High Energy Software

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Cthulhu

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Jun 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/19/96
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In article <835247...@hinrg.starconn.com>, mrob...@hinrg.starconn.com (Mike Roberts) wrote:
>Friends,
>
>For a number of reasons, we've decided to close High Energy Software,
>effective immediately. We will refuse any orders we receive for TADS
>and our other products.

WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?

Then no-one could buy the bound manual again!

>Our existing set of products will continue to be available free over
>the Internet and wherever else they propagate. Note that these are
>still copyrighted pieces of software, so they're not in the public
>domain and are still subject to certain restrictions on their copying
>and use (for example, we require that our copyright notices remain in
>place and that the original packages, including "readme" and license
>files, are distributed intact), but we no longer ask for a shareware
>or other fee to copy or use them. At some point soon, we'll update
>the license/readme files that accompany our former shareware products
>to indicate the new "freeware" status; in the meantime, please
>respect the licenses as they are, except for the part about shareware
>fees.

Well, why don't you also document the GAM format so that Mark Howell could
write an interpreter for it?

>Here's the new disposition of our products:
>
>- TADS: This is now freeware. We will produce a new freeware package
>that contains the debugger and other tools that were formerly
>included only in the registered user version in the past. The new
>package will also contain the manuals in electronic form. (The TADS
>Author's Manual is in TeX format, which makes it readily usable on
>practically all systems; the 2.2 Upgrade Manual is in Ami Pro format,
>which may be of somewhat more limited utility.) We'll also update
>the license file.

Well that sucks. Do you know how hard it is to find a TeX reader for Win95?
It's also hard to find a reader for Ami Pro files.

>- We are not going to publish the TADS source code. (Sorry, but
>we're unable to publish the source code at this time due to certain
>arrangements we have.) However, we will continue to make it
>available under special agreements to a small number of individuals
>who wish to port it to platforms that we don't handle directly.

Well, so much for me getting my hopes up...

>- Deep Space Drifter: This is now freeware. We'll update the license
>file to so indicate.
>
>- Perdition's Flames: This is now freeware. We'll put together a
>freeware package for distribution.

Oh. So the rumors that you were going to release these freeware were true. I
wonder how a certain other person heard of it...

What about Unnkulia Zero and The Horror Of Rylvania? Just hoping...

>Give us some time to release the new packages described above, as
>we're very busy with other projects at the moment. It may take us a
>few weeks or more to get this all together.

What are these other products? TELL US! <jumping up and down in anticipation>
TELL US! TELL US!

>I'm still interested in maintaining and enhancing TADS, so this
>change in our business setup does not necessarily mean that we've
>seen the last version. If anything, I hope that we'll have a little
>more time to spend working on TADS and related projects now that we
>don't have the overhead of running the business as well.

Great. I'm hoping that, in the next version you'll:

a. Merge TADS and Worldclass into one package

b. Include a compiler directive to make TADS a strongly-typed language, like
the OPTION EXPLICIT statement in VBDOS. Many programmers are just used to
strongly-typed language, and not used to something that handles variables like
the old Basics did.

c. Include an equivalent to Inform's BOX statement, for including quotes.

d. Get Mark Howell to write an interpreter

>We'd like to thank our customers and friends for your part in making
>High Energy Software a fun and rewarding experience.

TADS IS GREAT! Just had to say it...

Mike Roberts

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Jun 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/20/96
to

Friends,

For a number of reasons, we've decided to close High Energy Software,
effective immediately. We will refuse any orders we receive for TADS
and our other products.

Our existing set of products will continue to be available free over


the Internet and wherever else they propagate. Note that these are
still copyrighted pieces of software, so they're not in the public
domain and are still subject to certain restrictions on their copying
and use (for example, we require that our copyright notices remain in
place and that the original packages, including "readme" and license
files, are distributed intact), but we no longer ask for a shareware
or other fee to copy or use them. At some point soon, we'll update
the license/readme files that accompany our former shareware products
to indicate the new "freeware" status; in the meantime, please
respect the licenses as they are, except for the part about shareware
fees.

Here's the new disposition of our products:

- TADS: This is now freeware. We will produce a new freeware package
that contains the debugger and other tools that were formerly
included only in the registered user version in the past. The new
package will also contain the manuals in electronic form. (The TADS
Author's Manual is in TeX format, which makes it readily usable on
practically all systems; the 2.2 Upgrade Manual is in Ami Pro format,
which may be of somewhat more limited utility.) We'll also update
the license file.

- We are not going to publish the TADS source code. (Sorry, but


we're unable to publish the source code at this time due to certain
arrangements we have.) However, we will continue to make it
available under special agreements to a small number of individuals
who wish to port it to platforms that we don't handle directly.

- Deep Space Drifter: This is now freeware. We'll update the license
file to so indicate.

- Perdition's Flames: This is now freeware. We'll put together a
freeware package for distribution.

Give us some time to release the new packages described above, as


we're very busy with other projects at the moment. It may take us a
few weeks or more to get this all together.

I'm still interested in maintaining and enhancing TADS, so this


change in our business setup does not necessarily mean that we've
seen the last version. If anything, I hope that we'll have a little
more time to spend working on TADS and related projects now that we
don't have the overhead of running the business as well.

