There are countless ways for dwarves to die in Dwarf Fortress, a colony management game I’ve sometimes described as “a game about completely avoidable tragedies.” The latest Dwarf Fortress update adds a new one: gladiator battles between dwarves and a number of the game’s weird and violent creatures.

Dwarf Fortress patch 50.06 adds Arena mode, which has been a feature of the legacy version of Dwarf Fortress for a long time. While it’s certainly a fun way to watch monsters fight to the death, it functionally serves a larger purpose as a testing ground for items, features, and characters. It’s a must-have tool for modders, in other words.

Arena Mode has an updated UI to follow the new mouse-driven menu system in Dwarf Fortress Steam Edition, so it will now be easier to use for modders and future Roman Emperors. You can customize nearly every aspect of any battle you host, from the creatures involved and any gear they bring to the nature of the conflict itself – options range from non-violent encounters to “all-out” duels. until the bitter end.

You can also create teams of creatures, spawn items and trees, and take control of a specific character to jump into the action yourself.

The patch also fixes a few crashes, including one that occurred when players copied trade information for certain items, and one caused by creating very large or diagonal hotspots.

It also adds new graphic sprites for underground crops and agricultural plots, new statue and designation textures, and fixes some creature list icons. Ambient sounds have also been improved and tweaked slightly, with a new neutral cave vibe added to the mix.

There’s usually a standout line or two in any set of Dwarf Fortress patch notes, and this time it’s this:

  • He allowed emotionless creatures to satisfy their needs if they still had any.

Consider that as you browse our list of the best old games still worth playing on PC today.

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