]\data\init folder ([installation folder] is the folder where you installed Dwarf Fortress).

Editing the configuration file[edit]

You can edit the file with any text editor of your choice, Notepad works very well.


There are a number of settings in Dwarf Fortress that you can alter to your liking:


  • [SOUND:ON]

Change this to OFF in order to turn off the sound and music.

(Note: This will completely disable the sound/music, you won't be able to adjust the volume through the esc menu. It might give you a slight FPS boost, though.)


  • [INTRO:ON]

Change this to OFF in order to skip the intro movies.


[WINDOWED:PROMPT] Can be YES, NO or PROMPT. YES sets the game to Windowed mode.

The game window[edit]

  • [WINDOWEDX:640]
  • [WINDOWEDY:300]
  • [FONT:curses_640x300.bmp]

This is the size and font for windowed mode. You can alter this however you want but please note that changing these values does not change the number of tiles displayed at once. The actual number of tiles displayed is hardcoded to 80x25 and cannot be changed by any means.

In order to keep aspect ratio, multiply the value of WINDOWEDY with 2.133333333 to get the correct WINDOWEDX. You can also multiply WINDOWEDX with 0.46875 to get the correct WINDOWEDY value.

You should change the font to curses_800x600.bmp if you increase the windowed size considerably. Despite the name, the font works both with 800x600 and 800x300 aspect ratios.

Running in a 1280x600 window, using the 'curses_640x300.bmp' font, will give an evenly stretched font, and an almost square aspect ratio. For an even more square aspect ratio, try 1600x600 (or 800x300) with the 'curses_800x600.bmp' font.

  • [FULLFONT:curses_800x600.bmp]

The same as above, only for fullscreen mode. Be sure you only use modes supported by your monitor!

There are also several custom tilesets available on the wiki.

The look of the game[edit]


Set this to YES and the tiles will not be stretched, but will instead be centralized and then surrounded by black space.


Set this to NO in order to only have periods (.) as ground tiles. If set to YES the game will randomly use ,.`' to represent ground.

  • [GRAPHICS_FONT:curses_square_16x16.bmp]
  • [GRAPHICS_FULLFONT:curses_square_16x16.bmp]

Graphics info, most of it as above. Set GRAPHICS to YES to turn it all on. This will use the "raw/graphics" folder for tile information. Currently this is limited to whatever creature graphics you have downloaded. The game comes with a few pictures to demonstrate.


Use these settings to configure how nicknames are displayed in each mode of the game. REPLACE_FIRST replaces the first name of the dwarf with its nickname, CENTRALIZE puts the nickname between the first and last name of the dwarf and REPLACE_ALL replaces the original name completely with the nickname.


If you'd like your engravings to start off looking the same (you can toggle them on individual later), set this to YES.

  • [FPS:NO]

Change this to YES if you want to see an FPS counter.


All the color values at the end of the init.txt file is used to control how the game represents that particular color. If you for instance alter [BLACK_R], [BLACK_G] and [BLACK_B] to 255 the color black will be represented by white in the game.

You can replace your colors with any scheme you would like. There are a variety of pre-made schemes available on the color schemes page.


  • [KEY_HOLD_MS:150]

This controls the number of milliseconds that must pass before a held key sends a repeat press to the game. Increase this if the game seems to repeat your instructions even if you only (intended to) press the key once.

If you do need to adjust this, do so in small increments. A change of 25-50 should be more than enough. Any more and you slow down your scrolling considerably.

  • [MORE:YES]

This controls "more" in adventure mode. If MORE is set to NO, all announcements will be skipped. DISPLAY_LENGTH controls how many lines are printed before it gives you the "more" prompt.


Change this to NO if you don't want to have the mouse involved at all.


Change this to YES to use a custom mouse cursor in-game. Be warned that the mouse cursor will only update when the screen is redrawn, so if your fortress is noticeably laggy, the mouse cursor will lag along with it.

Game Changers and Performance Enhancers[edit]

For more detail on how to boost game speed through editing init.txt, see Maximizing framerate.


Do exactly what they say, turn on or off temperature and weather. Turning off Temperature and Weather can increase performance noticeably.

  • [FPS_CAP:100]

Sets the maximum frame refresh rate for the game.


Sets the maximum population of your fortress with regards to migrants - children can and will exceed this cap.


Controls whether or not your adventurer is affected by traps. Enabling this is not recommended, as there is no way to disarm traps, and stepping onto a cage trap will leave you permanently stuck and unable to escape.

Editing Creatures[edit]

Check the raws for further information.