O’Reilly publishes guide to ‘the most complex video game ever made’

Peter Tyson, co-writer on the After Action Reporter video game blog, has authored a guide to Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress, which "may be the most complex video game ever made."

The book, 238 pages in length, features 9 full-page illustrations and six diagrams by artist Tim Denee. The illustrations are based on players' stories on the Dwarf Fortress forum.

"Why a book?" Tyson wrote on his blog and in the forum. "Well, yes, the wiki exists, and yes, it is a [b]superb[/b] and unparalleled resource, but many, many gamers want manuals or huge chunky strategy guides that will step them through everything they need to know. … The goal of the GSWDF book is to provide a one-stop-shop for brand new players who want to try and tackle this game but find themselves lost and confused (for more people this sets in about 30 seconds after running dwarffortress.exe in my experience)."

Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress covers the basics of gameplay and reduces the title's learning curve. It's available through O'Reilly Media in print or as an e-book (or both). Amazon's offering will not support Tyson's "Real Time" updates to the book with subsequent game releases.

The guide largely focuses on the game's simulation mode, which tasks players with building a dwarf city. An outline of contents is below:

  • Create your own world, then locate a site for an underground fortress
  • Equip your party of dwarves and have them build workshops and rooms
  • Produce a healthy food supply so your dwarves won’t starve (or go insane)
  • Retain control over a fortress and dozens of dwarves, their children, and their pets
  • Expand your fortress with fortifications, stairs, bridges, and subterranean halls
  • Construct fantastic traps, machines, and weapons of mass destruction

Tyson's book contains a foreword from Dwarf Fortress designer Tarn Adams, who started working on the game in 2002 and released it in 2006 for PCs.

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