Today is the 2nd Anniversary of Inform 6.30
Time for Graham to release Inform 7
Don't ya think?
Since Emily and a few others had it 2 years ago already.
> For those who haven't been paying attention:
> Today is the 2nd Anniversary of Inform 6.30
> Time for Graham to release Inform 7
> Don't ya think?
No. Time for you to stop bugging Graham.
"Wenn jemand mit so einem Messer umgehen kann, kann er die Klinge in
Sekundenbruchteilen freilegen und einrasten. Wenn er damit nicht umgehen
kann, hat er noch einen zweiten Versuch mit der anderen Hand."
-- René Vollmeier in de.soc.recht.misc
> No. Time for you to stop bugging Graham.
Good luck with that impossible task.
It seems like Orwell's Animal Farm all animals are equal
but some are more equal than others.
I'll leave that for you to figure out.
I think we all know who the pigs are.
To be honest, for me, I am not sure it would make all that much of a
difference. I mean, Inform 7 might have some nice features but, to be
honest, I am still learning all the ins-and-outs of Inform 6 and I have
not run into any limitations yet; at least limitations that I have
reason to believe will be worth waiting for version 7 to fix.
I guess I would rather Inform 7 be released when it is as ready as
possible, as opposed to early but then requiring a bunch of patching or
whatever. I think of TADS 3, for example, and while I have played
around it, I am always a bit cautious just because I know things are
still in flux (although less so now than was the case) and that makes
me a little cautious to really jump in -- even though there are good
games being pursued with it. Then there is also the case of the manual.
I would rather Inform 7 come out with an updated manual. Again, with
TADS 3 everyone keeps clamoring for a manual now that the system is
available. [The updated manual for Inform 7 would, I suppose, depend on
how much change there is from Inform 6. In the case of TADS 3 vs. TADS
2, of course, the changes are very significant.]
Just my thoughts. If Inform 7 is a viable system and has significant
improvements over Inform 6, I am all for it. But I am also okay waiting
for it as well. (I allow that I might be atypical of the crowd,
And again...this post and all of the other posts remind me of my 2 1/2
year old daughter when she wants candy at the grocery store and the
answer is always the same.
It's not time to have candy. If you wait patiently, you may have some
candy later. If you keep asking, you won't get any candy at all.
What he might be getting at, though -- and this is merely as an observer --
is that it seems to be available to a select few (akin to giving candy to
your favorite kid, but telling the others they'll have to wait, because you
don't like them as much). I figure that's dead wrong, but maybe that's where
Al's coming from.
It hasn't been of interest to me, since I'm not an Inform programmer. If I
was, I figure I'd consider it a beta period (even if a longish one). Inform
is a labor of love, not a commercial product. I assume it would be made
available for public use as soon as it's ready, since that's the whole point
of it. Since it hasn't, I'd assume it's not ready, but that the few in
possession of a beta are the people most likely to be able and willing to
suggest changes and report bugs, rather than clog up the works with too much
urgency ("it's broken, and my new game needs a fix!")
Anyway, that's how I've always handled closed betas. Generally I don't
hand-pick the testers, but once it's closed, I'd rather focus on the core
instead of rush it open to everybody. StarLock was in closed beta for a long
time, and I just didn't want to open it up to everybody because I wasn't
prepared to react to the flood of suggestions, complaints, and questions I'd
get if I did. Maybe that's the case here, too.
As always, I could be wrong. :)
Al is right on this one, and Mike's summary is apt. The defense of such
asymmetrical treatment, however, is much more offensive than the
Again, it's not like no-one has the candy: some do and some do not. I
don't want to be part of the insider clique, but I find the existence of
the insider clique a sad facet of r.*.if power politics.
www.intaligo.com Building, INFORM, doom metal
You don't actually believe Graham would waste time reading newsgroup posts
like this, do you? heh!
Education isn't what it used to be, Dave... what with the New Math and all,
things just haven't been the same.
I am a little confused as to what you want here or think is going
on. If Graham were writing a game, are you saying you think it would
be more fair somehow if he were to release it half-written so everyone
could play it immediately, even though it was buggy and not done yet?
There are some people besides Graham who have gotten a look at I7 --
these people are called "beta-testers", and are presumably doing a
bunch of work putting the system through its paces so that when the
public release comes, it'll be relatively bug-free and have all the
features people want.
This is all speculation since I'm not involved with the Inform 7 stuff
myself, but given that the two main theories for Graham not announcing
1) Graham is maliciously intent on torturing people, withholding a
fully completed system just to see them suffer for the lack of it
2) Graham isn't announcing Inform 7 because he's not done with it
One of these must seem more likely than the other.
The Inform 7 insider-clique stuff I can't speak to either, obviously,
but I can talk about how the XYZZYs work, if that helps, since that's
the closest thing I'm involved in that's faux-cabal.
