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Creating a TADS Game

Step 1: Start TADS Workbench

Go to your Windows "Start" menu, and open the "TADS Toolkit" menu. Click on "TADS Workbench." TADS Workbench will launch, and will display a dialog asking you whether you'd like to create a new game or open an existing game.

Step 2: Click on the "New" Button

You want to create a new game, so click on the "New" button. This will open the TADS New Game Wizard, which will ask you for the names you'd like to use for your new game's files.

Step 3: Follow the Wizard Instructions

The New Game Wizard will ask you for the name you'd like to use for your "source file." The source file is simply a text file where you write your TADS programming language instructions that define the rooms and objects in your game.

Do not put your source file in the same folder as the TADS program files; instead, put your source file in a folder that you use for your own personal files. In the future, you might want to upgrade to a new version of TADS. When you do, the easiest way to upgrade is to delete the old TADS program files and install the new versions. If you store your game files in the TADS program folder, you might accidentally delete your game files when you replace your TADS program files. To be sure this doesn't happen, please put your source file in your own personal folder.

If you're new to TADS, you should select the "Introductory" source file type for your new source file. This simply puts extra examples in your new source file, to help you get started more quickly.

After you've answered all of the Wizard's questions, click the "Finish" button to create your game. TADS Workbench will open your game so that you can begin working on it.

Step 4: Try a Test Run

Once TADS Workbench has opened your file, you can try compiling it and running it:

Step 5: Editing your Source File

TADS Workbench features a built-in, full-featured text editor. The window showing your game's main source file lets you make changes to the code. To customize your game, simply edit the source file in this window.

After you make changes, you must first save the file, then recompile your game. The changes you make won't take effect until you compile, so if you make changes and press "Go" without recompiling first, you'll still see the old version of the game.

The built-in editor is a popular programmer's text editor called Scintilla, which has all of the features that you'd expect for a programming environment: multi-level undo, syntax coloring, automatic indenting, brace highlighting, and much more. Workbench also lets you customize the keyboard layout, and provides a wide range of options to tailor the editor to your preferences. Use the Options dialog to access the many configuration options.

If you have a separate text editor program that you'd prefer to use, Workbench has some features designed to help. You can configure Workbench to open a file in your external editor application - use the "External Editor" page of the Options dialog to tell Workbench how to open your editor program. After you do this, you can use the "Open File in External Editor" command (on the Tools menu) to send a file from the built-in Workbench editor directly to your separate editor application. After you make your changes, you can switch back to Workbench to compile and test the changes.

Step 6: Learning More about TADS

At this point, you're ready to start learning more about TADS. The Welcome page has more information on where you can find documentation, examples, and other resources for learning TADS.

Thanks for giving TADS a try!

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Copyright ©1999, 2007 by Michael J. Roberts.