In a strangely coincidental but otherwise unrelated development, our
Internet access provider is closing down their operations as of July
1, so our hinrg.starconn.com address will not operate after that.
I'll probably find another access provider in the near future for a
personal address; I'll post my new address when I have it. We'll
keep our post office box, phone lines, and BBS operating for a while,
so that we can inform anyone who inquires about our products and
hasn't heard about this change (rather than leaving them wondering
with the default "box closed" or "number disconnected" responses),
but we'll probably close those as well within a few months.

We'd like to thank our customers and friends for your part in making
High Energy Software a fun and rewarding experience.

--Steve McAdams and Mike Roberts

--
Mike Roberts mrob...@hinrg.starconn.com
High Energy Software
PO Box 50422, Palo Alto, CA 94303

Matthew Amster-Burton

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Jun 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/20/96
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mrob...@hinrg.starconn.com (Mike Roberts) wrote:

>Friends,

>For a number of reasons, we've decided to close High Energy Software,
>effective immediately. We will refuse any orders we receive for TADS
>and our other products.

Oh, my. This will change the rules of the game around here, I'll bet.

TADS--The 2.2 update manual should be saved as text and PostScript, I
should think. PS is almost as usable as TeX.

I hope Mike's conclusion about having more time to develop TADS proves
correct. If he turns out not to have the time he'd expected, I hope
he'll consider releasing the source or at least turning it over to
someone who has more time to work with it. I'd really love to see
TADS 3.0.

Perdition's Flames--Free? Yippee!

Matthew

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Jun 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/21/96
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mrob...@hinrg.starconn.com (Mike Roberts) writes:
> For a number of reasons, we've decided to close High Energy Software,
> effective immediately. We will refuse any orders we receive for TADS
> and our other products.

Bleah!

> - TADS: This is now freeware.

Yay!

> - We are not going to publish the TADS source code. (Sorry, but
> we're unable to publish the source code at this time due to certain
> arrangements we have.)

Bleah! (But I know how those licensing arrangements can go.)

> However, we will continue to make it
> available under special agreements to a small number of individuals
> who wish to port it to platforms that we don't handle directly.

Okay.

> - Deep Space Drifter: This is now freeware.

> - Perdition's Flames: This is now freeware.

Yay!

(I'm wondering about Rylvania, too.)

> I'm still interested in maintaining and enhancing TADS, so this
> change in our business setup does not necessarily mean that we've
> seen the last version. If anything, I hope that we'll have a little
> more time to spend working on TADS and related projects now that we
> don't have the overhead of running the business as well.

Mmmm, related projects.

Good luck to the work.

And -- please don't take this as sniping -- I still hope to see the
TADS runtime source code (or game file format) released for free
someday. I realize there may be difficulties or impossibilities
involved. I'm just hoping.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."

Bruce Stephens

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Jun 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/21/96
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>>>>> "Nulldogma" == Nulldogma <null...@aol.com> writes:

> Let me add my voice to the chorus bemoaning the loss of the bound
> TADS manual. It's an incredibly useful tool, not to mention an
> attractive piece of work. Searching through a TeX file (even if I
> knew how) just wouldn't be the same.

Using your favourite text editor. (Or grep, of course.) TeX is easy
to convert to postscript, so I'm sure someone will, just as they have
for the Inform manuals.

"You can't grep dead trees."
--
Bruce Stephens | email: B.Ste...@math.ruu.nl
Utrecht University | telephone: +31 30 2534630
Department of Mathematics | telefax: +31 30 2518394
P.O. Box 80010, 3508 TA Utrecht |
The Netherlands |

Matthew Amster-Burton

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Jun 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/21/96
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patr...@Direct.CA (Cthulhu) wrote:

>WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?

>Then no-one could buy the bound manual again!

Print it and bind your own! Total cost: under $10. No more than the
Inform manual, also written in TeX.

>>- TADS: This is now freeware. We will produce a new freeware package
>>that contains the debugger and other tools that were formerly
>>included only in the registered user version in the past. The new
>>package will also contain the manuals in electronic form. (The TADS
>>Author's Manual is in TeX format, which makes it readily usable on
>>practically all systems; the 2.2 Upgrade Manual is in Ami Pro format,
>>which may be of somewhat more limited utility.) We'll also update
>>the license file.

>Well that sucks. Do you know how hard it is to find a TeX reader for Win95?

>It's also hard to find a reader for Ami Pro files.

I'm sure the Ami Pro file will appear as Postscript. Do you have
Aladdin Ghostscript for Win32? You should. Do you have Xdvi? You
should. These tools are not hard to find, and they're free. Again,
this does not make things any more difficult than formatting and
printing the Inform manuals.

>Oh. So the rumors that you were going to release these freeware were true. I
>wonder how a certain other person heard of it...

>What about Unnkulia Zero and The Horror Of Rylvania? Just hoping...

Those aren't by High Energy Software. They were written by the Daves
at Adventions, and I believe both of these will be released as
freeware soon as well. Mike Roberts has nothing to do with them.

>What are these other products? TELL US! <jumping up and down in anticipation>
>TELL US! TELL US!

I would assume they're related to a "real job." That's usually what I
mean when I say I'm busy with other projects. You don't think two
people derived their entire income from selling TADS, do you?

>Great. I'm hoping that, in the next version you'll:

>a. Merge TADS and Worldclass into one package

TADS and WorldClass were written and are copyrighted by two separate
authors. This does not, of course, preclude them from appearing in
the same package, but I think it would confuse people. What language
includes two standard libraries with different APIs and redundant
functionality?

>b. Include a compiler directive to make TADS a strongly-typed language, like
>the OPTION EXPLICIT statement in VBDOS. Many programmers are just used to
>strongly-typed language, and not used to something that handles variables like
>the old Basics did.

