Junethack 2012 – Post Mortem

•29. October 2012 • Leave a Comment

Right in time before the next NetHack tournament starts, here is the
post mortem for this year’s Junethack tournament.

Overall, it’s been a rather smooth experience (at least for us devs, I don’t know how the players felt :)), fixing some bugs before the tournament, fixing some bugs that only appeared during the tournament, adding new stuff and getting ideas for improvements.

We got this for the first time ever a winner of the “King of the
world” cross-variant trophy. stth managed in ascending in all
variants (with a total of only 20 played games):

On the last day of Junethack, some frantic ascension action
took place. Clan ItExplodes had parked several ascension-ready
characters on different public servers which they ascended in short
succession in the final hours of Junethack to take the lead in the
clan ranking. In the end they took first place for “Most points” and
“Most ascensions in a 24 hour period” but it wasn’t enough to be the
top clan.

Berry also managed to pull off an ascension with a 64-bit MAX_INT score.

Some boring statistics:

152 people registered on the server, 115 linked their account with the
public servers, and 103 actually played at least one game (last
year: 337, 197, and 161).

4303 games were played on all 8 public servers during the tournament
by registered users, 12222 were played by all players including those
not taking part in the tournament (last year: 7445 and 18079).

42 different players ascended 182 games (last year: 49 and 172)

Tournament games by variant (last year’s numbers in brackets):

NetHack 3.4.3: 2319 (5672)
SporkHack: 152   (358)
UnNetHack: 914   (419)
AceHack: 489   (727)
GruntHack: 285
NetHack4: 144

Detailed info can be found on these 3 pages:

We had 171760 start scummed games (~50’000 more than last year) but
the start scumming protection we added last year worked so well, there
was no noticeable impact by this large number of start scummed games.

There are already some changes we know about for Junethack’s
installment in 2013.

The website will get a mobile version for better viewing on your
mobile devices.

With the addition of GruntHack and NetHack4 this year, the
cross-variant trophies got harder to get. We will feature next year
additional trophies for getting achievements if you’ve played in half
of the participating variants.

Thanks for playing, see you next year!

Sheol branch ported to UnNetHack

•28. September 2012 • 1 Comment

Quoting Mikko Juola from a RGRN post:

I have ported my Sheol Gehennom branch to UnNetHack.

The code is on GitHub: https://github.com/Noeda/unnethack-sheol/ and it is based on the latest revision of UnNetHack.

Sheol is a branch in Gehennom and it has an icy theme. The branch is designed to be challenging and is probably more so in UnNetHack than in vanilla NetHack. Sheol features new monsters, items, wall types and levels.

I wrote about Sheol before here. I thank everyone for their feedback.

This link takes you to the original Sheol posting: http://bit.ly/URo0US

There is also

NetHack-De 3.4.3-20120916a veröffentlicht!

•16. September 2012 • Leave a Comment

Eigentlich wollte ich erst zur vollständigen Übersetzung wieder einen Release veröffentlichen, aber heute habe ich die 94%-Grenze überschritten und gleichzeitig ist heute auch ARRP.

Deshalb habe ich kurzerhand einen kleinen Release zusammengestellt und die neue Version mit Paketen für Windows, Debian Linux und dem Quellkode zum Download bereit gestellt.

Frohes Hacken!

New tileset: Geoduck UnNetHack Tile Set Version 1.0

•13. August 2012 • 1 Comment

Geoduck has created a version of his well known tileset for UnNetHack 4.0.0.

It is a compact ASCII-derivative tileset with a width of 12 and height of 20. There’s also a simple 2x scaled version available.

You can download it and other tilesets for Vanilla NetHack and Slash’Em at http://cook.web.eschelon.com/nhack.html.

Here is an example screenshot of an UnNetHack tourist in Mine town:

You can also look how various tilesets (including Geoduck’s) look like on Pasi Kallinen’s NetHack tileset screenshots page.

Rogue Tournament 2012

•5. July 2012 • Leave a Comment

Just in time after you’ve finished playing in Junethack there’s another tournament over at the Roguelike Gallery to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the distant ancestor of UnNetHack that started it all: Rogue.

