DF2014:Object testing arena

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This article is about the current version of DF.
Not to be confused with arena created in fortress mode.
The arena is great for testing creature capabilities... or if you just want to set everything on fire.

The object testing arena is a special game mode accessible through the main menu where the player can alternate between spawning creatures, manipulating objects and features such as the weather and temperature, or taking direct control of characters in an adventurer mode-like interface for the purpose of testing whatever it is they want. It is a tremendously useful place, usable for testing modded raws, practicing for adventurer mode, or determining which skills to train against which enemies…or you can just have some fun carnage by spawning 50 steel-clad dwarves and setting them on some unarmed elves for that combat log goodness. It's possible to save games in it, in order to continue testing from a previous session.v0.42.06

Spawning creatures[edit]

Creatures can be spawned while in the look menu - press c to create a creature, select the creature type, skills and equipment, and then press enter. Press Esc (or whatever you bound "leave screen" to) to cancel without creating the creature. You cannot delete creatures, but you can, however, press w then l (in the k menu) to create a stone wall, instantly killing anything on that tile. Creatures with the [ARENA_RESTRICTED] or [DOES_NOT_EXIST] tokens can't be spawned in the object testing arena, unless the aforementioned tags are removed from their raw files. Note that some creatures with no combat capabilities (such as vermin) cannot be spawned, regardless of having the aforementioned tokens or not.

Inventory and skills[edit]

While in the creature placement menu, it is possible to add skills to your creatures, such as the fighter skill, or weapons, ammo, and armor. Creatures unable to use the weapons given to them will drop them upon unpausing, but creatures such as dwarves will happily use the weapon as long as they at least have dabbling-rank in its associated skill. You can also set exactly how much of a certain item you want when you select it, by using the + or - keys, which is the only way to get a creature to hold more than one piece of ammo, as the arena lacks an option for spawning quivers or backpacks.


A creature can be created with an effect from an interaction by pressing u in the creation menu. In vanilla games, the available effects are the interactions of necromancers, animated corpses, disturbed dead, accursed, werebeasts and vampires. Any modded interaction with a defined arena name will also be available.


It is possible to 'Team' creatures up by pressing s and d in the creation menu which is shown on the top left-hand side. There are 99 teams, as well as "Independent", which is the default and acts as every creature for itself.

In this way, you can create simulated battles against beasts or enemies - for example, you can test twenty sword-users versus twenty macemen, and analyze the battle from gamelog.txt. (Necromancers and disturbed dead that are marked as Independent will not be at peace with the zombies that they raise. This is not a bug, because arena independence overrides anything else.)


Corpses can be butchered by looking at them and then pressing a. This can be an easy way to obtain butchering information, although there tends to be a distinct lack of variation in the results (unless the corpse is missing a body part). This is partly due to the fact that no child creatures can be created.

Nature of conflict[edit]

The level of conflict between creatures or alliances can be controlled in the main screen with the keys shift+C and c. The available settings are, from most lethal to least:

  • No Quarter
  • Lethal
  • Non-lethal
  • Brawl
  • Training
  • Horseplay
  • Encounter

Morale may also be switched on or off with m on the main screen.

Spawning liquids and trees[edit]

From the look/create menu, press l to spawn a 7/7 unit of lava, or w to spawn 7/7 water on the currently selected tile. If you place water and then lava in the same tile, they will immediately form a 'Rough-hewn Rock Wall' (i.e. before you unpause), resulting in no spillage. However, placing lava and then water fills the tile with lava-hot water, which then instantly turns to steam upon unpausing. It is also possible to spawn rock walls in mid-air, usually causing a cave-in. You can place fluids in a tile that also has a wall in it; the result is a tile with both a wall and 7/7 units of the fluid you placed (water or lava). This combination behaves exactly the same as normal water without the wall would, except the area is still considered inaccessible for water to move through.

Multi-tile trees are also available from the look/create menu, under tree. Using the submenu on the right, you can select the species of tree and set its age. Pressing enter will spawn a tree at the cursor using the current settings. Trees can be placed anywhere, even a rock block floor or in mid-air (the latter will also cause a cave-in, replacing intermediate rock block floors with sand). Arena-created trees do not spawn with roots. At present it's not possible to chop down a tree, though they can be burned by spawning lava, killing the tree.

Fighting in the Arena yourself[edit]

Look at any creature, and press a to play as them, or ctrl+a to exit back to the main mode.

Controlling the environment[edit]

The arena's environment can be modified in-game by pressing w. From this screen, you can adjust Weather, Temperature, and Time. You can also press s to cover every map tile in snow, m to make everything muddy, and x to remove all mud and snow.


This section has 4 options, each of which can be set to various settings:

  • Cumulus
    • No cumulus clouds
    • Scattered cumulus
    • Many cumulus (rain)
    • Cumulonimbus (rain)
  • Cirrus (toggle)
  • Stratus
    • No stratus
    • Altostratus
    • Stratus (rain)
    • Nimbostratus (rain)
  • Fog
    • No fog
    • Thin mist
    • Fog
    • Thick fog

As expected, the options marked with "(rain)" will cause it to start raining.

Temperature & Time[edit]

The arena's temperature and time can be set to one of 13 settings, each:

  • Dragonfire - 50000 °U
  • Magma - 12000 °U
  • Fire - 11000 °U
  • Scorching - 10080 °U
  • Hot - 10070 °U
  • Warm - 10050 °U
  • Cool - 10035 °U
  • Cold - 10020 °U
  • Subterranean - 10015 °U
  • Freezing - 9999 °U
  • Below freezing - 9968 °U
  • Deathly cold - 9850 °U
  • Absolute zero - 9508 °U !

  • Dawn (5:30am)
  • Morning (8:00am)
  • Late morning (10:30am)
  • Noon (1:00pm)
  • Early afternoon (2:00pm)
  • Late afternoon (3:30pm)
  • Early evening (5:00pm)
  • Evening (6:30pm)
  • Dusk (8:30pm)
  • Night (10:00pm)
  • Midnight (12:00am)
  • Late night (2:00am)
  • Early morning (4:00am)

Modifying the Arena layout[edit]


Folder-orange.svg Dwarf Fortress

Folder.svg data

Folder.svg init

Text-x-generic.svg arena.txt

The layout of the arena zone is stored in the (DF)/data/init folder. Modifications to this file will not change the dimensions of the arena; they can only change the initial tiles and fluids present.

The arena is composed of 9 z-levels (including Z=0, from Z=-4 to Z=4) of 144 x 144 tiles; the contents of each tile are specified by a single character:

Character Description
Empty tile [1]
Block floor
Block pillar/wall
Block ramp
Block fortification
Water source [1] [2]
7/7 water [1]
7/7 water + upward ramp
7/7 magma/lava [1]
7/7 magma/lava + upward ramp
Grass [3]
Tree [3]
Sand [3]
Soil [3]

  1. Tile will have no floor unless a pillar/wall is constructed on the z-level below.
  2. Only seems to work when placed on map edge; behaves identically to capital W otherwise.
  3. Only one type will be present, but it will be randomly selected each time you enter the Arena.