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sunandshadow

Which free high-level language?

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Okay, say I want to make a RPG/sim/adventure game which runs on (at least) PCs and supports a gamepad. I'm frustrated and bored enough to actually study a programming language. I have a minimal amount of knowledge about programming (a semester of C++ in college) and a visual mind which would really like a drag-and-drop gui to build the game in, and lots of existing pieces I can just modify slightly to suit my purposes. So, what free language would be good for me to learn? My roommate suggests Python, but while he's a programmer he doesn't program games, so I wanted some second opinions from people who actually have experience making games, or knowledge of what (non-microsoft) languages/toolkits most professional games are currently being programmed in. Thanks! Also feel free to recommend a particular book or set of online exercises I should use to learn the language. [smile]

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It's actually a pretty good time to be programming games in Python right now, since PyGame has done their first official release in over a year. Python is pretty easy for non-programmers to pick up and powerful enough to create sophisticated games.

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When I worked for Microids, we used an engine called Virtools. All the scripting was done using their scripting tools, which are a set of logical boxes that you drag in your script and plug their inputs / outputs to create a logical flow of events / actions / whatever. It worked quite well and some of our artists started working with it and understood it quite easily.

Sadly it seems like our firewall is blocking the site www.virtools.com so I can't check if there's a non commercial or student version that would be free... so if you've got some spare time, check out their stuff, its pretty easy to use and gives you results almost immediatly!

Hope this helps

Eric

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I'll third the python recommendation, although keep in mind that I'm all about programming and despise Drag-and-Drop type stuff. If you're looking for something like that you may want to look elsewhere, but if programming is what you want to do, python is your best bet, unless you are willing to bite the bullet and learn C++ well enough to do what you want to do.

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Quote:
Original post by SiCrane
It's actually a pretty good time to be programming games in Python right now, since PyGame has done their first official release in over a year. Python is pretty easy for non-programmers to pick up and powerful enough to create sophisticated games.

I'd like to jump on the bandwagon for the Python recommendation, but I'd also advise you to take a look at C#. Cobbling something together workable wouldn't be too difficult, although I think it'd admittedly more difficult than Python. But the programming experience would be useful down the line. If you want a strictly visual approach, I'd advise you to take a look at one of the visual editors, like RPG Maker 2003 and the countless others.

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Although I'm not comfortable with Python myself, I've heard really good things about the language, and the stuff being done at the pygame website looks really good, so I'd recommend it as a programming language to learn. It will involve a bit of nuts-and-bolts programming dirty work under the hood over a GUI approach, but the trade-off is that it is very full featured and not as painful as C++. If you could survive a semester of C++ at college then you should be able to learn Python reasonably quickly; it does have the advantage of there being a lot of tutorial stuff out there for beginners.

There's also lots of RPG creation toolkits out there which will have simpler interfaces; they might be a bit limited in what they can do, however.

I'm not aware of any programming tools out there with drag and drop interfaces, apart from stuff like Game Maker which isn't strictly free. These tend to be limited in what they can do as well.

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Quote:
Original post by sunandshadow
Anyone have any opinions on Java?


I'm a bit biased against Java; this might just be because when I learnt the basics of Java programming several years ago when it was too clunky and slow for any use except for GUI prototyping. Plus every beginners course I've seen on Java has been badly taught; it's too easy to jump into playing with GUIs before the student understand the basics of the language. It didn't help that once I had to teach one of the classes myself without really understanding the language (next time I'll read the fine print before I sign up to any more tutoring work).

I'm sure Java has matured a bit since I was programming in it as a student, but I've always disliked it for some reason. It's always seemed not quite low-level enough for a C or C++ programmer like myself, but not really appropriate enough for script work. Python has the advantage that it can be used for simple scripts as well as game programming, which can help automate some of the mundane tasks you need to do (like batch conversion of files).

But I wouldn't take my word on that, as I'm out of touch on Java programming these days, and I've only played around a bit with Python.

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