Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Announce: C-40 interactice fiction contest

After the success of the Commodore 32 machine shipped in 2004, we have decided to upgrade this machine for 2007. The new C-40 machine is available at an even lower price than the 2004 Commodore 32, has an easier-to-read LCD panel display, and is far more portable than our earlier model.

While completely compatible with the Commodore 32 games, the C-40 also has an expanded memory. This machine has some 40960 bytes of memory that game cartridges can use. Like the Commodore 32, this C-40 can play both z3 and z5 z-machine games.

We are looking forward to shipping some games that will take full advantage of the C-40s large memory for the Christmas season this year. This is where you come in: We are introducing a C-40 contest where anyone on the internet can make a z3/z5 z-machine game that fits in 40960 bytes or less. Unlike the previous Commodore 32 contest, one is not required to use Inform nor the minform library to make entries for this contest. Any system that the contest entry writer can come up with to pack as much adventure in 40960 bytes is welcome, including home-grown parsers and optimized assembly language. In addition, games are not limited to text adventures; ASCII arcade games are welcome, as long as they can be played on the C-40's 80x24 display.

We are also looking for judges to judge the games in the contest.

The rules of this contest are:
  • Any kind of game that is a Z-machine version 3 or Z-machine version 5 game that fits in 40960 bytes or less is welcome.
  • All games submitted to this contest must be original for the contest.
  • All games must run correctly in Frotz 2.43 using an 80x24 display.
  • All games must be submitted on or before Monday, December 4 2007.
  • All games are to be submitted to me via email.
  • Any entry submitted to the C-40 contest must be one where there is permission to redistribute the submission on my webpage and on the IF archive.
As a matter of convenience, I have version 6.15 of Inform along with the mInform library available for people who want to use this SDK (Software development kit) to make entries for this contest available here (400k .zip file).

This will run in both *nix systems (including Mac OS X) and on Microsoft Windows. Windows users: You will need to create a directory named \tmp before being able to compile programs with the inform.exe program included in the zip file.

Based on the Commodore 32 entries, one should be able to fit a small 10-room adventure in the 40960 bytes allowed in the C-40 contest, or, with some clever programming, a large 25-room adventure.

Of course, one could opt to make a huge Scott-Adams style adventure with dozens of rooms. Or, for that matter, one can make a very extensive ASCII ART arcade game in 40960 bytes (but remember the 80x24 rule!).

- Sam