History of Dwarf Fortress

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Dwarf Fortress has a huge planned feature set (see Bay 12 Games for a list), and has evolved considerably since its first public release on August 8, 2006. The following is an overview of major and minor changes made to the game, and when they were made. There are currently many omissions of important changes (for instance, a period during which sieges were broken and finally fixed).

Changes in 0.40 (DF2014)[edit]

See the release information.

Changes in 0.34 (DF2012)[edit]

See the release information.

Changes in 0.31[edit]

See the release information.

Along with a host of new features, the release of 0.31.01 brought a new version system, shortening the originally 5-part (6-part if the SDL experimental branch is included) version number to just three parts.

Changes in 0.27-0.28[edit]

With the release of version, a huge number of changes were introduced. The central change was the introduction of a Z dimension to the game map; previously, all fortresses were built on a single, two-dimensional plane -- with the new release, fortresses could span dozens of levels. The layout of terrain on the game map also changed radically, featuring separate distinct stone layers with (mostly) geologically accurate contents, as well as allowing a single fortress to encompass several different biomes.

The following is a list of major aspects of the 2D versions that changed completely with the release of the first 3D version.


  • Z-levels only existed in adventurer mode, and then only in a limited fashion. Most caves, ruins, goblin fortresses, and human buildings had a handful of levels internally, connected by stairs or ramps, but the surrounding terrain was completely flat. When visiting a player-built fortress in adventurer mode, the layout would be preserved but rotated 90 degrees, and a row of ramps would be inserted as a transition between various areas of the fort for no obvious reason.
  • Starting location choices -- Previously there were only a few dozen fixed locations on each map you could choose, all with the same layout and size; the only thing that varied was biome (climate, creatures, trees, and shrubs), and each location had only one biome. (Accessibility by different civilizations also varied depending on starting location -- this is perhaps little changed in the current version.) Now you can start just about anywhere on the world map, with a variable-size fortress map, which can span several different adjacent biomes and terrains.
  • Choice of starting goods was very limited. You couldn't bring an anvil (one would automatically be brought in the first summer by a metalsmith). Starting points were very tight - only 200 points plus your default starting equipment (2 picks, 2 battle axes, 15 pieces of meat/fish, 15 edible plants, 5 edible plant seeds, and 5 cloth-making plant seeds).
  • Nobles changed a lot. There used to be "guildmasters" corresponding to different professions (farming, mining, masonry, etc.). The manager was your first noble, who arrived after hitting 20 dwarves. There was no "trader" noble or trade skills (the "trade minister" did nothing of importance); you could trade at any point after the caravan fully unloaded. You couldn't do workshop profiles until the manager arrived and couldn't use the stocks screen until the bookkeeper arrived, which would also start the dwarven economy. The mayor, manager, trade minister, and treasurer were all different, full-time nobles, and the baron/count/duke (and their consorts) were all separate as well. Add to this the guildmasters and "Order of the <weapon>" nobles and you could potentially get up to 39 nobles in your fort.
  • There were no activity zones - fishing, drinking, and sand gathering was always done at the nearest accessible body of water (with a preference for running water), ponds were a special type of channel, garbage was always dumped into the chasm and destroyed, and meeting areas had to be designated from buildings (making them eligible for parties).

Materials differences[edit]

There were not as many kinds of stone. Stone was divided into three categories: Light (Limestone, Marble, Moonstone), Dark (Jet, Obsidian, Onyx), and Gray/rock (all others). Light and dark stone (other than obsidian) had 2x value multiplier, and Obsidian had 3x. You could choose whether to make something of light stone, dark stone, or rock, but you could not specify light or dark but exclude limestone or obsidian.

Ore and gems were logically separate from stone. All types of ore/gems could be found - availability was based on how far into the mountain you were digging. For example, gold, platinum, and hematite were always beyond the chasm, as was coal.

There were not as many metals, and only a few alloys. Each metal type had only one ore - galena was a silver ore; there was no lead. Alloys could only be smelted from ore, with steel being a partial exception (pig iron was made from iron bars, but steel was made from pig iron and hematite), so smelting all of your ore was a bad idea.

