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NetHack releases first new gameplay update since 2003

The nearly 30-year-old roguelike NetHack gets its first gameplay update in 12 years, including some infrastructure changes and a tribute to late fan Terry Pratchett.

NetHack, an early roguelike video game first released way back in 1987, just received its first gameplay update in 12 years. However, there hasn't been a huge number of major new features added yet. As the release notes for the latest update, Version 3.6.0, state:

Unlike previous releases, which focused on the general game fixes, this release consists of a series of foundational changes in the team, underlying infrastructure and changes to the approach to game development.

Those of you expecting a huge raft of new features will probably be disappointed. Although we have included a number of new features, the focus of this release was to get the foundation established so that we can build on it going forward.

Along with three new team members and some infrastructure changes there are some gameplay changes, most of which "are boundary condition fixes and improvements that would make the game more realistic, although there are new features that were added as well," with some significant changes which "were derived from UnNetHack, NetHack 4 and other variants," including:

  • Roderick Schertler's pickup_thrown patch
  • Extensions of Malcolm Ryan's Statue Glyphs patch for tty and tiles
  • Extensions of the Paranoid_Quit patch
  • Extensions of the Dungeon Overview
  • Aardvark Joe's Extended Logfile
  • Michael Deutschmann's use_darkgray patch
  • Clive Crous' dark_room patch
  • Jeroen Demeyer and Jukka Lahtinen sortloot patch
  • Stefano Busti's Auto open doors patch

Due to some of the fundamental changes in this release, "old save and bones files understandably will not be compatible with version 3.6." That said, the latest update will give those who haven't played - or maybe even heard of - the game a great opportunity to try it for the first time.

One of the other changes to the latest version is a sweet tribute to the late Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld novels, who was a fan of NetHack:

At the time of his passing this year, the DevTeam decided that it would be a fitting tribute to take a number of our favourite quotes from the various Discworld novels and incorporate them into the game. Being the way we are, we did a little more than that. There are now a huge number of quotes from many of the Discworld novels in the tribute file, but this doesn't mean that we wouldn't accept new submissions from other Pratchett fans.

As some NetHack fans would say, TDTTOE - "The DevTeam Thinks of Everything."

Published Dec. 8th 2015

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