/dev/null/nethack tournament

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The /dev/null/nethack tournament, also known as the devnull tournament, is the second longest running gaming tournament on the Internet, having run every November since 1999.[1] The tournament's main website is at http://nethack.devnull.net. It runs from midnight Pacific Time (PDT with the new extended Daylight Savings Time in the USA), 1 November (Halloween night) until midnight PT, 1 December.

During this time, players compete for a wide range of trophies ranging from simple stars for reaching in-game goals shy of ascension to trophies for impressive multi-ascension feats.

The competition is in vanilla NetHack, with custom patches applied to provide a new optional challenge each year (except, so far, 2011 and 2013). The old challenges (going back to 2005) are all available (except for the Kingdom Of Loathing challenge, which was broken by changes to the external website it depended on). The new challenge's identity is kept secret to make things more interesting for the players. Apart from that, no features or fixes are added, so beware of splitting long worms.

Results[edit]

The current scoreboard can be viewed on the tournament site. The archives are incomplete, not covering any tournaments past 2008.

To address this and other problems with the official website, unofficial scoreboards have been created:

These evaluate the tournament xlogfile.

Challenges[edit]

Starting in 2005, the tournament added optional challenges to the game. Each year has added a new challenge, designated the Unknown Challenge until the completion of that year's tournament, and preserved the prior challenges. Some challenges are entirely internal to NetHack, and others require players to achieve a goal in another game.

Challenges are triggered by some action within NetHack. Upon the trigger, you may either accept the challenge, decline it for the current game, or ignore it permanently. If you accept, you are bound by the rules of the challenge until you complete it or choose to permanently ignore it via the tournament website. Challenges make NetHack harder in some way associated with the trigger until they are completed.

The tournament web site distributes a patch that adds the challenges to the game so that you may practice at home (or spoil the challenges). The current tournament patch as well as the server kit that they use are available for download at http://nethack.devnull.net/software/index.shtml#patch.

Year Challenge Official description
2005 The Kingdom of Loathing Challenge Players accepting this Challenge must venture to the Kingdom of Loathing to defeat an alternate-universe Wizard of Yendor
2006 The Grue Challenge Harkening back to Zork, players accepting this Challenge must find and figure out how to use the Frobozz Company Inter-Dimensional Portal Generator before being eaten by a Grue
2007 The PacMan Challenge For the serious retro-gaming fetishist, this Challenge requires the player to complete a NetHack-ified PacMan game before being allowed to eat any fruit
2008 The ZAPM Challenge For the very dedicated rogue-like gamer, this Challenge requires the player to complete a game of ZAPM before being allowed to wish

This Challenge has its own scoreboard, the trophies for which can be viewed (by players who have accepted the Challenge) here.

2009 The DigDug Challenge For the serious retro-gaming fetishist, this Challenge requires the player to complete a NetHack-ified DigDug game before being allowed to dig
2010 The Waldo Challenge Referring to the 'Where's Waldo?' books, this Challenge requires the player to find Waldo somewhere in the game before being allowed to tame new pets
2012 The Pool Challenge Contributed by Nathaniel Waisbrot, requires the player to solve a life-size pool game using boulders and a pool queue before being able to push boulders around

Kingdom of Loathing challenge[edit]

This challenge was triggered by trying to engrave "Elbereth" and prevented players from engraving "Elbereth" while it was not completed.

Players had to play a different game, Kingdom of Loathing, and succeed in beating an alternate-universe Wizard of Yendor (a bot set up by the tournament administrator for this purpose) there.

As the challenge tested for engraving Elbereth using the strcmp function, this only affected the exact string "Elbereth"; variations such as "elbereth" or "ElberethE" were not affected.

This challenge is "not operational" as of 2012 because of changes in the Kingdom of Loathing infrastructure being not compatible with the code the tournament used for the challenge.

Grue challenge[edit]

(
Name Frobozz Company Inter-Dimensional Portal Generator TM
Appearance sinister device
Base price 1 zm
Weight 20
Material [[{{{material}}}]]

The Grue challenge is triggered by entering an unlit room. Before it is completed, players cannot safely enter unlit areas as after 3 input actions, a Grue will "eat" them. This is an instant death that cannot be resisted; however, using a light source will prevent this.

This challenge suffers from a bug similar to the lava time bug as it considers input actions, not turns; that is, checking your inventory three times will kill you.

A "sinister device" can be found in the challenge level, which is a large empty unlit room. The device has to be formally identified and then applied to complete the challenge.

The portal to the challenge level is randomly placed in Mines' End; as large parts of the mines are usually unlit, clearly the tricky part is not the challenge level per se, but reaching it.

PacMan challenge[edit]

(
Name energizer pellet
Appearance shiny pellet
Base price 1 zm
Weight 20
Material [[{{{material}}}]]
(
Name lifegiving bonus fruit
Appearance fruit token
Base price 1 zm
Weight 20
Material [[{{{material}}}]]

The PacMan challenge is triggered by trying to eat "fruit". Before it is completed, players cannot eat any "fruit". Those items are considered "fruit" for this purpose:

In the challenge level, players have three "lives"; being attacked by any of Blinky, Inky, Pinky or Clyde (roughly equivalent to the ghosts in the original PacMan) will remove one of these lives. Once all of these lives are removed, the player is forced to leave the challenge level and unable to reenter in the same game.

