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Portable ZZT / Super ZZT

December 19th, 2006 · No Comments · Games

I just stuck ZZT and Super ZZT onto my flash drive… can’t believe I’d forgotten about them. They’re old DOS games that run fine under XP… and are still fun to edit with even today. I should also stick the latest MegaZeux 2.8x branch on there too, later, although MZX games actually have music and tend to be bigger, so I wouldn’t be able to fit as many.

For those of you who don’t know, these games are of the genre known as “Game Creation Systems”. They all include integrated editors and object oriented* scripting languages which are powerful enough to allow you to create some amazing things. They all run in text mode, which means you’re limited graphically, but it’s still amazing what can be done. MegaZeux is the most powerful of the three, and is able to dynamically change the palette on demand, as well as the ASCII character set. Sadly I find all of them have rather limited scripting language syntax, but they’re simple enough to quickly get the hang of and make stuff in.

* When I say object oriented I don’t mean in the programming sense, with classes and such, but rather code you write is tied to a specific object, and so scripting commands tend to be focused around manipulating the current object. MegaZeux has a more extensive command library but it’s still usually best to let each object manipulate itself. Object A might move around a bit and then tell Object B, using a message (basically a GOTO across objects) to move around a bit.

So now that I’ve completely deviated from my set topic… to get ZZT and Super ZZT ready for my USB stick, I did my usual general cleanup on them… although neither has much in the way of extraneous files so I didn’t end up deleting anything. I also compressed them with UPX, although ZZT.EXE and SUPERZ.EXE aren’t compressible. The only things that compressed were EXE and COM files from the tools I downloaded, including:

  • KevEdit – A third-party editor for ZZT, much better than the built-in editor.
  • FontMania – Not necessarily just for ZZT, it patches the text-mode font to allow for “character sets” in ZZT. Not even sure if it works in Windows, heh.
  • MegaHack – A cool looking tool that includes a MegaZeux password ripper and a ZZT game unlocker (some editors used to use tools that would corrupt pieces of ZZT’s header files to prevent ZZT’s editor from opening them, although ZZT itself could run them fine. They are all easily reversible, though). Of course MegaHack’s real value is how extravagant it is for having so few actual features. 🙂
  • ZZTWeb – An infinitely helpful (apart from my contributions) ZZT help file replacement.

I also grabbed a few old games I remembered were fun, as well as all the Featured Games, Games of the Month and Classic Games of the Month from z2. That should give me a good enough library.

Weighs in at 29mb… that was A LOT of games… although a base ZZT package would hardly push a MB or two…

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