The interpreter of STEAD (Simple Text Adventures) allows one to play games that combine visual novels, text adventures and classic quests of 1990-s. The STEAD games features are:

* very simple source code of the stories. (based on LUA);

* the ability to use graphical or textual (readline) game interface;

* graphic interface supports music and images;

* graphic interpreter theme support - a game may change the interface look;

* portability (originally written for Linux, depends on SDL and lua).


sdl-instead [options] [ to run]



Debug mode (for game developers).


Force ALSA sound (Linux only).


Run the game without sound.

-gamespath <path>

Add path with games.

-themespath <path>

Add path with themes.


Do not use default games.


Do not use default themes.

-game <basename>

Select game in gamespath.

-theme <basename>

Select theme in themespath.


Force game to use own theme.


Run the game in fullscreen mode.


Run the game in windowed mode.


Disable autosave/autoload.

-encode <lua file> [encoded file]

Encode lua file. Encoded file can be executed with doencfile("encoded file").

-idf <path to resources directory or game>

Build idf file [INSTEAD data file] from directory.

-mode [WxH]

Use WxH resolution.


Force software rendering


Do not pause the game on window minimize.

-hinting 0|1|2|3

Set the font hinting mode.

-install [game in zip]

Install game from zip archive


Quit :)

-appdata [fullpath]

Store saves and settings in appdata path. Path must exist!

-chunksize [size in bytes]

Size for audio buffer. Try this if sound lags.


Show version and exit.

Configuration file name is 'insteadrc' and it's located in ~/.instead/.

Games can be downloaded from Unzip them in ~/.instead/games.


Please, see tutorial.


This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms specified in the GNU Public Licence (GPL).




Peter Kosyh

INSTEAD author.

Ilya Ryndin

Initial port to Windows.

Mahno Aleksey

Port to Android.


Port to Mac OS X.

Andrey Afletdinov

Port to Windows CE.

Vadim Balashoff


Vladimir Zhirov


Alexander Yakovlev

manual.tex support.

Serj Kalichev

Advices and default theme correction.

Vladimir Podobaev, Oleg Gvozdev


Alexander Soborov

Wiki support.

Many others for comments, bug reports, games and ideas.

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