The portal to the challenge level may be found on the Oracle's level.

To complete the challenge, all squares of the level have to be walked on; they will seem to turn from lit to unlit. When the challenge is completed, the level has to be left using the portal also used to enter.

Monsters on the challenge level can always be seen, even when walls would normally obstruct the view. The level is automatically mapped when the player arrives. Phasing and digging are not possible.

The level starts fully lit, but because walking on a square unlits it to indicate your progress, the PacMan level is not safe if the Grue challenge is currently in progress.

There are two lifegiving bonus fruits near the center of the maze; when formally identified and applied, each of them will add three additional lives.

There are also four energizer pellets; when formally identified and applied, the "ghosts" will flee from you. While they are fleeing, hitting any of them will instantly kill them, giving the message "Energized!".

The "ghosts" all respect Elbereth; in fact, as it makes them flee, attacking them while standing on Elbereth will instantly kill them.

As the portal is randomly placed on the challenge level, it is possible to start next to the ghosts.

On the below map, ( marks the lifegiving bonus fruits; these are normally displayed as (. ( marks the energizer pellets. The ghosts are & Binky, & Pinky, & Inky, and & Clyde.

-----------------------------------
|................|................|
|.-----.--------.|.--------.-----.|
|.................................|
|(-----.-------------------.-----(|
|................|................|
|------.---.----&(&----.---.------|
|........|.....|...|.....|........|
|------.---.----&(&----.---.------|
|................|................|
|.-----.--------.|.--------.-----.|
|.....|.....................|.....|
|----(|.---.-----------.---.|(----|
|........|.......|.......|........|
|.--------------.|.--------------.|
|.................................|
-----------------------------------

ZAPM challenge[edit]

The ZAPM challenge is triggered by attempting to make a wish, and until it is completed, wishing is not possible.

The game of ZAPM, supplied by the /dev/null public servers, becomes available and you must win once to complete the challenge. See the ZAPM page for more information.

DigDug challenge[edit]

This task is triggered by attempting to dig, and, if accepted, digging will not be possible until the challenge is completed.

A portal somewhere in Minetown leads the player to the hiding place of D Fygar and his p Pookas. Each of them has to be zapped four times with a / wand of dangerously inflate monster. The first wand, with 4-8 charges, is lying in the main corridor; each of the challenge monsters starts on (and picks up) another one of them. To access them, digging is allowed while within this level. A ( pick-axe is provided in the main room.

Phasing through the walls is impossible on the challenge level. All monsters on the challenge level are always visible (even through walls) and the level is pre-mapped. The entire level is lit. It is currently possible for the portal to spawn inside of one of the areas containing Fygar or a Pooka; if this happens, make judicious use of Elbereth and try to pick up the wand before the enemy does. In preparation for this eventuality, bring your own source of digging.

Fygar and the Pookas do respect Elbereth and can be killed in a number of ways, but this doesn't count in respect to the challenge. They must be hit with the wands four times; if they die earlier the challenge is unwinnable for the current game. Often the wands will miss, and the first one may run out before you can harvest another one. Bring a scroll of charging or two. Fygar breathes fire, so reflection isn't a bad idea either.

----------------
|......(.......|
|..............|
|..............|
|      #       |
| #    #  ##p# |
| #    #       |
| p    #       |
| #    #       |
|     #/#      |
|              |
|         #    |
|  ##D#   #    |
|         p    |
|         #    |
|              |
----------------

Waldo challenge[edit]

This challenge is triggered by attempting to tame a monster; before it is completed, taming monsters is impossible.

Any monster represented by a @ has a chance of being generated as "Waldo," which can be seen through farlook. Chatting to or killing Waldo results in completing the challenge.

Pool challenge[edit]

This challenge is triggered by trying to push a boulder. Before it is completed, pushing boulders is impossible; manipulating boulders in other ways is still allowed.

On dungeon level 4, a second upstairs is found, leading to the challenge level. As of 2012, this level is accessible even when the challenge has not been accepted; this is a bug.

The objective of the challenge is to fill all the pits on the challenge level with boulders. To do so, the boulders must be hit with a cue boulder (0) that can only be moved by applying a cue stick (found next to the stairs) to it. Boulders bounce from walls and can set each other in motion.

There might be more specific conditions on how the pits must be filled to successfully complete the challenge; currently they are not fully known, however.

Below is a set of maps illustrating a solution.

