ScottKit - a toolkit for Scott Adams-style adventure games

Author: Mike Taylor [email protected]
Copyright: 2009-2010
License: GNU GPL, version 2 - see file GPL-2


This is a Ruby program to compile, decompile and run adventure games in Scott Adams format, including those created by the great man himself. ScottKit's good for nostalgia freaks wanting to relive the classic games of the 1980s, but also as a tool for creating small, concise, new games.

It was intially written as an exercise in Ruby rather than with any great expectation that it would be useful, but it turns out to work pretty well as a tight, clean environment for games programming: if Inform 7 is like the Ruby of adventure games, ScottKit is like C. For a big project, you definitely want Inform 7; but I've found that there is a distinctive appeal to ScottKit. Apart from anything else, it makes a good domain-specific "little language" for teaching my sons how to program.

Running ScottKit

The main three modes of running are:

$ scottkit -c game.sck > game.sao  # compile
$ scottkit game.sao  # play the game; or use scottfree game.sao
$ scottkit -d game.sao  # decompile - useful for cheating

And there's a handy short-cut combining compilation and play:

$ scottkit -p game.sck # compile to memory, and play immediately

Other command-line arguments enable wizard commands, load saved games, set random seeds and enable various kinds of debugging output: run scottkit -h for details.


Unit testing can be done as follows:

$ ruby1.9 -I lib -rrake/rake_test_loader test/test_*
Loaded suite test/test_canonicalise
Finished in 0.769568 seconds.

11 tests, 37 assertions, 0 failures, 0 errors, 0 skips

Game format

The file notes/Definition-scottfree-1.14.txt is taken from the ScottFree package, which contains another interpreter for Scott Adams games. I got this file from release 1.14-9 of ScottFree. notes/Definition.txt is my modified version of this file, since the original had several mistakes. notes/Definition-saved-game.txt is my own analysis of the format of saved games from ScottFree. (Saved games from ScottFree and ScottKit can be freely interchanged.)


The directory data contains game files:

  • adams - Scott Adams's classic games (see Makefile for details)
  • howarth - Brian Howarth's games (see Makefile for details)
  • test - games files used by unit-test suite
  • tutorial - tiny game used in ScottKit tutorial
  • crystal - Crystal of Chaos, a game written to exercise ScottKit
  • dan-and-matt.sck - game written by my two eldest sons

I have verified that ScottKit can be used to play and win Scott Adams's games #1, 2, and 4: Adventureland, Pirate Adventure and Voodoo Castle. I welcome reports of its being used to play and win other games, or failing that, reports of how it fails.

Bug tolerance

The -b (--bug-tolerant) option is needed for Scott Adams Adventure 14b (Buckaroo Banzai), which places one item (the jug of jet fuel) in room 50 of 36. None of Scott's own games is so sloppy.