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View Full Version : NetHack, Rogue, Adom... Set me straight


CaveMike
09-02-2005, 10:08 PM
It has been a long while since I played text-based games like NetHack, Rogue, Adom, etc. I was thinking about trying one out again. Any recommendations on which I should try? Which ones are still active? Is there a defacto "best"?

cckerberos
09-02-2005, 10:27 PM
It's been a couple years since I was busy with roguelike games, but I remember Angband (http://www.thangorodrim.net/) and its variants (http://www.thangorodrim.net/variants.html) (particularly ZAngband) being the most popular. I was a big fan of ZAngband (despite being largely unfamiliar with Zelany's works), though it is a significant step up in difficulty from other roguelikes so familiarizing yourself with "Vanilla" Angband first would be a good idea if you choose to try it. Although abandoned now, there was a great AngbandTK interface for some of the variants (though I could see how some purists might object to it). It started getting popular as I stopped playing, but another (highly modified) variant ToME (http://t-o-m-e.net/main.php?tome_current=0) seems to be very strong.

Other than Angband, the ADOM and NetHack newsgroups look like they're still active, so presumably those games still have a decent base.

FyreFiend
09-02-2005, 10:29 PM
I know Nethack (and Slash'em) are still under active development as that's the only one of them I play anymore. Rogue as far as I know isn't being updated. There are places to download it off the net but I seem to remember there being some sort of copyright issue with it so I won't post a link. I've never played Adom so I can't comment.

Green Bean
09-02-2005, 10:47 PM
NetHack is an evil and horrible game that will vacuum hours out of your days and nights. Wonderful wonderful hours...

There are more definitive histories out there, but in summary--back in the '80s, there was a little dungeon game called Rogue. It was one of the first, or maybe THE first, to show the action in graphics, rather than text. But given the limitations of the computers at the time, the "graphics" were just letters and symbols moving around the screen. By the late 1990s when I rediscovered it, Rogue had grown up into Nethack. Basically, the game has been open-source since the '80s, and as vast numbers of people have added to it, it has become enormously complex--they say it's the most complex computer game out there. It often takes people years and years to achieve their first "ascension." (I've never even come close.)

There is an "official" version, found at www.nethack.org. There are also any number of variations out there.

You can play with the original style text graphics, or you can play a version with very rudimentary graphics, called the "tile" version. I play the tile version. Yeah, I'm a wuss. But Squidwina the Valkyrie isn't a wuss! Roar!

Um, yeah. NetHack rocks.

cckerberos
09-02-2005, 11:01 PM
There are more definitive histories out there, but in summary--back in the '80s, there was a little dungeon game called Rogue. It was one of the first, or maybe THE first, to show the action in graphics, rather than text. But given the limitations of the computers at the time, the "graphics" were just letters and symbols moving around the screen. By the late 1990s when I rediscovered it, Rogue had grown up into Nethack.
It was actually Rogue > Hack > NetHack

I haven't played any Hack games since the late 1980s. Is there still a tourist class?

Johnny Angel
09-02-2005, 11:50 PM
As thrilling as those heady days were when there were three of us playing the game and sharing our discoveries, I would recommend actually reading the spoilers. Once upon a time, it was a thrill to discover that you could scour Usenet for tantalizing hints. Then came Archie and then the web, and you could find FAQs explaining the whole game. I've clocked enough hours in thrilling discovery that I feel qualified to tell you that it's still fun even after you've read the spoilers.

Furthermore, do not scruple to backup your saved games. I think you'll find that the risk/reward balance is thrown off of optimal fun if you save and backup before kicking any sink, though your mileage may vary. Don't spend years at the game before you ascend. Read the spoilers, make reasonable use of saved games, and ascend. Then ascend with a different type of character. Or the same type. You'll have fun all over again.

MrJackboots
09-03-2005, 12:41 AM
As far as I know...

NetHack (www.nethack.org) is still in development, and by far my favorite. SLASH'EM is fun for a change. Falcon's Eye is a fairly elaborate graphical version; I remember being fascinated for a good while before I went back to the ASCII roots.

ADOM (www.adom.de) stopped with Version 1.1.1 back in 2002. I generally consider it more elaborate than NetHack but less playable; sometimes there are just too many details to fiddle with. I don't think Mr. Biskup has formally announced any end to the JADE project, but there have been no updates since March on the Scroll of Mystery.

