Inform - Welcome - Introduction




4. What is the Z-machine? What's Glulx?

The Z-machine is an imaginary computer, created in 1979, which has never existed as circuitry. Instead, an enormous variety of real computers have been taught to pretend to be a Z-machine. The usefulness of this is that Inform's story files (the actual games which players play) run on the Z-machine, so it follows that a Z-machine interpreter is just what you need to play Inform games. The Z-machine was invented by Joel Berez, Marc Blank and others working at the Infocom corporation, so it also runs Infocom's justly famous works of interactive fiction.

Nonetheless, the Z-machine has its limitations, and a different imaginary computer known as Glulx is gaining in popularity. It's approximately true that the same designs can be run through Inform to produce games for either Z-machine or Glulx. (The differences mainly lie in pictures and sound effects.)

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Last updated 30 March 2002. This site is no longer supported; information may be out of date.
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This page was originally managed by Graham Nelson (graham at gnelson demon co uk) assisted by C Knight.