Some folks may remember an Android app called “Twisty” – it’s still up in the Play store, and in fact it’s the oldest z-machine interpreter out there for Android. Marius Milner and I (two Google engineers) slapped it together in 2008 just before the first Android phone launched.
Over the last 6 years, Twisty (as an open source project) has waxed and waned and attracted a bunch of drive-by developers; but it’s never really advanced much. The thing up on the Play store is covered with cobwebs at this point. And what really irks me is that there still no Glulx interpreter for Android – the half-dozen IF apps in the store only play z-code. This means that basically any large, popular I7 game written in the last decade is still unplayable on Android devices (!)
But I wanted folks to know that things are getting exciting again.
Thanks to the contributions of many folks, we now have a partial implementation of GLK for Android. We’ve hooked up this GLK java front-end to two different interpreters written in C: nitfol and git. Nitfol is a z-machine, and git is a lightning-fast Glulx interpreter. They both talk to our GLK implementation via JNI, and the thing is actually sort of usable.
That is: we can now load and begin playing a majority of I7 Glulx games written over the last few years.
Of course it’s nowhere near usable by the general public. There are many parts of the GLK implementation to finish. But I wanted to share the good news with the community that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and a clear path to filling this huge gap in Glulx playablity.
The open source project is still over at
…and discussion still happens on googlegroup firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve attached a screenshot of one my own games (Rover’s Day Out) running on my Moto X.