Requiring variable declarations is not the same as being strongly
typed. There's no reason for TADS to be strongly typed, as there are
only a couple of data types and they're not often confused. Required
declarations might be a good idea--I'm still thinking through the pros
and cons.

>d. Get Mark Howell to write an interpreter

There already is an interpreter--TR. Releasing the internals of the
GAM file is no less a disclosure than releasing the source code for
TR, which already runs on many platforms and is quite solid, if not
flashy. Instead of creating a whole new TADS runtime, why not offer
to add some features to the current one?

Sorry if this sounds like a flame, but I don't think this is the
catastrophe you seem to believe it is.

Matthew

Matthew Amster-Burton

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Jun 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/21/96
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null...@aol.com (Nulldogma) wrote:

>Let me add my voice to the chorus bemoaning the loss of the bound TADS
>manual. It's an incredibly useful tool, not to mention an attractive piece
>of work. Searching through a TeX file (even if I knew how) just wouldn't
>be the same.

I'm not sure everyone here grasps the TeX concept, so let me elucidate
briefly. If you're already familiar with TeX, hit 'n'.

TeX is a typesetting system developed by Donald Knuth. It runs on a
wide variety of platforms, including Unix, Windows, and MacOS. It
produces textbook-quality typeset text in a device-independent (DVI)
format that can printed to almost any printer or converted to
PostScript.

If a TeX version of the TADS manual is posted, three things are sure
to happen right away:

* Someone will make a PostScript version and upload it
* Someone will make a PDF version and upload it
* Someone will make an ASCII version and upload it

This should take care of most people's needs. I've always wanted an
online copy of the TADS manual for searching, anyway.

If anyone does have trouble or wants a bound copy of the TADS manual,
I'm will to produce a few and sell them at cost (probably $10,
including shipping), assuming Mike would allow this. I'm probably
getting myself in deep here, but no matter.

Oh, and perhaps now someone can take the two pieces of the TADS manual
and merge them. That would be great. I am NOT volunteering to do
this, however.

Matthew

Nulldogma

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Jun 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/21/96
to

Let me add my voice to the chorus bemoaning the loss of the bound TADS
manual. It's an incredibly useful tool, not to mention an attractive piece
of work. Searching through a TeX file (even if I knew how) just wouldn't
be the same.

Still, a less-busy Mike Roberts continuing to support a freeware TADS
sounds great to me. The possibility of a TADS 3.0 sounds even better.

Neil

---------------------------------------------------------
Neil deMause ne...@echonyc.com
http://www.echonyc.com/~wham/neild.html
---------------------------------------------------------

Neil K. Guy

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Jun 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/22/96
to

Mike Roberts (mrob...@hinrg.starconn.com) wrote:

: For a number of reasons, we've decided to close High Energy Software,


: effective immediately. We will refuse any orders we receive for TADS
: and our other products.

Ah... the passing of an era! Well, I'd like to thank Mike and Steve for
the work they put into TADS. It's a fabulous piece of software. When I
finally complete my masters this summer I fully intend to finish my game
in progress and add it to the TADS canon. Really. :) Thanks also, folks,
for putting TADS into the real of freeware.

: - We are not going to publish the TADS source code. (Sorry, but


: we're unable to publish the source code at this time due to certain

: arrangements we have.) However, we will continue to make it


: available under special agreements to a small number of individuals
: who wish to port it to platforms that we don't handle directly.

Glad to hear! Perhaps some generous soul out there will be able to
update the Mac interpreter to handle styles or port TADS runtime to
Windows... :)

: I'm still interested in maintaining and enhancing TADS, so this


: change in our business setup does not necessarily mean that we've
: seen the last version. If anything, I hope that we'll have a little
: more time to spend working on TADS and related projects now that we
: don't have the overhead of running the business as well.

And I look forward for whatever improvements are in store. Groovy news!

- Neil K. Guy

--
Neil K. Guy * n...@vcn.bc.ca * n...@tela.bc.ca
49N 16' 123W 7' * Vancouver, BC, Canada

Mark Pilgrim

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Jun 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/22/96
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: Mike Roberts (mrob...@hinrg.starconn.com) wrote:
:
: : For a number of reasons, we've decided to close High Energy Software,
: : effective immediately. We will refuse any orders we receive for TADS
: : and our other products.

Sometimes I simply amaze myself. Having read all the relevant background
material at the if-archive, I had finally decided to dive in and register
TADS, read the manual cover to cover, and start implementing my first
TADS-based game. I began reading this group exactly 48 hours ago, and
one of the first things I read is this. My timing is, well, peccable.

While I join the crowd in applauding the move to freeware, I wonder how
long it will really take to update the manual and make it available
on-line. If anyone has an extra copy of the manual that they would be
willing to part with, please let me know. Responding to this article's
posting address would be fine.

On the bright side, I'm encouraged that there is a core group of
dedicated IF authors here. I'm sure I will have lots of little questions
once I start writing, but I think I'll go back to lurking for a while
(maybe even another 48 hours) before I start picking brains around here.

Cheers.

Mark


Magnus Olsson

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Jun 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/22/96
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In article <4qefrd$q...@nntp4.u.washington.edu>,
Matthew Amster-Burton <mam...@u.washington.edu> wrote:

>patr...@Direct.CA (Cthulhu) wrote:
>>b. Include a compiler directive to make TADS a strongly-typed language, like
>>the OPTION EXPLICIT statement in VBDOS. Many programmers are just used to
>>strongly-typed language, and not used to something that handles variables like
>>the old Basics did.

