Break out the swaddling blankets, fashion the tiny pickaxes, and roll back the child labour laws: Dwarf Fortress’ next update has been announced (opens in new tab) and it’s going to make everyone baby. The prosaically titled “Baby Update” doesn’t have a firm release date just yet, but it’ll give “every living thing” a distinct baby (and child, if applicable) sprite, from aardvarks to gorlaks. You can see a couple of the new sprites from the official Baby Update Preview (BUP) below.
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Aside from being adorable, the new art should make it a bit easier to tell your various workers apart. Currently, dwarf children are depicted as adults in red shirts, making it difficult to know at a glance whether a room is filled with stout, idle workers or babbling infants. I suppose you’ll also be able to tell whether the adders and alligators in the room with them are cuddly, harmless babies or cuddly, harmless adults.
The update will affect “dwarves, animals, plants and monsters”—which, okay—and will be out sometime in the near future. There are a whole lot of different creatures in Dwarf Fortress, and “There’s still a few more sprites to do,” so neither Kitfox nor Bay 12 can put a specific date on the update yet. The devs promise more info in the weeks to come.
Dwarf Fortress has been getting regular additions since its graphically-enhanced Steam release last December. Its last significant update added in an Arena Mode (opens in new tab) that lets you subject your minions to gladiatorial duels to the death (and test any mods and adjustments you’re working on, too). I’m going to go ahead and suggest you don’t try out the new baby sprites in there, even though I know you definitely will.
Nearly two decades after its original release, the game is more successful than it’s ever been. An update put out by the devs last month indicated a 46,000% increase in earnings (opens in new tab) since it hit Steam, meaning the two brothers—Zach and Tarn Adams—behind the game now have to adjust to the reality of being bonafide millionaires (opens in new tab). Few games deserve that success more.