The reason why I'm doing most of the admin stuff for the XYZZYs now
instead of Neil deMause (who started them with Eileen) is because one
year I noticed that he hadn't posted anything about it, and I sent him
mail saying "hey, I notice nothing's happening with this, what's up?"
and he said he was busy that year, and I said "well, want me to do
it?" and he said "you bet!" So I started doing it. Presumably part of
the reason he said yes is because he knew me already, both from the
newsgroup and from hanging out on ifMUD, and part is just because I
seemed interested and willing to give it a shot. Later on when I
needed help myself, I thought about people I knew who were good at the
things I needed -- Lucian Smith is a fun guy who's good at MC'ing, and
David Welbourn was already amazingly diligent about cataloging games.
I guess you can call this "insider politics" if you want. It seems to
me that that's missing the fact that this is *always* how things work
in the real world -- if you need something done, you ask a friend
first if you can, because trusting the person and knowing you can work
together are at least as important as the specific skill for the job.
Anyway, so some people who have gotten to this point are saying "wait,
that's not fair! I'm new here and I'm not friends with any of the
important IF people!" Which is a reasonable point, but everyone was
like that once. Basically, you have four strategies for bootstrapping
The first thing you can do is Do Cool Stuff. There's this IF Wiki that
people can contribute to, you can review games (SPAG or the IF-Review
will get you lots of exposure, and the latter will even pay you), you
can write games, you can write essays on game design, you can write a
new compiler or interpreter, you can work on publicizing IF outside
our community (I'm sure James Mitchelhill would be happy for
assistance, or do your own thing if you're so inclined) -- seriously,
whatever skills you have, there is something you can do to make a name
for yourself. I don't guarantee that every idea you come up with will
be embraced by folks, but if you try enough things, you'll probably
come up with one that is cool and that people like.
The second thing you can do is Be Social. ifMUD is an obvious place to
hang out and talk to other IF folks, but you can be social and
friendly in your posts here, or join a smaller forum somewhere else
(which tend, by virtue of their size, to be more chatty and
community-forming) like the ADRIFT message board.
The third thing you can do is Wait Around A While. John Scalzi has a
good essay on how he's got connections in the publishing business
because he was friends with people when they were young, and now they
and he have advanced in their careers and they're editors and he's
published writers and it's good stuff. The internet is pretty much the
same way, only on a faster scale -- if you stick around on r*if for a
year and post semi-regularly, people will totally recognize your name
and know who you are.
The fourth thing you can do is Be Proactive. The reason why I'm doing
the XYZZYs now is because I asked. And because Neil said ok -- to
bring this back to the starting topic, I imagine that if people mail
Graham at this point asking to be an I7 beta-tester, he'll say "Sorry,
all full" (or, more likely, maintain an oracular silence which means
more or less the same thing). However, there are plenty of situations
where asking if there's a place to help is the most important
step. Generally it's not *sufficient* -- people will expect to
recognize you from one of the previous three ways. But it's almost
Anyway, this is probably more than you wanted to know, and none of
it is official from Graham or even any of the I7 cabal, and I suppose
it won't satisfy Al. But I hope it helps anyway.
Dan Shiovitz :: d...@cs.wisc.edu :: http://www.drizzle.com/~dans
"He settled down to dictate a letter to the Consolidated Nailfile and
Eyebrow Tweezer Corporation of Scranton, Pa., which would make them
realize that life is stern and earnest and Nailfile and Eyebrow Tweezer
Corporations are not put in this world for pleasure alone." -PGW
If all of you would quit being so condescending to Al, he might get off
this foolish hobby-horse. If you don't like him poking at Graham, just
tell him "Shut up. Graham does this for free, we value him more than
we do you, he'll have V7 out when he and it are ready." Otherwise,
just ignore him.
The only reason people keep up the Cabal myth is that certain prominent
members around here indulge themselves in groupthink attacks against
any idea and any individual they don't respect. If they don't attack
them, they write long, consdescending, "listen and learn, my foolish
child" posts like Dan's above. If you want to kill the myth, quit
acting like you are collaborating behind the scenes with all the other
Al's continuing comments on V7 to me look silly and are pointless --
nobody else seems interested in the "light a fire under Graham"
movement he seems to be advocating. But will he look silly in 5 years
if nothing is released? Go ahead and say: "it's not going to be 5
years." Unless you ARE in the Cabal, how would you know that for
certain? And, if you do know the release date, why don't you just TELL
him? It won't make any difference if Graham fails to meet it. He's
under no obligation to anybody here. If we don't pay him for Inform,
we can't realistically demand things from him as customers.
Right. I trust you've seen Al's repetitive posts trying to organize a
grassroots movement to demand that Zarf release the source of his games?
Or any of Al's other posts? He doesn't learn. At all.
> certain? And, if you do know the release date, why don't you just TELL
> him? It won't make any difference if Graham fails to meet it. He's
> under no obligation to anybody here. If we don't pay him for Inform,
> we can't realistically demand things from him as customers.
Wait, so if a human isn't paying for something, he won't make
unrealistic demands? My, humanity's changed since yesterday.
