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Where's Campbell?

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Where's Campbell?

Postby David Whyld » Mon May 08, 2017 5:50 am

Hands up from someone who doesn't even use ADRIFT any more. Some indication of what's happening in the ADRIFT world would still be nice.
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Re: How to hide the map from Player?

Postby Lazzah » Mon May 08, 2017 10:36 am

DazaKiwi wrote:As for the present situation, perhaps Campbell does deserve a good long break from all the hard work he has put in over the last decade or so, but one can hope he might be reinspired to dive into it again with gusto as having a long break can do.

Maybe so, Daza, but my point is that he doesn't TELL us anything. Surely it wouldn't hurt him to post a message saying something like: "Hi guys, there's a lot going on in my life at the moment, so I'm taking a few months away from ADRIFT to sort myself out." but he says NOTHING! We're all left wondering what is happening; wondering when, if ever, he is going to return to fixing bugs in ADRIFT and adding much-needed enhancements.

The annoying thing is that he can find the time to post messages on Facebook, but it is a completely different kettle of fish when it comes to communicating with the members of the ADRIFT community he himself set up.
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Re: How to hide the map from Player?

Postby David Whyld » Mon May 08, 2017 2:53 pm

This is getting kind of off topic, so I don't know whether one of the mods wants to split this into its own thread, but...

I don't know how much attention people here pay to the rest of the IF world, but it seems that things have been on a bit of a downer these last few years. Not just for ADRIFT, but for almost all the systems. Most of the major IF systems appear to have slowed down production and there's a distinct lack of forward progress.

On the face of it, ADRIFT is still being worked on but development has slowed down to a crawl in the last five years and Campbell seems to be absent from the forum for long periods of time. Is anything happening in the ADRIFT world? If it is, it's happening at a painfully slow pace and there's no actual indication of things happening.

Quest recently got abandoned by its developer but at least it's being carried on by other people. What this means for the future of the system I don't know but it's never a good sign when the person solely responsible for the software just ups and leaves like that. At the very least, it'll cause a significant delay in Quest's development.

Even Inform seems to be flagging these days. This post on Int.Fiction indicates it's not being actively worked on as much as it used to be:

http://www.intfiction.org/forum/viewtop ... =7&t=21767

I don't know what's happening with TADS these days. At one time it was considered to be one of the Big Three – along with Inform and Hugo – but with the arrival of Inform 7, it appears to have sunken into obscurity. Likewise with Hugo itself, though I gather it was never that widely used anyway. Very few games are written with TADS these days and no one has entered a TADS game into the IFComp since 2013 (TADS 2) or 2014 (TADS 3).

None of the other systems get talked about much these days and there seems to be a noticeable lack of any new systems coming onto the market. Whenever someone talks about a new system they're working on, reaction to it is largely negative and before long it gets abandoned altogether.

On the other hand, Twine is more popular than ever and CYOA is experiencing a resurgence, which are both good and indicate there's still interest but neither are IF.

So... is the whole IF world stagnating? Are the tools we already have good enough to do whatever needs to be done so there's no need for any new ones? Is it all downhill from now on? Or is this simply one of the many lulls we've had in the past and before long things will be ebbing again?
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Re: Where's Campbell?

Postby J. J. Guest » Thu May 25, 2017 8:59 am

Hi all,

Did Campbell ever show up? I know he's active on Facebook, so he hasn't grown a beard and gone to live in a cave in the Scottish Highlands.

David, I understand your concerns, but I don't think IF is really stagnating. You don't count choice-based IF as IF, which may account for why you feel this way. A lot of the progress that is being made in IF these days is in moving away from the traditional parser to make IF more accessible, and this means all sorts of weird fusions of parser and point and click. I've never really felt it was necessary, because I don't mind typing verbs and nouns, but I think I'm just old fashioned.

The reason (I suspect) that there hasn't been much work done on Inform in recent years is that it's basically finished. What further functionality are you hoping for from it?

TADS is on its way out. It hasn't kept pace with the developments in Inform, and TADS games are no longer playable in a web browser. Nobody seems particularly bothered about rectifying this problem, so I spent four months of last year porting To Hell in a Hamper, for the second time, to a new system.* I think it's essential that games these days can be played either as apps or in a browser window. Those that can't be garner very few reviews or ratings on IFDB.

I've made a point recently of championing ADRIFT games that I like. I've designed cover art for two of Duncan Bowsman's and I'm working on a cover for Eric Mayer's Doomed Xycanthus. I wish more people would play them, but I really think that without a way to play ADRIFT games in a browser, the best way to "save" these classics is to port them to Inform.

