A third-party launcher for Dwarf Fortress.

It has a variety of useful features to manage settings and configure the base game. It can also manage, configure, install, and run a wide variety of related content - from graphics to color schemes, and utility programs to content-replacing mods.

It forms the core of various bundles for new, lazy, or impatient players - such as the old "Lazy Newb Pack". While this project is just the launcher, you can download a complete bundle for Windows, OSX, or Linux at

If you have a question that is not answered here, go ahead and ask it in the Bay12 forum thread for PyLNP.

Usage Instructions

There's not much to it: run the launcher (see below) then click the buttons to configure your DF install, change settings or graphics, merge and install mods, run utility programs, start DF, and more.

This section should probably be larger, but it should be clear how things work from the tooltips if you hover over a button. If not, ask in the forum thread linked above! The customisation section below, intended for advanced users and those compiling a custom package, may also be helpful.


PyLNP started as a port of LucasUP and tolyK's Lazy Newb Pack Launcher to Python, making a launcher available on all the same platforms as Dwarf Fortress.

The new edition includes many new and improved features; some of the non-obvious ones including:

  • Dwarf Fortress can be placed in an arbitrarily-named folder.
  • If multiple valid DF folders are detected, you will be asked to select the desired instance. This allows you to manage multiple installs separately with the same launcher, though this is not recommended.
  • A new menu item, File > Output log has been added. This opens a window containing various messages captured while executing the launcher. If errors occur, they will show up here, and are also written to a file.
  • In addition to excluding specific file names from utilities, you can also include specific file names, if they're found. Simply create a file include.txt in the Utilities folder and fill it in with the same syntax as exclude.txt.
  • Multiple utilities can be selected and launched simultaneously.
  • Utilities may be automatically started at the same time as Dwarf Fortress.
  • Color scheme installation and preview.
  • Installing graphics sets by patching instead of replacing init.txt and d_init.txt. This preserves all options not strictly related to graphics sets.

Running the launcher

Platform-specific notes

On Linux and OS X, it is necessary to spawn a new terminal when using DFHack. Unfortunately, Linux provides no standard way of doing this; it varies depending on your setup.

PyLNP will attempt to detect which terminals are available on your system. On first launch, you will be asked to select which terminal to use; only terminals available on your system will appear in the list.

PyLNP should be able to detect any of the following desktop environments and window managers:

  • KDE
  • i3
  • LXDE
  • Mate
  • Xfce

as well as the following stand-alone terminals:

  • (u)rxvt (urxvt is used if available, else rxvt)
  • xterm

For other setups, you must configure a custom command.

For example, if your terminal can be spawned using:

term -e <command>

then you should write this as term -e - the command will be automatically appended. If you need the command to be placed elsewhere, use $ as a placeholder for the command.

Depending on your choice of terminal, desktop environment, etc., it may also be necessary to use nohup with the command, e.g. nohup term -e.

The terminal configuration UI includes a button to test if your custom command is able to launch terminals correctly. The test consists of two processes - a parent and a child - which will communicate with each other in various ways to ensure that they are running independently of the other.

If the test fails, you will get an error message describing the issue briefly. You will have to adjust your command accordingly.

Pre-built executables

Stand-alone pre-built executables are available for Windows, Linux and OS X; see the forum topic. Simply download and extract the appropriate file.

If you think the download is too large, I suggest running from source instead. There really isn't much to it, especially if you can live with a slightly less pretty logo.

Note for Windows users:

If the program refuses to start, or gives an error message like:

The application has failed to start because the side-by-side configuration is incorrect. Please see the application event log for more details.

you most likely need to install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 redistributable package.

The user interface library used by PyLNP has issues with high-DPI displays. For builds made after February 28, 2016, Windows should automatically scale the PyLNP window to match your DPI settings, thereby avoiding these problems.

Running from source

You will need to match the directory structure of the normal LNP. A download without utilities is available in the topic.

You need Python installed to run the source code, preferably Python 2.7. Python 3.1 or later should also work, but may not be as well tested.

