Someone Built A Playable Space Invaders Inside Dwarf Fortress

Illustration for article titled Someone Built A Playable iSpace Invaders/i Inside iDwarf Fortress/i

The classic ASCII-roguelike builder sim Dwarf Fortress is notorious for being unforgiving for even the smallest mistake. If you’re not familiar with the rules, it’s tough to build even simple things and not ruin everything at the same time. Still, someone managed to make a playable version of Space Invaders in it.


Even the idea sounds insane, but here it is in action. And here’s how BaronW did it. An alien response to the Arecibo message could look like something similar. Basically, using the game’s mechanics as some sort of coding language, he was able to turn the whole thing into an art of automated calculations. And there are even game over and intro screens. Respect!

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Joe the Tech

Oh, it’s not that difficult. Playing Dwarf Fortress, I mean. This is insane. But, as far as learning the game is concerned, there are a lot of very good tutorials and a fervently maintained wiki at everyone’s disposal. If anyone wants to learn, I suggest the following things:

0) Please don’t attempt to learn the game without assistance. You’ll almost certainly quit out of frustration.

1) Bookmark the wiki, and refer to it any time you aren’t sure how something works.

2) Use the “LazyNewbPack”. It’s an extremely useful frontend for starting Dwarf Fortress and includes a ton of indispensible utilities, plugins, and graphical tilesets that make it easier to get into. Don’t let the name fool you, even longtime veterans use it.

3) Don’t get frustrated if you do poorly and die. You can’t ever actually win, and losing is FUN!

4) Visit the subreddit. We’re always happy to answer questions.

All of that being said, there’s definitely a learning curve, with the interface being the most difficult part. Tilesets help immensely, though. And don’t give up. Dwarf Fortress is the best game in existence (as anyone who knows how to play will attest to), and learning to play is very rewarding.