Author Topic: ScummVM and AGS - Old grudges...  (Read 921 times)

Snarky

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ScummVM and AGS - Old grudges...
« on: 24 Dec 2017, 00:06 »
PC Gamer is running an interview by Richard Cobbett with Eugene Sandulenko ("Sev"), the ScummVM project lead, on the occasion of the release of ScummVM v2.0 (hooray!)

He has this to say about AGS (not hooray!):

Quote
The most notable omission though has to be AGS—Adventure Game Studio. This is the software behind 99 percent of freeware and indie adventures this side of the millennium, ranging from the Chzo Mythos and Larry Vales to the Blackwell series and next year’s Unavowed. Early versions are a pain, to put it mildly, as anyone who’s ever tried getting something like Quest For Glory IV 1/2: So You Thought You Were A Hero to run can attest. (Top tip: don’t!) The audience and features seem perfect for ScummVM. Yet still, no support.

"AGS is... unfortunate for us," admits Sandulenko. "Once the original author published the source code, we were pretty excited and we started working on it. We really had high hopes. But then when we mentioned it in the AGS forums, where the game authors are, there was a huge uproar. They didn't want it. They disliked the idea. They jumped on our poor developer so hard that they left in disgust, not wanting to touch it any more. I don't know why there was such opposition. We wanted to do it in the proper way, in the ScummVM spirit, and keep it updated as AGS was upgraded and improved over time. Later there was some talk of 'letting' us handle old game compatibility and so on, but... well, yeah... thanks? That’s not really in the spirit of our project."

Most of the debate he's referring to is in this thread. I would say his summary mischaracterizes the events a great deal.

Crimson Wizard

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Re: ScummVM and AGS - Old grudges...
« Reply #1 on: 24 Dec 2017, 01:47 »
That's kind of weird to hear, because I actually spoke to fuzzie (Alyssa Milburn) few years after I started to work on AGS, and could not imagine she holds any grudge. She seemed rather sad that her work on refactored engine was not used by us (which could actually be a mistake on our side). And her last posts on this forum do not suggest she was angry.
But then again, I didn't know the person well enough to make definitive conclusions.

I am still not sure why her AGS rewrite was not integrated into ScummVM. It was about 90% complete last time I checked, and there should not be any legal or technical obstacle for anyone to finish it. Even if it could not be synced with modern development, it could yet be used to run old games.
Maybe there is something I am not aware of.
« Last Edit: 24 Dec 2017, 01:50 by Crimson Wizard »

Amélie

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Re: ScummVM and AGS - Old grudges...
« Reply #2 on: 24 Dec 2017, 02:27 »
Anyway - this means war.

Add spoiler tag for war:
Actually, it doesn't. Nice of him to mention our little project in such popular gaming publication.

EDIT: Too bad my spoiler tag is not working. :(
EDIT: Thank you, Ivan, very kind!  :)
« Last Edit: 26 Dec 2017, 00:45 by Amélie »

Crimson Wizard

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Re: ScummVM and AGS - Old grudges...
« Reply #3 on: 24 Dec 2017, 02:34 »
EDIT: Too bad my spoiler tag is not working. :(

It's [ hide ] :)

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Re: ScummVM and AGS - Old grudges...
« Reply #4 on: 24 Dec 2017, 13:16 »
Quote
But then when we mentioned it in the AGS forums, where the game authors are, there was a huge uproar. They didn't want it. They disliked the idea.
Seriously?
I know I had an account back then, but I wasn't active, so I missed that whole ordeal. But I find it really hard to believe that this forum reacted so negatively to the idea.
Are we really to blame for the lack of AGS support in ScummVM? If so, then what gives? I thought we all wanted AGS support in ScummVM!

Re: ScummVM and AGS - Old grudges...
« Reply #5 on: 24 Dec 2017, 13:55 »
Hey Snarky, when I try to load the link to the old thread my Google chrome report the link as dangerous, is it possible the link for the image in someone's old account has fallen in the wrong hands?

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Re: ScummVM and AGS - Old grudges...
« Reply #6 on: 24 Dec 2017, 14:12 »
Most of the debate he's referring to is in this thread. I would say his summary mischaracterizes the events a great deal.
That thread appears to devolve into people who don't know copyright law arguing about copyright law; it's easy to get a negative vibe from that :(

There appears to be a mostly-complete AGS engine for ScummVM on Fuzzie's Github. It would be interesting to see how many AGS games run under that.

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Re: ScummVM and AGS - Old grudges...
« Reply #7 on: 24 Dec 2017, 14:29 »
Hey Snarky, when I try to load the link to the old thread my Google chrome report the link as dangerous, is it possible the link for the image in someone's old account has fallen in the wrong hands?

Yeah, looks like it's subspark. There's nothing I can do as a mod, but maybe AGA can fix it.

