IF library manager for Windows?

I’m dreaming of an iTunes-like IF library manager for Windows, but all my searching is making me believe nothing like this exists.

There are some emulator frontends out there that could work - things like LaunchBox. I added a few games into it and they look/work great. But since the app doesn’t read embedded metadata in IF files, filling out author/date/genre/etc could get cumbersome quite fast for a large library. (Though a huge advantage to LaunchBox is that you could also add DOS games. Spectrum games, C64 games, etc. and have them all in one place…)

Anyway if there’s anything out there, do let me know. Thanks!

Blorple - old and very simplistic, but reads metadata. You need Java runtine to run it.

Thanks, I hadn’t seen that one. Though I was hoping for something a little more… substantial.

Well, there’s Grotesque.


It’s Python only now. I used it for a while and can really recommend it. I eventually realised it was way easier to organise my IF in my own way, in my own collection, but it’s still a pretty good tool.

Thanks, I will try that out.

What method did you end up using to keep your collection organized?

Folders. :slight_smile: I have Windows 7, so I just use a toolbar which I’ve linked to my IF folder, and within it I’ve got it organised to my liking. I can navigate menus until I get to the game I want, or right-click the toolbar and navigate pretty quickly.

The advantage is, Grotesque wasn’t stellar at managing external files - indeed, I’m not sure any IF library manager is. But lots of games have feelies, or readmes, or hints, or walkthroughs that I want to be able to access easily. Plus, I’ve got all sorts of games, running all sorts of terps, and a few are even D-Fend shortcuts to DosBOX profiles, and I’m dependant on my machine knowing what to do when I double-click a .lnk file (Grotesque wasn’t very good at allowing me to just double-click an entry and let the Windows file manager deal with the interpreter. But maybe it’s been rectified since I used it last).

Also, ADRIFT and Git/Glulx. Adrift games all use the same extension (with the exception of .blorb), but you’ll need 3.90, 4.x or 5.x (I’m talking about the interpreter) to play the game in the system it was created. That’s super messy, and Grotesque couldn’t cleanly deal with it. And some games (mostly SuperGLUS and the like) don’t run in WinGit without throwing a few errors, so I have to use WinGlulxe.

Between folders and creative file associations, I’ve my my machine running IF veeeeery smooooothly. I was very excited about Grotesque, until I realised it was just an unnecessary complication.

Is there a blorb thumbnailer for Windows Explorer? That would make organising using folders that little bit nicer.

I like this idea a lot. I prefer using the OS as much as possible for organizing where possible. I don’t have any of the programming knowledge to even know where to begin to set this up.

What’s a blorb thumbnailer?

Just like how Explorer will show you a thumbnail of photos and videos, you can write custom ‘plugins’ to do the same for other file types, like extracting cover art from blorbs. We already have them for Gnome and OSX. I started looking into it, and it doesn’t look too difficult, so I think I’ll give it a go. It will be a good project to practice my C# too :wink:.

Oh. I don’t use thumbnails at all, so I wouldn’t know about that, but it certainly sounds cool.

A thumbnail generator would be nice.

I do have my IF sorted in my file manager (Directory Opus). Each title is in its own folder with the release year in () and the author in []. I have scripts that can parse that text out of the file name and puts it into separate columns. That way I can sort oldest to newest, or group by author.

I’ve also started dumping games into Launchbox as I mentioned in my original post. It has the enhanced filtering capability so I can sort by parser or developer or release platform. I can also link to PDF or image files for quick access to all the extras that came with commercial titles. It’s working well so far, I have Gargoyle set up as my primary interpreter but I’m also running DOS and Spectrum games from it at the moment. It’s working well, though as I anticipated it’s tedious setting games up one at a time. But I’m building the system on a 64gb thumb drive, so as soon as a game is set up once, I don’t imagine I’ll ever have to do it again…

Careful with Gargoyle and TADS3; it won’t tell you that some games have extra content, and you’ll be missing out without even knowing. I’m not sure about sound, but I don’t think it displays images or hyperlinks.

Thanks for the heads-up. I haven’t encountered any TADS3 games yet but I’ll remember that when I do!

Thanks for the recommendation but at the moment I’m not directly supporting Windows due to lack of time and having no Windows machine on hand for testing. The software is written in Python, so it should be portable to Windows, but for now one would have to a) install the Gtk+ libraries for Windows on their own and b) know how to install and run a Python program without a .exe installer. I would like to support Windows again in the future, but I’ll need Windows-based Python developer to help me with that (should know Python to help squash Windows-related bugs).

Also, Grotesque has been under fairly heavy development since the last release. I admit, the program has always been buggy as hell, which came down to bad design decisions that I made during an epic coding spree when I first took over development on the program. I have greatly improved the Treaty of Babel functionality (this is now available in the last release), I have completely ripped out the the underlying library management system and replaced it with a neatly organized database, and I have done a huge reorganization of the code to make maintaining it easier. I have squashed a bunch of bugs that were present in the last version, but it’s not yet ready for release. I’ve also made collection management way more powerful for the obsessive collector, such as the ability to have multiple versions of the same game (old releases, different platforms, etc.) and a generally cleaner separation between user metadata vs. IFDB metadata. I will eventually migrate the code from Python 2 to Python 3, which will make handling of Unicode a lot easier, but I’m not sure if I’ll do that on a separate release or not.

The database is already set up to handle adding feelies and other such files as well as the ability to tag games (something I’ve wanted for a while), but these functionalities won’t be available at first since they will require big changes to the interface. I’d rather get the core nice and stable before I start adding big new features.

If anyone wants to try the current development version, they are welcome to do so, but note that you may encounter bugs (please report them if you do), but it’s probably more usable than the last version (note: to download these, you’ll have to log in; follow the instructions on the page to log in as “anonymous”):

Grotesque development version (tar.gz)
Grotesque development version (zip)

You’ll also need the latest development version of pyifbabel:

pyifbabel devolpment version (tar.gz)
pyifbabel development version (zip)

Again, please remember: this should be considered BETA SOFTWARE, at best. I know it’s been buggy as hell, I’m working on it, but there are probably still bugs. I’m sorry for that.

Unfortunately, I have been skirting the edge of a major burn-out for the last six months or so, so I made a conscious decision to set aside all extracurricular projects while I regain focus. Grotesque has been on the back of my mind but I just haven’t been able to muster the energy to work on it lately. I promise I will get back to it soon.

I can potentially help with Windows/Python things, though my coding time has been somewhat limited recently. (Also I’m having some difficulty with the Python bindings for GTK+ on Windows—which libraries and versions are you using?)

py2exe or pyinstaller should make it much easier to distribute. But to develop it you’d still have to install Gtk+ first.

I think he did experiment with py2exe - hence the Windows executables that did exist.

OK, that sounds good. I want to at least get the next version complete before I consider a Windows release though. I’m still working on making the code less embarassing for others to look at. :blush: So, I may get in touch sooner or later!

In the past, Grotesque was using Gtk+ 2 on Windows but I’ve since migrated the entire codebase to Gtk+3. I’m pretty sure that’s available for Windows now. Be sure you’re using Gobject introspection and not the old pygtk library (your import statements should be like “from gi.repository import Gtk”). I haven’t yet done a careful review of which version is required for the functionality (it’s on my big to-do list) that I use but it should be generally recent but not necessarily the last version or two.

Yes, I used py2exe in the past to make the Windows releases but I didn’t have the time and, eventually, the means to test the code on Windows, which meant I couldn’t fix any bugs. If someone helps out with Windows releases of Grotesque, they would also have to help out with hunting down and fixing bugs (which is why I want to have a nice codebase on which to work!).