Mining yields were all based on skill level (starting at 25% for a Dabbling miner), but only ore could reach a 100% yield - gems and coal maxed out at 63%, while normal stone could only reach 44%. In versions through 0.34.06, all mining byproducts followed the "ore" formula (up to 100% yield, dependent on skill), but version 0.34.07 changed the yields based on cluster type (100% for small clusters and "special" materials, 33% for veins, and 25% for everything else) and dropped the skill requirements.

There was only one kind of coal: bituminous coal, yielding two bars of coke from smelting. Only limestone could be used as flux for making steel.

Sand was always available, from the banks of the indoor or outdoor river.

The weight system was also much simpler - compared to, all types of silk effectively had a density of 125, all wood, cloth/leather, and bone/shell materials had a density of 500, and all stones and metals had a density of 1000. Furthermore, the Γ unit was 10 times as heavy, so dwarves became encumbered much more quickly.

Building differences[edit]

  • Trader wagon access required an actual 3-wide road (not just a clear path) stretching from the western edge of the map to the depot (which had to be near the cliff face or inside the fort).
  • You couldn't build traps or farms outdoors. You could build bridges outdoors but not make them raisable/retractable.
  • You couldn't build/rebuild walls or any of the other constructions.
  • Steel was necessary for building things over the magma river; Iron could be used with magma in other places.
  • Machines (gears, pumps, windmills, etc.) did not exist. There was a "mill" workshop that had to be built on one of the rivers.
  • Magma buildings had to have the left or right center tile over the magma river - other tiles could be but wouldn't power the building, and magma channels would not work.

Terrain layout[edit]

There was just an "outside", with a river zig-zagging north to south (except in scorching/freezing climates), a nearly flat cliff face, and cave river, chasm, magma river, demon pit, and adamantine-lined chasm at fairly regular distances in to the mountain, that were present in every fortress. The cave river was lined with limestone; the magma river was lined with obsidian. "Discovered" features (cave river, chasm, etc.) would only be partly revealed according to what was within line-of-sight from all dwarf-accessible tiles.

(Note that the compass directions are an abstraction, and the river does not necessarily actually run north to south with the cliff face to the east)

The chasm would contain primarily antmen, ratmen, or batmen, and 5-15 of them would spontaneously crawl out of it on a fairly regular basis until you poured enough magma in there to "kill" the chasm. While activity zones did not exist yet, you could [o]rder refuse to be dumped into the chasm.

Rivers, Fluids and Flooding[edit]

The underground river would flood when breached and then once each spring, summer, and fall (in the form of waves sweeping out up to 20 tiles from its banks), and the floods would tend to sweep dwarves into the river, who would almost always drown. Items swept into the river would permanently disappear. Irrigation was much more necessary for farming than it is now (as you could only build farms on muddied tiles; soil types did not exist), though some fortresses survived purely on tiles muddied by the natural flood ("Nile-style farms").

Both the cave river and magma river had a chance of flooding when first breached; this would often drown the miner (or flat out kill him, in the case of magma).

While natural floods were limited in size and would subside naturally, floods released by floodgates expanded forever and were only ended by an "anti-flood" caused by a floodgate closing or a cave-in. An antiflood would not be generated if the flood waters were connected to a source of water, leading to permanent flood states if one was not careful. One floodgate being destroyed (by a troll or magma man, for instance) or opened would pull fluid from the river into a channel, a second will release it onto the surface. Channels would absorb surface water and not allow floods to pass. Channels could be walked on when not filled with fluid. To carry fluid over rivers or the chasm, you had to use a bridge-like building called an aqueduct.

Wells could just be "dug", and did not have to be connected to a water supply. Cave river creatures (frogmen, snakemen, or lizardmen) would show up spontaneously along the banks of the river (and also crawl out of wells beyond the cave river), though much less often than the chasm creatures.

Aquifers did not exist in the 2D version.


Cave-ins would happen in short order if you mined out a 7x7 area or larger without leaving an unmined natural column in place (or built a support pillar). Cave-ins from mining had a random delay, but cave-ins triggered by blowing out a support happened immediately. Supports could survive the magma flood.


