I need some pity. - TADS3.1

Boy, do I need some encouragement! After many hours and days of work, I’ve only gotten to the point where I’ve been able to add my first four rooms to my story. I’ve read that Inform7 isn’t quite as powerful as TADS but I’m wondering if I shouldn’t switch to that or maybe even Quest. What does everyone out there think?

RonG :unamused: :unamused: :unamused:

I’ve seen people struggle with TADS in the past. (One friend in particular comes to mind.) I would have to say, I don’t think TADS is for everybody.

You might want to download Inform 7 (or Quest, or Adrift) and have a look. You might find one of them more congenial.

Ultimately, Inform is just as fussy about word choices as TADS is about punctuation and templates. It’s still computer programming, no matter how you slice it.

TADS is almost certainly harder to get started with than Inform 7. On the other hand, the TADS documentation is a good deal more extensive… There are lots of pluses and minuses.

The getting-started thing was 75% of my choice, for sure … I tried both I6 and TADS(2 I think) early on and just couldn’t wrap my head around either of them. Both looked awesome, both had communities, both had produced games I admired, but I gave up on both and just wandered away for a couple of years.

Came back in to peek, saw TADS(2 or 3?) and I7 … tried both again. Of the two, I7 could trick me into thinking it was easy long enough for me to finish a short game to my satisfaction. And it definitely is a kind of trick … because to get past that level I really had to buckle down and learn things for the next project (and to this day I can’t comprehend how things like Lists work, and I’m barely able to use Tables) … but it was a useful sort of trick. I imagine it varies a lot by student; we all learn better with different avenues.

To the OP requesting pity: [in Mister T. Voice] I PITY DA FOOL. I PITY HIM.

It seems like you are getting tripped up more by minor syntax issues (and the resulting compiler errors) than any fundamental skill deficit. It’s a frustrating place to be. I jumped from I7 to T3 for just that reason. I could see someone might benefit from going in the opposite direction. Or by moving to another system entirely - Adrift, Alan 3, Hugo, JACL, and Quest are all actively used and have their partisans.

Don’t sell yourself short, though. You have moved beyond the “four rooms” stage in T3. Many of your questions are about implementing more complex effects like an elaborate startup screen and an inventory that sorts items into various containers automatically. The solutions for those parts are always going to be somewhat fiddly since you are detouring off the established trail. That’s part of the fun but it can also turn into a demotivating time sink. I’m sure we’ve all been there; I certainly have.

What to do about it depends on how you feel about your project and your tools. If neither holds any appeal at the moment, it’s a great time to build a toy game with some other tool. At worst you’ll lose a few hours fiddling with a new system, before deciding to stick with what you know. At best you’ll find a better fit for your style.

If you’re still passionate about your current project, stick with it until the passion runs out. Just focus on a different aspect: draw the map or write room descriptions for a while. There are a lot of design elements that are essentially independent of the tool; time spent on those will never be a total loss.

I went ahead and got a summer home there, to save gas on the commute.

Thanks to all for your thoughts. I’ve been looking at the other programs and have decided to stick with TADS. I think I just might be understanding it a little. Just have to keep my eyes on the little stuff; such as capital letters and spelling. So, I’ll continue to bother all of you with my ideas.


It might be worthwhile to implement a small game (like 3 rooms, 2 puzzles and 1 NPC) in both T3 and I7. This could be helpful in deciding which system looks better to you.

I have project pieces that I can’t even look at because I have that prickling feeling of despair. (I find drinking helps lower the despair enough that I can get started, but certainly cannot recommend that technique for everyone. Also, the level of drunk that lets you ignore the internal editor is about two drops away from the level of drunk that makes you code stuff that’s impossible to decipher come morning.)

The motivation can certainly be very difficult to maintain. I am indeed keeping my number of rooms at only four for the time being. I want to continue to finish all of the ‘pre-room’ stuff before I start cranking out more rooms. It might not be the best way to go but It seems to work for me.

The learning curve is a killer no matter what the method. :laughing:


I’ve never coded (or written) while intoxicated, though recently I did some indexing while intoxicated, which is … every bit as wise as it sounds.

Mind you, I left those entries in the Index. They’re hilarious :slight_smile:

I’ve written philosophy when (mildly) intoxicated. I don’t think it was noticeably different from the surrounding stuff, just took longer to do.

Well, ah – look.

This might sound really stupid.

It sounds like you’re learning T3 coding as a skill, right? And skills just take time.

That is, learning any skill is a function strictly of the time you engage with it. If we’re reasonably careful about the word “engage,” to preclude plateauing.

So, how well you understand and can write in TADS is strictly a function of how much time you spend doing it, right?

–Then why not accept that, for this project, your skill level is going to be more-or-less where it currently is (depending on how long the project takes), and work on a short project? Not necessarily a very short project, but a project that’s in line with your current level of skill?


----Oops. Heh,

The assignment was to offer you pity. I guess I failed that.


I don’t think that you’ve failed in your advice. I hate to sound like I don’t agree with all of you. But its all just a matter of personal philosophy. I have been involved in computer hardware and the writing of computer software since about 1964; on a professional level. Among other things, I have written two one-hundred room games in both AGT and in MS Windows Basic. I’m purposely writing a long IF story so that I can shift my attention to different parts of it. My biggest problem is learning where in the TADS manuals I can find the application pieces that I’m seeking at any one time. It can be frustrating but I’m getting there.

Thanks for your attention,


Oh – I didn’t realize. You poor guy.