Last year when we posted our Dorflike Round-up, Spacebase DF-9 was still in its infancy, but the game was promising. Fast forward less than a year, and Double Fine is announcing that they’re going to release version 1.0 next month and then abandon ship. Fortunately, they’re planning to release enough source for the modding community to take over from here. Then again, the game seems light years from completion.
Playing Dwarf Fortress is an amazingly deep and interesting experience, but it is not without a learning curve. The pairing of the enchanting, emergent stories the game produces with a nearly impenetrable interface has created a market for games that provide a similar experience with a prettier and more approachable interface.
This is no easy task. Gaming history is littered with barely-started projects that have been abandoned by their creators. Lately, however, it seems that an increasing number of these games are getting to playable states and showing varying degrees of progress and promise. Many of them have playable releases and I’ve tried as many of them that I can get my hands on; this is a report of my findings.