Python 2.6 or 3.0 do not include the necessary Ttk library. It may work if you install python-ttk, but you should probably upgrade your Python version, or use a pre-built executable.

If you already have Python, but don't know which version you're using, open a command-line or terminal and type "python --version". If this gives you Python 3.0, try "python2 --version"; if that returns Python 2.7, may want to edit the first line of the .py and .pyw files to read "python2" instead of "python".

Installing prerequisites

This program has a few dependencies which you may need to take care of before running the source code:

  • Since the program is written in Python, you will of course need to install Python. Linux and OS X 10.7 or later will most likely already have a suitable version; see above how to check this.
  • The GUI requires the standard Python libraries Tkinter and Ttk, which is included in the Python installation on Windows and OS X. Linux users may need to install it through their package manager (look for python-tk or other similarly named package)
  • Optional: For Python installations built against Tk 8.5: A PIL-compatible Python library (e.g. PIL itself or Pillow) will improve the visual quality of the logo by using a PNG version instead of a GIF. (On Linux, this also applies to the window icon.)

If this final dependency is not met, File > Output log will contain a line that starts with

Note: PIL not found and Tk version too old for PNG support...

The program will still work, it will just look a little less pretty.


Download a Windows installer for Python from, which will contain everything required to run the program. Pick Python 2.7 unless you really want Python 3 - the program should work with both, but I'm testing it under 2.7, so that might be the simplest version to use.

To get a better looking logo in Python 2.7, first install setuptools, then open a command-line to the Scripts directory in your Python installation and run the command easy_install pillow. In Python 3.4+, just run the command pip install pillow.


Virtually all Linux distributions these days include Python, although especially older installations may not have an appropriate version, and some may not have Tk support installed by default.

If you can't get it to work, you'll need to install those things. This assumes a Debian-based distribution (including Ubuntu and Linux Mint). For other distributions, look for similar packages in your package manager.

  • Required: python-tk
  • Optional: python-imaging-tk (used to show nicer version of icon and logo)

If you try to install python-imaging-tk, it should automatically bring in python-tk.


If you're running OS X 10.7 or later, you should have everything that's required. For 10.6 or earlier, upgrade Python to 2.7 or the latest 3.x release; an installer is available on

To make the logo look better, you will need to install Pillow, a python library for images. If you have MacPorts installed, use it to install the package py-Pillow. If not, keep reading.

First, you need to install command-line compilers. The easiest way I've found is to install Xcode, then open it and go to Preferences > Downloads and install them from there. It should also be possible to download these compilers directly from, but you're on your own for that.

Once the compilers are in place, open a Terminal and type sudo easy_install pillow. OS X should come with the libraries needed to build Pillow to load the logo.

Running the source code

Double-click in the LNP folder. If you want to get rid of the console window that pops up, rename it to launch.pyw.
Make sure is executable. Next, double-click and run it, or start a terminal and execute it from there with python or ./
OS X does not provide a way to launch a Python script from Finder, so start a terminal, navigate to the directory, and execute python or ./

Modifying the source code

PyLNP is licensed under the ISC license (see COPYING.txt), which essentially allows you to modify and distribute changes as you see fit. (This only applies to the launcher. Any bundled utilities, graphics packs, etc. have their own licenses; refer to those projects separately.)

Building your own executable

If you want to make your own executable, you can do that. This is particularly useful on OS X, which doesn't have any good way of launching a Python script directly from Finder.

The executables are built using PyInstaller. If you want to use a different executable generator, you'll need to do the appropriate modifications yourself.

These instructions are tested with Python 2.7, but should work with 3.x as well. You may be able to substitute "easy_install" with "pip install".

The resulting executable must be placed somewhere such that the program can find the folder containing Dwarf Fortress by navigating up the folder tree. For example, if Dwarf Fortress is located in /Games/Dwarf Fortress, the PyLNP executable may be located in /Games, /Games/PyLNP, /Games/Utilities/Launcher, etc.


