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 Post subject: Re: TADS 3.1.4 Release?
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 9:14 am 
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HanonO wrote:
I suppose it's unheard of that people's interests and creative pursuits evolve and move along; that game software designers might also have careers and day-jobs and bills to pay;


There's always someone's nerve who gets touched. Yes, I know all of that. And, of course, that's why many projects make their source available and have core committers so that work of some sort can continue, even if it's just bug-fixing.

HanonO wrote:
and maintaining an online community presence


Maintaining a presence is not that hard because it doesn't imply any more than simply checking in once in awhile, asking people's experiences, seeing what people like, don't like, etc. Or simply letting it be known that you're still working on the project, even if only peripherally. It can be more than that, of course, but it can also be just that. We're not talking about managing a community here and I'm not even sure what your use of "maintaining" entails, to be honest.

Maybe Graham's, like Mike's, "interests and creative pursuits evolve and move along" but then presumably you would want to know that, right? And then see what the possible futures are the thing that, as you say, "settled into a specific niche to make a particular kind of game very well."

HanonO wrote:
-- yeah, that might be hard to understand.


No, understanding the little strawman you constructed is not hard. What's a bit harder to understand is why you seem to be so irate about something that is an opinion and one that, at least arguably, has observational merit to it. I may be totally wrong, of course. I can only go on what is available for me to reason about.

HanonO wrote:
With all due respect, Inform 7 is not abandonware, and TADS increasingly seems to be, sadly.


So, just out of curiosity, how do you make the distinction and how do you know? By the same criteria one has judged TADS abandonware, others could make the same claim about Inform. Likewise, the argument for how Inform isn't abandonware could likely be made for TADS. But it depends on who is doing the "abandoning." If Mike has abandoned TADS but authors and players have not, is it abandonware? What about for Inform? By the way, I never said Inform 7 was abandonware. In your apparent angst, you seem to be reading more into what I said.


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 Post subject: Re: TADS 3.1.4 Release?
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 9:22 am 
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People are talking about three axes here: whether the IF development tool (TADS or I6 or I7 or whatever) is itself under active development; whether there's an active author community around the tool; whether the tool is a good choice for writing a new game.

The third doesn't really depend on the first two! All three of the named systems have reached a stable point. You can write a game.

Of course "stable" doesn't mean "bug-free" (ha ha). For I7, in fact, I can point at major development paths which have been planned out and never followed up. But it doesn't make sense to pick one of these tools based on how recently it's been updated.

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A revival of Inform 6 would be great. Even better though would be a revival of TADS


I guess my point here is that "revival" can mean a lot of different things. DavidG released an updated Inform 6/12 library less than a week ago (viewtopic.php?f=38&t=26269) -- is that a revival, or are you talking about author community or a wave of games or what? You gotta say, or this discussion is going to be hopelessly gooshy.


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 Post subject: Re: TADS 3.1.4 Release?
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 9:51 am 
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I think the best outcome for TADS would be an in-browser interpreter that could play older games and didn’t require special setup. But that probably would be a lot of work. Parchment and Quixe are so complex!

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 Post subject: Re: TADS 3.1.4 Release?
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 10:00 am 
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HanonO wrote:
With all due respect, Inform 7 is not abandonware, and TADS increasingly seems to be, sadly.

I haven't been following this discussion, so maybe I've missed something obvious, but with all due respect, Inform 7 has not been updated for two and a half years. In what sense is that not abandonware?

FWIW, I agree that adv3lite should have been rolled back into adv3 rather than being made a separate project ... but that was how Eric wanted to do it, given that Mike had abandoned the Mercury parser. And Eric is not actively updating adv3lite, because nobody is using it. Is T3 dead? Yeah, pretty much. A brilliant system, but dead.

I could list several reasons why the entire field of interactive fiction has drifted into the doldrums and will never again emerge therefrom. The generation that was thrilled by Zork (among whom I number myself) is over the hill and dying off, for one thing -- and computing technology itself has moved on rather noticeably.

I have very much enjoyed playing The Room and its sequels on my iPad. They're brilliantly designed puzzle games that carry on the grand tradition of Zork. And while I haven't checked, I'm pretty sure the iOS SDK is well maintained. But you can't really expect to create a game on that level by typing, "The Topiary is a room."

Nor is there much reason why you should expect an IF system developer to provide cutting-edge tools. The systems available today are plenty good enough to write a nice text adventure. Heck, you can still write a brilliant text adventure in Inform 6 if you want to. Roll up those sleeves and get coding!

Or download the iOS SDK and buy some graphics software, that would be a good option too.


