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ADRIFT v Quest - Popularity

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ADRIFT v Quest – Popularity

Postby David Whyld » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:47 am

Not a technical discussion of the merits of either system – ADRIFT would win hands down there, and while I might be biased in saying that, what with being an ADRIFT user, I also think it's true – but simply their popularity.

Over the last year, I count a grand total (going by the main website) of five games written with ADRIFT (not counting a couple that were previously written and look to have simply been added to the site), whereas over on the Quest site I see over a hundred. Yes, a hundred. Now I haven't played the great majority of those Quest games, and the few I have played haven't impressed me at all, but that's still one heck of a landslide victory for Quest in terms of sheer games output. Why has it suddenly become significantly more popular than ADRIFT?

This didn't use to be the case. If anything, when I hung around the Quest forum years back, it seemed pretty much dead in the water, with little discussion going on about games, writing, IF in general... or anything really. Half the threads were flame wars and the only people regularly posting were the trolls. New versions of Quest were released and, half the time, no one seemed to notice, or if they did notice they certainly kept quiet about it. A few games came out but not many people played them and the few that did seldom had anything very positive to say. Days would often go by without a single post on the forum.

Now look at Quest. Games being released at an unprecedented rate, the forum alive with discussion and they're even launching their own comp (the ingeniously titled QuestComp), which looks to be generating more interest amongst Quest users than any ADRIFT competition for years.

Quest seems to have taken ADRIFT's place as the 'go to' system for people wanting to write a text adventure without the hassle of learning a programming language. As ADRIFT's popularity wanes, Quest's grows. The overall quality of Quest games seems as low as ever, however, and the glowing reviews that populate the site need to be taken with a pinch of salt. By the look of things, it's possible for authors to register under different user names and vote up their own games. And there also seem to be a lot of people using Quest who are quite prepared to rate a game 5 out of 5 even if it's an unplayable mess and littered with so many typos it's hard to understand what it's about half the time. But, even allowing for all that, a great deal more people appear to be playing and writing Quest games than they do ADRIFT games.

Any ideas as to why Quest seems to have suddenly become popular and ADRIFT unpopular? And what, if anything, can be done about it?
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Re: ADRIFT v Quest – Popularity

Postby Campbell » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:55 am

It is something I have become acutely aware of. I am fairly certain that this is the reason:

Google.png
Google.png (129.11 KiB) Viewed 10169 times

People find something that looks like it will do what they want, and don't check further down the list to see if there are any (potentially better) alternatives.

If you'd like to help boost ADRIFT up the rankings, please add a link to http://www.adrift.co on your website... :whistle:
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Re: ADRIFT v Quest – Popularity

Postby Lazzah » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:37 pm

Campbell wrote:People find something that looks like it will do what they want, and don't check further down the list to see if there are any (potentially better) alternatives.

If you'd like to help boost ADRIFT up the rankings, please add a link to http://www.adrift.co on your website... :whistle:

I would if I had my own website!

Just a thought, but you could register the domain name "www.text-adventures.co.uk" and/or "www.textadventures.org" for the ADRIFT website, neither exists a.t.m. and it might get ADRIFT listed immediately after "www.textadventures.co.uk"???????
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Re: ADRIFT v Quest – Popularity

Postby Campbell » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:46 pm

Lol, I could do that, but I'm not sure it would go down very well...
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Re: ADRIFT v Quest – Popularity

Postby Lazzah » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:57 pm

Campbell wrote:Lol, I could do that, but I'm not sure it would go down very well...

"All is fair in love and war"....and interactive fiction! :-)
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Re: ADRIFT v Quest – Popularity

Postby ralphmerridew » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:07 pm

David Whyld wrote:Not a technical discussion of the merits of either system – ADRIFT would win hands down there, and while I might be biased in saying that, what with being an ADRIFT user, I also think it's true – but simply their popularity.


Are you comparing Quest 4 or Quest 5? At the very least, Quest attempted to start by creating a Turing complete core, and building the GUI around that.
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Re: ADRIFT v Quest – Popularity

Postby Lazzah » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:36 pm

ralphmerridew wrote:
David Whyld wrote:Not a technical discussion of the merits of either system – ADRIFT would win hands down there, and while I might be biased in saying that, what with being an ADRIFT user, I also think it's true – but simply their popularity.


Are you comparing Quest 4 or Quest 5? At the very least, Quest attempted to start by creating a Turing complete core, and building the GUI around that.

RM: OK, you have now got me curious, what's a "Turing complete core"? Googling it didn't help.
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Re: ADRIFT v Quest – Popularity

Postby David Whyld » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:51 pm

ralphmerridew wrote:
David Whyld wrote:Not a technical discussion of the merits of either system – ADRIFT would win hands down there, and while I might be biased in saying that, what with being an ADRIFT user, I also think it's true – but simply their popularity.


Are you comparing Quest 4 or Quest 5? At the very least, Quest attempted to start by creating a Turing complete core, and building the GUI around that.


