"Prettifying" a game? (TADS3)

I’ve started to think about the taking the presentation of the game beyond the basics of black text on a white background. Does the engine have the capability to make the game look like something like a web page, for example? Can I change the background? Fix the canvas to a given aspect ratio? Play with the typography? Do anything with any of the concepts to be found in https://www.google.com/design/spec/material-design/introduction.html#?

EDIT: Here is a Pinterest page that contains some additional inspirations.


(All this while keeping in mind that I’m definitely doing a parser-driven “traditional” Infocom-style game, rather than a “Choose your path” or some other kind of text-based experience.)

In other words, I’m interesting in alternatives in presentation, rather than core interaction.


HTML is your friend. There’s an article on HTML TADS in one of the manuals. Typography and background colors are a slam-dunk. Displaying images and playing music clips, likewise very practical.

Beyond that, you can use the WebUI features (which I have never had the courage to try) to release your entire game as a web page.

That said, “fix the canvas to a given aspect ratio” may be difficult. Think of the TADS interpreter as a type of web browser. As in a browser, the user can resize the main window.

But if you do that, I personally encourage you to release a normal version as well. People who already have the interpreter will find it easier if, like me, they’ve heavily customised TADS for their sensitivities. Whereas people who don’t have the interpreter will thank you for the WebUI (and AFAIK that only really works, currently, through IFDB - not on its own).

Basically… have both!