Well, the most of the "old Basics" *are* strongly typed languages.
Ever tried assigning a string to an integer variable, or an array to a
scalar? IIRC, Visual Basic is more of a typeless language.

But in the case of TADS, I don't think it would be a simple thing to
put in a compiler directive to make it strongly typed. In fact, I
suspect it would require a major re-design of the language, because
TADS was designed as a typeless language and uses typelessness in an
active way (for example, the ldesc property of an object can be either
a method or a literal string).

Typelessness isn't necessarily bad or a sign of primitivity, you know.
Many modern languages, such as Smalltalk, are typeless.

>Requiring variable declarations is not the same as being strongly
>typed. There's no reason for TADS to be strongly typed, as there are
>only a couple of data types and they're not often confused. Required
>declarations might be a good idea--I'm still thinking through the pros
>and cons.

But how do you propose to use declarations in a typeless language?


To turn this into a more general question:

The question of typelessness vs. strong typing has not been decided in
the world of mainstream programming languages - take the debate between
proponents of Smalltalk vs. those of C++, for example. So I suppose we
should expect the community of IF programmers to be divided on the issue
as well.

But what do the people here, on r.a.i-f, prefer? Would you liek to have a
language similar to TADS or Inform, but strongly typed?

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se)
Speaking as a private citizen & taxpayer - no more, no less.

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Jun 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/22/96
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null...@aol.com (Nulldogma) writes:
> Let me add my voice to the chorus bemoaning the loss of the bound TADS
> manual. It's an incredibly useful tool, not to mention an attractive piece
> of work.

Geez. Next thing you know, the other half is going to start moaning
for a nice bound Inform manual.

Hey, ya know --

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Jun 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/22/96
to

mam...@u.washington.edu (Matthew Amster-Burton) writes:
> There already is an interpreter--TR. Releasing the internals of the
> GAM file is no less a disclosure than releasing the source code for
> TR, which already runs on many platforms and is quite solid, if not
> flashy. Instead of creating a whole new TADS runtime, why not offer
> to add some features to the current one?

I would love to write MaxTADS.

The day I can do so without signing a nondisclosure agreement, I will
start working on it.

I realize this is a somewhat inflammatory thing to say -- I've
restrained myself from typing it many a time before. I'm only bringing
it up now because the situation has changed, and it might actually
happen.

(At least, that's how it appears to me, although I have no knowledge
of the details of the situation.)

I really don't want to get into an argument of why I have taken this
position. It would immediately turn into a screaming match. But this
*is* a serious offer.

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Jun 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/22/96
to

m...@marvin.df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) writes:
> To turn this into a more general question:
>
> The question of typelessness vs. strong typing has not been decided in
> the world of mainstream programming languages - take the debate between
> proponents of Smalltalk vs. those of C++, for example. So I suppose we
> should expect the community of IF programmers to be divided on the issue
> as well.
>
> But what do the people here, on r.a.i-f, prefer? Would you liek to have a
> language similar to TADS or Inform, but strongly typed?

Theoretically, yes. In practice, no. :)

I prefer strongly typed languages. (SML is a personal favorite.)
However, Inform grew up without types, and therefore uses an awful lot
of polymorphism.

Example (skip this paragraph if you know Inform):
The "n_to" property of a room (which determines what happens when you
go north) can contain the object number of a room (to go there); or it
can contain zero (to say you can't go that way); or it can contain a
string (which will be printed as a customized cant-go-that-way
message.) *Or* it can be a function which *returns* an object
number, zero, or a string. Or it can be the *address* of a function
(defined elsewhere) which does likewise.

This is just unbelievably convenient.

Now in a really nicely-typed language, you could define a union or
alternation type which could be either an object, string, or function.
Nothing wrong with that. If you decided to write a game in such a
language, it would be workable. But retrofitting such a type system
onto TADS or Inform is probably a waste of time; large effort for
small gain. The cases where you *want* a more restricted type are much
rarer than the cases when you just want free polymorphism.

James Jennings

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Jun 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/23/96
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I too have mixed feelings about High Energy Software closing and releasing
its products as freeware. Even though I never wrote more that a two room
test file.

One of the reasons my TADS programming never took off was that I found the
tools a bit tedious to use. It would have been really nifty to be able
type Command-K in a text editor and have TADS compile. Which brings me to
this paragraph...

In article <835247...@hinrg.starconn.com>, mrob...@hinrg.starconn.com
(Mike Roberts) wrote:

> - We are not going to publish the TADS source code. (Sorry, but
> we're unable to publish the source code at this time due to certain
> arrangements we have.) However, we will continue to make it
> available under special agreements to a small number of individuals
> who wish to port it to platforms that we don't handle directly.

I know that TADS has already been ported to the Macintosh, but would
someone like to do it again as a CodeWarrior Plug-In? Would it be allowed?

James

Jan Boink Bonk Blink Berry Boink Boink

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Jun 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/23/96
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Sat, 22 Jun 1996 12:45:57 -0400, "Andrew C. Plotkin" <erky...@CMU.EDU> wrote:
>Geez. Next thing you know, the other half is going to start moaning
>for a nice bound Inform manual.

After that comment (by someone) about the TeX likely to be converted to PS,
PDF and TEXT shortly after uplaoding by unknown peoples... i'm ready to
start moaning for someone to convert the Inform manals to PDF... (-:

Anyone got Distiller handy??

