Subterranean Iron-Pick Blues

Little limited-palette digi-painting I did quickly after I’d just finished a long photo-shopping session. This is a Dwarf (yes, one of those Tolkein-esque fantasy things) from the indie game phenomenon that is Dwarf Fortress.

Digi painting of a Dwarf worker from Dwarf Fortress

He’s a worker of some kind and is just brooding away in the darkness at the bottom of the pump stack of his underground home, thinking about how he’ll only ever see sunlight again if he’s really lucky, and how he’ll be spending the rest of his life eating subterranean mushrooms…

I’d been curious about Dwarf Fortress for a long time after seeing it crop up again and again on the internet. It’s the game that inspired that Minecraft game you know, and it’s been called one of the most complex games ever made.
So when I had some free time after finishing the inking of the Evil Star graphic novel, I settled down with some tutorials and had a go. In ‘DF’ you’re in charge of a colony of dwarves who have to set up a sustainable home or gradually die. There are lots of ways for your little guys to die; be it thirst, hunger, madness, disease, infection, violence, violence by friends who have gone mad, wildlife, bandits, suffocating, trading disagreements, drowning, or more madness. The list goes on. And on.

I’ll leave Tim Denee to explain more about it, with the brilliant comics that really got me curious: Bronzemurder, Oilfurnace and Akrulatol.
There’s also a good intro here from a fellow called ‘Zweistein’. If you’re keen on finding out more, there’s ‘The Song of Onionbog’, the multi-media Fortress story ‘Bravemule’ and the ‘Glazedcoasts’ playthrough.

If you fancy playing the game yourself, get a New Player bundle pack – for Windows or Mac – and turn on the Ironhand graphics, ‘Soundsense’ sound pack and use ‘DwarfTherapist’ to actually control the little fellows.
Mostly though you’ll be needing some tutorials, which you can find here, here and here, and be prepared to spend some time on the Dwarf Fortress Wiki.

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