Dwarf Fortress: Exploring the Views

Exploring different views

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Press "v". This shows you units that are nearby. You will see your dwarves and any animals that are hanging around. Dwarves, as mentioned above, are smiley faces with beards. They are  colored according to profession.

Animals are letters.

Just take a second and locate all your dwarves and pets in "v" mode. Use the arrow keys to move the yellow "X" around. This tool snaps to the nearest dwarf, who gets a green + sign blinking over them. Information about them appears in the side view.
This mode is really important for assigning dwarves jobs, so take a bit to get used to the interface. Pressing "v" again toggles between nearby units you are focusing on. the dwarf screen shows a bunch of information, including:

what the dwarf's dwarven name is, their profession
how that translates to english

current job (in yellow)
and then a list of skills, ranging from "dabbling" to "Master". A bunch of skills are fluff right now - like negotiator, judge, etc. You can turn those off by pressing "m" to toggle "misc" skills.

Press "i" to see the dwarf's inventory. This is largely unimportant for now - later, we might care if the dwarf is wearing armor. The only important part of this screen is tools the dwarf has equipped. Woodcutters start off with axes, miners start off with pickaxes. They need these tools to do their job! We'll figure out how to control that later.

Press "p" to view the dwarf's preferences. This is how you control what dwarves do what jobs. Right now, the default jobs are fine. However, it's important to remember that you scroll the information on this screen with + / - and NOT the arrow keys - the arrow keys are still controlling the main view pane, which can change what dwarf you're looking at!

We'll skip over "W" (it stands for "wounds" and all of our dwarves should still be healthy right now) and hit "Z" to see personal information. Press Enter on this screen to see that each dwarf has their own personality and preferences. It doesn't impact the game mechanics very much at this stage, but it's a fun bit of fluff when you get tired of all the managing.

That's it for people viewer! Remember, we got here by pressing "v" - it's listed in the cmds on the right pane. We can exit any view by pressing Esc. Press “esc” now to get back to the command list. If you press “Esc” again here, it brings up the game menu. Any time you’re confused about what view you’re in, it’s always safe to press “Esc” until you get to the menu and then press “Enter” again to get back into the command view. (From the menu, you can save your game - but please note that SAVING YOUR GAME = QUITTING YOUR GAME)

Now that we understand our dwarves, let's look at the landscape. Press "k".

The yellow "X" shows up again and we can move it with our arrow keys. The trick here is that this shows what is directly underneath the cursor in the right hand pane. This is very useful for decoding the graphics. Explore a bit to see how all the .,'s and such represent various bits of ground. The upward facing arrows represent upward slopes. The solid bricks represent walls, and you can see what kind of stone they are made of, as well as if it's considered "inside" or "outside", "light" or "dark". You can also see the yellow square near your dwarves is a "wagon" - that's what you arrived in, and it's considered a building.

So that's "k". Use it whenever you don't understand a symbol to see what it is. Let's press Esc again to exit back to the command view.

Now, let's take a closer look at that wagon. Hit "t" to enter building view. Like people “v”iew and loo“k”, this lets us examine a building and everything inside of it. Here we can see our wagon is full of supplies! The [B] next to an item indicates it's a building material - in this case, wood (for me, it's acacia . The wood your wagon is made out of might be from a different kind of tree)
Remember, we use +/- to scroll through this list. Scroll down to a barrel (they're named for the item they contain, and then 'barrel', with the material used to create the barrel in (parenthesis) afterwards) and hit "enter" to see what's in side

Anyway, this wagon isn't doing us any good. We should demolish it to reclaim the materials used to construct it. From the screen we’re on, press “x” to demolish this building. Now when a dwarf with carpentry skill is free, they'll wander over and demolish the wagon. Because our game is paused, this will happen as soon as we unpause it.

But let's not unpause yet.

Prev:    Decoding the View   || Next: Getting Started With Your Fort