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dropped from the moonbeam


Anne got home very late from work last night, so after the boys went to bed, I killed some time playing nethack. It's moving from "a fun diversion" to "a serious addiction." Just this morning, I was reading The Center for American Progress, and my heart skipped when I saw a Y next to a @. I instinctively hit "Z a ." and crashed my browser.

My waking obsession with Nethack reminds me of the old Tetris days, when I'd see patterns in everything. The best one was on approach to Kennedy Airport on a red eye flight, after I'd played through two sets of batteries on my Gameboy during the five hour flight. The Manhattan skyline (one of my favorites in the world) was mentally filled in by all sorts of blocks as the plane landed. I think I had about 5000 mental points when we touched down.

But check it out! I got farther last night than I ever have:



1 15917 Morc-Mon-Hum-Mal-Law died in The Dungeons of Doom on level 12. Killed by a xan. - [68]

Okay, I don't know WTF a Xan is, but it kicked my ass in three turns. I was in The Big Room, just one step away from the stairs when I died. The worst part is, my own stupidity cost me the game: I forgot to #pray (I was piously aligned) which would have, at least, restored my HP (at best, it may have whacked one of the baddies who was wailing on me). I was also carrying an unidentified amulet of lifesaving (is that what it's called?) which would have obviously saved me had I put it on. Moral of the story? Don't forget to quaff and read, and apply and put on everything when you're close to the end. It's not like you've got anything to lose.

Of course, you could also tear yourself away from nethack for more than three minutes at a time . . . even though there's something intensely satisfying about listening to the scores for the three Lord of the Rings movies while you play.

I'm just saying.

Exciting link of the day is also a plug for me: I'll be on The Screen Savers tomorrow (on tape, not in studio) with those interviews I did at JPL last week. I talked to my producer yesterday, and he told me that some of the stuff that couldn't make it on the air because of time constraints will be streamable on the web, at their website.

Comments

Dude, I TOTALLY understand the pattern thingy. I remember reading a book in high school and imagining just exactly Mario would be jumping to get from to the bottom of the page. Hell, I still do it. Time to get away from video games for a while, eh? :)

Awww, Wil-on-Screen-Savers-and-me-with-no-satellite-TV! Bah! I'm sure it'll be just as kick-ass as the last time.

That's definitely a good excuse to both download nethack and buy the LotR soundtracks. Thanks for the idea, man!

I won at Nethack once...of course, that was an earlier version where it was possible to cheat. :) Has anyone ever actually won it without cheating?

Great, I've been waiting for that to air! I love that show, especially when you're on it. Hey, when are you going to be on Unscrewed?

Wil, I found a picture of a Xan for you:

x

HTH, TheMatt

Yo, you should check out mangband. It's multiplayer angband, which is a moria offshoot, which is another hack offshoot. `8r) confusing enough?

anyway, it's fun, and doesn't quite have the complete mastery that the nethack dev team requires. heh

Well, I go by Xanie. Uhh, and people call me Xan for short.

But hey, I think you're too awesome to kill :P

(that makes you fill better eh?)

I have ascended 3 times.

All 3 times have been wizards. They got alot easier when they introduced spell "skills" and now that you start with force bolt. My most recent game was:

1 9,567,198 brent-Sam-Hum-Mal-Law died in Fort Ludios on level 20. Killed by Croesus. - [119]

Of course, like always, I was killed by my own stupidity. I was wearing a ring of levitation to get accross the moat, and I took it off to pick up crap from the floor. Then when Croesus started kicking my ass with his mean two handed sword, I couldnt properly run away because I couldnt cross the moat. He clobbered me when I was trying to put the ring back on.

My "seeing patterns" was in college. We did most of our programming work on DEC VAXTerms. There is a certain feeping noise that they put in for key clicks, since the keyboards are quiet. I started hearing that every where, along with the text on blackboards "scrolling up".

I didn't get much sleep that year.

Wasn't Xan the blue plant-girl on Farscape?

