Inform 6 and 7 vs Tads 2 and 3

What is the best format for our yet to be made game?

wachoo talkin bout, willis? :question:

How should we know? What about actually telling us something about your game and your programming background, showing that you have already looked at these different languages and formed some idea about them, and so on?

I’m not sure about the rest of the team (may not be fully committed to this project), but some of them (myself included) don’t know anything about programming.
I’ve looked at other threads, and the consensus is that Inform 7 is super easy, but I’ve been playing in Tads 3, and I think it looks better.

So what do I go with, ease of use, or better graphics/photos?

I can’t really see how “looks” enter into it, given that graphics is something you’d ideally create yourself as an author, and so is system-independent. Ease of use is also a complex issue; I can definitely see TADS3 as being easier to code for anyone familiar with coding in the past, whereas I7 is a lot more quirky (in some ways more useful, in others less so).

It depends very much on factors that have not been mentioned yet in this thread, such as how the game is to be played and what approach the writers have chosen to take.

Given that you seem reluctant to do any coding, what about leaving it up to the coders to decide? Didn’t you sign up as a co-brainstormer?

Since no one else has mentioned it, Eric Eve has written a thorough comparison of I7 and T3, which is available here:

The one thing that article doesn’t address is that currently it’s possible for your players to play an Inform game (either I6 or I7) in a web browser, without downloading an interpreter. T3 has, at present, no such functionality.

It also depends on what type of computer your folks are using. I7’s development program is cross-platform, but T3 Workbench is Windows-only. (It will run under a Windows emulator on OS X with about 99% functionality intact, but there’s a problem with a dialog box.)

Which coding style you prefer is a very subjective issue. Personally, I find T3 code just as easy to read as I7 code, if not easier. But that’s just me.

By all means, read Eric’s article.

It will probably be Inform 7 since that’s the easiest to program, and yes, I should leave it up to the team to decide.

I’m not at all convinced that I7 is “the easiest to program.” It’s easier for non-programmers to get started, that much is clear. Whether it’s actually easier to write and debug a fully fleshed-out game in I7 than in T3 … that’s not something I would regard as definitively proven, and I’ve written complete games in both languages.


Yeah . . . ease of programming varies radically depending. I’d say the learning curve is less steep, but much longer in I7; I still don’t fully grok certain features. I do think that it’s got a bonus in that it may be easier for non-programming team members to “read” - even if you’re not following the code completely, it’s initially easier to follow the stream of logic, which probably has some advantages.

I think the learning curve has a funny shape. I would say you’ll need to become a programmer if you’re not one already, no matter what language you end up using.

My impression is that TADS is straightforward for occasional or old-school programmers - it’s a sort of “middle of the road” challenge to learn. I7, on the other hand, seems to be appropriate for two totally different groups: total newbies and super-geeks who are interested in computer science, linguistics or AI. If you’re comfortable with procedural or object-oriented programming but you’re not into learning new languages, TADS is probably an easier option. If you’ve never learned any programming language before, or you’re into learning totally new programming paradigms, I7 might be a more comfortable choice.

I6 is also procedural/object oriented, but I think it’s lower-level than TADS. TADS has a lot of built-in libraries to handle common situations, and I6 is more bare-bones.

I fall squarely in this category, and agree wholeheartedly. Prior to working with Inform 7, the extent of my programming experience was a “Bytes for Troglodytes” course about 35 years ago in college, in whch we learned how to say “Hello, world” in WATFIV.

Whether I might have been able to learn something like TADS or Inform 6 if I had tried is almost irrelevant; as one who does not tend to “think like a programmer,” I would never have even dreamed of trying to write my own IF until I learned about Inform 7. There is certainly a learning curve; you need to learn the precise syntaxes that the system will accept, and get a general sense for how things are processed at runtime. Nonetheless, for somebody with my background and the kind of mind that works the way mine does, it is a system that I felt (and feel) comfortable learning. On the other hand, the kind of gobbledygook that is meat and drink to “real” programmers basically scares the hell out of me.

Robert Rothman

That’s the irony. I encounter plenty of what I’d consider gobbledygook in I7, and I would certainly consider it a suitable meal for “real” programmers. But I think perhaps you’re referring to odd punctuation and cryptic keywords, which I7 certainly has a lot less of.

You can certainly cook some food even if you’re not a chef. And you don’t need a chef’s professional tools to do that. But if you learn how to use those tools, then what will happen is that cooking without them will annoy the freakin’ hell out of you :mrgreen:

I certainly feel like what I do in Inform is “real” programming. Brackets do not make you a programmer.

I’m just beginning to poke at C#, and what I miss is the sense that I know what the heck the implementors were thinking. With all of Inform’s quirks and weirdnesses, I at least have some idea what the features were aiming at, which often helps with syntax and what not. The natural language really helps this. C# is not natural language, and it’s not targeted at anything in particular, which means a lot of rote memorization and/or consultation. Which will reduce itself eventually, but it’s tiresome.

I’ve been trying to get my head around appropriate use of underscore characters in Python. I think it must be the same kind of thing.

Of course not. But as a tool, they’re very powerful. And the best part is that you don’t need to even read them; they’re just symbols.

For me, using I7 instead of I6/Tads/etc is like trying to explain a drawing to someone instead of just drawing it.

This reminds me of the Max vs. Supercollider debate. Some things are easier to explain with a drawing, but some things make more sense when read out loud.

It also reminds me of something Temple Grandin said about ways of thinking. She said there was a big difference between people who think in pictures, words, or patterns. I think my brain works in patterns, but I like the words-based approach of I7.