No TADS in IFComp 2018?


As a fan of parser games, I was disappointed that there are no TADS based games in IFComp this year.

TADS had a strong presence in past years. Why the decline?

Thank you,

(Brian Rushton) #2

My guess is that it’s hard to set up a webpage (you have to create your own server or require login to IFDB, I think). Figuring it out requires a lot of technical work, and Inform does most things TADS does as well as create a website.

I suspect TADS would get more use if that problem were fixed, and if someone was very successful with a new TADS game.


That is a shame. TADS is such a rich development language.

Thank you, Jeff


I agree. I love working with TADS 3 and I would hate to see it die (like Hugo and ALAN have). Unfortunately, it seems Mike Roberts is no longer able to regularly update TADS. (Again, Hugo and ALAN are also in a similar state.) TADS 3 is still the only IF development language that feels like a real programming language. Inform 6 and TADS 2 were close, but only TADS 3 includes things such as templates, macros and the like; features copied from some of the most famous programming languages such as C++ and Java.
If Mike could be persuaded to release T3 as open source, the community could help keep it maintained, but it looks like he’s not going to do that any time soon. :frowning:


I think this happened a few years ago as well. There was a year with no TADS entries but there were multiple in the following year. I think TADS problems is partly the way it’s web play was setup. An always on setup works but can be problematic in situations where there is no internet access. The other is Inform 7 being easier to pick up causing more to go that way.

TADS doesn’t need much work done on it. The library is pretty much good to go. Someone willing to make a web play interpreter that doesn’t need a constant connection to a server could help give WebUI games the same playability options inform games have. The Windows Workbench could use a few crash bugs fixed as well.

I like TADS because it looks and feels like a programming language. Inform 7, while nice, its natural language approach doesn’t agree with me.

(J. J. Guest) #6

TADS 2 was the language I migrated to when I grew frustrated with ADRIFT. I made two games with it and would happily have made more. However, I’ve now ported both of those games to other authoring systems, and predominantly use I7. I did this because when Google Chrome withdrew support for Java and other browsers followed suit, I suddenly discovered that my games were no longer playable online. My website used the Jetty interpreter, which of course used Java, and instead of games, my site now had blank pages. Web technology is changing all the time, and unless TADS can keep up with it, I’m afraid it will go the way of HUGO and Alan.


I feel alone, but I was excited when TADS 3 came with client-server webplay based on standard HTML and JS. I see potential in many areas, one of them that it seems to me more future proof because it doesn’t have any dependency on third party plugins like java…

I can even imagine how nice would be to support webui in QTads one day… (By embedding webserver version of TADS and browser component.) That would bring modern web capabilities not only on web online, but also on standalone “offline” interpreter. I’m not requesting the feature, just thinking out loud.

(Eldritch Eschaton) #8

TADS 3 does, I think, have the better system overall in terms of scalabilty. The problem is that it seems to have been largely abandoned and that happened before a healthy enough ecosystem surrounded it that could become self-sustaining. Inform 7 doesn’t have that same issue and so while it may have some clunkier aspects to it depending on your point of view, the ecosystem is rich and thriving which can make up for that.

Rectifying that situation is a challenge. For example, figuring out how to update TADS 3 or make more portable versions of it. The source code of TADS 3 seems intertwined with the source code of TADS 2. And that’s not even really including the Workbench. I had looked at this a bit but it just seems like way too much complication to disentangle. Maybe it’s not. But I guess that’s the point. If people aren’t persuaded to keep the system up to date and if the original creator is likewise disinclined, TADS 3 will simply wither on the vine. It’s a pity because it genuinely is a very nice system.


This is a really depressing thread.

(FUCK YOU) #10

When i first started IF, I looked hard at both Inform7 and TADS, and I chose TADS for a variety of reasons, most of which is the code. As a novice, no one writes game code from scratch - nearly always it’s copied from somewhere and modified. TADS code is easier and clearer to modify. Inform7 can get so complicated in it’s rulebooks and definitions and abstractions, one can get lost in trying to figure out what the original author is trying to do.

After awhile time, I switched to Inform7; not because I wanted to, but because it seemed inevitable. TADS the better language, but let’s face it - the big two IF languages now are Inform and Twine.

As a writer first, I don’t care how the guts of TADS look, but I don’t think it would take too much effort to bring TADS back to relevancy. Two things are desperately needed:

  1. As JJ said - online / offline built in web browser, a one step compile to browser process, even the ability to publish directly to IFDB.
  2. Vorple - something as easy and powerful as Vorple integrated with TADS would go a long way to give it a modern feel.

It is a shame that something as good as TADS is heading for the rubbish pile.

(Eldritch Eschaton) #11

Or a clarifying one! :smiley:

I think it’s helpful for people to know when something is dead given that the term “dead” means different things to different people. Inform 6 might be considered dead but it’s entirely viable to produce games in, not least of which it still serves as the basis for Inform 7. TADS 3, is still viable for producing games of course. But the problem is that no one is really working on TADS from a development perspective. It’s main operating environment (the workbench) is Windows only. So any updates are just bolted on. Consider how you have to use adv3lite, for example.

Obviously things can be done with it. Consider Thaumistry. Yet what TADS 3 needed wasn’t some new game. It needed new aspects to its ecosystem. Now if Thaumistry had led to that kind of work and if that work was returned to the community, there might have been some positives. As it is, Thaumistry was just a flash in the pan, largely already forgotten. Had Thaumistry been used to kickstart some development in the TADS 3 space, however, perhaps by innovating in ways that would draw more people in, that would have been a game-changer. (No pun intended.)

It’s very clear that Inform now rules the parser-based text adventure world. TADS will likely never make a comeback and while that might be depressing for some, it’s very clarifying for those coming onto the scene who want to know where to spend their time.

(Hanon Ondricek) #12

Good point, EE.

One factor to think about is that for the most part, Inform 7 and TADS can be used to make almost identical games and either is viable, whether you want to forge through and use TADS (with moderate help - rarely on here does a TADS question go unanswered by someone eventually) or Inform with its much wider resource of active users.

I have similar regrets about the closing of Storynexus, which allowed people to make and monetize their own games in the format of Fallen London with a deck and cards and turns that regenerated over time. There’s no other system that does anything similar - well Varytale, kinda, but it’s defunct as well.

Similarly, ASM is moving to a Javascript format that fundamentally changes how you write those games and I’m despairing of ever learning it without some significant buckle-down time to learn JS. I may be sticking with 6.1 which is all macros and I pretty much understand. Hopefully, the devs won’t stop answering questions about it.