Dwarf Fortress is that super-complex game with ASCII character graphics that’s been bouncing around the internet for over ten years. You’ve probably heard of it. You may have even given it a go. It’s funded entirely with donations and can be played for free. Gamasutra interviewed Tarn and Zach Adams, creators of the infamously deep game, and they revealed that their project will be complete in about 20 more years if everything goes according to plan. And that’s not a joke.
According to the brothers, their “deadline” for version 1.0 will come in about 20 more years. Tarn Adams thinks that by that time, they may add tutorials, a more friendly interface, and some context-sensitive help. He doesn’t want to spend much time working on graphics. He feels working on graphics impedes his development process.
“We talk about the graphics slowing down development, and it’s one of the main reasons why we don’t have them,” he says. “Tutorials are sort of the same way, in that they are an anchor that you need to keep updated. But that’s definitely a sacrifice that I’m willing to make, just because I think they would make a big difference just to get people started.”
As long as donation money keeps rolling in, the Adams brothers will continue working on the game. Should the money ever stop, the pair said they are open to exploring other options like moving on to a new project with a Kickstarter or even just releasing the game for someone else to tackle.