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 Post subject: Re: TADS 3.1.4 Release?
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 10:10 am 
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The thing about IF drifting into doldrums is that it creates opportunities for new people to be ‘the top author’. So a bunch of newcomers get excited, get an amount of attention that satisfies them, and then, over years, become dissatisfied and move on to bigger things, letting another group come in.

Intfiction had its most visitors ever last IFComp, more parser games are being produced now than have been in years, and If authors are being paid tens of thousands of dollars to write for game companies. Where are the doldrums?

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 Post subject: Re: TADS 3.1.4 Release?
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 10:49 am 
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Eldritch Eschaton wrote:
My concern with Inform 7, <snip>, is that it's become very one-note from an authoring perspective. If you look at ifarchive there was a ton of experimentation with things you could do in Inform 6: odd little games, mini-libraries (like minform), so-called "abuses." Lots of experimentation. All of that seems to have streamlined into a very benign experience with Inform 7.


Interesting, is this because Inform 6 is more likely to attract people with the programming skills to do such things and Inform 7 tends to bring in folks more interested in writing than programming? Or, does Inform 7 inherently offer more of a sandbox experience and Inform 6 is more open-ended?

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 Post subject: Re: TADS 3.1.4 Release?
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 10:59 am 
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bikibird wrote:
Interesting, is this because Inform 6 is more likely to attract people with the programming skills to do such things and Inform 7 tends to bring in folks more interested in writing than programming? Or, does Inform 7 inherently offer more of a sandbox experience and Inform 6 is more open-ended?


Neither, because it simply isn't true.


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 Post subject: Re: TADS 3.1.4 Release?
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 11:05 am 
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Dannii wrote:
bikibird wrote:
Interesting, is this because Inform 6 is more likely to attract people with the programming skills to do such things and Inform 7 tends to bring in folks more interested in writing than programming? Or, does Inform 7 inherently offer more of a sandbox experience and Inform 6 is more open-ended?


Neither, because it simply isn't true.


Sorry, having pronoun trouble. Does "it" refer to my questions or the claim that Inform 6 has more examples of experimental stuff that pushes the limits of the system's intended purpose?

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 Post subject: Re: TADS 3.1.4 Release?
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 11:38 am 
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Heh, neither of those either. The claim that I7 somehow discourages or limits experimentation. As to the raw quantity of "experimental" works in I6 and I7 I wouldn't guess, but I'm sure those who look will still find lots of weird and crazy I7 experiments.


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 Post subject: Re: TADS 3.1.4 Release?
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 12:28 pm 
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Eldritch Eschaton wrote:
HanonO wrote:
-- yeah, that might be hard to understand.


No, understanding the little strawman you constructed is not hard. What's a bit harder to understand is why you seem to be so irate about something that is an opinion and one that, at least arguably, has observational merit to it. I may be totally wrong, of course. I can only go on what is available for me to reason about.

HanonO wrote:
With all due respect, Inform 7 is not abandonware, and TADS increasingly seems to be, sadly.


So, just out of curiosity, how do you make the distinction and how do you know? By the same criteria one has judged TADS abandonware, others could make the same claim about Inform. Likewise, the argument for how Inform isn't abandonware could likely be made for TADS. But it depends on who is doing the "abandoning." If Mike has abandoned TADS but authors and players have not, is it abandonware? What about for Inform? By the way, I never said Inform 7 was abandonware. In your apparent angst, you seem to be reading more into what I said.

And you, as well. There is no "angst" nor "irateness" involved in my feelings about this. I was reacting to your comment that the developer [of Inform] "seems to have no interest" in interacting with the community. I'm saying that is exactly the case; he develops Inform 7 and has historically updated it (sometimes with years between iterations) and other than the proxies he's put in place to answer questions and the bugfix website, he doesn't feel the need to interact with users beyond that. He owes nothing to the community and is under no obligation to release the code as open source.

re: How do I make the distinction and how do I know? Admittedly I know much less about TADS than I do about Inform, but please re-check the definition of "seems" and put it together with the modifier "increasingly" as it relates to the overall topic of this thread. "Abandonware" admittedly is probably a bit of a loaded term; how about "software that seems to be no longer developed nor supported"?

My personal feelings (not being a user of TADS): I don't know how much further parser gaming can be pushed. Anyone skilled in Inform 7 can at this point probably make it do reasonably anything in the text-narrative gamespace. It's like the point when first-person games hit photorealism at 90 FPS...the experience begins to depend less on the "hardware" and more on the artistic skill of the designer.

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