* Hamper started out in ADRIFT and has now been ported three times, to TADS 2, Inform and, randomly, to the Acorn Electron. The TADS 2 port was relatively easy, but rewriting it in Inform was far, far more difficult and frustrating. The code for Inform version does more or less exactly what the TADS code did, with a few bells and whistles, but it's about three times the length. Possibly this is because the Inform code is attempting to emulate the behavior of TADS, which runs its rules in a different order and handles things like "take all" completely differently. but whatever the reason, porting it wasn't much fun, and I hope it was worth it!
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Re: Where's Campbell?

Postby David Whyld » Thu May 25, 2017 9:42 am

J. J. Guest wrote:Did Campbell ever show up? I know he's active on Facebook, so he hasn't grown a beard and gone to live in a cave in the Scottish Highlands.


I see a few posts from him on Facebook from time to time so he's got internet access in that cave but he doesn't seem to post much here any more. Maybe he's feverishly working on ADRIFT 6 or simply living the good life but whatever he's doing, he's not telling us much about it.

J. J. Guest wrote:David, I understand your concerns, but I don't think IF is really stagnating. You don't count choice-based IF as IF, which may account for why you feel this way. A lot of the progress that is being made in IF these days is in moving away from the traditional parser to make IF more accessible, and this means all sorts of weird fusions of parser and point and click. I've never really felt it was necessary, because I don't mind typing verbs and nouns, but I think I'm just old fashioned.


Well, let's just say that the parser side of IF is stagnating. I've written and I've played plenty of CYOA games over the years and while I like them and have no problem with them, I don't really view them as IF. I'd really hate it if the parser side of IF died out altogether and we were just left with CYOA and point and click games.

J. J. Guest wrote:The reason (I suspect) that there hasn't been much work done on Inform in recent years is that it's basically finished. What further functionality are you hoping for from it?


Hmm... good point. But I always feel there are improvements that can be made to every system. When I first started using Inform 7, I ran into so many error messages because of things like putting full stops or commas in the wrong place, misspelling words (I'm a fast typist but not a very accurate one and when I type things out in Word, unless I'm really careful, I find plenty of ugly red underlining), etc. A built-in spell check would be great, as would a tool that automatically fixes issues like full stops and commas in the wrong place.

I'd also like to see the 'natural language' side of things be improved upon. At the end of the day, while Inform 7 is significantly easier (for me anyway) to use than any other programming language, it's still not really 'natural'. You have to follow very set guidelines or nothing works. Improving that kind of thing, allowing people to type in what they want and have the system still interpret it correctly would be a godsend. Probably impossible and horribly complicated to boot, but I'm still sure improvements could be made.
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Re: Where's Campbell?

Postby J. J. Guest » Thu May 25, 2017 10:14 am

J. J. Guest wrote:Hmm... good point. But I always feel there are improvements that can be made to every system. When I first started using Inform 7, I ran into so many error messages because of things like putting full stops or commas in the wrong place, misspelling words (I'm a fast typist but not a very accurate one and when I type things out in Word, unless I'm really careful, I find plenty of ugly red underlining), etc. A built-in spell check would be great, as would a tool that automatically fixes issues like full stops and commas in the wrong place.


I hear you. The problem I keep running into, and which regularly drives me into a state of apoplexy, is the following:

Code: Select all
Problem. The phrase or rule definition 'otherwise'   is written using the 'colon and indentation' syntax for its 'if's, 'repeat's and 'while's, where blocks of phrases grouped together are indented one tab step inward from the 'if ...:' or similar phrase to which they belong. But the tabs here seem to be misaligned, and I can't determine the structure....


I've been using I7 for ten years now, and I still can't get this right every time. I think something in my brain must be misaligned, but I can't determine the structure...
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Re: Where's Campbell?

Postby David Whyld » Thu May 25, 2017 10:52 am

Yeah, error messages like that are what drive me to tearing my hair out at times. I've looked and looked over my code before and been unable to see anything wrong it and it's only when I've taken it apart line by line that I've found the problem. That's a definitely area Inform could improve in.
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Re: Where's Campbell?

Postby rotter » Mon May 29, 2017 9:02 pm

Where's Campbell? title for a new game maybe.

What has happened to the eccentric creator of the most powerful game development application the word of IF has ever known? Last seen on Facebook, presumed gone mentally insane - attacked his next door neighbour with a garden gnome.
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