Installing prerequisites:
You'll need PyInstaller, preferably version 2.0 or later. The best way I've found to install that is to first install setuptools, manually install pywin32, and then run easy_install pyinstaller from the Scripts directory in your Python installation.
Open the LNP directory in a Command Prompt and type "pyinstaller lnp.spec". Wait for the build to finish, and you will find a new folder named dist. Inside that folder is the stand-alone executable, named lnp.exe.


Installing prerequisites:
You'll need PyInstaller, preferably version 2.0 or later.
The easiest way to install it is to use your package manager to install it directly (if available), or first install python-pip from your package manager and then run sudo pip install pyinstaller in a terminal.
Open the LNP directory in a Terminal and type pyinstaller lnp.spec. Wait for the build to finish, and you will find a new folder named dist. Inside that folder is the stand-alone executable, named lnp.


Installing prerequisites:
You'll need PyInstaller, preferably version 2.0 or later.

A simple way to install it is to open a terminal and type sudo easy_install pyinstaller.

You may also need to install command-line compilers; see above.

Open the LNP directory in a Terminal and type pyinstaller lnp.spec. Wait for the build to finish, and you will find a new folder named dist. Inside that folder is the application bundle, PyLNP.

When something goes wrong

You may experience error messages or similar issues while running the program. As long as it has not crashed, you can retrieve these error messages by opening File > Output log. The contents shown in here can be very useful for fixing the problem, so include them if you report an error.

If the program does crash, you can look at stdout.txt and stderr.txt which are automatically created in the application directory and show the same contents as the output log inside the program. Note that these files get overwritten every time the program launches.

Please be as specific as possible when reporting an error - tell exactly what you were doing. If you were installing a graphics pack, mention which one (provide a link to where you got it). If the problem is with a utility, make sure the utility works if you launch it manually - if it doesn't, then it's a problem with the utility, not with PyLNP.


Various aspects of PyLNP can be customized (e.g. for use in packs). This section details how.


For basic pack customization, a JSON file named PyLNP.json is used. This file must be stored in either the base folder (the folder containing the Dwarf Fortress folder itself), or in the LNP folder (see below). If both exist, the one in the LNP folder will be used.

This file configures several aspects of the launcher. All parts are optional in the sense that the launcher will work even if nothing is there.

Each key in the file is documented below.

hideUtilityPath, hideUtilityExt

These options control whether to hide the path and extension of utilities in the utility list.

Using "DwarfTool/DwarfTool.exe" as an example:

hideUtilityPath is false, hideUtilityExt is false:
hideUtilityPath is false, hideUtilityExt is true:
hideUtilityPath is true, hideUtilityExt is false:
hideUtilityPath is true, hideUtilityExt is true:

Only the last folder name is ever displayed: if the full path is "Utilities/Foo/DwarfTool", only "DwarfTool" will be shown for the path name.

For further customization of displayed utility titles, see "Relabeling utilites" below.


This object contains information used to check for pack updates.

The most important field in this object is updateMethod, which controls how PyLNP checks for updates.

There are three methods available, dffd, regex and json, each of which require additional fields to be specified. These will be described below.

If updateMethod is missing, a warning will be printed when checking for updates, and the program will attempt to auto-detect the correct method. Please set this field correctly, since auto-detection is a temporary measure to handle backwards compatibility.

When checking for updates, the version retrieved online will be compared with the packVersion field. If they are different, PyLNP will show a notice that updates are available. All update methods require this field to be specified.

If you do not want update checking, remove the updates object, or set updateMethod to a blank string.

By default, the user must explicitly enable automatic checking for updates. However, pack authors may add an additional field to the updates object, defaultInterval which specifies the suggested number of days between each check. If this field is present in PyLNP.json, and the user has not previously chosen an update frequency, the user will be prompted to enable updates when they first launch the program, using the specified frequency as the default.

It is strongly recommended that you use one of the options already visible in the program (0, 1, 3, 7, 14, 30).

Note that the time for the next update check is determined when the option is set, i.e. when the user makes a choice. If you default to 0 days (every launch), the first check will happen immediately after the user has been prompted.


