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I think I've read somewhere back in the day that JH would have an optional ASCII mode. Is this still on the cards, or perhaps can be enabled somehow in this build?
It's there (--console or --ascii IIRC), but its buggy and not very playable at the moment. We'll fix and polish it up before 1.0 release, but at the moment it's low on the priority list (i.e Melee, Dualgunning and Master Traits are definitely higher).
Glad to hear. I can't actually play it atm (ancient video card) but don't mind waiting, just wanted to support the DRM Free version anyway.

And thanks for staying true to the real roguelike spirit by not bypassing permadeath with some trendy meta-progression ;)