Winter TADS (and Zilf) Jam starts December 1, 2022

I am pleased to announce the Winter TADS (and Zilf) Jam that begins this Thursday.

I have a commemorative cup in mind for the winner and possibly commercial copies of Thaumistry for the entrants if I can figure out how to purchase them for third parties. (?)

So far, I have been unable to find a way to purchase promotional copies of Thaumistry. :frowning:


By ZILF, that means a game with a Z-machine compiler (eg .z3, .z5, etc.), right?

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ZIL is the Zork Implementation Language the language used by Infocom in the last century. See Zarf’s Article. Zilf is the compiler based upon Zil developed by Jesse McGrew. See: Zilf Getting Started Page

You are correct, Z-machine games are descendants of Zil. If you entered a Z-machine game, it would not be excluded.

Thank you, Jeff


Thanks, just needed clarifying. I hope I can complete an actual game in time▫️


Sorry, but just for clarification: I assume this part refers only to Z-machine games which were written in ZIL and compiled by the ZILF toolset?

If so, then I think the wording “Z-machine games are descendants of Zil. If you entered a Z-machine game, it would not be excluded.”, which also appears on the jam’s homepage at itch, might be a bit misleading. Since Inform 6, Inform 7 (if it’s a small game), and Dialog can all produce Z-machine games, too, people might think those are admissible (by way of being in the general family tree of the Z-machine).

As the intent of the comp was/is to promote TADS and ZIL, I’d think that a general permission for all kinds of Z-code games would dilute the original idea?

Of course, it is your competition, and I don’t want to persuade or dissuade you concerning how to organize it; just asking for clarification.



I totally agree with you. The TADS/Zil jam is about TADS/Zil…

And, I was making a stretch for the particular post from MAX.

Earlier this year, we got into quite a debate about “parser games” in ParserComp. Same issue.

Rather than discourage someone from participating and entering, I thought I would be inclusive and allow his game.

In the spirit of IF, I think it is OK. ??

My main intent is to promote TADS with Zil as an add on. Any participation will help with that cause.


To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure which system Max had in mind for his entry, given that he said “I thought maybe making a game in ZIL could be a good side project” in another thread, which might mean he also intends to use ZILF for the jam, while the question here in this thread could indicate that he is thinking about a different compiler, as long as it’s targeting the Z-machine. @SomeOne2, which system/language do you intend to use?

Absolutely fine, no worries.


I intend to use ZIL, complied with ZILF.


IMO, creating Inform games from scratch qualifies as ZIL implementation. Of course, that means Dialog games are fine only if Linus is the one submitting it, since he’s the creator and all.

I did do that, although it’s only in Choice game format, which is trivial to do in any language.

Edit: I mean Inform6, which is close to Z machine op codes, instead of I7, which is another whole layer of abstraction.


I don’t fully agree. It’s true that both Inform6 and ZIL language both align closely to the Z-machine opcodes, but a lot of the IF parts resides inside the libraries. That makes them quite different to code with.

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Means not using library, other than the one you make? Do you have another interpretation of “from scratch”?

I dont think the purpose of the jam is that you need to build your own library.


Ah, neat! So, at least on behalf of Max, no exemption from the TADS-and-ZIL-only rule would be necessary.


Feel free to use a simple library equivalent to ZIL. I’m not comfortable with ZIL syntax, however, the logic of ACTION-OBJECT-INDIRECT is clear enough.

I suppose there’s TADS, though you don’t really need complicated library for Choice IF or 2 word parser, for that matter.

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If I only have enough to qualify for a demo of what will be a larger game, is that still a valid submission?

I don’t know how much I’ll have done when the window closes; I’m starting it today, but I’ve also been called a “high-velocity coder” before.


Complete games are preferred but it wouldn’t be excluded.

I’m looking forward to your game.


That’s excellent to hear.

I think I might work on enough of the game to make the primary ending playable. The alternate secret ending (which I think very few players would find anyways) will need a whole other set of puzzles, will take twice as long to make, and will increase the map size quite a bit.

I hope I can make it in time lol


Something to keep in mind is that releasing a demo now would preclude you from submitting your completed game in other comps down the line, as most of them will only accept previously-unpublished games.

With so many comps around nowadays, you may want to consider submitting the finished, polished game to Spring Thing or ParserComp instead.


Hm. This is a good point. I might do that instead. >>

EDIT: I mean, the plan wasn’t to submit the full version for a second comp; it was more to test the waters during a comp with the demo and then just post the full version whenever. I mean, I’d test it before the comp, but reading the reviews for the demo would be interesting.