No I don't, and neither do my ninjas.
> Unless you ARE in the Cabal, how would you know that for
> certain? And, if you do know the release date, why don't you just TELL
Ok, I'm in the Cabal -- seriously -- if you want to believe in such a
thing. There is no release date for I7. I don't know it because Graham
hasn't picked one. Emily doesn't know it because Graham hasn't picked
one. Graham hasn't picked one because I7 isn't done. Did I leave
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
Bush's biggest lie is his claim that it's okay to disagree with him. As soon as
you *actually* disagree with him, he sadly explains that you're undermining
America, that you're giving comfort to the enemy. That you need to be silent.
Yes... what about the secret handshake? And is there a hat?
That is all that anybody needs to tell Al. Why he persists in asking
for something that no one but Graham knows -- since he seems intent to
continue -- is a mystery to me. It's the long,
here's-why-you-shouldn't-ask-that-question posts that seems to be
ticking Al off, and I am mightily bored with them myself. I don't
believe there is a Cabal. But there doesn't have to be a Cabal for
people to post in a highly condescending, extremely irritating fashion
about why their knowledge is superior to others here. Al is acting a
bit of a fool, but he at least probably knows it.
Fine, then. You've forced my Invisible Hand. The release date for
Inform 7 is September 31, 2069.
I expect you'll be wanting your cat back. Well, tough noogies.
Adam, speaking for the *entire* Cabal
I have seen his posts, which was clear if you read mine carefully. My
question is, if he doesn't learn, then why do so many people continue
to try and teach him? Who is more annoying in that event, the fool who
could easily be ignored, or the one who makes long, fruitless public
speeches trying to change the actions of the fool?
> Wait, so if a human isn't paying for something, he won't make
> unrealistic demands? My, humanity's changed since yesterday.
Change it to "successfully demand" and you will understand what I am
talking about. If we were paying customers for a new version of
Inform, we would have a contract with Graham, enforceable by legal
action if need be. We don't, we won't, and any "unrealistic demand" Al
makes is bound to be unsuccessful. Apparently, Graham doesn't care, or
doesn't read, Al's plaintive posts. Humanity doesn't need to change to
realize that his "unrealistic demand" is going to be unsuccessful. And
that, by the way, has nothing to do with the content of my post.
Attack my argument, if you would, not carefully selected, out of
context phrases within it.
First let me say that I agree with most of what you wrote, but I still
think there are some considerations to be made.
There are no important IF people. There are only IF people, some of which
are more public or known than others. As public figures (even in such a
small circle as the IF scene), they are subject to public scrutiny. That
means they are not gods. They can be criticized, even if done in such a
lame way as Al. I'm tired of reading some of them on ifMUD whining
about what he or Jacek said. Man, what do you care about those assholes?
They're not even assholes, they're apprentices of asshole. I myself was
the object of some of their trolling once, and I even felt honoured,
because that's a kind of recognition, a kind of welcome to this circus
that I never got from anyone else, exception made of very few people, most
if not all of them ousiders of the official Cabalist trend.
The unpoliteness and coldness with which newbies are treated on the ifMUD
is proverbial, Dan, and you know it. You're an exception to the rule, but
how many exceptions are there? Five? Nobody should be forced to be
wonderful (i.e., write SPAG reviews, write games, or whatever) in order to
make friends with the "important IF people". What is this? A quiz show?
The more points you win, the more important your IF friends will be. Since
when was friendship a prize to be won? Nobody should even feel the need to
be friends with the "important IF people" (or with any other particular
person). Why? What do they offer that others don't? All most people need
of them is already out there: games, libraries, development systems.
That's mostly it. And we all should be grateful for that (and everybody
is, including myself), but that doesn't keep them from being plain people.
"Caesar, remember you're only a man."
If someone doesn't want to contribute to the IF communitity in any way,
that's his choice, and it's no reason to say: You're not worthy of the
friendship of the "important IF people". I've written two SPAG reviews,
God willing I'll write some more, I've betatested several games in several
languages, I'm writing one in collaboration and translating another one, I
recently tried to raise a debate on the outdatedness of the current
development systems, and I made none of those things because I wanted to
make friends with the "important IF people". I did them because I thought
they would mean something for someone somewhere, and because I truly enjoy
So, Dan, you know I respect you, but please don't say things like that
again. They sound like, you know, I'm up here, and you're down there, and
if you want to reach me you gotta follow my rules. It's so narcissistic
of you. Al and Jacek are part of the IF community whether we like it or
not, just like Gollum is a character in LOTR. They're not Aragorn, they're
not elves, they're not even hobbits, but they are important in their own
weird way. As for the "important IF people", I guess they have worn the
ring for too long.
All The Best.
José Manuel García-Patos
Tell it to Al. I'm not interested in the date. I'm just bored with
all the attacks on him from people, who in a phrase, think that they
are the cat's ass in terms of IF.