--
_____________________________________________________________________
Tim Muddleton =-=-= you do not want to know =-=-= as...@torfree.net
-=-=-=-= read Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky =-=-=-=-
^`~^"^`~^"^`~^"^`~^"^`~^"^`~^"^`~^"^`~^"^`~^"^`~^"^`~^"^`~^"^`~^"^`~^

Neil K. Guy

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Jun 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/23/96
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Jan Boink Bonk Blink Berry Boink Boink (who....@io.org) wrote:

: After that comment (by someone) about the TeX likely to be converted to PS,


: PDF and TEXT shortly after uplaoding by unknown peoples... i'm ready to
: start moaning for someone to convert the Inform manals to PDF... (-:

: Anyone got Distiller handy??

If no-one else does, I do.

Andrew D. Pontious

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Jun 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/23/96
to

For me as a relatively new IF programmer working on his first, as yet
uncompleted, IF game, the closure of High Energy is mostly bad.

For one, I was still in contact with MR about a feature of TADS 2.2
which would really have assisted my game and also was touted in the 2.2
manual as a new feature (the delword function, if anyone's interested)
which doesn't work on the Mac runtime version of TADS. In fact, I'd just
sent a new post to MR today about his promise to get back to me. Now it
seems unlikely that will be attended to, since a "fix" to the Mac
runtime program is probably out of the question.

Secondly, for me at least, it means that as of now, TADS is a game
system without a future. With the code sealed, no one can fix errors
like the one I mentioned above, nor can improvements be made. Certainly
the past games are an illustrious collection, but how about for future
games? Inform is the only widely-used language which still has
up-to-date maintenance by its creator going for it. I do believe TADS is
slightly better code-wise for the programmer, and featurewise (at least
the ones promised!), than Inform (this is strictly my own opinion and I
realize many others might differ), but right now I'm probably going to
crack open that ponderous Inform manual because, when the inevitable
problems do come up, and if they're serious, I want to be able to go to
the guy who can give me the final answer.

Perhaps this is too dire an assessment. Does TADS live? I would
certainly be happy to hear from people who have reasons to think so:
maybe TADS programmers can band together in some more organized way to
make up for the lack of support? Let me know what you think.

Uncle Bob

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Jun 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/23/96
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Matthew Amster-Burton (mam...@u.washington.edu) wrote:
:
: This should take care of most people's needs. I've always wanted an

: online copy of the TADS manual for searching, anyway.

Yes indeed! This was the one problem with the printed-only docs; you had
to carry them around with you.
:
: Oh, and perhaps now someone can take the two pieces of the TADS manual


: and merge them. That would be great. I am NOT volunteering to do
: this, however.

I have already (mostly) TeX-ified the new sections; however this is very
much different from combining with the old...........

Bob Newell

--
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Home Page: http://www.btigate.com/~bnewell
E-Mail : bne...@btigate.com
BBS : GobblerNet BBS 701 222 0429

John Baker

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Jun 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/24/96
to

In <31CD8C...@tuna.net> "Andrew D. Pontious" <byza...@tuna.net>
writes:
>Secondly, for me at least, it means that as of now, TADS is a game
>system without a future. With the code sealed, no one can fix errors
>like the one I mentioned above, nor can improvements be made.

Well, from what Mike wrote, the closure of High Energy was going to
give him *more* time (not less) to devote to TADS and related projects.
Only time will tell if his good intentions become a good reality - we
all know how the quest for making a living (or grades or both) can
sometimes interfere with fun stuff.

I had a good time learning TADS, I *like* the language, and I'm not
going to stop using it right off the bat. If two years go by and it
doesn't look like Mike is going to have time for TADS or is unable to
legally release (or sell the rights to) the source code to some
responsible maintainer, AND I'm running into problems, then I'll start
deciding upon a replacement. This is just my prediction, but I don't
see me switching.

Of course, since you have an immediate problem and all of this is
happening *right now*, and since you (I assume) haven't done too much
development in TADS already, maybe it would be prudent for *you* to
switch.

Final word - John is still a TADS and Sam Adams guy and will remain so
for the forseeable future.
--
John Baker - http://www.netcom.com/~baker-j
**I boycott all businesses that send me unsolicited email advertisments**
"Honey, I never drive faster than I can see, and besides,
it's all in the reflexes." - Jack Burton

Magnus Olsson

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Jun 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/24/96
to

In article <Iln2B5C00...@andrew.cmu.edu>,

Andrew C. Plotkin <erky...@CMU.EDU> wrote:
>null...@aol.com (Nulldogma) writes:
>> Let me add my voice to the chorus bemoaning the loss of the bound TADS
>> manual. It's an incredibly useful tool, not to mention an attractive piece
>> of work.
>
>Geez. Next thing you know, the other half is going to start moaning
>for a nice bound Inform manual.

...and complaining that Graham is so inconsiderate that he only gives
away Inform for free and doesn't charge anything for it. :-)

It's rather ironic, isn't it? Ever since Inform was first released,
people have been bitching about the "high cost" of TADS. In fact, the
free availability has been cited as one of the main advantages of
Inform over TADS (the other one being the availability of source code).

And now that Mike has decided to make TADS into freeware, people are
complaining about that they can't buy it!

And the fact that the TADS manual is going to be released as TeX files
is apparently a major problem to many people - despite the fact that
the Inform docs have *always* been in TeX, and people have managed
very fine with that.

