Slash’EM 1.0 released for iPhone

Now ready to download:

Slash’EM iTunes download

Please post any issues you may encounter and feature requests right here. Or preferably fork the project and implement them yourself. I will happily accept patches (provided some quality guidelines are met).

Enjoy the new UI, it might feel awkward at first, especially if you come from an iNetHack background, but I’m sure it will grow on you (as it has on the beta testers). Since it’s contextual it has its issues, but overall the game should be quite playable and enjoyable.

Some important tips:

Tap on yourself to see contextual commands
Visit the (separate!) settings app
Double tap to g-move

Maarek integrated the … enforcer patch (the one where you use the force)
John Shaw added brand new … enforcer tiles in Absurd
Gfx: Mitsuhiro Itakura, Joep Gerrits, James Hogwood
Soundtrack: hehe

If you ascend (haha …) *please* post right here too!

67 thoughts on “Slash’EM 1.0 released for iPhone

  1. Andreas

    Slash’Em on iphone, that’s very cool, thanks a lot!
    Question: is the a way to increase the font size? the tiny fonts are pretty hard to read…

  2. Andreas

    Well, both fonts are hard to read but status is worse. Inethack font sizes in landscape mode on the other hand are pretty perfect I think and very readable.

    I am 50 I should add and I guess these fonts sizes are not a problem for younger people.
    Maybe I should just get an ipad 😉

    Thanks again!

  3. Dirk

    Will look at that. The status bars in landscape should make better use of the space anyway, and maybe I can improve overall size of all status/message fonts.

  4. Anonymous

    The game is great, and the interface is much better than in inethack, but it lacks in-game wiki. Are you planning to add it? All articles of would be great, but it would be much better if you make a special command so you can tap on item or enemy and see wiki article.

  5. Anonymous

    Ok , you, experienced players may think that my request a bit is ridiculous , but it will be incredibly useful for players that hadn’t played the rogue-likes, or desktop version of slash’em, and wanted to try it on iphone. I guess it’s not really that hard to do this feature.

  6. Dirk

    I’ve been wanting to add this for some time now but hard or not it still takes time to implement it and that’s probably why it isn’t already there.

  7. Anonymous

    Thank you for you reply. It’s really cool that this feature is in your to-do list.

  8. Andrew

    Wow! I love it. The UI is wonderful: simple, intuitive and requiring a minimum of tapping to get stuff done. Do I remember right that you’re going to redo Nethack with the same interface? That would be outstanding. But this is terrific; thank you!

    The only remaining issue with the iPhone game is the small screen size… guess I need to buy that iPad…

  9. Mr

    Hello Dirk, ever consider doing something like Moria with shops where I can buy and sell?

    Also, How do I polymorph? I cannot find a command for it. I did find a list of badly formatted list of commands that said to use ^Y I think but I can not find a way to get a keyboard to pop up.

    Lastly, when trying to find the keyboard I went into Explorer Mode. Is there a way to get out of Explorer Mode? Does it have any effect on the game? Everything seems the same.

    Thank You for a great game and hope my questions are not too noobish.

  10. Dirk

    Another port is currently out of question 🙂 For polymorph you can use #youpoly (extended command). There’s no turning back from explorer mode. In that mode you can’t die but you don’t get a score or ascension credit either (that’s why there’s no turning back). Hope that helps.

  11. crackerzgraham

    So far I’m really impessed with Slash’em on my iPod Touch. Thing is I just got an iPhone 3GS and am wondering if it’s possible to copy my character from my iPod to my iPhone. Both are jailbroken and running 3.1.3 if that matters.

    I’ve opened up my iPhone’s filesystem in iPhone Explorer and it seems like my character is stored in: [root]/User/Applications/68D7854C-B13E-4A70-8EB7-64C973517143/Documents/save

    Do I just copy the contents of that directory over to my iPhone?

    Thanks and keep up the great work.

