Brass Lantern
the adventure game web site


Linux Text Adventure Interpreters, Page 2

by Stephen Granade

Table of Contents
• Introduction
  • Unix TADS
  • Glk TADS
• Inform/Z Machine
  • XZip
  • Unix Frotz
• Hugo
  • Console Hugo
  • X Hugo
  • wxWindows Hugo
• Glulx
• Alan


The executables for TADS live in the if-archive/programming/tads2/executables/ directory of the IF Archive. If you're lucky, that directory may hold a precompiled interpreter for Linux. The precompiled files are usually called tads-linux-2nn.tar.gz or tads-2.n.n.glk.linux.bin.tar.gz. The 2nn and 2.n.n are the version number of TADS; for example, 255 or 2.5.5. Note that there is a new version of TADS, TADS 3; the version of I am talking about in this section is TADS 2. Do not get a TADS interpreter with a version number of 3. Often the precompiled Linux interpreters are a version or three behind the latest release of TADS. To see if a precompiled interpreter is up-to-date or not, look at the file htmltads_nnn.exe. The nnn part will tell you what the most recent version of TADS is. If that version number is the same as the one on the precompiled interpreter, you're good to go. Download the archive and unpack it with the tar -xzf <filename> command.

If the version number on the htmltads_2nn.exe file is larger than that on the precompiled interpreters, or if the precompiled interpreter doesn't work for you, you'll have to compile your own. Look in the if-archive/programming/tads2/source/ directory of the IF Archive. is the official source code; tads2src-2nn.tar.gz is a version of the source converted for Unix. If the latter is up-to-date, get it rather than the former, as that will make your life easier.

If you download the Unixified source, unpack it with the tar -xzf command. This will create a directory called tads2 which contains all of the source code.

If you download the official source, you'll have to do more work. Once you've downloaded it, unzip it with the unzip -aa <filename> command. The -aa flag is necessary to translate all of the source code files from MS-DOS format to Unix format. If you don't do this, your compile will fail in interesting and unenlightening ways. This will also create a directory called tads2, but all of the filenames will be capitalized incorrectly. To fix that, change to the tads2 directory and run the following Perl command:

perl -e 'while ( <*> ) { rename $_, lc $_; }'

(That is all one command, and should be typed all on one line before you hint ENTER.) That command should make all of the files in the tads2 directory be lowercase. Now you're ready to go.

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