Several game designers are switching to other development systems for their projects these days. Deidra Kiai, aka “Squinky”, has shifted gears from SLUDGE to the Wintermute Engine, as evidenced by her new game Chivalry is Not Dead, which she announced 2 months ago in the WME forums. In fact, she released her second game in WME one month after Chivalry – it’s called Pigeons in the Park, a short game involving two people in a conversation, inspired by Emily Short’s Best of Three.
From the looks of things, more and more aspiring designers are flocking towards existing game engines that are still actively maintained by their developers, and have a more-or-less stable user base. Consider AGAST, for example: according to Adventure Developers, around a total of four (4) released games were created using this game engine, but the site’s last update was back in 2003. Now, even the website’s forum is down. There are currently no visible signs if it will come back again.
I can’t help comparing what’s happening here to the events in the IF community. Most of the IF design tools are pretty much still maintained by their authors, even those like TADS 2 and ALAN 2 that are no longer considered to be “actively developed.” The support is still very active, though, not just from your peers but also from the engine authors themselves. A lot of helpful reference material have been placed for both online and offline viewing. Some users have even stated their intentions of sticking to the tools’ older version (e.g., Inform 6), for one reason or another.
Then again, numerous IF creation systems have also gone the other way – just look at the humongous list over at the IF Archive. Except for probably just a handful, everything else has lain dormant.
That’s the way the cookie crumbles…