Lucifer, the Light Bringer, was spotted at Lowe's today purchasing salt and looking pensively at the snowblowers on offer
So, Nethack 3.6.0 was officially released today. (Whoops, yesterday. It's past midnight now.)
I naturally immediately snagged the source and started poking at it. I'm really impressed so far, a lot of the code has been cleaned up significantly. It's not just a bugfixes-and-cruft update, either. It looks like the DevTeam has slipped in a lot of sneaky rebalancing; there's many seemingly minor changes that actually obliterate entire strategies for abusing Nethack. Pudding farming just doesn't work anymore, holy water is harder to abuse, the E-word is no longer a get-out-of-absolutely-anything-except-elves-free card, and so forth.
Just as naturally, I soon began looking into setting up 3.6.0 on the fdshack server. Looks like most of the community patches I have in the existing 3.4.3 have been folded into 3.6.0, with some minor exceptions. I'm currently working on reimplementing/porting over the statuscolors patch-- the "hilite_status" feature in 3.6.0 is experimental, and kind of jank. It only supports a single rule per stat, which means you can't do cool stuff like graded HP colors that the old patch did fine. On the other hand, you can do stuff in the new hiliter you couldn't do with the 3.4.3 patch, like highlighting values when they change and so forth. So at the moment I'm trying to split the difference between the old and new styles, by implementing a loader for the new rules that allows you to specify multiple hilite_status rules (Actually that part's already done, but I'm having trouble getting the renderer to support the rules now.) If I like the way that patch looks in the end, I will probably post it up here or something for anyone who's interested to use.
Once I get the nethack 3.6.0 source looking the way I want it, it shouldn't be too hard to transition to it on the server. The main headache there will be porting my custom leaderboard logging functionality over. In any event it'll probably be near-vanilla 3.6.0 to begin with. I suspect that all fdshack's features won't just port magically over to the new codebase without a lot of merge-conflict wrestling on my part; too much has changed (for the better) out from under it between 3.4.3 and 3.6.0.
I'm so excited by these developments, if it wasn't obvious. Beyond the simple joy of getting a new official version for the first time in some twelve-odd years, the specific version we got looks really interesting. Nethack 3.6.0 seems to incorporate a lot of the huge kick-in-the-pants balance-tweaking that the game really needed, and I am glad to see the good old DevTeam still cares. :D