The month earlier than Dwarf Fortress was launched on Steam (and Itch.io), the brothers Zach and Tarn Adams made $15,635 in income, principally from donations for his or her 16-year freeware undertaking. The month after the sport’s business debut, they made $7,230,123, or 462 occasions that quantity.
“The fairytale ending is actuality, however you did not kiss the toad,” Zach Adams wrote on Bay 12 Video games’ boards. “You gave him cash.” He went on to put in writing the sort of grateful response to followers you do not typically see from recreation builders:
The appreciation you give us is a part of our being now. It carries us within the vehicles we drive. It sustains us because the meals that we eat. There’s now not any existence besides the one that you’ve supplied. Once we go from this world, you’ll be the rationale we’re remembered.
Tarn Adams famous that “rather less than half will go to taxes,” and that different individuals and bills have to be paid. However sufficient of it is going to attain the brothers themselves that “we have solved the principle problems with well being/retirement which can be troubling for impartial individuals.” It additionally signifies that Putnam, a longtime modder and scripter and neighborhood member, can proceed their work on the Dwarf Fortress code base, having been employed in December.
The “problems with well being/retirement” grew to become very actual to the brothers in 2019 when Zach needed to search remedy for pores and skin most cancers. The $10,000 price, principally coated via his spouse’s employer-provided insurance coverage, made them understand the necessity for extra strong sustainability. “You are not simply going to run GoFundMes till you may’t after which die while you’re 50,” Tarn instructed The Guardian in late 2022. “That’s not cool.” This realization pushed them towards a (comparatively) extra accessible business launch with conventional graphics, music, and tutorials.
As of right this moment, Dwarf Fortress’ Steam web page summarizes the sport’s greater than 17,000 evaluations as “Overwhelmingly Optimistic.” “I’m speechless to individuals round me between recreation classes,” wrote jozef.sova. “Had my Chief Militia Commander deal with a Large Cyclops over a waterfall ravine 10 tales killing it on the backside,” wrote DEV. “Man could not get out and he drowned, might he by no means be forgotten.”
Whereas the business launch of Dwarf Fortress has earned the brothers some respiration room and launched new gamers with some quality-of-life choices, the “basic” model—the one Ars editor Casey Johnston detailed over her 10-hour ordeal—remains to be free to obtain.