Ready to finally  get that fortress going? Well, in that case there are a number of things you need to get used to and understand before you can begin governing your dwarves.

Fact #1:

Dwarf Fortress does not use the mouse. That’s right. This is a keyboard only game. Be prepared to wrap your mind around this concept. It is something you will always be dealing with. To be honest it isn’t really such a big deal. You may have a hard time with it at first, but don’t fret, you will soon get over it.

Fact #2:

Your number one goal at the beginning should be to survive. You may hear about amazing feats of architecture and engineering on magamawiki, but take things slow. Your greatest challenge at the beginning will be food and water, but these simple problems will soon be dwarfed by warring bands of  goblins, engineering failures (be careful not to flood your fortress), and possibly the greatest threat of all Insanity.

Fact #3:

Dwarf Fortress is a two dimensional game taking place in a three dimensional world. What does this mean? When you look at the screen, you can see left, and you can see right. You can’t look up and down. You can only see one plane of depth. In order to adjust what depth, or z-plane you are viewing, you can press the (/) and (*) keys.

It probably comes as no surprise that as Dwarf Fortress is about dwarves, there is a lot of digging involved in the game. Try not to dig too deep too fast. I don’t want to give anything away, but you never know what you might find down there.

Now for some advice on how to start. When you first start a game, all your dwarves will be huddling around a cart they brought with them. This cart contains all the tools, food, and most importantly booze, that your dwarves need to survive. Unfortunately these supplies won’t last forever, so the next thing I will teach you is how to gather additional supplies.

Start off by pressing the (p) key. This key opens the menu that is used for setting stockpiles. You will see on the right presets for designating areas for gathering things such as food, gems, stone, and other items. At this point you should press the (f) key. Move the pointer around with the arrow keys until you find an open spot near where your dwarves have started. Press enter to begin designating an area. Push the right key four times, and then the up key four timse, then press enter. You have now designated a 5x5 area for storing food. Press (Esc) to unpause the game, and you will see your dwarves scurrying around carrying barrels of food to your new food storage location. Repeat this task for wood and refuse so that you have locations for storing those as well.

Now lets designate some actions to fill those spaces. Press the (d) key, and then the (t) key. Designate an area just like when creating a stockpile, except this time do it in an area that contains trees. If you have done it successfully, then all the trees in the area should turn dark as in this picture. After you have done this, a dwarf with the wood cutting skill should soon start cutting down those trees and put them in the wood stockpile.

Next try and designate some area in the side of a hill or mountain to be mined. Try to replicate the set up I created in the image above. note that I essentially have a main hallway leading to the outside with two rooms coming off of it. Note that I made the hallway two spaces wide. This is important in order to prevent congestion.

At this point in the process you still haven’t created food or drink. Unfortunately I don’t have enough time to fit those into this post, so you guys are just going to have to wait until Tuesday to hear about that.

Keep in mind that the secret is mud. What the hell am I talking about. Check back Tuesday to find out.

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