I've ascended...twice, I think. Maybe three times, all without cheating. Once with a Barbarian, once with a Wizard, (possibly) once with a Valkyrie.

But let's not talk about the Cleric I had who made it all the way to the Astral Plane, only to die of starvation from Famine.

By the way, you really shouldn't wear every Amulet you find. There's a decent chance that an unidentified Amulet could be an Amulet of Strangulation, and those auto-curse themselves and start to strangle you.

Also btw, if you think the Big Room is cool, just wait until you hit the Castle for the first time, or the first time you find Croesus' lair...

Mmm...Nethack...

For those too lazy to google:

www.nethack.org

Help, info and spoilers (one good site among many):

http://www.steelypips.org/nethack/

Also, the Big Room isn't near the end. Not by a long shot.

"Also, the Big Room isn't near the end. Not by a long shot."

I think he meant "near the end of one's life", not "near the end of the game", i.e. ascension. Near the end of life, it's not a bad idea to try crazy stuff.

Nethack has been a serious addiction for more then ten years for me. It rears its ugly head every now and again especially around the time of the /dev/null/ nethack tournament. It starts at midnight on Halloween and lasts through November.
It's totally possible to win, check out the scores in the last tournement.
Marvin ascended 22 times!
Don't get discouraged though, it's a HARD game but really fun.

The key for me was when I finally figured out what you can do with altars :)

It sounds like Wil (do I write this in 3rd-person or 2nd-person?) just started, and to have reached the Big Room at all after just having started is a pretty big accomplishment. I mean, I'd been playing off and on for a few years before I finally had a breakout game where I made it to the Big Room for the first time. I actually made it all the way to Dlvl 38 (killed Orcus) before I died. *mutter* Stupid arch-lich cursing my pickaxe *mutter* That's my best game yet. It was a Val, for those who care. Throwing Mojo is the bestest ever.

1 15917 Morc-Mon-Hum-Mal-Law died in The Dungeons of Doom on level 12. Killed by a xan. - [68]

Well, that's better than being killed by a kitten... :)

Though I've never played either of the games, sounds like they're pretty awesome. Then again, my spouse already accuses me of being severely life-impaired when I'm on the computer...

What you should really try is ADOM (Ancient Domains Of Mystery), which I think is the best roguelike ever.

http://www.adom.de

It totally rocks and I enjoy it WAY more than Nethack. Trust me. Try it. It kicks the digital butt of all the other roguelikes, and it just keeps getting better.

BTW, please don't roast me for that comment. I have played most other roguelikes, so at least my opinion is based on experience.

Oh, and here's a linky for the copy-and-paste-impaired folks.

Ancient Domains Of Mystery

Has anyone tried Slashem? Looks like a graphical nethack. Yeah, I know one of the great aspects is the ascii, but you never know. I haven't tried it yet.

Eh, ADOM is okay, but I don't think it has the richness, history, or sense of humor that nethack has. Of course that's probably personal bias... I still miss playing srogue Back In The Day.

"You have been summoned to the throne room..."

Will enthused:

"But check it out! I got farther last night than I ever have:
1 15917 Morc-Mon-Hum-Mal-Law died in The Dungeons of Doom on level 12. Killed by a xan. - [68]
Okay, I don't know WTF a Xan is, but it kicked my ass in three turns. I was in The Big Room, just one step away from the stairs when I died. The worst part is, my own stupidity cost me the game: I forgot to #pray (I was piously aligned) which would have, at least, restored my HP (at best, it may have whacked one of the baddies who was wailing on me). I was also carrying an unidentified amulet of lifesaving (is that what it's called?) which would have obviously saved me had I put it on. Moral of the story? Don't forget to quaff and read, and apply and put on everything when you're close to the end. It's not like you've got anything to lose."

Will, I'm afraid that you are having what we in the mentalsocialpsychotrobichyperglobalmeganet institute like to call a "Wesley Convergence".

