My World Generation Settings

My World Generation Settings


Every time I play DF, there are changes I want to make to the worldgen settings that I like to play with. The default settings work pretty well, but I'll go over what I like to change. I originally got used to these settings because I like to play with a reasonable loading time, and a world that is large enough to enjoy fully in both fortress and adventure mode.

When generating a world with the "Island" type, sometimes civilizations can end up existing on separate islands that have no land connection to the main continent. They are unable to interact with other civilizations at all, and I recommend regenerating the world if you see civilizations out on their own islands like that.

Advanced World Generation

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To get the advanced settings you need to click this button when generating a world. The basic settings work fine, but there are a lot of things you can't change without the advanced settings.


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My World Generation Settings image 8
My World Generation Settings image 9

World Size and History LengthThese two settings can be changed to help with FPS depending on your hardware.

World size and history length are pretty important, for obvious reasons. Loading times increase drastically as you make the world larger or history longer, and it can affect in-game FPS as well. Too long history length will also mean a lot of fun things like evil creatures or entire civilizations will go extinct before you can interact with them.

World Size: I prefer Medium Island because I like to see the entire world, and "Medium" is a great size for FPS + lots of things generated in the world. Small Island is also a great choice if you want better performance and/or a smaller world that is easier to explore in Adventure Mode.

History Length: This is "End Year" in the settings. I prefer 100 because the world is almost always still in the Age of Myth, which is the Age that I prefer playing in due to the amount of megabeasts still alive in the world. Age of Legends and Heroes still have megabeasts but not as many of them left. 100 years also doesn't take very long to generate at all, and shorter histories have better performance. You can kinda just set this as high as you want until the game lags too much for your taste.

Embark PointsOptionally, you can also change how many points for items/pets you embark with. I don't change this from default (especially after skills became free) but it's fun for some people.

Minimum Volcano NumberCan be nice to increase this a little if you want to play on a volcano embark.

PolesI love using "North and South" poles option. It means both the north and south poles of your map will be ice biomes, just like Earth. If you want, you can set it to something else to have only a single pole, which means the other end of your world will be the hottest location instead of the hot areas being in the center. That would make it more like Africa rather than an entire world.

Mineral ScarcityIf you want to embark without struggling to find a location with iron, you can just set this to 100 and have all the metal you'll want scattered around the world. Raising it will make the game a little more interesting (in a difficult way) because you can embark in places without iron, forcing you to use other metals.

Megabeasts, Semi-Megabeasts and titansThese options control how many beasts are placed in your world. Too many of them will make civilizations die faster, so be careful. I usually like to add a few extra to each type (depending on world size)

Cavern LayoutThese are one of the main reasons I like to change the worldgen settings. Caverns in the vanilla game are an absolute mess for me to look at, it hurts my brain. I make them a lot simpler by raising the Openness and decreasing the Passage Density a lot. This will result in a large wide open area without tons of tiny hallways everywhere.

Layer Openness, Minimum: 75, Maximum: 100

Layer Passage Density, Minimum: 0, Maximum: 15

There's also a setting that controls how much the caverns can be filled with water:

Layer Water, Minimum: 0, Maximum: 25

This is an image of old DF, showing an example of Openness 100 with Passage Density 0

Depth SettingsAnother one of my favorite settings to change. These parameters control how many Z-levels are between each "layer" in the game, giving you more or less room to dig/build stuff.

Above Ground: Controls the amount of air available from the top of the ground. Increase this value to something like 5-10 if you want to build large above-ground towers, but it will be annoying to reach flying enemies if they decide to go up that high. May also increase lag slightly with pathfinding for flying enemies.

Note: Increasing the amount of stone layers in the world can make it more difficult for your dwarves to reach things like magma without becoming tired and going to bed shortly after arriving. Don't go insane with these values, make sure your idle dwarves are hauling stone to your mason workshops instead of forcing the masons to haul everything themselves.

Above layer 1: This is the amount of stone layers ABOVE the top of the first cavern, but below the surface. Increase this a lot if you want to have more room to dig out areas for your fortress before running into a cavern. I like to use something around 15.

Above layer 2: Stone layers between the first and second cavern. Not very important unless you want more stone/ore to mine overall. I like to use something around 10.

Above layer 3: Stone layers between the second and third cavern. Not very important unless you want more stone/ore to mine overall. I like to use something around 10.

Above layer 4: Controls how many layers are between the bottom of the third cavern and the first layer with magma available. Preferably you should keep this low unless you want to struggle reaching magma even more than before.

Above layer 5 and 6 probably shouldn't be changed from default, they can do weird things.

Cave SettingsCaves usually aren't encountered in normal fortress mode gameplay, but you can embark on them for fun, and they will be relevant when adventure mode is available.

Cave size: Not super important, but can be made smaller if you get lost in caves easily in adventure mode. Something like Max: 10 would help with that.

Number of caves: Kobolds need caves to exist, increasing the number of caves will probably mean more kobolds overall, and more fun for adventurers / embarks.

Make caves visible: YES! Enable this setting if you want to see caves on the map while embarking. This will let you seek one out on purpose if you want a fun embark, or if you want to avoid them in your embark.

Final Section

Thanks for looking at my guide. Feel free to leave other world gen suggestions in the comments if you found something you enjoy playing with.

Some images in the guide were taken from the Dwarf Fortress Wiki, some others are my own screenshots. You can find the Dwarf Fortress Wiki here.[]

You can find the DF Wiki page for Advanced World Generation here[] if you want more information on the other settings that I didn't mention. May be slightly out of date for the new DF.


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