ADRIFT platforms

Games written in Inform, Glulx, TADS, CAT, HUGO and similar. Pleas for help, puzzles, bug reports etc.

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Denk
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ADRIFT platforms

#1 Post by Denk » Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:49 pm

Hi, I was about to submit info on an ADRIFT game that wasn't in the database but then I came to think of which platforms should be added.

For most ADRIFT-games, especially old ones, the platform is also ADRIFT. However, ADRIFT 5 is capable of creating stand-alone Windows executables. Most ADRIFT 5 games are also playable in a browser. On the other hand, there are only ADRIFT 5 interpreters on Windows and Android, whereas ADRIFT 4 games have interpreters on practically all systems but cannot be played online.

I think I am getting the hang of how you determine platforms here on CASA, but would like if someone could confirm or let me know what to do instead.

However, I propose the following:

* The platform for ADRIFT games is almost always ADRIFT because an ADRIFT game (taf- and blorb-files) can be run with ADRIFT interpreters. We do not specify which platforms have such an interpreter.
* Sometimes a Windows Executable is also released (e.g. Die Feuerfaust). In this case we should add PC as a platform.
* In a few cases ONLY a windows Executable is released (e.g. Running Out Of Space). In that case we should remove ADRIFT from the list of platforms.
* Most new ADRIFT games are playable in a browser when released on the ADRIFT-site. In those cases we should add Browser as a platform.

To summarize:
1. The platform is ADRIFT if a .taf-file or a .blorb-file is released
2. The platform is PC if a Windows executable is released (.exe)
3. The platform is Browser if it is playable online
So in the best case, the platforms for an ADRIFT game are: ADRIFT, PC and Browser

If you think some of this should be different, please let me know. Thanks :)

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Garry
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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#2 Post by Garry » Fri Feb 26, 2021 1:06 am

The lack of detail on CASA always annoys me, but I've learnt to live with it. I'd prefer the system to be Adrift and the platform to be Adrift 3.9, Adrift 4.0 or Adrift 5.0, so that you know exactly which interpreter you need to play it.

I think the best you can do is to add this info in a note under the synopsis. In the case of Adrift 5 games that have a Windows executable and/or browser-based version, you can add those as extra platforms, as they don't require the interpreter. Unfortunately, there is no platform for Windows, so you have to use PC. This doesn't tell you that you need Windows, in the same way that a lot of older PC games won't run under Windows unless you use an emulator, like DOSBox.

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Strident
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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#3 Post by Strident » Fri Feb 26, 2021 9:05 am

The notes section is probably the best place to mention the flavour of Adrift needed, and also whether it plays in a browser.

The lack of granularity in the "PC" platform can be a little irksome... especially as this is a "classic" adventure site covering a period where that moniker was so vague. DOS games have their own cult following, so splitting the platform up into DOS and Windows would make a lot of sense... there are games which have completely distinct DOS and Windows versions... but identifying and splitting up the existing thousand or so titles into the two separate categories would be a lot of work.

Denk
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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#4 Post by Denk » Fri Feb 26, 2021 1:16 pm

Thanks to both of you.

As you both propose, I can add details in notes under synopsis, such as if it is ADRIFT 4 or 5 or both etc.

I do have a question though:
Strident wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 9:05 am
The notes section is probably the best place to mention the flavour of Adrift needed, and also whether it plays in a browser.
Is there any reason you don't want to add "Browser" as a platform for ADRIFT games that are playable online?

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Gunness
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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#5 Post by Gunness » Fri Feb 26, 2021 1:33 pm

Thanks for weighing in. As always, input is appreciated :)
@Denk: Yes, I think that adding the details in the notes would be fine. Thanks!

Splitting PC up into DOS and WIndows makes sense, but I agree with Strident - given our resources it would be quite an undertaking. But it's not impossible. Can we agree that it would suffice to split PC into DOS and Windows? Because if we were to get into the various Windows incarnations and compability issues, things could get rather complicated.
Garry wrote:The lack of detail on CASA always annoys me, but I've learnt to live with it. I'd prefer the system to be Adrift and the platform to be Adrift 3.9, Adrift 4.0 or Adrift 5.0, so that you know exactly which interpreter you need to play it.
We've had this discussion before. I realise that it annoys you, which is unfortunate, but I have to maintain that I have no desire to go down this particular path, for a number of reasons:

- First and foremost, who is the intended audience for all this information? We're not trying to compete with sites that focus on a single platform, and I don't see a general desire from users to see endless amounts of data. We've gone with a fairly limited number of categories, which will hopefully guide people on to specialised sites for Spectrum, Inform, BBC or TADS, if they were so inclined.

