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Dwarf Fortress adds deathmatch with Arena Mode update

The Steam edition of Dwarf Fortress now has Arena Mode, which lets you stage gruesome battles to the death between any of the colony game's many creatures.

Dwarf Fortress arena mode update: Five dwarves holding axes face off against five armoured goblins with flails in a round stone arena with a sandy floor in Dwarf Fortress

There are countless ways for dwarves to die in Dwarf Fortress, a colony management game that I’ve sometimes described as “a game about entirely preventable tragedies.” The latest Dwarf Fortress update adds a new one: gladiatorial battles between dwarves and any number of the game’s many strange and violent creatures.

Dwarf Fortress patch 50.06 adds Arena Mode, which has been a feature in the legacy version of Dwarf Fortress for ages. While it certainly serves as an entertaining way to watch monsters battle each other to the death, functionally it serves a grander purpose as a testing area for objects, features, and characters. It’s an indispensable tools for modders, in other words.

Arena Mode has gotten an updated user interface to keep pace with the new mouse-driven menu system in the Steam edition of Dwarf Fortress, so it’ll be easier for modders and aspiring Roman emperors to use now. You can customise just about every aspect of any battle you set up, from the creatures participating and any equipment they bring to the nature of the conflict itself – options range from non-violent encounters to ‘no quarter’ duels to the bitter end.

You can also create teams of creatures, spawn in items and trees, and take control of a specific character to jump into the action yourself.

The patch also addresses some crashes, including one that would occur when players copied trade information from certain items, and one caused by creating diagonal or very large activity zones.

It also adds some new graphical sprites for underground crops and farm plots, new statue textures and designation textures, and fixes some creature list icons. Ambient sounds have also been enhanced and tweaked a bit, with a new neutral cavern ambience added to the mix.

There’s usually a standout line or two in any set of Dwarf Fortress patch notes, and this time, it’s this one:

  • Allowed emotionless creatures to satisfy needs if they still have them.

Think about that while you browse our list of the best old games that are still very much worth playing on PC today.