ADRIFT Forum


The place to discuss the ADRIFT Interactive Fiction toolkit

My One and ONLY v4 Game!

This forum is the place to discuss the older ADRIFT versions 3.9 and 4.0.

Please refer to the ADRIFT 4 Manual for more information.

Re: My One and ONLY v4 Game!

Postby David Whyld » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:16 am

Lumin wrote:I'd happily trade the bells and whistles and all the excess clicking for reliable online play/more attractive web design, (those kind of go hand and hand), and cross platform and backwards compatibility. The first two might not have mattered much to us regulars at the time, but I'm surprised they were considered unnecessary by someone with an eye toward the future of the program.


Online play is one of those things I'll never use myself but I agree it's important. Most of the potential audience these days aren't going to want to download and install software to play a game, and if they're playing on mobile devices that's probably not an option anyway. So as little enthusiasm as I have for online play, it's definitely something ADRIFT needs. A better looking online Runner, too. The current one is just hideous. Cross platform is a must because, for reasons that escape me, lots of the IF crowd seem to be using Macs so outside of online play, they can't even play ADRIFT games. And backwards compatibility is the biggest must of them all. The majority of ADRIFT games – i.e. anything written with v3.9 or v4 – won't work properly with the v5 Runner which gives a very negative impression of ADRIFT to anyone trying to play any of those games, especially as the v5 Runner won't even tell you you're using the wrong version.

ralphmerridew wrote:- competition from systems like Twine and Inform 7
-- I'm not sure how much I7 leached away existing drifters. (davidw and rotter have been using I7, but I think they said that they'd use ADRIFT if it were more actively developed -- is that correct?)


To a degree. I stopped using ADRIFT all those years ago because everything was as lifeless as the grave around here, I didn't like v5 at all and Campbell had effectively abandoned v4. If Campbell returns and injects a bit of life into the ADRIFT scene, I might write some more games but they're going to be with v4. Nothing short of some major changes to v5 will make me try to use it again.
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Re: My One and ONLY v4 Game!

Postby David Whyld » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:45 pm

Po. Prune wrote:I'm not sure how big a competiton I7 and Twine really is.
Adrift is (or in somes opinion used to be) for the "uneducated" of us who wish to concentrate on the story and puzzles rather than having to do a lot of coding. For me, that was the major reason for using Adrift in the first place


That was what originally attracted me to ADRIFT as well, way back in the v3.9 days. I tried TADS 2 first and maybe Inform 6 but the fact that they were programming languages and I wasn't a programmer meant they were pretty intimidating. ADRIFT was much more to my liking as I could just concentrate on writing my games and not worry about how to write them. I guess if ADRIFT hadn't been around, I'd have bit the bullet and learnt how to code because I really wanted to write games and if it had to be with a programming language, then so be it.

It's hard to know how much difference Inform 7 and Twine have made to ADRIFT's decline, but I guess any alternative isn't good for a system that's only irregularly updated and has been largely in decline for years now. At one point, if you weren't a programmer, you had precisely two options for writing IF games: ADRIFT and Quest. ADRIFT was much better and had a far larger player base, so it was the obvious choice. Now you have much more choice. Inform 7 is certainly much harder to use than ADRIFT v4 but I found it easier to figure out its natural language approach than I did the rocket science of ADRIFT v5. Generally whenever someone explained how to do something with Inform 7, I could see the logic behind it; with v5, I used to just scratch my head a lot of time. No matter how many times the rocket science stuff was explained, it still didn't make much sense to me. As for Twine, that was easier still, though it's for CYOA style games and not IF games so if you want to write IF, it's not really a good choice.

Po. Prune wrote:Why Adrift has faded away? I believe that one major contributing factor was the roaring silence from Campbell regarding Adrift 4 while he was creating V.5
Personally I wouldn't have mind waiting for V.5 if it meant that Campbell was still updating V.4 while working on V.5. I'm sure it would have kept people with the comunity.


I think Campbell expected the uptake from v4 to v5 to be pretty similar to what it was with v3.9 to v4 – i.e. pretty much everyone dropping the old system like the plague and embracing the new one – so he didn't spend a lot of time worrying about v4's continued existence because he didn't think it would have one. The backwards compatibility issue was likely something he intended to fix at some point in the future once everyone was happy using v5, but of course that never happened.

Dropping support for old systems is never a good idea. Can you imagine what would happen if Microsoft brought out Windows 11 tomorrow and immediately stopped all support for the old versions? There'd be people rioting in the streets. At the very least, Campbell should have carried on supporting v4 until v5 was fully out of beta. Dropping it the way he did left the whole ADRIFT scene in a mess.

These days, the ADRIFT scene is still in a mess. You have my preferred system, v4, which is unappealing to newcomers because it isn't supported and hasn't been updated in a long, long time, and you have v5 which, with a few exceptions, has never appealed to many people full stop (and which also hasn't been updated in quite a while and whose future development is pretty uncertain). If I was new to the IF scene and came here looking for a system to use, which would I pick? Probably neither.
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Re: My One and ONLY v4 Game!

Postby ralphmerridew » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:26 pm

Po. Prune wrote:I'm not sure how big a competiton I7 and Twine really is.
Adrift is (or in somes opinion used to be) for the "uneducated" of us who wish to concentrate on the story and puzzles rather than having to do a lot of coding. For me, that was the major reason for using Adrift in the first place.


For I6, you'd be quite right, but key to the appeal of I7 is that it's a powerful language for those who are willing to learn the intricacies while still being accessible to newbies. (Experienced drifters might be having trouble because they're trying to fit everything to the set of rules they learned under ADRIFT; you'll have to unlearn some of your thought process when using I7.)

Other problems:
- ADRIFT is written in a monolithic fashion that only Campbell can update. Other systems are far less focused on any single person.
-- This is a bit aggravator as far as other problems go. IIRC, Graham was pretty quiet for most of the 10 years between I6 and I7, but Inform was very strong during that time.

- Other systems put a lot of thought into designing the distribution format. ADRIFT feels like Campbell put all his effort into designing Developer and its data format, and then defined Runner's format to be whatever Developer produced. In the short term, it's less effort for him, but in the long term, it's a nightmare for backwards compatibility on Runner.
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Re: My One and ONLY v4 Game!

Postby ralphmerridew » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:40 pm

Another thing: Campbell changed some important design elements, without providing good information on the transition. (Splitting tasks into General, Specific, and System was a good idea, and probably crucial for long-term maintainability, but he didn't do a good job selling users on the advantages.)
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