Hi Ken,

A few comments about vb.net if you don't mind. I'm not objecting to it
so much as pointing out some long term issues you may encounter with
going with vb.net you probably don't know about.

Although, there is a ffree Visual Basic .net compiler, Visual Basic
Express, the latest version isn't very accessible. I tried the demos
of Visual Basic 2010, Visual C# 2010, and Visual C++ 2010 and they
don't work well at all with Jaws, Window-Eyes, and NVDA. So in order
to use Visual Basic .net we would have to use Visual Basic 2005 or
Visual Basic 2008 to have reasonable accessibility with the IDE and
compiler. Problem is for Windows 7 it is highly recommended to use
Visual Basic 2010 since it is optimized for .NET 4.0 which ships with
Windows 7. That's trouble enough.

Next, is the install size for your game. While the application itself
would be quite small the dependencies that might need to be installed
could be quite large. Last time I looked I believe .NET 4.0 is
something like 350 MB or there about. That's not a problem for Windows
7 users like me since .NET 4.0 is integrated into the OS, but it would
be for people still running XP and Vista since they'd have to install
.NET 4.0  which is a fairly sizable install. That's not necessarily a
good thing since not everyone has a high speed connection, and a lot
of people over seas has to pay for how much bandwidth they use. As a
game developer forcing them to download a 350 MB Windows upgrade is
asking a bit much for a free game.

Then, there is third-party dependencies involved. With .net languages
like Visual Basic .net you need to use managed wrappers to access
various libraries and APIs. So if we want to use DirectX we have to
download and install SlimDX which doesn't come with XP, Vista, or
Windows 7. This is just one more dependency among others we will end
up adding to the list of things to download and install before anyone
can use this game.

One serious issue I encountered with the express version of Visual
Basic .net is selecting a target platform. By default VB.net Express
is set to Any CPU. This is a generic target platform that in theory is
suppose to compile cross-platform independant executables that will
run on x86 and x64 platforms. Problem is when including third-party
wrappers you absolutely must specify a target platform like x86 or
x64, and the express version of the IDE won't let you do this. You
need to buy and own Visual Basic Pro to recompile your game source for
x86 or x64 specific Windows platforms.Since this is a free project,
free game, and your intention is to keep development free VB.net may
not be as inexpensive and free as you think do to technical
limitations in the VB Express IDE.

Finally, there is he issue of documentation. While there is plenty of
VB.net books on basic things like using VB.net to create a front end
to an SQL database, writing a simple text editor, calculator, and that
kind of thing there is really no documentation at all for games. The
majority of .net game developers use C#.net and the XNA Framework.
Over the past, oh, five years or so C#.net has largely replaced Visual
Basic as the mainstream language of choice for home users and
professionals. Visual Basic isn't exactly dead, but you don't see
Microsoft marketing VB.net as nearly as much as C#.net to the home

For example, back in the 1990's Microsoft launched a marketing
campaign to introduce Visual Basic as a simple, easy to use language
for home users and professionals alike. As part of that marketing
campaign Microsoft created DirectX com components like DX8VB.dll for
Visual Basic 6, and there were a handful of books written from
professionals explaining that anyone could learn Visual Basic 6 and
write his/her own games.

Around 2003 Microsoft completely switched their marketing campaign to
C#.net. Instead of naturally going to VB.net, which would be the
logical assumption here, they began advertising C#.net instead. They
released Managed DirectX for C#.net which was eventually phased out
and replaced by XNA. A long with this switch to C#.net went the
authors who write books on the various Microsoft languages. Instead of
hearing about how great VB.net was most were saying C#.net was the
best language from the home user or pro software developer.

As a result if you want to get documentation for SlimDX most of the
documentation is written for a C#.net developer. If you want to use
SDL most of the documentation is for a C#.net developer. FMOD Ex is
VB.net and C#.net compatible, but strangely the code examples are all
for C#.net. Bottom line, VB.net isn't a very good choice because the
industry as a whole has seamed to abandoned Visual Basic completely
and went with C#.net. Finding good game development documentation for
VB.net doesn't really exist.

So if we decide to go with VB.net we'll be translating the
documentation from C#.net to VB.net and then translating the code to
VB.net as well. Obviously, I could do it since I know both languages
fairly well, but it is still a fairly big process. What's more I don't
know many people who can help since as stated this isn't well
documented. It is kind of a case of figure it out on your own. Sounds
like a whole lot of frustration to me.

Understand I actually like VB.net, better than VB 6, but one reason I
converted Raceway from VB.net to C++ is for the reasons above. It is
poorly documented, too many dependencies, big downloads, etc just
makes VB.net not a very good language for game development in


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