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Upping The Story-Telling Game With Dialog And The Å-Machine

During the a long time since Infocom launched their interactive tale sport Zork to world-wide popularity of microcomputers, the style of interactive fiction (IF) continues to be immensely well-liked, with a shocking choice of trendy IF works concentrated on Infocom’s authentic Z-Machine runtime for 8-bit micocomputers. We’ve observed plenty of stepped forward runtimes and languages for the platform over time, with [Linus Åkesson]’s Dialog language a newcomer.

Covering the technical information about the language in this thread at IntFiction, the attention-grabbing facet about this language is that whilst it has a compiler that compiles it to Z-code for the Z-Machine, [Linus] has additionally applied a brand new runtime, referred to as the ‘Å-Machine‘, since ‘Å’ follows ‘Z’ within the alphabet (in the event you’re Swedish, this is). This runtime must permit for greater tales and different options that make higher use of extra assets, whilst nonetheless permitting smaller tales to paintings on previous . Unfortunately the one Å-Machine implementation at this level is written in JavaScript, which isn’t identified to paintings specifically neatly on Commodore 64 and even Amiga 500 programs.

As for Dialog itself, its documentation supplies an in depth assessment of the language’s features, which claims to be impressed by way of each Inform 7 and Prolog. Its objectives are to be simple to practice, with a minimum choice of language ideas, and prime efficiency. As the documentation notes, many Z-Machine based totally tales exist these days which are unplayable on antique because of loss of optimization.

We coated Zork and the Z-Machine some time in the past in some element. We assume it’s nice to look that there’s nonetheless such a lot hobby within the platform. Maybe anyone will write an Å-Machine implementation for a Commodore or MSX machine one of in this day and age to look the way it compares to Infocom’s Z-Machine. Here’s to every other few a long time of the Zork-legacy.