Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop: How to Fix Lower Gaming Quality?


  • Unlike the other high-end games, there are several errors in The Dwarf Fortress also.
  • One of these is the Frames per second dropping the frames per second rate, which is quite annoying.
  • While you are struggling with how to fix it, I have mentioned 15 ways to fix it depending on the reasons.
Dwarf Fortress
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How about being a wanderlust in the colony of dwarves? Well, they are always under the peculiar threat of the outside world. In such a pesky situation, it is essential to safeguard them by building a safe society through them. 


The idea is cool and adventurous. Well, you guessed right; we are talking about Dwarf Fortress. How about exploring the landscapes of these cute miniatures and the Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop diminishing your experience? 

After all, even I hated it when I encountered the issue of a laggy interface and poor graphics despite a GPU; it seemed irritating. If you are looking for how to fix the problem, I have covered the solutions to rescue you.

How to Fix Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop?

While Gaming seems incomplete and laggy with a low FPS, you would crave to fix it as soon as possible. There are several reasons behind FPS drops in the game; accordingly, the solutions differ.

Below-mentioned is a list of the same:

1. Run the Game Launcher with High Performance 

Windows has several display optimization settings depending on how it uses GPU resources. By default, your OS uses a Balanced mode for the optimum functioning of your PC.

However, games like Dwarf Fortress need a high-performing GPU. Often GPU optimization to Balanced causes low FPS in games. Therefore, you should resolve it. 

  • Press the Win+I keys to open Settings.
  • Select System from the left pane, navigate to Display, and click on Graphics under Related Settings.
Graphics Settings - Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop
  • In the Add an App option, choose Desktop app from the drop-down list and tap the Browse button.
Display Graphics Settings - Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop
  • In it, navigate to Epic Games Launcher or Steam and click the Options button below it.
  • Select the High-Performance option from the Graphics preference and click the Save button.
High Performance Graphics Performance - Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop

Restart your PC for the changes to reflect, and it will work. However, if the game launcher already uses the High-Performance mode for GPU, the following methods will help you. 

2. Enable Game Mode on Windows 

Windows is the best of both PCs for gaming as most of the games are compatible with it. Further, you can highly customize and upgrade it for your gaming requirements which is a further ado.


But games require specific settings, and the resource consumption varies, so Windows has a game mode. If you face the FPS Drop error in Dwarf Fortress, using the Game Mode has worked for many of my squad friends. 

  • Open the Start Menu and launch Settings from it.
  • Select Gaming from the left pane and click the Game Mode option on the right.
  • In the next window that opens, toggle on the Game Mode option.
Game Mode Windows 11 - Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop

Now, relaunch the game and check it. Atomic Fortress would currently be working at normal or high FPS, resolving the issue.

3. Run the Game as an Administrator 

When Dwarf Fortress abruptly starts to run on low FPS, it might be due to a lack of administrative privileges. Yes, that’s why your CPU won’t be able to schedule enough resources that the game requires. To tackle the game, running it in administrator mode helps. 

  • Navigate to the Dwarf Fortress exe shortcut file, which will be located in the File Explorer.
  • Right-click on the file and select Properties from the drop-down menu.
  • Expand the Compatibility tab and click the Run as an administrator checkbox to enable it.
  • Press the Apply button and then the Enter key to save changes.

Now, open Dwarf Fortress again and see if the FPS issue would be resolved if lack of privileges was the issue.


4. Verify the Integrity of Gaming Files

One of the most common issues with high-end games occurs due to broken or missing game files. Fortunately, you are safer if the game is on Steam or Epic Games Launcher, as these let you Verify Integrity with a single click. 

  • Open Steam and go to its Library.
  • Locate Dwarf Fortress and right-click on it.
  • Select Properties and navigate to Local Files.
  • Click the Verify Integrity of Game Files button.
Verify Game Files - Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop

Epic Games Launcher’s process is similar, yet there’s a slight variation due to the launcher’s UI. 

