The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Solid-Gold Edition) by Steve Meretzky and Douglas Adams (Infocom)
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README.md

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Solid-Gold Edition) Source Code Collection

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a 1984 interactive fiction game written by Douglas Adams and Steve Meretzky and published by Infocom.

Further information on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

What is this Repository?

This repository is a directory of source code for the Infocom game “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, including a variety of files both used and discarded in the production of the game. It is written in ZIL (Zork Implementation Language), a refactoring of MDL (Muddle), itself a dialect of LISP created by MIT students and staff.

The source code was contributed anonymously and represents a snapshot of the Infocom development system at time of shutdown - there is no remaining way to compare it against any official version as of this writing, and so it should be considered canonical, but not necessarily the exact source code arrangement for production.

Basic Information on the Contents of This Repository

It is mostly important to note that there is currently no known way to compile the source code in this repository into a final “Z-machine Interpreter Program” (ZIP) file. There are .ZIP files in some of the Infocom Source Code repositories but they were there as of final spin-down of the Infocom Drive and the means to create them is currently lost.

Throughout its history, Infocom used a TOPS20 mainframe with a compiler (ZILCH) to create and edit language files - this repository is a mirror of the source code directory archive of Infocom but could represent years of difference from what was originally released.

In general, Infocom games were created by taking previous Infocom source code, copying the directory, and making changes until the game worked the way the current Implementor needed. Structure, therefore, tended to follow from game to game and may or may not accurately reflect the actual function of the code.

There are also multiple versions of the “Z-Machine” and code did change notably between the first years of Infocom and a decade later. Addition of graphics, sound and memory expansion are all slowly implemented over time.

What is the Purpose of this Repository

This collection is meant for education, discussion, and historical work, allowing researchers and students to study how code was made for these interactive fiction games and how the system dealt with input and processing. It is not considered to be under an open license.

Researchers are encouraged to share their discoveries about the information in this source code and the history of Infocom and its many innovative employees.

Some Trivia and Notes on this Repository

  • While Douglas Adams originally wanted to program the game himself, he was paired with Steve Meretzky as Meretzky had more experience with the ZIL language and system.
  • Adams’ contributions mostly consisted of a series of conversations with Meretzky about puzzles, descriptions, and signing off on what was written.
  • Meretzky said that Adams indicated he could not tell where his writing ended and Meretzky’s began, a very high compliment.