Eli the Bearded <*@eli.users.panix.com
> ZIL is the Zork Implementation Language that Infocom created to write
> their games. It compiles down to Z-code for a virtual machine (that
> pre-dates Java by decades). Then interpreters were written for various
> platforms which all run the same Z-code. People are still writing Z-code
> interpreters and writing new text adventures that are compiled into
> Z-code, but mostly they are using Inform, a new and different language.
> Infocom's original source has apparently been circulating quietly for a
> while, but now it has been released to the world by the guy behind
> So, Infocom source code is now uploaded to Github. Most people don't
> speak or want to speak the language it's written in, ZIL (Zork
> Implementation Language). You can browse through it and kind of suss
> out what's being done when and the choices made over the course of
> In cases where the source code had multiple revisions, and I don't
> know the story of what revisions came when and came why, I did a
> reasonable job of layering them out (this came before that, that came
> after that) and doing multiple "check-ins" of the code so you can see
> Often, there are cases that some games were built up from a previous
> game, allowing modification of the macros and structures and then
> making them work in the new game. For example, an NPC partygoer in
> one game was a thief in a previous one. Dungeons become stores, etc.
> There are infinite things to learn here and I hope people learn from
> it. I think if a reasonably informed person comes through and gives
> it a real documentary treatment we will really understand just how
> brilliant those Infocom implementors were. And how space-age
> Z-Machine is.
> The compiler, as far as absolutely anybody can tell, is lost. It is
> not possible to turn this source code into a functioning game
> anymore, and certainly not by using any tools that exist in any
> chain, anywhere. This is therefore less "code" and more "text
> [A note on this point: the original compiler is lost, but a clone has
> been created. More below.]
> If this is taken away or lost, then really, are you to trust that any
> company, ANY of them, will take care of their history, and not just
> slam down any attempt to look at the historical work done and
> understand, educate, and promote research? Can you really trust that?
> What got me thinking about this was losing Stu Galley last year,
> creator of so many great games and who thought Infocom was the dream
> job of a lifetime. We got along so well during GET LAMP; I loved that
> guy. He was a gem.
> Whatever happens next, it makes me happy to know people got to see
> his craft, and the craft and thinking of so many other of these
> artists in interactive fiction, and understand on a new level what
> they were doing and how they went about it. I dedicate this to them.
> Happy reading.
> As for compiling:
> [...] In the ZIL group we have actually managed to compile using
> Play the compiled program with an interpreter like "frotz".
> the "feelies" that came with the games remain rare collector's items
This probably should be reposted to rec.arts.int-fiction and