Hi Ken,

Well,honestly I'm not exactly in favor of visual Basic .Net for gaming
simply because the documentation isn't there.  Most of the APIs
available for .Net like SDL, Managed DirectX, XNA, and SlimDX all
assume you know and use C#.net.  Therefore all of the sample programs
and documentation  is aimed towards a C#.net developer rather than a
VB.net developer. If you are starting out programming you might as
well bite the bullet and take up C#.net rather than VB.net simply for
the documentation alone. Especially, as you just pointed out you are
better at looking atsample code than reading manuals.

 Another reason I would recommend C#.net over VB.net is because C#.net
is supported on non-Windows  platforms like Linux and Mac OS via Mono.
This means you could in theory write some cross-platform games simply
by using C#.net, Monodevelop, and SDL.net.  I think it is important
new developers are aware of this possibility/option.

Finally, Monodevelop is a totally free and open source C#.net IDE for
Mac, Linux, and Windows.  Its fully accessible, and unlike Microsoft's
Visual Studio Express they don't cut out features just because it is
free.  With Visual Studio Microsoft has yanked out a number of
features you really need such as the ability to cross-compile between
32-bit and 64-bit platforms, and instead gives you a generic any CPU
option that doesn't necessarily work on any CPU.  With Mono you can
compile for 32-bit Intel processors, target AMD 64-bit processors,
compile for Itanium processors, etc which means you can optomise the
code directly for the target platform where Visual Studio Express
doesn't. Which means if you want all the features in Microsoft's
C#.net compiler you have to buy it where Monodevelop is free.

That said, there are a few disadvantages of Mono I'd like to point out
to be fair. Since Mono is being driven using an open source model they
run behind the current Microsoft .Net Framework and are usually a good
version or two behind. For instance, I believe Mono is now compatible
with .Net 3.0 and of course Windows 7 ships with .Net 4.0.  That's not
necessarily a bad thing if your focus is maximum compatibility with a
large number of target platforms and machines, but would be if there
is some new library or feature of .Net 4.0 you really wanted.

Another downside, which isn't a big issue for me, is compatibility
with comercial APIs.  If you want to include an open source game API
like SDL, SFML, or SlimDX Mono is always pretty compatible with the
open source APIs as many open source devs are using Mono rather than
Microsoft's .net.  However, if you wanted to install and use something
like Microsoft's XNA Framework then you might run into compatibility
issues since Microsoft, as usual, only developed it with their
proprietary .Net platform in mind.  However, since XNA is pretty
unaccessible with screen readers anyway its not a huge loss if Mono
doesn't support the latest and greatest XNA.


As far as documentation, sample code, I'll see what I can do.  I think
.Net via Mono is a better option than Python, and I'm well aware of
the fact not everyone wants to take on a full blown language like C++.
 Converting a few simple games like Chopper Patrol to C#.net and SDL
shouldn't be a big problem.  Inf act, it might be fun eaching C#.net
and cross-platform programming at the same time is a good thing right?

Cheers!

On 4/22/11, The Addictor <kenwdow...@neo.rr.com> wrote:
> Hey Tom,
> I'm just about to bite the bullet in regards to learning one of the .net
> languages, maybe even c#.  What I need to get started is a really easy
> game--maybe not even a whole game.  How about a program that makes a
> helicopter fly around, a bit like Heli, but without the other complexities.
> I'm not good at learning from manuals, but I'm great at learning by taking
> apart a game and figuring out how it works, so if someone could write a real
> simple game like that, preferably in vb.net--but I'll take c#.net if I have
> to, I'll learn it.  Once I see how everything is set up--you know, the
> basics, then I can incorporate what the manuals teach and start writing
> code--I just seem to need a boost.  I remember how daunting vb6 was, but
> then Justin's sample game came out--and voila!  Enemy attack was on the
> scene in a few weeks, then my other games.
> Any suggestions or thoughts?
> Ken Downey
> The Addictor
> www.TheAddictor.com

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