FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

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What is ADRIFT?

ADRIFT stands for "Adventure Developer and Runner - Interactive Fiction Toolkit". It is a Microsoft Windows based system for creating and playing interactive fiction. The system was created and is still supported by Campbell Wild. There are two programmes, developer and runner. The runner (current version run500.exe) is used to play ADRIFT games, and will work with most games written with ADRIFT 3.9 and 4 as well as version 5. The developer (current version dev500.exe) is used to create new ADRIFT 5 games, and can also convert most older version games to version 5.

What is interactive fiction?

A fictional story in which the player becomes one of the characters in the story and controls their actions, changing the way that the story progresses. They are also called "adventure games" and are largely text based, although graphics and sound are often used. Interaction can involve moving between different indoor and outdoor locations, examining objects, picking them up, and using them in various ways, as well as talking to other characters (often called NPC's - non player characters)

What other systems are available for writing I.F.?

  • TADS 3

Acronym for the Text Adventure Development System, created as a shareware package in 1987 and then released as freeware in 1996. It uses a programming language which resembles C and Java. TADS is a powerful object-oriented language with high-level string and list datatypes.

  • HUGO

Hugo is an abbreviation for the Hugo Interactive Fiction Development System, a freeware programming language developed by Kent Tessman for creating IF games. Its structure and style of programming is similar to Inform 6 and TADS 2, making use of both attribute-setting/clearing and class inheritance in defining objects. It inherits Inform's strong "object tree" structure in dealing with manipulation of objects.

  • Inform 7

Inform 7 is an interactive fiction authoring system. It is notable for its use of a subset of natural language and for being rule based, rather than object based.

  • ALAN

An acronym for Adventure LANguage, Alan is an authoring system designed to make it easier for people unfamiliar with programming to write IF, or text-adventure games. The language features a self-documenting, English-like syntax similar to COBOL, and several built-in classes of objects commonly used in IF. Version 3 of Alan comes with complete object orientation, inheritance and an extensive library.

  • Quest

Quest, like ADRIFT, allows you to create adventure games without programming. However it is basically a graphical user interface layered on top of a scripting language, so you will need to do some programming if you want to use its more advanced features.

Why should I use ADRIFT?

Most of the other systems for writing I.F. are very similar to programming languages, and hence need to be learned before you can start writing I.F. ADRIFT has a graphical user interface (GUI) which allows you to create adventures quickly and easily by filling in text boxes, selecting checkboxes, and choosing items from drop down lists. It is unique in that no programming is required, yet it is very powerful allowing the creation of complex adventures. ADRIFT is very simple to understand and learn.

ADRIFT 5.0 is currently in Beta. What does that mean?

Some of the more advanced features have not been finished yet or may not work as expected. The current version can however be used to create large complex adventures with hundreds of rooms, characters, and objects, each of which you can define your own properties for, plus timed events, complex commands, text substitution, randomised output and much more.

The following advanced features have not been implimented yet:

  • Expression builder to aid in writing expressions.
  • Hints

How much will it cost me?

ADRIFT 5.0 is completely free. If you do want to contribute to further development you can make a donation using paypal on the ADRIFT web site

Where can I find ADRIFT games to play?

Adventure Library

Where can I get help with an ADRIFT problem?

If you cant find a solution on this Wiki, then help with your problem can be found on the ADRIFT 5.0 Forum.

Take a look through past posts as your question may well have been answered. If you don't find the answer then become a registered member and post your question and you will probably get a reply within a day or two.

How do I convert an older ADRIFT story to the new version?

Just open it up with the ADRIFT 5 developer and then save it with a new name. It'll be converted to version 5.

What are the ADRIFT file extensions?

.TAF are the main adventure files created by the Developer and used by the Runner.

.BAK is a backup of your previous .TAF file. If you find that your game has become corrupted, or you accidently deleted something important, then change this extension to .TAF to restore the previous version.

.TAS are saved games. They are created and re-loaded by the Runner.

.AMF are ADRIFT Module Files. These are XML formatted text file containing data exported from an adventure. Note that .AMF files from earlier ADRIFT versions use a completely different format to ADRIFT 5.

.BLORB files package up an adventure along with it's associated image and sound files. They also contain bibliographic information that can be read by many generic Interactive Fiction applications, allowing extraction of title, author, description and cover art.

How often should I backup my game files?

The .BAK backup file can save you from computer crashes corrupting your file or an accidental deletion of a folder, but what happens if you save the bad file twice before you realise it's bad, or you make lots of changes that don't work and want to go back to a previous version? ADRIFT files are usually very small so there is no reason not to keep lots of backups. Some people save their file with a number on the end that they increment every time they save, ie: ScaryCave42.

Hard disks can fail without warning so it is also a good idea to copy your files to another hard disk, computer, the cloud, a flash card or a DVD whenever you have done more work than you could easily recreate.

How do I get my game beta tested?

Do not ask people to beta test or "play" an obviously unfinished game. The game should be finished and tested until you are fully satisfied with it, before you ask for beta testers.

You can still post an unfinished game to the forum, but please make it clear that you are asking for help with a specific problem or advice on the best way to do something. You should state the problem you are having or ask specific questions that you need the answer to.

When you have finished your game, the first thing you should do is play it through from start to finish to make sure that it can actually be finished. Then play it through again, this time exploring all of the different side branches and options to make sure everything works properly.

Next, give it to a few friends to play. Make sure they turn on "start transcript" under the file menu of the runner. This records everything they do to a text file so that you can read through what they did and see where they were getting lost, or what they tried to do that was not implimented.

Once you have fixed all of these problems, test it all again.

If you want beta testing feedback from experienced game developers for your new game, then you should either upload it directly to the forum, or put a message on the forum asking for people willing to beta test your game. When you are entering a new message, scroll down to just below the submit button (in the full editor, not quick reply) where you will find an "upload attachment" tab next to the options tab. Press the Browse button to upload your TAF file, then press "Add the file" to insert a link to it into your message.

You can also find beta testers at intfiction.org

Can testers add comments to the transcript as they play

When a transcript is being recorded the tester can press a special key at the start of a line (the quote key on windows XP or the # symbol on windows 7) to enter a comment.

The boomerang shaped icon on the input line will change to a hand holding a pen and anything they type on this line will be added to the transcript with the @ symbol in front of it, but will be ignored by ADRIFT and wont increment the move counter.

How do I upload my game for others to play?

Firstly, never upload a game to the main Adventures page until you have completed it, fully tested it yourself, and then given it to several other people to beta test it for you.

You could get your friends to try it and see what they try to do that doesn't work, but then you should also get an experienced game developer to beta test it before you publish it. (see the previous question) When it is ready to be published, go to the Adventure Library.

Select "Upload an Adventure", Browse for the file and then upload it.

Note: The "Demo" page is not for unfinished games, its for tutorial examples.

How do I get the spelling checker to use a different language or dialect?

If you want to use a language other than English, or just want a spell-checker that uses the correct spelling of "colour", then you need to change the main dictionary.

To change from the default (US) dictionary, you can download one from [1]. This gives you the choice of an Australian English, Portugese, German, Spanish, French, Dutch and UK English dictionary for the spelling-checker.

On the "General" tab of the "Settings" form (accessable from the main menu), you need to change "Main dictionary location" to be the full path of your downloaded dictionary file. Use the button at the end of the line if you want to use an "Open file" dialog to locate the file.

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