TADS 3.1.4 Release?

Hello all,

Mantis shows 13 bug fixes in the years since 3.1.3 was released, two of them compiler crashes – is there a chance of getting 3.1.4 builds released soon, or even just a source release to build manually?


No one in this forum knows the answer. You’d have to ask Mike Roberts.

Thank you - I’ll try to dig up his contact information and see if he’ll comment.


Mike hasn’t abandoned TADS, has he?

I talked to Eric Eve, who hasn’t heard from Mike for a good while either.
I’ve tried emailing him at the various addresses he may have used, but to no avail.

Hopefully he’s just on a sabbatical from the IF scene.


Interesting. Since TADS is not open source, what are we to do if Mike dies or stops updating it? (Inform 6 has David Griffith. Are there any other folks who are as familiar with the T3 code as David is with I6?)

The TADS 3.1.3 source has been released – for instance, see realnc’s github frobtads project:


but what ongoing development there was since then, is not available.

The Inform 6 compiler is about 30K lines of ANSI C, and has Graham Nelson’s Technical Manual to explain its structure. A few people are quite adept at navigating and changing the source, Andrew Plotkin perhaps foremost. TADS 3 is something like 245K lines of C++, and I’m not aware of anyone other than Mike Roberts who has made significant changes to it.


All available evidence would strongly suggest, but not prove, that this is the case. I also tried to contact him awhile back about some questions regarding whether adv3lite was going to be incorporated as a replacement or alternative library in the Workbench.

I think the parser based systems are in a bit of decline. Kent Tessman does nothing with Hugo; Mike Roberts does nothing with TADS; Graham Nelson may be doing lots of stuff with Inform, but we have no idea. More active (visible) development and innovation seems to be happening with the choice-based systems.

Quite sad, really. I love parser IF and I would hate to see it die. I’m still impressed that Inform 7 is still utilizing technologies (the i6 compiler and glulx) that have existed since the mid to late 1990’s, not to mention the Z-Machine which has existed since 1979.

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TADS isn’t dead. I don’t know when a new release will happen, but Mike Roberts still applies source code patches I send in. Development is very slow though. But not dead.

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Tads isn’t dead regarding that recently a full length commercial game was released, named Thaumistry.

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Great game for sure. Absolutely fantastic.

TADS is definitely dead for practical purposes. One game released doesn’t mean a thing. If you look at levels of activity and how much is going on around a tool (whether that’s implementation or just conversation or interest), it’s clear TADS is largely in the cellar if not lower, unfortunately. TADS games are irrelevant in the sense that if the TADS ecosystem isn’t evolving (in a way that’s actually visible), it will appear dead to most people. I’m not talking about players of one recent game. I’m talking about drawing in people that want to actually write games in TADS. It’s the authors that will force TADS to evolve; not just one game that’s been released relatively recently.

Is it possible to query IFDB and get a count of games released for each system by year? It would be interesting to see what trends are out there, not just in regard to TADS, but all systems. What systems have been slowly gaining popularity? What’s on the decline? What was clearly just a flash in the pan?

If there’s a spreadsheet somewhere with that data, I’d love to make a graph. I think it could be of historical interest.

Juhana Leinonen did an article about this in 2012:
nitku.net/blog/2012/11/ifdb-sta … t-systems/

It obviously doesn’t cover the most recent slice of time (which includes the rise of Twine) but is a good overview of development system usage historically.

The IFDB database is on the Archive: https://intfiction.org/t/ifdb-database-available/4253/1

Thanks, this is just what I wanted. I’ll make some charts when I’m looking to procrastinate from other work.

It’s quite sad really. I love TADS. I’ve been using TADS for a while now. The only other parser authoring system I’d consider using is Inform 6, which is also quite dead. Let’s hope T3 makes a comeback. (Also, Inform 7 is quite decent, but I digress.)

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My concern with Inform 7, beyond the fact that its creator seems to have an active disinterest in being part of the community, is that it’s become very one-note from an authoring perspective. If you look at ifarchive there was a ton of experimentation with things you could do in Inform 6: odd little games, mini-libraries (like minform), so-called “abuses.” Lots of experimentation. All of that seems to have streamlined into a very benign experience with Inform 7.

A revival of Inform 6 would be great. Even better though would be a revival of TADS because I do think it’s the better and ultimately stronger language. I do think the bifurcation of ADV3 and ADV3LITE was a mistake, particularly in terms of their incompatibilities.

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I suppose it’s unheard of that people’s interests and creative pursuits evolve and move along; that game software designers might also have careers and day-jobs and bills to pay; and maintaining an online community presence with hundreds of somewhat persnickety strangers who make demands about free software – for an application that is moderately extensible, mature, and settled into a specific niche to make a particular kind of game very well – yeah, that might be hard to understand.

With all due respect, Inform 7 is not abandonware, and TADS increasingly seems to be, sadly.

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