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dgamelaunch is a program that manages user logins, game viewing and launching NetHack on public servers such as nethack.alt.org. It was originally written by Drew Streib, but has been expanded by several other people.

Dgamelaunch also supports dgamelaunch mail.

Automatic Login

Putting your login and password every time you want to connect to a dgamelaunch server is annoying. Luckily, there are simple ways of automating the process.


If you want to use Telnet, in your saved session's configuration, go to Connection > Data, and in the section Auto-login username enter your credentials in the format "yourname:yourpassword" (without the quotes). An alternative method available under Environment Variables is to add a new variable USER and set its value to the same. Note that Telnet traffic is unencrypted and unauthenticated, so you risk exposing your credentials to an attacker snooping on your local network or the Internet.

If you use the more secure SSH protocol, you will use the environment variable method as for Telnet, but the variable name is DGLAUTH. The value is the same. Also, set the Auto-login username to whatever your dgamelaunch server uses, typically nethack.


MobaXterm is a free-to-use terminal client that supports tabbed sessions and a wide variety of protocols. Unfortunately, it doesn't support passing environment variables, but you can use its macro support to automate login. Edit the session properties, and under Advanced SSH settings, change the macro type to <custom macro>. Add the following lines, in order:

Text: lYourName

(This is the lowercase letter "L", followed by your username.)

Key press: RETURN
Text: YourPassword
Key press: RETURN

Again, SSH is strongly recommended over Telnet.

Unix/Linux with Telnet

Use following command:

telnet -l yourname:yourpassword hostname

Unix/Linux with the OpenSSH client

One simple way to send the appropriate environment variable is to create an alias in your .bashrc or .bash_aliases file to connect with the correct options:

alias nao='ssh -o SetEnv="DGLAUTH=YourName:Na0p4ss" nethack@nethack.alt.org'
alias hdf='ssh -o SetEnv="DGLAUTH=YourName:Hard4t" nethack@hardfought.org'

Another method is to create host sections in ~/.ssh/config, for example:

Host nao
 Hostname nethack.alt.org
 User nethack
 SetEnv DGLAUTH="YourName:Na0p4ss"

Host hdf
 Hostname hardfought.org
 User nethack
 SetEnv DGLAUTH="YourName:Hard4t"

Then you can "ssh nao" or "ssh hdf", and the correct connection settings will be used automatically.

Windows Terminal with the OpenSSH client

Similarly to the previous section, you can also use OpenSSH in Windows Terminal, which comes standard on Windows 11 and recent builds of Windows 10.

Install the OpenSSH client with the following command in an elevated PowerShell window:

Add-WindowsCapability -Online -Name "OpenSSH.Client~~~~"

Then open Windows Terminal as a regular (non-elevated) user. Run the following command in PowerShell:

md $env:userprofile\.ssh
notepad $env:userprofile\.ssh\config

Then you can proceed to paste one of the host sessions from the examples in the previous section.

Open Settings in Windows Terminal, and click on "Add a new profile". Name it appropriately, and use the command line (replacing "nao" with your session name):

ssh nao

Go through the rest of the settings there, tweaking the visual settings to your own preference. The Tango Dark color scheme avoids low-contrast colors such as dark blue on black.

When you're done, you can now open Windows Terminal and use the new tab dropdown to open the session. This configuration should work well with the curses symset and windowtype.


You can download the sources from http://alt.org/nethack/dgamelaunch/ or you can get the development version from the git repository by using the following command.

git clone git://github.com/paxed/dgamelaunch.git

For the SVN version setup, see User:Paxed/HowTo setup dgamelaunch.

External Links