makedefs - Man Page

NetHack miscellaneous build-time functions


makedefs { -o | -d | -e | -m | -v | -p | -q | -r | -h | -z }

makedefs --input file --output file --command


Makedefs is a build-time tool used for a variety of NetHack(6) source file creation and modification tasks.  For historical reasons, makedefs takes two types of command lines.  When invoked with a short option, the files operated on are determined when makedefs is compiled.  When invoked with a long option, the --input and --output options are used to specify the files for the --command. Each command is only available in one of the two formats.

Short Commands

Upper and lower case are both accepted for the short commands.


Generate onames.h.


Generate data.base.


Generate dungeon.pdf. The input file dungeon.def is passed through the same logic as that used by the --grep command; see the Mdgrep Functions section below for details.


Generate monster.c.


Generate date.h and options file. It will read dat/gitinfo.txt, only if it is present, to obtain githash= and gitbranch=
info and include related preprocessor #defines in date.h file.


Generate pm.h


Generate quest.dat.


Generate the rumors file.


Generate the bogusmon , engrave and epitaphfiles.


Generate the oracles file.


Generate vis_tab.c and vis_tab.h.

Long Commands


Show debugging output.

--make [command]

Execute a short command.  Command is given without preceding dash.

--input file

Specify the input file for the command (if needed).  If the file is - standard input is read.

--output file

Specify the output file for the command (if needed).  If the file is - standard output is written.

--svs [delimiter]

Generate a version string to standard output without a trailing newline. If specified, the delimiter is used between each part of the version string.


Filter the input file to the output file. See the Mdgrep Functions section below for information on controlling the filtering operation.


Show the name and value for each variable known to the grep option.


Turn on debug tracing for the grep function ( --grep must be specified as well).

--grep-define symbol

Force the value of symbol to be "defined." Symbol must already be known to makedefs.

--grep-undef symbol

Force the definition of symbol to be "undefined." Symbol must already be known to makedefs.

Mdgrep Functions

The --grep command (and certain other commands) filter their input, on a line-by-line basis, according to control lines embedded in the input and on information gleaned from the NetHack(6) configuration.  This allows certain changes such as embedding platform-specific documentation into the master documentation files.

  • The default conditional state is printing enabled.
  • Any line NOT starting with a caret (^) is either suppressed or passed through unchanged depending on the current conditional state.
  • Any line starting with a caret is a control line; as in C, zero or more spaces may be embedded in the line almost anywhere (except immediately after the caret); however the caret must be in column 1.
  • Conditionals may be nested.
  • Makedefs will exit with an error code if any errors are detected; processing will continue (if it can) to allow as many errors as possible to be detected.
  • Unknown identifiers are treated as both TRUE and as an error.  Note that --undef or #undef in the NetHack(6) configuration are different from unknown.

Control lines:


a line starting with a (single) literal caret


a comment


if the ID is defined set the conditional state to TRUE


if the ID is not defined set the conditional state to TRUE


else; invert the conditional state


end the most recent conditional


The NetHack Development Team

See Also



25 May 2015 NETHACK