Game Development Reference
viewed online at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/default.aspx ; you can download it or the
Express Library from http://www.microsoft.com/express/download/msdn/Default.aspx.
Visual Basic 2008 requires a Microsoft Windows XP or later operating system.
Older versions can run on Windows 2000. The Visual Basic 2008 Express edition
is free for non-commercial use. Further details and the software itself are
available at http://www.microsoft.com/Express/default.aspx . In addition to the
software, the Express Web site offers tutorials and other information that may be
valuable to first-time Visual Basic users.
VB is included in the retail versions of the Visual Studio development envir-
onment. The screens will be similar, but will carry more options. If you have
Visual Studio, you can safely substitute ''Visual Studio'' wherever you read
''Visual Basic'' in this topic with few problems. Note that the dialog boxes will
not match exactly; Visual Studio is more sophisticated than the Express versions
of the languages it supports.
If you are an experienced C programmer, you may prefer to use C# or C++.
Download Visual C# 2008 Express Edition or Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition
instead of Visual Basic. The C# and VB languages both utilize the .Net Frame-
work Common Language Runtime, making them utterly interchangeable. C++
requires modest translations that should not prove taxing for an experienced
programmer who happens to be new to AI.
For those new to Windows programming, a few brief words of description are in
order. A Windows application starts with forms (the windows in Windows are
forms). On the forms are controls such as buttons and text boxes. When the user
interacts with a control, an event is fired and the application software handles
that event. When the application software is done handling the event, it gives
control back to the operating system. There is no ''main,'' familiar to C pro-
grammers, only a startup form that is shown to the user when the application
launches. Giving control back to the operating system after handling an event
does not mean that the application finishes execution and exits, only that it is
done handling the last event and is ready to handle another. This is called event-
The game projects in this topic will be Windows forms applications written in
VB. The forms will display the game and take user input. We will separate the AI
for the game from the user interface. Not only is this an industry-accepted good
practice, but it will also help provide focus and clarity on the AI portion of the