Utility:Lazy Newb Pack
|This utility page is about v0.47.05, the current version of DF.|
The Lazy Newb Packs or Starter packs are packages to get people started with Dwarf Fortress. Simply download the relevant one for your operating system, and start playing Dwarf Fortress with all the best utilities and graphics/tilesets.
Despite the name, the modern packs are ideal for new and veteran players alike. Using a pack lets you focus on playing the game, while still having access to quality-of-life additions like graphics/tilesets, utilities, and being able to change common settings without editing text files.
Packs also make a great basis to start your own set of modifications from as you don't need to find, configure, compile, install, and update every tool for yourself.
Separate packs are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Each platform's version is maintained by different community contributors. These can be found further down this page.
What is a Pack?
A Starter pack (sometimes referred to as a "Lazy Newb Pack") is a pack that includes many utilities that a veteran player might want, while configuring everything in such a way that it is still easier for new players. In general, it's safe to simply ignore any option you don't understand and trust that the default settings will be okay.
The packages are built around the idea that newbies will likely have more difficulty with the game than with a package of utilities - which often make the game easier - and that there are many players who are not new but would still prefer an option to get all the extras in one place with a minimum of fiddling. Most include just about everything that still works and could be useful.
It is also important to note that most of the contents of each pack were created by many members of the community and just collected, configured, and redistributed by the maintainer of each pack. Of course there are a few personal touches too, but the vast majority of each is thanks to others - and not least Tarn and Zach for Dwarf Fortress itself.
Sseth tide will conquer, Long live the king.
History of packs
Maintaining a pack is a lot of work, and, over the years, people inevitably lose time or motivation to update their packs. Eventually, someone new steps up and releases their own pack.
This section is provided for information, and should not be interpreted as a recommendation for these packs. It may however be interesting to look back at how the LNP/Starter Pack movement evolved.
The first Lazy Newb Pack
The first pack with the name Lazy Newb Pack (LNP) was created by LucasUP for Windows and DF version 0.31.12 and posted in the bay12forums on June 11, 2010. Before the LNP, it was becoming common for the community to bundle up their own distributions of Dwarf Fortress with tile sets, graphics, and mods to make them more accessible to players. Other notable packs from this era are Phoebus graphics and Mayday's Graphic Set. The LNP distinguished itself by providing an interface for changing common DF settings, instead of editing the raw text files included with the game.
The first versions of the LNP included a text-based interface (seen on the right) that only permitted the user to enable/disable aquifers and choose from the Phoebus, Mayday, and Ironhand graphics packs. They included the utilities DFHack, Dwarf Foreman, Dwarf Therapist, PerfectWorldDF, Quickfort, Runesmith , Stonesense.
The original launcher with a GUI
On December 31, 2010 LucasUP released the first version of the Lazy Newb Pack that contained the graphical interface launcher that is well known today. It became the key component of the pack, which allows easy configuration of the DF installation, choose graphics packs, launching of utilities, and provided one click toggling of settings instead of editing configuration files by hand. The original launcher was built with Visual Basic and .NET 3.5, and for several years this meant that the LNP was only available for Windows systems.
In 2012 Dricus created a Java-based launcher, which was cross platform and more flexible, but also required manual configuration. This launcher was never finished and so never achieved wide usage, however some early Mac and Linux packs were available based on this version. It wasn't a complete pack, but just the launcher component that could be used to build platform-specific packs.
The End of the First Age
By the late autumn of year 2013 the LNP was out of date with new DF releases, and users were clamoring for an update. LucasUP's life had become too busy to focus on the LNP. On November 16, 2013 LucasUP declared his tenure as overseer over, thanked the community for their support and gave his blessings for the successor packs that had appeared on the scene.
PyLNP: The modern cross platform launcher
In mid-2014 Pidgeot released the PyLNP launcher built in Python and compatible with all platforms. As of 2017 the PyLNP is the core launcher of all lazy newb / starter packs available. A number of improvements to the feature set have been made since the original windows-only launcher by LucasUP, including raw merging of graphics to perserve settings, mod management, color schemes, and managing multiple installations of Dwarf Fortress. There are even more not mentioned here.
All modern packs since 2014 use the PyLNP launcher. Note that "PyLNP" and "LNP" are not interchangeable - the former refers to the launcher itself, while the latter refers to a pack as a whole.
