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Why Dwarf Fortress started killing cats

Here's a thing.

In December 2015, Dwarf Fortress players started discovering dead cats. An update had just gone live and clearly there was a problem buried somewhere within its code, but even the game's cocreator, Tarn Adams, didn't know what that was.

Initial signs pointed towards the cats having died of alcohol poisoning, but there was a problem with that theory: cats were programmed to have exactly no interest in drinking beer, wine or spirits. So what exactly was going on here?

Join me in this week's episode of Here's A Thing as we explore one of Dwarf Fortress' strangest stories and in doing so, get to the heart of what makes this game so appealing to both its players and indeed, its creators.

If you'd like to listen to the full interview I had with Adams (and briefly, his cat), we've uploaded the entire thing to SoundCloud. He's a fascinating man and perhaps the only developer I've spoken to that has his entire life's work planned out so precisely. Together with his brother, he's been working on Dwarf Fortress for around 15 years at this stage and fully expects to spend another 20 getting the game to version 1.0.

If you have any questions about this week's topic or want to leave another comment bemoaning the show's title, I'll be around in the comments!

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Chris Bratt avatar

Chris Bratt


Chris is the host of People Make Games, a crowdfunded YouTube channel that tells cool stories about video games and how they're made.


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