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Community Management Summit: The 'Dwarf Fortress' Story: Lessons from 16 Years of "Cult" Management

Tarn Adams (Co-founder, Bay 12 Games)

Victoria Tran (Communications Director, Kitfox Games)

Location: Room 3007, West Hall

Date: Monday, March 16

Time: 4:40pm - 5:10pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core+Summits Pass, Summits Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Business & Marketing

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

Dwarf Fortress, the legendary, MoMA-featured game has been in development since 2002 and was cited as the inspiration for games like Minecraft and Rimworld. However, one of the most intriguing aspects about the game is its massive (and still active!) cult following it has gained and maintained for over 16+ years since its initial development in 2002. In this joint talk by its developer Tarn Adams (Bay 12 Games) and publisher Victoria Tran (Kitfox Games), they will take a deep dive into the numbers, strategies, and challenges of managing a community for over a decade, fostering a new one for the game's eventual mainstream release onto Steam, and true long term lessons learned for other developers to take with them for their own communities.


Attendees will learn how a community of over 3000 was built and maintained over 16 years of existence, learn about community-building tactics, the true long-term rewards of trust and transparency, navigating a cult following, and how the game's community was prepared for a premium version of Dwarf Fortress.

Intended Audience

This talk will benefit any game developer interested in the unprecedented history of Dwarf Fortress' massive and dedicated "cult" community, and what indie, long-term community building success looks like. No prerequisite knowledge is necessary.