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How easy do you find Adrift V5?

This forum is the place to learn about and discuss ADRIFT 5. Feel free to mention any bugs you find here, but please also add these to the Bugs & Enhancements list.

Please also refer to the ADRIFT 5 Wiki for more information.

How easy do you find Adrift V5?

Postby NickyDude » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:13 pm

There have been a number of posts about the easy of use for V5 of Adrift. V5 can do a lot more than V4 but does this sacrifice ease of use? Are you finding it difficult to know where to start? What exactly do you find difficult about it? what do you need to make it easier? I thought I'd start a thread for those struggling and to get their views across.
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Re: How easy do you find Adrift V5?

Postby ElliotM » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:55 pm

I think the crux of it is in the user interface, which must support access to more features than it had to in V4. I find I have to do a lot more clicking when I do some things, but I'm also trying out more advanced features.
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Re: How easy do you find Adrift V5?

Postby KFAdrift » Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:12 pm

I did earlier suggest that what I think would be useful is an adventure builder, built around the map, where you can create the locations and place characters, objects, etc. Then you can flesh out the actions etc.
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Re: How easy do you find Adrift V5?

Postby Po. Prune » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:07 am

Personally I didn’t find it hard to begin with V.5. As mentioned in another thread it starts pretty much the same as V.4; create a couple of locations and connect them and work your way out from there.
What troubled me was/is the lack of a manual. (I’ve said it before) I was one of the people starting
I found it very confusing seeing all the new features not knowing what they were capable at. For instance, it took me quite a while finding out what a “property” was and how I could create my own. This may have something to do with the fact that I’m a foreigner, and English is not my first language.
Another thing was the tasks … Suddenly I had to decide whether the task I was creating was a general task, a specific task or a system task, and have you seen the other “choices”?
Task priority, auto fill priority.
Prevent this task from being inherited
On load. If another task exists with the same key, this should replace it
This task can be overridden by other task restrictions failures (apart from other tasks with this checked)
Apart from the “task priority” which is self explanatory, I’m totally lost with the rest of it.
As to what is needed to make it easier to understand V.5 is already being done. You’ve transferred the IfWiki into a pdf which, in my opinion, has been a tremendous help
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Re: How easy do you find Adrift V5?

Postby David Whyld » Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:48 pm

I think one thing that would be handy was if the wiki was available in the program itself. Inform 7 has the manual built directly into the program and this can be very useful in finding information and solving problems. Accessing a manual in the program itself is certainly far less hassle (for me anyway) than hunting around the internet for it.

Another thing I’d prefer is if some of the new features in the program were more clearly labelled, or if there was perhaps some mouseover that told me what they did. When I create a new task, I'm given the option of it being a "general task", a "specific task" or a "system task" but it doesn't say what the difference between these is.

I notice when I open a work in progress written with V4 in the V5 Developer, it labels every task as a “general task”. None are specific or system. I've no idea if this means the game will run properly under V5 or not, or whether I need to go through each task in the game (all 906 of them!) and change them to specific or system as appropriate. What advantage does having specific or system tasks have over general tasks? Will games written in V4 work properly with V5 due to this or do they need to be re-written so that each task can be categorised correctly?

I'm assuming that the games will work fine as they are – if not, it’d be a mammoth task to convert an old game into V5 and probably more trouble than it was worth – but, if so, that makes me wonder at the necessity of having three different categories for tasks. If I wrote a game in V5 and just left every task as general, would the game still run?

As mentioned in another recent thread about this matter, I think a lot of what's in V5 is confusing. Under “specific task", I'm given the options to make it "display parent message" and "execute parent actions". Under the advanced tab, I have options like "task priority", "auto-fill priority", "prevent this task from being inherited" and "if task fails and input references 'all', display this instead of restriction comments". None of that makes a whole lot of sense to me.

On the left hand side of the screen there are a number of options in the "folders" sections but again it's not immediately apparent how to make use of these. Double clicking on "library messages" brings up a new window which is currently blank. Right clicking on the new window and selecting new brings up more options, but none to add a library message or give me any idea as to what library messages might be. The same goes for things like "player movement" and "attacking".

Some of these I can figure out, but I'm not sure why there's a separate part for “player movement”. What does “player movement” actually do? Keep a list of every move the player makes or locations they visit? And “attacking” implies a combat system but from what I heard V5 doesn't yet have one.

Maybe I'm just kicking up a fuss over nothing, and I accept that V5 is still in the beta stage so it’s possible everything will make perfect sense when it’s finally released, but at the moment if I was approaching ADRIFT for the first time, V5 isn't the system I’d choose to go with. The basics of Inform 7 are easier to get to grips with, as is Quest, and the more advanced features are too poorly documented for me to be clear as to what it is they actually do. If you compare the ease of use of past versions of ADRIFT with V5, it’s hard to imagine the non-programmers who flocked to ADRIFT in the past (and yes, I'm one of them) having much patience with V5.
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Re: How easy do you find Adrift V5?

