Dwarf Fortress (2006, Bay 12 Games)

What game list would be complete without mentioning Dwarf Fortress? But seriously, this game actually does belong on here.

Dwarf Fortress is a game where…well, you build a fortress, and you have dwarves. Like Dungeon Keeper, you define the boundaries of your rooms mostly by digging out dirt. Like Rimworld, there isn’t a strong in-game notion of “rooms”, though you can flag areas as being a bedroom or a meeting halls. But it’s not a necessity.

This post is best viewed in landscape mode because the screenshots are a smidge on the small side.

Interestingly, you don’t select rooms to place out of the menu. Instead, you place a piece of furniture (say, a bed) in an open space and “query” that furniture, which gives you the option of zoning the area as a bedroom. Whatever dwarf owns the bedroom also has exclusive access to items in that room, like cabinets and chests. Basically, actual “rooms” in dwarf fortress are actually a bit more than a carved out space with a floor and some items.

To make a room in Dwarf Fortress, in either the official Room capacity or otherwise, you start by designating an area for digging (it’s the section left of the two rooms in the middle of the screen).

Now, it’s cleared out:

However, it’s just grass/dirt on the ground. Not a big deal I guess, but once you lay down furniture you can’t add a floor under it! So you place floor:

Placing (or commissioning) items is often a two step process: say where you want it, and then the material:

I specified the entire room, and now I need to say what material. I picked pear wood logs – got a lot of those.

Zoned for floor placement. Interestingly (or confusingly), you can make each of the 12 required units of material a different type. Or you can just shift-enter to build everything from the same material, like you want in 99% of cases. Next, you place a door, a table, and a chair (picking what type for each you want). Keep in mind these items aren’t colocated in the menus at all – they’re stuffed away somewhere in the deep build menu.

That’s it – basic room constructed, replete with a chair and a table. But if you want to make it a room, you query one of the integral items of furniture for that room (like the table) and can mark the entire room as a dining room, for instance, where dwarves bring their grub:

Besides small items, like chairs, you can also build larger things, like workshops. These are essentially pre-canned mini-rooms where dwarves can craft certain types of items. Here I’m placing a loom:

And there are a slew of workshops immediately above the loom-to-be. You can select them and place orders, but there’s no room for customization of the workshop themselves.

Honorable mentions

Other games with rooms are Evil Genius (2004) and The Sims (2000). In Evil Genius you placed rooms (carved out of a mountain) and furniture within those rooms. The Sims was obviously more of a regular-life simulator than the rest of these, but you could put up (and paint) walls and floors, while adding any item to any room.

Continue to Pt.6: Analysis and Conclusion

Or Back to Pt.4: Planetbase