The longest-running NetHack tournament, and one of the longest-running online game tournaments ever, the /dev/null/nethack tournament, was cancelled and retired for good this year by its host, Krystal. He had been running the tourney since 1999, but over the last couple years it was uncertain if the tourney would even be held, but at the last minute there would be an announcement from Krystal that the /dev/null/nethack tournament was on again. But during last year’s tournament, Krystal made an announcement that it would be the last unless he got a significant amount of help from others, and solicited emails from anyone willing to contribute.
Several people responded that they were willing to help, but a coordinated effort never got underway. In response to the call for help, Tangles took the /dev/null/nethack source code and ported it over from NetHack 3.4.3 to 3.6.0 with the hopes that it would be accepted and used for this year’s tournament. Members from TeamSplat tested it; it worked, and it was basically ready to go. Messages were sent to Krystal regarding it, offers of help were sent, but from the end of the 2016 tournament Krystal maintained radio silence. Over the last couple of months, a group of us deliberated over what to do if Krystal did not surface and didn’t run the tournament this year.
And then nine days ago, Krystal posted this tweet on twitter – six weeks before the next tournament was to start. I asked what the intent was, if he would mind sharing the source code for everything so others could continue the tournament, or if he wanted to see it retired for good. He replied with the latter. We agreed to honor that request.
However. There was much deliberation, and a group of us decided that hosting a one-time only /dev/null/nethack tribute tournament would be a Good Thing™ and that people would want to play in the tournament just one more time, knowing that it’d be their last. So, that’s what we’re doing. Tangles has continued work on the 3.6.0 port as well as getting ZAPM up and working, and fixing critical/crash type bugs since. Mandevil is working on the web portion, getting the scoreboard and clan management pieces in place. Several others from the community have been play-testing, offering advice on what to include, what to leave out or leave alone, etc. I’ll host it all here at Hardfought and maintain the NetHack port and tournament scoreboard as it’s running.
We have both the NetHack 3.6.0 port and ZAPM up and running from a couple days ago, and is accessible via the dgamelaunch menu as you SSH into the Hardfought server to play. Social media posts on reddit and Facebook have already been made regarding the work we’re doing. I’ll start work on a tribute tournament specific page on the site here once we’re able to start making the scoreboard and challenges page visible. In the meantime, I’ve added a countdown timer to this page for when the tournament will kick off – midnight (PST or pacific standard time) on November 1st (7:00am UTC). Even though the Hardfought server lives on the east coast USA, kick-off time will be PST in keeping with tradition.
More updates will follow as we get closer to the tournament start time. Any questions, ideas or feedback, post them here on the forum, on /r/nethack (reddit) or find us in #hardfought on IRC (freenode.net).