Infocom Game Mods - 2021 Friendly Versions

This idea has popped into my head having read the post from Shane who asked about the carrying capacity in Zork.

As you know we have the tools and the know-how (and if in doubt we have some access to the Imps which we try to use sparingly so as not to annoy, but they have been very helpful thus far) to edit the original Infocom source code and recompile the games with mods, hacks, whatever you want to call it.

This will NOT be for everyone. Many will feel this is heresy, the games are what they are and the sanctity should be preserved.

We often read comments on Infocom games along the lines of “They’re great, but playing today with modern preferences can sometimes be like hard work.”

I know people have also often asked for collaboration projects rather than “yet another competition” (although don’t let this stop you entering ParserComp please!)

So…

If you can think of any Infocom games that would benefit from a bit of “2021 player preference modding” then post it here please and let’s see what we can do.

Hunger puzzles, battery life, inventory limits, crazy hard mazes, other ways to solve puzzles, bug fixes, have at it and let’s discuss making it a thing.

Adam :slightly_smiling_face::+1:

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This is the post that kicked off this line of thought…

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A few mods that I can think of, from the top of my head:

  1. Move the copy-protection from the feelies to in-game objects in Starcross, Infidel, Sorcerer, Spellbreaker…
  2. Remove or make the interval much longer for need to eat and sleep in Enchanter and Planetfall. A solution for Enchanter could be to copy the vial from Sorcerer, that removes the need to eat, and make it a “treasure” you can find.
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Implement UNDO.

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My suggestion is keeping the release number well separated from those of the original Imps. The highest infocom release number was 393 (zork 0) So I warmly suggest that new, improved versons should have release number from 400 above.

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.

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Good idea. We could just start at 500 to clear it. :+1:

Adam

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ParserComp 2022 will have a “Best Infocom Game Mod” category :smiley::v:

Adam

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Add X as a synonym for EXAMINE.

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Allowing an alternative to Border Zone’s real-time events

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Adding UNDO isn’t trivial. You have to rewrite part of the parser code and maybe modify a lot more of the other code too. I, myself, don’t ever use UNDO. Instead I use frequent saves. This is maybe easier if it’s handled in the terp. The terp could autosave after each move and be able to restore an abritary number of moves back (Isn’t this already done in some terps? I have a recollection that I’ve seen it, but can’t remember where).

Also, maybe make the modifications, when possible, optional. The game starts in “classic” mode and then the player can opt to turn on the modifications.

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I’d recommend that in addition to a clear difference in release numbers, that the games’ titles or startup text be modified to indicate they are not the Infocom originals.

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For Zork, the “US News & Dungeon Report” could be reintroduced and list the modifications there.

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Frotz already adds its own UNDO, at least for version 3 games, by pressing Alt-U. You can even undo several moves. (I think there are at least some other interpreters that do the same thing, but Frotz is the one I’m the most familiar with.)

Very convenient for testing, though it does make the puzzle in Spellbreaker with the two piles of cubes (where the game disables the SAVE command) almost laughably easy, once you know what you have to do for the game not to reject your solution as a blind guess.

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For those who don’t already know, there is a large collection of bug reports over at The Infocom Files. I’ve been testing the games, as compiled with ZILF 0.9, in chronological order and filed bug reports for what I’ve found so far. I’m at Moonmist now, so there’s still plenty of games to go before I’m done. And I know I must have missed a lot of bugs on my way.

Most of these bug reports have at least some attempt at describing what needs to be done to fix them. Other than that, it’s not my project so I don’t know where it’s heading. I don’t think the plan is to actually change the games. It’s certainly not my plan, at least. But it may still be a useful resource.

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That would seem fine, but some general statement to the effect of not being original Infocom games would be nice.

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I agree, absolutely.

I would like to see some sort of aesthetically pleasing indication that this is a modified game. All the details could thn be in some kind of in-game object that is in line with the “feel” of the game (the leaflet in the mailbox or an issue of the us news & dungeon report in Zork, for example).

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Wasn’t this a thing in the old days were people would post ‘ripped’ (?) versions of text games with custom title screens?

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Good one! It’s such a staple of games today that when I type X and it doesn’t recognise it I always get momentarily confused. :slightly_smiling_face:

Adam

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Seems a good place to start. :+1:

Adam

I’m not aware of that but I only really got into the scene around 2015.

It sounds very similar to the mod stuff.

Adam