Current state of iNetHack, Slash’EM, NetHack HD, NetHack Cocoa

Update: To clarify things:
Eventually there will be both a Slash’EM and iNetHack in the app store, both universal, with a very similar UI. iNetHack will remain vanilla NetHack, Slash’EM is based on the latest stable release (Vampire) with the force-patch. Once that is done NetHack HD will be removed.

I just realized that the current situation of the NetHack and Slash’EM ports might be a little confusing 🙂 So here’s some detailed information:

Slash’EM (iPhone/iPad | Source)
Has been in development on and off for about five months (eternal beta?) and is nearing a release. The UI is different from iNetHack, there are no shortcuts, and the consensus from the beta forum seems to be that it’s a more efficient UI. A public release for iPhone is in sight. After that I have plans to modify it into a universal app (with basic UI changes) so it will make use of the iPad’s screen estate and special controllers.

iNetHack (iPhone/iPad | Source)
I consider its current codebase obsolete and it will get replaced by the Slash’EM UI. I don’t fix iNetHack bugs because most of them are already fixed in Slash’EM or a non-issue there due to the different UI. I accept them though for the time being and will address them one by one as soon as it gets its new codebase.

NetHack HD (iPad)
Developed completely in the dark without device or beta testers, it has quite some issues, including UI and performance (I only ran it shortly last week on an actual iPad and I wasn’t thrilled). It will be pulled from the store as soon as Slash’EM and iNetHack go universal. It currently has no public source distribution and there won’t ever be one since it’s already obsolete.

NetHack Cocoa (Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6)
Has (minor) issues of its own which will get addressed but has low priority for me since I’m focusing on iDevices.

I hope this clarifies some things. The google code repositories will very likely be moved to github. Well-done patches are always welcome.

21 thoughts on “Current state of iNetHack, Slash’EM, NetHack HD, NetHack Cocoa

  1. TG Noh

    I have to say this: I am already enjoying nethack HD very much, that’s next best thing I ever get for nethack other than my beloved keyboard. I visited your blog to point out some minor issues for nethack HD, but now more thrilled to hear that you are preparing un updated iNethack universal binary. Great work! My hats off to you. Ipad is THE best device for rouge-like and you have (almost) proved it. Thank you for your supereb apps!

  2. Sean

    Thanks for the fantastic Nethack HD port! It is easily my favorite game on the iPad and probably my current largest use of my iPad. I came looking for a a place to report a a couple of oversights and was crushed to find out you’ve basically abandoned it and iNetHack in favor of Slash’EM which I don’t play. Is there any chance you would consider a couple of small changes submitted to the App Store for NetHack HD before pulling it? Specifically, I would love to see two commands that got missed in the original port: towels should have the ability to “P”ut on, which has the same effect as a blindfold instead of wiping your face like “A”pply does, and a button/menu option for the “^T” keyboard command to teleport at will if you are able. Without knowing the code, I would think the changes wouldn’t be that big, but I could be wrong. What do you think, any chance you might swing a couple quick fixes in?

  3. Sean

    Actually, looking back at your post, I’m a little confused. You say that NetHack HD will be pulled when iNetHack and Slash’EM go universal. But in the iNetHack section you say it the code is obsolete and will be replaced by Slash’EM. Do you mean you will only have a Slash’EM app in the store and no version of NetHack? Or will the UI of iNetHack be replaced with the Slash’EM UI but still be a version of NetHack? In which case as long as those two features are working in iNetHack you can disregard my last request.

  4. Dirk

    I have updated the post, hope that helps. The two features you mentioned are implemented in the Slash’EM UI already.

  5. Sean

    I just finished my first ascension and here are a couple of other things I found that you can check and see if they are in the new UI:

    – no way to enter a count to repeat an action a number of times (usually just by typing a number before the command)
    – no way to “C”all other creatures names.
    – when applying a crystal ball, no way to search for traps “^”
    – no way to wield the Amulet of Yendor

    As well, if you would like a beta tester for the iPad port of iNethack, I would be glad to help out, just let me know via a reply post how you would like me to get you my contact information.

    Once again. Awesome job, I’m looking forward to the new version.

  6. Dirk

    Ascension? Congratulations! Looking forward to your post on rgrn 🙂 Or post something here, I’d like to feature some details here on this blog (yours is the first NetHack HD ascension I’ve heard of). And then try Slash’EM iPhone:

    For iNetHack beta just register here:

    Keep in mind that it might take some time until work on iPad is started.

