Old programmer blues

@kamineko my game can be played in Gargoyle and the like, but if it is, the player is eagerly recommended in-game to play with QTads, because without it they don’t get the art, the sounds, the music, and the inventory window… but the game is written to be playable/solvable without any of it…


@rileypb we’d love to have you on board!


Jess, I’m not talking about the way things ought to be, I’m just talking about the way people open games. That’s it. John recommends QTADS for his game. The IFDB page for According to Cain, one of the best games of last year, recommends QTADS.

Even so, if I have a file associated with Lectrote or Gargoyle, I’m going to double-click on it, and that will be that. Unless someone says “use QTADS plz,” I won’t. & I know about this stuff.

My point is just that, by default, QTADS is probably not the average player’s go-to. Not that TADS is bad, or whatever. Just that living on an interpreter island has probably been limiting.

That’s all I’m saying.

You seem to want to talk about features and what you’ve been working on, but this doesn’t have anything to do with that. I don’t even know what you’ve been working on. As Brian mentions above, interpreter support has always played a role in a platform’s story. This has always been true.

But you wrote that content for people to see it, which only makes sense! It would be nice if there were some way to make all the features of your game more broadly accessible, platform-wise.


This is true – but it’s also true for Inform games as well, so far as I know. Like, if some Inform author decided to use Vorple to create a better multimedia experience with nicely-laid-out graphics, submenus, etc., to the best of my knowledge Gargoyle and Lectrote would also not be able to make any of that stuff work very well. It’s just that the lack of support for those features in the common interpreters mean that most Inform authors don’t try to create too much of that stuff.

In a funny way, TADS might be a victim of the fact that it does have a single, powerful interpreter that’s good at all that stuff – it makes sense that authors would be more likely to add on such bells and whistles since they know QTADS is a good target for that stuff, but then ignoramuses like me would blithely ignore that for years and just launch the files in Gargoyle and never be the wiser.

Anyway bottom line is that it is very much worth the two minutes to install QTADS and set the file associations up, and hopefully one day Inform will have the advantage of something analogous too!

(Again, maybe it does and I just don’t know about it, I’m very backwards when it comes to these aspects of IF development).


I swear, we are both talking about the same thing, then.

Right, then we are both saying the same thing.

Nothing you have said so far has caused this misinterpretation. I did not interpret anything you’ve said this way.

It’s the nearest thing I could use as an example on acknowledgement of a player’s unknown choice of interpreter. You don’t need to know what I’m working on. I could be any hypothetical person working on any hypothetical game; the specifics are not important. Simply: I am not other people, and I am not working on other peoples’ TADS games, so I can’t use that information to answer this question, specifically:

If you didn’t want the question answered, then I didn’t catch the necessary subtext, and I apologize.


Is that apples to apples? I’ve always considered Vorple a little exotic by comparison, but that might just be ignorance on my part. DId we have any big Vorple games last year?

What QTADS games are there that do what Vorple does? I’ve never played a Vorple game, but the website looks pretty fancy.

Mike, if anything, you must accept that you are completely extraordinary in your tendency to play and review every single competition game. Few will take the pains that you have on your wide-ranging IF journey, whether it be the installation of extra interpreters or assaying the strengths and features of less-utilized multimedia toolsets!

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Yeah, Vorple is more exotic by comparison, and I admit I’m not really sure whether the comparison is an apt one since I’m as ignorant of TADS as I am of the finer details of how Vorple works – maybe an indication I don’t know what I’m talking about! The one Vorple-using Inform game I can think of off the top of my head is Shadow Operative, which does a lot of the stuff I’ve seen QTADS games do (different windows, integrated graphics and music) and also plays fine in a way-downgraded version in a standard interpreter like Gargoyle.

I think Vorple also does let you do fancier stuff – didn’t Mathbrush do like a point and click demo with it? – but I think that also speaks to it as a more bespoke approach to stuff that (I think?) is more standardized in TADS/QTADS.

That is kind to say, and true as far as it goes, but I have to admit that I actually have been too lazy to set the right file permissions for QTADS so I just manually open it and browse around for the game file every time I try to use it. I should take my own advice!

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I think Ryan Veeder has done a bunch of Vorple stuff, now that I think about it.

My past couple of experiences with QTADS were with well-made games that featured images and/or music: According to Cain and John’s work in progress. The images enriched the experience. I may not have seen all the platform can do, though I thought the games were better for having those features.

And I thought: people may well miss this stuff, perhaps without realizing it.

In a sense, Inform 10 is a step back, at least in terms of image support. I’m not sure where that is on the list. But that’s a whole other thing, with a thread that’s already come and gone.

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You can do the same things in TADS but Inform has rules to encapsulate timing and criteria in relation to the world model state.

In TADS this would equate to custom query+object traversals.


I just used standard Inform/quixe, but added JavaScript code that checks the status line and executes code based on that. It runs even without a server (although I think Vorple does as well now?). I did the same trick to make the graphical version of Swigian in Inform, and adding context-sensitive music in Absence of Law.

But Dialog is better than tads or Inform for this stuff. It was designed for web interactivity from the beginning and has integration with JavaScript and stuff.


For text formatting, yes. I don’t see Glk-based interpreters (Gargoyle, Lectrote) ever supporting images and sound for TADS games, because TADS happens to use the wrong resource file format.