ADRIFT platforms

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

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#16 Post by Alastair » Sun Feb 28, 2021 10:57 pm

Jacob, please re-read what I wrote. I'm arguing for as few PC categories as we can get away with, and I reckon we can get away with two - "Windows" for Win 9x and NT games, and "PC" for everything else (which will probably be 99.9% DOS games). If it becomes apparent that we need to separate the DOS games from everything else then we could up the number of categories to three - "DOS", "Windows", and "PC Other" - but we need to be careful not to over do it because we would then run the risk that some users may ask that other platforms should also be separated into further categories.

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#17 Post by Gunness » Wed Mar 10, 2021 11:57 am

Ok, to make this as smooth and little work-intense as possible, here's my suggestion:
Rather than going through each game one at a time, which would be very time consuming, may I suggestion the following:
1. I update all PC entries predating 199x to have MS-DOS as their platform directly in the database (Windows 3 was published in 1990), so games released prior to 1990 should be a safe MS-DOS bet. Still, AFAIK up to Windows 3.11 it was merely a GUI for the underlying DOS, so in that case the platform should be set as MS-DOS?
2. Any known OS/2 etc. titles are manually updated to "PC (other)"
3. Remaining titles are handled on case-by-case basis, updated to either Windows or MS-DOS

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#18 Post by Strident » Wed Mar 10, 2021 12:57 pm

Is there actually anyone who has the motivation to make the PC changes, before changes in the categories are made?
Gunness wrote:
Wed Mar 10, 2021 11:57 am
1. I update all PC entries predating 199x to have MS-DOS as their platform directly in the database (Windows 3 was published in 1990), so games released prior to 1990 should be a safe MS-DOS bet. Still, AFAIK up to Windows 3.11 it was merely a GUI for the underlying DOS, so in that case the platform should be set as MS-DOS?
Sadly, these sorts of shortcuts won't work because we don't have dates associated with platforms, only for the individual games.

i.e. a game can be originally published before 1990 but also be tagged PC because of a later Windows PC version.

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#19 Post by Gunness » Wed Mar 10, 2021 8:03 pm

I wouldn't mind having a go at it once in a while, say, during a lunch break. As long as people were comfortable with the fact that this update would take a while.

And of course you're right about later Windows versions, but at least we could get quite far with *some* measure of fine tuning, ie. searching for instances of "Windows" in the descriptions, going for safe bets such as the Level 9 titles etc.

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#20 Post by Alastair » Thu Mar 11, 2021 12:26 am

I'm still of the opinion that a need has been shown that we should separate the modern Windows OS games from the other PC platforms, but no need has been shown that further separation within the non-Windows games is necessary. Creating a new "Windows OS" category and leaving everything else in the "PC" category would reduce the workload by some margin.

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#21 Post by Mr Creosote » Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:15 pm

Sorry, this batch approach will lead to one major issue. Many games before, say, 1987 were actually not for MS-DOS, but in various self-booting formats.

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#22 Post by Gunness » Thu Mar 11, 2021 11:11 pm

Shows what I know. Thanks for clearing that up.
So please help me make an informed decision.
What is the aim of this platform clarification? Is it to make emulation easier or to make our information more precise?

Also, Alastair suggested that it would be sufficient to split the Windows titles into a separate group, but shouldn't PC Booter also have its own entry?

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#23 Post by Alastair » Fri Mar 12, 2021 12:22 am

Gunness wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 11:11 pm
Also, Alastair suggested that it would be sufficient to split the Windows titles into a separate group, but shouldn't PC Booter also have its own entry?
I don't see why PC Booter should have its own entry. Think of it this way, how many people will run the older PC titles native on hardware from that era as opposed to running those games on an emulator hosted on modern hardware? More recent Windows titles, however, will more likely be run native than on a virtual machine.
Gunness wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 11:11 pm
What is the aim of this platform clarification? Is it to make emulation easier or to make our information more precise?
Though it would be nice for the platform clarification to make our information more precise this leads us into the area I warned about earlier, the danger that people will request ever more precision and thus ever more categories for other platforms. As things stand, a mention in an entry's notes should be sufficient for those PC (non-Windows) games that do not run on DOS.

