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About Zinc

Zinc stands for "Z Interpreter with Network Capabilities". Zinc was originally written by four computer science students at the University of Bristol as part of a course entitled "Software Product Engineering". It is written entirely in Java 1.4.

The earliest releases of Zinc were public beta releases made near the end of the course. The final product was submitted for marking in May 2003 and was awarded the very respectable matrk of 82%. It was in part thanks to members of the public downloading and testing our early releases that we were able to submit such an excellent product for marking. The Zinc team are grateful to everyone who has taken the time to send us feedback on their experiences with Zinc and hope that people will continue to do so.

Because Zinc was written for a university course it was important that it was seen to be entirely our own work. For this reason the original public releases were binary only so that we could receive bug reports but not bug fixes from the public. After Zinc was marked it was made available as fully Open Source software under the GPL.

Early releases of Zinc were hosted on a website running on the server of the Bristol Information Technology Society (BITS). In June 2004 Zinc's website and development resources were migrated to SourceForge.net where we look forward to the continuing development of Zinc.

The Zinc Team are:

  • Henok Bekele
  • Mike Colley
  • Ben Jemmett
  • Sam jervis

-- Sam Jervis, June 2004

Original Project Proposal

The original project proposal that led to the creation of Zinc is shown below. It was originally submitted in October 2003.

The Zinc group have chosen to develop an interpreter for text adventure games (a.k.a. interactive fiction). In addition to the basic game-playing functionality, the product will include a mapping feature and the ability for multiple networked users to play a game in a co-operative manner. The application will be written in Java, to allow for some cross-platform compatibility. Initially we will provide support for the Infocom Z-machine standard for interactive fiction; the system will be designed to allow other interpreters to be plugged in, such as for TADS games.

This application has been chosen because it poses an interesting set of problems, and lends itself very easily to modularisation and so provides a decent amount of work for every member of the group. The mapping feature included in the description is one that is available already, but not integrated with the interpreter environment; also, as far as we know this will be the first system with co-operative play over a network. We feel that these features will make the system attractive to a real user base.

The application will be named Zinc -- Z Interpreter with Network Capabilities.

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