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VB6 as a games development language...
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SilentDragz



Joined: 08 Dec 2004
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Location: Darlington, UK



PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 2:16 am    Post subject: VB6 as a games development language... Reply with quote

How viable is it? I mean to be able to create games to nearly the standard of Starscape, is it even possible? The reason I ask is because I can program moderately well in VB6, I've never thought about writing my own game before and I'm not particularly keen on learning a new language.

Any replies are appreciated.

/SilentDragz
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poo Bear would know pretty better as he's had to use VB in the past quite extensively, so hopefully he'll post his thoughts.

I was just thinking though, you might want to take a look at blitz basic. I'm sure with most languages and a fast computer, anything is possible, but there are titles available right now that have been made with Blitz that are definitely of commercial quality (check out platypus for instance ) Blitz also has a massive community behind it, and there are lots of free or extremely cheap libraries of code knocking around to help out.
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've only ever used VB for boring business applications i'm afraid. I think it would be fine for something less taxing on the cpu like a strategy game though. I think there is a version of DirectX available for it, how it holds up in a heavy gaphics environment like a shooter I don't know.

I'd definitely consider blitz basic after seeing platypus.
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SilentDragz



Joined: 08 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm downloading platypus now to have a go - unfortunately the blitz basic download site is down at the moment Sad

heh, too tired to code now anyway, been up all night on starscape (paid for last night Very Happy) - gonna try platypus then head to bed!

EDIT: Woah, that game's too fast to be played seriously while tired, but excellent nonetheless, the clay idea is just genius Smile

But yeah, as far as the language goes, I like what I see so far, I'll have a try once the blitz basic site is fixed, but now, goodnight Razz
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Gravitron



Joined: 12 Jan 2004
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Location: Isra(H)el



PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are going to make something simple, like pacman or tetris, then vB will suffice.
If you wish to create a serious program of any kind, you'll need C (++).

Games, by far and large, are heavy duty, and vB is lacking.
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gravitron wrote:
If you wish to create a serious program of any kind, you'll need C (++).


What's Platypus (written in BlitzBasic) then, chopped liver?

Rolling Eyes
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Gravitron



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A tastey one at that, yes. Razz

What's vB? Basic with a better shell.
Quick Basic was also a better shell for GW/Basic/A.


At the end, it's downto C and assembly, if you're planning to get serious.

Unless you're korean, then you might choose to use delphi virtual pascal or whatever as your MMORPG language of choice... :rolleyes:

Lets face it, did you code starscape in C++ or not?
Were the "real" games in the industry made in pascal or C++?
Is runescape a joke or not? (death 2 java).
Did EA.com, Origin and subsidiaries collapsed due to stupid freshmen XOs saying : lets dump our proved P2P clients and buy pogo.com as our main portal and make java games or not? (rethorical question).
Did Ste Cork coded his games in C or phyton?


Bottom line:
It's Stroustrup's way, or the high way.
And I am fond of his.
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selecta



Joined: 11 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im doing an OpenGL 3d engine in IBasic Pro http://www.pyxia.com. I originally used Purebasic http://www.purebasic.com, but I ran into trouble because of no native support for data types such as doubles. Both are extremely fast, with all the power of C, yet the simplicity of BASIC. Both also have advanced features such as UDT's, COM access, pointer support, loads of built in types (in IBasic Pro's case), and inline ASM(Ibasic Pro: NASM, Purebasic: FASM).

IBasic Pro is soon to recieve a Direct3D and OpenGL command pak. I, however, prefer to have access to everything and so am doing everything myself. Languages such as Blitz/Dark Basic pose problems - say theres an engine bug - youve sold your game to customers, then this bug pops up and your game wont run on some peoples systems. When they report it, you have to wait for Blitz or Dark to be updated to fix the problem. This typically can take months of waiting. Think the customers will be happy?
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Gravitron



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very good point indeed.

I guess I'll go take a look at IBasic now then (must say, I haven't heard of it before, is it new? I been out of the loop for quite a few cycles).
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Starscape is C++, and I'm also learning C++ on the side (I'm Moonpod's artist in case that comment worries anyone Very Happy )

I don't think that is necessarily the be all and end all of programming. Things have improved drastically over the past few years - Blitz has been used in quite a few indie titles, as has Java (Check out the excellent games at puppygames to see java at its best.) Even budget level PCs are pretty quick - at least fast enough to run games like platypus at full speed using Blitz.

It all does depend on the genre - trying to write a technically groundbreaking fps with blitz would probably be a bad idea - but that doesn't mean you can't make games and sell them using languages other than C++.
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selecta



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gravitron wrote:
A very good point indeed.