Angband (www.thangorodrim.net/) is still active. The website lists a lot of variants and their various stages of development. It's been a long time since I played it; I can't offer much more commentary than that.

Orbifold
09-03-2005, 02:41 AM
It was actually Rogue > Hack > NetHack

I haven't played any Hack games since the late 1980s. Is there still a tourist class?

Archaeologist, Barbarian, Caveman, Healer, Knight, Monk, Priest, Ranger, Rogue, Samurai, Tourist, Valkyrie, Wizard. That's the list from NetHack. They dropped the Elf class when they added multiple character races (human, gnome, dwarf, elf, half-orc). SLASH'EM has a few more that I'm not familiar with.

I ascended a Tourist once, but for a real challenge try playing a gnomish Healer. I've never even come close to ascending one of those.

ftg
09-03-2005, 07:05 AM
I found winning Nethack to be quite easy. Polypiling was the way to go. They (supposedly) have modified the game to strongly limit polypiling but I have tried it out and it still seems fairly easy to do.

One of my family members was teaching his SO how to play it a couple of weeks ago. Hearing "Use the 's' to search for a doorway." made it seem like old times.

(My "Nethack Co-Author Number" is 1. I have written a couple of papers with a guy that contributed some code.)

Green Bean
09-03-2005, 07:45 AM
As thrilling as those heady days were when there were three of us playing the game and sharing our discoveries, I would recommend actually reading the spoilers. Once upon a time, it was a thrill to discover that you could scour Usenet for tantalizing hints. Then came Archie and then the web, and you could find FAQs explaining the whole game. I've clocked enough hours in thrilling discovery that I feel qualified to tell you that it's still fun even after you've read the spoilers.
Yeah, I would definitely agree with this. The game could get old quick if you had to discover everything from scratch. It's still very complex even after reading spoilers. The spoilers give you hints on figuring stuff out, but you still have to figure it out. A lot (most?) of the game is randomly generated, so it's different every time.

Just google on "nethack spoilers" and you'll find lots of stuff. There are some "beginner's guides" out there, which give you some basic info without getting too spoilery.

JA--I don't mind having spent years without ever ascending, or even getting into Gehennom more than a couple of times. I'm just not sufficiently motivated to take it to the next level. (ha ha)

ftg--I've had limited success with polypiling. Is there a way to do it without a wand of polymorph?

CaveMike
09-03-2005, 07:43 PM
Thanks for the great info Dopers! I hope you don't mind the delay in my response, but I have been pretty much playing NetHack 3.4.3 since the first two responses. You guys also answered my follow-up question regarding tiles even before I asked it. I think I might try a few others next; perhaps ZAngband

Number
09-03-2005, 09:24 PM
As thrilling as those heady days were when there were three of us playing the game and sharing our discoveries, I would recommend actually reading the spoilers.I agree. NetHack is just too hard to get into without reading at least some spoilers.

Furthermore, do not scruple to backup your saved games.Now here we must differ. If you want to explore the dungeon without risk then you should use Explore Mode. It lets you choose to survive any normally-fatal experience but will not give you an entry on the high score list. This is a fine way to learn.

Backing up saved games, on the other hand, is depriving the game of challenge, and thus depriving your accomplishments of any gravity. The path to ascension should be paved with many frustrating and stupid deaths. This gives you lots of great war stories ("Yeah, I was doing great...made it to the castle, slayed four dragons, but then choked to death...on a fortune cookie of all things!") and makes the final goal extraordinarily satisfying when you reach it.

Other games have different ethics. Angband, for instance, takes a long time to beat (I did it in about six months) and is nigh impossible without restoring saved games. NetHack can be beaten in a week, or less if one is really determined (I always meant to go for a 24-hour ascension but never got around to it). It is not easy by any means, but at least a single failure does not cost you a huge investment of time.

It's the endless retrying that does it.

inkubo
09-03-2005, 09:34 PM
ftg--I've had limited success with polypiling. Is there a way to do it without a wand of polymorph?

There is the tedious process of dipping an item into a potion of polymorph. !oPoly aren't that common if I recall correctly. The only time I've used this was when I had five unihorns and decided to #dip them in hopes of getting magic markers.

N9IWP
09-03-2005, 10:00 PM
I liked "Moria" on the VAXen at school. I preferred the merchant interface better than the drop to sell / pick-up to buy interface in other roguelike games.

Brian

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