Maps API

DFHack offers several ways to access and manipulate map data.

  • C++: the Maps and MapCache modules
  • Lua: the dfhack.maps module
  • All languages: the map field of the world global contains raw map data when the world is loaded.


This page will eventually go into more detail about the available APIs. For now, it is just an overview of how DF map data is structured.



The DF map has several types of tiles:

  • Local tiles are at the smallest scale. In regular fortress/adventure mode play, the cursor takes up 1 local tile.

    Objects that use local tile coordinates include:

    • Units
    • Items
    • Projectiles
  • Blocks are 16 × 16 × 1 groups of local tiles. Internally, many tile details are stored at the block level for space-efficiency reasons. Blocks are visible during zoomed-in fast travel in adventure mode.

    Objects that use block coordinates include:

    • Armies
  • Region tiles are 3 × 3 groups of columns of blocks (they span the entire z-axis), or 48 × 48 columns of local tiles. DF sometimes refers to these as “mid-level tiles” (MLTs). Region tiles are visible when resizing a fortress before embarking, or in zoomed-out fast travel in adventure mode.

  • World tiles are

    • 16 × 16 groups of region tiles, or
    • 48 × 48 groups of columns of blocks, or
    • 768 × 768 groups of columns of local tiles

    World tiles are visible on the world map before embarking, as well as in the civilization map in fortress mode and the quest log in adventure mode.

  • Some map features are stored in 16 × 16 groups of world tiles, sometimes referred to as “feature shells”.