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To Campbell

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To Campbell

Postby David Whyld » Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:14 pm

(This might well fall on deaf ears, but I figure it’s worth a shot all the same. )

Campbell, what does the future hold for ADRIFT? I'm guessing ADRIFT 6 is off the table but are we likely to see a new version of ADRIFT 5 at some point? According to the main site, it’s almost four years since the last update came out, which is even longer than I expected. Admittedly, I don't check the forum out as regularly as I used to so there might have been some work done on ADRIFT in the meantime, but it’s certainly looking like ADRIFT has been well and truly abandoned.

Which would be a real shame. I wasn't too concerned about what updates to ADRIFT there might be when I still using ADRIFT 4 (as any updates would focus solely on 5 and not 4 anyway) but now I've finally made the switch to 5, it’s pretty disheartening to see the state of things. As someone who’s been using ADRIFT on and off for the past twenty years or so, I’d hate to see it just be abandoned like this.

So... level with us. What is the state of play where ADRIFT is concerned? Can we expect a new version one day? A new update to ADRIFT 5? Bug fixes? Or is the current version of ADRIFT 5 the last one we’ll ever get? The ADRIFT userbase might have shrunken over the years but there are still a good number of us hanging around here with an interest in the program, and many more who might be interested if work on ADRIFT was likely to continue, so I think we’re kinda owed an explanation about what's happening.

If it is bad news – no more ADRIFT updates ever – at least tell us that. I don't know about anybody else, but I’d be a lot happier knowing that so I'm not hanging around waiting for some update / bug fix that isn't going to happen. If it’s good news – ADRIFT 6 is launching tomorrow! – then I think people would appreciate knowing that, too.

I know people move on, and hobbies which once seemed all-important to us at one time seem less so as the years go by and other things start taking priority, but when people still have an interest in ADRIFT, it’d be nice to keep them informed.

So tell us, Campbell: what's the deal with ADRIFT these days?
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Re: To Campbell

Postby RenatoDias » Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:36 pm

David, I would say the same. ADRIFT is a good engine. I reported several bugs since the 5.0.32 and to see no updates, not even now that the source code is open, it's pretty disheartening.
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Re: To Campbell

Postby Denk » Wed Feb 19, 2020 1:29 pm

(David, I know the title says "To Campbell" - If you prefer that the rest of us post somewhere else than in this topic, let us know and I will post it somewhere else)

While we are waiting for Campbell, I would just like to add: Even if there were no updates ever on ADRIFT, I would keep using it, until someday in the future ADRIFT is not compatible with Windows anymore. Even though there are bugs in it, it is still possible to make good games with it. For comparison, Inform 7 has not been updated since 2015. However, the creator of Inform has told the community that he is still working on Inform, which is, of course, good to know. So sure, it would be good to know Campbell's plans with ADRIFT. When it comes to fixing the online Runner, Campbell has been reachable and actively fixed the online Runner both during IFcomp but also after. So if nothing else, it seems as if he is trying to keep ADRIFT alive, perhaps with a minimum of effort(?), which is certainly better than nothing. But still, if Campbell is able to tell us his plans with ADRIFT, it would be nice to know.
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Re: To Campbell

Postby David Whyld » Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:11 pm

Denk wrote:(David, I know the title says "To Campbell" - If you prefer that the rest of us post somewhere else than in this topic, let us know and I will post it somewhere else)


No, here is fine. The more people that reply, the more chance there is of a response from Campbell.
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Re: To Campbell

Postby Lumin » Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:56 pm

I think it's the lack of communication more than anything that's disheartening and leads to these disgruntled flare-ups now and then, as much as we do all recognize Campbell has put in a lot of time and dedication over the years even after he stopped charging for the older versions.

Maybe it's unrealistic to expect lifelong dedication to updating a program, but there is still a community here and people who have been a part of it for years and with the long stretches of silence it feels like we're not even an occasional afterthought these days. New people are still arriving even now when things feel so stagnant so I don't think Adrift has quite reached the end of its lifespan yet, and it could thrive again with just a little support. I believe I even saw that there are a few bug fixes that were already made ages ago, just never released...and at present there's just no way to get an idea if the others are planned to be dealt with someday. The other day Denk was asking us to vote some bug report up and all I could think was, just what's the point?

