Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress
Learn to play the most complex video game ever made
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: May 2012
Pages: 240

Dwarf Fortress may be the most complex video game ever made, but all that detail makes for fascinating game play, as various elements collide in interesting and challenging ways. The trick is getting started. In this guide, Fortress geek Peter Tyson takes you through the basics of this menacing realm, and helps you overcome the formidable learning curve.

The book’s focus is the game’s simulation mode, in which you’re tasked with building a dwarf city. Once you learn how to establish and maintain your very first fortress, you can consult the more advanced chapters on resource management and training a dwarf military. You’ll soon have stories to share from your interactions with the Dwarf Fortress universe.

  • Create your own world, then locate a site for an underground fortress
  • Equip your party of dwarves and have them build workshops and rooms
  • Produce a healthy food supply so your dwarves won’t starve (or go insane)
  • Retain control over a fortress and dozens of dwarves, their children, and their pets
  • Expand your fortress with fortifications, stairs, bridges, and subterranean halls
  • Construct fantastic traps, machines, and weapons of mass destruction
Table of Contents
Product Details
About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews

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by PowerReviews
oreillyGetting Started with Dwarf Fortress
 
4.7

(based on 15 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (12)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (15)
  • Well-written (15)
  • Helpful examples (13)
  • Accurate (10)
  • Concise (6)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Novice (14)
    • Intermediate (11)
    • Student (4)
    • Expert (3)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Developer (7), Maker (3)

    Reviewed by 15 customers

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    4.0

    The Dwarf Fortress user manual

    By TV4Fun

    from Portland, OR

    About Me Developer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Concise
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

    • Poor Printing

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate
    • Novice

    Comments about oreilly Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress:

    Remember back in ancient times when games came in boxes with printed manuals? If Dwarf Fortress was released then, this would be the manual it came with. This tells you everything you need to know from installing Dwarf Fortress and using basic keyboard shortcuts to building an advanced fortress with an in-depth economy to keep your dwarves alive for years. It has many clever illustrations and some very funny comics to go along with it. My one complaint is that it's printed in black and white, which makes the comics and the screenshots difficult to read. It would have been nice if it could have been illustrated in color, but it's still awesome.

     
    5.0

    Comprehensive

    By BobbyV

    from London, UK

    About Me Maker, Sys Admin

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Concise
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Novice

      Comments about oreilly Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress:

      I put this on my kindle fire and read it on bus journeys. It takes you through a game that is otherwise pretty incomprehensible in a step-by-step manner.

      The author does an excellent job of conveying his enthusiasm and affection for the game while humorously acknowledging its more absurd aspects.

      Can't think of a single negative thing to say about it. My fortress is thriving.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Great intro to DF

      By Jon

      from Madison, WI

      About Me Developer, Maker

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress:

        I would not have been able to get started playing DF without this book. Although it has basically the same information as the wiki, it's much better organized and easier to consume. Bonus: roflarious cartoons of other gamer's adventures in losing!

        (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        An incredibly wonderful waste of time -

        By Fogus

        from DC

        About Me Developer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Easy to understand
        • Well-written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Novice

          Comments about oreilly Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress:

          Peter Tyson's Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress is a wonderful little book about a wonderful little game that will bleed you for every spare moment of your life. If you're like me, you've perhaps heard of Dwarf Fortress and like the idea, but are not tapped into the gaming zeitgeist and therefore unequipped to hit the game running. This book, while likely more time consuming than grabbing the game and actually getting started, is a nice primer on the idea of the game itself, a treasure trove of useful techniques and pretty much just plain fun to read. As a life-long fan of the Roguelike genre of games, Dwarf Fortress hits the sweet spot for me mixing aspects of world-building and dungeon crawling. While the book mostly focuses on the world-building (actually, mine-building) aspects of the game, it's this facet that really shines. That is, Dwarf Fortress is a truly exquisite example of the "open world" style game where anything goes and anything can happen. Therefore, while the general techniques provided in the book are nice, they are only helpful to a limited extent. Regardless, Tyson's book does a great job expressing the excitement that the game offers and really drives home the notion of its extreme replay-ability. Highly recommended; but only if you have some spare months to burn on this crazy game.

          (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Managing little dwarfs was never easier

          By Ozgur Cakmak

          from Istanbul

          About Me Designer, Developer, Maker, Sys Admin

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Accurate
          • Concise
          • Easy to understand
          • Helpful examples
          • Well-written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Expert
            • Intermediate
            • Novice

            Comments about oreilly Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress:

            Hello there,

            I have to admit, I got this book via O'Reilly's Blogger Review Program, 3 or 4 months ago and became all silent. Why? Because I was playing the Dwarf Fortress.

            First things first, why do you need a book for DF? The answer is, you don't. You can scrounge the internet up and down for a niggling question. Or you can get this book, open it up and play this very complex game. I really really mean it, I mean how many games calculate your minion's health status to the minutiae. You can see whether one of your dwarves has lost a finger or not. This is what I call as detail. The game is like nethack, you play it in a dos window and you are not directly controlling your dwarves. You are, kinda, an overseer. You give general orders as in:
            - Dig there
            and your dwarves dig the place. When they feel like convenient. They get angry, sad, or depressed. Oh also you can dig up an ancient horror from the ground. Or you can get invaded by orcs, or...