I guess I'll go take a look at IBasic now then (must say, I haven't heard of it before, is it new? I been out of the loop for quite a few cycles).


IBasic Pro came out in May 2004, but there was previously an IBasic standard


Java is being used to create a technically groundbreaking 3d strategy game - theres an article here http://www.gametunnel.com/html/section-viewarticle-25.html

Just goes to show there are limits to what is used for what.

The Game Creators have just released The DarkBasic Pro engine for use with C++ also, entitled the Dark Game SDK, if its of any interest to anyone.


Ive found one limitation with using powerful BASICS such as IBasic Pro - that is that it is very fdifficult (but not impossible) to plugin external libraries (such as 3d engines) due to the fact that everything these days seems to be geared at C++. I was told however, that at least three engines had been successfully used with IBasic Pro.

Theres a lot of experimentation to be had, which is a lot of fun. I think languages like these are perfectly suited to the indie games market, as they are simple, yet complex too.
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Gravitron



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The end of all programming would be assembly.

The reason C++ is so vastly used, and where its true power lies, is not just because that it can more easily be plugged (its important to/in the industry, because you have many coders doing cvs and joining their efforts together to complete a project's different aspects) or that it allows better graphic engines or ones that can keep track of vast arrays of info (such as MMORPGs) but rather because of it being a step near assembly.
It's about methodology, not in the aspect of keeping a clean and efficient code (which is very important) but technically you can reach higher.
I don't mean technical as in "technical groundbreaking" (squeezing more fps out of a gfx card, making better 3D engine), but that it allows you the technical tools to code a more efficient hardware-wise code if you understand how the process occur behind the metal, you can obtain far greater access and control over what happens, can code a program so it really utilizes just the right ammount of memory, shift values exactly precisely right, and so forth.

It's basically what those fellows from "the produkkt" are doing, only they took it a step closer to home and used assembly.
Damn, optimizing all that stuff onto 96kbs...slick, then again everything have to be hardcoded (uh..right?), blah, which is why C was made.
Can still keep close to source as possible, maintain great control but able to do much vaster and modular constructions.


That 3d strategy game you mentioned doesn't sound much different really, overall, from "Z" in this territory-control aspect they talked about.
Also, check out Uplink's creators (Introversion) latest title, a RTS named Darwinia.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everything you've said is true, but is kind of straying fom the initial point of this thread: is it possible to use anything but C++ for game creation - in particular languages that may be more suited to amateur/hobbyist or one man teams with art skills and the desire to create games but no real programming skills. I think the answer is obviously a resounding yes to that question - as there are already example cases to prove this point.

Given infinite time and resources, coding entire games in assembly would produce the most optimised code (although in some cases nowadays a modern compiler can often produce better results), however that is never a situation anyone will ever be in. C++ is generally used in most if not all commercial games programming because it offers the best compromise of performance Vs language functionality and ease of use, and also because its become pretty much a standard - its important on big teams that you are able to easily replace key personel if they leave for any reason.

However, if someone as a cool game idea, and doesn't have the time to learn C++ so uses something like Blitz instead, I applaud them. The best type of game is one thats in my 'hands' and I can actually play; not something that never leaves the drawing board due to time constraints.
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Gravitron



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, the best fun game is the one that makes you drop your life, friends, wife and what not inorder to play it because it is just that much of an addicting.
The best designed game is that one which is so enriched with content and possibilities that, you can just keep on playing and playing, and still keep finding new depths to keep you interested enough to keep on playing.
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SilentDragz



Joined: 08 Dec 2004
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Location: Darlington, UK



PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gravitron wrote:
No, the best fun game is the one that makes you drop your life, friends, wife and what not inorder to play it because it is just that much of an addicting.
The best designed game is that one which is so enriched with content and possibilities that, you can just keep on playing and playing, and still keep finding new depths to keep you interested enough to keep on playing.


If you drop your life, friends, wife and pets etc to play a game then you really need professional help - I love my games and spend hours and hours a week on them, but I would never neglect my family, friends and pets for them. Sleep maybe, but not the important things in life. To be honest, I don't think I'd ever want to write a game that is that much of a negative influence on people's lives.

Going back to the language selection, I like the look of Blitz/Dark Basic, and IBASIC Pro, my only problem is that you only get 10 days to trial them before you pay for them - I really don't think 10 days is anywhere enough time to figure out whether I like the language, especially having to learn it during that period too.

EDIT: I downloaded a trial of PlayBasic - it gives a 30 day trial and I'm loving the language so far Smile
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