- Secondly, we're already at around 100 platforms. If Adrift were to have the kind of granularity you suggest, so should Windows. And Inform. And any number of 8- and 16-bit machines which are currently lumped into one category (Amiga, Spectrum, Amstrad etc.). It would certainly make searching and updating more difficult.

- Thirdly, to make this work we'd have to introduce a new information layer that gathered families of platforms (like Adrift 3.9, 4.0 and 4.1) into a single group (Adrift). I don't know who should program that functionality.

- Finally, who's going to maintain all that information? Now, and two, three years down the road?

Everybody's time is limited, and I'd rather see it used on utilizing the possibilities we have already than on spreading ourselves too thin on maintenance that is not going to have much use.

Denk
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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#6 Post by Denk » Fri Feb 26, 2021 2:01 pm

Gunness wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 1:33 pm
@Denk: Yes, I think that adding the details in the notes would be fine. Thanks!
I fully understand that you do not want to make more detailed distinctions such as ADRIFT 4 and 5 etc.

Just to be sure I understand you completely: Utilizing the existing platforms (ADRIFT, PC and Browser) will be okay for ADRIFT games? Or do you want some of these three only to be in the notes-field too?

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Strident
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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#7 Post by Strident » Fri Feb 26, 2021 2:15 pm

Denk wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 1:16 pm
Is there any reason you don't want to add "Browser" as a platform for ADRIFT games that are playable online?
My only slight reluctance to include browser as a platform for ADRIFT games would be their reliance on the availability of Webrunner on the Adrift website... which historically has suffered from issues.

My personal preference in entries is to include the platforms that an author has deliberately released a game on. If they've specifically targeted browsers for their ADRIFT game, which is what many entrants to the IF Comp do, then that should be included. The game has been developed and tested for browsers by the author so it's an official platform. The policy is to list official platforms only in that section on CASA.

If they never deliberately chose to target a particular platform, even if it will happily run on that platform, then I think, for consistency, that information would best be in the notes; alongside things like unofficial ports.

Ideally, it'd be great to have a little tick box alongside the platform selections that you could tick to indicate platforms were unofficial... or a second entry for unofficial platforms... That would make the database a more accurate reflection of what games are available for each system. However, that would involve a change in the DB structure and a lot of work to go back through and amend each entry to reflect.

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#8 Post by Denk » Fri Feb 26, 2021 2:58 pm

Strident wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 2:15 pm
My only slight reluctance to include browser as a platform for ADRIFT games would be their reliance on the availability of Webrunner on the Adrift website... which historically has suffered from issues.
Yes, it was pretty unstable for a couple of years, but Campbell (creator of ADRIFT) have improved this significantly in the last couple of years. But it cannot be guaranteed that this will continue. On the other hand, no guarantees can be given for other site-specific online games either.
Strident wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 2:15 pm
My personal preference in entries is to include the platforms that an author has deliberately released a game on. If they've specifically targeted browsers for their ADRIFT game, which is what many entrants to the IF Comp do, then that should be included. The game has been developed and tested for browsers by the author so it's an official platform. The policy is to list official platforms only in that section on CASA.
That makes sense. I am pretty sure that many ADRIFT authors didn't test the online version. As the online Runner is pretty accurate, it is worth mentioning in the notes that online play is available. In contrast, Fabularium (Android app) is less accurate than the online runner so some ADRIFT 5 games cannot be completed on Android.

Thanks for the clarification, I will take all this into account when I submit data on ADRIFT games :)

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#9 Post by Alastair » Sat Feb 27, 2021 1:03 am

Gunness wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 1:33 pm
Can we agree that it would suffice to split PC into DOS and Windows?
This would bring up the matter of OS/2, C/PM-86, GEM, and any other operating system or environment created for the (IBM compatible) PC. Also, would "Windows" refer only to operating system Windows or would it include the environment version that runs on top of DOS?