Too Deep...

Beyond the eerie glowing pits, forming the far edge of the map, was an adamantine-lined impassable chasm (containing no creatures -- at least, none you ever saw). Mining even a little bit of raw adamantine set into motion an eventual and unavoidable end-of-game, and mining 100 or more units would guarantee the game ended at the start of the next season. You could not reclaim a fortress lost this way. If you visited a "too deep"ed fortress in adventure mode, you would find a large "Demon". After the demon was defeated[1], all raw adamantine, mined or not, would turn into galena. The 3D versions effectively switched this around - rather than having to release demons in order to get to the adamantine, the demons would instead be released (either from the eerie glowing pits or from Hell itself) as a result of mining too much raw adamantine.

Skills and labors[edit]

In the 2D versions, a number of related skills were lumped together via a common labor. The skills of weaponsmithing, armoring, blacksmithing, and metalcrafting all existed separately but were enabled via a single labor called "metalsmithing". Potash making and lye making were grouped under "ashery operating". Gem cutting and gem setting were lumped under "jeweling".

Adamantine processing was divided into four skills (adamantine extractor, smelter, weaver, and worker) and controlled by 2 labors. It was nigh impossible to produce top-quality adamantine items because there wasn't enough adamantine (or time, for that matter) available to train up an "adamantine worker" unless you managed to get a lucky strange mood. In the 3D versions, adamantine extractor was renamed "strand extractor" and all further processing was transferred to the ordinary furnace operator, weaver, and smithing skills and labors.

Release History[edit]

The most recent releases are listed at the top.

Dwarf Fortress v0.47[edit]

  • 0.47.05 (2021-01-28): Bugfix;
  • 0.47.04 (2020-02-29): Bugfix;
  • 0.47.03 (2020-02-16): Bugfix;
  • 0.47.02 (2020-02-06): Bugfix;
  • 0.47.01 (2020-01-29): Release;

Dwarf Fortress v0.44[edit]

  • 0.44.12 (2018-06-23): Hotfix;
  • 0.44.11 (2018-06-23): Civilizations create nearby sites and associate them with your fortress, can request/send workers, long-term memories can lead to personality changes
  • 0.44.10 (2018-05-05): Dwarves now have short-term and long-term memories of emotional events, Adventurer mode log improved
  • 0.44.09 (2018-04-01): Hotfix;
  • 0.44.08 (2018-03-29): Bugfix;
  • 0.44.07 (2018-03-12): Hotfix;
  • 0.44.06 (2018-03-09): Raids can pillage/raze sites and demand tribute, will gain skills (e.g. military tactics) during missions
  • 0.44.05 (2018-01-14): Hotfix;
  • 0.44.04 (2018-01-10): Bugfix;
  • 0.44.03 (2017-12-25): Bugfix;
  • 0.44.02 (2017-11-23): Hotfix;
  • 0.44.01 (2017-11-22): Release; can now send raids to other sites, build museums using pedestals and display cases, artifacts created during worldgen, civilizations can send spies to gather information on artifacts

Dwarf Fortress v0.43[edit]

  • 0.43.05 (2016-06-20): 64-bit support, bugfixes
  • 0.43.04 (2016-06-20): Bugfix;
  • 0.43.03 (2016-05-22): Bugfix;
  • 0.43.02 (2016-05-11): Hotfix;
  • 0.43.01 (2016-05-09): Release; Adventurers can create sites, make stone axes, fell trees, perform carpentry, and construct buildings; Fortress mode work orders can now specify start conditions, restart frequencies, and how many workshops can be used

Dwarf Fortress v0.42[edit]

  • 0.42.06 (2016-02-10): Can specify exact materials for jobs, make specific crafts, apply specific decorations, and even customize the details of art images; Adventurers can now do bone carving, complete with custom images
  • 0.42.05 (2016-01-17): Reputations for hunters and protection from bandits
  • 0.42.04 (2015-12-26): More varieties of animal peoples and giant animals, Vampire purges during worldgen, bugfixes
  • 0.42.03 (2015-12-12): Bugfix;
  • 0.42.02 (2015-12-05): Bugfix;
  • 0.42.01 (2015-12-01): Release; introduced taverns, temples, and libraries, added new musical instruments and performance skills, introduced needs to replace dwarves going On Break, added visitors who can petition for fortress membership, scholars and historians can write books and spread knowledge, and drinking alcohol actually causes inebriation (and eventually fatal alcohol poisoning)

