Quick Video Tutorials?

So I’m thinking vaguely about possibly doing a series of quick video tutorials on TADS 3, and was about to propose such a thing and ask for feedback, when intfiction.org’s handy “Your topic is similar to…” pane revealed that, indeed, I did a video on that topic (just one) eight years ago. Hmm.

What’s faintly amusing is that the game I used in Workbench in doing that video is the game I just finished last month in time for the Comp. Whatever the game is, it’s not half-baked.

If you want to check out the old video, it’s at t3workbench - YouTube. And that link may be the only way to find the silly thing. It’s still on YouTube, but I couldn’t find it using their search engine, no matter what search string I tried, and it doesn’t show up in my own YouTube channel either.

It’s not bad, I think, but it could be expanded significantly. Not to replace the existing documentation, certainly – video tutorials wouldn’t add much of anything new. But people like watching tutorial videos, and to be honest, the documentation, with its Quick Start, Tutorial, Learning, System Manual, Library Manual, and Library Reference Manual, is a bit of a puzzler in itself for the new author. A 5-minute video explaining the documentation would not be a bad thing.

Other topics might include what templates are, how to create new verbs, and ActorStates.

My subversive goal is to maybe attract a few more people to try TADS by making it more approachable. Approachability is not, let’s admit, among its virtues.

My questions for you: (1) Do you think such a video resource would be useful? (2) What would you put in it?

Edit: Turns out I had already covered a number of topics using text, not video, in my blog: From Inform 7 to TADS 3 | Jim Aikin's Oblong Blob. Covering the same ground in videos would be good, but maybe less than essential.


That video is private

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I don’t know how that happened. Thanks for letting me know. It’s public now – fixed it.


Interesting video, Jim, not least for revealing the long genesis of Prom Dress - already in the works 8 years ago, and who knows for how long before that (worth the wait though - it’s a great game).

Doing more videos certainly won’t hurt and I for one would be grateful for them. TADS is pretty intimidating for the beginner and just having the reassurance of watching someone else using the thing is confidence-building. A video showing how the bare bones of a game is put together (locations, object, doors, basic NPCs) would probably be helpful. Also how actions work and how to customise them, events, and how to build NPCs in more detail. The documentation is indeed rather overwhelming, so a brief tour through that wouldn’t be amiss either (and noting that @jnelson’s adv3Lite periplus is a welcome attempt to organise it all bit more conveniently).

A bit of extra hand-holding like this might well get more people into TADS. I tried to get on board but found the learning curve a bit too steep and scurried away back to Adventuron (mainly because I’m in a hurry to just get on and write something). I’ll come back to it though, especially now that @Eric_Eve has started working on Adv3Lite again. Video tutorials might well be a valuable way to ease people into using the system.


Accessibility and approachability is a big issue in TADS.

For what my two cents are worth, TADS3 is unlikely to attract the audience a video tutorial would serve, mostly because it’s less of an authoring system and more of a programming language, but also because the look and feel of TADS seems “outdated” to new programmers compared to the other options out there. I really can’t see TADS being someone’s first programming language in an era where blockly coding and “learn 2 code” books are the norm. (My first language as a kid was, thankfully, a proper flavor of BASIC.)

But hey, you never know. Eric’s excellent “Getting Started in TADS 3” manual is geared toward less confident beginners in a “step-by-step” format. If you were to do a video series, using the manual would be a very good guide to follow. And there are learners out there who prefer a video to a pdf. To make the video useful, you’d likely have to take a more edited approach to your video and throw together a Powerpoint demonstrating features and relationships between objects, rather than just a screencap of workbench the entire time. Otherwise your video won’t be as effective to the kinds of people you’re trying to teach.

Cheers and good luck.


This is an excellent suggestion. I’ll have to think about what sort of powerpoint slides would be effective.

Basically, I’m a writer. I’d be more comfortable writing something that tries to pull together some ideas – but part of the problem with TADS is that there’s already too much in the way of written information!

I agree that one of the attractions of both Inform and Twine is that they appeal to people who want a modern-looking, streamlined experience. Both of those systems will expect you to do some real coding if you want to accomplish anything slick, but you can have tons of fun without ever digging into the deeper layer. With TADS, you’re tossed directly into the deeper layer, to sink or swim.


I suggest that the thing to do would be to add links to your videos to tads.org, e.g. to the TADS 3 Quick Start Guide. I think that’s the way most users would likely discover your video.

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Being deaf, I’m against vid tutorials, even subbed (the subs often do more confusion than help… often subbed vid tutorials became still picture tutorials, if one get my drift (that is, reading both subs and what is on the comp screen showing what to do);

OTOH, there’s also blind IF authors, so my “against” can be even generalized into a “big no-no”…

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.


I would like to see a video covering the Adv3Lite Quick Start Guide. Particularly the last version of Burglar. It covers the most common code.

I wouldn’t want water thrown on the videos due to accessibility. Eric Eve has provided copius volumes of text based documentation.

I am legally blind and moderate to severe hearing loss. Anything above 4KHz and it is profound. I have a very large monitor screen and a set of late model Phonak hearing aids that help.

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Unfortunately, there’s no way to change anything on tads.org, since that’s maintained by Mike Roberts, who seems to have disappeared from the scene. I can add a link to the Quick Start Guide, but I’d need to have something to link to in the next few weeks for that to be included in the official 1.6 release. I could also link to it from the adv3Lite GitHub repository, if that’s something people are at all likely to visit. This is now a Learning adv3Lite page up there to which I could add a link to at any time.


Deleted and moved to a new topic to not derail original topic.