N e t H a c k  f o r  G N O M E

"GnomeHack is by far the coolest game for Gnome!"*
If you have ever played any role-playing games, you probably know how much fun they can be. NetHack is the greatest (IMHO) of all the Rogue-like games. Unfortunately, NetHack is beginning to look a bit dated, since it has a text-based user interface. While this was fine on my Atari 400 computer, we can do better then that today! There is an X11 interface, but it uses the extremely ugly Athena widgets. The only other alternative for X11 is NethackQt. NethackQt is very cool, however, there can never be too many choices, even for nethack front ends.

To improve the world's nethack playing ability, we hereby introduce, GnomeHack -- a port of NetHack for Gnome. The coding is being done using C and the Gnome libraries, which are based on the very cool GTK+ toolkit.

If you think it would be fun to lug about a huge sword or zap magic while wandering around in a dungeon hacking and slashing at monsters, gaining treasures, and becoming more powerful, while not doing anything productive in the real world, then Gnomehack is for you.

A lot of help is both needed and wanted.

The new gnomehack mailing list (yes, it actually works now, unlike before, and you can even subscribe and unsubscribe all by yourself) is at To subscribe, send an email with the word "subscribe" to It is very low traffic (perhaps too low?). Many thanks to the Debian folks for providing this service.

Everybody loves screenshots! In keeping with long-standing tradition, here are the token screenshots (click to view full-size):
Curiously enough, the above screenshot, and this screenshot are exactly the same game, and were taken one after the other to show how cool things can be now that GnomeHack allows you to select tilesets!

Older screen shots can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Latest News

  • 10 Aug 2000 --
    GnomeHack merged into NetHack 3.3.1!
    Just as an FYI, GnomeHack has now been integrated into the Official NetHack 3.3.1 source tree, so "GnomeHack" has now officially ceased to be. The source code to GnomeHack can still be had, but will no longer be worked on at all. The One True Source Tree(tm) at this point is simply the NetHack DevTeam's official source tree. Good users of GnomeHack who are pining for a graphically augmented bit of hack-n-slash can now simply visit to get the latest and greatest -- or they can wait till their distribution of choice updates their nethack package...

  • 18 June 2000 --
    GnomeHack goes unmaintained
    I am sad to say I have not have time to work on GnomeHack for a _long_ time. Rather then letting it languish forever, I am now seeking a new maintainer to tend to its care and feeding. If you have some time and feel you have what it takes to take over maintaining GnomeHack, please let me know... Thanks for your help.
    Erik Andersen

  • 17 December 1999 --
    GnomeHack 1.0.5
    This release syncs the game up to the recently released NetHack 3.2.3, and fixes several bugs. Source code and .debs can be grabbed from The source code contains a .spec file which should allow RPMs to be built...

  • 15 November 1999 --
    GnomeHack is now theme-able!
    I just checked into CVS a nice updated version of GnomeHack that allows you to select at runtime the tileset. And to go with, I checked in a nice new tileset swiped from:
    Enjoy, and let me know if you see anything wierd...

  • 12 November 1999 --
    GnomeHack 1.0.4 RPMs now available
    RPMs are now available on thanks to Fred Richardson.

  • 3 November 1999 --
    This is a minor release that fixes some packaging issues. Also, thanks to Fred Richardson, recover now works, so if gnomehack should crash on you, or the power goes out, you can recover your save game and carry on. Thanks Fred! Please let me know ASAP if you have any problems... I've got all the debian packaging problems worked out, let me know if the provided .spec file fails to build RPMS properly... As always, the release can be grabbed from or a debian mirror near you.

  • Older GnomeHack News --
    To read older GnomeHack news, click here,

Important Links

Source for the latest release can be downloaded from or a debian mirror near you.

Gnomehack can also be obtained via the Gnome anonymous CVS server.
Information on how to obtain the latest bleeding edge source from the
GNOME CVS tree is available at

Complete instructions on compiling and installing GnomeHack can be found here. To make it compile, you will want the latest gnome-libs, with gtk 1.2, glib 1.2, the latest imlib as well as normal things like libX11, libXpm, etc.

To browse the latest source tree, click here or for a slightly different view of the subject click here.

Everybody loves a moment of glory. Your name could be on this list of extremely cool people who have contributed to Gnomehack.

  • Erik Andersen
    Erik has written a lot of the general infrastructure of GnomeHack. He wrote most of the original C++ version of GnomeHack (before we switched to just using C). He continues to try and make GnomeHack work with all the spare time he can squander. He tends to code late at night, and his wife thinks he spends too much time on the computer. She is probably right. ;-)

  • Anthony Taylor (a.k.a Tony)
    Tony has done all the work with maping the map window display graphics, and designed the current signal based communication between nethack and the various windows. He wrote the previous C++ version of the GnomeHack map window graphics as well.

  • Jeff Garzik
    Jeff was the one who converted nethack to using autoconf and automake (and let me tell you, that was a huge job!) Jeff is also our resident Gnome guru, and so when the rest of us do something silly with Gnome, Jeff sets us on the right path.

  • Warren Young
    Has recently joined us, and has helped fix the occasional usability problem (key accelerators has been his big focus so far).

  • Mark Whitley
    Mark Whitley (who I met here at the Salt Lake Linux users group) has helped out with some detailed bug reports, stack traces, backtraces of seg faults.

  • Eric Nielson
    Eric has recently joined us, and has already submitted a number of very helpful patches. He recently fixed up the Menu Window, Text Window and the Message Window, and has been helping find bugs.

  • John Gotts
    John has submitted some bug reports and backtraces of seg faults.

  • Rosina Bignall
    Rosina has been giving us some very detailed bug reports and nice usability suggestions.

  • Dave Seidel
    Dave has submitted some very helpful and detailed bug reports and feedback.

  • Adam Moyes,
    Adam has been helping out with detailed bug reports and general feedback.

  • Havoc Pennington
    Havoc submitted a bug report, and let us know how to fix it.

  • Matthias Warkus
    Matthias submitted a nethack.desktop file so GnomeHack will now show up in the panel when installed.

  • Nathan Carl Summers (a.k.a. "Rockwalrus")
    Rockwalrus started the GnomeHack project, and came up with a lot of the ideas now in the TODO list. He is now serving a mission for his church, and so he is no longer able to contribute or read his email.

  • Robert Bihlmeyer
    Robert has helped us out with a few patches related to the autoconf stuff, and a few other odd fixes.

  • Manish Singh (a.k.a. Yosh )
    Yosh has helped us by setting up the original CVS server, and original mailing list. These days we try not to bother him much, so that he can do cool GIMP things.

  • Martin Schulze (a.k.a. Joey )
    Joey (and the Debian folks) helped us set up the nice new mailing list.

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* Quoting Erik Andersen - GnomeHack Lead Developer