Pros and cons of ADRIFT 5

I will try to be brief:

Inspired by another thread ( HERE ) I decided to make a thread which lists the pros and cons of ADRIFT 5 (no one really use ADRIFT 4 anymore, though the games still get played)

I believe almost all parser authoring systems have some advantages, which makes them preferable to some authors. If there was only Inform, many games would never be made.

Having said that, Inform is brilliant in many ways due to both historical and technical reasons. Still some people prefer other systems for parser games. Why?

In this post I only focus on ADRIFT. As an ADRIFT user I am certainly biased but I will attempt to focus on facts. However, I do believe that when ADRIFT 5 is used correctly, the parser can be pretty strong.

Both pros and cons (can be discussed):

  • No scripting, all is done with menus and text boxes
    • Some html-like tags possible in text boxes, for italic or bold text, audio control etc
    • ADRIFT often attracts people with little or no programming experience
  • The player can always override colors and text fonts


  • Game Development is Windows only.
  • Playing is only Windows, Android and online play.
    • Android interpreter still has some bugs.
    • Online play has limitations: old tech, map not displayed well, background always black, clumsy save-feature, sometimes slow
  • Currently only one developer (not counting the developer of Fabularium)
    • Thus slow development
    • more bugs
  • Multiple commands on same line not possible
    • Walkthroughs must be copied into a macro instead of the command line
  • Too easy to be cutting corners, i.e. not doing things the intended way
    • If corners are cut, games often have a bad parser
    • If corners are cut, games often have more bugs
  • Still some bugs in the Standard Library


  • Standard Library can easily be expanded, modified or fixed
  • Good parser when commands are implemented as intended
  • Automatic mapping
  • Fast-travel by clicking on the map
  • Easy to include audio and graphics
  • ADRIFT-blorbs(.blorb) can be created easily, so music and graphics are in the same file
  • Windows executable games can be created by the click of a button
  • Standard adventures are very easy to create
    • More advanced stuff possible with some practice

I hope I have remembered the most important facts :slightly_smiling_face:



  • Animated images and styled text are easier than Inform.


  • Documentation is erratic. When I last looked at the manual (admittedly, a number of years ago), there were quite a few pages which just had a line in the vein of “This page is not written yet.” There were a handful of worked examples. (Compare to 400+ examples in the Inform documentation.)
  • Significant amounts of the execution logic are in the runner. For example, if multiple characters move on a turn, and some of them happen to have “If this character sees X, then do Y”, in what order exactly do those tasks get run? If Campbell changes this logic, it might break any game that depends on the old behavior. (Under an Inform game, the equivalent logic is part of the game file.)
  • (The above is closely connected to why interpreters for ADRIFT are limited. Zcode and Glulx were designed with the purpose of being clearly specified, and making it easy to write interpreters, so multiple interpreters exist for them.)
  • ADRIFT lacks the ability to do file IO. If I understand the Inform docs correctly, a person doing an Eamon clone under Inform could create the guild hall and each adventure as separate games, sharing data through external files.
  • ADRIFT’s parsing is nowhere near what an Inform game could do. For example, in Scroll Thief, a scroll can be referred to by the spell written on it, and some scrolls are rewritable. A person doing an Eamon clone could give the player weapons with names that it got reading an input file, and the player could refer to them with those names.

Thanks ralphmerridew for the input.

Though most authors wouldn’t use file IO, it could be necessary for more advanced games, and therefore such games cannot currently be made in ADRIFT.

The Inform parser is no doubt more versatile.
Still, If I understand you correctly, I think your Scroll Thief example might be doable in ADRIFT.

For instance, in ADRIFT you can apply the action: [set][Object Name][to][‘whatever’]
This will replace the first Noun but the other nouns are preserved.

Con: Release will install ransomware/malware (Win32/Uwamson.A!ml) on your computer. Big yikes.

I used the zip file for, rather than the installer and there doesn’t appear to be any ransomware.

Some antivirus software seems to take offense with how the libraries are packaged into the executable. It can take a while after each release for the file to be whitelisted.

It’s just a false positive. Some anti-virus have really poor detection algorithms that either miss malware or incorrectly detect them. The false positives come from the data happening to land a certain way during the compilation process that makes it look similar to a description of a specific malware. This is especially true of apps that use a lot of DLLs because a common malware tactic is to infect a DLL which will execute the malware code once the executable calls it. And when the DLLs are bundled into the the executable, it can look similar to code injection. Adrift is written in VisualBasic, so DLLs are its bread and butter.

If you’re ever concerned about a specific executable or DLL, upload it to VirusTotal. This site checks the file against a slew of different anti-virus apps and tells you which ones detected something and which didn’t. If only a couple detected it, it’s a false positive. If most detect something, that’s bad news.

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Just curious, but does this mean you do the scripting in your custom library?