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ZAPM

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ZAPM may not be a true variant of NetHack, but given its importance in the 2008 /dev/null/nethack tournament, it deserves at least a stub writeup.

ZAPM is a sci-fi roguelike game by Cyrus Dolph. From the homepage: "It's my humble attempt to create "the sci-fi Nethack". It is very much a work in progress."

The latest preview beta version 0.8.1 was released 2010-01-05. The source code of version 0.6.3 can be downloaded here from the /dev/null/nethack page.

The aim of ZAPM is to explore a derelict space hulk in search of the fabled "Bizarro Orgasmatron", rumored to be the most powerful artifact in the galaxy and the only hope of saving the universe from an unknown doom.

ClassesEdit

ZAPM has only 4 playable classes: Psion, Quarterback, Space Marine and Software Engineer.

  • Psions are mutants, using their supercharged DNA to survive the hostile space hulk.
  • Quarterbacks are strong athletes, looking to take on a new challenge but with the physical strength to survive - hopefully.
  • Space Marines are well-equipped "badasses" that fight aliens for a living. A space hulk may not be too much of a challenge.
  • Software engineers are physically weak but computer whizzes. They inherently know the ZAPM equivalent of BUC of items and can use technical items from the beginning of the game.

Differences and similaritiesEdit

Being roguelike, ZAPM has some things that are familiar, some that are different:

NetHack ZAPM
ScrollsFloppy disks - requires a computer to "run", can sometimes be reused
PotionsCanisters
WandsRay guns
DoorsAutomatic opening doors, locked doors with individual key cards, faulty doors that slam on the player
LaunchersGuns of many descriptions
TrapsTraps
SpellcastingMutant powers - cost temporary Charisma rather than Pw
Monsters of almost all ASCII lettersMonsters with letters a-z,A-Z
CorpsesOnly droids and bots leave disabled versions once dead, unable to be eaten

ZAPM is a refreshing jaunt with plenty of differences to vanilla and is quite enjoyable.

Sample screenshot Edit

#########     Kevin
       ######                      ##### #########.......#     Odd Ball
       #.....                      #...###...+...'.......#     XL  1:88
       #....                       #...'.+...#####.......#
       #....                       #...###...#   #####'###     Str  7  Int 15
       #...                 ###    #...# #...#       #.#       Con  9  Wis 15
       #...                 #?#    #...# #####       #.#       Agi 12  Cha 16
       #..             ######'######=>.#             #.#       Dex  8
       #w.             #!'.....+...'...#             #.#
       #'#             ###.....#########             #.#       Fast    +5
  ######'#################.....###################+# #$#       Armor   13
  #.....@'...............'.....'......+............# #.#       HitPts   4/  7
  #......#################F....########............# #.#       Energy 175/  0
  #......#               #.....#      #......(.....# #'####    $9
  ########               #+#####      ############## #....#
                                                     #....#
                                                     #....#
                                                     #....#    Space Base 1
                                                     #....#
                                                     ######
You smash the lock as you kick the door open!

Attributes and basic character informationEdit

ZAPM has the following attributes as an indication of how developed a character is in certain areas:

  • Strength
  • Constitution
  • Agility
  • Dexterity
  • Intelligence
  • Wisdom
  • Charisma

In addition, there are properties of Experience (and a corresponding Experience Level and Title) Speed, Hit Points. Related and displayed as appropriate are also Energy, being the number of cells in your inventory, Buckazoids, being the currency of ZAPM, and if using a "traditional" projectile weapon, Ammo, being the number of bullets or shotgun shells in your inventory.

Your locale and overall level is also displayed.

Skills Edit

ZAPM has skills for a variety of aspects of gameplay. Each time the character gains a level, 3 skills can be increased by one. Different skills are only available at different levels, and certain skills are restricted for certain classes. Each Skill is governed by a main Attribute, determining the overall effectiveness of the Skill.

Skills fall in to 3 main groups, Combat Skills, Adventuring Skills and Mutant Power Skills.

allows Weapons are grouped in to the following skills (several mutant powers are missing):

Group Skill Attribute Used by
Combat Skills Grenades Dexterity Thrown weapons (grenades, but also canisters of plasma, acid, liquid nitrogen)
Handguns Dexterity Small, single handed projectile weapons
Light Guns Dexterity Single handed projectile weapons that are more advanced than handguns
Heavy Guns Dexterity Large projectile weapons requiring the most skill to manipulate
Unarmed Combat Agility Melee combat without any weapon
Basic Melee Weapons Agility Melee combat with improvised weapons
Swords Agility Melee combat with sword (and sword-like) weapons
Adventuring Skills Concentration Constitution Ongoing mutant powers will last longer
Pick Locks Dexterity Increases chance of picking locks when equipped with a lock pick kit
Repair Dexterity Increases chance of repair of disabled droids and bots with a roll of duct tape
Search Intelligence Increases chance of successfully searching around you
Hack Intelligence Increases chance of successfully using a floppy disk without it being destroyed
Spot Wisdom Increases chance of spotting a trap or secret door from a distance, without searching
Mutant Power Skills Mutant Power Level Effect
Illumination 1 Lights an area around you
Digestion 1 Allows you to consume inventory items for sustenance
Hypnotize 1 Puts a single enemy to sleep
Regeneration 1 Instantly boosts Hit Points
Adrenaline Control 4  

Mutant powers Edit

Mutant powers, accessed through the Z or m keys, allow the player to use mutations that the character has acquired. Psions start with two randomly chosen mutations, but all classes may gain them through drinking from a vat or a canister of mutagen. Mutations come in varying levels, with the chance of success and the magnitude of effect tied to the amount of enhancement each mutation has.

The use of a mutation costs the character an equivalent number of Charisma points to its level. Charisma does regenerate slowly up to its unaltered maximum, but temporary boosts may be gained from canisters of nano cola. Nano cola may also boost the characters Charisma above the normal maximum, but the effect does wear off with the temporary Charisma boost slowly decreasing over time.

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