Infobox VG |title= ZZT

developer= Tim Sweeney
publisher= Epic Games
designer= Tim Sweeney
engine = ZZT-OOP
version =
released= 1991
genre = Puzzle
modes =
ratings =
platforms= MS-DOS
media = Free download
requirements =
input = Keyboard, Mouse

"ZZT" is an ANSI-based computer game, created in 1991 by Tim Sweeney, of Epic Games (then Epic Megagames), who later designed "Unreal". It remains one of the most popular DOS game creation systems. "ZZT" itself is not an acronym for anything; its title was simply chosen so it would always appear at the very bottom of newsgroup listings. However, it was later jokingly mentioned by Sweeney as being short for "Zoo of Zero Tolerance", which has mistakenly become a popular belief.

"ZZT"'s graphics were obsolete before it was even created; it used the same style of text-mode graphics that "Kingdom of Kroz" used 4 years earlier. However, "ZZT" managed to become fairly popular because of its integration of a simple but effective object-oriented scripting language known as ZZT-OOP. At the time this was groundbreaking, as most functionality in prior games had been hard-coded. The language allowed extensibility that no other game was able to provide, and allowed a large degree of community involvement that extended far beyond simply creating level terrain with the built-in editor, but rather involved writing programs to make the game run.

Originally "ZZT" was shareware, with only one of the four level-sets or "worlds" released without payment. The level released with the shareware copy is called Town of ZZT. The shareware versions also included Demo of "ZZT", which displayed the basic features of ZZT worlds, and Tour of ZZT, which allowed the player to view select rooms (some playable) of the four worlds. Three different versions of shareware "ZZT" were released, with three corresponding registered "ZZT" versions. With about 30,000 registrations worldwide, "ZZT" was successful enough to finance the production of "Jill of the Jungle", a game seen as Epic Megagames' answer to Apogee classics such as "Duke Nukem". However when the game became obsolete it became freeware, with all four worlds of the registered version released for free. The worlds are: "Town of ZZT", "Caves of ZZT", "Dungeons of ZZT", and "City of ZZT"; they can best be described as adventure games.

In the newsletters for the registered version of "ZZT", it is apparent that Sweeney initially had not expected the editor to become the most popular feature of his game. Fans' letters to him quickly established this, and Sweeney responded by encouraging registered users to make their own worlds and submit them to him. The best material from these was released in "The Best of ZZT".

Basic gameplay of ZZT is very simple. The player is controlled by the 4 cursor keys, and the shift key and a cursor key pressed will shoot a bullet (if the player has ammo). Items that can be picked up include: ammo (each magazine holds 5 bullets), gems (used for currency in most games), torches (used by pressing the T key in darkened rooms, lighting a small area around the player, that moves as the player does), and energizers that give the player temporary invincibility. Enemies include Lions (randomly moving monsters, that may follow the player), Tigers (randomly moving monsters that fire bullets), Ruffians (monsters that chase the player, then rest, then repeat), slimes, and spinning guns.

Third-party worlds for "ZZT" are diverse, ranging from shoot 'em ups to complex role playing games to a "Lemmings" clone. They range from the simple to the complex, from inane to brilliant. One of the more fascinating aspects of the game is the culture that has built up within and around it: catch phrases, programming tricks, and even some rather remarkable internet personalities. Information about the community itself can be found at [http://www.zultimate.org ZUltimate] , the ZZT wiki. Many other games have been inspired by "ZZT", such as "MegaZeux" and "ZZT"'s sequel, "Super ZZT", the latter being widely criticized for lacking an easily accessible editor function.

Although it has been many years since Tim Sweeney first wrote "ZZT", it still has a cult following.

Other programs

There are many utilities, resources, and advanced editors available for "ZZT".

* " [http://kevedit.sourceforge.net/ KevEdit] " :A versatile world editor that features a complete palette, a larger backbuffer, a default color mode, and a much better character selector. It is no longer developed (as of July 2, 2005) and is still in an alpha form, but is still usable. Latest release number is v0.5.1 .
*" [http://www.geocities.com/cyqzzt/ ZZTAE] ":Is another, older external editor for ZZT. It has a color chooser, easier to read language editor, support for object libraries and fonts, improved buffer, object, and map sizes, a test function, and a music player. Worlds created using "ZZTAE" are watermarked. Worlds found with that became a bannable offense in some "ZZT" contests. A tool was later released that could eliminate the traces. The newest release is v1.0.1 (October 1, 2001).
*"SuperWAD":An unfinished world maker. Only half of its intended features were ever implemented.
*"Unlockers":There are multiple utilities that offer password cracking, for locked "ZZT" worlds can be edited.
*"Engines":Many "ZZT" programmers create a working system for a function, for example mouse input, different weapons, advanced menus, etc., and upload them for other programmers to use.
*"Toolkits":There are a large amount of "toolkits" for "ZZT". They are typically composed of palette and ASCII character boards for quick resource grabbing.
*"Frontends":A few programs that improve how opening and storing ZZT files of the user do exist. Not all of them are complete.
*"Cheat programs":Also called "trainers". They set different stats and settings before starting a world, usually with the intention of cheating.
*"Patchers":Simple programs that change parts of "ZZT"s UI.
*"Music makers":There are many programs and worlds for "ZZT" that make creating music for its #play command easy.

External links

*dmoz|Games/Video_Games/Game_Design/Development_Tools_and_Software/ZZT_and_MegaZeux/|"ZZT" and "Megazeux"
*moby game|id=/zzt|name="ZZT"
* [http://zzt.belsambar.net/ Z2, ZZT community]

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