The Absurd NetHack Tileset

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The Wizard of Yendor as drawn in the 128x128 version of the Absurd NetHack Tileset.

The Absurd NetHack Tileset is a tileset for NetHack and SLASH'EM created by John Shaw. It features large, realistic images of map features. It was once available in 64x64, 72x72, 96x96 and 128x128 sizes. Unfortunately these once-popular tilesets are no longer available at the official web site. The page still exists, but the links point to a site that has been taken over by a domain squatter, and does not deliver the promised files. There is an archive at the Wayback Machine.

There is a copy of all tilesets except 96x96 at the Authentic Invention website. Note that these tiles are for the older Nethack v3.43 and not the newer v3.6

Wayback Machine Versions

Two sizes survive at the Wayback Machine inside slightly damaged zip files:

Searching for the other links produces matches, but attempting to download the files gives only errors. The zip files are slightly damaged (a single byte is cut off at the end) but Info-ZIP can fully recover the images. Use zip -F to repair the zip file.

In addition, the 128x128 XPM image survives at the Wayback Machine

Noegnud Versions

Three sizes survive in the the abandoned SourceForge project for Noegnud. (This is the last known surviving version of Noegnud; the author made later ones but then abandoned the project.)

These versions are zipped and in the PNG file format, and will need to be converted to BMP to use with the Microsoft Windows version of NetHack. (Just load into Paint and then resave as BMP. Be sure to select "24-bit bitmap" or the image will lose a lot of its quality.)

Pre-converted .bmp versions

You can get these four sizes already converted from .png to .bmp files ready for use from a nethack fan's private webhost. Zipped and Unzipped versions provided. The 96x96 version is at a different site; it did not survive either on the Wayback Machine or on Sourceforge.

Tile size .zip .bmp Notes
128x128 zip (14M) bmp (56.3M)
96x96 zip (10.2M) bmp (44.2M)[1]

png (8.0M)

72x72 zip (5M) bmp (17.8M)
64x64 zip (4M) bmp (14.1M)
32x32 zip (1M) bmp (3.5M) Down converted from 128x128

SLASH'EM version

There is a version available for SLASH'EM, here

Enabling the tile set for the windows version

  1. Download the desired size, 64x64 for this example.
  2. Convert to BMP if you have a .png
  3. Place in the directory with NetHackW.exe
  4. Open defaults.nh with a text editor.
  5. Add this line without the quotes to the file "OPTIONS=tile_file:absurd64.bmp,tile_width:64,tile_height:64".
  6. Change the number 64 all three times to match the size you downloaded.
  7. Save defaults.nh.
  8. Run NetHackW.exe and enjoy.

Bug W343-2

The DevTeam lists W343-2 as "not a bug" (more precisely, there's really nothing that can be done about it):

Windows 98 is unable to load tiles that are too large. This is an OS issue.

Even the 64x64 size is larger than any other popular tileset. Thus Absurd is quite likely to be large enough to trigger this bug, and can be expected to do so on Windows 95 and Windows Me as well. Users of these versions of Windows should probably choose another tileset.


  1. Richard Bos, Absurd tileset., 10 Jan 2015.

This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.