But I find it really hard to believe that this forum reacted so negatively to the idea.
Are we really to blame for the lack of AGS support in ScummVM? If so, then what gives? I thought we all wanted AGS support in ScummVM!

Yeah no, that's not how it happened. There were no attacks on any of the ScummVM devs, apart from RickJ going on about some negative experience he'd had on the ScummVM forums. And everyone liked the idea in principle. However, there were some roadblocks that meant a number of people, myself included, didn't think that what ScummVM proposed (essentially: that they would take over AGS, rewriting it "from scratch") was a good idea. One of the issues was that since ScummVM is GPL-licensed, AGS would have to be GPL-licensed as well. Everyone on both sides seemed happy with the idea of ScummVM adding support for 2.x games, though.

That thread appears to devolve into people who don't know copyright law arguing about copyright law; it's easy to get a negative vibe from that :(

Regardless, I don't think some of the arguments against relicensing AGS under GPL were ever convincingly refuted. The issue with Steam compatibility, for example. And keep in mind that this was just as CJ was open-sourcing the code (AGS.Native still hadn't been released): personally I think it was right to honor his choice of the Artistic License rather than immediately abandon it. And that meant full integration of AGS and ScummVM just wasn't possible, before even getting into other concerns. (The ScummVM peeps seemed to have a different idea of how games ought to be distributed, for example.)

Perhaps that calculation has changed in the years since.

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Re: ScummVM and AGS - Old grudges...
« Reply #8 on: 24 Dec 2017, 14:45 »
There appears to be a mostly-complete AGS engine for ScummVM on Fuzzie's Github. It would be interesting to see how many AGS games run under that.

I found the old fuzzie's email in my inbox, and it seems I may be overexaggerating about 90% readyness a little.
To be brief, the biggest issue she mentioned is that since that was a complete rewrite from scratch, she deviated from original program logic in some parts, and because of that weren't able to create savegame system easily. That port does not have savegames yet, at all.
My overall impression was that she simply ran out of free time, and could not find anyone to help.



Hey Snarky, when I try to load the link to the old thread my Google chrome report the link as dangerous, is it possible the link for the image in someone's old account has fallen in the wrong hands?

I reported this earlier today: http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=55620.0
« Last Edit: 24 Dec 2017, 14:49 by Crimson Wizard »

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Re: ScummVM and AGS - Old grudges...
« Reply #9 on: 24 Dec 2017, 16:34 »
I should probably just keep it shut but dang it.

What I think the whole argument was back then was that, they treated AGS as a piece of legacy software. From our point of view (an active community) it was not. It is not just a game engine: it is a game development environment, which allows people to create games. The main reason why AGS is what it is, is because of the brilliant IDE.
When they talked about refactoring, they wanted to change all sorts of things, in the engine, to make it more compliant to ScummVM.
That is great, if just for the engine, but that would not work very well for the existing IDE. This was something they weren't that interested in. It sounded a lot to me as if they saw AGS (as a whole) as something obsolete. Not big a deal, just a different point of view I guess.

So we spoke about the alternative:
We start working on a new version of AGS, and they pick up the current. That way we could break compatibility completely, get rid of all legacy code. (note that AGS still has MS DOS stuff in the engine, at least at that time) In the meanwhile, all existing games would run on ScummVM, and thus be future proof, bug free, and work on mobile platforms etc. Win win for everyone, right? Ahhhh but we offended them apparently!

I can remember the discussing of the first paragraph; well it was a proper discussion, not a flame war you get to see sometimes at other places. But after that they just sort of left. I can't remember any hate from our side, maybe I missed this, but what the Dickens?
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Re: ScummVM and AGS - Old grudges...
« Reply #10 on: 25 Dec 2017, 07:15 »
Why is ScummVM port important? Sorry, I don't know about it.

1)Is it only an emulator or game engine?
2) Can it solve mobile ports for AGS if port becomes ready?

Re: ScummVM and AGS - Old grudges...
« Reply #11 on: 25 Dec 2017, 15:39 »
1)Is it only an emulator or game engine?
You could argue about what is an emulator vs reimplementation vs game engine, but in terms of AGS it would effectively be an alternate version of the runtime that can play a compiled game.

2) Can it solve mobile ports for AGS if port becomes ready?
Potentially. It isn't designed for releasing standalone games, but as long as you comply with licensing terms you could build a version designed to run a single game.

To be honest it does seem a missed opportunity; if you go into SCUMMVM forums and talk about making a brand new game they will suggest AGS, and if you are using AGS you will be looking for the platform support and developments of SCUMMVM. Personally I would like to think there was an opportunity to have a continually developed runtime using the SCUMMVM backend, that does not maintain backwards compatibility and can have a few more contemporary features. I am still waiting to see what happens with the AGS4 branch, however...

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Re: ScummVM and AGS - Old grudges...
« Reply #12 on: 25 Dec 2017, 23:26 »
I've split discussion about how to potentially merge AGS and ScummVM into a separate topic.