QTads 1.6c review

by rbytes.net on

QTads is a GUI interpreter for Tads games, running under Unix-based systems (it has been tested in Linux, Mac OS X and FreeBSD, but i

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 0K
Developer: Nikos Chantziaras
0 stars award from rbytes.net

QTads is a GUI interpreter for Tads games, running under Unix-based systems (it has been tested in Linux, Mac OS X and FreeBSD, but it should compile and run in many more, like Solaris and Irix). Tads is a programming language for implementing Interactive Fiction (text-adventures). If you ever played an Infocom game like “Zork” or “Trinity”, or the classic game “Adventure” by Crowther and Woods (also known as “ADVENT”; it has also been ported to Tads), then you know what this is about.

The Tads compiler generates executables that run on the Tads Virtual Machine; much like Java. QTads is such a virtual machine; it runs Tads executables. Some Tads games use graphics and sound (Multimedia Tads), but QTads doesn't support that yet. You can play these games with QTads, but you won't see graphics or hear sounds. Only a subset of Multimedia Tads is supported (text-formatting effects and HTML character entities). On the plus-side, QTads supports more HTML tags than most other text-only interpreters.

Since QTads uses Trolltech's Qt library for its user interface, it should be easy to port to other platforms as well, including Windows and embedded devices (cell phones, PDAs, etc.) It supports Tads 2 as well as Tads 3 games (although the Tads 3 support is somewhat half-assed, because it lacks banners). A multimedia-enabled version for HTML Tads games will be available Real Soon Now™ (which means somewhere between next month, next year, or next century). Note though, that this will be a different interpreter; QTads itself will remain text-only.

QTads has a rather nice feature that none of the available Multimedia Tads interpreters can provide: text justification. This is only possible in non-Multimedia interpreters and is, more or less, the main reason QTads has been written.

QTads is known to compile with Qt 3.1 and above. You also need a good C++ compiler. GCC versions 2.95.x and above are known to work. (I recommend GCC 3.2 and higher.) Although it hasn't been tested yet, Project Builder in Mac OS X should work. Other compilers should work as well, by the way.

Here are some key features of "QTads":
Unicode support for Tads 3 and full support for Tads 2 character mapping files; you can play games written in any language.
Text-color support for Tads 3 games.
Configurable text justification.
Configurable themes; you can save your settings (colors, fonts, etc) in “Themes” and switch them at runtime.
Multimedia Tads Character Entity support, which means that typographical quotes, dashes and other special characters are available in both Tads 3 as well as Tads 2.
Curly apostrophes and em-dashes in every game, even if the game doesn't support this (can be disabled).
Configurable margins (dead space to the left and right).
Fullscreen mode without switching resolution, with removable menu-, tool- and scrollbar.
Internationalization; as of now, the GUI is available in English and German.

What's New in This Release:
Fixed compilation problems with Qt versions lower than 3.3.
The system's endianess now shouldn't matter when compiling QTads.
Enhanced the way icons are loaded. In previous versions, they didn't use the alpha channel for transparency effects, resulting in pixelized and blocky appearance. This has been fixed. (You can now find the icons in the images/ directory. They won't get installed, but will be embedded into the executable at build time.)

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