Dwarf Fortress v0.40[edit]

  • 0.40.24 (2015-01-07): Bugfix; Misc. bugfixes; allowing 1x1 forts
  • 0.40.23 (2014-12-24): Bugfix; Fixed farming job cancellations, armies camping forever, typos, and channeling bug
  • 0.40.22 (2014-12-21): Bugfix; Fixed multi-item jobs and toggle marker tweak
  • 0.40.21 (2014-12-19): Hotfix; Fixed a crash bug and other issues
  • 0.40.20 (2014-12-18): Job priorities rewrite; vein and cluster automining
  • 0.40.19 (2014-11-26): Gelding and related profession/skill/etc
  • 0.40.18 (2014-11-20): Hotfix; Fixed a smelting issue on Windows
  • 0.40.17 (2014-11-19): Bugfix;
  • 0.40.16 (2014-11-12): Bugfix;
  • 0.40.15 (2014-11-05): Bugfix;
  • 0.40.14 (2014-10-25): Thought/emotion rewrite, stopped site invaders from always winning
  • 0.40.13 (2014-09-17): Bugfix;
  • 0.40.12 (2014-09-10): Bugfix;
  • 0.40.11 (2014-09-03): Bugfix;
  • 0.40.10 (2014-08-24): Bugfix;
  • 0.40.09 (2014-08-17): Bugfix; Misc. bugfixes
  • 0.40.08 (2014-08-11): Hotfix; Fixed a crash bug and issues with constructions
  • 0.40.07 (2014-08-10): Bugfix; AI and invasion fixes
  • 0.40.06 (2014-08-03): Bugfix; stack bugfixes.
  • 0.40.05 (2014-07-27): Bugfix; fixed large world slowdown, decreased rampant tree growth, many old and new bugfixes.
  • 0.40.04 (2014-07-20): Bugfix; several crash fixes, made saplings grow properly.
  • 0.40.03 (2014-07-13): Bugfix; broke save game compatibility again due to more save corruption, several crash fixes.
  • 0.40.02 (2014-07-10): Bugfix; broke save game compatibility due to save corruption, several crash fixes.
  • 0.40.01 (2014-07-07): Release; Introduced world generation running in the background while fortresses and adventurers progress, un-retiring of fortresses, multiple tile trees, climbing & jumping, and more.

Dwarf Fortress v0.34[edit]

In a devlog entry for 2011-01-30, Threetoe announced plans for a series of nine numbered releases ("Short-term Goals" on the dev page) to finish off the long-planned "caravan" development arc. Release 1, improving towns and introducing markets, along with a variety of supernatural creature types, was predicted to have a version number of 0.33 or 0.34 and was released on Valentine's Day 2012 as version 0.34.01.

  • 0.34.11 (2012-06-04): Bugfix
  • 0.34.10 (2012-05-21): Bugfix
  • 0.34.09 (2012-05-17): Bugfix
  • 0.34.08 (2012-05-14): Hauling overhaul - minecarts and wheelbarrows, more accurate projectiles, reduced mining yields, advanced stockpile/workshop links
  • 0.34.07 (2012-03-30): Bugfix
  • 0.34.06 (2012-03-23): Updates to animal training (dungeon master removed, having been nonfunctional since 0.31.01), return of good/evil trees and shrubs
  • 0.34.05 (2012-03-06): Bugfix
  • 0.34.04 (2012-02-29): Hotfix
  • 0.34.03 (2012-02-28): Bugfix
  • 0.34.02 (2012-02-18): Bugfix; broke save compatibility due to save corruption, numerous fixes for old issues
  • 0.34.01 (2012-02-14): Introduction of human cities (shops, marketplaces, sewers, dungeons) and tombs, addition of interactions (necromancers, werebeasts, vampires, etc.), historical migrants, truly evil regions, updated justice system,

