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Messages - bhaak

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Classic Roguelikes / Re: The future of Nethack
« on: November 26, 2013, 10:56:27 AM »
After developing my own roguelike, I actually started to admire Nethack for being so stable despite having so many special behaviors. You could play version 3.4.3 for years and not find a single bug. I think that it tells a lot about the code.
If you don't find any single bug while playing 3.4.3 for years, it might tell more about your style of playing than about the code  ;)

But seriously, to this day the admin of NAO has to regularly recover games because of crashes and you have to remember that the version on NAO has fixed all known crash bugs that are in 3.4.3. Granted, most of those crashes happen if you take the game to the limit, for example doing excessive pudding farming. I myself found several crash bugs by ramping up the monster generation and looking how stable is the game when creating a monster might fail (not very, but it's easily fixed).

There are lots of bugs in 3.4.3 (no wonder, it's a big game) and you can easily make the game crash. For example when saving a game while riding and wielding Sting, the game crashes while loading the game or - one of my favorites - just throw a potion at iron bars.

The official bug list on lists about 500 bugs, on nethackwiki there are some more. Is that much for a program that was released 10 years ago?

You could say no because most of those bugs you can workaround or avoid by not doing some stupid ascension tricks (although NetHack offers itself for doing such thing and it's part of its appeal) and there are very few bugs that can hit you without you doing anything (for example a monster with a potion of acid on the drawbridge falling into the water because another monster zapped a wand of striking that collapsed the drawbridge might lead to a crash).

OTOH you can say that as the last real changes to the core code was in 3.3.0 which means 1999 that this is quite a lot. The release notes for 3.3.1, 3.4.0, and 3.4.1, talked about hundreds of bug fixes (3.4.2 and 3.4.3 "only" about dozens). But of course the real problem here is not that there are bugs but that there are no bugfix releases anymore.

You shouldn't look at your roguelike and feel bad that it has bugs. If you had hundreds or thousands of volunteers that tried to find bugs and because of the seclusive nature of the DevTeam we can't really say how many of those volunteers also wrote patches for fixing bugs. If you had that, your roguelike would also be much more stable.  :)

We often overlook the fact that NetHack didn't get big and popular just because of the DevTeam but also because there was a great community that helped the DevTeam tremendously.

Classic Roguelikes / Re: The future of Nethack
« on: November 25, 2013, 01:27:09 PM »
is it possible that sometimes UN will present player a way to see weapon stats (like in ADOM or Angband) my be in indirect way?
for ex. - having found different polearms (bardiche/halberd/...) it's hard to decide which one to use as their stats are hidden from user

There's been the idea of an info screen for items for a while that would show information like this. I don't think this goes against NetHack's principle and even if it did. You can't nowadays ignore that people just go to nethackwiki and look stuff like this up. Having it ingame would be much more convenient. Although this info screen has not yet been coded.

Classic Roguelikes / Re: The future of Nethack
« on: November 25, 2013, 11:24:14 AM »
And the DevTeam consists of good game designers?

I don't know about that, but at least they got it right most of the time. When random internet people start to improve someone else's project it usually doesn't become a better game, often just worse. When you make the game from the start it has much better chance to become a good game, because it requires more than regular tweakers have.
This is really funny as the NetHack DevTeam were random internet people who took someone else's project and didn't make it from the start.

You probably never played NetHack 1.3d, the first version that the NetHack DevTeam released. I and some other people did for the 2011 Junethack tournament and it's actually not a really good game. If there wouldn't have been constant development, with input from many players, we wouldn't remember NetHack as something special but only as a fork of Hack done by some random tweakers.

I don't have a problem if you don't like NetHack forks. But idolizing the DevTeam does not help improve those forks (or hoping that the DevTeam will release a new version) but clearly name what do you think is wrong with them. This doesn't mean that every criticism will be taken into account. and has thousands of such postings. Some had an impact on development and some didn't.  But this is how development works if you do it in public.

Classic Roguelikes / Re: The future of Nethack
« on: November 25, 2013, 10:49:14 AM »
Isn't that exactly what happened when Hack turned into Nethack?
Yes, Hack didn't get any updates for 2 years (Ha! I just say looking at NetHack's last release date) and then Mike Stephenson made a usenet posting about combining bug fixes and patches and collaboratively release a new version.!topic/

By the way, a developer of one of the main Nethack variants once spoke highly of the Nethack source code. He said it's well written by the standards of 80's and 90's. Of course now we use different conventions, and OO design is used everywhere. But I guess it's a common misconception that the Nethack code is "crap".
If it's been a Slash'Em dev, then I wouldn't value that opinion too much. Slash'Em is buggy as hell.

But I agree that it isn't that bad. Most people use NetHack's use of the old K&R method declarations as a sign that it's bad code but this isn't actually a problem.

NetHack is a complex program, probably more than half of its game engine is dedicated to special cases, it has grown organically over the years and for that, it's not that bad in most places.