Both really. And I'm not talking from a technical viewpoint here really, but more of a "which system is the best for me - a non programmer - to use?" Whatever a Turing complete core is - and I know full well you throw phrases like that out all the time, rm, while secretly knowing almost no one here will have a clue what you mean - doesn't interest me a whole lot. I don't enjoy trying to program, or getting my hands dirty with code, I just like to write adventures.
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Re: ADRIFT v Quest – Popularity

Postby Campbell » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:29 pm

Simply put, Turing Complete means that the language/application can be used to solve any computer problem. Given that the objective here is to write text adventures rather than write arbitrary programs, my opinion is that it's not completely relevant - it just means that there would always be a way to get right down to the nitty gritty of any problem and create a solution (i.e. by programming).

Strictly speaking, ADRIFT may well already be Turing Complete because tasks can perform recursive calculations on values through expressions (if it's not, it would be trivial to make it so). What I think rm is getting at, is that ADRIFT is quite high level in that it only allows access to the world model through the limited set of dropdowns in task restrictions and actions etc. This is by design because it offers the things that are relevant for Text Adventure authors, rather than programmers.

That isn't to say there is no room for improvement. Of course there is, and it is getting better all the time...
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Re: ADRIFT v Quest – Popularity

Postby Lazzah » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:35 pm

Thanks, Campbell, for that very concise explanation.
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Re: ADRIFT v Quest – Popularity

Postby ralphmerridew » Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:11 pm

Campbell: How much have you studied IF outside ADRIFT? You're really shrugging off a lot of things with that "not completely relevant". When what the language makes convenient doesn't quite match your needs, "relevant to programmers" becomes "relevant to the IF author".

I said "creating a Turing complete core, and designing the GUI around that". ADRIFT is Turing complete (ignoring limitations on stack size and string length); it's easy enough to write a Brainf*** interpreter. ADRIFT is not designed around being Turing complete; that just fell out accidentally. Other features aren't designed so as to be accessible from that; you'd have to essentially rewrite them in Brainf***. You mentioned user-defined functions as something to add to ADRIFT 5; they should have planned into the design from the start.

Good languages start by planning a powerful foundation, and then designing the rest of the language in terms of that foundation.
The code that Inform 7 uses to write out lists is written in Inform 7. If it doesn't meet the needs of an author, that author can write an alternate version that does meet his/her needs.

ADRIFT 5 feels like it has a lot of features meant to solve a specific problem (characters have known / unknown names); tier 1 languages look for the common features (allow user-defined rules for what text matches an object / arbitrary rules for printing the name of an object) and solve multiple specific problems at one go.

Inform has a large middle ground with extensions; decent programmers can add features that less-skilled writers can use.
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Re: ADRIFT v Quest – Popularity

Postby Campbell » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:39 pm

I have studied all the other major languages to some degree or other. What I am creating is a top down approach, whereas the other languages are mostly bottom up approaches. I don't think there is anything wrong with this. In time I am replacing hard coded elements with library functions. The net result will be much the same.

The advantage this gives me is having something that works sooner, which I can improve over time. Time is the critical thing - I develop ADRIFT in the few spare hours I get in the week. I also have to share this time with working on documentation, the website, support, and any other hobbies I have. If I was working on ADRIFT full time, I daresay I might have taken different design decisions or opted for different solutions. But I am very happy with the way things work currently, and don't foresee any stumbling blocks ahead because of any design decisions I have made.
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Re: ADRIFT v Quest – Popularity

Postby ralphmerridew » Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:35 pm

Actually, home-use IF design systems from the 80s (ScottFree, LADS and AGT for three) tended to favor the top-down approach.
Partly because, as you said, it's easier to make a top-down system, partly because the corresponding generators ran on lower-end machines.

Those systems generally fell out of favor because the advantages of the top-down approach became less important, and the limitations were increasingly problematic.

Back to the original post: ADRIFT would not win on technical merits against Quest.
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Re: ADRIFT v Quest – Popularity

Postby David Whyld » Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:50 pm

ralphmerridew wrote:Back to the original post: ADRIFT would not win on technical merits against Quest.


Like I said, this wasn't meant as a technical discussion on which system is better, but simply querying why Quest seems to be gaining popularity at a time when ADRIFT's is waning, and whether or not it was simply because of Google searches bringing up Quest before ADRIFT in their listings.

The technical side of things has never really bothered me that much. I'm not a programmer and don't want to be, so whether one system is technically superior to another is largely irrelevant to me provided I can get my head around it and write games with it.

Saying that, even going on the assumption that Quest is technically superior to ADRIFT, I still think ADRIFT wins hands down as a better system because it's a darn sight easier to use (V4 I'm talking about here more than V5, though V5 is significantly better than Quest). Has anyone here ever tried to write a game with Quest? Technically superior system? Maybe it is. But the design is practically Stone Age.
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Re: ADRIFT v Quest - Popularity

Postby Hordriss » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:15 pm

As I said in another post, I am new to all IF authoring and have downloaded Adrift, Quest and Inform 7, so I have no prior bias.

I loaded up Quest, and my initial reaction to the GUI was pretty much 'WTF is this'. It looks incredibly complicated, and that puts a novice like me off entirely. Adrift on the other hand makes complete sense, and so I am far more likely to persevere with it.
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