podcast September 21, 2021

Podcast 377: You don’t need a math PhD to play Dwarf Fortress, just to code it

I am a dwarf and I'm digging a hole.

We chat with Tarn Adams, aka ToadyOne, the sole programmer on the text-based base building game Dwarf Fortress. He left a math post-doc to make his own games. From the bug that created a massive fractal sculpture to the diary that he writes in code comments, we get the run down of how he thinks about code.

Show notes

Tarn and his brother Zach are the brains behind Dwarf Fortress and the community that rose around it.

Dr. Tarn Adams  received a math PhD, but left his post-doc because he was too busy making games. 

A bug created the statue Planepacked, a massive statue that contained the entire history of the world as well as 73 copies of the statue itself.

Many people, including one of our hosts, found out about Dwarf Fortress through a Let’s Play session in a fortress called Boatmurdered

If you want a more human readable  version of Dwarf Fortress, you can wishlist it on Steam or use one of the Lazy Newb packs

TRANSCRIPT

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code-for-a-living July 28, 2021

700,000 lines of code, 20 years, and one developer: How Dwarf Fortress is built

Dwarf Fortress is one of those oddball passion projects that’s broken into Internet consciousness. It’s a free game where you play either an adventurer or a fortress full of dwarves in a randomly generated fantasy world. The simulation runs deep, with new games creating multiple civilizations with histories, mythologies, and artifacts. I reached out to him to see how he’s managed a single, growing codebase over 15+ years, the perils of pathing, and debugging dead cats. Our conversation below has been edited for clarity.