Ravishingly obscure

A while back I found out DreamZZT had been mentioned in a book: Gaming Hacks.

Well, O’Reilly started offering a free trial of their online book service, so I’ve finally been able to read that section. Both DreamZZT and FrotzDC (which the author mistakenly calls DCFrotz) are mentioned in the Dreamcast emulators section.

Here’s the blurb about FrotzDC: (Pretty sure quoting is covered by fair use, don’t sue me O’Reilly!)

You can find out more about making your own text adventure ( [Hack #85] ), but if you have a keyboard or keyboard adapter for your Dreamcast, you can play text adventures here. There are plenty of freeware Z-Machine interactive fiction pieces available. DCFrotz even supports sound effects if you want to use or program a game that plays spooky WAV files.

And the blurb about DreamZZT:

Finishing with another ravishing obscurity, DreamZZT is a Dreamcast conversion of Tim Sweeney’s famous ZZT PC game-creation tool. (Back in the early ’90s, he wasn’t yet famous for Epic’s Unreal series.) ZZT graphics are entirely made up of ASCII characters. There’s a multitude of public-domain games available, both turn-based and real-time. Many are RPG-like. The Chocobo.org site has a decent ZZT game selection (http://www.chocobo.org/~butz/zzt.htm) if you’d like to try some third-party titles, all of which seem to run reasonably well.

The other Dreamcast projects mentioned in that chapter are DreamSNES, Dream-O-Rama, MDCNG, Frodo, and Stella. Considering how much homebrew software is available for the Dreamcast, it’s exciting to have not one but two mentions in the book!

Anyone want to buy me a copy?

I feel like

Woah! DreamZZT and FrotzDC are mentioned in the O’Reilly book Gaming Hacks: 100 Industrial Strength Tips & Tools by Simon Carless. Apparently it was published in 2004, but I had no idea it existed until a random google search turned up the index from the book. Anyone know where I can track down a copy? I’m curious to see what it says, but I’m not about to pay $30 for it 😛

FrotzDC 1.0 has a serious bug preventing you from saving correctly. The CD images have been removed and a binary with a temporary work-around is available in the downloads section. This new binary will not use the new file selector during load and save operations, instead it uses the original “Enter filename:” prompt and will only allow you to save on the VMU in port 1. New cd images will be created once the file selector has been properly fixed.

I’ve added a SBI for FrotzDC 1.0 to the FrotzDC downloads page. Let me know if there are any problems with it, this is the first time I’ve made one.

FrotzDC 1.0 is out! This new version of FrotzDC is based on UNIX Frotz 2.43 and is now licensed under the GNU General Public License. Additional features in 1.0 include color, timed input, and limited support for sound effects. For more information, check out the FrotzDC page.

I’ve been working on updating FrotzDC to use a newer Frotz core (2.43). I still have a few more bugs to fix, so hopefully binaries and source will be available this weekend. I’ll put up a list of changes and added features at release, but until then enjoy these screenshots of my new file selector in both 80 and 40 column modes:
80 column file selector
40 column file selector

I’ve been informed that a Windows interpreter compatible with the FrotzDC saves can be downloaded from the Windows Frotz 2002 homepage. Thanks to Snamley for the tip!

I’ve also added an excellent FrotzDC cover done by Syngori to the FrotzDC page.

Worried about losing your FrotzDC saved games? Wish you could use your UNIX Frotz saved game on your Dreamcast? Introducing the FrotzDC Saved Game uploader! Now you can use your PlanetWeb browser to upload saves from your VMU to share with others, and you can upload UNIX Frotz saves from your PC and have them converted to VMU files! Check out the new Saved Games section on the FrotzDC page!