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Garry
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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#10 Post by Garry » Sat Feb 27, 2021 1:44 am

For now, I think we have to rely on contributors updating the notes with any information they think necessary to tell you what you need to run the game. I think I did that when I updated all the Alan games a few years ago (these were 2.5, 2.6, 2.8 and 3.0) and I could do it for the Adrift games too (as I have these in separate folders for 3.9, 4.0 and 5.0), except that I don't have the time at the moment.

Let's be brutally honest, I think most people visit CASA to find hints or solutions to a game that they're already playing, not to find what games to play in the first place. Any information is better than no information at all.

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#11 Post by Gunness » Sat Feb 27, 2021 5:16 pm

Alastair wrote:
Sat Feb 27, 2021 1:03 am
This would bring up the matter of OS/2, C/PM-86, GEM, and any other operating system or environment created for the (IBM compatible) PC. Also, would "Windows" refer only to operating system Windows or would it include the environment version that runs on top of DOS?
I could be wrong, but I think that 99% of the PC titles would fit under either DOS or Windows (OS).
The last 1% could be called PC (misc.) or something along those lines, and it would stille a massive improvement over what we have now.

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#12 Post by Gunness » Sat Feb 27, 2021 5:20 pm

Garry wrote:
Sat Feb 27, 2021 1:44 am
Let's be brutally honest, I think most people visit CASA to find hints or solutions to a game that they're already playing, not to find what games to play in the first place. Any information is better than no information at all.
If that were the case, it would appear that all this work to improve our database is for naught?
But if Facebook and various emails I receive is anything to go by, I'd say that s lot of visitors browse the site for information etc., possibly getting inspired in the process.

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#13 Post by Alastair » Sat Feb 27, 2021 11:43 pm

Gunness wrote:
Sat Feb 27, 2021 5:16 pm
I could be wrong, but I think that 99% of the PC titles would fit under either DOS or Windows (OS).
If you ignore the UNIX-like OSes then it would probably be over 99%! For starters we could separate the Win 9x and NT games and classify them under the category of Windows platform, leaving the rest - including Windows 1.01 to Windows for Workgroups 3.11 - as being for the PC platform. What I am wary of is creating too many specific 'PC' platforms because people will no doubt then start asking questions about other platforms, for example how many Mac categories could we create?

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#14 Post by Denk » Sun Feb 28, 2021 12:59 pm

Gunness wrote:
Sat Feb 27, 2021 5:20 pm
Garry wrote:
Sat Feb 27, 2021 1:44 am
Let's be brutally honest, I think most people visit CASA to find hints or solutions to a game that they're already playing, not to find what games to play in the first place. Any information is better than no information at all.
If that were the case, it would appear that all this work to improve our database is for naught?
But if Facebook and various emails I receive is anything to go by, I'd say that s lot of visitors browse the site for information etc., possibly getting inspired in the process.
I can only speak for myself, but I use CASA for inspiration on what to play next. I also use IFDB a lot, but older games are not always on IFDB but on CASA and those old games that are on IFDB, are rarely rated. Though there ain't a lot of ratings on CASA, there are more ratings than on IFDB when it comes to homegrown Quill, GAC, PAW games etc. So I appreciate it when CASA-users bother to rate a game.

That reminds me, that it would be great if it was possible to sort searches by rating...

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#15 Post by Gunness » Sun Feb 28, 2021 4:54 pm

Alastair wrote:
Sat Feb 27, 2021 11:43 pm
If you ignore the UNIX-like OSes then it would probably be over 99%! For starters we could separate the Win 9x and NT games and classify them under the category of Windows platform, leaving the rest - including Windows 1.01 to Windows for Workgroups 3.11 - as being for the PC platform. What I am wary of is creating too many specific 'PC' platforms because people will no doubt then start asking questions about other platforms, for example how many Mac categories could we create?
We can't cover all bases in equal detail. If we can settle for splitting the PC category into DOS, Windows and miscellaneous, I'd say we're doing well.
As for Mac, I'm not an expert. But again, we have limited resources and given the fact that we currently have ten times more PC games than Mac ones, I'd say we need to put our efforts where they have the largest impact.

@Denk: happy to hear this :thumb:

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