Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Games Entertainment

/dev/null/nethack Tournament 2001 146

bakunin writes: "Tonight (Halloween) at midnight Pacific U.S. Time, /dev/null's third Annual NetHack Tournament opens. As with past years, the Tournament is open to anyone who'd like to play. We're also open to anyone who'd like to volunteer to run a game server, since (though we have a T1 hosting the main game server) play can be slow across the transoceanic links." /dev/null is calling for volunteers to run a server; you only need a modest machine but must have good bandwidth. See below for more information.
bakunin continues: "/dev/null is a loose association of networking geeks, unincorporated and noncommercial. We make no money from this; we just do it for giggles.

The prize structure going in, as we're open to suggestions to change this during the Tournament, is:

The "standard" prizes will go to:

  • Highest Score
  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd Highest Score in each class
The "additional" prizes will go to:
  • Most Ascensions
  • Lowest Scored Ascension

Since we'd appreciate volunteer servers to help speed the game play up for folks not near Oakland, California, here's roughly what you need to host:

Server Requirements
Remember, before volunteering, that anyone with admin level access to a game server box is not allowed to compete. So don't volunteer to host if you want to be a contender.

  • a multi-user NetHack installation (thus, probably, a Unix of some sort; the /dev/null server is an OpenBSD system)
  • sufficient speed/disk/memory to support 250 player accounts and 25 concurrent players (ours is a P133 with 64M of memory and 2.5G of disk)
  • a dedicated Internet connection (our is on a T1)
  • since NetHack needs real user accounts, we'd recommend that it be a dedicated system (the players will need to be entered in /etc/passwd to play on the box)
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

/dev/null/nethack Tournament 2001

Comments Filter:
  • NetHack is a single player dungeon exploration game that runs on a wide variety of computer systems, with a variety of graphical and text interfaces all using the same game engine.

    Hmm... While Nethack and all it's Rogue-esque descendants are quite entertaining, I just don't see much excitement in a non-multiplayer tournament.

    Ah, well. That's what DiabloII's for I guess.
  • by BluePenguin ( 521713 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @05:12PM (#2504395) Homepage
    They say that you need a dedicated connection, and bandwidth is a biggie... but how much bandwidth? Is this a "Cable Modem's a bad idea" limiter? Will consumer DSL provide sufficient bandwidth? Or is it really going to need T1 speed?


    • A lot of consumer broadband connections have upload caps that will make them almost certainly unusable for nethack. If your local DSL provider or cable company hasn't set a cap though I'd think they'd be sufficent.
    • I don't think the bandwidth would be a big deal. I think their T1 is much more than sufficient for 25 games.

      Internet Nethack is played by telnetting to the server, and the server only sends updates to the screen, not full screens, for each move. The bandwidth requirements for a single game, at least, are pretty minimal. I've played over the internet with a dial-up 33.6 connection, and I imagine a single game could play adequately with even less bandwidth than that. As is so often the case in internet gaming, latency is a bigger issue than bandwidth.

      I'm surprised they don't have more processing power for their server, though. A 133Mhz Pentium is overkill for a single game instance, but 25? I'm guessing that will bog down a bit if more than a few people play on crowded levels at once.

      But I don't want to sound like I'm complaining - we can't expect them to buy a shiny new computer for the Nethack tournament, so they're just using what they've got handy.
      • Actually, it's strung up in my living room as a mobile too. ;-)

        I'll post some pictures later, once the launch furor dies down.

        The P133 can actually handle 25 easily, but I've set its max up to 50 this year, so we might find it bogging. Fortunately, several Slashdotters have emailed offer to set up game servers now, so we'll at least get some distribution across the U.S.

  • by edashofy ( 265252 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @05:18PM (#2504426)
    I would play, you see, but I was walking along when I put on this strange ring I found, and suddenly I found myself transformed into an acid-slime, so I ate the ring (since it's metal, you know), and then I turned back into a person, but occasionally changed into a golem. While I was a golem, I killed off a monster that would normally turn me to stone, but you know I was stone already, so I picked him up to use as a weapon...

    I don't remember much after that; although I slightly recall using my dog to go steal stuff from the supermarket for me...
  • Huh? (Score:1, Troll)

    by Syris ( 129850 )
    This is kind of neat, but nothing more.

