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Section :: Rants and Raves

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Learn to program adventure games

The highest calling in programming
Monday 16 April 2012.
 

Long ago and far away (well, London in the early ’80s to be precise) I started programming...

I started with GW-Basic, a horrible language that came free with my PC. Fortunately I then discovered Turbo Pascal, a great compiler from Borland, and I never looked back. In my first year of programming I went from writing "Hello world" to coding a huge, sprawling adventure game with many rooms, a parser that let you enter commands such as "Put the carrot into the slot" or "Kick the potto" and many, many inscrutable puzzles.

My game was called The Golden Wombat Of Destiny and it was inspired by what was then known as ’interactive fiction’ such as Zork. I still love text adventures - much more, to be honest, than I like fast graphics games. I am a reader. I love books. And adventure games are the nearest you can get to becoming a character in a novel. Writing an adventure game is a great way to learn how to program. In fact, whenever I learn a new language these days, I generally start out by coding a simple game. This gives me the chance to learn the ins and outs of the language’s features such as: Object Orientation (creating the ’game hierarchy’), string handling (to interact with the game), visual design, if the language or IDE supports it (for the user interface), Input/Output and serialization (to save and restore games) and so on.

I’ve decided to record a series of videos to explain how to go about creating adventure games. These videos will go over the fundamental features of adventure games in any language rather than concentrating exclusively on the implementation details in a single language. But along the way, I’ll look at a few specific languages which will probably include Ruby, C#, ActionScript, Objective-C and Smalltalk (and maybe some others?). Anyway, here’s a short video that gives you a bit more information...

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