Worlds of ZZT v3.56

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ZZT Source Code Impromptu Stream

Be dumb. Be smart. Be awe-struck. A Guided Tour of ZZT's Source Code. Almost.

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Jan 31, 2023
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Livestream of the... ZZT SOURCE CODE?? by Tim Sweeney (1991)

After years of being unavailable and presumed lost after a disk crash took out the original copy, ZZTers have their holy grail, the source code to ZZT. "Almost" as asie puts it in the repository:

"The Almost of ZZT"

What this is a copy of ZZT's source containing original variable and function names, as well as comments. While the Reconstruction of ZZT ( has meant that the source code has been available through reverse engineering since 2020, this historical artifact gives some vague ideas as to the purpose of various unused variables in the Reconstruction, and is just a very cool find.

The code is "Almost" as this source code is based off the Softdisk published "Worlds of ZZT" release of ZZT ( admittedly an earlier version than this one) and was obtained by asie through considerable effort. While Tim Sweeney has been fully onboard with opening his own code, attempts to get a go-ahead from the Softdisk side haven't had an affirmative response yet. As such, SoftDisk owned code has been removed from the repository. Thanks to the Reconstruction, and the general lack of modifications made to the program it's possible to isolate what code is Tim's and what isn't. Until permission is acquired to distribute the complete source, what's here is solely what is able to be.

Which honestly, is all of the fun stuff. Internal names for enemies, a theoretical scrapped powerup, and code that looks like it was written by a university student in the early 1990s is all here! The only thing really missing is some SoftDisk branding. I decided rather than comb through it myself that I would stream a look at the code. This probably isn't the most exciting stream to watch, but for those that grew up with ZZT, there's a sense of absolute wonder seeing the real deal source for the first time.

One last disclaimer for the road: As mentioned in the README, for folks interested in doing work with ZZT's source themselves, the Reconstruction is a significantly more complete, detailed, and readable codebase. The Almost is a historical piece more than a starting point for new derivatives.

====== A Worlds of ZZT Production ======

The Worlds of ZZT project is committed to the preservation of ZZT and its history.

This article was produced thanks to supporters on Patreon.

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