For files hosted on, simply add a field dffdID which contains the ID of your hosted file. No other configuration is necessary. Example:

"updates": {
  "updateMethod": "dffd",
  "packVersion": "x.yy.zz r2",
  "dffdID": "1234"

This method extracts version information using a regular expression. All regular expressions must capture a single group containing the appropriate value.

This method uses five extra values:

  • checkURL: A URL to a page containing the latest version string of your pack.
  • versionRegex: A regular expression that extracts the latest version from the page contents of the aforementioned URL. If you do not understand regular expressions, ask on the forums or use DFFD for hosting.
  • downloadURL: the URL of the pack's download webpage, to be opened in a browser or
  • downloadURLRegex: A regular expression that extracts the pack's download webpage from the same URL that contained the version string.
  • directURL is the URL of the (future) package for direct download or
  • directURLRegex: A regular expression that extracts the pack's direct download webpage from the same URL that contained the version string.
  • directFilename: Filename to use when downloading directly (optional) or
  • directFilenameRegex: A regular expression that extracts the file name to use when downloading directly.

downloadURL and directURL are both optional, but at least one should be provided (or their regular expression counterparts).

When doing direct downloads, the URL's file name will be used as the target file name (e.g. gets downloaded as if neither directFilename or directFilenameRegex is set.


"updates": {
  "updateMethod": "regex",
  "packVersion": "x.yy.zz r2",
  "checkURL": "",
  "downloadURL": "",
  "versionRegex": "Version: (.+)"

This method extracts version information from a JSON document.

This method uses JSON paths, which are strings which provide a path into the JSON object. The path is specified by a slash-separated string of object names. Example:

  "foo": ""       //path is "foo"
  "bar": {        //path is "bar"
    "baz": ""     //path is "bar/baz"
    "quux": {     //path is "bar/quux"
      "xyzzy": "" //path is "bar/quux/xyzzy"

This method requires four extra values:

  • checkURL: A URL to a JSON document containing the necessary information.
  • versionJsonPath: A JSON path that points to the latest version of your pack.
  • downloadURL: the URL of the pack's download webpage, to be opened in a browser or
  • downloadURLJsonPath: A JSON path that points to the pack's download webpage.
  • directURL is the URL of the (future) package for direct download or
  • directURLJsonPath: A JSON path that points to the pack's direct download webpage from the same URL that contained the version string.
  • directFilename: Filename to use when downloading directly (optional) or
  • directFilenameJsonPath: A JSON path that points to the file name to use when downloading directly

downloadURL and directURL are both optional, but at least one should be provided (or their JSON path counterparts).

When doing direct downloads, the URL's file name will be used as the target file name (e.g. gets downloaded as if neither directFilename or directFilenameJsonPath is set.


"updates": {
  "updateMethod": "json",
  "packVersion": "x.yy.zz r2",
  "checkURL": "",
  "downloadURL": "",
  "versionJsonPath": "version"


This is an object containing hacks that can be toggled on or off on the DFHack tab.

Each individual hack consists of three elements: a title, a command to be executed by DFHack, and a tooltip. The dfhack object should contain subobjects where the title is used as the name of the key for a subobject, and the subobject itself contains two keys: command and tooltip.

The enabled and file keys are optional; file may be any of "dfhack" (default), "onLoad", or "onMapLoad" and if "enabled" is true the command will be saved to <file>_PyLNP.init and executed by DFHack at the appropriate time. See the DFHack docs on init files.


"dfhack": {
    "Partial Mouse Control": {
        "command": "mousequery edge enable",
        "tooltip": "allows scrolling by hovering near edge of map"
    "Performance Tweaks": {
        "command": "repeat -time 3 months -command cleanowned x",
        "tooltip": "regularly confiscates worn clothes and old items"
        "enabled": true,
        "file": "onMapLoad"


This configuration lists paths and strategies used to import user content from an older install or package (triggered from the file>Import... menu). Each item in the list is of the form [strategy, source, dest]; if the destination is not different to the source it may be omitted.

