Eric Coleman


DirectX and VB.


The current state of games in Visual Basic? People have always been creating games with Visual Basic. The reasons are many, but I think the most significant reason is that Visual Basic is an easy programming language to understand, and thus work with. Visual Basic is often most people's fist language to use for programming. I don't think any University offers game programming with Visual Basic, so I think its safe to say that most people that are using Visual Basic for game programming are self taught.

Games are what push the boundaries of computer hardware. Unfortunately for Visual Basic programmers, VB isn't known for its graphical prowess, but more for a database language. With the popularity of the Internet, rogue VB programmers have come into contact with each other, and have started exchanging programming wisdom. This expansion and collaboration of knowledge is great for VB game programmers, although not much of it is elite code or wondrous game programming wisdom. I think it is going to take a while for self taught programmers to think of game code differently than data base code.

A lot of the methodologies and ideologies that Visual Basic is famous for and manifests so well don't quite work well when it comes to pushing the limits of game technology and game programming practices. Picture boxes and Timers are part of the past.

Visual Basic now has support for DirectX technology, which allows Visual Basic programmers a much greater freedom with graphical, aural, and multiplayer technology. The canvas is Visual Basic, and the paint is DirectX.

DirectX is like a new toy for Visual Basic programmers, a lot of people are still playing with it, learning how to put it together, learning what it can do. The first few waves of games that come out of this combination of VB and Direct X will most likely be mediocre attempts. There may be a gem or two, but most of them will be games where the graphical programming techniques are less than average.

DirectX gives Visual Basic programmers a lot of room to explore, and these first games are only going to be the tip of the iceberg. DirectX and VB will be capable of a great many things, and as people make mistakes and learn better ways to program, then I think more and more people will turn towards Visual Basic as a viable method of programming graphically intense games, and not the "Ski" and "Snake" games from the old days of Windows.

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Eric Coleman is:
A very talented programmer and the developer of the upcoming strategy game, Gladiator: Field of Slaughter.