I've played Dwarf Fortress for a while and my only problem with it is that the UX is terrible. The controls I have to use are not consistent. Sometimes the same menu behaves in a different way depending on context and so on. So my question is whether there is a mod which fixes (or at least tries to fix) the UX issues with Dwarf Fortress without having to use external tools?

I've tried Dwarf Therapist, Stonesense and Lazy newb pack which are good but I don't like that I always have to Alt+Tab out of the game if I have to switch roles and such.

So the main thing is that I like the ASCII art and I can install a texture pack which makes it even better but the controls are disastrous. Is there a mod to make the UI better without external tools?

  • 2
    Because A) It's a mod recommendation question. Those are completely off-topic. Now, you seem to have a problem in there, so if you want to focus on that, we might have something to work with. B) It's also extremely opinion-based; what counts as better? Some people will like the current UI, some don't. There is no objective definition of, "better". Resolve those, and I think we might have a good question here.
    – Frank
    Mar 9, 2015 at 18:58
  • 5
    @Frank For the millionth time, mod requests are not off topic. Mar 9, 2015 at 19:16
  • 2
    @SevenSidedDie For the millionth time, straight mod recs most certainly are. As it currently stands, the only problem here is, "I don't like the UI. I want something better." Which isn't actually a game problem, so much as the asker disliking it.
    – Frank
    Mar 9, 2015 at 19:48
  • 6
    @Frank 10 to 7 isn't consensus to make them off topic, no matter how much you've claimed so over the years. As the other answer says: answer the underlying problem instead of being deaf and literal. As you even say is possible in your next comment. Here, the underlying problem is the UX gets in the way. We can take that problem. Mar 9, 2015 at 20:52
  • 4
    @Frank With a voting history like that, what a vote says about the question is lost in the interference from what is says about the voter. Mar 10, 2015 at 0:11

2 Answers 2


No, unfortunately. The UI is hardcoded into Dwarf Fortress. The limited moddability possible via editing data files does not enable changing this part of the game's behaviour.

  • Too bad. I really like the game but the UX kills it for me. :( I try to play it once in a while then at some point I get fed up with the UI.
    – Adam Arold
    Mar 9, 2015 at 19:30
  • 2
    I'm not exactly sure how true this is; I've seen a Stonesense mod that integrates itself right into the UI of DF, not as a separate window. If that's possible, I don't think a complete UI overhaul is out of the question.
    – Frank
    Mar 9, 2015 at 20:07

I'm unsure what exactly you are looking for because you list a few mods that seem pretty different, but the closest I can get to what you want would have to be Masterwork. Recently I have been using the Masterwork mod for Dwarf Fortress. You mention Dwarf Therapist being something you have tried but didn't like the alt tabing aspect. Masterwork includes a labor chart similar to Dwarf Therapist (I believe it uses DfHack). It is no where near as advanced as Dwarf Therapist, but it is significantly easier to use than the current labor system. It adds in tons of new content as well, which is good or bad depending on how you feel about Dwarf Fortress. I love all the new content but you can disable nearly every single change in Masterwork, the only change I can think of that you can't get rid of is the generalization of materials. It doesn't actually affect gameplay, it just gets rid of the added names like kangaroo meat and cat meat into just meat, but only if they are exactly the same statistically. Same goes for wood, leather, etc.

EDIT: There are a couple additions that I forgot to mention. One is the possibility of using the mouse for designation and similar tasks. It by no means removes the necessity for the keyboard, it just adds a new tool (which can be disabled in game). You also have the ability to enable box select for some tasks that didn't use it previously. Most buildings that use UHKM to decide the size of the building (I haven't played vanilla recently so I don't recall if floors and walls used UHKM controls) are now able to be created using box select (the same thing you use to designate mining zones).

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