Written by Rashid Mansoor

2 min read

Persistence in gaming

  • Aether Engine
  • Gaming

Indie games come up trumps again and again, often creating trends and communities that surprise the big players. One such game is Dwarf Fortress, released back in 2006 by designers Tarn Adams, Zach Adams. Eurogamer describes the game as “A game of almost pure administration. A game of such Byzantine complexity that, after ten years of incremental releases and updates, the number of people who really, completely understand it is negligible… ...Dwarf Fortress is ugly and hard and broken and unfair and [ ] it might be one of the most important games ever made”.

Anyone who plays the game would agree that it is really difficult to get to grips with, pretty ugly and not at all user friendly, but despite all of that and it’s time-consuming complicated nature it has a massive fan base. The game has a ginormous world that would take thousands of hours of gameplay to thoroughly explore and all over the web you can find players love-hate experience with it. It’s also highly regarded in the industry and loved for sparking the inspiration for Minecraft.


Despites some of its downfalls and clunky appearance, the living world of Dwarf Fortress is hugely popular. Once you get up to speed with how to play the game, the endless possibilities, characters and complex mythology that are procedurally generated make it an enticing option. Excitingly, the developers have now introduced living memory to the game, adding another layer of depth to this already fascinating video game. Dwarves in the game will formulate likes, dislikes and these personality traits as well as events within the game will influence how they act going forward. Much like humans, a traumatic experience, or a task they particularly enjoyed will influence their behaviour in their society. The developers explain how eight long term memories can be created and stored to form dwarf personalities and impacting their individual values.

Currently the game is single player only, although it would be incredible to see this transformed into multiplayer - becoming more complex and adding another layer of fun to the already popular game. The world simulation could be made much richer if there was the computing power to support separate bespoke worlds, all created by different individual players. The game already needs a mammoth amount of computational power to generate its complex worlds, and this naturally limits the depth and breadth of the worlds as well as the graphics being run. Logically the next steps would be to improve the graphics and it would be epic to see the game being transformed into a successful multiplayer game, it definitely has the potential to be taken to the next level - but that would really require next level computing.