Fictionarium, successor to Fabularium

Hi all,

I have been working on porting the Fabularium open sourced code to the latest Android version, because it just did not work for me, on my mobile.

I renamed this project to Fictionarium, to respect the original author’s trademark, and have successfully installed it on my Android device (and, of course, played a few games). That said, there are still many rough edges, mostly due to Android system locking down on what files can be accessed by an app.

I did note that there is a usable port to F-droid, but that is unusable for me, because I don’t want to root my phone.

Anyway, while I try to resolve the rough edges, I would like to hear from the community about what parts of Fabularium you were using the most and what were the major painpoints.
And… if you are like me who misses the working version on Android, do say hi :slight_smile:

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There must be some mistake. The F-Droid edition doesn’t require a rooted device. Or do you mean F-Droid itself? It doesn’t require a rooted device either.

Either way, it’s been a while since I last tried Fabularium. Can’t remember what was broken or just annoying. There were a few things. Make sure to test the game library, those are always rough as a general rule. Also, I remember being able to edit Inform 6 source code, not so much if the compiler actually worked.

But these are details. Welcome, and thanks for putting in the work! It would be cool to have a maintained interpreter for Android again.

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F-droid doesn’t require rooting.

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As Mike and Felix said, F-Droid works on normal, non-rooted Android. I used it. Only problem, my Android was made unusable after installing some software from F-Droid. After kicking them and F-Droid out, all went well again.

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Other people have already addressed the F-Droid misconception, so I’ll just add that if you need any help installing the F-Droid version, feel free to ask. I’ve done it, and I’m sure others here have as well.

Aside from that, I’m excited to see interest in updating the app! A couple quick thoughts:

  • You may be way ahead of me on this, but it might be worth looking at the F-Droid version? I think the person who submitted it to F-Droid also made some updates to the terps and licenses at the time.
  • I recently fixed a bug in the app’s implementation of Git/Glulxe. I haven’t yet sorted out how to make the bugfixed version available for download (right now you’d have to compile it yourself), but I’d be happy to make a pull request with the fix to your version if you point me at it.
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I’ve never gotten the transcript option on Fabularium to work properly. Having this work correctly on an Android interpreter would be appreciated by quite a few people, including many beta testers. @Jade comes to mind for one.

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First off, thanks for the topic. I think Fabularium is a great tool. I’ve been using it for a long time and, in general, it doesn’t cause any particular problems. I would be happy to see it continue to be developed further. However, there are a few frustrating issues right now.

  1. It’s hard to find game saves and transcripts in the GameData folder. As I understand it, Fabularium generates their names from IFIDs. This may be correct, but it is not very convenient for the player.

  2. When using the default (not built-in) keyboard it is impossible to delete a word in the prompt after you add a space after it.

  3. Game names and metadata in Cyrillic are not displayed in the game information on the main page. Everything is displayed correctly in the game itself though.

  4. The program hangs when connecting a bluetooth keyboard. You must first enable bluetooth on the phone and keyboard, and then run the program.

It works.

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Thanks for taking up the torch! Fabularium is an amazing app, and I’m glad to see it being kept alive for the latest versions of Android.

Pain point: honestly playing games has been pretty painless for me, but I’ve always been annoyed that there isn’t an easy way to edit metadata in the app (particularly to change the display name or cover art of a game). This is particularly annoying when working with raw or unpublished story files that have no public metadata.

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The main thing I think the world needs is an Android interpreter that’s actively maintained and conveniently available on the Google Play Store. I don’t know if that’s your end goal, but, if it is, that’s great.

A related problem is that making something available in the Google Play Store requires an active maintainer who manages upload credentials over a period of years. There have been a series of interpreters for Android that just stop getting updates, and usually get withdrawn from the Google Play Store eventually, including:

  • Hunky Punk
  • Son of Hunky Punk
  • ZMPP
  • Text Fiction
  • Thunderword
  • AndroidIF
  • JFrotz

I think a project like this would be a natural fit for publishing under the IF Tech Foundation, the organization that runs this forum, as well as IFDB, the IF Archive, and IFComp.

