NetHack Stuff


If you don't know what NetHack is, go here posthaste for more information.


If you do know what NetHack is, but think that the use of any sort of graphical 'tiles' with the game is an evil perverted abomination, you may as well turn back now.


Everything on this page relates to the WINDOWS-BASED 'vanilla' version(s) of NetHack 3.4.0 and higher. If you are using any other version or model of NetHack, it won't work (and probably isn't needed in the first place...) Check out the Links section for a Linux tile set.

I enjoy playing NetHack a great deal. It's a wonderful game with endless replay value, and the price can't be beat.

Nevertheless, there is a problem, at least with the Windows version of NetHack 3.4.0 and above. (Hereafter refered to as 'WinHack'.) On the one hand, the all-ASCII option just doesn't offer enough information about monsters and objects in the game for my taste. (Hardware stores are a pain, and doing Sokoban can make your eyes bleed out of their sockets.) On the other hand, the standard graphical 'tile' option has always made the game's various levels too big to fit on your computer screen all at once. This second problem has only become more pronounced and annoying with WinHack, even when using the shrunken eye-twisting tiles that are now standard with this version. There are much larger versions available, and the new 'click-and-travel' feature helps a lot, but it still means endless time wasted scrolling back and forth across the screen.

So... for my own amusement and convenience, I created the

Fit To Screen WinHack Tile Set
(This is what I call it, although it appears to have become more universally known as the "Geoduck" Tile set. Whatever..)

This is not a more elaborate and detailed tile set, ala AllegroHack or Falcon's Eye. Just the opposite; I've pared everything down even more to a tile size of 20 pixels high by 10 pixels wide, while using as few different colors as possible. Hopefully some NetHackers out there will find the result to be a useful cross between the default WinHack tiles and the original ASCII version. With 1) the FTS Tile set copied into place, 2) the proper options added to your 'defaults.nh' file and 3) the 'Fit To Screen' option under 'Map' toggled on, a game of WinHack should now display an entire level of the dungeon on your screen without any (serious) warping of the tiles, while still offering more information than ASCII about everything that you are seeing, stealing and slaughtering. I've tried to keep the eyestrain down to a minimum as well.

While the color and size of the dungeon's inhabitants have been changed in the FTS set, and in numerous cases extra distinguishing features have been added, roughly 95% of the critters are still depicted by the same letter or symbol as they are in ASCII. (The other 5%, I couldn't resist a little artistic license...) I've tried to be as consistent as I can with regards to the size and color changes; whenever possible a monster's new hue(s) is somehow appropriate to its character or appearance, while the bigger a critter is 'in-game', usually the bigger is the letter depicting it. For example, a Mumak is still a 'q' in FTS, but it is now a big gray


with a 'tusk'. I've included more explicit monster spoilers at the bottom of this page, for anyone who may be interested.

Inanimate objects are a different story. For the most part, they look more like 'themselves', at least to the best of my ability, staying within the limited room I allowed myself. If it has been at all possible, I've worked the original ASCII shape into the new tile. Wands are a variety of different colors, but they are all still roughly '/' shaped. Spellbooks have a '+' on their cover instead of the 's' found in the default tiles. Scrolls are labeled with a '?'. Rings are big = signs. Most of the traps in the game are marked with a red '^', and so forth.

SPECIAL NOTE: Due to the thinness of my tiles I made oil and magic lamps look like old-fashioned kerosene lamps, instead of something from the Arabian Nights.

SPECIAL NOTE #2: Because these tiles are asymmetrical, when shooting wands and missile weapons at an angle you need to make extra sure that your intended target is in fact in a straight line with you.

If you wish to see a screenshot of what a game level looks like while using the set, click here. The full-sized scene shows a novice heroine and her little dog about to face a goblin on dungeon level 1. The actual file will not be quite as blurry as this .jpg reproduction.

If you wish to try Version 1.8 of the FTS tileset with your copy of WinHack 3.4.x, copy this .bmp file into the NetHack game directory on your computer, and cut n' paste the following line into your 'defaults.nh' file, located in the same directory:


Be sure this is the only line in the file which sets these particular parameters; otherwise you will get an error message when the game starts. If you change the name of the file when you save it, you'll need to use the new name in the defaults.nh line.

As noted above, FTS currently only supports 'vanilla' 3.4.0 and above. If you've got anything added that patches in extra critters or objects, the tile set will not work. (Although I'm open to the idea of making an alternate set for such a patch, if you can supply me with an accurate guide to work from.) I don't suppose anyone would have reason to try, but once again for the record it will not work with any previous or non-Windows-based versions of NetHack.

The set was designed to be used on a 800X600 screen. If you have a higher resolution screen, and want to try something bigger, click here for a double-sized version of the file. It works, but no guarantees that it will be an improvement. The line you need to add to defaults.nh becomes:

I officially give my permission to post the relevant .bmp(s) elsewhere, as long as I get all the credit, fame and glory. (Muhahaha!) At the moment, this page is the only one offering 'official' updates to the set.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please drop me
a line at


or post your comments at the Usenet group


Another Hacker made an alternate small-tile set that used, with permission, some of my ideas. You can check it out here. I've stolen back a couple of ideas in more recent updates.

