TADS vs. Groovy

After thinking a long, meandering thought process starting from Groovy Science, wandering through programming language design, and somehow following a segue into interactive stories again, a friend re-sparked my interest in IF (interactive fiction). I’ve gotten absorbed reading about IF theory and practice before, but that was about five years ago, and now I know much more about programming and a little bit more about writing. So I downloaded the TADS 3 and Inform 7 SDKs and some IF interpreters, and I got to work reading the developer reference material and actually playing some games, including Photopia, Violet, Glass, and Alabaster.

One of the first things I noticed about the IF languages was that superficially, TADS 3 the language is incredibly close to Groovy. It uses C-style imperative syntax, it has closures, it uses dynamic typing, it minimizes the difference between properties and methods, and it has what look like interpolated strings (which print automatically, meaning it takes a bit of output-rerouting to use them for anything else). Now, I’m not saying these are all great features, but I knew right away that if I was going to be comfortable enough in any IF language to implement the kinds of crazy things I find myself wanting to implement all the time, it was going to be TADS. I could port my general-purpose Groovy code to TADS as I needed to.

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