> I expect you'll be wanting your cat back. Well, tough noogies.
> Adam, speaking for the *entire* Cabal
Please feel free to slaughter all the felines you want. If God
intended for cats to inherit the earth, he wouldn't have let the word
"cabal" enter the thoughts of man, right? Let justice roll like a
river, Adam. Just don't expect that particular form of carnage to shut
up brother Al.
Jose, that is the best response that can possibly be made to this
ridiculous "jump on Al for jumping on Graham" debate. My own path of
cutting argument invites little more than additional tit-for-tat BS
about the topic. If anyone has the guts to argue with this post, they
should be seriously ashamed of themselves. Brilliantly done. I for
one will shut up completely about it now..
If you will allow the assumption that everyone in the Cabal has been
offered a beta copy of I7, then I'm pretty sure that Dan isn't a member.
> If you want to kill the myth, quit
> acting like you are collaborating behind the scenes with all the other
> cabalist actors.
I'd like to reply to this, but I don't want to have my secret decoder
Quite aside from the whiny polemical tone this thread has taken from
the outset, I'd be interested to find out the rationale for developing
Inform privately. "It's not ready" is too vague for me.... Manifestly,
it's not ready for public release, but what is it not yet, that makes
it not yet ready for public release? Has public betatesting been
entirely excluded? (If so, why, and if not, what determines when this
period begins?) I don't care either way, I'm just interested in the
I'd also be interested to compare how sucessful this development
strategy is, compared with more open development.
I can see why people of the "open source" ideological disposition would
be turned off, even offended, by the development strategy of Inform. I
might vaguely sympathize with this side of the argument (as well as the
other, if I understood it well enough), but really that's not what I'm
expressing here -- I'm just curious.
I understand, though I disagree, with the cynical suspicions that the
in-group is deriving evil pleasures from their private control of their
toys. But I *can* say that, if I were invited into the Inform Private
Developers club, I'd feel pretty darn proud of myself; and I should say
that they *should* feel pretty darn proud of themselves. So maybe there
is some of that going on (though I don't see anything particularly evil
about that pleasure).
I have another theory (which I also don't really take too seriously),
that Inform developers are under a whole lot of pressure from Tads-3,
and are suffering from a great deal of performance anxiety, which is
maybe slowing down the release -- if only so they have enough time to
fix Inform up well enough that it looks competitive. Like I said, I
don't take this really seriously, although I suppose there might be
something to it as well. To whatever extent this might be the case, I
say this is a situation where friendly competition remains really
productive for everyone concerned, so good.
Getting into the Cabal requires a lot of dedicated work, but you get
to decide the work to which you wish to be dedicated. Nobody ordered
Graham to honcho the Z-machine project, or design, implement and
Nobody ordered me to do virtually nothing, yet I've been truly
dedicated to that for years.
Cheer up, Freddy. You've got the best part in the picture. And
you, Anna. You've got the best part, too! --Samuel Goldwyn
Dan "touch-me-anywhere-and-I'll-excrete-condescension" Shiovitz:
> > Anyway, so some people who have gotten to this point are saying "wait,
> > that's not fair! I'm new here and I'm not friends with any of the
> > important IF people!" Which is a reasonable point, but everyone was
> > like that once.
The fun part is that good old Dan considers himself an IF VIP. Not only
that, he's also a self-appointed spokesperson for the VIPs. I wonder
what dragged *him* over from obscurity into the world of IF fame? What
is that game about a talking tree and walking bushes? Or is it his
decade-long kindergarten teacher act? How much does it really take to
"reach the top"? Is being a condescending twit for ten years enough?
It reminds me of another Lord book: the Lord of the Flies. It's about a
bunch of innocent boys who get stranded on a deserted island and have
to rebuild civilisation from scratch. You'd think they'd create Heaven
on Earth, on account of being so innocent, but instead they create
hell. Only a small group cares about things like shelter and food. The
rest treat their situation as a great game in which they cast off the
restrictions of society and find their primal roots, which involves
worshipping pig heads, psychotic misconceptions of their own grandeur
Perennial graduate students, "freelancers", commercial game designers
who haven't designed any commercial game for years, menial IT workers,
these are the people who make up the "important" crowd. For once in
their unimportant little lives they get to be "important". IF is their
deserted island where they can build their ideal society, away from the
banal reality of their futile lives.
I don't. Are you thinking of specific examples?
Jacek doesn't count, and neither do Al, Paul Panks, etc. Those people
are many things, but "newbies" they are not. They've spent years
building up their respective reputations.
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
Making a saint out of Reagan is sad. Making an idol out of Nixon ("If the
President does it then it's legal") is contemptible.
I didn't respond to him, actually. I was responding to you.
> It's the long, more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger,
> here's-why-you-shouldn't-ask-that-question posts that seems to be
> ticking Al off, and I am mightily bored with them myself.
I am not strongly in favor of them myself. (See above.) But long
more-in-sorrow posts about the sad state of how RAIF treats people are
just as bad, and even more off-topic.
