Dwarf Fortress! The life simulator and construction sandbox game epitomizes dedication to a single game. Dwarf Fortress, and world generation settings are the best example of game model customization. The history of Dwarf Fortress’s success is the quintessential example of a game developer’s efforts rewarded by an equally dedicated fanbase after two decades.
A Brief Summary About World Generation Settings of Dwarf Fortress
Dwarf Fortress is undoubtedly one of those unique gaming experiences that have achieved the ambition and creative vision of its lead designers, Tarn Adams, and Zach Adams. Here’s the kicker: they plan on continuing the support for games because much more is in the pipeline in the coming years and months.
A big part of the originality, charm, and appeal of Dwarf Fortress is its world-generation settings. Any change you make to the settings could potentially alter the world in drastic ways, which is my it’s vital to have a good understanding of all Dwarf Fortress world generation settings.
Why Do World Generation Settings In Dwarf Fortress Matter?
In a nutshell, Dwarf Fortress creates a customized world simulation for your dwarves to live in, where they will work, fight, mine, invent, and drink heartily.
You will see the Dwarves play out their lives in the game’s bright pixelated art style and texts depicting their actions and emotions.
The decisions in the world setting will determine the Dwarve’s fates, which, more often than not, will end in hilarious tragedy if you’re new to the game. Even veteran players fumble up, and hours and weeks of gameplay end up with all your Dwarves dead.
But failure is parred for the course, as the game’s tagline in the community sums things up quite eloquently, “Losing is fun.” It motivates you to see what went wrong and how you could have avoided a bad ending.
Now, let’s look at the different world generation settings of Dwarf Fortress.
The Variables in Dwarf Fortress Settings For World Generation
The first thing to address in the setting of Dwarf Fortress world generation will be the size of the world map for your Dwarves. Depending on your PC’s capability and how well you can manage to bounce from one place to another, you can make the World Map small, medium, or large.
A large world map will allow other races to inhabit the world relatively peacefully. Each race will have its designated land; overall, conflict is avoidable. There will be drawbacks to a large map because that would mean that different biomes and wildlife, as well as resources, will be spread out all over, and your Dwarves will have to do the leg work to collect and bring their loot back to their base.
A shorter map will see fights over resource-laden sections between different races and more dangers lurking about that can potentially kill off your Dwarves.
The Length and Time-Span of World History
After determining the map size, you will choose the time duration passed between the world’s creation and your Dwarves entry point. Depending on which timeframe you want your Dwarves to be in, it will significantly shape your experience with the game.
For example, if you choose a time gap of less than 20 or 30 years between the world’s inception and your Dwarves entering it, then it would result in technology and progress being primitive. There won’t be many innovations until your Dwarves can invent and find new materials.
The relations and lore of different races won’t be as developed, and in a sense, you will be creating history.
Conversely, if you choose a long time between the world’s creation and when your Dwarves inhabit it, a significant amount of time will have passed.
The historical events and backstories of nations will have happened, many alliances formed, rivalries renewed, and scientific progress and precious materials discovered. On the flip side, too much gap of, say, 500 or 1000 years will result in wars devastating the lands, resources dried up, and diseases running rampant.
The Number of Civilizations That Inhabit The World
Another factor in making the background setting in Dwarf Fortress feel distinct is the number of civilizations in it.
The different races in Dwarf Fortress are the titular Dwarves, and the entire game will be from their perspectives.
- Humans are always in everything, so they are a given, but you can’t play as them, thankfully.
- Other races include goblins, aggressive little creatures who can be cunning and agile.
- Elves are a sophisticated lot with loads of historical events and have roots in fantasy, and last but not least are the hostile Kobol, careful when fighting them as they can quickly get the drop on you with their stealth.
Setting the race number high will ensure that every race is present in the game world, making them often interact. The interactions will result in special events (including wars) adding to the world’s lore, increasing the world trend.
If you set the number of races to low, there is less chance of interaction between them and less chance of conflict, but also the danger of extinction.
The Maximum Number of Sites For Influencing Progress
Keeping the number of sites high in Dwarf Fortress will make the different races have multiple settlements spread apart throughout the world map.
If you want races to have internal conflict and a history of their won, setting the maximum number of sites high is an excellent way to incorporate them into your game world. Each race has primary regions like mountains, dark pits, and forests and can spread its influence to capture more territory.
If the maximum number of sites is low, there will be less chance of different races occupying new territory and progressing. But your Dwarf Fortress will always be in danger of them as they will be foreigners, and conflict will be inevitable. Plus, the chances of extinction are greater.
The Number of Beasts For Wildlife Control
Okay! So how cool is it that Dwarf Fortress has mega beasts, titans, and junior sem-mega beasts that roam the world map? The answer it’s freakin awesome!
The beasts are the Kaiju-inspired creatures that come calling when there’s a population explosion and are more helpful than you might think. They can reduce significant portions of the populace to make it easier to manage the game.
Setting the beast population high means frequent attacks on settlements and fortresses; lessening them means the population won’t face many attacks. Similar to the populace becoming extinct, the beasts can die out too.
Remember that if your map size is more extensive, the number of beasts will rise accordingly.
The game’s thematic setting changes dramatically if the number of beasts increases and can give birth to a survival scenario in an apocalyptic nightmare.
Natural Savagery Calculated Aggressiveness of Creatures
Dwarf Fortress world generation settings also ask to adjust the level of natural savagery of wild animals.
If you set the savagery level high, animal population and aggressive behavior will also rise. You will see the savage animals more frequently because their biomes spread near every settlement. However, the low savagery setting can reduce wild animal aggression, and they can be tameable.
Species of wild animals can go extinct if you lower the setting of natural savagery.
Mineral Occurrence Is The Critical Factor
The final customization for Dwarf Fortress’s world map generation is the mineral occurrence frequency. It is, in my opinion, perhaps the most crucial setting which determines the game’s direction.
Mineral Occurrence refers to the rare and precious metals that you dwarves mine to create solid and impregnable fortresses—the options available for mineral occurrence range from rare, sparse, and everywhere. Select the rare if you want a true challenge (and less hair due to pulling on it from frustration and progress blockage).
For new players, it’s best to start the game with Mineral Occurrence set to everywhere so you can get a feel for the game and not get put off due to minerals being hard to come by.
Detailed Mode For Finetune Customization
Before finally getting the settings done and jumping in immediately start playing, let me tell you about Dwarf Fortress’s Detailed Mode.
The game allows players to adjust even the minute gameplay elements, which is awe-inspiring.
You can change weather conditions, temperature control, map elevation of mountainous regions, volcano eruption rate and placement, and the specific number of individuals living on the customized map. All of these and many more options are in detailed mode, but be careful; this is meant for veteran players who deeply understand the game.
We hope you enjoyed the individual breakdown of each Dwarf Fortress world generation setting and how each greatly impacts the game. If you like to read about the game settings of other games, we recommend checking out this article about the graphical settings of Ready or Not.