Dwarf Fortress v0.31[edit]

  • 0.31.25 (2011-03-28): Hotfix -- Final update of version 0.31.
  • 0.31.24 (2011-03-27): Hotfix
  • 0.31.23 (2011-03-26): Hotfix
  • 0.31.22 (2011-03-24): Bugfix
  • 0.31.21 (2011-03-06): Bugfix
  • 0.31.20 (2011-03-06): Hotfix
  • 0.31.19 (2011-02-16): Worldgen starvation, usually wiping out kobolds; grazing; ceramics; jugs, pots, nest boxes, beehives (and bees); site finder changes. Last major 0.31 release, and the (unnumbered) beginning of the caravan arc series.
  • 0.31.18 (2010-11-16): Hotfix
  • 0.31.17 (2010-11-11): Bandits, Night Creatures, Bogeyman, Adventure mode improvements, combat aiming, castles
  • 0.31.16 (2010-10-04): Hotfix
  • 0.31.15 (2010-10-03): Bugfix
  • 0.31.14 (2010-09-23): Hotfix
  • 0.31.13 (2010-09-15): Entity populations, sprawl, river density tweaking, TrueType font support
  • 0.31.12 (2010-07-25): Hotfix
  • 0.31.11 (2010-07-23): Art of deities
  • 0.31.10 (2010-07-11): Hotfix
  • 0.31.09 (2010-07-10): Adventure mode knapping and butchery, combat improvements
  • 0.31.08 (2010-06-19): Hotfix
  • 0.31.07 (2010-06-19): Bugfix
  • 0.31.06 (2010-06-09): Bugfix
  • 0.31.05 (2010-06-04): Bugfix
  • 0.31.04 (2010-05-16): Merge with the 40d19 branch
  • 0.31.03 (2010-04-12): Ability to create undead in arena
  • 0.31.02 (2010-04-08): Bugfix
  • 0.31.01 (2010-04-01): Overhaul of many aspects of the game, first 2010 release

3D Version (before 2010)[edit]

  • Branch: thru OpenGL optimizations, macros, zooming
  • (2008-09-06): Bugfix; Cat bug introduced
  • (2008-08-21): Hotfix, partial print now allows specifying a frame count
  • (2008-08-20): Partial print, windowed/fullscreen gridsizes
  • (2008-08-18): Embark profiles added, notes extended to embark map, customizable forbid orders added (used ammunition, dead creatures' possessions, etc.), and dwarves now try to store items in partially-filled containers instead of empty ones
  • (2008-08-09): Custom grid sizes added
  • (2008-07-23): Hotfix
  • (2008-07-23): Added Site finder, can display hidden map features when choosing a site, Note support implemented, and worldgen presets added
  • (2008-07-16): Hotfix
  • (2008-07-14): Hotfix; trees in Elven forest retreats no longer have names
  • (2008-07-13): Lots of worldgen changes, including ethics (leading to wars and conquered sites), dynamic era naming, worldgen roads/bridges/tunnels, megabeasts being killed during worldgen, megabeasts being undead; cats and trained animals are now named on adoption, human weapon stores stock more stuff (including ammo), placing constructions now destroys engravings, and flying creatures no longer give birth in mid-air
  • (2008-02-24): Bugfix
  • (2008-02-23): First Macintosh-compatible release; Dwarves no longer carry their artifacts around, booze food no longer melts, worlds can now have custom sizes
  • (2008-02-15): Magma pipes now refill, ZERO_RENT and BABY_CHILD_CAP init.txt options were added, strange moods no longer convert workshops, metal crossbows now made by weaponsmiths instead of bowyers, dwarves chat and make friends/grudges and get married, unhappy thoughts from masterpiece destruction are now reduced based on the number of masterpieces the dwarf has made, and plants can now drown in deep water
  • (2008-02-04): Spheres added, lots of new entity tags, numerous worldgen improvements, religions implemented, undead ruins removed
  • (2007-12-21): Mud no longer dries up during winter, occupied cages are named according to their contents, brand new "Bring to depot" interface, strange moods no longer require glass until you actually make some
  • (2007-12-14): Bugfix; mud and blood no longer spread, auto-forbid fired ammunition, donkey/horse foals are now named properly, graphics sets can now use custom tiles for appointed nobles, and flux stones now have a value of 2 again.
  • (2007-12-08): Bugfix; in particular, nobles no longer order themselves to be punished for failed mandates, donkeys can now breed, most types of vermin no longer have bones, and most types of fish no longer have lungs or throats
  • (2007-11-30): Bugfix
  • (2007-11-23): Animals screen now labels war dogs and hunting dogs correctly, sliver barbs now have seeds, and process priority can now be configured in init.txt
  • (2007-11-16): Carp and other fish no longer gain swimming skill (making them slightly less dangerous), and various ore types now properly show up as '*' when mined.
  • (2007-11-01): added wooden blocks, renamed aluminum ore to "native aluminum", mountain gnomes and dark gnomes no longer butcherable
  • (2007-10-29): The very first fully 3D version

