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Transporting the dead, so you don't have to.
In 2019 the old server was disconnected. It had been faithfully running away for 17 years and the data centre that hosted it could sadly no longer do so.
I rewrote enough of the server to get bones files swapped again, but much of the stats functionality is not done (and likely never will be, in all honesty).
Q. What is it?
A. Hearse is a utility to allow Nethack users to share bones files. Some other roguelikes are also supported.
Q. What versions of Nethack does it support?
A. Official versions:
* Nethack 3.6.6 to 3.6.0, 3.4.3 to 3.4.0 (Windows, DOS, some Unix versions).
* Nethack 3.3.1 (Windows 95/98/NT/2000, Dos/Win 3.1 protected mode & real mode).
You can download these official releases from http://www.nethack.org/.
Please note that if you compile your own version, the bones files it produces must be compatible with those from a Hearse-supported binary.
Unofficial versions, variants, and other roguelikes:
* UnNetHack 3.5.1, 3.5.2, 3.5.3, 3.6.0, 5.1, 5.2
* Nethack 3.4.3 and 3.4.1 for the Psion. Duncan Booth has a binary on http://www.suttoncourtenay.org.uk/duncan/Nethack.htm
* Slash'Em 7e7/7e6 (Win32, DOS, Unix), 7e5 (Win32, DOS), 7e4 (Win32 only), and 6e4 (Win32, DOS, Unix). You can download these from http://slashem.sourceforge.net/
* Vulture's Claw produces bones files that are Slash'Em compatible, and can be uploaded to Hearse. It can be downloaded from http://diguru.com/
* PatchHack 5.0 is also supported, (note that this is not the most recent version of PatchHack)
* Crawl b26, see http://tinyurl.com/cv0x for details, special Hearse client is currently required.
Q. I am a Windows user. Where can I get it from?
A. Click here to download Hearse v1.0.6e. You should unzip this file to the directory where your bones files are generated (normally the same directory as your Nethack executable). You must have IE 4 or better installed on your machine (though it doesn't need to be your primary browser).
The change log from previous versions can be found here.
Send any bug reports to email@example.com
Q. Pah! Windows? Where's a Unix version?
A. Roderick Schertler has written a Unix client. See http://www.argon.org/~roderick/hearse/
This client is Perl-based, and may also be used by Windows users if they prefer.
Q. As everyone knows, Nethack is graphically intensive and needs the fastest hardware around. What about 64-bit support?
A. Sorta kinda. Windows users are still using a 32-bit binary. Unix users need a modified client. See the bug report thread here
Q. How do I use it?
A. Run Hearse to go through user signup. You may run Hearse manually whenever a bones file is created, or, alternatively, use the nhh.bat file included in the package. This may be used in the same way that the Nethack executable is, that is, you can run it with nhh -u Fred-wiz-elf-mal-cha and Nethack will be invoked with those parameters. After your game has ended, Hearse will be called. By default, it will ask the server to replace any bones files that have been generated by ones of the same dungeon level. If you have no bones files, the default settings will result in you being given two bones files. These configuration options are stored in the file hearse.ini. and more information on the configuration options can be found in hearse.txt, included in the ZIP file.
Q. What's these stats things?
A. Hearse keeps track of the files you upload and download and displays rankings of users, deaths, etc, on the stats pages to give Hearse a bit more of a community feel. If you want to opt out of the stats, change your nickname to NoStats (all one word). You will then not appear on any of the listings, although your deaths / filecounts will be still be shown in the aggregate stats.
Q. Why do the stats say I've uploaded 150 bones but only have 20 unexpired ones?
A. Server space is limited so older bones are automatically discarded after a while. It used to be that files were discarded after they'd been downloaded a certain number of times, but files are now kept for a certain length of time instead. Under the old method, bones would expire relatively quickly, but the life expectancy of a bones file on the server is now about two to three years. If there are few bones files for a particular version then they will be kept indefinitely - each version should have a minimum of 500 bones if possible.
Q. I can see someone on the stats pages who has downloaded tons of bones and uploaded almost none. Should I let you know so you can block this leecher?
A. No. It used to be that some people would create bones by just quickly diving down as many levels as they could until they died. These bones are not exactly satisfying to find. The newer versions of the client (1.0.6+) allow the user to set how many extra bones they want to be given if they have less than a certain number - using this method, they can leech without adversely affecting other users. If people want to leech from Hearse, that's fine; bones are not used up by being downloaded, so they harm no one.
Q. The version I'm using has only 200 bones available! Should I switch to a more popular version?
A. Many of the Nethack versions accept bones from specific older versions. Hearse knows about these and will offer you bones from compatible versions as appropriate. This means that there may be many more bones available to you. Generally, you will have more bones available if you use the most recent release of Nethack, but even 200 bones will keep you going for a very long time. If at least one other person is actively uploading bones for a particular version, then you actually have an effectively unlimited supply of bones, no matter how many are currently on the server.
Q. It gave me one of my old bones back! What gives?
A. People requested a change in Hearse's behaviour. Hearse no longer prevents you downloading a bones file that you uploaded, so you may occasionally run into one of your old bones files. Hearse will never give you the same bones file twice though, so this isn't something you should expect to happen very often. Obviously, it is most likely to occur for versions with very few bones files.
Q. So I uploaded my first bones file but then I got three back. Why?
A. New users are given two extra bones files to get them started. You'll see on the user stats pages that the server thinks you've uploaded three bones files as a consequence. Please don't go creating lots of new users to get free bones files though, just edit the extra bones parameters in hearse.ini
Q. How can I keep informed of any service updates or problems?
A. The newer clients (1.0.6+) will notify you if a significant update is available. For announcements, keep an eye on rec.games.roguelike.nethack.
Q. Anything else, while you're putting questions into my mouth?
A. Well, now that you've mentioned it. This is a service to the Nethack community and works on the honour system. Please realise that the service will simply go away if abused.
If you accidentally upload wizard-mode bones files, tampered bones files, or bones files which have been created as the result of save-scumming, please contact me so they can be removed from the server -- all these types of bones files can really spoil people's games. Users who upload these types of files without making an effort to notify me will be banned. Before people worry, however, I have had very few complaints about bad bones files - maybe ten since 2002.
Q. I have other questions! Important questions!
A. Mail me here.
Until recently, Hearse was kindly hosted by Krollmark