Campbell, I can't speak for anyone else but I know I'd be happy to contribute to a Patreon or the like if you ever shifted to making this place a priority again. If there were status updates, bug fixes, more focus on stability and bug fixing in the online runner especially or maybe even gestures towards the old pipedreams of a site overhaul or a cross platform version. Improved accessibility for the blind? There are lots of small things that can be done that would signal some much needed signs of life to potential new users and veterans alike, even if Adrift 5 itself never changes much at its core.

Or if there's no chance of any of that ever happening, please just say so. It's fine to move on, no one could hold that against you, but it would be better to know for certain one way or the other.
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Re: To Campbell

Postby DazaKiwi » Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:33 pm

After a long break maybe it is harder to dive back into the code and familiarize oneself with it again (that alone will take time) and then bug fix and rewrite parts which also could cause new bugs to appear and potentially break current games. And the bug list is long without even getting into the enhancement suggestions. So could be a case of being ready to commit to that or motivated (both?) to dive back in and at the moment its not now which is fair enough because he has poured a lot of his time and effort into it over the last decade +. As Denk said it works well enough to make good games and that is what counts. Of course polishing and fixing the major bugs would be nice and welcomed but at least we can still make games in the meantime. As Lumin said it would be unrealistic to expect a lifelong dedication. Wherever development stops permanently there will still be outstanding bugs.

I understand the desire to know if the project will move forward again, its in the back of my mind too. And maybe he doesn't know himself, again being a motivational question and at least promises haven't been made (like some other devs do) and fails to follow through. And not making promises takes the pressure off, and to me it seems the door is still open. I am happy i can make games as it is, there are workarounds (as it with many programs) with its bugs and limitations and i still think Adrift is underrated in the IF community. Anyway i'm starting to ramble so end it here.
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Re: To Campbell

Postby David Whyld » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:07 am

Lumin wrote:I think it's the lack of communication more than anything that's disheartening and leads to these disgruntled flare-ups now and then, as much as we do all recognize Campbell has put in a lot of time and dedication over the years even after he stopped charging for the older versions.


That's a lot of what bothers me about it. I can understand Campbell might not have a whole lot of interest in ADRIFT these days, but it’s frustrating how he never lets us know anything. I don't expect lifelong dedication but surely a few words every now and then along the lines of “yes, I'm still working on ADRIFT” or “no, you're on your own” isn't too much to ask for? He must have some interest in it as we still have this forum and the main website (touch wood!), and he does post here from time to time, but as for any clear indication of what his future plans are for ADRIFT? Nope, not a word.

As much as anything, without any indication from Campbell about the future, how do we know the forum and website will still be here tomorrow? We might find it all gone. Unlikely, but anything’s possible. That'd be hundreds of games and twenty years of forum posts just gone. The games could probably be salvaged and most are available in the IF Archive anyway, but it’d be a shame if the forum went, too. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if Campbell has done to ADRIFT what Alex Warren did with Quest – stepped down and gone off to do his own thing – but without even informing anybody here about it.
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Re: To Campbell

Postby rotter » Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:38 pm

David Whyld wrote:As much as anything, without any indication from Campbell about the future, how do we know the forum and website will still be here tomorrow? We might find it all gone. Unlikely, but anything’s possible. That'd be hundreds of games and twenty years of forum posts just gone. The games could probably be salvaged and most are available in the IF Archive anyway, but it’d be a shame if the forum went, too.


ADRIFT development is pretty much dead and I doubt that is going to change anytime soon. So, it is what it is.

I've kept the Delron ADRIFT Games List pretty much up-to-date and it is definitely a more complete list of games than is on this site anyway.
Currently working on "The Blank Wall" in ADRIFT 5 and "Again and Again" in Inform 7.
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Re: To Campbell

Postby ralphmerridew » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:31 pm

Denk wrote:For comparison, Inform 7 has not been updated since 2015. However, the creator of Inform has told the community that he is still working on Inform, which is, of course, good to know.


That is true. (Graham was also very quiet for a few years before the release of I7.) But there's a big difference between the systems. Inform is written is a modular fashion, while ADRIFT is still written in a very monolithic fashion. As a result, there's much less that would require Graham's action, while most changes to ADRIFT would require that Campbell be involved. Graham could change Inform drastically without affecting released games, while Campbell has to be very careful about what he changes.

(If anybody is interested I could go into more detail about the design issues with ADRIFT, but it would necessarily get into technical areas.)
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