The Dink Network

Time to discuss 1.07 compatibility and the future of Dink

September 19th 2017, 08:44 AM
Peasant Male bloop
I'm here, just hidden in the shadows. 
So, it seems the community here is far more lively than the past few months, primarily because of Dink HD testing and the upcoming updates to the site.
Guess what? I decided to start a topic about politics! It has a worthy goal, you see, to make everyone hate each other. That's gonna be easy. Okay, seriously I'm not such a big troll yet, so let's see the actual topic.
Back in 2006, version 1.08 got released. Some changes in that version caused some D-Mod scripts to behave incorrectly or not work at all. To my knowledge, no D-Mod was made unfinishable by these changes. But here are we now, in 2017 (man, I feel like I'm getting old, despite being young by pretty much all standards) and Dink branched into three main versions:
1.08, which is considered one of the most compatible of all versions, but is getting old and has limitations, for example being limited to one platform, Windows. And as time goes, hardware changes. And so does software - that's the more important one for many old games. As time passses, OS and hardware manufacturers start to drop certain old features that older third party software use. And for those gamess that depend on such features, there are three options: a) the copyright holder and/or developer updates it to newer API's and instruction sets, b) fans create programs or files to make it playable, c) it remains broken, and the only ways to make it work are emulation or use of older hardware. 1.08 is over 10 years old, but the fact that it's so compatible that it sets a standard and the lack of a widely accepted version make it still relevant today.
Than there's FreeDink - a free software impletation of Dink. It's cross-platform up to date, and close to 100% comptatible. And it has a unique feature: it can run in a 1.07 compatibility mode. This might make it even more compatible than 1.08. Well, that sounds great, why not make it the standard? Well, there are two reasons why: a) since it's free software it's components need to be under such a license (ex. GPLv2) - but not all parts of Dink are compatible with such a license! The specific parts are the sound effects and music tracks. So in order to have the tracks they would be either replaced in a full installer or need to be placed in the Dink folder manually (or just replacing the 1.08 version of the exe with the freedink exe). And b) most players still use 1.08.
And finally, there's Dink HD. That's a wierd specimen. It's the latest offical Dink version, but it has notable problems. It is also cross-platform but properitary. Wait, if this is an offical version like 1.08, but more modern, why not usee that? Because has three major problems: a)compatibility: it has many issues with D-Mod compatibility, what worked in 1.08 might not work in Dink HD; b)bugs: currently a new version that seeks to improve compatibility is in it's beta stages. But that version has it's own set of bugs that don't appear in the other versions; c)accessibility of D-Mods: the current way to install D-Mods in Dink HD is, IMO bad, and not user friendly at all.
The point of the thread: What version of Dink should be the widely accepted one? What are we going to do with 1.07 compatibility and Dink HD's problems with D-Mods? Should we implement changes to the engine itself or existing D-Mods? Or both? I would like to use this thread to discuss the future of the game and the community.
September 19th 2017, 09:05 AM
"b)bugs: currently a new version that seeks to improve compatibility is in it's beta stages. But that version has it's own set of bugs that don't appear in the other versions;"

Well the current development work is going to fix all bugs possible I would assume, new or old.

I think the aim is for this to take over from 1.08 as the main version.

Not sure about FreeDink, maybe that's still required for Linux at least
September 19th 2017, 09:30 AM
Peasant Male United States bloop
2nd generation. No easy way to be free. 
If FreeDink is still required for other platforms (such as Linux), then (I'd say) that the 1.08 version of it is the defacto starting point standard UNLESS the HD version (through or other open source tools) becomes the free and truly compatible standard.

I would never have joined the DN if it were not for FreeDink on Linux. Heck, I may not have even known about Dink.

The question becomes one of deciding what the priorities and goals are with the next version of Dink. What is most important?

September 19th 2017, 11:12 AM
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
Things have been unnecessarily complicated for years. FreeDink is the best most compatible version, but practically requires one to download Dink 108 first, then install FreeDink on top of that. v1.08 is awful by itself on Windows 7 and onward.

Then there's Dink HD, which hasn't brought as many new users to TDN as I'd hoped... I'm not sure why, maybe it's a different crowd that plays Dink on their phone, or they just play the main game, message boards are kind of an outdated thing altogether.

A new definitive version of Dink would be great, but as rabidwolf mentioned in the Dink HD thread, Dink HD is overbloated compared to DFArc.
September 19th 2017, 08:32 PM
King Male United States xbox steam bloop
A mother ducking wizard 
I think the goal is to get DinkHD updated to try to fix as many bugs as possible, and to improve how D-Mods are installed.

As you've seen, Seth is a game programmin' mad man. He doesn't sleep. He just fixes bugs and releases new versions of DinkHD.

So, if there's any bugs with v1.08, or DinkHD, Seth seems like he's more than happy to try to fix them in DinkHD. We just need to report the issues in a way that he can reproduce them. Seth isn't going to be actively developing DinkHD forever, so we have a fairly small window of time to give him as many bug reports as possible.

As for the future defacto standard for Dink: as Seth hinted at in his original post, one thing that we're going to try to do is to use DinkHD so you can play Dink or any D-Mod right from your (modern) web browser here at The Dink Network. Any operating system. No plug-ins. No installing necessary. That would make it possible for almost anyone to play with zero effort.

This isn't a crazy pie-in-the-sky dream either: a couple years ago Seth created a proof of concept that worked really well (albeit some issues with sound speeds and midi playback).