Be The Wumpus

  • Downloads
  • Compiling
  • Running the game
  • Screenshots
  • Controls
  • Man page
  • Reviews
  • Bugs
  • Be The Wumpus is a game with no graphics, with no text, only audio. You are a wumpus, a blind, cave dwelling creature who subsists on meals of unlucky cave wanderers. Back in the 70's, you may have been among those brave souls who hunted the wumpus. But the wumpus, driven nearly to extinction, is now a protected species. But, do not fear, there is still much fun to be had involving both hunting, and wumpusses. Now you can be the wumpus, and hunt the wumpus hunters!

    You really need headphones to play this game, and though a game pad is not mandatory, it is highly recommeneded, (preferably an xbox 360 controller, and you'll need linux kernel 2.6.26 or better with that one.)

    This game is really more of a novelty than an actual game, and there's not a whole lot to it, so don't expect too much from it. It's really just a silly little project I worked on for awhile for my own amusement.

    This game is licensed under the good old GPL v. 2.0, except for the audio files, which are licensed under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 license. (see sounds/Attribution.txt).

    WARNING -- this game does contain small amounts of sounds of people speaking words which some people might consider profane. If you are apt to be offended by the numbers in a .wav file when run through a D/A converter, and then the analog signal amplified then run through a loudspeaker of some kind, well, you may have a problem with my numbers then, I suppose. Thing is, it's your problem, not mine. You've been warned. And what sorts of things would you expect people trapped in a dark cave with a hungry wumpus to say?

    If you don't like it, well, that's just too damned bad.


    I made a little video to try to clear up a bit of confusion about how this game works, how the controls work, and so on.



    Download bethewumpus-0.05.tar.gz, current as of Aug 30, 2008.

    You may be able to get a more up to date version via CVS. To download from CVS, do the following at the shell prompt:

    	cvs login
    	cvs -z3 co -P bethewumpus
    	cd bethewumpus

    Compiling the game

    Compiling is easy, after checking out from CVS as above, just type "make." You'll need the gnome libraries and header files, which you likely already have.

    You may need to set a couple environment variables:

    export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig
    export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib

    (I have that in my ~/.login, so I tend to forget about them.)

    You'll also need libvorbisfile and the portaudio libraries, which there's a good chance you don't already have. These are easily compiled and installed via the traditional "./configure", "make", and (as root) "make install" commands. You need version 19 of portaudio, not 18. portaudio v. 18 is several years old, and the API has changed. I think debian may have version 18 of portaudio as the default, as I have gotten some complaints about this from debian users.

    Other packages you might need:

    • gtk2-devel
    • pango-devel
    • atk-devel
    • libvorbisfile

    Running the game Type

    in the directory you built it (because it expects the sound files in a "sounds" subdirectory).


    This game is best played with an xbox 360 controller. This is the only controller for which rumble effects are known by me to work. (You will need linux kernel 2.6.26 or better as well, and you'll probably have to chown /dev/input/event5 or /dev/input/event6, or wherever your OS makes the device file for the rumble feature so that bethewumpus will have permission to use it.) Failing that, use a gamepad with two joysticks, such as the Logitech Dual Action 2 Rumble is not a bad choice. (The rumble function doesn't work with this controller on linux though.) Headphones are highly recommended, and to really get anything out of the game, headphones not just recommeded, but mandatory.

    If you do not have a joystick, you can play with the keyboard, arrow keys + space bar to chomp, but it sucks. Gamepads aren't extremely expensive, consider buying one. (Well, ok, that xbox 360 controller isn't exactly cheap.)

    • The left stick controls rotation.
    • The right stick controls forward and backward motion.
    • The first button makes the wumpus attack. You must be within close range of your prospective meal for this to be effective, otherwise you simply frighten the meal.

    Some people have complained that e.g. the right stick pressed to the left moves the wumpus backwards -- I have not seen that behavior, it may have to do with whatever game pad was being used. There is no real standardization when it comes to mapping axis and button numbers to a game pad's physical controls, so if you have a gamepad other than the two I've tried, things may be wonky.

    If you experience trouble, or cannot tell if the controls are working correctly or not, there is a debug mode (as shown in the video) which you can enable by changing bethewumpus.c in the following way:

     151 int framerate_hz;
     152 int sound_device = -1;
     153 int debugmode = 0;   <-- Change this to a 1 for debug mode.
     154 double water_x = SCREEN_WIDTH/2;
     155 double water_y = 0;
     156 int level = 0;
     157 int intro_music_slot = -1;
     158 int Be_The_Wumpus_slot = -1;

    Of course the game is not meant to be played in this way, and it isn't any fun this way as it becomes trivially easy. However, doing this once or twice just to get the idea of how the controls work, and to find out if they are working, especially if you have some oddball game pad might be worthwhile.


    There are probably some bugs.

    I have noticed that sometimes, in v. 0.02, you cannot attack. The game tries to only allow one "wumpus roar" sound play at a time, so you can't attack while the wumpus roar sound is still playing from the previous attack. Somehow the variable which tracks this gets out of sync, or overwritten, and you are prevented from attacking at all. From what I've seen, this happens at the beginning of the game, just running the game again may allow you to pass this. I haven't tracked this bug down yet, but it is the first thing on my list of things to fix when I get some time and motivation to work on this.

    Update, Mar 31:Sean Bolton sent me a patch which fixes this problem (thanks Sean). The fix is now in CVS.

    Update, Apr 5:The above bug is fixed in v. 0.03.


    The October 2008 issue of Linux Format Magazine has a mini review of Be The Wumpus:

    The above photo of the magazine is Copyright (c) Future Publishing Limited. Reg No. 2008885 England. 30 Monmouth Street, Bath, BA1 2BW. It is reproduced here with permission of the copyright holder.


    • This game is obviously inspired by In the Pit by Studio Hunty. I have never played "In the Pit", as I don't have a Windows machine, nor a wired xbox controller which that game requires. (I have since acquired an xbox 360 controller, obviously, though I still don't have a Windows machine. -- ed) "Be The Wumpus" is almost certainly an inferior version of "In the Pit", but after reading about In the Pit, then much later getting a Logitech Dual Action Rumble joystick, or whatever it's called, and mistakenly thinking the rumble might be made to work (after reading Documentation/input/ff.txt in the linux kernel), (Update Jul 21, 2008, actually, with kernel 2.6.25, rumble *does* work with the xbox 360 controller, and is used by the game since version 0.04.) it seemed an interesting project to make a game based on the description of "In the Pit." I figured I'd have more fun programming "Be the Wumpus" than I would playing it (or playing In the Pit, if I could) and learn more as well. And so I have.

      Anyway, I would like to acknowledge Studio Hunty for the very interesting idea.

    • Also, see sounds/Attribution.txt. Freesound users "qubodup" and "alphahog" did some voice acting for this the game, and without them, the game would contain only one victim -- me. So thanks, guys. Also, it turns out qubodup runs the excellent site If you're into developing free and/or open source games, check it out. And don't miss the forum. and check out the Free Gamer blog as well.