2D Version[edit]

  • (2007-01-18): Hotfix - Final version
  • (2007-01-16): Hotfix
  • (2007-01-16): Temperature support was further improved, population/FPS caps were added, coffins could now be restricted to only dwarves or only pets, and animals could now be marked for slaughter from their v-p screen. Spirits of fire also got a lot hotter. For some reason, horses are now made of iron.
  • (2006-12-21): Hotfix
  • (2006-12-21): More workshop orders were added - auto collect webs, auto slaughter, auto butcher, auto tan; male cows are now called bulls, and whips can no longer get stuck in opponents
  • (2006-12-16): The ability to disable temperature and weather were added (to boost FPS)
  • (2006-12-14): Bins could now be made from metal, and the embark screen now described your biome and listed what civilizations were nearby
  • (2006-12-10): Improved temperature support was added
  • (2006-11-23): The ability to use custom graphics sets was added
  • (2006-11-17): Hotfix
  • (2006-11-15): Hotfix
  • (2006-11-17): Dyes and dyeing were implemented, allowed sewing cloth/leather images into goods, as well as more detailed art (historical figures and events, special shapes); standing orders now allowed auto collecting webs and only using dyed cloth
  • (2006-11-03): Bugfix; additionally, butterflies, fireflies, and dragonflies can no longer be kept as pets. Boatmurdered began in this version.
  • (2006-10-29): Hotfix
  • (2006-10-29): Hotfix
  • (2006-10-29): Custom stockpiles were added (previously, there were only 16 basic stockpile types; things like potash would be stored with your metal bars and you could not force seeds to be kept near the farm).
  • (2006-10-21): Hotfix
  • (2006-10-21): Inventory system changes (most notably, gloves and boots were split into two items (left & right for gloves))
  • (2006-10-02): Various changes to adventurer mode - guards and families, plus "." as a wait key
  • (2006-09-25): Hotfix
  • (2006-09-25): Making potash no longer required making ashes into lye first.
  • (2006-09-16): Workshop profiles were added, along with showing genders on the Animal status screen
  • (2006-09-08): Designating with the mouse was added
  • (2006-09-02): Bugfix
  • (2006-09-02): The ability to hide engravings was added, announcement consolidation (x15), seasonal blood cleanup was temporarily added (and would remain until version 0.31)
  • (2006-08-27): Bugfix
  • (2006-08-27): The ability to "chasm" items was added (complete with attacks from chasm creatures as a result), as well as butchering cats
  • (2006-08-24): Dwarves could now have custom nicknames and professions, fullscreen could be toggled, starting animals would have mixed genders, horses could breed
  • (2006-08-21): Bugfix
  • (2006-08-20): Bugfix
  • (2006-08-20): Bugfix
  • (2006-08-19): Adventurers could now have custom first names
  • (2006-08-16): Gender symbol was added to unit views, config options for disabling sound and the intro movie, command-line world generation, ability to export local map
  • (2006-08-14): Farm plot fertilization could be controlled directly
  • (2006-08-13): Bugfix
  • (2006-08-12): Bugfix
  • (2006-08-10): Bugfix
  • (2006-08-10): Bugfix
  • (2006-08-08): Initial public release