CellarDoor 1.1.2 Documentation

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Thanks for trying CellarDoor, an Interactive Fiction interpreter for PalmOS devices. CellarDoor supports Z-Machine (Z-Code) and Glulx game files, including those wrapped in the Blorb file format (.zblorb and .gblorb files).

CellarDoor's Z-Code support is based on the Frotz v2.43 interpreter. Frotz is an Interactive Fiction interpreter which permits the play of Z-Machine (Infocom, Inform, Z-Code) games such as Zork and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. CellarDoor supports V1-V8 games (including V6 with MG1/Blorb graphics).

CellarDoor offers Glulx support via the Git interpreter (1.2.2) and uses a (rather) modified version of the CheapGlk library (0.9.0). It supports JPEG and PNG graphics, if they are found in Blorb files.

It requires an ARM-based PalmOS device with hi-res screen, OS4 or later, an expansion card and the large dynamic memory area available from OS4 onwards. If your handheld does not meet these requirements, you may want to try Frobnitz, PilotFrotz or Kronos.

CellarDoor is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. Elements of CellarDoor (CheapGlk, Git, Frotz, PEAL) may have their own, less restrictive, licensing terms. Please read the documentation for these packages for more information.

Table of Contents

Principle Features

CellarDoor can run games in the following formats: Usage features: Appearance: CellarDoor was based on the source code of CliFrotz 1.6. For CliFrotz users, the PRINCIPLE CHANGES appendix, below, outlines the most significant differences between CliFrotz 1.6 and CellarDoor.


Note that some sections of this document currently presume a passing familiarity with CliFrotz, and describe several features relative to their function or (non)existence in that software. As CellarDoor continues to evolve, so will the documentation. Until then, new users who have no familiarity with CliFrotz, please bear with the presumption -- it shouldn't hinder getting CellarDoor up and running quickly.

Throughout the documentation, the words "story" and "game" are used interchangeably, depending on the author's attitude toward interactive fiction at the moment of writing.


Hotsync the CellarDoorInstaller_112.prc file with your PalmOS handheld. This will install CellarDoor and any required libraries on your Palm and launch the application. Make sure the expansion card is inserted before you install.

The first launch of CellarDoor will cause a Preference file to be created (it's called CellarDoorDB.pdb). Choose Preferences from the menu on the opening screen to choose your memory card (in case your Palm supports multiple) and to set various display options.

See below, in the sections "STORIES, FOLDERS & CATEGORIES" and "GRAPHICS AND AUXILIARY FILES" about installing your story files and any associated data.

NOTE for Tungsten T3 users only: Install the AppSlipRotate.prc and StatusBarLib.prc files (they MUST be installed together) from the PalmOne web site if they haven't already been installed. This will enable widescreen support. Or you can get them here.


Before you can actually play any games with CellarDoor, you'll need to a) have some and b) install them. Assuming that you already have some games, you need to get them, and all supporting files (.mg1 graphics, for a few Infocom titles) on your memory card. If you don't, see the section FINDING GAME FILES, below.

All supporting files (stories, saves, notes) must be located on your memory card, preferably in the /PALM/Programs/CellarDoor folder (generally in subdirectories, as outlined below). The easiest way to manage this is to use a memory card reader with your computer or a program like Sync Buddy (OSX: http://perso.orange.fr/fpillet/syncbuddy.html). Palm's Hotsync utility won't properly sync the types of files used by CellarDoor.

The first time CellarDoor runs (and on subsequent launches, if the folders are missing), it creates several folders:

Your story files can live either in /PALM/Programs/CellarDoor or in /PALM/Programs/CellarDoor/Stories or in a subfolder which you create yourself inside of the Stories folder (e.g. /PALM/Programs/CellarDoor/Stories/Glk or /PALM/Programs/CellarDoor/Stories/Infocom). Each subfolder of the Stories folder will appears as a category in the categories popup in the opening screen. Three additional categories, "All", "Unfiled" and "Saves" will show up, as well. You shouldn't use these special names for your folders.