    Now a mud or online massively multiplayer RPG where everyone starts at the same time, at the same level would be pretty cool. Totally ruthless.
    • It would have to be a coustom mud. The problem with a multiplayer RPG on a tournament level is that most RPG's require you to kill thing for experience, and many share monsters. This happens in muds. That means there won't be enough monsters to go around if its not done right. This is already a problem with a few MMPORPGs.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Spiral Man ( 33998 )
      "Now a mud or online massively multiplayer RPG where everyone starts at the same time, at the same level would be pretty cool. Totally ruthless."

      in my experience with the mud scene, this would be really stupid. everybody would attack each other immediately, without trying to level up or advance. the few people that would try to play the game inteligently would be killed immediately, and the winner would be the person who got the luckiest with the server's random number generator...

      no thanks

      • Unless of course, the object of the MUD is for everyone to start out at the same level and kill each other, such as in the popular MUD Genocide [].
        • Wow. Genocide is still around? I remember playing that in college in 1992. Not that I was ever any good at it or anything. I named my character Xqwzwc because I thought it would make me harder to attack if someone had to type my name. ;)
  • Recommended Reading (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ted V ( 67691 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @05:19PM (#2504436) Homepage
    If you're going to try this seriously, make sure you read all the spoilers and FAQs []. There's a ton of good information in there.

  • /. thumping (Score:3, Informative)

    by bakunin ( 112609 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @05:20PM (#2504441) Homepage
    About two minutes after this posted,the web server with the Tournament site on it kernel pacicked with an out of memory error.

    It has 3/4G or real memory and over 1G of swap. I think it mis-handled something there. It's booting, so we'll see how long it lasts this time. ;-)

    • thanks for the update :)
    • by bakunin ( 112609 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @06:35PM (#2504754) Homepage
      Here's a clue for you folks who might ever submit an article: don't do it if you're running a default BSD kernel.

      After booting a few times and getting killed immediately, I booted with no net connection and built a kernel with maxusers, NMBCLUSTERS and NKMEMCLUSERS goosed beyond any reasonable amount and it seems to be holding up now.

      I had not anticipated _that_ many immediate requests from an article ablout NetHack. ;-)

      • by mav[LAG] ( 31387 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @07:41PM (#2504971)
        Welcome bakunin the Invoker - More -
        Be careful! New Moon tonight!
        You see here a large webserver - More -
        The server appears to be running normally.

        You hear some noises in the distance.

        Slashdot hits! Slashdot hits! - More -
        Slashdot hits! Slashdot hits! - More -
        Slashdot hits! Slashdot hits!
        What do you want to transcribe? f
        You read the spellbook of Instant Hardware Upgrade. The spellbook crumbles into dust!

        A Large voice booms: "You have angered me mortal! " - More -
        "I demand a sacrifice!"

        Do you want your possessions identified? [y/n]?
        Goodbye bakunin.
        You were BSD-aligned.
        You were chaotic.
        You were ambitious.
        You did not survive the Slashdot effect.

  • Well it looks like not to many players on the east cost. Sience it is still a School/Work day/night. That is a bit to late. Midnight EST would be a lot better that will be 8:00 PST. I guess if I go to bed early I can wake up in time to start the game.
  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @05:24PM (#2504461)
    Remember that Nethack is real-world-clock-sensitive. If you play on a Friday the 13th, past midnight, or on Halloween, a lot of fun but deadly things can happen.

    Of course, there's a better chance at getting some of the better goodies when the difficulty is higher, so it might be worth trying...

    • Full moon, too! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Balinares ( 316703 )
      Wow! Tonight is Halloween AND full moon. How does NetHack handle that? Does it make it THE best possible night to be playing NH? :)
      • On that note, and I wonder if anyone has made a "Night in the Lonesome October" option for Nethack. (From the novel by Zelazny, with a new moon on halloween). If not, I might just get the latest source and start messing with it again.
        • The latest source is version 3.3.1 I think. Great idea! :) Maybe not worth putting too much time and code into, since it won't be triggered all that often, but still funny!

          It's not like NetHack doesn't do the Zelazny thing already anyway, with Grayswandir and everything... :)
    • I was playing around with some C64 games with CCS this past weekend and, in the Halloween mood, recalled a spooky game I used to enjoy called Castles of Dr. Creep by Ed Hobbs. I just did a Google of the title and found a PC Beta version [] probably worth a look if you don't want to fool around with emulators. Looks cool and the came was a lot of fun on a C64, looks like Ed is still at it and has done a nice job.
    • So.....I tried out nethack just in response to this story. Reminds me of Moria, but it looks pretty cool. I even tried the graphical version, which was nice.

      I'm curious to ask you experienced nethackers, what fun things occurred because of the halloween/full moon stuff?

  • I'm not really familiar with NetHack, but I *might* be able to provide a fast freebsd server on a multiple reduntant DS3 network, except giving local accounts is not an option, for security. Any exceptions?
    • by MentlFlos ( 7345 )
      I'm in almost the same boat... I can provide everything BUT the user accounts. That would get me not-employed very quickly.

      If this can be figured out, I have a nice dual PIII 933 that would do quite a dandy job. (if I get really creative, I can put the sparc 10 (dual 50mhz) back up, then I'm not even touching a production machine)


      • I can provide everything... but I can't get onto the site to contact the person who is taking applications for volunteers.
    • Could you set up the local accounts in a jail?
    • This is basically why we re-install the OS on our game server before and after each Tournament *and we'd encourage volunteer boxen to do this as well).

