Deadline Compiled

Bit more info? What do you mean, “ported” version? Are you talking about the Infocom game “Deadline”? What exactly do you want, the playable Deadline game?

Volker Lanz ported Deadline to Inform 6 some time ago, and the source is available on the if-archive. However, the compiled game is not available on the archive, because it is still under copyright, and distribution of it would violate that copyright. Permission was granted by Activision for the project, but, according to the readme file that comes with the source, ‘This is intended to be for instructive purposes only. You are not allowed to play this port of DEADLINE unless you own a copy of the original, as the game is still under copyright.’

I’m not going to send you a copy of the compiled game, because that’s probably illegal, but it doesn’t take a huge amount of effort to compile it yourself. Are you having trouble with that?

Yes, after compiling is giving this error for all the characters:

**Programing error: Mrs robner (object 249) has a property describe but is longer than 2 bytes, so you cannot use "." to read**

It is rather a pain in the neck to setup an inform6 environment to compile the game since it uses its own libraries etc. Still I would find it interesting to have a compiled version so that I could see the behavior of the game along with the source code. FWIW I own many licensed copies of Deadline that I’ve bought over the years including the grey box edition, the original portfolio edition from eBay, Infocom Lost Treasures, Infocom Classic Masterpieces, the iPad version etc.

The instructions included (readme.html) have a lot of fussing but seem complete. I haven’t tried it myself though.

Ugh, yeah, that’s a bug in the source code. Older versions of Inform 6 didn’t pick it up, so it wouldn’t have been noticed at the time the source was originally written. I’m not sure exactly what’s causing it, though.

Mm, okay. Now that I’ve thought about it… the problem is that the game uses the expression “location.describe” and “o.describe”. I think “self.describe()” is okay.

There isn’t a built-in way to check whether all of a multi-word property’s words are NULL. I guess you’d need a function: (warning, untested code)

[ ObjDescribeIsNull obj ix addr len;
  if (~~(obj provides describe))
  addr = obj.&describe;
  len = (obj.#describe) / WORDSIZE;
  for (ix=0 : ix<len : ix++) {
    if (addr-->ix ~= NULL)

…Another option, of course, would be to use the older (Inform 6.21) compiler. The result might not work on all interpreters, however.

Yeah, I was going to suggest that, but I can’t actually find a binary for Windows for Inform 6.21. Maybe I didn’t look properly.

Here’s an even crazier idea. What if someone ported the Inform6 version to the new forthcoming version of Inform7? That would be awesome!

I believe the line is ‘feel free’.

the awesome thing about open-source software such as i6 is that you don’t need to obtain no stinkin permission from authors to fork it and develop your version

that way, even retro freaks should be happy

BTW, a more interesting project would be to port Mindwheel to current systems. Yes, I know it featured a weird parser (not quite better), but I’d be willing to play even without that.

come on, I won’t fire up an emulator for old computers and play that in all its horrid big green phosphor letters glory

Actually, there already is a modern interpreter that will play Mindwheel and the other BTZ games (and with auto-mapping!):

Here’s what it looks like running on my Win7 PC:

The game file is from an Atari ST version.


Huh. I didn’t know that. Great information to have.

However, Nitfol never really worked on my computer. I gave it another go just now - it got installed but I have no idea where, because the whole process was invisible; it’s hijacking my usual definitions of having WindowsFrotz open ZCode files without prompting; and the interpreter crashes at the very beginning, so I can’t even use any facily it might have to go back to my previous file association.

So I’ll be happy never to see it again. Crashing? That’s fine, bugs happen. Forceful hijacking and no user prompting? Hit the road.

EDIT - Oh fuck. Nitfol also destroyed my handy association where I could easily right-click a glulx file to either open with Git, Glulx, or Glulx (No memory Check). Easy enough to restore, but who the heck gave it permission to do that shit?!

No piece of software that does this sort of crap unprompted and unwarned should exist.

EDIT 2 - Brill. Nitfol did a real number on my file association.

EDIT 3 - Finally got it sorted. Well, I know ONE program (and possibly one developer) I won’t ever trust again.

Yes, in Windows Nitfol 0.6 does change the file associations for the file types it handles (I think it auto-associates .z5, .z8, .zblorb, .blb, .ulx, .gblorb). I should have mentioned that as a pre-release it can also be a little tricky to set up in Windows as it requires the installation of GTK# and .Net 1.1 and 2.0+. The installation instructions are on Evin’s Sourceforge site. As it wasn’t designed primarily as a Windows installation it’s behaviour under Windows in areas such as file associations is also a bit blunt.

What impressed me about about this application though, is that if you don’t mind a little messing about to get it running Nitfol will play the Synapse “Electronic Novels” as well as Infocom’s z-code and even Scott Adams games from the original gamefiles, and the auto-mapping feature is great. ‘Mindwheel’ has long been a favourite of mine (since I first played it on an Apple ][), so being able to run it via a current interpreter was a revelation. It would be great if this version of Nitfol could one day be ported as a plug-in to Gargoyle (assuming that’s possible).


I remember trying all that and following all the instructions. Didn’t work then, didn’t work now, and as a bonus it pissed me off now.

Re automapping, you might wish to look into Trizbort.

I have no problems in having one “official” interpreter for each game file type. Multi-type-interpreters usually fail on some level or other from what I’ve seen, and aren’t worth the hassle.

Each to his own, I guess.


anybody got this bootleg I6 Deadline binary lying around?

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