Updating the Z-Machine Standard Documents

Right, this is just about suggested filenames coming from zcode, especially in the context of unprompted saves.

§ 3.8.2.2 and § 3.8.2.4 describe the tab and sentence space characters, whitespace characters wider than the normal space. How should these display when a fixed-width font has been selected?

Probably as a single space? Even though this is V6 only, if they were used in a window mimicking the upper window of V5, a single space makes sense to avoid throwing off any other text layout. I’m not fond of specifying 2 or more characters be substituted for one.

Edit: Tab is already specified to convert to a single space if it occurs in the middle of a sentence, so there’s some consistency there.

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This is my assumption, too, but I thought it would be best to get a consensus of some sort since the Standard is currently a little vague.

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In §15, the descriptions for the save and restore, when describing the extra operands for auxiliary file access, include the text:

(Whether Infocom intended these options as part of Version 5 is doubtful, but it’s too useful a feature to exclude from this Standard.)

The Infocom spec document for xzip confirms that it was indeed a part of the design for v5 (and Beyond Zork’s code has a commented-out routine to save the character data to a file).

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I recall Beyond Zork actually doing this back in the day. Chalk it up to the Mandela effect I suppose.

Well, I think it does that to the saved macros (F1 to type "examine ", etc.), so maybe that’s what you’re thinking of.

It looks like Zork Zero does that, but not Beyond Zork. If any Infocom v5 game had actually used auxiliary files, it’s unlikely the Standard would have been worded like it was.

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There’s an actually, technically here. Barry Boone was the first person to reverse-engineer the Z-machine, and he extensively modified Infocom’s TI 99/4A terp and was sharing his version in '86. My understanding is that no one outside the TI 99/4A crowd knew about it at the time, and it had no influence on the InfoTaskforce’s work; their terp was originally published in the summer of '87.

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Yeah, I know Beyond Zork doesn’t do it, but I still remember it that way. You may have hit on the reason though…I’m probably conflating my memories of Beyond Zork with Zork Zero.

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§ 3.8.5.1 mentions the ConScript Unicode Registry, which was/is an attempt to use the Private Use Area(s) of Unicode to encode constructed/artificial scripts.

The website for the ConScript Unicode Registry is ConScript Unicode Registry. The registry itself appears not to have been updated since 2008. Relatively few scripts within it are in a finalised and completely stable state.

It seems unlikely at this point that any of this will ever be used by a z-code game, or indeed supported by a z-code terp. However, I do not think we should remove this from the Standard.

Instead, I think being a little more clear on what the Standard expects is a good idea.

I propose we add to the Standard a link to the Registry website, and a statement that only finalised scripts (those marked ‘registered’ on that website) are considered part of the Z-Machine Standard.

As new script become finalised in the ConScript Registry (if they ever do), they become part of the Z-Machine Standard. In theory, no finalised script should ever be removed from the registry.

None of this requires interpreters to support any part of the ConScript Registry, now or in the future. Interpreters are completely Standard compliant if they treat the whole area, or any part of it, as unprintable, unknown Unicode characters.

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I think it’s fine to leave in. The site seems pretty dead though.