I have just made available the first public release (version 0.5.0) of the ZBerry interactive fiction application. This release works pretty well, but is definitely rough around the edges. I hope people get some amusement despite any bugs. More details about installation and usage can be found on the ZBerry Documentation page.
ZBerry Game Play
Please take this for what it is worth… a silly little hobby project of mine that may or may not continue. If you really like this, feel free to comment. If you find bugs, source code patches are welcome, but complaints are not. My hope is that is that it is worth more than its price (FREE) but given that I’m making nothing from this I hope that everyone can understand there is absolutely no support implied or available.
I continue to be impressed with the build quality and overall polish of the BlackBerry Bold as an end-user device… at least for basic functionality. While some may not like the way BlackBerry push email works, I find it to be pretty nice.
As a developer, I’m much more disappointed developing using the BlackBerry native API than I expected I would be when I started playing with my little ZBerry project. Marcus Watkins offers excellent insight into the world of BlackBerry development, which I won’t try to rehash here. The part that I find incredibly frustrating is the lack of decent reusable user interface controls. As Marcus details in his blog post, the provided UI functionality has the bland look and feel of the base operating system. Even more frustrating to me is how little flexibility there is even within the standard controls. For instance, I wanted to provide the user the ability to customize the font used in the text display. Using the standard functionality yields the following dialog. Read more…
I’ve decided to dub this little hobby project ZBerry (BlackBerry Z-Machine Interpreter). I made some progress this weekend allowing stories to be selected from the file system via a new “library” view.
ZBerry Library Selection
I need to add some suspend/resume support before this thing becomes really very usable on a phone, but some progress anyway…
I have long had a strange fascination with the old text adventure games aka interactive fiction. I remember hanging out with my buddy Gary when we were kids, working our way through various Infocom games. The stories were fun and the puzzles were always a good way to make you think.
A few years ago, I created a JavaME MIDP Z-Machine interpreter called ZeeME. This was an interesting little project at the time to learn my way around programming for these small devices, but actually using it was painful at best. Typing natural text using triple-tap just wasn’t enjoyable. With a QWERTY keyboard on my BlackBerry Bold, it seemed like this might be a good time to resurrect this project yet again.
I’ve made some progress in building this out, but there is still a very long way to go. Here’s a snapshot of the emulator running the game “Minizork”.
Watch here for more to come…