So I shall end this one here. :)
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
For those of us that have been involved in the IF community for many
years, we have learned some valuable lessons about this
community.....here are some of mine that seem to be related to this
whole cabal thing...
1. If you have an idea for something related to IF, it is almost
entirely your best bet to implement a solution and test case before you
share it, otherwise you will be cudgeled with at least fourteen
different "better solutions" or worse, you will be completely and
2. IF is an artform and one with wildly differing opinoins as to its
practice and implementation. My assumption is that every individual in
this community is an artist. My view of being an artist is that it is
almost an entirely non-collaborative act. There are some collaborative
efforts, but they are usually done between friends or done via mailing
lists. The mailing lists, such as the one for TADS 3 or the one for
maintaining Inform 6, is not really a big secret.
3. There are a few people within the community who absolutely deserve
our respect and patience. One of these persons is Graham Nelson. Graham
does whatever he does on his own dime and he does it in such a way that
results in something truly amazing. Whatever is happening with Inform 7
is controlled completely and absolutely by Graham and not by anyone
4. There is no cabal, but there are relationships. Some of these
relationships have come from ifMUD. Some of these relationships have
come from proximity (all the Seattle people generally know each other -
same for the NYC crowd). Some of these relationships have come from
general IF discussion, such as when I volunteered to publish the DM4
5. If you find yourself lacking in IF relationships, how can you get
involved? I have a list of suggestions:
a. Join ifMUD and converse with the regulars.
b. Do something with IF that shows you are truly passionate about
c. Make friends with your local IFers.
I'm more or less repeating Dan's thoughts and I'm sure this is how any
so-called insiders feel. We didn't sign up for anything...we just did
stuff or we just talked to people and got more involved.
This reminds me of the workplace. There are always people that complain
that they need to be trained before they can be promoted. It's my view
that you have to train yourself to be promoted. You have to do the work
first, then get promoted. It sucks because you end up doing a lot of
work hoping you'll get promoted with the chance that you won't, but
that's how it works and that's how it has always worked.
The same goes for getting more involved in the IF community. If you
want to build relationships or know more about what's going on, all you
have to do is do it.
A little note to really press the point.
If anyone had thought to join the Inform maintenance mailing list,
thereby getting involved, you would know as much as I do about Inform
In the static fiction community there are many ways of distinguishing the
"ins" from the "outs". To start with, the distinction between writers and
non-writers is much sharper there than in IF. On top of that, you have a
rich flora of social events. Book signings, lectures, publishing parties,
seminars, you name it. In other words, there's plenty of opportunity to
strut your feathers. IF has little or none of that. The only way of showing
others that you're truly "in", and that they are truly "out", is through
secrecy. The tricky thing about secrecy is that if you're really discreet
about your secret project, no one will know about it. One way of solving
this tricky dilemma -- and this is what Andrew and Emily have been doing for
some time now -- is to hint at the secret project's existence while at the
same time not disclosing any details. Anyone with any kind of experience in
the software or publishing business will tell you that announcing a future
release without stating a deadline is bad form. The only purpose it can
possibly serve is to say that "X doesn't count," where X is anyone who
doesn't have the latest toys.
[snip of bumper sticker]
Of course. I'd say you are one of them, zarf. Remember when I asked
you where you were from? Want to hear the real story about that? I had
this friend, and I was chatting with him on IRC. We were talking about the
people on ifMUD and at some moment he said that you were British. I said:
I don't think so. He replied: Plotkin sounds Brit. And I said: You're
drunk. And added: Well, he's on the MUD right now. I can ask him. And so I
did. But I thought it was unpolite to ask you right away, as we had never
spoken before, so I invented the bet thing, just so it didn't sound like I
was trying to get personal with you or something, because it was not the
case. Remember how you acted? I do. And it was cold and unpolite. You
could have just said: I prefer not to answer to that. Or: Why are you
betting precisely on that? Or whatever. But you probably thought: Who is
this new asshole?
Quite frankly, I think you're paranoid. Maybe you have your reasons (you
most probably do), but it's only natural that some people get pissed off
by your attitude. And let me get this straight. I don't want us to be
friends, I have never played any of your games (I just never felt like
it) and I have never used Glulx, so I have nothing against or in favour of
you, and more importantly, we have nothing to expect from each other,
except maybe respect. And that's all I ask of anyone I know, you're not
even special on that. Did I make myself clear now?
Now, if anyone else wants to know if I consider him/her to be a
"specific example" and why or why not, just ask.
> Jacek doesn't count, and neither do Al, Paul Panks, etc. Those people
> are many things, but "newbies" they are not. They've spent years
> building up their respective reputations.
Where did I say they were newbies? What I said was: Stop treating newbies
as potential Jaceks or Als.
If you have to ask what Dan Shiovitz has done for the IF community, you're
obviously not a part of it. And according to the rest of your comments,
it's better that way.
