Sorry your browser is not supported!

You are using an outdated browser that does not support modern web technologies, in order to use this site please update to a new browser.

Browsers supported include Chrome, FireFox, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer 10+ or Microsoft Edge.

Newcomers DBPro Corner / Query: DB Pro vs AGK and other thoughts

Author
Message
RiEvEr
8
Years of Service
User Offline
Joined: 22nd Sep 2013
Location: Burnley, Lancs., UK
Posted: 22nd Sep 2013 22:16
Hello, I'll give a little more info below, but I am wondering whether it's worth me playing with DB Pro first, or just jumping in to AppGameKit for what I need.

I want to write AI for a chess variant. My strength is in AI and Algorithmics, not in graphics or interface programming, so I'd like an easy way of designing a working User Interface which could easily be driven by the game engine.

Eventually, all this will have to happen on an Android device for greater propagation, but currently I would be happy to play in Windows just to get the programming concepts for this particular game working.

I would like to design a basic version of the game in Windows which would allow users to play vs the AI, play eachother on one machine or even play eachother 'by mail' on the internet, the way Android 'Scrabble-esque' apps work.

It might be useful to mock this up in DB Pro before tackling the Android API and probably coding the AI in C++ later.

Is DB Pro anything like the old STOS Basic package from around 1990? I used that to create games for my wife and children back in the day and found the user interfaces very easy to create.

Now, my background *sighs*

I started out coding 8-bit Hex in around 1979 on home made MP systems, then moved on to BASIC on a Commodore PET 1000 and produced modified versions of the ELIZA AI code.

I got a Spectrum in 1983 and learned z80 Assembler and C (White Lightning/Machine Lightning) and hacked several games over the years to change features I didn't like.

I moved into AI coding with TicTacToe and Chess in the mid 80s thanks to a superb book by David Levy (Chess GM) and learned C++ around 1990 continuing to produce boardgame AI.

During and after a degree course at Keele (Comp Sci + Environmental Management) I modelled population sustainability and rewrote several erroneous equations in use by economists *chuckles* before being dragged into FPS 'bot' coding by friends who couldn't get a stable internet connection to play online.

I worked on games like Quake, Quake 2, Kingpin, SiN, UT and others coding human-like opponents and producing conversions for Arcade Machine manufacturers before retiring around the year 2000 owing to my wife's ill health.

She says I've been like a bear with a sore head for over 10 years now and urged me to pick up coding again, please! So - here I am, ready to dip my toe into the waters with a game project firmly in mind and wondering what tools to play with.

Is DB Pro a complete production environment?

AGK seems to need a Microsoft environment such as Visual Studio - will thge free versions work, or do I need to spend more money there?

Version 2 of AppGameKit is in the pipeline, would it be worth waiting for that?

Will DB Pro Elite happen anytime soon?

I'll probably think of more questions, but I think that's enough for now. I just don't want to buy something and find out that it won't do what I want without spending more money on it. *chuckles*

So - basic requirements:

1) Be able to draw a chessboard and pieces in 2D (later upgrade to 3D possible)

2) Allow user input to move pieces in various ways

3) On screen display of number of moves made, possible notation, etc.

4) Handle Menu input easily

5) Sound/Voice output

6) Usual splash screens at start, menu, win or lose game, etc.

I really don't mind doing it all twice if it's going to be easier to create V1.0 in DB Pro, as long as some of what I learn will be applicable to AGK.

Looking forward to hearing some thoughts and hoping the community is active enough to get any!


--
Mutant Ninja Grandfather
Lucas Tiridath
AGK Developer
13
Years of Service
User Offline
Joined: 28th Sep 2008
Location: Kings Langley, UK
Posted: 23rd Sep 2013 14:03 Edited at: 23rd Sep 2013 14:05
Hi RiEvEr. Welcome to the forum!

Quote: "Is DB Pro a complete production environment?"

Well it has its own IDE as well as several community supported ones if that's what you mean. It doesn't have a visual editor or anything though; you have to develop your own tools or use community made ones for that kind of thing.

Quote: "AGK seems to need a Microsoft environment such as Visual Studio"

Both DBP and AppGameKit are BASIC dialects that have their own IDEs. To deploy AppGameKit to other platforms though, you will need to build the templates using other development environments. This doesn't really apply to Windows though as the compiler outputs an exe anyway.

Both DBP and AppGameKit also make their libraries available in C++ as well. In that case, you will need to use something like VS. All the other IDE's/compilers you need should be free though (VS Express is fine, Eclipse is free etc.).

Quote: "will the free versions work, or do I need to spend more money there?"

I believe it does work but a lot has been added in the latest beta so there will be a more limited feature set and more bugs.

Quote: "Version 2 of AppGameKit is in the pipeline, would it be worth waiting for that?"

AGK V2 will be fully compatible with V1 so there shouldn't be anything to stop you starting now. If you're going to buy AppGameKit though, you might as well buy V2 as I think you get a free version of V1 with it and I doubt V1 is going to be supported any more anyway.

Quote: "Will DB Pro Elite happen anytime soon?"

No, DBP Elite isn't happening. The only thing we can expect on that front is a possible update as a result of Lee's work on FPSCR. I gather that he has made some updates and fixes to DBP as he is using it to develop FPSCR and so hopefully he'll make those updates available to us some time. No idea when though.

Quote: "I just don't want to buy something and find out that it won't do what I want without spending more money on it. *chuckles*"

As the full version of DBP is free and AppGameKit has a decent trial version too, you can check out both before spending any money.

All your requirements should be met by both AppGameKit and DBP. Given that you're planning on going cross platform, and given that AppGameKit is the more modern of the two languages with an (arguably) better syntax and is still being developed, AppGameKit would be the obvious choice to my mind but it's up to you. As I say, both should work fine.

