Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Programming: What does a beginner start with these days? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   8 Comments )
Subject: Programming: What does a beginner start with these days?
Category: Computers > Programming
Asked by: playertripper-ga
List Price: $55.00
Posted: 15 Aug 2005 11:53 PDT
Expires: 14 Sep 2005 11:53 PDT
Question ID: 556030
I love programming and I have mastered BASIC.  I have created many
nifty programs via Qbasic 4.5 and the DirectQb library.  4 years ago,
I decided to move on and learn C++.  I've been struggling ever since.

With the BASIC community pretty much dead and gone, I want to know,
what do beginners use when starting up these days?  It couldn't be C,
in all my years of toiling, I haven't even been able to light up a
SINGLE PIXEL on the screen.(I mean pixels that aren't the "Hello
World" text.)

Basic's Power-to-Difficulty ratio is about 9:1
C++'s Power-to-difficulty ratio is about 1:12

It's rediculous and I'm starting to hate it.  I have taken programming
1620 at my University. Got a B+.  So I understand the Syntax, just
nothing else.  I'm impatient when it comes to programming databases
and calanders.  I want to program as a hobby. (Read: games) And I'm
specifically interested in easy-to-use graphical functions.  If I have
this, the language itself will become easy as pie to learn.

What I'm asking for is either a language that has simple-to-use
graphical functions, or a library for C or C++ that gives me those
functions.  Any help would be great.

(And by the way, I have been trying to use Allegro for C++, but I
can't get that to work)
Subject: Re: Programming: What does a beginner start with these days?
Answered By: theta-ga on 17 Aug 2005 10:24 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi playertripper-ga,
    From your question, it would appear that you are looking for a
programming language:
    - that is easy to learn (preferably allows you to leverage your BASIC roots)
    - provides easy to use graphics libraries (preferebly targeted
towards hobbyist game programmers)
    - has an active community of users to support it.

   While C++ is an excellent general purpose language, and provides
you with complete control over what you do, I believe it will be too
complicated and an overkill for your needs.

   Below, I have listed down some alternatives to your current setup
(C++ with Allegro), that seem more suitable to your needs:
    1. DarkBASIC
       Price: Ranges from $15 for the Lite version to $80 for the Pro version
       DarkBASIC can simply be described as a version of BASIC with
game programming related commands added. It has been designed from the
ground up to make game programming (both 3D and 2D) accessible to
people with very little programming experience.
       Check out the homepage below:
           - DarkBASIC
           - DarkBASIC Pro

       Community Resources:
           DarkBasic has a number of learning resources available. I
am listing a few below. The Game Programming Wiki hosts a list of some
of the resources available for DB programmers:
                 - GPWiki: DarkBASIC Pro
                 - The Official DarkBASIC Codebase
                 - DB Tutor: The DB Resource Library

             - Beginner's Guide to DarkBASIC Game Programming


  2. BlitzBASIC
     Price: Ranges from $60 for BlitzPlus to $100 for Blitz3D
     Blitz is another game programming language, and is the main
competitor of DarkBASIC. Blitz is a BASIC/C hybrid language, and as
such has a steeper learning curve than DarkBASIC.
         - Blitz Website: Products

     Community Resources:
         - The Official Blitz Community Website
         - Coder's Workshop

         - Learn to program 2D games in Blitz Basic
         - Game Programming for Teens


   3. Visual Basic.NET
      Microsoft Visual Basic has long served as an introductory
programming language for the Windows platform. In it's new .NET
incarnation, the language provides easy access to the Microsoft GDI+
graphics library, as well as simplified access to DirextX via the
Managed DX library.
      You can download the free MS 2005 Express Edition Beta 2
IDE and compiler from:
         - Visual Basic Express Edition Beta 2
         - Microsoft DirectX SDK (includes Managed DX)
      Community Support:
         There are numerous resources available for learning VB.Net,
both on MSDN, and elsewhere. I have linked some sites below, but a
simple Google search can lead you to many more.
          - MSDN: MS VB Developer Center
          - Using GDI+ and Visual Basic .NET
          - VB Graphics Programming with GDI+
          - Game Programming with VB: Source Code

          - Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Programming for the Absolute Beginner
          - Visual Basic Game Programming with DirectX
          - Beginning .NET Game Programming in VB .NET


  4. Java
     Price: Free
     Java is a powerful general purpose language, and has a steeper
learning curve than the other languages mentioned here. However, since
the language syntax is largely based on C++, you may be able to get
upto speed relatively easily. The language has extensive library
support, and provides graphics capabilities thorugh both internal and
externally available libraries.
     To program in Java, you will need an IDE.You can find the popular
Eclipse IDE for Java below:
            - Eclipse 3.1

     Community Support:
           There are innumerable Java programming tutorials available
on the web. I am listing a couple below:
              - The Java Game Development Tutorial
              - Graphics Programming with the Java 2D API

         - Killer Game Programming in Java
         - Practical Java Game Programming 
         - Java 2 Game Programming


Related Articles:
      - GPWiki: Picking a Language


Hope this helps!
Based on your requirements, I'd recommend that you try out DarkBASIC
and see if it satisfies your needs.
If you need clarifications, just ask!