5. Change High DPI Settings

You can tweak your in-game high DPI settings to improve the FPS of resource-hungry games like Dwarf Fortress significantly. Thus, it resolves your gaming error. 

  • Open Steam Library and right-click on Dwarf Fortress.
  • Select Manage from the context menu and tap on Browser Local Files.
  • The installed game’s folder would now launch in File Explorer.
  • Locate the Dwarf Fortress.exe file, right-click, and select Properties from the drop-down menu.
  • Expand the Compatibility tab and tap on Change High DPI Settings. 
  • Click the Override high DPI Scaling behavior Scaling performed by: Application checkbox to enable it.
High DPI Scaling - Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop
  • Click the Apply button and press the Enter key to save changes.

This will resolve your issue, and you must restart your PC. But if it doesn’t, then your CPU isn’t able to allocate sufficient resources to the game.


6. Close Background Running Tasks

When too many processes run in the background, Dwarf Fortress doesn’t get enough utilities for the game. Thus, the game performs poorly, leading to multiple errors as there’s less RAM available. Therefore, you need to close them from the heart of your device.

  • Go to Start Menu and open Task Manager.
  • Expand the Processes tab.
  • Choose the background tasks which are not required and press the End Task button to end them.
Task Manager - End Task - Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop
  • Do so for every unnecessary process running.

After doing so, relaunching the game and its FPS would improve, Thus resolving the issue. If, in any case, you don’t notice a significant difference, then the below method will help. 

7. Set Dwarf Fortress as High Priority 

Your Windows Operating System has the core task for resources and process management. It achieves optimum functioning by the effective execution of these tasks by several mechanisms. However, it often fails to identify which processes need more resources.

Similarly, it often fails to allocate input/output devices aptly, leading to the FPS Drop with Dwarf Fortress.


In such a scenario, you must set the task as High Priority and resolve the issue. 

  • Open Task Manager and Expand the Details tab.
  • Right-click the Dwarf Fortress game and tap on the Set Priority label.
  • Choose High from the options visible.
Set Steam Priority - Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop

This will resolve the issue, and you have to relaunch the game. For more efficiency, we recommend you restart the PC after making the changes for it to reflect. Thus, it will troubleshoot your issue.

8. Enable Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling 

Often your processor cannot use the GPU and memory effectively, leading to the FPS Drop error. In such a scenario, you can use your device’s Virtual Memory and GPU scheduling processor to relieve the burden of your CPU. To do so, turn on the Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling option. 

  • Right-click on Windows Start Menu and choose Settings from the context menu.
  • Go to System and select Display.
  • Choose Graphics Settings. Now, click on Change default graphics settings.
  • Enable the Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling option.
Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling - Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop

After doing so, restart the computer and your game to fix the issue. 


9. Increase the Virtual Memory 

If the above solution doesn’t make a huge difference but does work, then the Virtual Memory available would be less. You can quickly resolve the issue by increasing it for your PC.

  • Open File Explorer, and right-click on This PC.
  • Choose Properties from the drop-down menu and select Advanced System Settings from the left pane.
Advanced System Settings - Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop
  • Go to the Advanced tab and select Performance Options.
  • In the tab, click the Change under the Virtual Memory option.
  • Click the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives checkbox to turn it off.
  • Choose the drive on which your game is installed, like C (in case of system drive) and Z, D, etc. (in case of external drive).
  • Select Custom Size. You should increase the initial and maximum sizes to a value higher than what is currently being allocated. Your system’s RAM should be 1.5 times the recommended size.
Change Virtual Memory - Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop
  • Tap on Set and click the OK button.

Now, reboot your PC and further open Dwarf Fortress; the issue will be resolved. 

10. Disable Fullscreen Optimizations 

You would love to dive into the world of Dwarf Fortress and its charm, which obsesses you. To enhance your experience, you might have enabled full-screen Optimizations, but it does interfere with the available FPS and thus drops it. Therefore, you should turn it off to resolve the error.

