Choosing a Language for Interactive Fiction
Subject:   TADS as a language / environment
Date:   2004-12-18 10:08:05
From:   liza_daly
Response to: TADS as a language / environment

Creating a game in TADS felt like hand-coding a big, interconnected serialized object graph. There seemed to be a lot of repetition and verbosity, which made individual instances readable in the code, but made coding many items, actors, and locations very tedious and hard to keep consistent.

It is absolutely true that IF programming can be an exercise in tedium, and I doubt that any of the advanced languages are especially good at solving this for the author. I agree with you that some machine generation would help, but I wonder how far a language or development environment could help with that, given how infinitely flexible an IF game world could be. It might be a better approach for an individual author to consider writing some tools to generate game-specific code, if their story suggests such a need.

As in many free software projects, a lot of effort has been put into the core products (languages and libraries), but limited effort into support structures, such as IDEs. Peculiar to IF is that many authors are not otherwise programmers, so there are many people who might benefit from such a project but can't contribute to it. It's certainly an avenue worth pursuing for coders who enjoy the genre but don't want to participate in game writing themselves.