If you think of any more questions, feel free to ask! Hope that helps.

RiEvEr
8
Years of Service
User Offline
Joined: 22nd Sep 2013
Location: Burnley, Lancs., UK
Posted: 23rd Sep 2013 14:31
Thank you for your informative reply.

Quote: "AGK V2 will be fully compatible with V1 so there shouldn't be anything to stop you starting now. If you're going to buy AppGameKit though, you might as well buy V2 as I think you get a free version of V1 with it and I doubt V1 is going to be supported any more anyway."


Ah - the way I read the pages over the weekend, it seemed AppGameKit V2 would not be ready for a while and there was no way to 'buy' it in advance. I must have misunderstood something - I'll look for the purchase option again later.

From your replies, it does seem that AppGameKit will be the most appropriate package of the two. I'll try the demo out and grab someone's book about it to cut down on the learning curve. (Any recommendations?)

I always struggle with the interface and graphics because, to my mind, they're secondary - unlike those of the teams I used to work with who complained about how much CPU I wanted for the AI part *grins*

Quote: "All your requirements should be met by both AppGameKit and DBP. Given that you're planning on going cross platform, and given that AppGameKit is the more modern of the two languages with an (arguably) better syntax and is still being developed, AppGameKit would be the obvious choice to my mind but it's up to you. As I say, both should work fine."


Am I correct in thinking that only C++ AppGameKit projects can be compiled to stand alone on Android (using Eclipse at a guess)? I noticed that the 'Basic' style projects seem to require an interpreter on non-Windows systems. I don't mind switching it up to C++/Java at the start, if that's the case.

As you're probably aware, Game AI is fairly processor intensive and needs to be heavily optimised, which usually isn't possible in an interpreted environment.

I can use Basic to work ideas out, but to get them running fast enough usually means hand optimising.

Another thought - since all of this is a Windows only system, I'll have to reformat my laptop to Vista, as it is currently running Ubuntu. If this isn't going to work on Vista, can someone let me know now, please, then I can find a way round that.

Have a great day!

--
Mutant Ninja Grandfather
Lucas Tiridath
AGK Developer
13
Years of Service
User Offline
Joined: 28th Sep 2008
Location: Kings Langley, UK
Posted: 23rd Sep 2013 19:08
Quote: "Ah - the way I read the pages over the weekend, it seemed AppGameKit V2 would not be ready for a while and there was no way to 'buy' it in advance."

That's an interesting point. I bought it during the Kickstarter but I'm not sure where you'd go to buy it now. I kind of assumed because TGC are selling advanced orders of FPSCR that they would be doing the same for AppGameKit V2 but I can't immediately see where. Maybe someone else can point you towards something..

Quote: "From your replies, it does seem that AppGameKit will be the most appropriate package of the two."

AGK's main weakness vis a vis DBP is a weaker 3D command set but I still think it should be more than sufficient for your needs. I made a 3D Four-in-a-Row game for an AppGameKit game jam on these forums without hitting any problems.

Quote: "I'll try the demo out and grab someone's book about it to cut down on the learning curve. (Any recommendations?)"

Well there are a couple of books out there but I've not personally bought either so I'll leave that to others to recommend. All I'd say is that as you seem to have a lot of programming experience anyway, maybe a good way in would just be to check out the online documentation here. There is some pretty good info there and the community is adding lots of examples to the command listings too.

Quote: "Am I correct in thinking that only C++ AppGameKit projects can be compiled to stand alone on Android (using Eclipse at a guess)? I noticed that the 'Basic' style projects seem to require an interpreter on non-Windows systems."

OK so the way it works is that the BASIC compiler produces a bytecode file which, as you say, is interpreted. However it's not interpreted like Java or something through a stand alone interpreter. Rather, the interpreter is compiled and bundled with the bytecode. Therefore from a user perspective, AppGameKit BASIC programs are completely stand alone and no different to other apps. This applies across all the supported platforms.

This of course doesn't get around the problems of running intensive AI routines in an interpreter. The interpreter is actually pretty fast but I think that's mostly because the AppGameKit commands do most of the hard work and of course the interpreter just makes calls to the exact same libraries as the C++ version does anyway. However yeah, if you're doing to be using lots of control structures and variables for intensive processing, the C++ version is probably the way to go. For the record, this is also incredibly portable, and is the version I prefer to work with these days. Also if you're interested, I think there is a Pascal wrapper for AppGameKit out there somewhere although I think it uses an old version of the engine.

Quote: "If this isn't going to work on Vista, can someone let me know now, please, then I can find a way round that."

It should work fine on Vista as far as I know although personally I use Windows 7. I think some people may have got things working on Wine but again, that's not something I've tried.

RiEvEr
8
Years of Service
User Offline
Joined: 22nd Sep 2013
Location: Burnley, Lancs., UK
Posted: 23rd Sep 2013 19:32
Thanks once again, that makes things much clearer.

Quote: "It should work fine on Vista as far as I know although personally I use Windows 7. I think some people may have got things working on Wine but again, that's not something I've tried."


I have Windows 7, Windows XP and Ubuntu multi-booting on my desktop PCs to cover all eventualities. The laptop was pressed into service mainly for documentation and writing. WINE can work well, but I'd rather run Native.

I just like using a laptop when I'm writing/designing things as I can lean back in my recliner and let my fingers fly *chuckles* I do most of the grunt work on the desktops.

I actually laughed out loud earlier when I created a 'Hello World' project in the AppGameKit Demo and it was already filled in for me. Maybe I'm easily amused...

Off to get the laptop back to Vanilla Vista...

--
Mutant Ninja Grandfather

Login to post a reply

Server time is: 2022-06-27 07:04:54
Your offset time is: 2022-06-27 07:04:54