Available strategies are:

copy_add:Copies the given file or directory contents. A source file which exists at the destination will be skipped. A destination directory will be created if it does not exist; files and subdirectories are copied without overwriting. This is safe for e.g. save files.
text_prepend:Prepends the text of source to dest (for logfiles).


"to_import": [
    ["text_prepend", "<df>/gamelog.txt"],
    ["copy_add", "<df>/data/save"],
    ["copy_add", "<df>/soundsense", "LNP/Utilities/Soundsense/packs"]

Content Manifests

Raw-based content - ie graphics packs or mods - may be distributed with a file titled manifest.json in their root directory. This can be used to declare the name, version, and author of the content, versions of DF known to be incompatible, an explanatory tooltip, and more.

If the manifest does not exist, or a field is missing, PyLNP will use sensible default values - letting the user make the decision based on autodetection.

For example, in LNP/Mods/foo_mod/manifest.json:

    "author": "Urist McFoo_Modder and friends",
    "content_version": "1.2a",
    "df_min_version": "0.40.03",
    "df_max_version": "",
    "title": "Foo Mod!",
    "tooltip": "The mod all about foo-ing.\nA second line."

"title" and "tooltip" control presentation in the list for that kind of content. Both should be strings. Title is the name in the list; tooltip is the hovertext - linebreaks are inserted with "n", since it must be one line in the manifest file.

"folder_prefix" For graphics, the folder_prefix is the identifier of record (to allow noting resolution or authorship in the title).

"author" and "content_version" are strings for the author and version of the content. Both are for information only at this stage.

"df_min_version" and "df_max_version" allow you to specify versions of DF with which the content is incompatible. When playing a version outside the range, which is open ended if not specified, the content is hidden. In the example, the mod will be visible for DF 40.03 and all later versions.

Finally, "df_incompatible_versions" is a list of incompatible DF versions, and "needs_dfhack" will hide the content if DFHack is not activated - so use it only when the content is totally useless without DFHack.

Utility manifests

Utilities may also have manifests, which may be placed in any directory and disable the global utilities configuration for anything in that or a lower directory. They thus offer utility authors control over the presentation of their work.

Utility manifests include the same keys as content manifests, as well as the following utility-specific options:

    "win_exe": "My Util.exe",
    "osx_exe": "path/to/My",
    "linux_exe": "another/path/",
    "launch_with_terminal": false,
    "readme": "My_Readme.txt"

The utility for each OS is configured as the relative path from the manifest directory to the file, including intermediate directory names and the filename. This must be an exact match, or the utility will not be found by PyLNP!

For Linux and OSX, the "launch_with_terminal" option denotes that the utility requires launching from a terminal. This option does nothing on Windows.

The readme entry points to a readme file for your utility. It may point to any file type; the operating system will try to open it using the default viewer for that file type, so common types like TXT and PDF are more likely to work. If absent, PyLNP will try to open the first file it encounters which starts with either "README", "READ ME", or "READ_ME", using case-insensitive matching (so "readme.txt" will still be found).

Directory structure

PyLNP expects to see the following directory structure:

<base folder>
  <Dwarf Fortress main folder>

PyLNP itself may be placed anywhere, so long as it is somewhere inside the base folder. It can be placed directly in the base folder, in a subfolder, in a subfolder of a subfolder, etc. The base folder is determined by checking the its own directory; if it cannot find a Dwarf Fortress folder, it will try the parent folder, and continue in this manner until it finds a suitable folder; that folder is considered the base folder.

Additionally, it will look for a configuration file PyLNP.json (see above) in either the base folder, or the LNP folder. If both exist, it will use the one in the LNP folder.

All currently available DF versions are supported. If multiple valid DF folders are present, a selection dialog will be shown at the start of the program.

The LNP folder and all subfolders are optional, but certain features will not work properly if they do not contain the relevant files. If missing, the LNP folder and any missing subfolders will be created automatically, to make it easier to create a new setup.