There is some discussion about this thournament on the Temple of the Roguelike.

Some Junethack comments on Roguelike Radio Episode 39: IRDC 2012 Retrospective

•23. June 2012 • Leave a Comment

The Roguelike Radio Episode 39: IRDC 2012 Retrospective has a piece (starting at about 8:10) about my Junethack talk on the IRDC, discussing mainly the start scumming issues we had last year and that I mentioned in my talk.

After listening to this part I feel the need to put forward more information about the situation we had in last year’s tournament.

One of the question was “Do you really get that much benefit from start scumming?”. In the NetHack community it is usually believed that the answer to this question is a clear “No” and start scumming is a waste of your time. Many even believe that every character is ascendable if you play carefully enough (but that takes much of the fun out of the game). You might get some small starting benefit from start scumming but in the end your actions are much more important.

So, for a normal player start scumming is not a good strategy. But there actually sensible reasons for start scumming. Well, as “sensible” as they can be within the context of NetHack games.

If a player is trying to ascend a game with conducts, it might even be necessary to start scum to be able to complete the game with the conducts you are trying to achieve.

Conducts are self-imposed rules in playing NetHack for making an ascension in NetHack more challenging (yes, there are people who find a normal NetHack ascension trivial and are voluntarily making it harder).

For example by trying to ascend while being blind the whole game (a so called Zen ascension). For doing this conduct you need a blindfold or towel in your starting inventory as vanilla NetHack doesn’t have any builtin support for this conduct. Therefore start scumming for the purpose of a Zen ascension for getting a mean to blind yourself on turn 1 is not considered cheating or abusive.

One of the two players responsible for about two-thirds of the 125’000 start scummed games during Junethack 2012 was trying to do a 12 conducts NetHack game (that means doing every conduct possible in vanilla NetHack at once!). For this he used a bot that automatically was starting lots of games and looking for certain conditions in the character’s stats and starting inventory. On IRC he said that because of the low probabilities he would need automatic rerolling for 8-18 hours until he got one game with optimal starting conditions.

We didn’t ban the users doing it because it is completely legit in NetHack and if the server admins allowed it we wouldn’t punish it either. For example nethack.alt.org only hides start scummed games on the website. The admin for nethack.eu implemented a dynamic time penalty that increased with the number of start scummed games but also didn’t completely disallow them. The only thing we did was preventing that start scummed games would bog down the Junethack server when new games got parsed and adding the number of start scummed games to the user page.

Darren Grey mentioned catering to the 99% or the 1%. I have no problem with the stupid ascension tricks of the 1%. Being able to perform these stunts is also part of the crazy appeal of NetHack, so we couldn’t just ignore or punish it and as long as it doesn’t bother the other 99% IMO it is none of our business to judge how people get fun out of NetHack.

In this case we only had to write special code to handle it but afterwards it was no problem anymore.

International Roguelike Development Conference 2012

•19. June 2012 • Leave a Comment

On the weekend from June 1st until the 3rd I was in London and on Saturday and Sunday I was attending the International Roguelike Development Conference 2012.

We had a fun time (it was maybe a bit chilly indoors and outdoors :)) and there were great talks (some will even have an impact of the future direction of UnNetHack) and discussions.

A special thanks goes to Darren Grey who did a fantastic job in preparing and organizing the event.

There is an episode of Roguelike Radio that we recorded live at the end of the first day and a retrospective recording that just went online yesterday. Ulf Åström has put up a short video and writeup about his trip to London and the IRDC.

I gave a talk about my experience of being part of the development team of Junethack, how it came to be, our reasoning of choosing trophies, and some of the problems we had last year during the tournament. I’m not sure how much I bored the people at the IRDC, but at least there were some laughs during my talk (and a really loud gasp when I talked about the start scumming problem we had), so I guess it wasn’t too bad, although I talked longer than intended. There will be videos put online from the event, so you’ll be able to judge by yourself.

The slides of this and the others talks that were held at the IRDC 2012 are already online at http://gruesomegames.com/irdc2012/. The source of my talk is available on GitHub.