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Post Position » A Note on the Word “Zork”

2010 Jan 15, 6:03The derivation of the word Zork.PermalinkCommentshistory language english game if interactive-fiction zork mit

Zork rock anthem - Boing Boing

2009 Sep 29, 10:26Zork walkthrough as song works pretty well actually.PermalinkCommentsmusic mp3 free zork if interactive-fiction game videogame

Eat Pants - Interactive Fiction Sessions from my Server Logs

2009 Jun 29, 4:19

I've looked at my web server logs previously to see if anyone had used my Web Frotz Interpreter and until recently didn't realize that awstats (the web server log report generator) was truncating the query from my URL, so I couldn't tell that anyone was actually using it. But after grepping the logs manually I've pulled out the URLs of visitor's text adventure sessions. If you'll recall, my Web Frotz Interpreter stores the game state in the URL so its easy to see user's game states in the web server logs.

I've put some of the links up on the Web Frotz Interpreter page. Some of the interesting ones:

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URI Addressable Text Adventure Games

2008 Mar 2, 9:18

This post is about creating a server side z-code interpreter that represents game progress in the URI. Try it with the game Lost Pig.

I enjoy working on URIs and have the mug to prove it. Along those lines I've combined thoughts on URIs with interactive fiction. I have a limited amount of experience with Inform which generates Z-Code so I'll focus on pieces written in that. Of course we can already have URIs identifying the Z-Code files themselves, but I want URIs to identify my place in a piece of interactive fiction. The proper way to do this would be to give Z-Code its own mimetype and associate with that mimetype the format of a fragment that would contain the save state of user's interactive fiction session. A user would install a browser plugin that would generate URIs containing the appropriate fragment while you play the IF piece and be able to load URIs identifying Z-Code files and load the save state that appears in the fragment.

But all of that would be a lot of work, so I made a server side version that approximates this. On the Web Frotz Interpreter page, enter the URI of a Z-Code file to start a game. Enter your commands into the input text box at the bottom and you get a new URI after every command. For example, here's the beginning of Zork. I'm running a slightly modified version of the Unix version of Frotz. Baf's Guide to the IF Archive has lists of IF games to try out.

There are two issues with this thought, the first being the security issues with running arbitrary z-code and the second is the practical URI length limit of about 2K in IE. From the Z-Code standard and the Frotz source it looks like 'save' and 'restore' are the only commands that could do anything interesting outside of the Z-Code virtual machine. As for the length-limit on URIs I'm not sure that much can be done about that. I'm using a base64 encoded copy of the compressed input stream in the URI now. Switching to the actual save state might be smaller after enough user input.

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