Arqade is a question and answer site for passionate videogamers on all platforms. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I know a lot of people like to change their boulders from ` to 0. Are there any other helpful character swaps I should be aware of?

I'm assuming this is all personal preference and people do it for better visibility.

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

You can change virtually everything via the boulder, dungeon, effects, graphics, monsters, objects and warnings settings -- add the fact you can edit the source and the only limit becomes yourself... and the ASCII charset. That's being addressed in UnNetHack, however.

If you're playing online, however, you shouldn't change these settings or viewers will be confused. If you aren't, you should totally try it!

share|improve this answer
Thanks. Got it. I'm not sure I understand why you said not to change the graphics if you're playing online. I don't play online currently, but I'm curious. – I take Drukqs Feb 13 '11 at 23:23
You can telnet to a server hosting nethack and play there. E.g. This opens up access (in their words) to: "A wealth of information about the server, as well as detailed statistics, end-of-game dumps, tty recordings and the high score table is available on NAO's web site. This wiki is also hosted on NAO." – Durathor Feb 13 '11 at 23:42
@Itakedrukqs The nice thing about playing online is other people can watch you play -- try it: telnet, press w. The problem is that, while the player can use :, ; and pals, those watching cannot and must only rely on what they see. Having, say, % as downstairs because that's the way they're shown in Rogue might help you, but will confuse the hell out of people watching you play. Why should you care? Maybe you're asking on IRC or chat for interactive help :) – badp Feb 13 '11 at 23:47
So a player's settings are server-side and can be seen by spectators. I cannot even remotely begin to understand why it functions that way instead of simply using the spectator's settings. Very strange. Thanks again. – I take Drukqs Feb 13 '11 at 23:53
@I take Drukqs: There's no difference between the player's display settings and their settings for autopickup and the like - spectator mode is just verbatim viewing what the player sees, it doesn't dig down into the internals of nethack to dredge out the actual gameworld. – Anon. Feb 13 '11 at 23:57

Changing ghosts and shades to 8 and golems to 7 is popular. By default, ghosts are represented by a space, which makes them nearly impossible to see. Golems aren't quite as bad, but it is a bit difficult to pick out a ' walking around.

I wouldn't worry too much about confusing people watching your game online; many of the best players on NAO use these settings and people viewing games regularly will be familiar with them.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.