  12. Dirk

    Ideally you can just let iTunes do the work (if you still synch both devices from the same backup). Otherwise, if you have a clean save (no files in Documents with your character’s name) save is sufficient. You might also want to transfer bones files from Documents.

  13. Ben

    I’ve been trying to download it for the last few days with no luck (mustn’t be a full moon). I’ve tried iTunes on my laptop and on my iPhone(4). Any idea what’s up? I keep getting the same message ‘The item you tried to buy is no longer available’

    Neutral Male Dopelganger Archaeologist

  14. Dirk

    Probably b/c my dev program membership lapsed during the holidays. I’ve just renewed but it might take some time to have effect.

  15. f445a6b4-36fc-11e0-a183-000bcdcb8a73

    Question (summary): Is there a way to add a “show keyboard” toolbar icon to Iphone SLASH’EM?

    Question (expanded): Dirk, I want to thank you so much for bringing Nethack into my life. Diablo never did satisfy, but now I know what the insatiable need deep in my soul truly craves – Nethack and variants thereof.

    I currently play iNethack and haven’t been able to get the hang of the letter key based inventory of PC Nethack. That being said, I really want to play SLASH’EM but really like the “show keyboard” toolbar button in iNethack (I use it a lot). Is there any way to access that? I suppose I am in the minority because I seem to prefer the iNethack interface. Both are wonderful btw.

    Anyhow, I respect and encourage your need to take care of your health (in regards to computer time), and am already indebted to you for introducing me to Nethack anyways. Please let me know what the options are (if any), including any way (that you know of) of altering generic PC SLASH’EM to allow for a clickable inventory interface.

    Thanks again,

  16. Dirk

    No, keyboard is not available by design. You’re not the only one asking for it and it was probably a mistake to leave it out … I know of no patch that brings the clickable inventory to the desktop version of Slash’EM. Happy nethacking 🙂

  17. Aman

    Great work! I just got hosed in a very promising game by what I think is a bug tho’ around turn 10,000.

    I zapped an enlightenment wand and then set down the iPhone. When I picked up the iPhone and tried to resume the game, it said “Checkpointing was not in effect for 501Mobile.0 — recovery impossible.
    “There is already a game in progress under your name. Destroy old game?”

    I had not played with the checkpointing option. And successfully stopped and restarted that game dozens or more times.


  18. Dirk

    Checkpointing is always active, and there is built-in auto-recovery. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work 🙁

  19. Aman

    Hmm, I meant to write, I had not mucked around with the checkpointing option, so I don’t know why it chose that moment to enter an unrecoverable state.

  20. Aman

    Yeah apparently right on the Enlightenment results page before clicking through was not a perfect time to interrupt the game. Still and all a real significant achievement for you to make Slash’Em so playable on the iPhone. So I guess on my non-jailbroken iPhone with no direct access to the file system there is no hope of recovering a game lost that way?

    Again, thanks! I just ascended my first Vanilla NetHack game a week or so ago and I thought SLASH’em would be a nice change. (I died A LOT at first, though.)

  21. Dirk

    If recovery fails this usually means that there’s no original save file present anymore, for whatever reason, so even full FS access wouldn’t help. I know that it sucks to loose a good game, but given Slash’EM’s difficulty there is some probability you would have died later anyway, even on a promising game. That might help to get over it 🙂 And yeah it was a probably a bug in the iOS code that caused the app to not save for some reason.

    Congrats to your NetHack ascension 🙂

  22. Aman

    I love the idea that you click on objects and then you can act appropriately with (or on) the objects or items or square. Nice semantic, object-then-verb model.

  23. Steve Lasseter

    Belated YAAP: Vampire Wizard 11/4/2010
    On iPad running the iPhone app x2

    Thank you for creating this application and allowing me the chance to finally ascend a character… I tried playing like over 10 years ago and couldn’t get very far… I remember the most frustrating thing was dying of starvation all the time… of course I hadn’t read any spoilers back then and didn’t know I could pray.

