ZZT Encyclopedia Online

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Livestream - ZZT Encyclopedia Online (Part 1)

Exploring an encyclopedia of ZZTer submitted tips and tricks and weird engines

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: May 31, 2023
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♦ Livestream of the ZZT world "ZZT Encyclopedia Online" by Chronos30 (2002) [https://museumofzzt.com/file/view/zeol2002/]. ♦

Trying to put to rest some ancient wisdom of the early 2000s about the ZZT Encyclopedia. The Encyclopedia had two formats over the years, with Version 3C being the final of the original version before being rearranged into a much more modular format known as the Online edition.

The were a general consensus in the community that the older 3C release was superior as it was split into just two main worlds making it a lot easier to find what you were after, and contained menus that were very open, making it easy to jump from one board to another in any order you pleased.

The Online edition meanwhile was designed to be easier to update. Each of more than ten included worlds is dedicated to a different subject (player clone tricks, custom weapon engines, managing memory...) similar to the old structure's menus within menus. The goal was to allow minor updates to be pushed regularly rather than to wait until enough new features were submitted before a classic release.

But, with filenames like ZEOL-5.ZZT, it can actually be more difficult to find something you're looking for! The menus also have a tree structure with a main trunk and branches to each exhibit, requiring players to turn around and head to the main branch rather than moving freely across the board. So yeah, it is slower and more painful to use.

The upside of course, is that version 3C is from 1998 while the ZEOL's final update was back in 2002, giving the format plenty of time to amass information the old release lacked. I wanted to see how bad the new format really was, and how much it had that couldn't be found in previous versions.

And you know, there's a decent amount of new material honestly. ZEOL remains a great demonstration world of the sort of things ZZT can be bent to do. Today though, it's clear that much of what it showcases is impractical for full games, often requiring numerous flags or counters which are in limited supply. While it's an excellent time capsule, it remains inconclusive whether there's a superior version. The Encyclopedia today is best used for inspiration, learning a few oddities, and playing around with some silly ideas. If you're learning ZZT-OOP, either version will likely suit you just fine, though the later release does do a bit more with tricks that weren't fully understand in the 90s that were better understand in the 2000s, and only really understood in modern times with access to source code.

But it is fun to explore! So we're gonna keep checking it out!

♦ Stream Contents ♦
• (1:18:10) End of Ad Break 1

♦ Play this world directly in your browser ♦

♦ Originally streamed on May 26th, 2023 ♦

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