Actually, Jacek, it's your careful attention I have to thank for it. I
mean, think about it: who else are you taking the trouble to name-check --
Emily and Zarf? When else am I going to get the chance to be mentioned
with them in an IF context? I don't understand what you get out of it,
but on my side, I get a warm glow of satisfaction whenever you take
time away from your busy schedule of not writing IF, not reviewing IF,
and thinking up new pseudonyms, to write a message to me and point the
spotlight in my direction.
Having read the other responses to my post, I think the only other
thing I should add is that, obviously, my points have exactly as much
authority as you choose to give them. If you're happy with how things
are for yourself, there's no reason to change anything. If not, why
not give it a shot?
>Quite aside from the whiny polemical tone this thread has taken from
>the outset, I'd be interested to find out the rationale for developing
>I'd also be interested to compare how sucessful this development
>strategy is, compared with more open development.
I have also wondered why, with software that is not intended
to make a profit (such as Inform), the author(s) wouldn't just
make it open source. Maybe they are concerned about quality, and
are worried that an open-source version will not maintain their
own personal standards. Maybe they have in mind a particular
development path, and are concerned that an open source version
would drift off in the "wrong" direction.
I don't know. It's speculation on my part, because I've never written
a program that any significant number of people I don't know would
ever care to use. But my feeling is this:
1. It's Graham's program, and he can do whatever he likes with it,
and it's nobody else's business what his motivations are.
2. Really, Inform 6.3 is pretty good already. I don't understand
people waiting with bated breath for release 7. If you already
know enough about Inform to know what the latest release number
is, then you should know enough to be able to use that version,
and to work around any bugs, flaws, etc. There is no reason you
*have* to have release 7.
>Who is more annoying in that event, the fool who
>could easily be ignored, or the one who makes long, fruitless public
>speeches trying to change the actions of the fool?
Or maybe the one who makes long, fruitless public speeches trying
to change the behavior of those who make long, fruitless public
speeches? Or maybe the one posts an article (such as this one)
containing pointless self-reference, thinking that makes it
Let's face it, they're all annoying.
I'd say I was not. And if you think I've held a grudge against you for
that initial interaction, you're wrong; I had forgotten it until you
reminded me. I tend to take each MUD (or Usenet) conversation stand on
its own merits, until I've had a great deal more experience with a person.
But I will take this to email, because, really, it was a matter of
*your* interaction with *me*. I am not the MUD and you do not
represent a statistical sample of newcomers. Most people don't
approach me the way you did.
(Besides, Jacek will already be having foaming ecstasies at the
thought of an actual other human being who is annoyed with me. We
wouldn't want to tire him out, poor dear.)
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
It's a nice distinction to tell American soldiers (and Iraqis) to die in
Iraq for the sake of democracy (ignoring the question of whether it's
*working*) and then whine that "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."
My opinion is that Graham doesn't want anyone to email him saying: I need
this thing implemented, I want this other crap done, etc. He has a plan
and he will follow it. And he uses some people whom he trusts to help him
betatest the software. And being a labour of love and a mature piece of
software, he has no rush to release the next version. Again, just my
>Actually, Jacek, it's your careful attention I have to thank for it. I
>mean, think about it: who else are you taking the trouble to name-check --
>Emily and Zarf?
Ah! So *that's* how one enters the IF Cabal! You have to be insulted
by name by Jacek to prove that you are worthy to enter!
Thanks for letting that slip, Dan. Now you're going to be thrown out
of the Cabal for revealing its secrets.
You ask him a question that you admit would be liable to sound unpolite
and overly personal, and then you are surprised when he isn't warm and
friendly as a result?
> Quite frankly, I think you're paranoid.
Well, now people have heard your side of the story, and they can decide
who they think sounds paranoid.
This particular anecdote, yes, was a matter of *my* interaction with
*you*, but it was not only *you* nor *me* that I was talking about. I want
that to be perfectly clear.
> Most people don't approach me the way you did.
That's probably because I'm not like most people.
The question was not unpolite nor overly personal (I always state my
birthplace in my signature, for example), but the situation was, and I
made a conscious effort to not make him uncomfortable. A wrong effort?
> Well, now people have heard your side of the story, and they can decide
> who they think sounds paranoid.
That's what truth is for.
>> Most people don't approach me the way you did.
> That's probably because I'm not like most people.
That comment shows intelligence and integrity. I'm rarely wrong about
people. It seems this is one of those occasions.
My apologies for my previous discourtesy, José.
How exactly do most people approach you, Andrew? Mayhap a brief lesson in
court etiquette would in order, so that future newbies can avoid to
unwittingly offend you?
> (Besides, Jacek will already be having foaming ecstasies at the
> thought of an actual other human being who is annoyed with me. We
> wouldn't want to tire him out, poor dear.)
Ah, an attempt at sarcasm. Andrew, I believe you are evolving as a writer.
> I have never played any of your games
Trust me, you haven't missed much. To his face people call him Zarf.
