The first edition of Getting Started in TADS 3 was an attempt by one (then fairly novice) TADS 3 user to help others with some experience of programming IF systems to get up to speed on TADS 3. Since then, it has grown and developed as a result both of feedback from people who have used it, and of its authorís attempts to improve it. In its present form it is intended to be used as one possible starting point for anyone wishing to learn to write Interactive Fiction using TADS 3. Another possible starting point would be Learning TADS 3, which takes a rather different approach.
This guide has never been intended as a complete manual covering every aspect of the language and library; it is instead intended to introduce new users to the basics of the system. If you are new to TADS 3, the best way for you to get to grips with it is probably for you to work through this guide and gain a reasonably secure understanding of its contents before moving on to the other documentation that covers the language and library in more depth.
Once you are reasonably comfortable with what Getting Started has to teach, however, you will need to move on to other documentation (and practice using the system) to start gaining mastery. The TADS 3 Tour Guide provides a much more thorough overview of the TADS 3 library, and can be used as a second tutorial to follow this one, or you may prefer to follow the more systematic introduction provided by Learning TADS 3. The System Manual describes the TADS 3 language in far more depth than is possible here, and you will find yourself needing to consult it frequently (reading through it at some stage might be no bad idea too, though there'll be parts you'll probably want to skip till you need them), while the TADS 3 Library Reference Manual provides a complete reference to the library. Finally, the Technical Manual covers a number of issues not dealt with in this guide, and goes into far more detail on some that are.
It remains only to say three things: first to record my appreciation for the enormous amount of effort that Mike Roberts has put into the development of TADS 3, and for his comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this guide; second to record my thanks for his permission to incorporate parts of his own work into this guide; and finally to thank all those readers of previous versions of this guide for their feedback and suggestions, which will hopefully enhance its usefulness for those that follow.
Harris Manchester College