Learning T3, Pt. 2 – Lost in Manual Land

Well, not really lost since I can learn a lot, maybe more, from looking at game source code than I can get from reading manuals.

But I am half way through the “Technical Manual,” given a skim to the “System Manual,” and read a part of “Getting Started in TADS 3”, and all I can say is that essentially the TADS 3 manuals are a mess. Not sections, sections are written clearly, some quite clearly. But, let’s see, ummm, we have six, yup, count them, six manuals and they all cover some area of TADS 3. Some of those areas are different, some overlap. So you know what that means, right? Dig into one, dig into another, dig into all to find what you want. Hunt and peck reading. I have not found anything yet that gets one up and running and writing a game fairly quickly.

And I keep running across the phrase “we will assume you know how to do that already for the purpose of this article” or something similar. My reaction is, yeah, right. Frankly, it is starting to really irritate me. Where do I know it from? Point me to that manual please so I can insert that chapter/article here.

So the reaction I keep having is that these manuals should all be brought together into one BIG manual. Cut the manuals, deal them together, but first shuffle pages from one in front of pages from another. Give everything a coherent approach.

I am disappointed and I think this scattering of documentation makes T3 somewhat inaccessible for even the average good programmer, not to mention the average game writer. So the best thing I can do, I think, for anyone reading this is, present Doe’s Course of Study to Learn T3 — what order to read things in, and not necessarily manual by manual, but chapter by chapter from various manuals. Do my own reshuffling.

However, this may take time. But I will try to present Doe’s Course of Study to Learn T3 in about three to four weeks. Me, <shrug>, I hope to have my game 1/8th written by then.     

P.S. Okay, to be realistic, I’ll probably reshuffle into two:  “TADS 3 User’s Manual” and “TADS 3 Technical Manual.” So don’t expect to hear more about TADS 3 from me for a few weeks.

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