Trying to decide what to use

I’ve been brainstorming for a parser-based text adventure, and I have the first bit of the game written out on paper and would like to get it ready enough to let friends and family play a demo. I’ve tried both Inform and Quest, and I like them both in some ways, but I have issues with both of them.

I don’t know if it’s blasphemy, but I’m not a huge fan of the sentence style of Inform code. It leads to ambiguities that feel silly, and that would be either easier to spot or downright impossible with more traditional coding. For instance, if I say “The pool is west of the house” I can then follow it with a description of the pool in quotes. But if I say “west of the house is the pool,” I cannot, because this doesn’t make the pool the subject. I would much rather just have a specific, clear format for what I type in what order to give a room its attributes.

Meanwhile, Quest doesn’t seem to have a way to set the width of the game to the width of the window, and one thing I do like about Inform is that I can just type everything and don’t have to click on different tabs to input information, etc.

What I really want is the ability to make a text adventure style game, with the occasional graphics, with background music and a default background and font color I can set but still allow the player to change, that (and this is probably the kicker) can export to files that run independently in Windows, macOS, and Linux.

I’m entirely willing to just use an IF library for a more general-purpose programming language, if such a library exists with even halfway decent documentation.

Have you tried TADS or Inform 6? Both of them are more like traditional programming than Inform 7’s “natural language” interface, and both have extensive libraries and good documentation.

I’ve never used TADS, but it’s often recommended and looks very nice, and I can vouch for Inform 6 being a solid platform.