On case-sensitive platforms and filesystems (Linux, OS X), you must use either this exact case, or all-lowercase names for each pre-defined folder name (e.g. LNP and lnp are both okay; Lnp is not.)

In all folders containing .txt files, any filename starting with README (arbitrary case) is ignored.


This file, found in the base folder, contains user settings such as window width and height. It should not be distributed if you make a pack.


This folder contains full unmodified raws for various versions of DF, and the settings and images relevant to graphics packs. These are used to rebuild the reduced raws used by graphics packs and mods, and should not be modified or removed - any new graphics or mod install would break.

Add versions by downloading any edition of that version and placing it in the baselines folder (eg ""), or by attempting an action that would require that baseline - such as installing a graphics pack - and accepting the download.


This folder contains color schemes. As of DF 0.31.04, these are stored as data/init/colors.txt in the Dwarf Fortress folder; in 0.31.03 and below, they are contained in data/init/init.txt.

Saving the current color scheme only works with DF 0.31.04 or later.


This folder should contain two files: init.txt and d_init.txt. These files will replace the corresponding files in data/init when the user clicks the Defaults button.

Keep in mind that these files should be kept current with the DF installation you are using - only use files matching your DF version.

For DF 0.31.03 and below: Only init.txt is used, since these versions do not have d_init.txt.


This folder contains embark profiles, stored as data/init/embark_profiles.txt. Multiple of these files can be installed at once.

This feature is only available for DF and later; for earlier versions it will be hidden.


If this version of PyLNP has not yet been run on the selected DF installation, any files in here will be copied to the Dwarf Fortress directory on launch.


This folder contains graphics packs, consisting of data and raw folders. Any raws identical to vanilla files will be discarded; when installing a graphics pack the remaining files will be copied over a set of vanilla raws and the combination installed. Through more complex merge logic, graphics can also be used with mods and changed on most modded saves. Graphics can be configured with a content manifest.


This folder contains keybindings.

If you intend to use multiple versions of DF, note that legacy Windows and Mac versions uses a different keybinding syntax, so files from newer SDL-based versions are not compatible (and vice versa).


This folder contains mods for Dwarf Fortress, in the form of changes to the defining raws (which define the content DF uses). Mods use the same reduced format for raws as graphics packs. Mods can be configured with a content manifest.


This folder contains tilesets; individual image files that the user can use for the FONT and GRAPHICS_FONT settings (and their fullscreen counterparts). Tilesets can be installed through the graphics customisation tab, which reads from <df>/data/art, as they are added to each graphics pack as the pack is installed - especially useful for TwbT text tiles.


Utilities may be configured by a manifest (see above), which will override the global configuration described here for the directory the manifest is in, and all subdirectories. This also disables autodetection 'below' a manifest.

Each platform will auto-detect different file types in the Utilities pane.

*.exe, *.jar, *.bat
*.jar, *.sh
*.app, *.jar, *.sh
Correcting the auto-detection

For some platforms, you may wish to include a utility not matched by the above patterns. Also, some utilities may include subprograms that should not appear in the list.

To correct these, you can use the files include.txt and exclude.txt in the Utilities directory. These files follow a simple format, similar to : anything contained in square brackets is either included or excluded, respectively, from the final list of utilities, while anything else is ignored.

Only filenames are considered in these lists; paths are ignored.

For example, to prevent the file libfoo.jar from appearing, add [libfoo.jar] to exclude.txt. To include a file, add [] to include.txt.

Alternatively, you can also use the file utilities.txt to cover both scenarios, as documented below.

Relabeling utilities

By default, the title for a utility is derived from its filename. This can be overriden using the file utilities.txt in the Utilites folder, and tooltips can be added.

The basic syntax is similar to include.txt and exclude.txt detailed above: anything in square brackets is an entry, while everything else is a comment.

Each entry consists of up to 3 fields, separated with a colon. The first field specifies the filename to match, the second field provides an override for the title, and the third field contains the tooltip to use for the utility.

Both title and tooltip are optional; if omitted or left blank, the default will be used (default title and no tooltip).

