Interesting "Upgrade Your Game" Contest involving free Visual Studio Express

Bill Loguidice's picture

Namco's Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga Anniversary Arcade MachineNamco's Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga Anniversary Arcade MachineApparently, just for registering your free copy of Microsoft's Visual Studio Express at this Website enters you into an interesting drawing for a full-size Namco Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga anniversary arcade machine, t-shirt or Atari TV game. The intent seems to be to spur "arcade game" development.

According to the Website:

If you want to take your love for gaming or developing to the next level by learning how to build arcade games, you've come to the right place. Unleash the arcade in your PC with free downloadable resources tailored for either the beginner or the intermediate developer:

* Free software to develop
* Complete how-to guides
* Informative webcasts

Of course Microsoft had already long since made all their Express Edition development tools, from C# to SQL Server, available for free download and usage. You know I snagged my copies of the development suites a while back, though sadly I have not gotten around to experimenting with them. Frankly, the most development I've done with Microsoft tools was developing a full networkable database with Microsoft Access about a year back, so I would have quite a bit to learn.

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Matt Barton
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Microsoft Development

I talked to lots of programmers at the Computers & Writing conference who were really excited about Microsoft's .net platform. I still don't quite understand all the reasons why, but apparently Microsoft has recently made some changes that make it very easy to develop for it. I believe the program that kept getting mentioned was Microsoft Visual Studio, though I could be mistaken.

When I was trying to learn C/C++ (which I intend to go back to this summer!), I was using a program called BloodDev. It was a lot simpler and easier for me than the Microsoft program, which was about as interface-heavy as Word is for word processing (i.e., GREAT if you know what you're doing, confusing as all hell if you don't).

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Bill Loguidice
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It's overwhelming, true, but

It's overwhelming, true, but it's hard to argue with free. It's also not a bad idea to learn on a development environment that is extremely popular and has transferable skills to the other programs in the suite. If only time were on our sides to learn even more than we try to now...

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[My collection - www.billandchristina.com/vgamecomp/vgamecomp.htm]
[www.MythCore.com]

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number6
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Joined: 05/20/2006
.NET

The most interesting feature of .NET is the ability to use components accross compilers. Say you are a Visual Basic .NET programmer and someone wrote a whizbang dll using Visual C++ .NET. You could use the components written in C++ in your Visual basic prorgram just as if it was an integral part of Visual Basic even though it was written in C++. .NET lets you focus on getting your work done in your language of choice. As long as there is a .NET compliant compiler in your language of choice you are set. I have heard there are Fortran, COBOL, ADA and many other .NET compliant compilers out there. So I would say it is really hard not to like .NET. I have been an anti MS programmer for years, but I have to admit that .NET is a great piece of technology.

I have the Express Visual C++ .NET edition for home use as well. It's really a great deal at free.

The BloodDev tool Matt mentions is very good if you are used to using the GNU C++ compiler. I have tried it out in the past and found it useful.

Matt Barton
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Express

Well, I just downloaded and installed Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition. As I mentioned earlier, I'm definitely a rank amateur, though I do have fun tinkering with code. I always get a bit miffed, though, because I'm sure I would be a coder today if I hadn't had such a terrible math teacher in high school (basically killed any enthusiasm I had whatsoever for math!!) On the positive side, my English teacher was awesome!

I met a computer science professor at the C&W Conference named Brian C. Ladd. Brian has his programming students write their own text adventures (engine and game) in pure C++. Maybe I'll try using this program to do the same. I wrote a role-playing adventure game using Visionary a long time ago...Grym's Adventure, I think I called it. :-)

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Bill Loguidice
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IF languages versus C++

While it would probably be worth it for the exercise, I think if you're making a text adventure, you're better off using TADS, Hugo or Inform, which are feature-rich and expressly designed to make commercial quality interactive fiction. While I myself used QBasic to create a text adventure of sorts for a mini-game competition, if you feel strong about your interactive fiction idea and want to put it on something that will be playable on practically any device, then one of those three languages is probably the best choice. My only point is, I think except for the learning experience, it's probably more wasted effort than necessary doing something from scratch in C++ like that versus some other game type. Just an opinion...

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[My collection - www.billandchristina.com/vgamecomp/vgamecomp.htm]
[www.MythCore.com]

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number6
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C++

Well Visual C++ .NET can be used to write standard C++ like you are talking about so you should be in great shape. The .NET extensions do make things easier for beginners though. Good luck with the text adventure game! Maybe you could upload a beta for us to try out when you get to that point?

Matt Barton
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No Luck with Express--Showstopping "msvcp80d.dll" Bug

Geezus Christ...I just can't get Microsoft Visual C++ Express off the ground...I tried a simple Hello World app that worked just fine with Blood Dev, but everytime I try to debug it with MS I get a window telling me it can't find msvcp80d.dll and that I need to try re-installing the application. Great! I searched for the problem on Google and was so baffled by the explanations and workarounds that I'm ready to give up and run back to Blood Dev (with my tail between my legs!)

Any thoughts on what could be causing this?

I notice when I switch to "release" rather than "debug," it works...But without debugging, I'm not sure why it'd be worthwhile to use an IDE in the first place!

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number6
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Did you also...

Did you also install the Platform SDK?

Go to this Link and make sure you did step 4.

You most likely are trying to build a Win 32 App instead of a straight .NET application.

Matt Barton
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Yup, That was it!

That was it! Thanks, #6. I should've known you'd know right away what the problem was. I don't know how I missed that step before...argh.

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number6
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Glad it works now

No problem mate. Glad to help. The MS development environment can be tricky to newcomers so no worries. It takes some time to get used to the interface, but the MS development environment is pretty slick once you have played around with it a bit.

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