Popularity of I6

I have recently started learning C. I am considering learning Inform in my spare time (either 6 or 7).

I find some comfort in some of the superficial similarities between inform 6 and C. Inform 7 looks impressive but having got used to C, looks kind of inelegant, rightly or wrongly.

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Welcome to intfiction. I too prefer Inform 6 for the very same reason.

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At the risk of beating a dead horse … you might want to look at TADS 3. It’s quite a lot like C++. It’s not nearly as popular as Inform, but it’s a robust development environment for parser-based games.

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Unless you decide to go for TADS instead, I would suggest learning both I6 and I7.

Like C, I6 has a certain austere directness and simplicity, particularly if you have developed a programmer’s eye for reading code.

I7 has a more aesthetic beauty, both to read and to write, including the ability to concisely express surprisingly complex ideas in a single sentence.

It remains the case that certain things are easier to do in one language or the other, but nowadays I7 has the edge in these.

If you know both languages, since I7 compiles to I6 you can at certain points in your code drop from I7 to I6 for particular purposes, a bit like inserting in-line assembly code into C.

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To be fair, the Spanish version of DAAD was available for some years. The English system was completely lost though. It was initially present on the disks that Andres Samudio, owner of the Spanish Adventure forge Aventuras AD (for which DAAD was made for) found on his attic. But the English interpreters and language files have been deleted in the 80s already.

Since I’ve been working with Tim Gilberts on the preservation of some of his other software pieces (released under the Gilsoft label), we decided to also preserve DAAD, which we then did. Tim still had the sources and was able to compile much of the old interpreters from source, we also fixed bugs and even rolled out new interpreters that didn’t exist in the 80s, the Plus/4 interpreter for example, which is based on the sources of the Commodore 64 version. I also did a fairly good job in recreating the English language template (which was unrecoverable unfortunately). It’s nice to see that DAAD now has a vibrant community, the system nearly was lost in time forever. My game Hibernated btw. was the first English language game ever being released with DAAD.

In case anyone is interested I published an interview with Tim in 2017 where he reflects releasing “The Quill” and founding Gilsoft in the early 80s thus shaping and changing the European adventure scene forever.

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I myself have two games in the making (since years…), one in Inform 6 and one in Inform 7, and I have come to dislike both, but in terms of Inform 6 to a lesser degree. Coming from an LPC background I find Inform 6 to be a little more intuitive than Inform 7, although the handling of datatypes is horrible in both. Shouldst I ever finish one of those two games, the next one will be in TADS, for I have heard that’s more close to C++.

TL;DR: For me personally, and only for me, this whole “natural language” thing is a big fail. That’s why I prefer I6 to I7.

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The “natural language” business is very attractive to people who have no background in computer programming. And the cross-platform IDE is very nice. Being able to browse the Index to make sure you’ve created what you think you’ve created is a sweet feature. On the whole, however, I agree with you. I keep thinking I’d like to write another game in I7, and then I spend a couple of days with it and decide no, I’ll stick with TADS.

Now, bear in mind, I’m a Windows user. The TADS Workbench is not cross-platform, and that’s a huge stumbling block for a lot of people who might otherwise want to give it a try. For me, quite aside from the peculiarities of the “natural language” syntax, I7 is problematical because it takes too long to compile. Each time you compile, it has to do a complete recompile, including the library and any extensions you’ve added. In T3, only the source files that have changed have to be compiled, because the compiler builds object files that it can link to. It’s the difference between three seconds of compiling and 45 seconds, each and every time you compile your work-in-progress.

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Dat true.

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Interestingly, I have the opposite perspective. I’m a professional coder of decades (mostly in C-family languages), but I tend to prefer I7 over I6, and have ever since it first came out.

I think what’s going on there is twofold:

  1. Since I7 looks less like code (even though it still is), when I get home after a long day of writing regular code it feels “different” enough that I’m not tired of it.
  2. The syntax of I6 is sufficiently close to “real” code that it still feels like coding, but sufficiently different in syntax and function that it irritates me.

Having said that, thus far I’ve mostly treated both languages as an exercise in puzzle-solving in itself – while I have written several small stories (though only released one), I tend to find more fun in helping other people with thorny language issues, and also in writing extensions (of which I have released many more; some inspired by questions from others and some due to things I’ve run into myself during the course of the unreleased experiments) – and the latter is only really available in I7. (I6 does have some extension hooks but they’re more limited.) So that may also explain some of my bias.

(I don’t regard myself as a particularly creative person, so I tend to lose steam quickly in story-writing.)

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I’m with mirality here.

Both languages have their right to exist, their advantages and disadvantages over the other and of course their user base. I for myself (+20 years coding in C, also Objective-C / Cocoa) found it very easy and efficient to get my head around Inform 6. The natural language approach in I7 does not really work for me, I even find it awkward to read but that’s just a personal thing I guess.

I do develop games for the classic home computers of the 80s, where the Inform 7 lib never would run at an enjoyable speed, so there not that many options for me anyway :smiley:

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Someone needs to start thinking more artsy, and chase those three- and four-star reviews with an I7 game whose airy concept is that taking 20 minutes to resolve a turn on a Commodore VIC-20 is a very fancy feature that makes you smart.

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I love the way you look at things! :rofl:

Mostly out of habit really. I already know Inform 6, I prefer not to spend the little time I can work on my IF game on learning another programming language.

I also shamefully admit I have difficulties with learning Inform 7’s programming style (it should be easier right?). Maybe because I’m not a native English speaker so it doesn’t feel “natural” to me.

I’m really happy to see that the inform categories have been separated on the forum, by the way !

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