Google Search Terms Used:
    Darkbasic game programming graphics programming
    java game programming
playertripper-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.50

Subject: Re: Programming: What does a beginner start with these days?
From: zodiacman-ga on 15 Aug 2005 13:59 PDT
Hi there...
If you want/need a good general purpose programming langauge, try
Perl. You can get it from (they call it
ActivePerl). You download it, install it on your Windows box, then you
can write your own Perl Scripts. Perl scripts are text based, like DOS
scripts, C source code, etc; when you run  the script, the Perl
interpretter compiles and runs the binary for you, so Perl scripts run
fast like compiled code. Perl has scads of built-in functions for
handling text data and text strings. As you gain experience, you begin
to see how powerful and flexible it really is. In fact, the motto of
the Perl user community is - "There's more than one way to do it!". 
And if you stop by your computer bookstore, you should be able to
locate some good Perl training books to help get you started. The
O'Reilly book with the Camel on the front is a sort of "de facto"
reference. They also have a Learning Perl book - I think it has a
Llama on it.  I've been using Perl at work for a while, and found you
can start writting useful programs in just a couple days. I don't know
how Perl would do with Graphics programming... I dont do work in that
area. I do know that Perl lets you make "system calls" to run commands
that are supported by the local operating system. For example, you can
do a system call from a Perl program to run DOS copy commands, delete
commands, etc.  In addition to books, there's also websites out there
dedicated to Perl support.
Hope this helps................
Subject: Re: Programming: What does a beginner start with these days?
From: bozo99-ga on 15 Aug 2005 16:34 PDT
If I wanted to do graphical programming I'd start by reading the code
of a game with the kind of graphics I was interested in.  This might
well be in C - and I believe C is a lot simpler than C++ even though
in some respects they are both inferior to Perl.

Here's one game source as an example:
Subject: Re: Programming: What does a beginner start with these days?
From: bbcbasic-ga on 20 Aug 2005 14:45 PDT
The BASIC community is certainly not "dead and gone"; BASIC is still
thriving.  If you know BASIC, but would like to progress to more
sophisticated languages, you could try 'BBC BASIC for Windows'. 
Whilst this is a classic BASIC interpreter (based on the famous BBC
BASIC of the 1980s) it is fully integrated with Windows and gives you
full access to the Windows API.  You can start off writing 'pure
BASIC' programs but gradually progress to using more of the Windows
API, until eventually you are simply using BASIC as a wrapper for API
calls.  Then you are in a good position to move to a language like C
without the API being intimidating.  Alternatively stick with BASIC -
BBC BASIC has a built-in assembler for those rare occasions when
performance is critical.  You can download a free evaluation version
from here:

Subject: Re: Programming: What does a beginner start with these days?
From: playertripper-ga on 21 Aug 2005 15:33 PDT
Thank you very much for your in-depth answer; it was exactly the sort
of thing I was looking for.  Could you please let me know if funds
have been transferred properly, or if there is another step.
Subject: Re: Programming: What does a beginner start with these days?
From: theta-ga on 22 Aug 2005 07:06 PDT
Hi playertripper-ga,
   Thank you for the 5 star rating. Glad to be of help! :)
   Rest assured that the Google Answers process has been completed.
Subject: Re: Programming: What does a beginner start with these days?
From: inlovewithgod-ga on 23 Aug 2005 07:08 PDT
I would very much recommond the SDL library at

It makes programming games VERY easy. A couple of functions will get
the screen in the resolution you want, fullscreened or windowed, and
you can either (1) call functions to draw images to the screen (2) get
a pointer to the screen so you can plot pixels to your heart's
content, or (3) use openGL to do 3D.

I highly recommend it.

 - Jeremiah
Subject: Re: Programming: What does a beginner start with these days?
From: robberman-ga on 28 Aug 2005 19:34 PDT
I recomend Just BASIC. It is very simple to
use and there is a helpful community at
Subject: Re: Programming: What does a beginner start with these days?
From: playertripper-ga on 25 Sep 2005 12:15 PDT
Thank you all for your suggestions.  I am finally programming again. 
May I suggest to all of you who have an interest to try the 30 day
trial of BlitzMax.  I can't stress enough the amazing
power-to-difficulty ratio this IDE boasts. (20:1, if I may be so

It's got most of the Object-Oriented-Programming features you'd want,
with hardy built-in DirectX or OpenGL access all via the
straight-forwardness of BASIC.

Another way of putting it is Holy $#%@!

I am very excited.  And that is all I wish to say.  Thank you.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy