Basic Software Limited, go
to the web site
II/300MHz, 64MB RAM, Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP, a Direct 3D
compatible graphics card (with 8MB or above) and a Direct
X compatible soundcard
is both a game design tool and a programming
language all its own. DarkBASIC has been designed
for both beginners and professionals. Its aim
is to provide an easy way to create PC computer
games and at the same time offer powerful commands
that are versatile and varied.
data types, variables and Boolean operators that
should be familiar to any programmer, DarkBASIC
is a powerful tool in the hands of those who can
use it. Strictly speaking, it's definitely not
for beginner programmers like me. To be completely
honest (aren't all reviewers completely honest??),
my initial foray into DarkBASIC was daunting. But
even with my novice viewpoint, a general review
of the large manual provided clear direction on
the best way to get started.
comes with over 45 different demos. Over 600 textures and
sound effects are also included. But perhaps
most stunningly, there are over 900 3D models on the CD-ROM.
With the large number of tutorials, as well as the AVI animation
control, you can create games ranging from First Person Shooters,
Beat ‘em Ups and Sports games to Space Combat simulators,
Real-Time Strategy games and much more. DarkBASIC is very
much the advanced professional tool for the serious amateur
are two choices available to you upon opening the manual.
buckle down and begin learning about the
coding framework, which is a more academic route. Most of
this part of the manual describes the various details, aspects
and intricacies of the BASIC language. Alternatively, you
can dive right in and head straight to the chapter entitled "Fast
Track Learning". This section gives you a taste of simple
but efficient programming, allowing you to follow tutorials
and create your own programs quickly. The DarkBASIC command
set is refined and powerful. An extensive framework allows
a programmer to toy with commands detailing everything from
Basic Input and Mathematics, to Sprites, Sounds, Animation,
3D Lighting and a large range of related selections which
are necessary for the creation of detailed games. There is
even a set of "hidden" commands from DarkBASIC's
first release, now revealed for your use. Many of them are
simply Easter eggs, but some, like Rotate Image, Object Collision
Radius and 3DS2X (a file conversion tool) are extremely useful.
The time and effort that went into the compilation of this
piece of software is evident in it's huge array of options,
and also in the heavy but user-friendly manual, complete
with several tutorials.
The core of any programming tool is its editor. DarkBASIC
uses a low resolution program editor. Its advantages over
other similar editors is that it's not based in a Windows
environment and allows fast swapping between your program
and your game during the development process. If you prefer
a more conventional editor there are third party solutions
available such as Dark Edit or Code Keeper.
The other interesting aspect of this software is the support
being offered. Any programmer will tell you that his programming
language and compiler of choice are only as good as the technical
support, user forums and related support available for the
software. Dark Basic Software is providing deep support for
its core products. The online discussion boards and response
rates are excellent. The company is also actively pursuing
strong partnerships which bode well for the future of the
software. The latest news is that DarkBasic and NVIDIA have
announced the Retro Game Programming Competition. Prizes
up for grabs include GeForce4 graphics cards, Dark Basic
software and lifetime developer network membership. The basis
for the competition is simple: re-create and enhance a classic
video game in DarkBASIC. Full competition details, prizes
and rules can be found at the DarkBasic web site.
The bottom line is that DarkBASIC is almost unique in the
marketplace. The programming language is mature, the content
supplied with the software is extensive and, most important
of all, the whole thing actually works. I worked through
several tutorials and produced some nifty items. If you really
want to get a thorough immersion in game programming and
produce something worthwhile at the same time, DarkBASIC
is highly recommended.
to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public.
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