Frotz/iOS Limitations with T3?

Huzzah! I’ve just discovered that Frotz for iOS will download TADS 3 games from ifdb and play them. This gives me an incentive to dust off and finish (after a number of years) my magnum opus, which is a bizarre sequel to the first game I wrote, 20 years ago now.

But before I do that, I need to ask: Are there limitations I need to know about, or gotchas, with respect to Frotz/iOS/T3? I don’t plan to do anything fancy – no graphics or sound, no special windows, just a plain old-school text adventure. Are there file size limits? What about hyperlinks for examining and such actions?

Oh, and perhaps even more important, is there a way to make a beta version of the game available to testers within the iOS community? iOS Frotz implements downloading from ifdb, but that’s strictly for released games, right?

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This is the only part I can answer, but: in the past, at least, iFrotz could run games from Dropbox. It’s an attempt to circumvent Apple’s policies on custom executables.

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I just looked at Frotz yesterday and saw that it didn’t display graphics in HTML TADS games. I tested Arrival and my wife tested The Golden Skull. I recognize this doesn’t answer your questions but thought it was relevant enough to share.

I see Dropbox mentioned in one of the lists of updated features – but when I open the app, I don’t see any obvious way to link to anything other than ifdb. Does anybody know anything about this?

I know that in Frotz for iOS, if you click Browse IFDB it will bring up the IFDB page in the Story Browser. At the bottom of the browser there are 5 buttons, the globe icon is for URL. Type your URL in there, to Dropbox or any other page that has your game, click on it and it should download and open in Frotz.

  • Hope that helps

Thanks for the tip, Drk Starr. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work. I dropped a gblorb game into my dropbox folder and laboriously typed the link into Frotz. After several more steps, nothing happened.

So I figured, maybe it was a defective game file. Dragged another one into dropbox and tried again. At this point the friggin’ autocomplete in my iPad’s browser completely defeated me. Every time I paused to stare back at the horrible public link for the new file, the iPad helpfully auto-filled the URL field with the first URL I had typed, making it basically impossible to get to the second file.

Investigation is ongoing.

I’ve never used Dropbox. I’ve just put up a link on my website. So when I brought up the page, I could just click on the link and Frotz would download it. The file has to be there, it will download nothing and look fine, but when you run the game it will throw an error. I’ve only done this with .z8 files, but that shouldn’t matter.

If you still have your site, just put up a private page there, it would probably be easier to link to for testing :slight_smile:

That does seem to work, DrkStarr. Thanks! The iPad still does some crazy stuff with the URL, but after I thrashed at it a little it got smart and allowed me to download a .gblorb I had put up on my own site. This will make testing (should I ever finish my game) a whole lot easier.

The other thing I’m going to do, as an aid to tablet and phone players, is to provide nice three-word abbreviations for all of the nouns. If the game had an accordion (it doesn’t), the tablet user will appreciate not having to type out the whole word, so “acc” will be provided as a synonym. This wouldn’t work with “alligator,” of course, or the Gettysburg Address, but in general it should be practical. It appears Frotz has auto-complete for Inform games but not for TADS games. I could be wrong about this, but that was my initial impression.

Doesn’t double-tapping any word in the text copy it into your command? I’ve found that useful: just use i to see your inventory, then grab whatever you like from it.

Ooh, very nice. And yes, it works in T3 games. Since most often the player will be interacting with something for which there is recent text, that’s a useful thing to know. On a phone the words might be too small to tap reliably, but on an iPad it’s quite practical.

iOS Frotz’s Dropbox integration isn’t really intended for sharing games with others. It’s designed to allow you easier access to your own library. You give Frotz access to a folder on your Dropbox, from which you can then load games and to which you can save files (e.g. saved game files). If you tap the (i) icon at the top of the screen in Frotz and scroll to the bottom, you’ll find the Dropbox configuration options.