Story files should be in their original format (for Z-Code files, this is usually a .z# file (where # is a number between 1 and 8) or a .zblorb/.zlb file), for Glulx, this is usually either a .ulx or a .gblorb/.glb), and not in a Palm database format. Files are not parsed based on extension, but are 'sniffed' to determine their validity and format, so any extension is acceptable, as long as the file is the correct type.

To create category subfolders and/or move your story files around, you'll naturally require a file manager or memory card reader. FileZ (http://www.freewarepalm.com/utilities/filez.shtml) is free and can help you with this task. Resco Explorer is not free, but is somewhat more pleasant to use. For convenience, you can move files between existing categories (folders) from within the Details screen inside of CellarDoor (but you can't create new ones).

If you don't want to use categories, instead using the "classic", CliFrotz mode, simply don't put any folders inside of /PALM/Programs/CellarDoor/Stories, in which case you'll have 2 tabs - Stories and Saves, just like in CliFrotz.

   The old (1.0.0) CellarDoor base file location of /CellarDoor is still supported,
   if present. Fresh installations of CellarDoor 1.0.1 and above use the new location.
   **NOTE**: If you are updating from CliFrotz, you can rename your 
   /Frotz folder, at the root of your memory card, to /CellarDoor,
   or move it to /PALM/Programs/CellarDoor. 

   Otherwise, you'll want to copy your games from /Frotz 
   to /PALM/Programs/CellarDoor after you've run the program once.



At the present time the Tungsten T3, T5, T|X, UX50/40 and Tapwave Zodiac support full landscape mode.

You will not be able to change the orientation while playing a game, because the interpreter engines get confused if the screen size changes in the middle of play. When accessing the Preferences from the Story List, there is an option to allow portrait mode (this is option is disabled when playing a game). Changing this option requires a restart of CellarDoor. On the Tungsten T3, T5 and T|X, the screen is forced to landscape widemode even when the slider is shut, or the DIA open.


CellarDoor supports Glulx stories in .ulx or Blorb file formats, thanks to Git (http://diden.net/if/git/) and CheapGlk (http://www.eblong.com/zarf/glk/index.html). I've had to make significant modifications to both in order to support Palm OS and the CellarDoor application model, so don't assume that anything will work as expected. ;)

In particular, CellarDoor supports multiple windows, including graphics, while CheapGlk only supports a blind, single-window terminal. Because of the limitations of the Palm screen (that is, because it's so small), I've deviated a bit from the Glk specification to try to make as many stories look as good as possible. This is principally achieved by limiting graphics and their windows to 1/2 of the requested dimensions. This may have some unexpected consequences, but testing indicates that this is a lot better than the default values on little screens. Most games look and play great.

Sound is not supported. Graphics in graphic windows are supported. Graphics in text buffer windows are partially supported (the graphic will be drawn, but the positioning will likely not be correct).


Infocom's games are still copyrighted, so you'll need to buy them or locate the ones which have been released into the public domain. But there's more to Interactive Fiction than Infocom, and there are hundreds of great, free Inform/Infocom (Z-Code) games available from:


You can find Glulx games at:


There's a large and active community of people making new and involving Interactive Fiction. See the list of "LINKS" at the end of this document for some other starting points for finding new story files.



When running CellarDoor for the first time, check the "Check Heap RAM" menu to see if you have enough RAM available. If you have less than 800KBytes free then you will likely have problems running many larger Z-Code games, and you can probably forget about Glulx entirely. This free RAM is not the same as that shown in the Application launcher.

If the available RAM is low, pictures may not be drawn. For Z-Code games with associated .mg1 picture files, if you have lots of free heap RAM available, the picture file will automatically be cached in memory resulting in a speedup; on OS5 ARM devices this speedup is substantial. Blorb graphics are not currently cached.

For more information about memory-related issues, see the FAQ, below.