It's a strange world...

Magnus Olsson

unread,
Jun 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/24/96
to

In article <4qkp94$b...@sjx-ixn5.ix.netcom.com>,

John Baker <bak...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>In <31CD8C...@tuna.net> "Andrew D. Pontious" <byza...@tuna.net>
>writes:
>>Secondly, for me at least, it means that as of now, TADS is a game
>>system without a future. With the code sealed, no one can fix errors
>>like the one I mentioned above, nor can improvements be made.
>
>Well, from what Mike wrote, the closure of High Energy was going to
>give him *more* time (not less) to devote to TADS and related projects.

Exactly. And I think the only good reason for Mike's keeping the code
"sealed" is that he wants to continue working on it. Of course, he
could have bad reasons as well :-).

>I had a good time learning TADS, I *like* the language, and I'm not
>going to stop using it right off the bat.

Neither am I. TADS is a remarkably polished and mature product that is
eminently useful for writing adventure games at a technical level
slightly above that of the Infocom games. Of course, if the state of
the art advances (for example, Graham decides to include AI-complete
NPC's in Inform 7:-)), then TADS may become outdated, *unless* Mike
upgrades TADS accordingly, which he may very well do despite having
made it freeware.

Pity about that delword bug, though.

Nulldogma

unread,
Jun 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/24/96
to

> And now that Mike has decided to make TADS into freeware, people are
> complaining about that they can't buy it!

> And the fact that the TADS manual is going to be released as TeX files
> is apparently a major problem to many people - despite the fact that
> the Inform docs have *always* been in TeX, and people have managed
> very fine with that.

Don't get me wrong -- I think a freeware TADS is a Very Good Thing. I just
absolutely love the printed TADS manual -- it may be TADS' greatest
selling point for me -- and would be sorry to see it go.

In fact, I'd like to offer to share with Matthew the task of printing up
manuals, if anyone's interested.

Meanwhile, I'll second the request for Mike, with all his newfound free
time <g>, to fix the delword bug. I wouldn't mind, either, if he added
numberedObj support to the general release of TADS, which would allow
non-Mac/PC people to play MacWesleyan, in addition to being a neat feature
in itself.

Matthew Amster-Burton

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Jun 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/24/96
to

ro...@gobblernet.lod.com (Uncle Bob) wrote:

>I have already (mostly) TeX-ified the new sections; however this is very
>much different from combining with the old...........

At the very least, though, part two of the update manual is a drop-in
replacement for chapter...four, I think, of the 2.0 manual. Even just
doing this substitution would make life as we know it better.

Matthew

Trevor Barrie

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Jun 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/24/96
to

m...@marvin.df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) wrote:

>But what do the people here, on r.a.i-f, prefer? Would you liek to have a
>language similar to TADS or Inform, but strongly typed?

Keep it typeless. Strong typing is for the weak.:)


Greg Ewing

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Jun 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/25/96
to

Magnus Olsson wrote:
>
> But what do the people here, on r.a.i-f, prefer? Would you liek to have a
> language similar to TADS or Inform, but strongly typed?

The big advantage of compile-time typing (which is a more accurate
term) is that errors such as passing the wrong number of arguments
to a method, or arguments of inappropriate types, or trying to call
a method which does not exist, are much more likely to be caught
at compile time.

With all type checking left to run time, these errors either don't
get found at all during testing, leaving them to jump up and bite
an unsuspecting user, or manifest themselves in such a way that it
is often quite difficult to track down the cause of the problem.

From extensive experience in using both types of language, my
conclusion is that although the flexibility of run-time typing
is very seductive, it leads to a lot of frustration and hair
tearing that simply doesn't occur when using a compile-time
typed language.

On the whole I have more confidence in code I've written in Pascal
or C++ that passes the compiler than I do in Scheme code that
seems-to-work-but-I'm-not-really-sure. I've no reason to believe
the situation would be any different in an IF language.

Occasionally it is desirable to have run-time typing, but in
most cases it is not necessary. So I think the best idea is a
language which allows both. I've been thinking about the design
for such a language for some time. I've made some progress,
but there are still some things to sort out...

Greg

Greg Ewing

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Jun 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/25/96
to

Andrew C. Plotkin wrote:
>
> The cases where you *want* a more restricted type are much
> rarer than the cases when you just want free polymorphism.

This might be the case the way the existing Inform and Tads
libraries are designed, but my experience in programming
at large is just the opposite -- it is relatively rarely
that unrestricted typing is warranted.

I fully agree, however, that retrofitting static typing
onto an existing dynamically-typed system is not feasible.

Greg

Hans Persson

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Jun 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/25/96
to

I'm sorry to hear that High Energy have closed. I really hope that we
will continue to see updates to TADS, just as promised.

Still, I will add my voice to the others hoping for a release of the
source code. By doing this, features will be added, ports be done, and
bugs fixed without Mike having to spend time on it. (OK, I know that
the ports are done by others already, but I still think it would save
work and increase the amount of things getting done.)

If there are some legal reasons why the source code can't be released,
it would be interesting to hear about them. Does this, in that case,
apply to the .GAM format as well?

Also, remember that Inform comes out of the Infocom file format and
has been (to a large extent) figured out by people on the net from
existing games. With TADS, we have a compiler as well, so we can write
code that we know how it looks, compile it, and see what it looks like
in the .GAM file.