To exclude a filename from the auto-detection, give it a title of EXCLUDE. All other file names will be included in the detection, even if they do not match the normal file name patterns.


[dwarftool.exe:DwarfTool:A utility to do stuff with your dwarves] Custom title and tooltip
[] Not covered by auto-detection: any matches will be displayed with default title and no tooltip
[lib_xyz.jar:EXCLUDE] Exclude lib_xyz.jar from the utility list
[bar.exe::This is a tooltip] Default name, custom tooltip


If DFHack is detected in the Dwarf Fortress folder, a DFHack tab is added to the launcher.

This tab includes a list where preconfigured hacks can be turned on or off. See the respective section in the description of PyLNP.json for information on how to configure these hacks.

All active hacks are written to a file named PyLNP_dfhack_onload.init in the Dwarf Fortress folder. This file must be loaded by your standard dfhack.init or onload.init file to take effect.


If mods are present in LNP/Mods/, a mods tab is added to the launcher.

Multiple mods can be merged, in the order shown in the 'installed' pane. Those shown in green merged OK; in yellow with minor issues. Orange signifies an overlapping merge or other serious issue, and red could not be merged. Once you are happy with the combination, you can install them to the DF folder and generate a new world to start playing.

Note that even an all-green combination might be broken in subtle (or non-subtle) ways.

Graphics packs are generally compatible with minor mods. When combining mods, the current graphics pack is merged first followed by the selected mods - so it's best to start without graphics, for maximum compatibility.

Because PyLNP logs the installed raws, it can also update the graphics on modded savegames. This is done by recreating the logged merge with new graphics at the base, and replacing the savegame raws, if nothing worse than overlapping changes was found and the previous set (including graphics) could be rebuilt exactly.

Notes for Mod Creators

Storage and distribution format

The raws for mods (and data/speech) are stored, and should be distributed, in "reduced raw format".

Reduced raw format was designed to maximise ease of installation, compatibility across DF versions and with other mods, and to minimise file size for storage and distribution. It is quite simply a complete raw folder, identically structured to vanilla DF, with all unmodified files removed. It can thus be installed simply by overwriting a vanilla install of DF, and mods that change little will have tiny filesizes. The data/speech folder is installed as if it was part of the raws, but should be included in the usual place (ie data and raw as sibling dirs) if any files there have been changed.

In all cases, file which are not present are assumed to be identical to the vanilla file, NOT deleted. To delete a file, only remove the file contents to ensure that merging will overwrite with an empty string. When the 'simplify mod' option is used, PyLNP uses the presence of more than ten files outside the raws or data/speech as a heuristic to indicate that this is a complete raw folder, and will use this method to preserve deletions.

Only files ending in .txt, .init, .lua, .rb will be copied or merged. This is intended to cover the raws themselves, and also DFHack files which can be stored in the raw folder.

Merge logic limitations

While the merge logic strives to fit as large a subset of mods as possible, there are some cases that are not covered.

Due to the narrow scope for filetype mentioned above, images are not handled - so mods distributed with integrated graphics may behave oddly. For minor mods, PyLNP's capability to combine mods and vanilla graphics should suffice; a solution for major mods is a priority for further development.

Mods are not handled if they require:

  • Custom graphics for mod creatures
  • Non-standard DFHack scripts outside the raw folder
  • Custom worldgen, init, embark, or other settings
  • Pre-generated worlds
  • User configuration of the raws

Using other aspects of PyLNP can cover most of there limitations, but would also impact unmodded saves.

Maximising compatibility

This section lists tips for maximising compatibility with other mods. They also increase the chance that a merge warning will be raised when the combination is problematic - instead of merging correctly into invalid raws.

  • Modify vanilla files, rather than adding new files, where your changes might clash with another mod
  • Avoid using a graphics pack as your baseline - vanilla raws are more widely compatible
  • A mod should have a single purpose; if the user wants general tweaks as well as new content (or vice versa), that can be a separate mod
  • Make minimal changes to achieve the purpose of your mod; decreasing the distance to vanilla increases mod compatibility for combinations.