            The possibilities are endless with this game. And that's why you need a primer to start this game. What I like about this book is, it is a beginner's book! The writer does not assume that you spent a few games with DF. Even if you do, you still can gain info from it. Firstly Mr. Peter Tyson tells you how to install the game, what are its modes and basic keyboard shortcuts. Then you build your first world, and find your first site. This is especially important because the starting point of a mine often decides the fate of it from the get go. Then he goes into explaining the interface, which is needed really because the learning curve is not a curve but a mountain, and tells you about the basic operations. You dig, and you'll need rooms to store the stuff and workshops to process the stuff. And for processing them you need happy dwarves, happy dwarves mean dwarves with their bellies full. Then... oh and then you'll go into more detail.

            If you need a solid background on Dwarf Fortress, go and buy this little ditty. You won't regret this decision. As I've said, Torchlight 2 is out, X-Com is out, hell even Borderlands 2 is out but here I am still playing this little console game, trying to manage my dwarves for a day more...

            (5 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Awesome!

            By Tarhiel

            from Sweden

            About Me Designer

            Pros

            • Accurate
            • Easy to understand
            • Helpful examples
            • Well-written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Expert
              • Intermediate
              • Novice
              • Student

              Comments about oreilly Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress:

              Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress was a legendary paper-bound book. The written portion consists of a 240 page guide entitled Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress, authored by Peter Tyson. It concers the teaching of Dwarf Fortress. The writing bubbles over with cheerfulness yet it is thoroughly mechanical.

              In the early spring of 2012, Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress was created by the dwarf author Peter Tyson

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              A fantastic addition to your Fortress

              By Ledgekindred

              from Tampa, FL

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Accurate
              • Easy to understand
              • Helpful examples
              • Well-written

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about oreilly Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress:

                  I've been a DF player for a few years now. Even so, when Peter announced that he was writing a book I was very excited. Peter has been a valuable resource to the DF community with his training videos and I wanted to see what he could come up with for print. Boy was I not disappointed!

                  He is an engaging writer, taking everything with the kind of sense of humor the DF community is known for. He goes into quite a bit detail from setting up the game, building a world, checking over your provisions before you embark, all the way through defensive measures, military and minecarts. Even so, he takes it all step-by-step so that even beginning players can easily follow along.

                  The illustrations are fantastic and a wonderful addition to the text of the book. It's just too bad the print version is only black and white.

                  Overall this is a great introduction to the game, an excellent resource for existing players (when the wiki is not available or just as an addition to the wiki) and a wonderful collectable for hardcore enthusiasts.

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Great Book for a Complex Game

                  By Chris

                  from Defiance, OH

                  About Me Developer

                  Pros

                  • Accurate
                  • Concise
                  • Easy to understand
                  • Helpful examples
                  • Well-written

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Intermediate
                    • Novice

                    Comments about oreilly Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress:

                    I picked up the book about a week ago after playing Dwarf Fortress for about 6 months. Dwarf Fortress is a complex game not only in how you play it, but in the depth that it also provides. Peter is an expert at this daunting game and the book helps out new players get going quickly. You can follow it along as you play as each chapter builds upon the last, which is great for learning. You don't need to process the entire book just to get a basic fortress going. Once you do though, his notes and recommendations are a god send. The artwork is top notch as well.

                    If you like Dwarf Fortress, this book is a definite purchase.

                    (9 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    3.0

                    Excellent guide, but print non-colored.

                    By Asatruer

                    from Seattle, WA

                    Verified Reviewer

                    Pros

                    • Easy to understand
                    • Helpful examples
                    • Well-written

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Intermediate
                      • Novice

                      Comments about oreilly Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress:

                      Very helpful for getting new players started on the right foot, but the Google Preview of the book inaccurately shows color that is not present in the print edition of the book. The nature of the game being driven by colored text and symbols makes the informative greyscale screenshots and the wonderful comics scattered throughout are nowhere near as good in the print edition over the ebook edition. The print edition would have been five-star excellent if only it had the color shown in the Google Preview provided and I can only recommend the ebook edition.

                      (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      Nice guide and amazing collectible

                      By Xan

                      from Bern, Switzerland

                      Verified Reviewer

                      Pros

                      • Comprehensive
                      • Easy to understand
                      • Nicely illustrated
                      • Well-written

                      Cons

                      • May become obsolete

                      Best Uses

                      • Collector
                      • Intermediate
                      • Novice

                      Comments about oreilly Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress:

                      The purpose of this guide is two-fold.

                      For a novice-to-intermediate player, and for people who wanted to check it out but never dared to plunge in the actual game headfirst, this book provides a good, comprehensive guide to core mechanics of the game. It really smoothes the bumps on the road.

                      For an experienced player and DF fan, this book may not be as useful as a source of information, but it can be viewed as an amazing collectible, and a perfect way to lure new players to the game. Preferably, with a smug smile and "It's dangerous to go alone! Take this." kind of line.

                      The guide is also delightfully illustrated by Tim Denee, which adds to the overall feeling of a complete, well-designed product.

                      One point to note, though: the game is very dynamic in its development, and some areas covered are bound to change. While the printed copy runs the risk of becoming inaccurate with time, the core principles will probably still be valid, and the author stated his intent to provide updates to the e-book version. So, don't miss getting an e-book direct from O'Reilly.

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