Postby Campbell » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:13 am

David Whyld wrote:I think one thing that would be handy was if the wiki was available in the program itself. Inform 7 has the manual built directly into the program and this can be very useful in finding information and solving problems. Accessing a manual in the program itself is certainly far less hassle (for me anyway) than hunting around the internet for it.
Good idea.

Another thing I’d prefer is if some of the new features in the program were more clearly labelled, or if there was perhaps some mouseover that told me what they did. When I create a new task, I'm given the option of it being a "general task", a "specific task" or a "system task" but it doesn't say what the difference between these is.
I keep meaning to add help to the task page, as per objects etc. But the Wiki should explain the differences between the tasks.

I notice when I open a work in progress written with V4 in the V5 Developer, it labels every task as a “general task”. None are specific or system. I've no idea if this means the game will run properly under V5 or not, or whether I need to go through each task in the game (all 906 of them!) and change them to specific or system as appropriate. What advantage does having specific or system tasks have over general tasks? Will games written in V4 work properly with V5 due to this or do they need to be re-written so that each task can be categorised correctly?
Tasks in v4 are equivalent to General tasks in v5 - these are where you define a general/default response to a command, or define a verb. The advantage of creating specific tasks is that they are specific cases of the general command and refer to the object by reference rather than embedding the object name into the command which creates guess the verb problems unless you manage to write every possible way of writing the object name.

I'm assuming that the games will work fine as they are – if not, it’d be a mammoth task to convert an old game into V5 and probably more trouble than it was worth – but, if so, that makes me wonder at the necessity of having three different categories for tasks. If I wrote a game in V5 and just left every task as general, would the game still run?
You could use v5 just using General tasks. Just you'd run into the same old problems as v4.

As mentioned in another recent thread about this matter, I think a lot of what's in V5 is confusing. Under “specific task", I'm given the options to make it "display parent message" and "execute parent actions". Under the advanced tab, I have options like "task priority", "auto-fill priority", "prevent this task from being inherited" and "if task fails and input references 'all', display this instead of restriction comments". None of that makes a whole lot of sense to me.
I think you're failing to understand the fact that Specific tasks are simply overrides for General tasks. So they could run instead of the default Genearl task, or as well as. Those options let you specify how.

On the left hand side of the screen there are a number of options in the "folders" sections but again it's not immediately apparent how to make use of these. Double clicking on "library messages" brings up a new window which is currently blank. Right clicking on the new window and selecting new brings up more options, but none to add a library message or give me any idea as to what library messages might be. The same goes for things like "player movement" and "attacking".
Library messages is just an empty folder. I think I removed it from the latest library, but I may have forgotten. All folders are just that - they don't have any special logic.

Some of these I can figure out, but I'm not sure why there's a separate part for “player movement”. What does “player movement” actually do? Keep a list of every move the player makes or locations they visit? And “attacking” implies a combat system but from what I heard V5 doesn't yet have one.
It is the library tasks for the North, East etc commands.

Maybe I'm just kicking up a fuss over nothing, and I accept that V5 is still in the beta stage so it’s possible everything will make perfect sense when it’s finally released, but at the moment if I was approaching ADRIFT for the first time, V5 isn't the system I’d choose to go with. The basics of Inform 7 are easier to get to grips with, as is Quest, and the more advanced features are too poorly documented for me to be clear as to what it is they actually do. If you compare the ease of use of past versions of ADRIFT with V5, it’s hard to imagine the non-programmers who flocked to ADRIFT in the past (and yes, I'm one of them) having much patience with V5.
Maybe for you. I still struggle to get my head around Inform and Quest.
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Re: How easy do you find Adrift V5?

Postby ralphmerridew » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:28 am

Campbell wrote:Tasks in v4 are equivalent to General tasks in v5 - these are where you define a general/default response to a command, or define a verb. The advantage of creating specific tasks is that they are specific cases of the general command and refer to the object by reference rather than embedding the object name into the command which creates guess the verb problems unless you manage to write every possible way of writing the object name.


<PEDANT>guess-the-noun</PEDANT>

I still struggle to get my head around Inform and Quest.


This does not sound good. Shouldn't a person who's designing a programming language have a good grasp of them?
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Re: How easy do you find Adrift V5?

Postby Campbell » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:26 am

ralphmerridew wrote:<PEDANT>guess-the-noun</PEDANT>
:blush:

This does not sound good. Shouldn't a person who's designing a programming language have a good grasp of them?
Tongue in cheek.
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Re: How easy do you find Adrift V5?