    Anyways Thanks Again!

    How difficult was it to port the vanilla Nethack to the iPad?

  24. Dirk

    Wow, congratulations 🙂 The iPad port was a lot easier than the pure iPhone port, but all in all I’d be lying if I said that it’s something easy you could do in a week.

  25. Alex

    Howdy Dirk,

    It looks like you’re no longer updating Slash’em (for iOS)? What version of Slash’em is under the hood of the current release?

    Also, in case you’re still updating it, or just want to make me very happy/kill all my free time, I’ve been playing Enforcers and would really, really appreciate the ability to engrave with my lightsaber, which is apparently available in the CLI game.

    The docs on Enforcers also mention a Force ability to throw and retrieve your lightsaber – is this really part of either the CLI or iOS? I can’t figure out how you’re supposed to do it.


  26. Dirk

    Hi Alex, it’s basically SLASH’EM 0.0.7E7F3 (stable) with the Jedi class patched in, renamed to Enforcer to avoid legal problems, so it should play exactly as the corresponding CLI. As for throwing I see that too, in the patch notes, have you tried #technique?

  27. Alex

    Howdy Dirk,

    I’ve never tried to play the CLI version of Slash’EM, so I’ve no basis for comparison.

    I’ve gotten to level 13 of Enforcer and not seen any #techniqe for throwing, unless it’s somehow related to the telekinesis #technique, which I’ve never tried out.

    It looks like there was a bugfix in 0.0.7E7F2 to the lightsaber engraving, before which it was presumably broken. There is no ‘engrave’ tab for lightsabers, even when wielded and lit, and using the ‘E-Word’ tab apparently draws in the dust by default?

    Needless to say, the power to hard engrave Elbereth would be a massive power up to my Enforcers… Would it be a hard fix?


  28. Alex

    Howdy Dirk,

    My latest Enforcer made it to the (Enforcer) Quest. When I triggered the portal, I got a message about the game not being able to find a file (presumably the quest level file) and was told that I should consider quitting.

    The Quest home level I got is a maze with ‘walls’ of moat, which is a total bitch to navigate on an iPhone. There is a down stair, but a ‘mysterious force’ prevents me from descending, presumably beccause I don’t have permission from my Quest Leader, who doesn’t exist. Thus this game is unwinnable.

    If you get the time, you might want to look at the enforcer patch’s files and find out what went wrong.


  29. Alex

    I ascended a female droven Wizard! I wrote it up on

    Now I don’t have to play anymore (until the Enforcer patch gets the few fixes I’ve requested, which will hopefully be never)!


  30. hpp3

    Hi Dirk,

    I will add that I love this game! I’m a long-time fan of Slash’em, and I love your implementation. However, I won’t rave too much, as the true purpose of this comment is to share something interesting I found.

    Here’s a useful trick. I’m not sure whether this is a bug (it probably is, but it is so useful). Tap the character
    Choose kick
    Press wait (from the buttons at the bottom)
    Now tap the character again
    Choose cancel command

    An incredibly useful menu pops up, a catalogue of pretty much any command you could think of. Most of the issues on the bug tracker can be worked around with this method (i.e. you can eat rings as a xorn).

    This is at least partially a bug, but if you fix it, please find another way to trigger this menu. Thanks for all your hard work!

  31. Dirk

    Thanks for sharing that 😉 What you eventually achieve with your sequence is sending ESC to the core, which in Slash’EM triggers its main menu (works in the console version too). I often had this during development when I sequenced keys the wrong way but never bothered to give it a 2nd look. This is indeed very useful, and should be copied to every portable Slash’EM and NetHack.

  32. Alex


    I was all ready to post about my ascension of a male hobbit Tourist, but then I died to Pestilence’s illness attack while trying to reach the second altar (first one was Lawful).

