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Blorb vs. web runner in 2020

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Blorb vs. web runner in 2020

Postby antscoff » Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:26 am

It's the current year, and I'm considering the difficulties and merits of writing web-first IF software. That is, software whose editor and runner both run on the web, but with support for complex IF games similar to what Adrift does. Specifically, I'd like feedback about whether such software should support .blorb or not if it already exports desktop packages as web-runnable files (HTML/CSS/JS).

One of the main features of .blorb as a standard is platform independence. It's not technically guaranteed for web-runnable files, but I'd put money on platform XYZ having a web browser before a .blorb interpreter is written for it, every time. I also don't mind if the game actually can't run on WeirdCalculatorR.224 that managed to get a .blorb interpreter and no web browser. If the platform represents a meaningful number of IF users, it will have a web browser of some kind.

The .blorb format has two other benefits: the standardized game biography info (Treaty of Babel), and the ability to hide source code in a designated resource like .exe (though talented individuals can probably still hack it either through decompilation or a hex memory viewer). The first point is addressed by still following the Treaty of Babel for game biography; it's just not included in the .blorb package if the file format itself isn't supported. I think that renders it a non-issue. The second point would be handled by obfuscating and minifying the resulting Javascript as much as possible. The potential to copy a game by its HTML/JS/CSS exported files is dependent on what exactly get exported and I believe most or all logical relations wouldn't be exported.

Besides avoiding additional work to export to .blorb, there are practical reasons to do so, particularly with respect to the supported multimedia formats. ADRIFT expands on the available formats, for example, to include .gif, .wav and .mp3. At least one of the latter two are an essential format in my opinion, as opposed to just .ogg and .aiff. (Unrelated, but I do a lot of audio work and music-collecting; my entire collection is MP3 and sound effects are often WAV, so I find it a little too restrictive, regardless what the 'best' format is.)

So with these things considered, please let me know what else I should be considering, what I'm ignoring, and/or if this seems like a sound plan.
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Re: Blorb vs. web runner in 2020

Postby Denk » Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:46 am

antscoff wrote:It's the current year, and I'm considering the difficulties and merits of writing web-first IF software. That is, software whose editor and runner both run on the web, but with support for complex IF games similar to what Adrift does. Specifically, I'd like feedback about whether such software should support .blorb or not if it already exports desktop packages as web-runnable files (HTML/CSS/JS).

I am not a coder at all, but if the web-runnable files easily can run locally without access to the internet, I don't think it is necessary to export blorb-files as well. To me, the "only" advantage of blorb-files is that game and media are packed into a single file, which does not need to be unzipped/unblorbed to work. Maybe at some point there were big ambitions with the Treaty of Babel, IFID etc. but nowadays no one really cares about IFID etc. For instance, twine games normally do not have an IFID, at least acording to IFDB.

(BTW, I have never seen a .blorb-file which wasn't an ADRIFT game. Games made with other systems are called .gblorb, .zblorb, .blb etc. but no one seems to use .blorb except ADRIFT games, though any format is "allowed" to call it .blorb.)
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