Postby gordebak » Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:02 pm

Super easy. I didn't use V4, I started with V5, but it's pretty easy. I agree with included documentation though. Especially for programming some advanced things, it'd be a really great.
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Re: How easy do you find Adrift V5?

Postby DazaKiwi » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:32 pm

I too have never used V4, and initially there was a slight steep learning curve in V5 because of lack of documentation at the time and some annoying bugs, V5 is a lot more stable now.

With the recent addition of a pdf manual now being available for V5 that makes things a lot easier, something that would of helped me learn faster at the beginning. But learning by mistakes can be a good teacher too. There are still some things in Adrift i don't know how to make the most use of, so still learning. Also the forum has been a great help and most times get a quick reply.

Like any hobby it takes time to learn the do's and dont's and how to do things. Its a matter of investing time into it like anything, but once you learn more it becomes easier. I had a look at Inform7 a while back and i liked the concept of it, but saw it as something that would take a long time to master, more of a scripting language perhaps.

I like how Adrift can be customized in many ways which gives it depth along with different ways of achieving the same result. Another great thing is the Adrift community can make suggestions for enhancements and improvements, which only will make Adrift better as time goes on. Someone mentioned maybe having a Advanced and a Basic mode, i think hiding some of the advanced features so beginners can not feel overwhelmed would help those starting out. And perhaps having some more sample demos added to the developer.
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Re: How easy do you find Adrift V5?

Postby Tyson » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:18 pm

I've found V5 relatively easy to use, but this may be because I'm familiar with ADRIFT in general. This new version doesn't stray too far from the formula. I will admit, however, that the GUI has somewhat confusing options. Sometimes I don't immediately understand what the application is telling me.

On the other hand, I find this version extremely powerful. As I tinker with it, I realize that I can do a ton of things that would've been a nightmare in V4. I'm impressed by the support for properties and non-standard libraries. I suspect that ADRIFT creators are just starting to realize the potency of V5.

Of course, this new power may come with some loss of usability, but I think the problem is a UI design fix, not a fundamental one.
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Re: How easy do you find Adrift V5?

Postby Campbell » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:32 pm

Do you have any suggestions for improvements to the GUI?
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Re: How easy do you find Adrift V5?

Postby Tyson » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:07 pm

Campbell wrote:Do you have any suggestions for improvements to the GUI?

1.) I don't understand why the Introduction & End of Game is on the menu and not part of the General section of the toolbar. Logically, the menu options concern the developer while the toolbar options concern game development itself.

2.) The clipboard should be removable if not removed entirely. It seems out of place.

3.) The Quick Access toolbar doesn't make sense. When you put Add Items on the Quick Access toolbar and click it, it just duplicates the large toolbar box. It would be better if all your individual icons were listed in a single row like V4. This would be an important feature for power users who don't need or want large icons in their workspace.

4.) When you open V4 as a newbie, you are presented with a clean, intuitive interface. There are five main categories and then there are a few other options. In contrast, V5's default presentation bombards you with folders, maps, and over ten item types. Why throw this at a new player all at once? I would cut folders and maps from view, and create a divider between the first five Add Item categories and the second five.

5.) When you select "hide library items," it only hides the items... but wouldn't you want to hide the folders as well?

6.) Is there any way to get rid of the splash screen?

7.) Why is the View toolbar separate from Home? Those commands will be the least used, so it wouldn't matter if they were stuck on the far right of the toolbar.

8.) The folder animation seems unnecessary and cumbersome. If you minimize the folders to the toolbar and then try to access them, you have to access them one at a time; that means, if you want to make three changes, you have to watch the folder slide out three times. On the other hand, if you pin the folders to the workspace, you're forced to look at them throughout your entire project, which seems redundant in light of the item windows. The solution would be a straightforward minimize/maximize function, where I click a button to bring the folders into view and then click it again to minimize it.

Just my two cents.
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Re: How easy do you find Adrift V5?

Postby razor77 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:19 pm

I find adrift 5 to be quite simply to be the best IF creater out there. It allows you to focus soley on the logic of the game design, rather than the two headed, momentum killing monster of logic and code syntax. I am disabled so that is a huge plus in the typing department.

With the others you'd spend days typing just commands, not counting actual story text. There are still features I'd love to see implemented such as

1.Events/system task called when a variable is a certain value, or other condition exist.
2.Actions within a task change based upon description.
3.Copyable restrictons and actions from one task to another.
4.Better use of if statements in task actions.

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Re: How easy do you find Adrift V5?

Postby DCBSupafly » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:02 pm

I especially agree with Tyson's idea about Adventure Intro & Ending. Seems like the wrong menu.
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