After two years, the legendary Dwarf Fortress has received a major update.

Dwarf Fortress lets you simulate a dwarven outpost based in the caves of a mountain. The game randomly generates a world with a history, towns, and caves that you can then interact with in great detail. Just about anything you can imagine is simulated, and things can go wrong at any moment.

The combat model simulates skills, body parts, different tissue and material properties. The weather system tracks wind, humidity, and air masses to simulate storms and clouds. The game sports over two hundred types of minerals. You get the idea. The twist is that it's all presented in ASCII text and it can still slow down a modern computer.

This new update adds birth, invasions, and succession to the game, along with the ability to retire and unretire fortresses. Here are a few excerpts from the update notes that show just how in-depth just an update can be:

  • Combat moves take place over a period of time now, and you can do things like catching an opponent's attack — you have to do that by targeting a grab at the offending part now (reactions used to have a menu, but that was before combat got more smeared out).
  • Rumors of incidents can be spread, and the rumors need to be spread before you gain reputation (good or bad). Killing all of the witnesses to an event will effectively remove it from play if you don't let them get off the screen.
  • The mind has been rewritten quite a bit — people now experience emotions according to different circumstances (lots of awkward monologues there), and they consider actions differently.

The complete update notes are available at Bay12 Games, where you can also download the game for Mac, Linux, or Windows for free.