The Computer Level

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The Computer Level is a special level present in NetHack: The Next Generation, which has also been added to Slash'EM Extended and SLASHTHEM.

The Computer Level is notable for its hostile computers, and for several items which in NHTNG are only generated on the level.

Layout

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The layout of the Computer Level is simple: a big room with the upstairs and downstairs in small enclosures in opposite corners.

Randomly located throughout the level are a PDP-9, PDP-11, VAX, and a Cray (all using the x symbol); a news daemon, a printer daemon, and a UNIX Kernel (all using the & symbol), and six bugs and two heisenbugs (all x).

At random locations on the ground are a ring of timely backup, a scroll of root password detection, amulet of data storage, and a wand of bugging.

In Slash'EM Extended there is a second variation of this level in which the designated computers and bugs are replaced by random monsters that use the x symbol, and the daemons and UNIX Kernel are replaced by random &. A third contains the original monsters as well as: a random I, two random sea monsters, and a number of boulders, eggs, scrolls, corpses, and other items.

Items

In NHTNG these items are only generated on the Computer Level, and are all (with the exception of the wand of bugging) nonfunctional, only displaying a humorous message when worn/read. They will disappear from your inventory if you leave the level with them.

In Slash'EM Extended and SLASHTHEM these items may be randomly generated, do not disappear from your inventory, and have more serious implications for gameplay.

Ring of timely backup

=
Name timely backup
Appearance random
Base price 300 zm
Weight 3
Probability out of rings 3.57%
Probability out of items in:
containers Rogue level Gehennom Elsewhere
0.179% 0.179% 0.286% 0.107%

Putting on the ring of timely backup returns the message "You feel absolutely safe." This sense of security is misleading, as the ring does not affect you in any way, except occupying one of your ring slots.

In Slash'EM Extended monsters can use the ring of timely backup to heal themselves, reducing its enchantment by one point each time.

Scroll of root password detection

? Scroll.png
Name root password detection
Appearance random
Base price 300 zm
Weight 5
Ink to write 4-7
Monster use May be used defensively by monsters.

Reading the scroll of root password detection reveals the supposed "root password" of your computer: "xyzzy" if uncursed, "memalezu" if blessed, and "jsdfljfdsh" if cursed. This revelation does not impact your gameplay in any way, except using up a turn.

In Slash'EM Extended and SLASHTHEM, a monster that reads this scroll can levelport. Many unique monsters (including demon princes and lords) will be generated with this scroll, which they will use to escape the player if their health gets low.

XYZZY is also the random text label associated with this scroll in the code, though as the scroll appearance is randomized this will rarely be its actual appearance. "Xyzzy" is a reference to Colossal Cave Adventure, one of the first adventure video games. Entering the command "xyzzy" in a certain room of the cave sends the player immediately to another room some distance away, effectively serving as a shortcut. The word has been referenced in many games (and even some non-game programs) as an homage to this early game.

Amulet of data storage

" Circular amulet.png
Name data storage
Appearance random
Base price 150 zm
Weight 20

Putting on the amulet of data storage returns the message: "You feel full of knowledge." and taking it off will display "You feel intellectually poor." As ominous as this may sound, it does not affect you in any way.

In Slash'EM Extended the amulet of data storage functions as an amulet of reflection when worn by a monster, but not when worn by the player.

In SLASHTHEM (post version 0.7.0) the amulet slows spell memory loss to 2/3 of its usual rate and protects against the effects of amnesia, when worn by the player. This function is inspired by the Ring of Memory patch.

Wand of bugging

/
Name bugging
Appearance random
Base price 500 zm
Weight 7
Type non-directional
Maximum charges {{{maxcharges}}}
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

Zapping a wand of bugging creates 1-6 creatures, each of which has a 66% chance of being a bug and a 33% chance of being a heisenbug.

References

  • Slash'EM Extended compu.des
  • Slash'EM Extended objects.c 1011, 1139, 1668, 2287
  • Slash'EM Extended do_wear.c 1153, 1264
  • Slash'EM Extended write.c 39
  • Slash'EM Extended read.c 3805
  • Slash'EM Extended zap.c 3053