    I made a series of careless mistakes (should’ve gone to “oLS for final level, didn’t notice Pesilence had resurrected for a turn that allowed him to get close, should’ve killed him with a /oD instead of changing weapons to my submachine gun), but I would’ve been fine for all that had my blessed +7 unicorn horn not let me down when I really, really needed it. (I killed Pesty, then applied the horn, it failed, I died.)

    Anyway, I think that’s close enough to an ascension of a Tourist to postpone needing to try it again any time soon. I’d still really like to try an Enforcer – any chance the patch can be fixed up? Pretty please? I’ll donate, if that’ll help.

    (And no, I don’t own an iPad, but I do iOS development on one at work.)


  33. Dirk

    Congrats, I always wonder how you do this, considering that I’ve not even once ascended in NetHack 🙂 As for the enforcer patch, there are a couple of things that have higher priority for me right now, and I frankly don’t even know whether the CLI version ever worked here which makes things nebulous.

  34. Alex

    Hah. This time I made it. Details of the neutral male hobbit Tourist’s triumphant ascension are up on the newsgroup!

    I’ve been trying to track down if anyone’s ever played Enforcer successfully with no luck so far. I may just have to find a CLI version of Slash’EM for my laptop and test it myself.


  35. Dirk

    Here’s the deal:

    I’m currently re-integrating the original Jedi patch into the code base, together with bugfixes (can you Elbereth with it?) and retina support. That way we can find out whether this enforcer renaming messed something up. If the patch is buggy that’s bad luck, but if there’s a quick way to remedy this I might find it. If you send me your device UUID I can provide you with a test version. You might need at least iOS 5.01 (that’s the version I test with).

    In return I want to know everything about playing from you, especially ascending as a pacifist Jedi 🙂 So be ready to provide me with personal coaching 🙂

  36. Dirk

    Alex, got your UUID. Will send you links once there’s something up. My email is me AT dirkz DOT com btw.

  37. Dustin N

    Mine crashes whenever I try to use a crystal ball. Using an iPhone 3G with iOS 4. Haven’t tried again since last 2 patches but thought I would report it

  38. Alex

    Howdy Dirk,

    Details of the lawful human female Jedi’s ascension are on the newsgroup!

    I did encounter one thing that seemed buggy – between spinach and royal jelly I got my strength to 18/99, then 18/100 (should be 18/**, right?), then 18/101!?!

    Thanks again for the fixes,

  39. Dirk

    You finally did it 🙂 I assume that 18/101 is a feature in SlashEM, I’m not doing anything with the status messages.

  40. Alex

    Howdy Dirk,

    I think I found another menu bug. When you play a vampire, you have always on flight. To get past the Castle, you have to fall through a trapdoor. Apparently the ‘>’ option should be available to fliers, to allow them to fly down, but I’m not seeing a ‘down’ or ‘jump in’ on my options.

    BTW, necromancers are a very different way to experience the game: lots o’ powerful pets.


  41. Alex

    Howdy Dirk,

    Ascended my necromancer – I used cursed scrolls of teleportation and a ring of TC to get past the Castle.

    I noticed several other issues with the ‘self’ menu. I’ll often kill something big while it’s standing on the altar, so that I don’t have to try to move it. More than half the time the ‘self’ menu doesn’t give me an ‘Offer What’s Here’ option, and there’s no real workaround that I know of. I also nearly panicked at the final altar when it didn’t give me an ‘Offer’ option at all (for the Amulet) – then I found the #Ext option and used that. Dipping also sometimes doesn’t seem to register as an option, but the #Ext option works there as well.

