How do you design your Dwarf Fortress?
I was starting a new fortress the other night and it struck me that sometimes the hardest part of playing Dwarf Fortress is deciding where to dig that very first tunnel. There is so much potential locked into the average Dwarf Fortress map but every tap of the miner’s pick reduces your options. I almost feel a degree of analysis paralysis contemplating the options when I look at a fresh map. Do you? How do you go about starting what will end up as hours of real-time effort? There’s nothing worse than being several hours into a construction and realizing you’ve made some major mistake that makes routing magma to where you want it impossible, or that your dream of a waterfall based defensive network is now going to be horribly complex to build, or that your fortress is just plain ugly! And if you make that crucial mistake then how will you ever be able to build a truly amazing fortress?
Since I always have grand schemes in mind when it comes to designing a fortress I am almost tempted to not let my dwarfs live anywhere but on the surface until my first major constructions are complete; until the entrance tunnels are dug, the initial workshop spaces are complete, the farm system laid out and the storage bunkers prepared. I can’t help but feel I’m spoiling my mountain if I dig some quick spaces early. Yes, my poor dwarfs will, in future, survive in rough wooden huts under the horridly bright sky and among the squishy green stuff. And sure, there will be upset dwarfs moaning about the sun and filth, but damn it, my inverted obsidian pyramid isn’t going to look pretty mixed up with random diggings, channels and culverts, is it?!