ScummVM for IF

I was surprised recently to learn that ScummVM supports playing many formats of IF. Looking at its compatibility matrix, IF formats only receive a “good” rating. Anyone know what’s holding them back from “excellent”? Is anyone using ScummVM regularly? What do you like about it compared to interpreters more specific to IF?


Probably just a lack of testing. They seem to be using glk modules, which should be completely stable and compatible with most features, so I think this is just caution not to claim something they don’t really know.


And possibly that SCUMM engine might even be a more obscure thing for people who want to play IF to download as an interpreter. Unless someone is also playing graphical adventures using it. It’s a cool feature, but for IF players it might be akin to buying a coffee-pot just for the digital time display instead of a watch.


I legit kept a broken microwave for well over three years because the digital time display still worked and I never used it otherwise anyway.


Which might be the appeal: If a SCUMM dev occasionally plays IF, it can service instead of downloading another thing.

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I’m unfamiliar with the settings, but I believe the terp emphasizes accuracy over comfort (font settings and so forth)? Unless I’m missing a toggle somewhere. Out of the box, I’d rather play an Infocom game with Frotz. The default experience seems highly specific, even if I’ve missed a configuration step or lack a plugin (which I probably am)

GLULX (my game, anyway) has a similar look

The site says the emulation is good and games are completely playable/completable, which I’m sure is true (though maybe not Journey)

edit: I’ll tag @eriktorbjorn, who knows all about this stuff.

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I haven’t used ScummVM for IF, so I wouldn’t know. I prefer Frotz or Gargoyle for that. The former for games that were made primarily for monospaced fonts (e.g. Infocom ones), and the latter for more modern ones.

I suppose things would be different for graphical IF, but none of those that really interest me are supported by ScummVM at this time. For a while I thought it might become a good solution for the graphical Infocom games, but then I found out about SDL Frotz which scratches that itch nicely.


Ah, sorry. I must have confused you with someone else. Thanks for replying regardless.

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I really dislike manufacturers deciding every appliance needs a digital clock…and insanely bright LEDs. I had a microwave that refused to cook unless you told it the date! Why?! How could my microwave knowing it is November possibly affect my popcorn? And why do the LEDs have to be so bright? The clock on my current microwave is so bright at night you could get a tan standing in front of it. For devices other than microwaves: No mister manufacturer, I do not want a 10,000 watt blue LED letting me know my device is currently off, thanks.


I didn’t own a clock and this was before smartphones became ubiquitous and replaced the functionality of having a clock.


Amusingly enough, the timer function still worked even though it didn’t microwave stuff, so I would figure out when I needed to get up and would type in timed cook at, say 7 hours 12 minutes or whatever. It would beep when it went off and would continue with that occasional single beep until I got up and opened the microwave door.

I was very broke. Good times.


Well, I am involved with the ScummVM project, but I’m using it for point-and-click games, not IF. At least so far.

The closest I’ve gotten to anything IF-related in ScummVM lately is that I’ve spent more time than I care to admit just so I can see some familiar names in full Techni… er, black-and-white.

(From the Macintosh version of Loom.)


What would something that lived in between point and click and classic IF be called? Stuff like Space Quest or Hugo’s House of Horrors? [Knowing nothing of ScummVM] Could ScummVM be used to make something like that, since it supports point-and-click games as well as parser IF?

Ah OK, so I wasn’t completely out there. My guess is that it’s emulating an 80s terp (80 column, I think?), which isn’t a lot of fun stretched on a modern display. It probably isn’t going to please many modern players.

E: would probably be great on an older CRT, though, if one is available

The LucasArts stuff, on the other hand, looks great thanks to scaling.

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It’s a multiplatform emulator. So if someone made a game for one of those platforms, it could run there. Tons of sierra games are supported, BTW, including the SpaceQuest games

ScummVM :: Compatibility - DEV

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I know when microwaves were sort of new, every “microwave cookbook” showed a perfectly basted and browned whole chicken inside of it, so it’s possible they were considering “People will want to set it and forget it!” - like you could program it to heat up your…TV dinner…and have it ready from when you arrive from work, or…heat up your breakfast burrito and have it ready when you wake up… But now they probably realize that microwaves are best for popcorn and briefly heating stuff up that you don’t need to plan in advance. But yeah, microwaves no longer show a date. And the fancy ones do have clock brightness settings!

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I don’t know. I guess I just mentally counted those as point-and-click, even though that’s not quite accurate.

ScummVM is a reimplementation of a number of game engines used for various adventure games, to make them easier to run on modern systems. It does support most of the Sierra parser games - I think Softporn is the only exception? - and the Hugo games, if that’s what you’re asking.

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When I finally got around to playing through Colossal Cave and Mainframe Zork some time ago, I did at least some of it using “cool-retro-term” just for giggles. Works with Frotz too. :smiley:


Thanks all for your thoughts. I tried playing Zork I Revision 119 from IFDB with ScummVM and getting started was a little rough. It also had trouble at the very beginning of Curses Release 16, with the message:

Warning: @get_child called with object 0 …

Still, it’s great that ScummVM, amongst all of its offerings, has taken time to include IF games, and even gives them (almost) top billing on the compatibility page.



nice! my current frotz setup

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