      The Tournament software does only create accounts within its own UID range, and does a pretty good job of blocking the player from doing anything other than play NetHack, but we can't guarantee it.

      It does really mean that it's best done on a dedicated box, though.

  • oh come on! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GoNINzo ( 32266 ) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `ozNINoG'> on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @05:28PM (#2504485) Journal
    Here's the real problem, this tournament will favor valks because they are so easy to ascend. They really should have some major prizes for those of us who like a challenge, like ascending tourists. `8r)

    I would join if I could kill a week of just playing NetHack. and i've done it too. Because right now, I don't have the 8 hours dedicated to just gem sorting and poly-piling required before i climb the top stairs... heh

    The only major question i have is how do they make sure that they are all using the same version with the same options? I mean, someone with -W access can do some serious damage, as well as any server that tweaked the magic lamp distribution number.

    • Re:oh come on! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Snibor Eoj ( 16725 ) <> on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @06:15PM (#2504689) Homepage
      Here's the real problem, this tournament will favor valks because they are so easy to ascend. They really should have some major prizes for those of us who like a challenge, like ascending tourists.

      You mean like offering prizes for the top three scores in each class?

      The only major question i have is how do they make sure that they are all using the same version with the same options?

      Presumably because we're all playing on the servers that they control, so they know what version they have installed...

    • Re:oh come on! (Score:2, Informative)

      by Strepsil ( 75641 )

      Not at all. Take a look a last year's scores [].

      The highest score went to a Ranger, and second pace to a Healer. The top Valkyrie was in 15th place overall.

      Of course, you're right that they're easy(est) to ascend - lowest scoring ascension was a Valkyrie. But ascending isn't everything in this tournament.

      • And the year before that [], top honors went to a Tourist... (by an order of magnitude, no less)

        • Excellent. Unfortunately, the site was down yesterday due to the /. effect, but I'm glad to see more than just all Valks...

          And damn, these are some hardcore point values too! Last year, my best score ever would have come in second place, but that was after playing around at the top stairs for like two weeks.

          Good to see they break it down.

  • Do they want this game to play, or just to see if /.-ing is real?

    (Yes, it will overheat.)
  • Nethack links (Score:5, Informative)

    by image ( 13487 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @05:36PM (#2504525) Homepage

    I'm going to unabashedly karma whore for a second because Nethack is my favourite game ever. I can't tell you the number of hours I wasted playing this (or other rogue-like games [], such as rogue [], larn [], adom [], or omega []).

    Here are some links to get you all started: []

    One of the first and best Nethack pages, from the legenday Boudewijn Waijers []

    another Nethack homepage []

    A newer Nethack page []

    QT Nethack []

    An impressive graphical Nethack []

    The google Roguelike directory entry []

    the classic []

    Happy hacking!
  • by GiMP ( 10923 )
    Multiple DS3 connection. I'll have to build a machine for it, though. I can't add all of those user accounts to a production box or workstation ;)

    Looks like I'll need some more hardware. laptop with no harddrive, laptop with no power supply, athlon with no motherboard.

    I do have one box which should certainly be 100% functional by that time. 80mhz PowerPC machine with 96 megs of ram, running Linux.. but it has a small scsi harddrive.

    Maybe next time I'll have some working hardware!
    • The Tournament code can add new game servers partway through a Tournament and all accounts will propagate to it on the first connection from the control server.

      So we can add game servers as we go along ... ;-)

  • Prize idea! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Balinares ( 316703 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @05:44PM (#2504555)
    Most Stupid Death. :)

    Given how viciously rich NetHack can be when it comes to getting killed [], this ought to be fun. =)
    • I can think of one of my deaths that would have won this one easily. I was trapped in a shop (don't ask), starving and wihtout food. I started reading my scrolls (hoping for some salvation) and I found a scroll of genocide! Great, I thought, I can kill the shopkeeper and get out of here! So I genocide all the @'s - stupidest death ever.
    • I had a friend who kept burning up in lava. Then one time he got fire resistance. When he fell in the lava, he didn't burn up, but he couldn't get out and drowned!
  • dev/null is calling for volunteers to run a server; you only need a modest machine but must have good bandwidth.

    Yeah, I'd like to volunteer google's bandwidth... oh wait

  • Working Link (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bubblesculpter ( 234656 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @05:51PM (#2504587) Homepage Journal []

    This one works!!

  • How are you going to stop people from cheating by backing up the game files.

    Anyone can ascend if they can restore their save files. It takes alot of skill to ascend without restoring.

    I have only managed to do it only once, with a wizard, in 4 years of playing.

    You can set it up to prevent cheating, but I wouldnt count on other people who are donating boxes to set it up properly.