PyLNP started as a port of LucasUP and tolyK’s Lazy Newb Pack Launcher to Python, with the goal of making a launcher available on all the platforms supported by Dwarf Fortress. Its biggest innovation is the PyLNP content format, a standard for defining manifests for graphics, tilesets, keybinds, utilities, etc that allows a modular and custom pack to be built.
Lazy? Newb? Starter Pack?
The original pack by LucasUP was named the Lazy Newb Pack, and LucasUP themselves explained the name as "This package is for Newbs and those too Lazy to put everything together every new version" (emphasis original). Most derivative packs over the years have retained that name more out of brand recognition and as homage to LucasUP's first attempts.
In November 2013 PeridexisErrant, the maintainer of the current pack for the Windows platform, renamed his pack from "PeridexisErrant's LNP" to "PeridexisErrant's Starter Pack". He has said the primary reason for the renaming was to distinguish the old legacy LNP from his own pack when providing support to players, as often players would have a problem with the pack and ask PeridexisErrant for help only for him to discover they were using an older version of the pack that he didn't publish nor maintain. He changed the name before the big 2014 release in order to help steer new players towards his new maintained starter pack, and prevent them from finding and using old unsupported versions of the LNP.
The maintainers of the different Mac OSX packs have used different names over the years including MacNewbie, and Lazy Mac Pack. The Linux maintainers have remained with the original LNP moniker.
Other historical packs
Early on, while there were releases of Dwarf Fortress for Mac and Linux, there were no Lazy Newb Packs offered. The very first batch-script based version of LucasUP's LNP inadvertently worked on Linux via wine, but after the switch to the GUI launcher built with .NET, support for Linux was lost.
The general availability of GUI based launchers (and the packs built around) them for Mac and Linux didn't come about until Dricus' java-based launcher project in August 2013.
Mac OS X
In April 2012, iXen released the MacNewbie Pack as an alternative to the Windows LNP. It was for version release 0.34.07 of Dwarf Fortress. The pack was updated for several months until its final release, v0.6 Cyan, in May. The pack was notable as it included the first GUI launcher for Mac OS. It was built with Apple's Cocoa technology and included special keybindings to make gameplay easier on Apple Wireless & MacBook Keyboards.
Fricy released his spiritual successor to the MacNewbie pack on July 10, 2014 for Dwarf Fortress v0.40.01. It was based on Dricus' cross platform java launcher has 26 releases from July 2014 until November 28, 2015. It was last updated in November 2015 in January Dwarf Fortress v0.42.04.
The Lazy Newb Pack Installer for Linux created by Andrewd18 in September 2013, was a Linux installer shell script that installed the Dwarf Fortress Lazy Newb Pack. It downloaded and built a DF installation from available source code and binaries, and also checked for the dependencies required by 64-bit systems. The home of this pack was on Github. It was last updated on June 2014 for Dwarf Fortress v0.34.11.
Beautato's Linux Lazy Newb Pack released in July 2014 was a more traditional package of compiled utilities that was previously maintained and tested on Ubuntu. It was last updated in March 2015 for Dwarf Fortress v0.40.24.
The Making of a Pack
There are many people involved in the making of a LNP/Starter pack for Dwarf Fortress, starting from Tarn and Zach releasing DF, to the many tilesets and graphics creators, the creators of the utilities (e.g, Soundsense, Dwarf Therapist), the reverse engineering work down by the DFHack folks, to the many more who contribute on the forums, help manage bug reports, create and test mods, etc.
Creating a pack is a process of curating a set of tilesets, graphics, and utilities and bundling them together with a launcher as well as the latest Dwarf Fortress release, then, optionally, making this bundle available for download
Over the years the process of making a pack has become more formalized and automated, and a community has formed to make the process easier and provide continuity when someone inevitably retires.
As of 2017, pack maintenance and creation is centered around the following projects:
- The PyLNP launcher is maintained by Pidgeot and is available on Github
- The LazyNewbPack organization on github provides a home for shared resources and code
- The DFgraphics github repository is a shared home for graphics and tilesets to ease routine maintenance
- The starter-pack builder by PeridexisErrant that helps build a pack from scratch
- The lnp-forge project is a pack builder targeting Linux and macOS
- The dfdl project is a pack builder for macOS