Behind his back they call him Master of Tedium.
> The defense of such asymmetrical treatment, however, is much more
> offensive than the treatment itself.
> Again, it's not like no-one has the candy: some do and some do not.
Just what I was thinking about your lack of a real name.
> I don't want to be part of the insider clique, but I find the
> existence of the insider clique a sad facet of r.*.if power politics.
What power politics? It's Graham's decision whose opinion he considers
to be worthwhile. That he didn't ask you or Al doesn't really surprise
Am folgenden Morgen lag ich in wilden Phantasien, vom heftigen Fieber
geschüttelt, auf dem Krankenlager, die Ärzte zweifelten, ob es bloße
Gehirnentzündung oder Wahnsinn sei, - von der eigentümlichen
Krankheitsform, die mich befallen hatte: dem spezifisch juristischen
Delirium hatten sie keine Ahnung.
-- Rudolf von Ihering
> There are no important IF people. There are only IF people, some of which
> are more public or known than others. As public figures (even in such a
> small circle as the IF scene), they are subject to public scrutiny. That
> means they are not gods. They can be criticized, even if done in such a
> lame way as Al. I'm tired of reading some of them on ifMUD whining
> about what he or Jacek said. Man, what do you care about those assholes?
> They're not even assholes, they're apprentices of asshole. I myself was
> the object of some of their trolling once, and I even felt honoured,
> because that's a kind of recognition, a kind of welcome to this circus
> that I never got from anyone else, exception made of very few people, most
> if not all of them ousiders of the official Cabalist trend.
Kudos to you Jose for telling these self-important assholes that there
are NO important IFers out there. Yeah there may be some so-called
biggies" like Short, Plotkin, Granade, etc etc but in a world of 6
billion + people they are as insignficant as the rest of us so-called
The Big mistake for Inform 7 was that Emily IMHO released MHTO in it
and as I said in another thread that was a big mistake for those of us
curious enough to "inquire" as to what was going on. Mystery House
could have been written in Inform 6.30 I'm told.
Yes I look forward to Inform 7. No I was NOT harrasing Graham to get it
out to the point that do it now or you'll face the firing squad.
Telling the group that we have our little secret but only us Important
"a-holes" have access to it is NOT the way to make friends. BTW Andrew
if I'm not important than neither are you. Unfortunately in this little
clique called r*if
some animals are more important (in their own minds) than the rest of
> Jose, that is the best response that can possibly be made to this
> ridiculous "jump on Al for jumping on Graham" debate.
Calling someone an asshole and comparing him to Gollum is the best
> My own path of cutting argument invites little more than additional
> tit-for-tat BS about the topic. If anyone has the guts to argue with
> this post, they should be seriously ashamed of themselves.
Oops. Maybe you should have put this at the start of your post, right
after the completely superfluous full quote of the previous posting.
> Brilliantly done. I for one will shut up completely about it now..
"Erstmal: Nicht nur Azubis, auch Menschen können in ein befristetes
Arbeitsverhältnis genommen werden."
-- Thomas Stoll in dsra+s
Even after all of the rhetoric, it's highly likely that Emily, Andrew,
and other people you've insulted will still graciously answer your
questions about writing games in Inform 7.
Because even though we are The Cabal, we're a gracious lot and forgive
The Baron of IFLibrary
PS: Where in all of this is The Pissing Bandit?
As I stated earlier in a private post to Emily.
I stand corrected on the release of Mystery House.
It was released last March.
I DO acknowledge my mistakes.
However it would have been nice to know from Graham that another year
or so of testing was required and NOT get peoples hopes up. As far as
trashing Andrew all he ever did was complain that I kept on asking
honest question that Graham could have notified tdhe group on and said
OK folks Not till next March or April and that would have been that.
having said all that I'm sitll looking forward to I7 or Inform7 by
whatever name its referred to
And BTW Dave I won't be the only one requesting help. You may even be
in that group
or did you "conspire" with Graham and get the full story before the
rest of us.?
( he asked in a vein of good humor)
I'm possibly a smidgeon ahead of you, but you are correct in assuming
that I will be asking a lot of questions myself.
I am looking forword to the public beta as much as anyone and I can
tell you that knowing as much I do is not helpful in anyway. I think
I'd almost prefer being entirely ignorant and getting to unwrap it with
everyone else come beta time.
Remember, the excitement of seeing Inform 7 for the first time can only
> Ok, I'm in the Cabal -- seriously -- if you want to believe in such a
> thing. There is no release date for I7. I don't know it because Graham
> hasn't picked one. Emily doesn't know it because Graham hasn't picked
> one. Graham hasn't picked one because I7 isn't done. Did I leave
> anything unclear?
It's great to see that the development model that proved so successful
for the printed Inform Designer's Manual is still being used. For some
time, I was "in the Cabal", and I was almost as much in the dark as if
I had been outside it. The DM4 foreword mentions that I "proofread the
whole book again", and that's quite true. But what it doesn't say is
that this was the most polite way I could think of to say "um, Graham,
I haven't heard a peep out of you for quite some time now, is this
project still being worked on?" :-)
Now I'm more sure than ever that things will turn out just fine.
