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"What language for gaming?" Topic

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478 hits since 26 Oct 2011
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vtsaogames26 Oct 2011 7:09 p.m. PST

I'm a mainframe programmer, nearing retirement. I wrote in COBOL for many years, dabbled in Assembler and PL1 and write quite a bit in the sort language known as ICE. I also dabbled in Basic and C.

If I want to write some of my own stuff for the PC, keep track of unit stats during games/campaigns and such, what language do you suggest I learn?

Not too finicky. I'm not thinking of a computer game, just a gaming aid for my tin guys.

Roderick Robertson Fezian26 Oct 2011 7:58 p.m. PST

I like PERL. Though a simple database program will work without much effort.

pphalen Inactive Member26 Oct 2011 8:01 p.m. PST

You forgot to mention whether your PC has the math co-processor or not…

But seriously, for what you want to do, I would just use Excel as the shell, and use a combination of embedded functions and VBA code to handle your needs.

Even with a decent tool kit, there is way too much overhead to do simple UI work for what is already present in Excel…

scrivs Inactive Member26 Oct 2011 10:43 p.m. PST

I do a small bit of AJAX as part of my job and can see how it would work very well for gaming as both a quick force picker and for tracking units.

I keep meaning to do something with it and I've even made up a data source of all the WWII ships I have, but what with the actual painting and playing I never seem to get the time to develop a front end.

(I am Spam) Inactive Member26 Oct 2011 11:00 p.m. PST

I'd use a copy of Access and learn SQL. That way when you get as many toys as you want it'll still be able to handle it! Good SQL code can handle a lot of data. On the other hand, I've heard lots of good things about PERL.


PaddySinclair27 Oct 2011 5:15 a.m. PST

Grab Visual Studio Express ( and go with C# or C++ (but probably the former) for free :) The .NET framework and XNA give you most of the stuff you would need to play with, and you can make the program available to your friends without them needing any of Microsoft Office installed. There's an option to take your C#/XNA stuff to Windows Phone 7 as well if you really want (though that will require you to cough up for the annual subscription as well as actually having a WP7 as well…).

Atomic Floozy27 Oct 2011 6:43 a.m. PST

I use Excel on my Mac to build army lists, keep stats on PCs & NPCs, & tracking campaigns, etc . I haven't written a line of actual code in over 7 years & don't miss it a bit.

Lentulus Inactive Member27 Oct 2011 7:02 p.m. PST

If you don't want to sell it it, and just use it yourself:

Excel or a free equivalent with a macro language

Number two is some incarnation of Visual Basic -- Mond, it has been a while since I looked at it seriously.

If you want to seriously update your skillset, some variation of java -- you can run the whole server framework on one machine or you can develop applications with one of a couple of interface frameworks and self-contained SQL databases that work surprisingly well.

Most serious windows environments demand some understanding of threading. Not having to know about that was one of the good things about the older VB dialects -- I am not sure about the new ones.

I have learned my living with APL (remember CP/CMS under VM?) COBOL, BASIC, C, 8086 and 68000 machine language, PROGRAPH, C++, PL/SQL, Java, and too many scripting languages to count.

If you want to do programming that's fun like the old days and not get too caught up in the latest alphabet soup, I'd suggest some dialect of VB might as well be latest and greatest, since you don't have much to unlearn. The VB evolution has been hard on those who have tried to learn each version completely.

I do my own small projects in Excel ('cause it can hardly be called writing an interface) or Java (I've got 10 years to go before out-to-pasture)

KatieL Inactive Member29 Oct 2011 11:00 a.m. PST


Free, cross-platform, loads and loads and loads of extra libraries to grab for networking/database interfaces/graphics/games etc.

Reasonably fast, decent modern language, pretty easy to learn and use. You can progress reasonably easy through simple shell-script development through functions/procedures into OO and then digress into funky functional stuff all without really feeling any pain.

Also, it's a fairly marketable skill; it's supplanting PERL in a lot of applications.

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