-----------
|^0......^|
|...0...0.|
|..@......|
|...0...0.|
|^0...0..^|
|.....00..|
|..0......|
|....>....|
|^.......^|
-----------
-----------
|^0......^|
|...0...0.|
|.........|
|.......0.|
|^0.@00..^|
|......0..|
|..0......|
|....>....|
|^........|
-----------
-----------
|^0......^|
|...0...0.|
|.........|
|.......0.|
|^0..0@...|
|......0..|
|..0......|
|....>....|
|^........|
-----------
-----------
|^0......^|
|...0...0.|
|.........|
|.......0.|
|..0......|
|...@..0..|
|..0......|
|....>....|
|^........|
-----------
-----------
|^00@....^|
|.......0.|
|.........|
|.......0.|
|......0..|
|......0..|
|..0......|
|....>....|
|^........|
-----------
-----------
|..0.....^|
|.@.....0.|
|.........|
|.......0.|
|......0..|
|......0..|
|..0......|
|....>....|
|^........|
-----------
-----------
|........^|
|.......0.|
|.........|
|.....0.0.|
|....@....|
|......0..|
|..0......|
|....>....|
|^.....0..|
-----------
-----------
|.........|
|.......@.|
|......0..|
|.......0.|
|.........|
|......0..|
|..0......|
|....>....|
|^.....0..|
-----------
-----------
|.........|
|.......@.|
|.........|
|.......0.|
|.........|
|...0..0..|
|.........|
|....>....|
|......0..|
-----------

Trophies[edit]

The tournament also awards trophies for all kinds of achievements within the game, ranging from the coveted Best of 13 to the Plastic Star.

There are six categories of trophies: Grand, Major, Challenge, Minor, Recognition, and Miscellaneous.

Grand[edit]

The Grand trophy used to be called Highest Score until 2004, when it was changed to Best of 13. It is the sole trophy in its category and one of the most coveted.

Major[edit]

The Major trophies recognise a wide variety of NetHack skills:

  • Most Ascensions: Awarded to the player with most ascensions during the tournament, with no regard to character repetition.
  • Fastest Ascension: Gametime: Awarded to the player who ascends in the smallest number of game turns.
  • Fastest Ascension: Realtime: Awarded to the player who ascends in the shortest amount of real time.
  • Lowest Scored Ascension: Awarded to the player who ascends with the smallest score.
  • Best Behaved Ascension: Awarded to the player who ascends with the largest amount of conducts intact.
  • First Ascension: Awarded to the player who ascends first in the tournament.
  • Most Unique Deaths: Awarded to the player who attains the largest variety of deaths.
  • Highest Scored Ascension: Awarded to the player who ascends with the highest score (duh).

Challenge[edit]

The Challenge trophies are awarded to those who complete the various tournament challenges outlined above. Those who complete them first receive particular recognition.

Minor[edit]

Minor trophies include all trophies awarded for the highest score for a particular role.

Recognition[edit]

Recognition trophies are awarded for various milestones within the tournament, ranging from impressive ascension combos to reaching some fixed points within the game. All of the multi-ascension combos have an enhanced version, which can be obtained by completing all the games meeting the criteria for obtaining the trophy consecutively, with no games that are not eligible for the prize in between. Said version is called "foo with bells on".

  • The Full Monty: Awarded to all players who ascend at least one game with each gender, each role, each race, each alignment, and each conduct intact (of course, not within one single game). As of 2012, four players achieved this trophy: Marvin (with bells on) in 2007, maud and nuslayer (without bells) in 2009, and qp (without bells) in 2012.
  • The Grand Slam: Awarded to all players who ascend at least one game with each gender, each role, each race, and each alignment (not considering conducts).
  • The Hat Trick: Awarded to all players who ascend at least one game with each gender, each alignment, and each race (not considering conducts nor roles).
  • The Double Top: Awarded to all players who ascend at least one game with each gender, and each alignment (not considering conducts, roles, nor races).
  • The Birdie: Awarded to all players who ascend at least one game with each gender.
  • The Dilithium Star: Awarded to those who ascend at least one game.
  • The Platinum Star: Awarded to those who enter the Astral Plane in at least one game. Getting this award makes it known to everyone that you splatted on Astral.
  • The Gold Star: Awarded to those who enter the Elemental Planes in at least one game.
  • The Silver Star: Awarded to those who defeat the High Priest of Moloch or otherwise acquire the Amulet of Yendor from him in at least one game.
  • The Bronze Star: Awarded to those who perform the Invocation Ritual in at least one game.
  • The Steel Star: Awarded to those who defeat the Wizard of Yendor in at least one game.
  • The Brass Star: Awarded to those who defeat Vlad the Impaler in at least one game.
  • The Copper Star: Awarded to those who enter Gehennom in at least one game.
  • The Zinc Star: Awarded to those who defeat Medusa in at least one game.
  • The Iron Star: Awarded to those who defeat their Quest Nemesis in at least one game.
  • The Lead Star: Awarded to those who reach the Mines' End level in at least one game.
  • The Plastic Star: Awarded to those who complete Sokoban in at least one game.

Clan[edit]

  • Best In Show: Awarded to the Clan with the highest score, calculated by summing the values of the various individual trophies gained by the players.

Miscellaneous[edit]

  • Killed By A Trickery: Not a trophy in itself, but rather a recognition of administrative error or server malfunction that killed off one's character.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. The first is Myth World Cup which began in 1998.

External links[edit]