I play on mobile frequently, and Frotz can download and play most blorb, gblorb, z*, and glulx files just fine. But a lot of great games on IFDB are wrapped up in zip files (such as Wade Clarke’s Six). Other games that are historically significant (like the Walkthrough Comp games) are also in .zip’s.
Is it allowed to edit such entries to post the bare file in addition to the zip? Or is it better to contact the author directly first to see if they want to change it?
You can’t upload files to IFDB, all the links point to external sites like the IF Archive. If you have a link to the games in a stable location (that is, not e.g. someone’s Dropbox account) you can add that to the game’s listing. It’s ok to have a link to both the zip file and a plain story file as long as the game doesn’t need any other files to run.
We (speaking for IF Archive policy) prefer to keep games in zip files. It saves disk, it saves bandwidth, it simplifies our management workflow, and it ensures that each game has a single “download this and you’ve got everything” URL.
There’s no reason that an interpreter can’t extract a game file from the zip. That’s an obvious extension. Alternatively, iplayif.com (or a service like it) could be extended to look inside a zip file, locate the IF game file, and provide it. (It could also do some caching, thus saving more archive bandwidth.)
Haha, well the current proxy server is in python, but if someone wanted to write it in any other language that would be fine too. Well Inform 7 probably wouldn’t be useful due to its lack of network support
One potential problem with this is that many authors wrap up their games in zip file because they want the game file to be bundled with some other stuff. For example, the zipped version of Photopia on IFDB comes bundled with a glulxe interpreter and a .cfg file that ensures the game is looking good, the colors are working correctly, etc. Adam provides a stripped down .z5 version for online play, and would probably not appreciate it if the glulxe version was automatically extracted.
In theory a lot of cases like this could be covered by the tag in Babel. An interpreter could extract and present all the files listed in there, if they were in the same zip. It would probably be going too far to consider an actual interpreter as an associated file, but it makes sense for feelies and config files and things like that.
I don’t know how many authors have used it up to now. But if they didn’t they (or other people) can always re-blorb the game later with the right list of files.
I might as well quote it here to save anyone looking it up:
The tag is optional. This section, if present, details
the other files (if any) which are intended to accompany the story
file, and to be available to any player. By “other” is meant files
which are not embedded in the story file. (So, for instance, pictures
in a blorbed Z-machine story file do not count as “other”.)
This happens sometimes but it’s very much not the common case. An interpreter (or iplayif.com) should make its best attempt at displaying the game. Maybe there’s another interpreter or setup that does it better; that’s not a reason not to try.
More common is for the game to be bundled in a zip file with README and feelies. It’s great if the interpreter displays a list of this stuff, or uses the tag. However, we shouldn’t require this. The bare-bones “find a game file” functionality is easy to implement – every language has a zip extractor library at this point. A file list is a little harder, because it requires UI.