After writing a game in Inform (and, I suppose, TADS or whatever), you are able to export the finished work to one of several formats. These files require a seperate interpreter to be downloaded by anyone wishing to play your game, which is annoying and no doubt reduces the number of potential players.
Well, actually, if you write it in TADS, one of those formats is
a Windows Executable. I seem to be about the only TADS author making use of that option, but from what I can tell, a significant fraction of my audience has appreciated it.
There's a page on making standalone executables for all formats here
, but there's no date on it (and earlier today I was on an IF site that hadn't been updated in ten years, so this info may be very
out of date).
Executables are becoming a bit passe, though. A lot of the indie game devs I know are switching to Flash and other browser based options to get the absolute maximum audience access - the concept is that anyone with a browser should be able to play your game. When it comes to IF languages, that currently means Inform (and more specifically the Z machine) is your only option.
As I see it, you need to know who your audience are. The IF community like their story files and interpreters, indie games fans like their Windows executables, and casual gamers like to play games in their browsers. Until someone comes up with an IF language that supports all three options, I think it's entirely sensible to pick the language you use based on how you think it will best be played (and who will want to play it). For example, I've switched to I7 for my latest WIP because I think it's based around a very casual-friendly concept.
2) Wrapping an interpreter and game file in one package.
You can do this to a limited extent by sticking an interpreter in the same zip as your story file (assuming you have permission). The Windows download for Blue Lacuna comes with the Git interpreter in it and a Read Me that just tells you: "TO PLAY: simply drab the "BlueLacuna-r1" file onto the "Git" icon."