Before Z

You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

(Update: It’s been released)

lol that feel like an old game :slight_smile:

Is it possible to score more than 2?

I absolutely LOVE the graphics :slight_smile:

To win the game, you need a score of 5, and move to the right location. If there’s a need, I can post a walkthrough.

Not yet. I haven’t tried drawing a map - will give that a go first.

I’ve scored 5. I have no idea where to walk.


  • Always show available exits (except maybe ones you want to be hidden).
  • Make the plot/purpose clear (as in, make it there at all). As far as I recall there was nothing, and suddenly I’m hiding exits or something. I had no idea why I was doing what I was doing so I basically just used every object I found.
  • Make the world a “true” map. Currently, it violates the laws of physics, because I could end up north of the house like 6 different ways. When I already don’t know the exits to the room, that makes it almost impossible to have any clue where I am.
  • Maybe even show an ascii minimap, or just make the descriptions of areas clearer about where they are. Especially the first scene (the mailbox), which gives you no indication whatsoever that there might be other things around you.

Hm, and I wanted to go back and try more but it appears to be broken after going into a different tab in Safari on Mac OS X Java 6. I also tried Firefox and get the same thing. The applet is entirely white.

Thanks for playing, and for taking the time to comment. I was attempting to stay close to the source material, which had lots of locations where the “path” you take curves. Perhaps nowadays that game is more obscure that I had anticipated.

I sent you an email, somehow the jar didn’t get through in the submission. Please edit your game and add a jar.

This should be fixed now. I was seeing similar issues when you scroll the browser page around while the applet was loaded. It seems to be because I was refreshing the graphics too quickly. Slowing that down with a framerate fixed the issue, as well as giving a “text scrolling” feel.


It makes sense to see that there is a leaflet inside the mailbox in this other thing… I see now that in your game you’re playing as the guy who is setting up the area for the player of Zork. A clever little twist. It would be nice if this was a bit more obvious, I think.

And obviously you have to decide whether you’re sticking with the source material (Zork) or if you’re going to put in “improvements.” I am experiencing similar annoyances playing the original, in that I’m unsure where I am and I don’t know why I’m there. I would at least like a sentence like “you wake up next to an abandoned house and have no idea how you got there. Escape.” or whatever.


i am on mac with snow leopard, java1.6, safari and firefox
both of ur applets are white only for me…?


Both of these use “Active Rendering”, and there was discussion that the latest Java on Mac doesn’t support this. Can anyone verify if this is the case, or is there something else that’s causing this error?

Active rendering works on Mac, but the FPS is pitiful. I don’t have a white box, but it is irritatingly laggy.

That should be fixed now. It was a case of spending too much time waiting between frames.

I won. It helps to have played the original Zork. I also remember a spoof version that a former coworker wrote. It started exactly the same as the real Zork, but once you found the fireman’s helmet and a whip in the closet, the feeling that you weren’t in Kansas any more got somewhat stronger. I vaguely remember that there was also beer available, after which all tthhee lleetteerrss ccaammee oouutt ddoouubblle. ;D

I’ll post the source now. This was actually more of a project about making tools to make the game.

The base Java file, used with other transformations to create the final Java file (Velocity Macro file). It’s more of the base engine without data extraction or the data.
To decompress the data in the Java file (Velocity Macro)
Helper Velocity macros, used by the data file
The actual data file.

The data file is translated by a set of classes into the final binary data form, to be included into the Java source file as a String. These are located here.