  7. Sean

    I just spent 45 minutes typing up an ascension post and then the site crashed and lost it when I tried to post.

    Long story short: Chaotic elven wizard ascended with just over 4,000,000 points. I made one huge mistake and left my spellbooks behind before entering end game thinking I wouldn’t need them, but when the Crystal ball couldn’t be used to detect traps I had to search for them the hard way taking way too long and forgetting Magic Missile by the time I was done the plane of air. This did lead me to discover that charm monster is my new favorite spell however, so there was some benefit.

  8. Pewpew

    I came across a few things that i couldn’t get done in this context sensitive UI.

    i only play pacifists and would like to:

    – Wield a cream pie (when i click a cream pie in my inv i dont get the option to wield it)
    – Swap places with my pet (to get pet between me and enemy). When i click the pet it says Move/Attack and when i select it i don’t swap places with my pet but attack it instead.
    – How do i write with something else than my fingers on the floor?
    – When i click on an adjacent square i get the option Untrap but i havent discovered any trap there. if i indeed use option Untrap it says: you havent discovered any trap there. When i move onto the square the trap goes off. So the context senstive UI knows a bit too much of my surroundings. This is extremely useful for a pacifist though .. 🙂

  9. Dirk

    You should be able to engrave with stuff from your inv screen. If certain items lack that it’s a bug/omission. Yes the untrap option doesn’t check for trap knowledge, and your first two points are probably bugs.

  10. Pewpew

    Thank you for your quick answer. Btw i forgot to say how much i appreciate the work you did to port the best game to the iPad. Very good!

  11. Honestpuck


    Loving the NetHack HD – just the thing when I have some time to waste .

    Just can’t figure out how to pay in a shop .

    // Tony

  12. stgatilov

    Thank you for NetHack HD!
    I haven’t played NetHack before and I must admit that graphic tileset + context sensitive UI helped me a lot in learning NetHack. The things that seem to be missing:

    1. Pounding. As far as I know, it should be ‘a’pply at the enemy two cells away, while wielding a polearm or a lance. is it possible?
    2. Renaming myself. It is not fun to be Mobile all the time (and meet equally named ghosts all the time). Some simple (local) leaderboard would be great.
    3. Resizing the picture would be great. There is standard iPad gesture for it…

    I’m very far from ascending right now:) Dying too often:)

  13. Dirk

    No, never thought of pounding so there’s no built-in support for it. For renaming yourself, have you looked in the settings app (the seperate official app) for NetHack HD? My iPhone port had it there, don’t know about the HD version. And resizing, yeah, utterly lacking 🙂 If I’ll ever do another port 🙂

  14. Frank

    Hi Dirk,

    I am completely impressed by your Nethack HD on iPad!

    With the context-sensitive user interface, it is even easier to play than on Windows with keyboard. I have also tried the two nethack pots on Android, and while one is not awful, you still have to rely on a kind of keyboard overlay. After having tried your version on my wife’s iPad, I find the Android (and even PC) way of doing it with single letter strokes far too annoying! I want the complexity of Nethack with an easy user interface, and you just offer that. I am even considering to get an iPad myself, just to be able to play Nethack HD! So… I know that you probably have very limited time at your disposal and focus on ios devices, BUT if you could port Nethack HD (or Slash’em, I would be happy with that, too), you would make lots of people happy. I am sure you could easily charge some money for it. The Brogue port on Android costs a few Euros, and it has an absolutely awful interface. So please do consider porting this excellent game to Android!

    1. dirk Post author

      Don’t get an iPad to play NetHack HD, it’s not published on the app store anymore. The apple store is IMO incompatible with the NPL, as it is with the GPL (on which the NPL is based). No one complained while the apps were free, but that might change once you try to charge for them. Android app stores are actually a cool idea. At least the google playstore would allow a NetHack/Slash’EM HD under NPL that I could charge money for, provided it’s not DRMed, so people can give away copies if the like. Source code would be provided anyway, as before.

      1. Garrett

        Hi Dirk,

        I Really Really like Nethack HD for the Ipad, more than any other version (which are less real-time..).
        Alas i formatted my machine and i couldn’t find it in itunes or other sources.
        Is there any chance you might release the IPA file?


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