Here's a smaller tile set for Linux users:

And a couple of 'nethack fonts', for X11 and xterm users.

My tile set is (or was) included in the noeGNUd project.


In response to the two most comment complaints I've gotten from users...
The player is now a generic yellow "@", instead of being identified by class, and..
Stairs and ladders are now simply different-colored "<" and ">".

Changed rings to larger "=" shapes.

Simplifed design and improved visibility of various monsters.

Simplifed spiked pit and fountain tiles.


Added a lightning bolt to storm giants.

Put Balrogs and Pit Fiends in their proper places; I had them swapped.

Made Ixoth into a dragon.

Gave The Dark One his Eye.

Tried to make Pestilence look more sickly.

Gave black items a clearer outline.

Changed the look of markers.

Made fortune cookies into a yin-yang symbol.

Made blank spellbooks look a little more 'sketchy'.

Another gem model. This one I'm the most happy with to date.


Made small critters (ants, bees, rats..) smaller.

Gave 'c' creatures crests.

Filled in 'e' creatures.

Made different centaurs types (C) more distinctive.

Made golems look like very big single quote marks (). Or possibly Vermicious Knids; either way it's probably an improvement.

Made tripe rations shaped more like regular rations.

Made pies look like the symbol for 3.14159265...

Corrected some potion colors.

Simplified book tiles, and corrected some of their colors.

Made gems larger again. (I'm never going to find a gem design I'm happy with...)


Made werecreatures look more like normal wolves/jackels/rats.

Made ettins 'shorter'.

Gave titans a crown.

Gave monkeys a tail.

Made zombies more decayed-looking.

Invisible monsters (a ?) are now more 'transparent'.

Made gems smaller and more *-shaped.

Stairs and ladders are now yellow triangles pointing in the appropriate direction, marked with the proper < or > symbol.

Changed 'warning' symbols to the ASCII numbers, 1 through 5, instead of the tile-version question marks; colors however are still roughly those found in the tile version.


Smoothed off a lot of jagged edges.

Quivering blobs now show their 'true' colors.

'i' shaped monsters have been made more distinctive.

Rothe have curling horns.

Rabid rats now foam at the mouth, the way nature intended.

Master Liches wear a crown.

Cleaned up/simplified many of the minor &-shaped critters.

Bulked up ; monsters.

Samurai are a @ with a Japanese flag.

Cans of grease are marked with a 'G'.

Magic markers are purple.

Pick-axes are shaped like the original tile version; ie more accurately called a rock hammer.

Another stab at garlic.

Royal jelly looks (hopefully) like a honeycomb.

Stones and boulders have a more brown tinge.

Drawbridges are larger. Raised ones are marked with a '#'.

Traps have been made bigger and more standardized; everything except webs are marked with a '^'. Trapdoors are a wood-colored downward-pointing arrow.

All the various sets of dungeon walls have been cleaned up.


Made numerous small artistic changes. (Shape of character's '@', Hobbits have feet, weapons have better 'points', etc.)

'Sphere' monsters ('e' shaped) are now more circular.

'Vortexs' ('v' shaped) are now more insubstantial.

Came up with a better shrieker graphic.

Made the shapes of zombie/mummy gnomes and kobolds a better match for their 'live' colleagues.

Bulked up the look of ':' monsters.

Cleaned up Cavemen and Tourist tiles.

Made demon lords bigger and hopefully more menacing.

'Racial' helmets are now color-coded.

Reworked armor, particularly unaltered dragon scales. Mithril armor now has purple trim.

Riding boots are now black.

Made rings a little bigger.

Made amulets bigger/more descriptive.

Changed the shape of garlic and cream pies.

Made gems larger, added 'glow'.

Changed the shape of anti-magic traps.

Cleaned up wand of digging and camera blasts.


(Exceptions are made when a creature is specifically described as being a certain color, i.e. white unicorns and yellow lights.)

PURPLE = MAGICAL (a fairly loose category.)


Shriekers look like a mushroom, instead of being a capital F like all the other fungi.

Except for skeletons and ghouls, which are still Z-shaped, the classes of mummies and zombies use the letter and size of the reanimated creature in question, only changed to a 'bandaged' or 'decayed' color scheme.

Incubi and succubi are depicted by the appropriate 'male' or 'female' symbol. All other demons use the '&' symbol, however distorted and disguised it may be in some cases.

Back to the main page.

NetHack is a copyright of those fine people who make it.
J. R. R. Tolkien first came up with the idea of Mumakil.
All other contents 2005 Robert M. Cook
Tile set and screen shot created with JASC Inc.'s Paint Shop Pro
Last Updated August 22, 2005