The Story List is the central place in CellarDoor for finding and working with your story files. It looks like this:

If you created subfolders in your Stories folder (see above in STORIES, FOLDERS & CATEGORIES for more information), they are available from the drop-down menu in the top-right corner of the screen as categories. Otherwise, you'll have 2 categories: Stories and Saves.

On the bottom of the screen, you can see the 'Play' and 'Details' buttons. 'Play' takes you to the interpreter window, while 'Details' opens the details form, where you can rename, delete, move and tag the selected story file. The color widget on the bottom right allows you to filter your games by tag. Here's the quick rundown:

Clicking in the menu bar area of the screen, or touching the menu button on your device (if it has one), will open the menus, where you can get information about your Heap RAM, open the Main Preferences screen, or check which version of CellarDoor you're running.

The Details form

The Details form looks like this:

Most of the items here are self-explanatory, although you can click in the Information widget in the top-right corner for a description of the items displayed here. If you change the story's category, it will be moved to the selected category folder (this might take a few seconds). You can choose a new tag for your story by clicking on the Tag drop-down menu:

Main Preferences

There are actually two Preference screens. The main screen (which is 2 forms) can be accessed from the Story List, and permits changing all configurable options in CellarDoor. The second screen (a single form) can be accessed during game play, but has only a very limited selection of options. This section deals specifically with the first set of Preferences screens, but is applicable to the second (since it's just a subset of the full preferences). Anyway, the first form looks like this:

As with the Details form, the Information icon yields an in-application description of the items here. But here's a quick summary:

Pushing that 'More...' button gets you to the second screen:


This is where you play.

Most of what happens here is up to the game, but there are a few things to be aware of.

When playing a game, tapping on a word will bring up a menu permitting quick word entry, with contextual substitution (the Verb List). Tapping anywhere on the screen where there isn't a word brings up the command list menu (the Word List). This is what the Verb List looks like when clicking on the word "Rito":

You can scroll backward by dragging the screen. When you scroll back, you can tap on words and whitespace, just as when the screen is in its "normal" position. Selecting a word, writing a letter, etc. will cause the screen to jump back to the text entry line.

Some games support a "Mouse" such as Journey and Zork Zero. CellarDoor emulates mouse "clicks" by tapping on the screen, e.g. you can tap on a word in Journey.

The most important screens which you can reach from the menu in the interpreter are the Interpreter Preferences, the Verb List and Word List editors, the Save and Restore forms and the Notes.

Interpreter Preferences

Note this this is a slimmed-down version of the second preferences screen, discussed above. There's nothing new here; these are, however, the only items which can be changed during game play.

The Verb List and the Word List

The Verb List:

and the Word List:

can be used to quickly insert commonly used text into the interpreter. They both function identically, except that the Word List doesn't support contextual subsitution. The Verb List does: the '$' character will be replaced by whatever word was tapped in the interpreter. The check mark after the entries determines whether a carriage return/enter will be added after the selected text is inserted in the interpreter.

You can add up to 20 verbs (with contextual substitution) and another 20 words (no substitution) to the pop-up menus which appear when you click on text (for the verbs) or non-text (for the words) in the Interpreter window. There are, in fact, 2 sets of verb and word lists, in principle for users who like to play in multiple languages, but you can use them for whatever you like. Switching between the 2 list sets can be accomplished from the 2nd Main Preferences screen (or from the Interpreter Preferences).

Saving and Restoring

Choosing the Save menu item yields the Save form:

Here, you can save your game under a new name, or select a previously saved game and save over it. The Restore form looks more or less the same, just without the 'Delete' button.

New saved games are written to subfolders of the /PALM/Programs/CellarDoor/Saves folder. The subfolders are named after the story file being saved (e.g. SLOUCH.z5's saved games are written to a folder called /PALM/Programs/CellarDoor/Saves/SLOUCH/).

