This is huge. And by that I mean the news, and Dwarf Fortress itself. Arguably the most complicated simulation game ever made, it's coming out of its popular, niche corner of the internet and into the mainstream with a major Steam release alongside a graphical overhaul, and mod support through the Steam Workshop. It's also being made more accessible, and seeing a UI redesign that should make the game far easier to control and learn in the first place.
Dwarf Fortress is an amazing game about building, exploring, and surviving in a randomly generated, fully populated and historically relevant world. But its learning curve is more like a cliff thanks to its complexity, convoluted interface and interaction system, and its ASCII graphics make interpreting what you actually see on the screen rather difficult. It's all the work of a pair of brothers who worked on the game as a hobby, and then full time when Patreon and other donations allowed them to do so.
It's been that way for years and Dwarf Fortress has survived on the goodwill of its players, meaning that the game itself has always been free. That will still be the case when it launches on Steam, with all updates continuing to go into the free version — but there will be a paid version too. For $20 you'll get the enhanced UI and the new graphics tileset, created by Steam version publisher Kitfox Games and its freelance collaborators, most of which have been a part of the Dwarf Fortress community for some time.
Game creator, Tarn Adams is excited by the news, hoping that it helps bring Dwarf Fortress to the widest audience it has yet seen, as well as making it easier to get to grips with for new players, as per PCGamer. It's a departure from the in-house focus the game has had since its inception, but then people have been making unofficial mods for years now. This is just a version of the game with the creator's stamp on it. Better yet, it will have all the content updates of the free version.
No release date has been announced, but Adams says it will come after the next major update for adding "Villains" to the game, which will happen in a few months time.