    If people can restore, it ruins the whole contest.

    Still, playing on a box with other people sounds real fun. Yeah, bones files and high scores.

    Only its no fun comparing mortal scores against people who have ascended like 30 times. You want to compete against people in your skill range.
  • Er... so how does one participate? The info on the website is all from last year's tournament, it doesn't even mention the one starting tonight :P
  • Falconseye as a client? (
    • Can you use Falconseye as a client?
      Neat idea, but impossible in reality. Falcon's Eye isn't a client; You'd need to run it as an X session over the network. And even with my PIII-600, I got pretty hefty CPU utilization with FE, so let's see: X11 bandwidth + CPU hogging = Astronomical Number.

      Ask again in a couple of years (or after Crays become available for consumers, whichever comes later =)

      ...Or maybe if someone develops a client-server architecture for Nethack. Developing such protocol wouldn't really be that hard; Just write a new Nethack "user interface" that's more machine readable, and standardize the user authentication and protocol... This would allow you to run normal Nethack process on server, and a time/space/CPU-consuming client on any machine, with virtually no network load either - or even less network load than your average Telnet nethack session will take, if we compress it =)

  • You're not going to get very far in nethack if you're trying to play it with one of those quaint N64 controller as the topic picture suggests :)
    • LOL then again have you *seen* Falcon's eye Nethack?

      You may *need* that N64 TV remote (or whatever it is :)

      It's real laff (and the music is excellent) but for serious competition - ooo it'd slow ya down
  • I did some searching on the updated link (, and wasn't able to find any information about registering to PARTICIPATE when the competetion starts up. Anyhow know how we register to be a contestant?
  • I've been playing nethack since as long as I can remember (3 or 4 years old), and being 18 now, all the nethack intricacies are engrained in my memory..

    I absolutely love this game-- it still holds my attention longer than any of these other fancy 3d games.. except for everquest of course....

    while we're on it-- I tried to compile nethack today on a machine here at school with codewarrior-- are there any special things i need to do to get it compile?
    • Anything you need to do to make it compile? Hell yes! NetHack won't compile out of the box. Don't even try. Set aside a few hours, go through the readme and configuration files, and figure out what you really want the game to do. Edit all of the files specified, try to compile, go back and fix your errors, and try to compile again until it works just right.

      If you can find a recent version that is native for your machine, it might be easier to do that. If you can't do that prepared to spend some time figuring out how to make it work for your particular configuration. I don't know if you can do a compile under Code Warrior. You would be better off using a command line compiler like gcc.

      Compiling NetHack isn't easy, but it can be done by the general computer savvy public. I know, I did it and everyone says that I'm a dumbass.

      Good luck and have fun!

  • You might want to check out #nethack on either undernet or efnet, they're both good resources for the game.

    Also, I don't know if anyone's mentioned it yet, but is another great place to go to read about strategy.
  • I'm still waiting for net-playable Nethack.
    Until then, I suppose MAngband [] will have to do. It's good and all, but I never got into Angband like I did Nethack.
  • OK, how do I sign up to play?

    I couldnt find a link or instructions for signing up.

  • You need volunteers to tune their machines and put 250 user accounts on their machines in seven hours, and you DID'T put contact info in your request? I went to the webpage, and there isn't so much as an email address or even a phone number.

    How am I supposed to volunteer when I can't communicate with you?
    • We can add game servers on the fly during the Tournament, so it's no rush from that perspective. The contact info is in the tar file containg the game server code (at that, at least, was linked on the new web site).

      Ah the joys of bringing it up on a new server this year. ;-)

  • Just wanted to take the opportunity to advertise another public nethack server at [] which just went up in the past couple of weeks as well.

    This server will be around for awhile, and has great low-latency connections to the US and North America, and decent ones to more patient people elsewhere.

  • Curses! I just kicked my Angband addiction by installing the Angband borg screensaver []! I figured if the computer played it for me I wouldn't have to play it, right?

    But no, now I have to enter a tournament! It's cheating if I let the computer do it!

  • NETHack?

    I'm still running HACK 1.0.3D... on my AMIGA!

    You'll have to pry the disk from my cold, dead fingers.

  • by rpeppe ( 198035 )
    i was looking through last year's high scores and found myself really wanting to be able to see more than just the score.

    e.g. that character that ascended with only 49000 points: how did they do it? what was their inventory like at the end?

    same goes for all the others: it would be great to be able to see them in action.

    surely in these days of huge disks, it would be dead easy to log all the tournament games (preferably with timing information), so you could see action replays of particularly spectacular nethack action scenes from the top scorer, etc...

    • yeah, good idea.

      I can think of nothing better than sitting for 5 hours watching someone polypile 400 gems before climbing the final staircase.

      If anyone does this, there had better be fastforward and rewind . . . .

A university faculty is 500 egotists with a common parking problem.