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Thanks for downloading FreeSCI!

FreeSCI is a portable interpreter for SCI games, such as the Space Quest
series (starting with SQ3) or Leisure Suit Larry (2 and sequels); see
below for a complete (?) listing.

This release has the following limitations (plus some bugs):
- Only SCI0, SCI01 and SCI1 games are (partially) supported
- The SCI debug functions aren't fully supported (and probably never will be,
  since we're using our own debug functions)
- SCI1 palette support is preliminary and known to be broken
- The sound subsystem is hardwired to particular drivers on compile time
- Several pieces of game-critical functionality are known not to
  function properly; please refer to the bug tracker at for details.

This is ALPHA sofware. That means that there still are lot of bugs.

Please refer to 'NEWS' and the 'ChangeLog' for information about changes
in this and previous versions. Please also refer to the following files for
platform specific instructions:


0 Building FreeSCI

Please see the platform-specific readme file applicable to your system for
instructions on how to do this, or download a binary version.

1 Running FreeSCI

After you have a binary copy of FreeSCI (whether compiled yourself or
downloaded), you should have a number of tools (depending on your operating
system), and the main program (src/freesci). Usually, you will want to
run the main program; there are five ways to run a game with FreeSCI now:

a) You can enter the directory your game is contained in, and just start
'freesci'. If no parameters are given, it will look for data files in the
current working directory. You need all of the resource files (and any
resource patches) for an SCI0 game in your current working directory.

b) Run 'freesci' with the -d parameter to specify the path to your resource
file directory.

c) First build a configuration file, then run 'freesci' followed by one of
the game names described in the config file. The process of creating a
config file is outlined in section 2.

d) First build a configuration file, then run 'freesci'. A menu will be
presented containing all games that are listed in the config file.

e) FreeSCI can search a directory tree for SCI games and present them in a
menu. The directory to be searched can be specified with the -G command line
option, or the menu_dir config file option.

Please note that the default options are rather spartanic; if your machine
is sufficiently powerful, you might want to spice up your graphics. How
this can be done is described in section 2; we also provide a reference
configuration file (called 'config') for high-quality graphics.

1.1 The built-in debugger

To invoke the FreeSCI debugger, do one of these three things:
- Start the interpreter with the -D command line option
- press Ctrl-` (the Quake console key) and wait
- As above, but press LShift-RShift-PadMinus instead

The debugger will also activate if a script error is encountered. Once
activated, execution of game scripts will cease until explicitly resumed.

Here are two of the most simple commands:
- 'quit'- Terminates execution of the interpreter
- 'go'- resumes execution of the game scripts

For a list of all commands supported by the debugger, type "list cmds" at
the debugger command line. Use "man <command>" to learn about the specified

2 Configuration

FreeSCI will create a directory called .freesci in a platform-specific location
(see the appropriate README file for further details).

This directory stores FreeSCI data files such as saved games. If a file called
'config' exists in this directory, it will be read and parsed by the interpreter
after the game has been loaded; this file may ask for specifications from
other files to be included (as with the C preprocessor) by using the notation

	%include < [filename] >

where [filename] is the name of the file to be included; as far as the
configuration file reader is concerned, this is equivalent to replacing
the entire statement with the contents of the file [filename]. FreeSCI
automatically checks for and warns about circular inclusion. Include files
should be stored in the same directory.

A variety of configuration options may be specified. Currently, the
configuration file may contain:

- Comments preceeded by a hash '#' sign

- [GAME_ID]: Commands following this line will only have an effect for
  the game with the specified game ID. (The game ID is printed during
  sciv startup, and is also used to create the save game directory).
  You can use this to provide game-specific configuration options.

- menu_dir: Specifies the directory that is recursively searched for SCI
  games when the game selection screen is invoked. Should only be used in the
  generic part of the config file.
  Default is the '.freesci/games/' directory, where '.freesci' is in a
  platform-specific location (see the appropriate README file for further

- console_log: Specifies a console log file which keeps track of all output
  print with the function sciprintf().

- version = x.yyy.zzz: emulate SCI version x.yyy.zzz. The version number
  is sometimes printed on game discs, or can be found out by
  grepping your main executable for "0.000." (for SCI0 games). It is
  also displayed if the built-in debugger is activated in the Sierra SCI

- pic0_dither_mode = dither | flat | dither256: (only one of those three modes).
  dither: Draw in 16 colors, same as Sierra SCI.
  flat: Interpolate colors (256 colors). Improves some graphics.
  dither256: Dither in 256 colors. A compromise between dither and flat.

