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.
freesci is the main executable which loads, links and runs SCI bytecode.
[options] [game [savegame]]
An identifier describing the game to start. This identifier (GAME_ID) must be
declared in the configuration file. If omitted, the interpreter will attempt
to read resource files from the current working directory (or the directory
specified by the --gamedir option). If that fails, it will present a
graphical game selection screen for the games listed in the config file and
the games located under ~/.freesci/games (or the directory specified by the
If this option is specified after the game name, the interpreter will attempt
to quickload the savegame with the specified ID (see the
--list-savegames option). This is technically different
from restoring a savegame from within the game (as it does not re-start the game
script state afterwards), but it should work just as well.
Display version number and exit.
Also the supported graphics drivers, sound servers, midi and midiout
drivers are reported.
Display a short help text and exit.
Do not start the debugger; only run the game. This is the default action.
Start up in debug mode.
This option instructs the interpreter not to run the game, but rather to list
all savegames stored for it, including their in-game descriptions where
This is relevant to figure out savegame names for quickloads.
The usual in-game savegames are labelled ``save_0'' through
--gamedir dir, -ddir
With this option, games resources will be read from the directory
dir. Default is the current directory, unless a directory has
been specified in the config file (see below).
--menudir dir, -Gdir
This option sets the directory that the graphical game selection menu
recurses to look for SCI games. Default is ~/.freesci/games, unless the
menu_dir option is set in the config file (see below).
--sci-version version, -Vversion
This option sets the SCI version for freesci to emulate.
Acceptable version numbers are of the form x.yyy.zzz, where
x is the major number, yyy is the minor number and zzz
the patch level.
Note that currectly only SCI0 and SCI01 (major/minor=0/000) games are supported.
Normally, the version will be autodetected from the game resource files.
Many SCI games handle the mouse pointer differently if no mouse is
present in the system. This option instructs the interpreter to
tell the games that no mouse is present whenever they ask for one;
the actual effect depends on the individual game.
--scale-x xfact, -xxfact
--scale-y yfact, -yyfact
These options allow to explicitly specify the horizontal and vertical
scaling factors. The resulting size of the game window will be
320*xfact x 200*yfact, plus any window decorations.
--color-depth bpp, -cbpp
This sets the number of bits to use per pixel. Some visuals/graphics
drivers support several color depths, so that auto-detection may not
yield the desired effects.
--graphics gfx, -ggfx
With this option, you can specify which graphics driver is to be used.
In this release, sdl, ggi and plain xlib are supported.
--midiout driver, -Odriver
This is the output driver or interface to use. Currently,
alsaraw, null, ossopl3, and ossseq (an OSS sequencer
driver) may be available on your system, ossseq being the default.
--mididevice driver, -Mdriver
SCI was designed to support a variety of physical output devices. FreeSCI
currently supports the Rolant MT-32 (mt32, the default), an Adlib
device (adlib) and it also offers an MT-32 to General MIDI translation
--sound-server server, -Sserver
This option may be used to explicitly specify a sound server to use.
The sound server is an asynchronous process or thread that issues sound
output events and reports sound cues back to the interpreter; if you have
both possibilities (unix and sdl) for your system, you may have to
experiment to find out which works best for you.
When run, FreeSCI will create a directory called .freesci in your
home directory (unless this directory already exists). If you run an SCI
game, this game will create another directory inside the .freesci
directory, to store its save games in.
Also, 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 configuration
file can be divided into a global section and various game-specific sections.
Within the config file, comments must be preceeded by a hash ``#'' sign.
Empty lines are ignored.
Game-specific sections are marked by a text string like [GAME_ID],
where GAME_ID is an ID to use for the game. If the section also
contains a resource_dir entry, the ID may be passed to
freesci as a parameter to start the game by its name.
The config file section before the first game-specific section is the
global configuration section; anything specified here will be used as
the setting for any game that does not explicitly request different
It is possible to include other files with the %include<#> directive. FreeSCI
will automatically detect and warn about circular inclusions.
Here is a complete listing of all options supported:
Read the game's resource data from the specified
location. Must not be used in the generic part of the config file.
menu_dir = 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. Defaults to ~/.freesci/games.
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
engine. See also the --sci-version command line option.
Sets a logging file for FreeSCI's console output (by default, this is
mouse = yes | no
Specifies whether the interpreter should report to the game that it has
pic0_dither_mode = dither | flat | dither256
dither: draw in 16 colors, same as Sierra SCI;
flat: interpolate colors (256 colors); this improves some
dither256: dither in 256 colors; a compromise between dither and flat.
pic0_dither_pattern = scaled | unscaled
scaled: perform picture dithering to blocks with a width of the horizontal
and a height of the vertical scaling factor;
unscaled: dither single pixels (same as scaled if the game is
being run unscaled).
