Dwarf Fortress entered development in 2002, and its first public release came in 2006. In that time, it’s become one of the most complex gaming simulations ever built, and it’s still growing. The game’s version numbers track its progress toward 1.0, and even with a graphical Steam release on the horizon, we’re still at version .44.
You can probably do the math from there, but co-creator Tarn Adams lays it out to Gamasutra in no uncertain terms. “We aren’t even halfway to 1.0 yet. And 1.0 isn’t really completing the game… we just might not have a lot of time left by the time we get there.” It’s probably safe to assume that the current rate of progress means there’s at least another 20 years to go.
In the immediate future, Adams says the villains released will be finished “over the next some months,” and the new features for the Steam version will follow that. “After that, we have some siege improvements and other work before entering the Big Wait. The latter’ll be the largest DF restructuring and addition ever, I’m pretty sure, allowing us to generate creation myths and have entire procedural magic systems, as well as having multiple view windows open in different parts of the world.”
Then we’ll have an update featuring property, laws, and customs, and further on there’s the economy, boats, and what Adams calls “other major missing components.”
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It’s tough to imagine what’s really “missing” from Dwarf Fortress at this point, but there’s no apparent limit to the possibilities.