  • Open Steam Library and right-click on Dwarf Fortress.
  • Select Manage and click the Browse Local Files option.
  • The installed game will open in File Explorer.
  • Navigate to the Dwarf Fortress.exe file and right-click on it.
  • Select Properties from the drop-down menu.
  • Expand the Compatibility tab and click on the Disable Fullscreen Optimizations checkbox to enable it.
Disable fullscreen optimizations - Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop
  • Tap on Apply and press the OK button to save changes.

The solution would differ slightly for Epic Games Launcher. In either of the cases, you have to restart your Launcher to apply the changes. But if you have not enabled full-screen, the solution below would be a rescue.


11. Disable Steam Overlay 

Using overlays in Steam and other game launchers has a lot of benefits, but it does consume resources leading to several errors. To resolve it, you must turn them off to eliminate the issue.

  • Go to Steam Library and right-click on Dwarf Fortress and select Properties from the context menu.
  • Go to the General tab and click the Enable Steam Overlay checkbox to disable it.
Disable Steam Overlay - Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop

Now, open the game’s launcher again, and it will turn off the overlays, resolving the issue. 

12. Run Dwarf Fortress in the Compatibility Mode

The FPS Drop issue often occurs due to Compatibility issues with your device. What’s noteworthy is that it does meet the game requirements yet leads to the problem of decreasing the FPS. Therefore, you can use the game in Compatibility mode to resolve the issue. 

  • On your PC, locate the Dwarf Fortress executable file, right-click on it, and select Properties from the drop-down menu.
  • Expand the Compatibility tab; in the Compatibility Mode options, click the Run this program in Compatibility Mode checkbox to turn it on.
  • Choose Windows 8 from the menu.
Compatibility Mode - Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop
  • Click the Apply button and select OK to save changes.

When you restart the Dwarf Fortress game, it will now run at a higher FPS. 


13. Update Dwarf Fortress 

The game’s version becomes obsolete, leading to several errors like a lowered FPS interfering with your rich gaming experience. To fix the situation, you must update the game to the latest version glorifying your experience.

  • Go to Steam and open the Library.
  • Right-click on Dwarf Fortress and select Properties from the context menu.
  • In the Updates section, enable the Automatic Updates option.

Now, the Steam client will start detecting the latest updates available. If it detects any, then proceed to Installation.

14. Update GPU 

If no game updates are available, an outdated GPU driver would also lead to an FPS Drop problem. 

  • Go to Start Menu and launch Device Manager.
  • Double-click the Display Adapters option and right-click on the GPU name.
  • Select Update driver from the drop-down menu.
Update Graphics Driver - Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop

Now, search the drivers automatically and let the update process complete. Further, when you restart your PC, it will fix your issue. However, if no updates are available, the method below is the ultimate solution. 


15. Reinstall Dwarf Fortress

When none of the solutions help, the game installation has gone corrupt, thus decreasing the FPS Drop. So, reinstall the game, and this will fix your issue easy-peasy. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does FPS death occur in Dwarf Fortress?

The FPS death occurs in Dwarf Fortress if there are no fine-tuning advancements or a RAM leak. Hence, having a powerful processor is essential.

What kills FPS in games?

When your system doesn’t meet the game requirements or the hardware isn’t popular, it does kill FPS in games.

What is the normal FPS for Dwarf Fortress?

The normal FPS for Dwarf Fortress is 100.

Is Dwarf Fortress CPU intensive?

Yes, Dwarf Fortress is CPU Intensive.

The Wrap Up – Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop

If the pesky interface and poor graphics due to the Dwarf Fortress FPS Drop error annoyed you, you would have got a rescue.

The error mainly occurs with the inefficiency of the Operating System to schedule the resources for this resource-hungry game. Hence, tweaking certain Settings and managing configurations depending upon the specific works.

Besides, it’s noteworthy that sometimes game files, overlays, full-screen Optimizations, and outdated game or GPU cause the issue. Hence, take your action appropriately, depending upon the guide.


Further Reading:

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