xzip - X Interface to the Z-code Interpreter
[ options ...
The list of options is described below. The gamefile
should be the
filename of a Z-code file or a PICKLE archive containing a Z-code file.
is a clean X Windows interface to games written in Infocom's Z-code
game format. It handles Z-code versions 1 through 5, plus the newer version 8.
The interface is heavily (well, completely) based on ATK, an X toolkit developed
at CMU. Really, I would have preferred to actually do this in ATK... except
that then you'd need ATK to run it, and that's 50 megabytes
code. (Honest.) So I just did an imitation.
In the text window:
to move the dot to the mouse location.
to select a large region.
to extend the selection to the mouse location.
selects a word (or extends the selection one word at a
In the scroll bar:
Left-click on the arrows
to scroll to the top or bottom.
Right-click on the arrows
to scroll up or down one line.
Click-and-drag on the elevator
will scroll up and down smoothly.
Left-click in the bar (without dragging)
will scroll down by an amount
controlled by where in the bar you click. The farther down the bar, the more
it scrolls. This is computed so that if you left-click next to a line, that
line scrolls to the top of the screen.
Right-click in the bar (without dragging)
will scroll up in a similar
manner. The top line will scroll down to where you clicked.
The key commands will be familiar to Emacs users. meta-
be used either by holding down the meta
key (possibly labelled
or something else) or by pressing escape
before the desired
The commands listed below are the defaults. They can be customized with the
X resource (see below.) <none> indicates a function
which by default is not bound to any key.
Move dot forward one character.
Move dot backward one character.
Move dot forward one word.
Move dot backward one word.
Move dot to beginning of line.
Move dot to end of line.
PageDown, ctrl-v (scroll-down)
Scroll down one page.
PageUp, meta-v (scroll-up)
Scroll up one page.
Delete character before the dot.
Delete character after the dot.
Delete word before the dot.
Delete word after the dot.
Cut selection to cut buffer.
Copy selection to cut buffer.
Copy the cut buffer in at the dot.
Cut from dot to end of line into the cut
Cut all text typed so far into the cut buffer.
UpArrow, meta-= (backward-history)
Move back one line in command
DownArrow, meta-` (forward-history)
Move back one line in command
Insert a macro string at the dot. By
default, all macros are undefined at startup, but you can change this with the
The next macro key hit will be redefined to
be the selection. If there is no selection, or if the next key hit is not a
macro key, an error is displayed.
Redraw text and status windows.
Redraw status window.
Redraw text window.
Expand status window to maximum size (only
when the autoresize
option is on.)
Shrink status window to minimum size (only
when the autoresize
option is on.)
Clear any extra text below the status line
in the status window.
Enter, Return (enter)
Accept the text that has been typed.
Set escape mode; next key hit will be taken as a
Cancel escape mode, and anything else that's going
Help, ctrl-_ (explain-key)
Explain the next key hit; this displays
the function that the key is bound to, and its argument, if any.
All normal keys (insert-self)
Insert whatever key is bound to this
at the dot.
Do nothing. Bind a key to this to disable it.
All the behavior of xzip
is controlled by X resources and command-line
options. Any particular behavior can be set with either a resource or an
option; options override resources.
Command-line options go on the command line, looking like,
xzip -option value gamefile
Note that even binary options like "justify" must be given a value,
"yes" or "no".
Resources are usually placed in your .Xdefaults
file, depending on your system setup. They have the format
These are the resources and options that you can currently set. The default
values are in italics.
- geometry: 500x600+100+100
- The geometry of the text window, in the usual X geometry
- statgeometry: 80x24+100+50
- The geometry of the status window. Note that the size is
given in characters, not in pixels, although the position is still in
pixels. This makes it something of a pain to position it in the right or
bottom sides of the screen.
- foreground: black
- The color of the text and other window decorations.
- background: white
- The color of the window background.
- greycolor: grey60
- An intermediate color, used for the scroll bar on color
- justify: yes
- If "yes", full-justify the text in the text
- marginx: 4
- Width (in pixels) of the margin between the left edge of
the text and the scroll bar.
- leading: 3
- Width (in pixels) of extra space to put between lines of
- autoresize: yes
- If "yes", the status window will automatically
resize to be just big enough for the game's status line. (But see
- resizeupward: no
- If "no", the status window will resize downward;
the top edge will stay in place, and the bottom edge will move. If
"yes", it will resize upward. At the moment, this doesn't work
very well at all. (See "Known Bugs", below.)
- autoclear: yes
- If "yes", extraneous text in the status window
will be cleared after one turn. (See "Quirks", below.)
- history: 20
- The number of commands to store in the command
- buffer: 4000
- The amount of text (in characters) to keep in the
scrollback buffer. If this is made too large, the program can become very
- strictz: 1
- The level of reporting of various subtle errors in the game
file. 0 means that all errors are silently ignored; 1 (the default) means
that each error is reported, but only the first time it occurs; 2 means
that each error is reported every time it occurs; 3 means that the
interpreter will shut down immediately when an error occurs.