- pic0_dither_pattern = scaled | unscaled
  scaled: Dither in axb sized blocks, if x scale is a and y scale is b
  unscaled: Dither in 1x1 blocks (single pixels)

- pic0_brush_mode = scaled | ellipses | random-ellipses | more-random
  Affects how semi-random brushes (used mostly for dirt and foilage) are drawn:
  scaled: Scale every semi-random pixel to a rectangular block
  ellipses: Scale every semi-random pixel to a filled ellipse
  random-ellipses: As ellipses, but slightly shift ellipse offset and size
  more-random: Add more random pixels to the whole area

- pic0_line_mode = correct | fine | half
  correct: Draw lines appropriately scaled
  fine: Don't scale lines (thin lines, may cause problems) 
  half: Draw them at approximately half their correct width (only noticeable
        with scaling factors from 3 upwards)

- dirty_strategy = 1 | clusters
  The "dirty strategy" is the strategy used to collect modifications to the
  screen content. Modifying this may affect performance on slow or networked
  1: Collect everything in one dirty region
  clusters: Cluster non-overlapping modified regions into a set of regions 

- pic0_scaled = yes | no
  Whether SCI0 background pics should be scaled (may look better) or not
  (faster, looks more like the original games). By default, they are not scaled.

- pic_buffer_size = #
  Number of background pics to store in an LRU buffer. Increasing this value
  will increase the amount of memory used, but may considerably speed up
  changing back to rooms you visited not too long ago.

- mouse = yes | no
  Whether the interpreter should report to the game that it has a mouse.

- resource_dir: Read the game's resource data from the specified location.
  Must not be used in the generic part of the config file.

- resource_version: Assume that the game's resource map has the specified
  version number. The most interesting values are 3 and 5; Look at the
  web page for specific instructions for a number of games.

- view_filter = none | linear | trilinear
  Magnification filter for 'views', i.e. moving foreground (and, in some cases,
  non-moving background) images. 'none' means that they are translated into
  what may look like a huge chunk of colored rectangles; 'linear' smoothes
  those rectangles somewhat. 'trilinear' does more sensible filtering by
  applying an almost-standard trilinear filtering algorithm.
  This has no effect if graphics are not scaled.

- pic_filter = none | linear | trilinear
  Selects the filter to use when scaling background pictures. This only applies
  if pic0_scale is set to 'no'.
  Please refer to the documentation of "view_filter" for details on the various

- cursor_filter = none | linear | trilinear
  Filter for the mouse cursor. Note that this only applies for graphics drivers
  which don't implement their own mouse cursor.
  Please refer to the documentation of "view_filter" for details on the various

- text_filter = none | linear | trilinear
  Filter for text.
  Please refer to the documentation of "view_filter" for details on the various

- pic_antialiasing = none | simple
  Performs antialiasing on background pictures. Default is 'none'.
  + 'simple' is a trivial anti-aliasing algorithm which calculates intensity
    according to the following matrix:
    (1/16 1/8 1/16)
    (1/8  1/4  1/8)
    (1/16 1/8 1/16)

- animation_delay: A speed factor for transition animations. Default is 5.
  Set to 0 to disable transition animations.

- animation_granularity: If transition animations are too slow on your system,
  this option can be used to draw several steps of a transition animation
  before updating the screen, resulting in a faster animation. The default is 4,
  which causes transition behaviour identical to FreeSCI 0.3.1.

- alpha_threshold: A value between 0 and 255 (defaults to 129) used by the
  built-in crossblitter to distinguish between "opaque" and "transparent"
  pixels. This only has any effect if pixmap filtering is enabled for any
  resource type.
  Smaller values will cause fewer parts of the picture to be displayed,
  which may result e.g. in text being unreadable, while larger values may
  cause too many pixels to be drawn, resulting in bulky images.
  This does not have any effect when running unscaled.

- module_path: A list of directories modules (gfx drivers etc.) are searched
  in. Directories are separated with the platform's default directory
  separator (':' on UNIX) and are searched in order of appearance.
  Default is '/usr/local/lib:/usr/lib'.
  --- module support is currently not available ---

- reverse_stereo: Whether stereo sound output should reverse its output

- scale_x: A positive non-zero integer (default depends on the gfx driver)
  that sets the horizontal scaling factor for whichever gfx driver you

- scale_y: Like scale_x, just for the vertical axis.

