Dwarf Fortress has a much better UI on Steam

The old ASCII interface has been upgraded to a nice mouse-driven menu in Dwarf Fortress on Steam

One of the things that makes Dwarf Fortress tough to get into is its ASCII text-based menu systems. It’s a complex simulation game, and the way players interact with it is primarily through these menus – which you kind of just need to figure out. Fortunately, when Dwarf Fortress arrives on Steam, it’ll have a brand new menu system that presumably will make actually playing the game a lot easier to do.

Bay 12 Games founder and developer Tarn Adams provided a peek at the new interface in an update on Steam. In it, Adams shows the contrast between the old menus, which look like classic DOS file system readouts, and the new menus, which are still a bit information-dense but now have scrollbars and clickable tabs and buttons.

The new screen shows what appears to be an accounting screen that divides up ledgers into three broad categories: Dwarves, Items, and Animals. That covers just about everything, when you think about it. The items each have attractive, pixel-art icons, and a bar highlights the selected subcategory.

Previously, Bay 12 has shown us peeks at the graphical improvements coming to the Steam version of Dwarf Fortress, and the studio has also explained that eventually, even the procedurally generated monsters will have their own matching artwork. Earlier this summer, we even got a gameplay trailer, with “actual graphics” as Adams said.

Behold, the menu:

Adams says these new menu screens also scale up and down for larger and smaller screen sizes or windows, even supporting widescreen monitors.

We still don’t have a Dwarf Fortress Steam release date yet. Time is subjective, after all.