- spec: no
- If "yes", the interpreter will declare itself to
be compliant with the Z-machine Specification version 1.0. This is,
basically, a lie, since I have not formally reviewed the source for
Spec-1.0 compliance. However, xzip does support every Spec-1.0
feature that I know of, except for the color and Unicode options.
- inputstyle: b
- The style to display your typed input in. This can be
n for normal text, or r, b, rb, i, ri, bi, rbi, f,
rf, bf, rbf, if, rif, bif, rbif to specify any combination
of Reverse, Bold, Italic, and Fixed. Note that the letters must be in the
order shown; you cannot use ib to specify italic and bold.
- X-color: (same as foreground)
- X may be any of n, r, b, rb, i, ri, bi, rbi,
f, rf, bf, rbf, if, rif, bif, rbif. This allows you to
specify the color of any of the sixteen fonts used by xzip. For
non-reversed fonts, this is the color of the text; for reversed fonts, it
is the color of the field on which the text is displayed. (The text of
reversed fonts is always in the background color.)
- X may be any of n, b, i, bi, f, bf, if, bif.
This allows you to specify the sixteen fonts used by xzip. (Note
that you cannot set the reversed fonts; they always use the same font as
their non-reversed counterparts.)
The status window always uses the fixed-width fonts; the text window usually
(but not always) uses proportional fonts.
- bindings: (see above)
- Key bindings to supplement or override the default
bindings. The resource should look like
key=function [, argument ]; key=function [, argument ] ...
where key is the name of a key, preceded by c- to indicate a
control key and m- to indicate a meta key. function should
be one of the function names listed in parentheses in the "Key
Bindings" section. argument (which is optional) should be a
quoted string which will be passed to the function. Currently, only the
macro function takes an argument.
So, for example,
xzip.bindings: c-x=kill-input; m-i=macro,"inventory";
would mean that ctrl-x will delete all input, and meta-i will
enter the string "inventory", and meta-d will do nothing.
You can have more than one key bound to a function, but you can only have
one function bound to a key; later bindings will override earlier
Ok, I lied; there's one behavior which is set by an environment variable. If you
set INFOCOM_PATH to a directory or colon-separated list of directories,
will look there for a story file if it doesn't find it in the
As always, if you highlight colored text, the result may be surprising.
Highlighting "normal" text will be fine, and any other fonts which
are the same color, but other colors may highlight in strange ways, and could
be hard to read. (This is only a problem for text which is highlighted because
it's selected. Text in a reverse font looks correct.)
Certain games (notably Trinity
) display pop-up
windows, by using the status line in a slightly funky way. They expand the
status line, display some text, and then immediately shrink the status line
I have done my best to support this in xzip
´s two-window system.
The pop-up window will be visible from when it is created until the first time
you hit Return.
Then the status window will shrink again. This gives
you one "turn" to read the pop-up, which should be sufficient. (In
one-window, non-scrolling interpreters, the pop-up appears over your old text,
and scrolls away as you continue play.)
If you turn off the autoclear
option, pop-ups will not be erased; use
to expand the status window and read them after the window
shrinks, and meta-c
to erase them manually. If you do not erase the
pop-up, a later pop-up may partially overwrite it, which looks ugly.
If you turn off the autoshrink
option, the status window will not shrink,
but the pop-up will still be erased (unless you have turned off
The "resizeupward" preference just plain doesn't work. If you use it,
the status window will slowly drift downwards as it resizes.
If a timed input (such as Border Zone
uses) expires while you are
editing a line, the dot jumps to the end of the line.
If a style change occurs in the middle of a word, xzip
thinks it's okay
to break the word there (when wrapping lines.)
Reverse text has gaps in it in full-justified lines. It also has gaps between
lines, in the text window.
The keybindings are ignored while xzip
is waiting for a single keystroke
(as opposed to a line of input.) ctrl-l
is hardwired to work, but any
other key will just be taken literally.
Scrolling is slow and awful on X servers without backing store.
Ignores meta modifier on special keyboard keys (Home, PageUp, etc)
Parsing of keys in bindings could be cleverer. It ought to understand /123 octal
notation at least.
Ought to have separate font and color prefs for the status window.
Sometimes makes you place a window by hand, even though the geometry is
X interface by Andrew Plotkin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Z-code engine is taken from ZIP V2.0.7 by Mark Howell
For more information, see the web page:
You are expressly forbidden to use this program on an Infocom game data file if,
in so doing, you violate the copyright notice supplied with the original
Parts of this program (the files xinit.c, xio.c, xkey.c, xmess.c, xstat.c,
xtext.c) are copyrighted by Andrew Plotkin. These files may be distributed,
modified, and used freely, with the exception noted above.
I do not know the exact copyright status of the rest, except that it was written
by Mark Howell and thus is probably copyrighted by him. He released it for
free, so to the best of my knowledge, it can also be distributed, modified,
and used freely, with the exception noted above.