- scale: Like scale_x, but affects both the horizontal and the vertical axis.
  This scale is overridden by the others.

- color_depth: The color depth (in bits per pixel) to use

2.1 Driver-specific options
Graphics and sound drivers may have additional options specific to them.
Driver-specific options are set by writing

	<subsystem>.<driver>.<option> = <value>

For example, you would use

	gfx.ggi.swap_caps_ctrl = true

to activate the GGI driver's feature for swapping CapsLock and the left Ctrl

All driver-specific options are listed here:

2.1.1 Graphics subsystem
This subsystem uses the prefix 'gfx'. GGI driver:
At this time, the GGI driver does not have any specific configuration options. Xlib driver:
- disable_shmem = true | false
disables shmem x11 access (meaningless if XShm support wasn't compiled in).
- swap_ctrl_caps = true | false
Swap Ctrl and CapsLock
- localise_keyboard = true | false
Try to interpret keys according to the X11 native keyboard lookup table. This
will make keys act according to their labels on non-US keyboards, but will
render shortcut keys (Ctrl-*, Alt-*) disabled in many cases. SDL driver:
- swap_caps_ctrl = true | false
Determines whether to swap the meanings of the CapsLock and the left Ctrl
key (relative to a PC-style keyboard layout). The resulting layout resembles
a Sun keyboard. Default is 'false'.
- fullscreen = true | false
Turns fullscreen mode on or off. Default is 'false'. The key combination
Alt-Enter can be used to toggle fullscreen mode while FreeSCI is runnnig. Dreamcast driver:
- render_mode = vram | pvr
Determines the rendering mode to use. VRAM mode uses the framebuffer
directly, while PVR mode renders a textured quad. Default is 'vram'.

- refresh_rate = 50Hz | 60Hz
Determines whether a 50Hz or 60Hz refresh rate will be used. Default is

2.2 Graphical per-resource customisation
FreeSCI supports a number of ways for customising the way in which graphics
contained in SCI games are rendered on a per-resource level, i.e. by
specifying certain options explicitly for the resource under consideration.
 This is expressed by specifying two things to FreeSCI (per customisation
step): A pattern and an alteration, terminated by a semicolon (';')

2.2.1 Patterns
  The pattern specifies which resources the alteration applies to; for
example, it may be applied to all cels of a certain view, to all pics with
a certain palette, etc. Patterns may look like the following:

  view  ( [nrs] )( [nrs] )( [nrs] )
  pic   ( [nrs] )( [nrs] )
  cursor( [nrs] )

...where [nrs] may be a comma-separated collection of numbers, the
asterisk wildcard ('*') for "all possible options", or a sequence
'n..m', which indicates that all numbers x such that  n <= x <= m
are matched. Ranges may be used (comma-separatedly) in combination with
individual values. For example,

  view (1,2)(1..3)(*)

would match all cels of loops 1,2 and 3 in view.1 and view.2.
Trailing '(*)' may be omitted, so the above may be re-written as

  view (1,2)(1..3)

with identical semantics.
  For all resources, the first parenthesised set of values describes
the resources it will match on (view number, pic number, etc.). For
views, the second and third parenthesised sets describe the set of
loops and cels matched on, respectively. For pics, the second
parenthesised set describes the default SCI0 pic palette matched on,
where applicable.

2.2.2 Modifications
FreeSCI distinguishes between two classes of modifications: Absolute and
relative modifications. The current sets of absolute and relative
modifications are depicted below. The difference between these is that
at most one absolute modification may be applied to a given resource--
currently, the last one specified is used-- whereas all relative
modifications are sequentially applied to it (after applying the
absolute modification). Absolute modifications

(a) Setting the resource palette

  [pattern] = [palette]

  ...where [palette] is one of the following:

	default		- The default EGA palette
	amiga		- A palette matching the AGI Amiga palette
	gray		- A grayscale palette Relative modifications

(a) Setting resource brightness

  [pattern] *= [value]

  This multiplies the described resources' brightness by [value].
  For example, a [value] of 2.0 would double their brightness.