If you are upgrading to CellarDoor from CliFrotz, you may want to go to the (Main) Preferences screen, where you'll find a button labeled "Sort Quetzal Files". Tapping this button will cause saved games to be sorted into folders. "Orphaned" saved games (for which there are no story files) are moved to a folder called "Unsorted".

Regardless of whether you sort your saved games or not, CellarDoor will find any saved games in the /PALM/Programs/CellarDoor/Saves directory or in a subfolder thereof.

   **NOTE**: Due to a limitation of the interpreter, you can't automatically
   restore saved games by choosing them from the Saves category in the Story List. 
   The associated story file will be opened, and you can manually load the saved 
   game with the "Restore" menu command.


Notes are stored as simple text files named on a per-game basis (SLOUCH.z5's notes are called SLOUCH.txt) and can be found in the /PALM/Programs/CellarDoor/Notes folder. They are available from the interpreter during game play, and can be up to 64K in size.

Miscellaneous Menu Items

The "Hotkey" menu enables access to the Frotz Hotkey functions such as undo, record, playback and debugging. When using Record and Playback the file is put into the /PALM/Programs/CellarDoor/Misc directory, the name is automatically generated from the Story filename. For example, a playback file for story Zork1.z3 is named Zork1.rec

Transcripts, i.e. the "script/unscript" command also go into the /PALM/Programs/CellarDoor/Misc directory. These are plain text files, and have the extension .scr.


If CellarDoor crashes before a game starts, try freeing up some internal memory (do a soft reset, for instance, or run a cache flushing utility). If it continues to crash and you can't get the game to start, try deleting the CellarDoorAS and CellarDoorDB databases using a File Manager utility such as FileZ (hint: they are generally right next to the program file). Some games also understand the "verify" (or "$verify") command. If your game starts, but crashes after a few turns, try running "verify"/"$verify" to see if the file is corrupt.

If you get stuck in an endlessly screwing-up Autosave loop (try running Winter Wonderland with "Num Cols" set to 45), where you can't regain menu control over CellarDoor, you can either use a file manager to delete the CellarDoorAS database, or you can start CellarDoor with the 'down' button held (or press it immediately as you launch). If an Autosave session is about to be restored, you'll get a dialog box prompting you whether you'd rather just delete the Autosave file and return to the Story List.

Frequently Asked Questions

Known Issues

Bug Reporting

CellarDoor is as bug-free and play-tested as possible. While it won't eat your lunch, leave the seat up or make international calls with your cellphone, there are probably still some things wrong with it. If you encounter any:

Please tell me what game you were playing (and where I can find it, if it's the first time you've mentioned it), what you were doing, if you can reproduce the problem or if it was a one-timer. For display bugs, please try the same game in a "standard" PC interpreter and compare the behavior in WinGlulx or Zoom or Spatterlight to what I've got. Don't forget to shrink the game window to 320x320 or 480x320 and compare!


First of all, CellarDoor would not have been in any way possible without the amazing work of Simon Quinn (aka Fangorn) on CliFrotz. Without CliFrotz, CellarDoor would never have been started. After the release of CellarDoor 1.0, I heard from Simon, who gave me his blessing for the continued work on the app. So, thank you Simon for some great work. Simon based CliFrotz on Rick Reynolds' PalmFrotz project, so I raise a glass in tribute to Rick's hard work, as well.

Next, both Andrew Plotkin (Glk, Glulx) and Iain Merrick (Git) provided extremely valuable insight and encouragement while I was struggling with the Autosave implementation (sorry for being such a pest, Iain!). The first implementation of Glulx in CellarDoor was actually done in Andrew's Glulxe and, after I had spent 2-3 extremely unpleasant weeks getting Autosave working, I determined that it (the interpreter) was simply too slow for a PDA. So I ripped out all the hard-fought-and-won code, replaced it with Git, and then spent another 2 months of intermittent unpleasantness getting it all working again. And now it works. And I'm thrilled about that, so thanks guys!