Classic Roguelikes / Re: The future of Nethack
« on: November 22, 2013, 01:03:35 PM »
is there any info when UN v5 is going in release?
Really soon now. This time for real. Last time in May when I actually intended to release the next version, there were some unresolved issues and missing tiles and then some more commit happened by new developers and the ideal time for a release was missed.

Classic Roguelikes / Re: The future of Nethack
« on: November 01, 2013, 06:58:08 PM »
When developers pick an existing project and start to "improve" it it usually doesn't become better as a game. Often the opposite happens and the original feel of the game is lost. These people have good intentions, but it doesn't mean they are great or even good game designers.
And the DevTeam consists of good game designers? Hardly believable if you look at the design issues that NetHack has and had for the longest time.

NetHack has grown quite organically. It wasn't handed down to the DevTeam by a higher entity. Many popular features have come not from the DevTeam itself but have been suggested by players or have even been programmed directly by patch writers.

The worst option is a group of open source -minded developers who lack a single, focused idea of a good gameplay and just throw in some stuff.
But Slash'Em was never meant to have a single, focused idea of gameplay. Slash'Em was the embodiment of having added any patches that the Slash'Em DevTeam could get a hold of!

Classic Roguelikes / Re: The future of Nethack
« on: November 01, 2013, 06:18:36 PM »
I would just freakin' love for all these nethack devs to band together and form a new dev team. There would be compromises, sure, but it would be sweet.
I'm not sure if you are aware of it but both UnNetHack and NH4 already consists of more than 1 developer.

And even before that, there was (and regarding DynaHack and UnNetHackPlus still is) lots of code going to and fro between the different active forks.

Classic Roguelikes / Re: Special endings
« on: May 31, 2013, 10:43:18 AM »
Doesn't Nethack have some sort of special behaviors? Like vegan and what not? Do those give special bonus endings?

I think they are called 'conducts'.
Yes, they are called "conducts" but you don't get a special ending. It's just for making the game more interesting for those would can easily ascend the normal game. Some forks have a special atheist ending where you give the gods the finger and take the amulet home with you.

Omega had several different endings but I don't know which of those were special and not just simple endings for the character path you've chosen.

Other Announcements / Re: IRDC 2013
« on: January 17, 2013, 01:00:23 PM »
For those to lazy to click through to RGRD.

It's in Poznan in Poland and the doodle for the dates is here:

There's not more you need to know.

Other Announcements / Re: The Year's Most Popular - By Category
« on: January 05, 2013, 05:14:46 PM »
In my opinion the most important trope to hacklikes is breadth of game element interactions. Multiple-use items are a staple. Reading food, eating weapons, jewelry and armor, throwing gems, drinking corpses ... Very unusual applications of objects, quirky interactions between game elements are the core thing here. Spoiler-based gameplay is a minor item. Kludgey interface is entirely optional!

For me, this is the feature that differentiates it the most from all other roguelikes. Are there other roguelikes that have this as well?

This of course tends towards needing of spoilers but when well designed, it's not so bad. When not designed well, you get NetHack.

Your posting is another proof that for different people very different parts of NetHack are considered good or bad. The roguelike radio team is reluctant to do a NetHack episode because "What can we say that hasn't been said about it already?". But I think that we finally will get an episode where each other will disagree with each other and some serious ass-kicking will occur. I'm betting on the Australian to win the fight ...  ;D

Other Announcements / Re: The Year's Most Popular - By Category
« on: January 04, 2013, 02:13:15 PM »
By the way Jo, this screws up a certain category a little, but ADOM (and by extension ADOM II) is normally considered to belong to the Hacklike branch of roguelikes.

But then you'd also need to put DCSS in that category. I guess the category is short for "hacklikes that aren't ashamed of their NetHack ancestry" and then it is appropriately filled.

bhaak, desperately trying to keep the top spot ;)

Other Announcements / Re: The Year's Most Popular - By Category
« on: January 03, 2013, 11:31:39 AM »
I thank everybody for voting for UnNetHack and NetHack-De and gladly accept the trophy for best and second-best hacklike. ;D

Other Announcements / Re: Roguelike of the Year - getting the list sorted
« on: December 17, 2012, 09:45:51 AM »
Also, this can apparently happen:

414. That’s an error.

The requested URL /reviews/polls/placeVote/-4327327964300472371/blogger_template/64b83da02ca189b9... is too large to process. That’s all we know.

That happens if you select too many roguelikes. You can consider this a design bug on how those polls are implemented.

Other Announcements / Re: Roguelike of the Year - getting the list sorted
« on: December 07, 2012, 05:17:09 PM »
If Diablo III would be excluded, you would have to exclude those games with even less roguelike elements, too.

Diablo III is more of a roguelike than FTL.  ;)

Off-topic (Locked) / Re: Tom Proudfoot
« on: October 08, 2012, 05:40:41 PM »
Between 1992 and 1996 he was actively involved in several NetHack variants that eventually lead to Slash'Em.

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