Dwarf Fortress’ first update in two years has started the clock on your world

Dwarf Fortress: like reading the Matrix, diehards say.

Like the unspeakable beast which lays dormant beneath your keep for aeons, the first Dwarf Fortress update in two years has burst forth, irrevocably changing everything.

In fact, change will be the way of things in Dwarf Fortress from now on: its gameworlds won’t stick fast once they’re generated, but instead continue to evolve in the background – sometimes quietly, sometimes not.

Essentially, most of the processes you see happening in that initial, breathless world generation will continue on – births, deaths, marriages, successions, appointments and invasions – though thankfully not megabeast invasions.

You’ll see some new changes over time on a granular level, too: patrols and bandits will move in and out of areas, for instance, and animal populations will fluctuate noticeably.

Fortresses can now be retired. “Losing is still fun,” notes developer Tarn Adams. “But if it doesn’t happen when you want, you can put it off for a while.”

They can be unretired, too: but given the fact they’ve lain unoccupied for a while, they might need to be reclaimed from whoever’s set up shop in the meantime.

Most entertaining of the other new features is a rumour system. Word of ‘incidents’ in and around your fort can spread, and will have knock-on effects to your reputation. But that also means that killing all the witnesses to a horrific event will leave the wider world none the wiser.

Combat will be better for a revamped movement system, improvements to stealth, and the ability to track your opponents’ attacks over time. And most unnervingly, “the mind has been rewritten”.

“People now experience emotions according to different circumstances, and they consider actions differently,” said Adams. “Some dwarves have life-long dreams and it is possible for them to recognise that they’ve accomplished the ones relating to skills and family. They cannot yet realise their dreams of taking over the world.”

You can find the full changelog on Tarn’s site. Bug fixing will now “commence in earnest”. Perhaps you’ll get back to work on a new outpost, too?