You MUST try to keep in mind that you are Will Wheaton, an Uber-famous Hollywood star that woman want, and men want to be like. You are NOT some nerdy guy, sitting in a basement wearing Spock ears, playing dungeons and dragons and eating the wholesome LUNCHES made for you by your mommy.

Will Wheaton = Good
Wesley Crusher = Bad

Everything is going great...la la la and then BAM! dead. usually in like 3 turns. How I love this horrible horrible game!! Actually watched somebody ascend the other day, was totally blown away. All shall bow before nethack and fear!!!

I can't get that far in nethack...*shrugs*

Alas, poor Garwedh the Elven Priest. The world hardly knew ye, and boy you sure dropped dead quick.

Blast you, Wheaton! I need sleep!

Maybe just once more. . .

I assume you know this already, but you can get descriptions of all the creatures in nethack with the / command, either when they're on-screen by answering yes and then selecting them with the cursor, or by no and then typing in the name ('xan' or 'gunyoki' or whatever). This gives a little more insight into the xan, although not why it is able to kick the ass of something many times its size.

Damn you Wheaton, I had forgotten about this game. I used to loose so many work hour to this little program. It's still as much of a dangerous addictive time sink.

Congratulations, Wil, on finding one of the coolest old games in existence.

There is still a way to cheat in NetHack 3.1.1 -- the same way as in every other version. Save when you're healthy and make a copy. Poof! Instant restorability. Now, if this is taken to the extreme, it can take the fun out of the game ("Gee, a throne! I think I'll save, and restore every time I *don't* get a wish by sitting on it!") but it is also a great way to actually explore the game. As far as I know, this is the only way to cheat in the current version, but you've got to screw up *bad* to need more than that.

(you met an Arch-Lich on DL 38? Why didn't you Genocide them earlier?)

I can't weight to see you on TSS today.

Give up now, Wheaton! Clan EIT already 0wnz the dungeons!

eit_cyrus

If you ever completely freak out and decide never to play Nethack again after one of those four hour sessions where you die of hunger, it's not entirely shameful to add a save/load feature until you get a better idea of what to expect. Write a .bat file called "save.bat" or whatever, like this, all in one line:

copy c:\games\nethack\wil.sav c:\games\nethack\backup\wil.sav

And for the "load.bat",

copy c:\games\nethack\backup wil.sav c:\games\nethack\wil.sav

Then, to backup your file, save and quit the game, and run save.bat. When you die, run load.bat. (obvious)

Go ahead, flame me, but I bet almost no one has ascended cheat-free without trying this first.

Er, wouldn't it be better to use the in-game, completely sanctioned, won't mess up your score board explore mode? (Hit X, I believe-- that's capital X-- to enter it in-game; with the right command-line code, which varies from platform to platform but is in the documentation, you can be in it from turn one and come equipped with a three-charge wand of wishing.)

Keep going Wil! The only way I managed to beat my Nethack addiction was by ascending a Wizard. (Without Cheating). I've been nethack free since I got my new computer, mostly because the savegame I had when I copied everything over refuses to open in XP. Oh Well, such is life. Savescumming (making a backup) is alright for some I guess, but - I know this is pathetic - it feels so much better to know that you beat the damn game fair and square.
For tips on how to win - rec.games.roguelike.nethack

"Slash'em" isn't particularly graphical. As I understand it, it's a version of NetHack for those who think the original 'vanilla' version is a wussy-ass sissy-boy game. Adds more monsters, more weapons and character classes, more special levels, and then tries really really hard to kill you.

The original NH doesn't try to kill you, it just doesn't give a squat whether you live or die.

This makes both games different than 99% of the products on the market, because companies that make games want the players to win the games, so they'll come back and buy more games.


And there are official graphical tiles that come with NH, although the split between those that use them, and those that think they are preverted abominations of the Holy Text is fairly sharp.

Personally, I use a tileset I made myself, that's a cross between the original ASCII, and the official tiles.

What's Crackin! - Just need to go Play Bingo - for my Online Bingo Habit! But I cannot Find a Good Bingo Online website to cover my bingo addiction!

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