Frotz8 available now for Windows 8


I thought I’d post a quick message to let you know that I’ve released a port of Frotz, named Frotz8, for Windows 8. This is a Windows Store app, so it runs fine on Windows RT devices like the Surface RT, as well as any other PC running Windows 8.

When I got a hardware keyboard for my Surface, it was begging me to play some IF but there wasn’t an IF interpreter available in the Store. Having already worked with porting a Z-machine interpreter some years back, I thought I’d have a go at porting Frotz. It’s not quite 100% complete and a couple of games won’t play perfectly as a result, but I’ve already had a lot of fun playing Zork, Curses, Lost Pig, Spider and Web and many other of my favourites.

The app is available completely free from the Windows Store. If you like it, please consider leaving a review. I’ll be happy to answer any questions that anyone has, too.

Thanks and regards,

Will other interpreters run on Windows 8? (I don’t use Windows 8, but I am curious to know.) Will Allegro, Glk, SDL, etc work on Windows 8? Will command-line programs for older versions of Windows still run on Windows 8?

This is great. Well done. I think the IFDB search should follow the same pattern as the game library (tiled with alphabetized indexing).

To zz: Win8 Store apps are somewhat limited, but where IF is concerned, it’s probably just a matter of altering some code.

DavidC, many thanks, I’m glad you like it! :slight_smile:

zzo38, if you’re running the “full” version of Windows 8 (i.e., on any PC or laptop, also on tablets using full desktop-compatible CPUs) then you will be able to run anything that earlier builds of Windows can run. Windows 8 on a PC is essentially just Windows 7 with a modified user interface.

If you’re running on an ARM-based tablet device (such as Microsoft’s Surface RT), the only applications you can install are those from the Windows Store, and these work with different restrictions to normal desktop applications, hence the absence of Frotz and its ilk (on my desktop Windows 8 PC I’ve been using Windows Frotz successfully for ages). Note too that some tablets (such as the Surface Pro, or the Dell Latitude 10 or XPS 18 tablets) also run a full version of Windows 8 and can therefore run all desktop apps, too.

There are advantages of these Windows Store apps other than being able to run on RT tablets, too: they’re very easy to install, use and upgrade without messing around with setup.exe files. Disadvantages, too, they won’t run in a window, only in full screen or quarter screen modes. On a tablet they work very nicely, on a desktop PC they can be a bit limited.

I came across this in the Windows 8 store this morning, and downloaded it onto my Surface RT straightaway. From what I’ve seen so far it seems to work pretty well, and I’m delighted that I now have a way of playing (at least some) IF on my Surface without having to jailbreak it (which you’d still have to do for TADS or Glulx games right now).

Anyway, well done! I was hoping someone would come up with something like this, but was a bit worried that the intersection of the set of Surface RT users and that of IF players might be too small for it to ever happen, so this was a very nice surprise at breakfast this morning.

I’ve now reviewed it for the Windows 8 app store, though it may take a little time for that to appear.

Hi Eric,

Thanks for your message – and for the review too (it’s yet to appear in my Windows Store app reports, hopefully tomorrow!).

I was actually really surprised that no one had already ported this. But then there are several other apps that are missing that I fail to understand (MAME, for example – who has no one ported that??) Anyway, once I had the basic interpreter engine working, putting the rest of it together was great fun and I’m rather pleased with the “Library” and the recommended game of the week (I’ve lots lined up – I don’t think any regular visitors to this forum will find any surprises but more casual players may discover things they’ve not seen before).

It’s a shame that there’s no TADS of Glulx interpreter available in the store right now. I’m not aware of any ports of either of these to C#/.NET and porting from C/C++ to .NET would be more time-consuming than I am able to accommodate at the moment…

Anyway, happy adventuring!