Since the documentation is now being distributed, I also wonder if
that will be updated. Since the manual and the 2.2 release notes are
in separate files, it seems to be non-priority at least. If no-one
complains (Mike?) I am interested in updating the documentation,
seeing to it that it consists of *one* file which is up to date with
the current release of TADS. I hate figuring out what version of TADS
introduced a feature and then looking in the correct manual. It would
also be nice with a chapter dedicated to features/bugs/things to think
about for the different ports. This might assist people who want their
games to run smoothly on other platforms. This should then be
distributed in (at least) (La)TeX and PostScript formats.

Hans Persson (who will continue to use TADS as long as possible)
--
+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Hans Persson http://www.lysator.liu.se/~unicorn/ |
| uni...@lysator.liu.se Play Enhanced from SophistiChaos Game Design! |
+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+

Norman Ramsey

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Jun 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/25/96
to

In article <31CF3A...@cosc.canterbury.ac.nz>,
Greg Ewing <gr...@cosc.canterbury.ac.nz> wrote:

>> But what do the people here, on r.a.i-f, prefer? Would you liek to have a
>> language similar to TADS or Inform, but strongly typed?
>
>The big advantage of compile-time typing (which is a more accurate
>term) is that errors such as passing the wrong number of arguments
>to a method, or arguments of inappropriate types, or trying to call
>a method which does not exist, are much more likely to be caught
>at compile time.
>
>With all type checking left to run time, these errors either don't
>get found at all during testing, leaving them to jump up and bite
>an unsuspecting user, or manifest themselves in such a way that it
>is often quite difficult to track down the cause of the problem.

Most programmers want types systems that are strong enough to catch
our errors, but weak enough that they don't get in our way :-)
I like the Hindley-Milner type system used in Standard ML.
The advantages are:
- compile-time type checking
- `parametric polymorphism', which means, e.g., you can write a
function to compute the length of a list, no matter what the type
of the elements is
- type declarations are unnecessary; the compiler infers the `most
general' type possible for expressions
Andrew Appel has done some adventure-game programming in ML, and it
works out fairly nicely. He might be willing to release source code
for his (very simple) game. I commend ML to designers of future
gaming languages.

>Occasionally it is desirable to have run-time typing, but in
>most cases it is not necessary. So I think the best idea is a
>language which allows both.

Steve Ward at MIT is working on a language called CURL that has
both...
--
Norman Ramsey
http://www.cs.purdue.edu/homes/nr

Cthulhu

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Jun 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/25/96
to
In article <jennings-270...@10.0.2.15>, jenn...@halcyon.com (James Jennings) wrote:

>Of those not yet mentioned...anybody want to try HTML?

Now THAT'S something that I would like!

Or better yet, what in the world is wrong with just plain text?

James Jennings

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
to
About offering the TADS manuals in various formats:

In article <4qrmqs$8...@lace.colorado.edu>,
cro...@nordsieck.cs.colorado.edu (Matthew Crosby) wrote:

> If anyone really can't handle TeX (and I'd be surprised if you exist)
> I'm quite willing to generate postscript for you.

I can "handle" Tex on my Macintosh, but it's never pleasent. The only
software I've found (OzTex) is a bear to use.

Postscript is the same story as above but worse. The only postscript
screen renderer I know of (MacGhostscript) is unstable and unsupported.

(If someone would like to recommend a better Tex of Postscript viewer,
please send me e-mail.)

Of the formats already mentioned, RTF (a bit clunky) and Adobe Acrobat
would be fine for me.

Of those not yet mentioned...anybody want to try HTML?

James

Jarle Brinchmann

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
to
In article <jennings-270...@10.0.2.15>
jenn...@halcyon.com (James Jennings) writes:

About offering the TADS manuals in various formats:

<...>

(If someone would like to recommend a better Tex of Postscript viewer,
please send me e-mail.)

I understand the frustration with TeX and Postscript on-screen, they
are really most suited for print-outs. However TeX has the advantage
that it is rather well structured so conversion is a survivable job.

Of those not yet mentioned...anybody want to try HTML?

With LaTeX2HTML, this should be a rather simple task - depending on
how specialized the LaTeX/TeX is. (With the incredible number of
formats people want, the whole load should probably be converted to
SGML and thereafter be transferred to different formats :-)

Jarle

Alexander Lehmann

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
to
James Jennings (jenn...@halcyon.com) wrote:
: About offering the TADS manuals in various formats:

: In article <4qrmqs$8...@lace.colorado.edu>,
: cro...@nordsieck.cs.colorado.edu (Matthew Crosby) wrote:

: > If anyone really can't handle TeX (and I'd be surprised if you exist)
: > I'm quite willing to generate postscript for you.

: I can "handle" Tex on my Macintosh, but it's never pleasent. The only
: software I've found (OzTex) is a bear to use.

: Postscript is the same story as above but worse. The only postscript
: screen renderer I know of (MacGhostscript) is unstable and unsupported.

: (If someone would like to recommend a better Tex of Postscript viewer,
: please send me e-mail.)

: Of the formats already mentioned, RTF (a bit clunky) and Adobe Acrobat


: would be fine for me.

: Of those not yet mentioned...anybody want to try HTML?

If there is Postscript version, creating a Acrobat version wouldn't be
a problem, since there is some conversion software available from
Adobe (well, commercial, but maybe someone has it). The level of
support for PDF is however lower than for Postscript (Adobe only
releases software for some platforms), so a Postscript version would
be very useful also.

