Facebook’s NetHack Challenge 2021 is open for entries

Jun 15, 2021 | Vanshika Kaushik

Facebook’s NetHack Challenge 2021 is open for entries title banner

NetHack is an open source roguelike game which only supports a single player environment. It includes permadeath and procedure wise level generation, It is known as the hardest video game to ace. 


NetHack was launched in July 1987, it was relaunched on 8 March 2020. Facebook has launched the NetHack Challenge at the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems. The NetHack Challenge at Neur IPS 2021 will be the most accessible AI challenge that will pave the way for further research in AI. 


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NetHack is designed in such a way that it takes long- term planning to reach the last level of the game. It is similar to games like Hobbit, Lord of Rings and Dwarf Fortress. It is extremely difficult to keep fighting off and to stay alive in the game. The moment a player dies they have to start the game again from scratch in a different dungeon.


Success of the game depends on the creative ways of problem solving. NetHack as it is a terminal based game can be stimulated fast the training agent has to be trained for 1.2 billion steps in a day using two GPUs.


The NetHack Challenge is the best platform for coders who have got the creative skills of gameplay and to the video gamers who have the knack to pass it all. Entries for the challenge are open from early June till 15th October. Winners will be announced through the official page of NeurIPS 2021.


NetHack Challenge Important Points


  • Participants are free to train the agent in whichever way they please. Participants can also use any other technique that machine learning algorithms to train the model.

  • Participants have to use their own hardware. 

  • The evaluation will be done in a controlled setting where the agents will play multiple games with new randomly drawn character and fantasy races.

  • Entries will be ranked by average number of wins compiled with the median score.

  • There will be three competition tracks namely best overall agent, best agent not using a neural network, and best agent from an academic/ independent team.

  • If the team qualifies as the “top performing team” they will be invited to submit method videos to the NeurIPS Competition Event and will have to write a report post competition.


According to TechExplore  NetHack has actually existed since the 1980s. Though visually straightforward, the game presents a wealth of challenges, making it continuously popular among many different players. Moreover, the game remains completely free to play.

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