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FAQ


Is there a demo version of your product "Zillions of Games" available for download?

Yes! We have a demo of "Zillions of Games" that allows you to play 48 games with no expiration date, for free. There are several things the demo is missing however, that are included in the full, unlocked version. Click here for more information.


What is an unlock key?

We sell software in two different ways: download-only and on shipped CD-ROM. If you purchase by download-only, we will email you a personal key that is used for unlocking the demo, turning it permanently into the full version. This is a convenient system: by downloading the demo you can try before you buy, and no further downloading is required if you do buy.


Is there anything different between the download version (unlocked demo) and the CD version?

No, there are no significant differences between the version on the CD and the downloadable version once it is unlocked. They both have the full feature set. The advantages of the CD are that you'll have a physical copy (a better gift!) and that the CD includes a DirectX installer, which might benefit people who need to upgrade DirectX, but have a slow (or no) Internet connection. The advantages of the unlock key are that you can start enjoying the full version instantly and it is cheaper. For these reasons, we recommend download-only rather than the CD.


Do you ship internationally?

Yes, Zillions of Games can be shipped to most countries in the world. The shipping and handling price is $15 for international orders, $5 for U.S./Canada.


Which games come with Zillions of Games?

Over 350 game and puzzle variants are included on the CD. You can find a complete list of them here.


Where can I get the latest patch?

If you have version 2, the easiest way is to choose "Check for Updates" from the Help menu. You can also download the latest patch here.

If you're still at version 1.x, you can download a patch for upgrading to 1.3.1 here. We'd rather see you on version 2 of course. Send us information so we can verify you're a version 1 owner and we can get you an version 2 upgrade discount.


If I buy Zillions of Games and use it to create an original game of mine, can I then sell my game?

Assuming you're using your own graphics for the board and pieces and your own scripting code to implement it, then I don't see why not. However, keep in mind that other users will need to own Zillions of Games in order to play it. Think of the game rules files you create as documents, just like Word processing documents. You can sell the documents you create, but the purchaser will need a program to open them with.

Zillions of Games does not have the ability to generate stand-alone games, although if you have a game that works in Zillions of Games, our programmers can turn it into a stand-alone game for a fee.


Will I be able to develop new games in Zillions?

All Zillions games are specified in a powerful, data-oriented, scripting language designed specifically to describe game rules. There are sections for describing pieces, the board, the goals, the help, etc. Scripting is akin to very easy programming. If you have any experience with any programming language, scripting language, or formatting language like HTML, you shouldn't have any trouble writing a Zillions Rules File. If you are good at math and logic, you should be able to figure it out. If you have no experience in things like this, then implementing new games may be beyond you, and you should rely on the games other people are creating.

You'll need the full (unlocked) version to develop new games, but other than that nothing is required. New games are described to Zillions in text files, so all you need to write a new game is a text editor. WordPad will do, but others can highlight keywords for you. Zillions comes with a built-in parser/compiler that will alert you to syntax errors you make and can even detect run-time problems like endless loops.

A language reference manual is provided. Another great place to get help is our discussion board (ee the "Designing Games for Zillions" topic), where lots of friendly game authors hang out.


I'm a good Windows programmer and want to program my own AI for my game. Is this possible?

Yes, we support a plugin architecture where you can create a DLL that overrides Zillions' AI for a particular game. This is documented in the language reference manual. Also, we have created a sample plugin.

in the newest version of of Zillions (download the newest patch).


I'm curious whether ZoG's chess play has ever been rated, even approximately.  I know it's not entirely fair to compare a general purpose game engine with one optimized for chess.  But from your extensive experience, how would you rank it with other computer chess programs?

Zillions has never been officially rated, but it is certainly much weaker than today's commercial chess programs, including our own engines (NOW, Innovation,...). However, on a really fast computer (I use a 450MHz Pentium) on a faster time control it does seem better than me, and I've been as high as USCF 2050. That probably makes it a good match for an average tournament player on an average machine and of course means it will slaughter 99% of the gamer population. It gets all its strength from tactics as it doesn't understand some long-term positional strategies like Pawn structure.

A review in "Variant Chess" said, "Some testing seems to show that Zillions' playing strength is about 1900 in chess and probably about the same in most chess variants (as far as rating comparisons between variant chess and orthodox chess make sense), which is certainly very impressive." However, it was not stated in the review what kind of PC was used, which is of obvious significance. Zillions has beat several masters in chess variant play, if that's saying anything. In Grand Chess the engine beat IM David Levy, famous for his bet that a computer wouldn't be able to beat him in such-and-such a time.

It would be quite possible to create a chess engine that plugs into Zillions to play Chess through Zillions' user interface with no change to anyone's Zillions.exe. Ideally, some day lots of chess engine plug-ins from the strongest commercial chess programs would be sold (at a reduced cost since no GUI is included). We hope to wrap up our own Chess engines like this as soon as we're not so busy, perhaps giving them away for free. Before that, maybe someone would offer to port over GnuChess and we could support them in doing this. Standard Chess is really only a tiny sliver of Zillions.


Didn't find the answer to your question? Try the other FAQs linked to at the top of the page or email your question to Zillions Development.

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