Well, I managed to get the first pass of the game completed, along with hints and the "amusing things to do" section. It's been sent off to the beta-testers as of July 3/03. A few of them are in the US, so I'm sure they won't be looking at it for a while to come. That's all right though. I wanted to make sure I got the thing off early, so there isn't a lot of pressure to test quickly in order to make it in for the competition.
I also spent some time reviewing all the Inform library patches that I hadn't ever looked at before, and ended up applying the ones that were likely to affect my game (such as looking into containers in the darkness).
Then on a whim, I started looking at the rest of the Inform compiler issues as well, and lo and behold, I found a description of my abbreviation problem, the one preventing me from using the latest abbreviations that -u was providing. So I grabbed the compiler source and patched everything I felt was important enough, and built it for the Linux box.
So this meant I would be able to use my new abbreviations. So I ran the compiler with -u, got a new set of abbreviations, and used them. Oddly, they generate a larger .z8 file than my original abbreviations... so I went back to the old ones.
One change that did make a big difference was the bug that prevented short jumps from being used if the jump was more than 31 bytes... in fact, in the Z-machine, short jumps can be up to 63 bytes. Making this change to the compiler shaved 1.5K off my code size. Okay, not that I needed that 1.5K, but if we ignored every possible 1.5K savings...