As I’m imagining it, a volunteer (maybe you!) would chair a “Fictionarium Committee” at IFTF. We’d create a Google account like fictionarium@iftechfoundation.org; the app would be published on the Google Play Store via that account. If you wander off and stop maintaining Fictionarium, another volunteer could step up to fix bugs and publish updates, without having to fork Fictionarium and set up a new Google Play account from scratch.

Does this interest you? If so, I’d be happy to help you get set up.

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Maybe an app store committee to handle both Android and iOS, and also to receive requests for inclusion? I thought there was already an IFTF iOS developer account, maybe for Twine?

(Eventually I also want to get Parchment onto mobiles through Tauri. But that’s a long way off.)

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Hi,

Thank you for the warm welcome!

Publishing under the account belonging to IF Foundation, would definitely be the best solution. It is also in my interest because I am not sure how much time I will be able to invest in the future and so I also cannot commit to more than a couple of hours of dev work per week.

That said, I would like to get the app to a publishable working version state. The latter is a bit thorny because Fabularium is very file management centric and the newer versions of Android just don’t allow the operations to be able to manage the game library without a lot of manual work. But that is a separate topic.

Please do let me know how we can set this up. And thank you! :slightly_smiling_face:

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Indeed, I am a bit embarrassed by my misconception of what F-droid actually is. My information was second hand and I never actually looked it up :sweat_smile:

Anyway, I do intend to go through the changes on the F-droid version to see what should be back ported to the Android version, once I get the file and game data management sorted out. In its current state it does not really work yet.

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Acknowledged. I am happy to see this much interest. I was not sure whether people were fine with the F-droid version, or maybe the web play, or similar.

Now I see that there is interest, I will first have to work towards productizing the changes needed in game data management and can then take on additional improvements. So, it’s a ways off, but will try to get it sorted.

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Indeed. As stated in my other replies, the game data management needs a bit of a rework and I can take a look into improving the metadata management as well. In fact, I think I will have to do this at the same time, because of the difference in how files can be managed in the newer Android version.

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Given the broader discussion of Fabularium’s future in this thread, this seems like a good place to chime in:

My current plans are to see about getting the F-Droid app updated with the Glulx transcript fix, either by the previous maintainer or myself. (Large-scale upgrades are beyond my pay grade, but I know at least one other person has been waiting years to see that bug squashed.) I’m planning to reach out to the F-Droid repository’s owner sometime this week about it, and then—if necessary—figure out what it would take to handle the process myself.

If it would make more sense to coordinate my efforts with the IFTF committee proposed above, I’m happy to do that instead or in addition; just let me know. =)

(And if @preroq would rather I kept this out of their thread, mods are welcome to move it to the Fabularium thread.)

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It’s been dealing with Twine on MacOS, not iOS. The signing/publishing process is similar though. I don’t believe it has any experience with Android.

Chris Klimas has been handling that process, since it’s only been Twine so far. Extending it to other (open-source) apps seems like a great idea, but there will be additional learning curve.

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I don’t mind :slightly_smiling_face: Rest assured that it has been noted and, as I said, I will back port the F-droid changes to the main branch of Fictionarium anyhow. In fact, looking at the changes, I might have been better off by basing off of the F-droid anyway.

Well, no worries, I can sort it out. And thanks for the patch, of course!

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There are a few more questions I would like to get some feedback on:

  1. The code organization: Java is a bit code ownership centric, encoding the domain in the package names. May I reorganize the code to start using org.iftechfoundation.fictionarium? I, of course, freely give all TM rights of Fictionarium to IF Foundation, if that’s a concern.
  2. Maybe a bit funny but: what should the icon be? I feel like it’s a topic that developers don’t spend enough time on (especially ones like me who are primarily back-end developers :sweat_smile:). Anyway, suggestions are welcome.
  3. Started another topic for the use cases, so that I don’t miss vital thing in my testing. I hope that’s ok.

Thank you in advance :slightly_smiling_face:

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Fabularium doesn’t makes only properly transcripts when the game is a glux one. If the file is in z* format works properly.

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Good to know, thank you.

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