Learning T3

I’ve decided to “port” a barely started I6 WIP into T3 to finish it. Over the course of a week I am going to see how far I get with this. Can I lay out the game map and add the basic objects and characters (that were already created) without too much confusion? I would have been able to do this in a week with Inform (6). Or will I get totally lost? If I do, then I will port to T2 instead.

The library is so massive it is definitely intimidating. So I need some ways to “visualize” it, to get a handle on it. I tend to scan and I tend to take things in at a glance – see the “big picture” — so I need something more than the Reference Manual to SEE the library. (Although the Reference Manual may be great for looking things up — once you know those things are in the library to look up.)

 I’ve been casting around and talking here and there and there may be more references for T3 out there than many realize. So far these are my reactions (and I am only starting) to some T3 references.


Getting Started in TADS 3by Eric Eve – Not recommended. This already presupposes some knowledge of T3, but does not go into it enough blow by blow, class by class, method by method, to be of much help. Important points are buried in text and the information is not laid out clearly and does not proceed from easy to hard. Looking this over I could not figure out who Eric thought his target audience was. Maybe he was attempting to write a “best tips,” but it definitely does not come across as a starter guide.


TADS 3 Technical Manualby Mike Roberts, Eric Eve, Steve Breslin, Michel Nizette, and Andreas Sewe – This seems to be the actual place to start. While it is not a complete manual of all the features of the T3 library, it covers the basics, is well laid out, and does cover things in a logical progression from easy to hard. So I do recommend it. Also Mike Roberts wrote about 3/4th of it himself.  




Inheritance map of the library by Robey Holderith – Ever wondered how big the library really is? What you might be getting into trying to learn it? You can’t really tell from the number of files and/or from the Reference Manual. It would be nice to get some idea, visually. So I expressed the wish on the T3 debugging mailing list for a map of the library’s class inheritance tree and Robey very kindly came up with the above. He also very added pagination to the map, both for letter sized paper and A4 paper. So you can actually print it out and tape it together and have a wall chart, just like there are wall charts for C++ and Java.


T3: Tower of Classesby David Welbourn – A list of classes from: actions.t, actor.t, exec.t, extras.t, objects.t, precond.t, resolver.t, sense.t, thing.t, travel.t.actions.t, actor.t, exec.t, extras.t, objects.t, precond.t, resolver.t, sense.t, thing.t, and travel.t. Another way to take a quick glance at the library and see what is even there. David says he did this two years ago and it is not complete. But I find it very handy, along with the above map, to get some grasp of what is even in the library.


T3: Inform Attributesby David Welbourn – If you are used to I6, these are I6 attributes (and maybe some I7 attributes as well, although I am not familiar with I7) transformed into T3. In other words, how T3 would do the same thing.


T3: TADS 3 Exercisesby Søren J. Løvborg – David Welbourn challenged Soren to accomplish some tricky things in T3. This is the resulting code.


Return to Ditch Dayby Mike Roberts (about ½ of the way down the page) – And last, but certainly not least, Mike’s source code for a new game, “Return to Ditch Day.” This may actually be the most useful thing on this list, if like me, you learn more from someone’s sample code than from any manual. It certainly, with the aid of cutting and pasting, can get you up and writing a game PDQ.

That is what I have found so far that I have given more than a cursory glance to. There is more T3 documentation and help, and as I view more, I will review more.


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