Converting from TeX to e.g. HTML would require much more effort,
basically TeX is a text layout language that is much more versatile
(and complicated) than HTML. There is supposed to be a Latex2HTML
program somewhere, but I have never tried it (should work for basic
things).


bye, Alexander

--
Alexander Lehmann, | "On the Internet,
al...@hal.rhein-main.de (plain, MIME, NeXT) | nobody knows
leh...@mathematik.th-darmstadt.de (plain) | you're a dog."
!!CHANGED!! <URL:http://www.mathematik.th-darmstadt.de/~lehmann/>

Robert A. DeLisle

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
to
FYI--I cannot use TeX (whatever that is) or PostScript

I tried to print a document from the IRS with Acrobat and it told
me my printer was unsuitable. Well, tough! Xerox works, just cover
over the unwanted info, insert and hit the button.
Then I deleted acrobat. What a waste of time!

So--why don't you just use plain old ascii that will work?

I doubt I want a TADS manual, but why not make it usable by all?

Greg Ewing

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Jun 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/28/96
to
Hans Persson wrote:
>
> Still, I will add my voice to the others hoping for a release of the
> source code.

I'd like to add mine, as well. One of the attractions of Inform
and associated interpreters is their openness, which means
that if I don't like some detail of the way
the compiler or interpreter works, there's a possibility
I can change it myself, rather than having to persuade
whoever is the official maintainer that the feature I
want is useful enough to be worth their spending time
on it.

Releasing the source needn't mean the end of an
"official" line of development, as long as anyone who
distributes a custom version makes it clear that
that's what it is.

> Does this, in that case, apply to the .GAM format as well?

I'm surprised that someone hasn't reverse-engineered the
Tads game file format already. Is this perceived as an
immoral thing to do, or has there just never been a
pressing enough reason to do so?

As well as writing custom interpreters, it would also
open the interesting possibility of writing compilers
for new languages which use the same object format.

If anyone is interested in attempting a reverse-engineering
project, let me know - a friend and I worked out a few
things about it a while ago, although we didn't get
anywhere near a full understanding.

Greg

Greg Ewing

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Jun 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/28/96
to
Andrew C. Plotkin wrote:
>
> I agree in the case of general programming. But I will stick my neck
> out and say that text IF is well-suited by its nature for unrestricted
> type systems.

In my experience, when I'm doing the programming parts of
IF (as opposed to just plugging strings into slots) in Tads,
I get run-time errors like "wrong number of arguments to
method" or "invalid type for operation" just as frequently
as I do in any other kind of programming in any other
dynamically-typed language.

Even in Tads, I find that, in the majority of cases, a
particular property or method argument can only ever
be *one* of the basic types (integer, string, list,
object) because of the operations which are done on
it, and I believe I would benefit from a compiler
which understands this.

Greg

Alexander Lehmann

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Jul 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/2/96
to

Alexander Lehmann (leh...@mathematik.th-darmstadt.de) wrote:

: If there is Postscript version, creating a Acrobat version wouldn't be


: a problem, since there is some conversion software available from
: Adobe (well, commercial, but maybe someone has it). The level of
: support for PDF is however lower than for Postscript (Adobe only
: releases software for some platforms), so a Postscript version would
: be very useful also.

After having checked out the current version of Ghostscript, I found
out that is now also supports PDF files, so Acrobat may be the best
choice for the manual without going through too much trouble
converting it to e.g. HTML.

Greg Ewing

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Jul 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/4/96
to

Alexander Lehmann wrote:
>
> There is supposed to be a Latex2HTML
> program somewhere, but I have never tried it (should work for basic
> things).

I haven't used Latex2HTML myself, but I know someone here
who has just used it for a very big project, so I have
some idea how it does (and doesn't) work.

Straightforward constructs which have a direct equivalent
in HTML get converted. For anything else (which is almost
everything, given that LaTeX is so much more powerful
than HTML), it uses LaTeX + dvips + ghostscript to convert
the relevant part into a picture and inserts a reference to
the picture into the HTML.

It also has a propensity to get confused by things it
doesn't understand.

Greg

Jarle Brinchmann

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Jul 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/5/96
to

In article <31DB1B...@cosc.canterbury.ac.nz> Greg Ewing

<gr...@cosc.canterbury.ac.nz> writes:
I haven't used Latex2HTML myself, but I know someone here
who has just used it for a very big project, so I have
some idea how it does (and doesn't) work.

Straightforward constructs which have a direct equivalent
in HTML get converted. For anything else (which is almost
everything, given that LaTeX is so much more powerful
than HTML), it uses LaTeX + dvips + ghostscript to convert
the relevant part into a picture and inserts a reference to
the picture into the HTML.


I have converted a local guide to LaTeX to HTML once. This is a rather
complicated LaTeX document since it contains examples of tens of
styles. It was actually not too difficult to modify LaTeX2HTML to
process this document rather satisfactorily, but if you really want a
fancy layout, you have a lot of work in front of you....

Jarle.

Mark Clements

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Jul 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/12/96
to

[Stuff about typing]

How about Ada, which has incredibly strong typing but also has a generic
type which, along with it's implementation of packages, allows functions
for lists or other ADTs to work with any kind of data from integers to
arbitarily sized records.

Perhaps you could take this as some sort of starting point?
--
___ ,';_,-,__
Yes, Windows '95 is idiotproof. /~_ ,',' |O|,:,\,
/ /,',' /--|_|-;:;|
It's proof the Microsoft are idiots! ( )',_) ) ):;)
>\,(__ / /:;;|
...Mark...//~ /:;:;:\

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