Selmi (palmPNG) was incredibly helpful while I was ironing out the PNG graphics support, and continues to be very supportive. And herzlichen vielen Dank to Stefan Stolz (to whom I've never had the presumable pleasure of speaking) for his pnoJpegLib, a modified version of which I'm using for JPEG graphics + general image scaling.

Finally, a big thanks to my small team of enthusiastic beta testers, without whom this app would still be a pile of undiscovered bugs and lost opportunities. In order of appearance: Luis Fernández, Mike Russo, Michael Ferrador, Rick Reynolds, Incanus, Domingo Stephan and Doug Roberts. For version 1.1.2, I additionally thank Sean Huxter, JoAnn Radway, Mischa Magyar and Jeff Sonas

Berlin, 2 February 2009

Jeremy Bernstein jeremy@bootsquad.com

Abridged Changelog / Revision History

CellarDoor 1.1.2 (2 February 2009)

CellarDoor 1.1.1 (23 May 2008)

CellarDoor 1.1.0 (20 May 2008)

CellarDoor 1.0.3 (27 April 2008)

CellarDoor 1.0.2 (14 April 2008)

CellarDoor 1.0.1 (12 April 2008)

CellarDoor 1.0 (25 April 2007)



A: Principle Changes from CliFrotz

Story Support



B: CliFrotz 1.6 Change History (for the archives)

v1.6 24/03/05

* Added support for the TH55 landscape utility
* Speedup for Zodiac screen display
* Fixes to word popup on command line
* Fixes to more prompt

v1.5 25/01/05

* Fixed Tungsten T5 and W recognition
* Zodiac joystick support and grafitti window event fix
* Zodiac disable landscape option added
* Clie double event on jog dial fixed
* Reinstated Function Key menus
* Popup Words menu is now free floating instead of using the button bar.
* Added Carriage Return button to button bar
* Saved games list now displays dates instead of sizes
* Removed Hotsync registrations due to instability issues - PalmOS bug?
* Fixes to popup word tapping

v1.4 14/03/04

* Added "mouse" support for Journey, ZorkZero etc, to use tap the screen
* Added ARMlet for pictures, gives faster picture drawing on OS5 and later
* Picture file now cached in memory if lots of free heap RAM for speedup.
* Fixed crashes and improved expansion card support
* Added Hotsync registrations for story and graphics files
* Fixed TH55 screen size
* T3 screen slide redraw fix

v1.3 04/03/04

* Fixed menu problems with OS4 devices
* Fixed ROM version checking for devices such as 610C
* Added memory card selection to preferences
* Some screen drawing speed ups

v1.2 25/02/04

* Added V6 Graphics (MG1) support!!!
* Added option for UX50 to disable wide landscape support
* Fixed messy screen clearing on some games
* Fixed line input erasing and cursor positioning
* Fixed Shogun ZC_GAP displaying, gets rid of square character
* Save files automatically have ".sav" appended

v1.1 09/02/04

* Change to line input event processing to fix issues with menu shortcuts, etc.
* Added transcription support, i.e. "script/unscript" command.
* Added Frotz Hotkey support with Debugging, Recording and Playback.
* Fixed colour issues with popupforms, DIA and terpetude.
* Fixes to Clie NX display and DIA.
* Fixes to Insertion Point, and changed its colour to stop it disappearing.
* Added "Free Heap RAM" menu option.

v1.0 24/01/04

* First release

rec.arts.int-fiction: http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.int-fiction/topics

rect.games.int-fiction: http://groups.google.com/group/rec.games.int-fiction/topics

The Interactive Fiction Archive: http://www.ifarchive.org/

Baf's Guide to the Interactive Fiction Archive: http://www.wurb.com/if/index

IFWiki: http://www.ifwiki.org/index.php/Main_Page

Interactive Fiction Reviews: http://www.ifreviews.org/

Society for the Promotion of Adventure Games (SPAG): http://www.sparkynet.com/spag/

IFDB, the Interactive Fiction Database: http://ifdb.tads.org/

Interactive Fiction Ratings: http://www.carouselchain.com/if/