IFDB Launch

A cool new thing! Mike Roberts has announced the launch of IFDB, a database of IF games. It pulls together reviews from a variety of sources and allows users to add their own new reviews and recommendation lists, a la Amazon. You can also use IFDB to track games that you’ve already played; view the game’s metadata, if any (such as cover art and the teaser provided by the author); and download files.

There is ongoing work on features to automatically install and launch new games, too, removing that tedious “find the correct interpreter, then install it, then use it” process that novices to the genre tend to find unappealing.

10 thoughts on “IFDB Launch

  1. I like the idea of the “Play Now!” button – I’m convinced that the one thing the community needs more than anything, in order to get more players, is VERY easy web playability. Perhaps a Java-based virtual platform would be even better, for the sake of new players not having to trust browser plug-ins, or perhaps browser plug-ins will become more common and trusted in future.

  2. I especially like the “IFDB Recommends…” thingy toy.

    It is just that sometimes I have not the required patience to peruse Baf’s — alphabetically sorted — 3, 4 and 5 stars games.

    The page looks great.

  3. Is there a reason that the new functionality in the IFDB wasn’t simply rolled into Baf’s Guide? The metadata, web-scraping, and auto-launching features of the IFDB look great, but considering the longevity of Baf’s Guide as the IF community’s “database of record”, it would seem natural to expand it rather than create a competing (or complementary?) database. Any insight?

  4. My guess would be some or all of:

    — because Baf did not want to expand Baf’s in that direction;
    — because Mike Roberts had the primary vision for the project and decided to go ahead and build it rather than trying to change someone else’s project;
    — because Baf’s infrastructure is not designed in a way that would be easy to convert to something like this;
    — because the new design was intended to be open-access in a way Baf’s is not.

    For what it’s worth, there had long been speculation about creating some kind of new IF download-and-play scheme, with the iTunes music store as a kind of conceptual exemplar for some of the brainstorming. (And indeed the new Zoom is closer than ever to being an iTunes for IF, since it organizes files, stores data and notes, and facilitates the acquisition of new stuff.) The Treaty of Babel metadata project was partly intended to make such a thing easier to build. As far as I can recall, the concept was always for this to be something other than Baf’s.

  5. The other thing I forgot to mention is the difference in focus: while Baf’s is a front end only to the archive, IFDB is intended to be a database covering all known IF, even if it is not possible to provide a legal download link.

    So there is no reason why IFDB should not eventually have listings for Infocom and Level 9 titles, or for recent commercial stuff like Future Boy, 1893 (in the full version), etc.

  6. Another problem with Java (at least in-browser) is that the security model doesn’t allow you to store information on the client’s machine. So no save game files–unless you save them in a db on the server’s end, which is doable, but the Java VMs I’ve looked at aren’t set up to do that.

  7. Right.

    There’s been some discussion also of an implementation that would run entirely on a server and just serve output to the player; I don’t know whether anyone is actually trying to build this at the moment, but the technical outline of how to do it is here:

    http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.int-fiction/browse_frm/thread/0195ffc583ab7e39#

    Another advantage of that would be that it would be easier to construct games that pulled information from elsewhere on the web (if for some reason one wanted up-to-date content) or to track who had completed which IF (if the games were intended as, e.g., training modules of some kind).

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