I’ve had a passing interest in IF since the Zork days, but only recently had time to think about getting more involved myself. But I’ve been doing some Googling, and what I see baffles me a bit. So I was wondering if anybody has any views on any of the following (all of which might, I guess, but old chestnuts, for which I apologise):
is IF as a genre still alive? Google searches for anything to do with IF bring up the same small number of names. The impression I get is of a niche interest valiantly propped up by a small bad of heroes. And even then most stuff on the Web seems to be dated 2007 or earlier. Am I missing something? Is there a large number of IF authors and players keeping their heads down?
Is there much interest in things like graphics and sound? It seems to me that most people writing IF are not using these things very much. But I can’t figure out if that’s because they don’t want to (for artistic or philosophical reasons), or because the technical challenges are too great.
Is Z-code as a platform alive or dead? There seems to be a fair amount of Z5 and Z8 games, but is there more interest these days in glulx (or something else)? While I understand that theoretical advantages of glulx of Z-code, it’s not at all clear to me that glulx is superior to Z-code in day-to-day terms. Is there something that, as an author, I can do with glulx that I can’t do with Z-code?
While I understand the historical reason for virtual-machine systems like Z-code, I find it hard to understand why modern development doesn’t focus on up-to-date VM-based systems like Java, if wide platform support is required. I’m guessing (and it is only a guess) that translating a language like Inform into Java source code, or even direct to Java byte-code, is probably not as difficult as putting a man on the moon.
As I said, I’m sorry if these questions are old chestnuts. Any comments welcome.