Sunday, July 11, 2010

rot13 (or other scripts) with Konversation

Recently, I needed a rot13 encoder / decoder for an IRC channel. It's a simple, stupid "encryption", a Caesar algorithm with 13 letters. It's often used to mask spoilers.

Now, Konversation is an awesome IRC client for KDE, but obviously not meant to be extended by such scripts currently. Still (with much help from #konversation! :) I found a working solution which is not *too* hackish.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Setting up a public NetHack Server

NetHack is an old role playing game which you play in a terminal (with ASCII characters). A typical NetHack screen could look like this:

The game is very challenging, and really fun to play once you got used to its style. Most players play on public servers; the most widely known one is There's several reasons for why you want to play on a server:
  • The default distribution of NetHack is very, very basic. There's many patches that enhance the user interface (like you can see in the screenshot above, having colored menus and hit points), and applying them all yourself requires a bit of technical experience, and much patience because many of them won't apply cleanly.
  • If the server isn't yours, you can't cheat by copying save files or similar. Thus, if you ascend (win) on a public server, everyone knows you didn't cheat.
  • Other users can watch your game while you're playing and give advice.
  • You can play the same game from everywhere, and the risk of losing it due to a crash is much smaller than on your local machine (because desktop computers usually crash much more frequently than servers).
The most commonly used servers like (NAO), are pretty minimalistic with the patches they apply in order to match the needs of as many users as possible. That's just fine, but if you like playing around with things and optimizing this and improving that as much as I do, you might want to set up your own server. I'll give a short explanation on how to do this best.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Writing a browser game is easy... or not

When I started programming a few years ago, I was playing browser games a lot. After completing a few small projects I decided to write my own browsergame; it looked like a ridiculously easy program could be incredibly sucessful. Well, both turned out to be wrong: The programs aren't simple, and most of them also aren't sucessful.