Amit’s Game Programming Information

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Bill Loguidice
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This looks like a very interesting Website, though I don't have time to go through it all right now: http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu/~amitp/gameprog.html

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Bill Loguidice
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Creating a Game

Creating games is how we were talk BASIC in school on various Radio Shack and Tandy systems. It's also the key part of several books I own on programming. I guess there are several "proven" ways to approaching the subject.

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Matt Barton
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One of My Goals

One of my goals is that if and when I get proficient enough in C++ to actually make some simple games, I'll write some nifty tutorials, putting my writing skills to use for a good purpose. Even though there are plenty of how-to manuals out there, I've yet to find one that managed to explain what I need to know clearly and interestingly enough to keep me going. For instance, in the C++ Primer, I just finished reading a section called "functions that return C-style strings." It's clear enough, but why might this be useful? It's not very clear why I'm learning it or how I'm supposed to apply it later.

What would be better for me would be a manual that took me through each step of creating a certain type of game. I think it'd be pretty neat to make a Tetris clone, for instance (as your link suggests). But I'm not even sure where to start with such a task.

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Bill Loguidice
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Personal Reasons for Programming Language Choices

I agree that for modern programming, C++ is the way to go. In fact, I think a lot of homebrew developers on systems like the Atari 2600 and ColecoVision use C-like languages and Assembly Language, the latter of course being particularly brutal. Still, my personal goal - and it all comes down to one's goals - is to program stuff on as many systems as humanly possible, and I think standard BASIC is my best way of accomplishing that. As a collector with 200+ systems, I think my best personal bang for the buck has to be BASIC, which I can translate to everything from the Bally Astrocade to the Apple II to the TRS-80 Color Computer to the Atari ST and beyond (of course, this also translates to robot programming). I can't imagine anything cooler than one day being able to sit down at each of those machines and creating some marginally sophisticated game. The challenge would be learning the pecularities of each of the BASIC languages, most of which came from Microsoft BASIC, others from Tiny Basic. From there, it might be fun to tackle 6502 Assembly. Ultimately I'd love to be able to program something for the Atari 2600, ColecoVision, Vectrex, etc. What helps is that I have the ability to transfer programs to cartridge for all of those systems and more, so I can't imagine anything cooler than running something of my own on the actual hardware. That's my dream. With all that said, even though I have several excellent books on C and C++, I just can't see having the time to get into it properly and then applying it to such a broad spectrum of stuff, which is where I see things like GameMaker and Blitz Basic bridging that gap for me (creating sophisticated PC games without the higher learning curve). I'm particularly intrigued by Blitz Max, which cross-compiles to Windows, Mac and Linux, taking care of a lot of what C++ is great for. Of course I don't own Blitz Max, so that point is moot right now, so I'll have to be content with my old commercial version of Blitz Basic 2D.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

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Matt Barton
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Learning Languages

I have two books for C++, both from SAMS: Teach Yourself C++, and C++ Primer. The latter book seems the most useful. It breaks everything down very simply, and I don't find it any harder than using BASIC except when it comes to graphics and anything else that goes beyond the command line. You still have functions, if statements, and so on that are common in BASIC, but also some strange stuff like pointers to memory addresses. Blitz Basic has something similar to C++ classes and structures built-in to it.

The missing link for me is SDL, OpenGL, or DirectX, which are supposed to make working with multimedia stuff much easier. Unfortunately, I don't know much about any of them yet, but will get to them once I feel I have a good enough understanding of the basics of C++. This is something I've been working on and off for about two years now, and I must admit that you see much slower progress with C++ than I did with Blitz. Blitz lets you get to making games faster, but it does have its limitations--portability being the biggest, I think. Knowing C/C++ will help you out with just about any other programming language. For instance, PHP and Flash ActionScript are both very similar to it.

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Bill Loguidice
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Programming

I'm more a dabbler myself. Maybe one day I'll decide on a single language to devote myself to, but frankly I've always had and probably always will have the most interest in the various BASIC dialects for the countless computer and videogame/computer systems released over the years.

Certainly if you're interested in creating more than just games, I think something like C++ is the way to go. If you're just interested in making games, then I still think most people are better off with something like Gamemaker or one of the Blitz languages.

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

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Matt Barton
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Interesting Game Site!

What's really interesting here are the first games the site asks you to program. They're all old school commercial properties! No wonder there are so many Tetris clones out there. I'm learning to program this summer, still sloughing my way through C++. I haven't even got to graphics yet. The last thing I learned about was passing arrays to functions...!

And, yes, I know there are tons of game construction programs out there, but I also know that any serious programmer knows C or C++ or both, so I'm trying the latter. I'd rather be bad at a serious programming language than good at a toy one! :-P

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