Affects how semi-random brushes (used mostly for dirt and foilage) are
drawn in SCI0 background pictures. 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
Specify how lines are drawn when background pictures are rendered in
SCI0. correct: draw lines appropriately scaled; fine: don't
scale lines (thin lines, may cause problems); half: draw lines at
half width (may cause problems).
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 systems. 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, it is disabled.
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.
view_filter = none | linear | trilinear
Specifies the way views (non-background images) are scaled
(this obviously does not affect unscaled images):
none: no filtering is performed (default);
linear: a simple linear filter is applied;
trilinear: views are passed through a trilinear filter.
pic_filter = none | linear | trilinear
Specifies scaling for background images; see view_filter
for a description of the options.
cursor_filter = none | linear | trilinear
Specifies scaling for mouse pointers; see view_filter for a
description of the options. This option does not apply to graphics
drivers which handle the mouse pointer explicitly (currently, only the
GGI driver is affected).
text_filter = none | linear | trilinear
Specifies scaling for text; see view_filter
for a description of the options.
pic_antialiasing = none | simple
If activated, this option will do an extra pass over background images
to anti-aliase them, usually improving the overall picture quality. This
is set to none by default.
animation_delay = #
This chooses the amount of microseconds to wait between
each sub-element of a transition animation (also see
this to zero will disable transition animations completely.
The default is 5.
animation_granularity = #
This sets the amount of steps to execute
simultaneously for each transition animation. If transition animations seem
too slow on your system but you don't want to disable them completely, you
might want to try increasing this value.
The default is 4.
alpha_threshold = #
When using filtered images (specifically views, text, and cursors where
used by the graphics driver), this value is used to determine when a
part of the image should be drawn and when it should be omitted. The
definition space of this value is 0 to 255, where larger
values cause more to be drawn. This value does not affect unfiltered
images or images drawn with alpha blending. Default is 129.
midi_device = driver
Chooses the default MIDI device; this can be mt32 for plain MT-32
output, or mt32gm to use FreeSCI's MT32 -> General MIDI mapping
algorithm. Also Adlib (adlib) is supported. This defaults to
midiout_driver = driver
Selects the output device to use. Available options are alsaraw
(using ALSA's raw MIDI output devices), unixraw (using
/dev/midi-style raw MIDI output devices), ossseq (for OSS
sequencer devices) and win32mci on Win32 systems. The default on
UNIXish systems is ossseq.
sound_server = server
This chooses one of the asynchronous sound servers. For sound output,
FreeSCI uses an asynchronous process or thread; currently two
implementations of this mechanism are available: unix, which forks
off a separate process, and sdl, which uses libsdl's threading
mechanisms. Defaults to unix, where available.
DRIVER-SPECIFIC OPTIONS (GRAPHICS DRIVERS):
gfx.xlib.disable_shmem = yes | no
Can be used to disable support for MIT Shm support
on the X11 Windowing System in cases where detection fails.
This is off by default, enabling SHM support.
gfx.sdl.swap_caps_ctrl = yes | no
This option instructs the SDL driver to swap caps lock and ctrl when
reading input. Disabled by default.
gfx.sdl.fullscreen = yes | no
Toggles the SDL graphics driver's fullscreen option. Disabled by
DRIVER-SPECIFIC OPTIONS (SOUND DRIVERS):
midiout.alsaraw.card = #
This specifies the ALSA card to use for raw MIDI output; the default is
midiout.alsaraw.device = #
Specifies the ALSA device, relative to the card, for raw MIDI output. It
also defaults to 0.
midiout.unixraw.device = device
Sets the device file to use for raw UNIX MIDI output. This defaults to
midiout.ossseq.device = #
Selects the OSS sequencer device number; this defaults to 1.
midiout.ossseq.recorder = file
Chooses a file the OSS sequencer should print debug output to. This is
not particularly helpful for everyday use, and disabled by default.
PER-RESOURCE COLOUR CUSTOMISATION:
FreeSCI allows the brightness and hue of in-game images to be customised. A complete description of this mechanism can be found in the accompanying README.
The following games have been tested with FreeSCI and are known to give
some level of interactivity. In theory, FreeSCI should be able to let
you complete all of these. Games marked with [c] have been completed
Hero's Quest / Quest for Glory 1 [c]
Space Quest 3 [c]
King's Quest 1 (SCI version) [c]
King's Quest 4 [c]
Leisure Suit Larry 2 [c]
Leisure Suit Larry 3 [c]
Police Quest 2 [c]
The Colonel's Bequest [c]
Conquest of Camelot
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) (*)
(*) Due to differences between the way Sierra SCI and FreeSCI
handle graphical widgets, these games may cause an accumulation
of widgets in the widget subsystem, resulting in a slowdown and
some increased memory usage.