Has there been a copyright thread recently?
Actually, I haven't heard from him in a while. He was off in Spain for
a while, tilting at windmills to ease the pain of lost love. Then I got
a postcard from somewhere near Elsinore; he'd struck up a (purely
Platonic, I am assured) friendship with a deranged hermit living in a
leaky castle on a bleak and windswept fjord. Said he was going to an
Ingrid Bergman and lutefisk festival, or something.
Pissing into a windswept fjord is not for the faint of heart,
especially if your turret leaks. But this explains much about
What I really want to know is when Adam Thornton will publish his
long-awaited essay that explains the best ways to piss off a turret.
I'm not sure I can wait much longer.
Everybody says that historically-accurate castles don't have bathrooms
(guess they weren't really needed back in the days when everyone was
using Windows), but when I asked the hermit about toilet facilities he
hinted that there might be a water closet here somewhere but you have
to go to IFMud to get the key. I tried that but all I found was a
laundry list, and now that it's become sort of an emergency I don't
have time to go to Seattle.
I have chosen to live at a distance from the centres of IF influence,
insisting that I be known by my work and not by my performances in the
cocktail and lecture circuits. Should anyone, friend or foe, wish to strike
up an acquaintance in the flesh (so to speak), they are more than welcome to
visit me at Castle Pudelstein. Just ask Emily Short for directions.
Even if there is this crazy, deranged stalker badmouthing Andrew
Plotkin and his games, how does that change the quality of Andrew
Plotkin's games? What I mean is that you can be a victim of harassment
and still be a sucky author.
My impression of Andrew Plotkin's games can be summed up in a single
word: dull. I played _The Dreamhold_ for less than an hour and found
it, well, dull. You know how when you type X ME and get the default you
go something like "Gee, this game isn't even trying." In _The
Dreamhold_ the dullness wasn't by default or omission. It was
*deliberate*. This guy actually went out of his way and changed the
deafult responses to make them *more* vague and dull.
Ok, so _The Dreamhold_ wasn't much fun, but, I thought, I'll give this
guy another chance. So I tried _Shade_, mainly on account of it being
so prominent and all. The setting was probably the dullest I've ever
seen in a text adventure. It wasn't dull because the author was too
lazy or incompetent to implement things. It was *intentionally* dull.
The apartment felt like a showroom of the IKEA furniture department.
There wasn't a single personal touch. Nothing that indicated that it
was inhabited by an actual person. After two hours of trying to fill a
glass with water I gave up.
Later on IFMUD I found out that the apartment was a hallucination and
that the PC is really dying of dehydration in the desert. I guess the
intention was to create some kind of emotional impact, or something, so
that when you gradually find out that the PC is dying of dehydration
(which explains the extremely annoying water puzzle) you go Aha! so
that's what's been going on! Something along the lines of _Photopia_
where you really feel sorry for Amy (at least I did) Only the PC and
the setting in _Shade_ was too generic to empathize with.
Anyway... that's my two cents. Take it or leave it.
Rich Little did this sort of thing better.
(major spoiler for Shade snipped).
> Later on IFMUD I found out that the apartment ...........
> that the PC is...................
DOH! Until now, I knew there was some kind of twist, but I never knew what.
Figured some day I'd play it, and didn't want to see a spoiler.
I suppose at some point, it's assumed that everybody who wants to know
already knows. Like how Bruce Willis is dead through all but the very
beginning of The Sixth Sense...
I got something utterly different out of _Shade_.
Spoiler, in case you're too much like me:
For me, it had nothing to do with deserts. I remember feeling guilty
at the end, like some sort of turturer. Did I *really* have to find
all the friggin' sand? Why couldn't I have quit earlier, and avoided
the entire messy business?
Anytime you bring Michael Olowokandi on to your team, disaster
is soon to follow. --Bill Walton
You should be grateful, man. I saved *hours* of your life. Some day you
will thank me.
> Until now, I knew there was some kind of twist, but I never knew what.
> Figured some day I'd play it, and didn't want to see a spoiler.
It's a one gimmick game, so there's really no reason to play it now.
> I suppose at some point, it's assumed that everybody who wants to know
> already knows. Like how Bruce Willis is dead through all but the very
> beginning of The Sixth Sense...
Yeah, I've seen that one already. You know, _The Others_ with Nicole
Kidman, when I figured out that she and her kids and the servants were
the *real* ghosts and the other family were ordinary people, well, I
thought that one worked better than _The Sixth Sense_. _Memento_ was
cool too. You know when you find out that he's already killed his
wife's murderer but is just being used by his "friend"... well, ok,
just so I won't spoil anything for people who haven't seen it yet, what
I wanted to say is that all the pieces fall into place very nicely.
This was not the feeling I got from _Shade_.