    Also, the game crashed while I was viewing my final stats, so I didn’t see how many points I got, and there’s no high score for the character. I was just about to get to the ‘Goodbye’ screen, which begins with an account of you and your pets; I suspect the large number of pets I had may have blown something out in either Slash’EM or the iPhone interface. I went to my reward with a white dragon (blessed figurine) and 3 gugs (cursed genocide/command undead upon reaching astral – a few got killed and I commanded another one I found wandering around). My giant shoggoth didn’t make it through the portal from Water (may have been eating), though I did bring along a crystal golem (KIA) and a salamander (walked off right before the offer). My angel was also KIA. I wouldn’t be surprised if the game had trouble with the number of pets or the multiple number of the same species.


  42. Blue Williams

    The help->guidebook and help->extended commands portion is not working could you please fix? Thank you SO much for introducing me to this amazing game. I don’t think it should be free but I would like to contribute &/or donate.

  43. Dirk

    Hi Blue, glad you enjoy it 🙂 It’s unlikely though that patches are coming now or in the foreseeable future due to time constraints.

  44. Chris Cast

    Hi,Dirk I’m a newer NetHack/Slash’EM player (I’ve been playing for a good 3 years now) And I’d like to say a few things.
    -Will AngBand Variants ever get ported?
    -Is NetHack/Slash’EM still “active”
    -And will there ever be any new updates?
    Thanks for devoting your time to create a perfect edition of Slash’EM and NetHack.

    P.S Anyone know how to get monster abilities to work? The Monster command doesn’t work it says “any ability (can’t remember) is purely reflixed

  45. Dirk

    Hi Chris, here my answers:

    – AngBand: Highly unlikely
    – Active? Not really
    – Updates: Not likely

    The code base is just too dated, updating it is no fun. I’ve rewritten it from scratch countless times but something is holding me back from polishing them and releasing them every time.

  46. eng60340


    Thanks for the game.
    How do I look at objects in game via “/” command ?

    “;” will generate only brief description

  47. Dirk

    If it’s not in the context menu (tap on yourself) then I guess it was supposed to get implemented by tap-and-hold or similar on something but never actually got implemented.

  48. Tom Conner

    Would be great if the app was updated to use all of the screen on the iphone 5!

    Oh, and I ascended twice (monk and wizard) in iNetHack but not in Slash’EM yet, although I was very close as a barbarian vampire who was only missing a scroll of charging for my bell of opening.

  49. Frederic

    I just discovered this app that brings me back to the Nethack world.
    Really cool app, and the interface with the contextual menu make it really enjoyable, I even prefer it to the original interface eventually.
    My only personal wish: that the app could be compatible with both iPhone and iPad, to be able to use the larger iPad screen.
    Thanks for the great work!

  50. Unknown

    I’ve never played nethack before discoving your two iphone appliations, so I was completely unspoiled and new to both interfaces at the same time. While I think it’s a shame you won’t be doing any more with it (man i’d love to play a less punishning nethack with such a good UI) I want to compliment you on the interface… you did such a good job with it and it’s so natural a UI compared to inethack’s literal hotkey conversion that I consider slash’em to be an easier game than nethack. I’ve since read enough about slash’em to really know how complimentary that is of this UI, which no one here has explicitly said.

  51. Dirk

    Thanks a lot for all your comments! I am mentally and physically moving to vendors, OSs and hardware that fully embrace and support libre software development and privacy, and I think that I’ll probably lapse my next developer account renewal. The good thing about Slash’EM and iNetHack that it’s open source, so anyone with a developer background could fork them. Or even better, write a better implementation starting anew 🙂

  52. heokkum

    Hi, I’m big fan of your nethack and slash’em apps for iOS.
    and today, i wanna play them again for a long time but i could not find them on appstore.
    i was very sad. what happened?

    1. dirk Post author

      Sorry! No app backups? When I did this in 2009 I had plenty of funds and time and iOS and OS X were the best OSs on the planet, but that has changed so I decided to pull the plug at the beginning of 2014.

      1. heokkum

        hmmm, i have backup files of iphone version but not HD version cause i bought ipad recently.
        UI of your slash’em was even better than pc version and i liked it.
        can i get ipa file of slah’em hd please?


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