(b) Linearly modifying resource colour channels

  [pattern] *= ([rf], [gf], [bf])

  This linearly modifies the three colour channels of the matched
  resources independently. [rf], [gf] and [bf] may be floating point
  numbers; they modify the red, green, and blue colour channel,

2.2.3 Examples for graphical per-resource customisation

  pic(1..100) *= 0.4 ;
  # darken the first 100 pics, starting at 1

  view(*)(1,3,5) = gray ;
  # Mark loops 1,3 and 5 in all views by turning their cels gray

2.3 Config file example:
# FreeSCI config file

version = 0.000.685
pic0_dither_mode = flat
pic_antialiasing = simple
text_filter = trilinear
midiout.alsaraw.card = 1
midiout.alsaraw.device = 2
# default to interpolated color mode and interpreter version 0.000.685
midiout.ossopl3.patchpath = /etc/midi


pic0_dither_mode = dither256
# Quest for Glory looks better in that mode
pic0_brush_mode = morerandom
pic(*)(1) *= (0.5, 0.6, .9) ;    # Darken night-time background pictures
resource_dir = /usr/local/share/freesci/qg1


version = 0.000.453
# This SQ3 version is ancient
resource_dir = /home/bob/stuff/misc/other/games/more/sierra/old/sq/3

3 Potentially supported games

The following games have been tested with FreeSCI and are known to work to some
+ Hero's Quest / Quest for Glory 1
  (completed by Emmanuel Jeandel with a post- 0.3.1 development snapshot)
+ Space Quest 3
  (completed by Jason Cragg with a post- 0.3.0 development snapshot)
+ King's Quest 4
  (completed by Bas Zoetekouw with a pre- 0.3.3 development snapshot)
+ Leisure Suit Larry 2
  (completed by Erian McKinley with a pre- 0.3.3 development snapshot)
+ Leisure Suit Larry 3
  (completed by Christina Mengert and Micheal Solberg with a post- 0.3.1
   development snapshot)
+ Police Quest 2
  (completed by Magnus Kristiansen with a post- 0.3.2a development snapshot)
- Codename: Iceman
+ The Colonel's Bequest
  (completed by Rune Orsval with FreeSCI 0.3.2a)
+ Conquest of Camelot
  (completed by Erian McKinley with a pre- 0.3.3 development snapshot)
- The Fun Seeker's Guide (from the SQ Collector's Series)
- Hoyle's Book of Games (volume 1) (*)
- Hoyle's Book of Games (volume 2)

In theory, FreeSCI should be able to let you complete all of these.

King's Quest I (SCI version) is not officially supported but was still completed
by James Albert with a pre-0.3.3 CVS snapshot.

(*) Due to differences between the way Sierra SCI and FreeSCI handle graphical
widgets, Hoyle's Book of Games may consume a lot of memory rather quickly. We
are hoping to resolve these issues at least partially very soon.

4 Platform support

Successful builds for the 0.3.3 release were reported for the following
platforms (in order of appearance):
- Alpha EV67/Debian GNU/Linux/gcc		tested
- Alpha EV67/Debian GNU/Linux/ccc		tested extensively
- IA32/Debian GNU/Linux/gcc			tested
- IA32/Windows 9x and NT/Visual C++             tested extensively
- Sparc/Sun/Solaris/gcc				tested
- IA32/Slackware 7.1/Linux/gcc			tested
- Alpha EV6//FreeBSD/gcc			built
- Alpha EV6/Compaq/Tru64 5.1/cc			built
- IA64/SuSE/Linux/gcc				built
- IA32//FreeBSD/gcc				built
- Alpha EV6//OpenBSD/gcc			built
- IA32//NetBSD/gcc				built

The following platform used to be supported, but no longer is:

- ia32/DOS (no maintainer)
	This port is orphaned. Anyone interested please contact us.

5 Notes

Please note that most of the documentation found in the doc/misc subdirectory
is random information copied from the SCI Decoding Project homepage and
from homepages of various of its members.

Some of the source code contained in the doc/ directory, namely sd.c, sde.c,
sdv.c, and decrypt.c, was created by Carl Muckenhoupt who has
given permission for it or parts of it to be ported and/or included in this

Other source code, such as scr000.txt and scr_code.cpp, was copied from public
sources without the knowledge of its authors.

Sierra game resource files and everything they contain are property and copyrighted by Sierra On-Line (which in turn is a registerd
trademark of Sierra On-Line, Inc.).

Space Quest, Quest for Glory, King's Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, Police Quest,
Codename: Iceman, Conquest of Camelot, and The Colonel's Bequest are registered
trademarks of Sierra On-Line, Inc.
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