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#24 Post by Gunness » Fri Mar 12, 2021 11:18 am

Alastair wrote:
Fri Mar 12, 2021 12:22 am
I don't see why PC Booter should have its own entry. Think of it this way, how many people will run the older PC titles native on hardware from that era as opposed to running those games on an emulator hosted on modern hardware? More recent Windows titles, however, will more likely be run native than on a virtual machine.
I don't want to make a huge case out of this, but let's just say that in my experience, it's a whole lot easier to run an older DOS game on my Windows 10 machine (via DOSBox) than, say, a Windows 95 or 98 title, which usually causes all sorts of compability issues (32 vs 64 bit and such). In any case, I have a hunch that 95% of the older titles - pc and other - being played in here are played via an emulator, so I don't think that "emulator or native hardware" is a very useful yardstick.
Alastair wrote:Though it would be nice for the platform clarification to make our information more precise this leads us into the area I warned about earlier, the danger that people will request ever more precision and thus ever more categories for other platforms. As things stand, a mention in an entry's notes should be sufficient for those PC (non-Windows) games that do not run on DOS.
People are more than welcome to ask for increased precision, all that they want. It's our job to decide which wishes might actually be fulfilled, given the resources we have at hand. So I don't see the same slippery slope. I'm simply trying to figure out why Windows warrants its own entry if PC Booter doesn't, because both platforms can have issues when trying to run them on modern hardware. Again, this is not my area of expertise, so I'm simply trying to make an informed decision.

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#25 Post by Mr Creosote » Sat Mar 13, 2021 1:08 pm

Gunness wrote:
Fri Mar 12, 2021 11:18 am
Alastair wrote:
Fri Mar 12, 2021 12:22 am
I don't see why PC Booter should have its own entry. Think of it this way, how many people will run the older PC titles native on hardware from that era as opposed to running those games on an emulator hosted on modern hardware? More recent Windows titles, however, will more likely be run native than on a virtual machine.
I don't want to make a huge case out of this, but let's just say that in my experience, it's a whole lot easier to run an older DOS game on my Windows 10 machine (via DOSBox) than, say, a Windows 95 or 98 title, which usually causes all sorts of compability issues (32 vs 64 bit and such). In any case, I have a hunch that 95% of the older titles - pc and other - being played in here are played via an emulator, so I don't think that "emulator or native hardware" is a very useful yardstick.
Maybe the invisible line is actually to be drawn somehwere else? What is "Windows"? There is at least three major generations under that umbrella:
* Windows 1.0 - 3.11: as said before, simply graphical shells of MS-DOS (but nevertheless, offered an application layer required by a few games)
* Windows 95 - Windows ME: strictly speaking also graphical shells of MS-DOS, plus a second 16 bit VM on top
* Windows NT - Windows 10: "current" generation

You're right, it's this middle generation which makes most trouble these days.

Though then, even within the latter, there is a broad ground to be covered. Remember that up to Windows Vista, running all processes with root privileges was still default. This paradigm change also broke another large set of games if running on later revisions which apply regular non-system privileges by default.

To make it short: maybe "Windows" is too broad a category in any case (depending on the purpose of the tag)?

(Though honestly, I tend towards believing it's not necessary to split "PC" at all.)

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#26 Post by Gunness » Tue Mar 16, 2021 11:37 am

Thanks for making some excellent points, Hannes.

Does anyone else wish to weigh in? Should we split up WIndows? Split up PC at all?

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#27 Post by Garry » Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:15 am

Doing a split sounds like it's going to be too much trouble. I think the best we can do is rely on contributors to add notes on system requirements. This will at least give us an idea whether supplementary software (such as an emulator) is needed on modern platforms.

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#28 Post by Gunness » Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:02 pm

To sum up:
For the time being, the PC platform remains as it is. I fully agree that it's not ideal, though. If anyone can come up with a scheme that magically solves all listed issues, I'm all ears :)

@Garry: adding some rudimentary information about system requirements is fine. As long as it doesn't turn into a list of how to set up your CONFIG.SYS in order to make it run. In other words: I'd prefer it if such information doesn't overtake or clutter the notes section unnecessarily.

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#29 Post by Garry » Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:29 pm

Agreed. Something like "Requires MS-DOS or an emulator such as DOSBox" or "Requires Windows 7 or later".

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Re: ADRIFT platforms

#30 Post by Mr Creosote » Thu Mar 18, 2021 8:20 pm

Don't forget to list the minimum version of DirectX required (and maximum version supported)! That's essential information ;)

In all honesty, though, how large do you think the group of people on the one hand interested in text adventures, but on the other hand unaware that pre-2000 games may not "natively" run on their current computer system is? Putting a note about Dosbox in each and every entry of a "PC" game seems like total overkill. Wouldn't expanding the emulators page make much more sense, to build a centralized reference?

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