Dwarf Fortress just can't stop winning. After blasting through its two-month sales estimate and hitting almost half a million copies sold (opens in new tab) in under a month, co-creator Tarn Adams came out yesterday and told players (opens in new tab) precisely how much money the game has earned since its December Steam release: $7,230,123, and 58 cents.
That's around £5.9 million or €6.6 million, and it's just slightly more than the $15,635 (£12.7k/€14.2k) that Dwarf Fortress earned in the month prior to its release on Steam. That's more than a 46,000% increase, by my reckoning (and by my reckoning I mean the reckoning of this online calculator (opens in new tab) I used to do the sum, so I'm blaming that if my figures are wrong). That's a life-changing shift, and not just because it's allowed Adams and his brother Zach to hire an unprecedented second programmer (opens in new tab).
"The appreciation you give us is part of our being now," wrote Adams, "It carries us in the cars we drive. It sustains us as the food that we eat. There is now no longer any existence except the one that you have provided".
It won't all go to the creators, of course. Adams says that a "little less than half will go to taxes," as well as "continuing to pay people and new business expenses and such". He said that "it's not all personal money, but a lot of it is," enough that the brothers have "solved the main issues of health/retirement that are troubling for independent people". They also feel the money has "safeguarded the future of the game" enough that they feel comfortable bringing on a new developer—called Putnam—to work on Dwarf Fortress' code.
And then, as though he hadn't just announced he's a millionaire, Adams proceeded with business as usual. "Going to start off with an arena patch soon," he wrote, "then on to the quality of life improvements". Quality of life goes on, I suppose.
I don't think I'll ever get tired of writing articles about Dwarf Fortress knocking it out of the park, because I can't think of many games that deserve success more than the Adams brothers' weird and sprawling magnum opus. It's inspired plenty of other devs since its 2006 release, but Dwarf Fortress remains its own inimitably strange thing.