November 1999

Welcome one and all to the first issue of QB ON ACID. Thank The_Specialist for our deprav...er, unique name. We are putting EVERYTHING on this page for this month, so enjoy the download time. Actually, there's not many images here so...err, I'll stop rambling on now!


FIRST ARTICLE:

OBJECT SYSTEMS!

If you are new to RPG's this article is not about how to make a tile engine so close this damned browser right now. Yeah, you heard me, this isn't for new people, so close this now. Yup.

The hardest thing that RPG makers face nowadays is the object system. The object system is everything from a soda can to the guy who sells magazines behind the counter in the dirty book store (yeah, we all know you put one in your game, don't be shy ;)). Anyways, I see awful examples of such an object system every day of my life. I see NPC's that just sit there...and don't do anything. I see NPC's that are incapable of nothing more than a random movement and message. I see objects that are limited to their original script. I see many things that are horrible and should be eliminated from each and every engine on this planet.

The first thing that a person should do if they want to make a complete RPG is make a complete and totally functional object system. A functional and complete object system will allow NPC's to walk through doors, activate scripts, be controlled, hold items, talk, and drop items. Instead of having one character and other "npcs" which are controlled through some other routine, we should put all of the objects and the character on the same exact level. Here's an example.

(Psuedo code, do not copy into your program or it will screw up )

SUB UpdateNPCS

FOR uNF=1 to ActiveNPCS

SELECT CASE uNF
CASE CurrentlyControlledCharacter
MoveNPC uNF, Keyboardismovinghorizontal, Keyboardismovingvertical CASE ELSE SELECT CASE ObjectData(uNF) CASE RandomlyMoves MoveNPC uNF, RandomPlaceX, RandomPlaceY CASE IsMovingToAPoint MoveNPC uNF, ObjectPointToMoveTo(uNf,0), ObjectPointToMoveTo(uNF,1) CASE IsStandingStill AnimateNPC uNF END SELECT END SELECT NEXT END SUB SUB MoveNPC Number,MoveToX,MoveToY Test=Map(MoveToX,MoveToY) select CASE TEST case Walkable ObjectLocation(Number,0)=MoveToX:ObjectLocation(number,1)=MoveToY case IsAScriptTile ActivateScript END SELECT END SUB
(End of psuedo code)

With this example (you REALLY need to change it to suit your own coding style) you can EASILY make moving npcs and npcs that can do everything from activate scripts to whatever. And, to control a different object, just change the CurrentlyControlledCharacter variable. This allows a person to update over 200 npcs in a VERY short time, causing a very professional look to your object system. Also, in the SELECT CASE ObjectData(unf) you can make it so that objectdata(5) (NPC #5) is a value of 3. Let's say that an NPC with the attribute of 3 goes after the player and tries to attack him. All you have to do is add in code under there and it's nice, neat, and organized and will work very quickly without sacrificing code speed. Now you can have differently behaving NPCs in your engine, which will impress your players =].

Not so hard, eh? I bet you didn't think that a totally efficient and active object system would be so short. Now that you have this out of the way, you can add things like an items list for each NPC (watch your RAM usage!!). Then, you could possibly trade and sell items to every NPC.

By QbProgger

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SECOND ARTICLE:

USING ZSVGA

INTRODUCTION

Zephyr's SVGA Lib is a full-featured lib for QuickBasic with great SVGA functions. Though it has good capabilities, it isn't well used much by QB programmers. Sure it's slow and buggy at times, however the lib has potential. Through a series of articles I'll be explaining how to use various functions of ZSVGA. In this first article, I'll explain how to install and use the basic functions of this lib. You can pick up this lib at:

http://neozones.quickbasic.com/basfiles/svgaqb25.zip

GETTING ZSVGA IN YOUR PROGRAMS

First off, the ZSVGA lib doesn't come in a Quick Library form, so you have to compile in manually. To compile to a QLB file simply enter:

LINK /QU SVGAQB.LIB, SVGAQB.QLB, NUL, BQLB45.LIB

Then, to start the QB IDE using the library, type QB /L SVGAQB

To use ZSVGA in your programs you must use a specific header. At the top of all ZSVGA programs enter:

DEFINT A-Z
'$INCLUDE: 'SVGABC.BI'

There ya go, your now ready to use ZSVGA functions in your programs.

START USING SVGA MODES

ZSVGA requires a 386+ CPU, so you may want to use the WHICHCPU function to check for a 386 or higher. I'm not going to bother going into that since I doubt you'd try to run your prog on less than a 386. =] Now, before you can use any SVGA functions you must first call the WHICHVGA function. This will detect and ready your video card. For example:

IF WHICHVGA THEN 
 PRINT "SVGA Video Card Detected!"
ELSE
 PRINT "SVGA Video Card Not Detected!": END
END IF

Now let's get into hi res modes! Yippee! =]

For most of these articles I will be using 640x480 modes, you should have at least 1 meg of video ram which can be checked via WHICHMEM. To enter a video mode simply use:

IF Res640 = 0 THEN PRINT "Could not enter 640x480 mode!": END

PUTTING PIXELS

Now you should be in 640x480 256 colors mode! Yay! Now let's begin taking advantage of this mode by plotting pixels.

To plot a single pixel you can simply use the DrwPoint function. The syntax goes like this:

DrwPoint (Mode%, Color%, X%, Y%)

Simple, eh? =]

You may wonder what Mode% is. Well, it's nothing but the pixel write mode. You don't really have to worry about it at this point (Pardon the pun), just set it to 1 for now. =] In case your interested the pixel write modes go like this:

1 = SET
2 = XOR
3 = OR
4 = AND

Now, let's plot da pixels! Here is some example code:

RANDOMIZE TIMER 'Seed the random number generator
FOR i = 1 TO 250 'Begin our FOR loop
x = INT(RND * 639) + 1 'Randomize the x axis position
y = INT(RND * 479) + 1 'Randomize the y axis position
c = INT(RND * 255) + 1 'Randomize the pixel color
DrwPoint 1, c, x, y 'Plot the pixel!
NEXT i 'End our loop

PUTTING LINES

That should plot some wonderful pixels on the screen. Yummy =] Now let's elevate the next level, into...LINES! To plot lines onto the video page simply use the DrwLine function (Duh =p). Its syntax goes like this:

DrwLine (Mode%, Color%, X1%, Y1%, X2%, Y2%)

Like, the point function this is pretty much self-explanatory. Like the DrwPoint function, set Mode% to 1 for now. Here's some more example code:

RANDOMIZE TIMER 'Seed the random number generator
FOR i = 1 TO 100 'Begin our FOR loop
x1 = INT(RND * 639) + 1 '\
y1 = INT(RND * 479) + 1 '|Randomize all the points!
x2 = INT(RND * 639) + 1 '|
y2 = INT(RND * 479) + 1 '/
c = INT(RND * 255) + 1 'Randomize the color
DrwLine 1, c, x1, y1, x2, y2
NEXT i 'End our loop

CLOSING

When you're finished with SVGA be sure to use ResText before ending your program. Like this:

Null = ResText

That's it for this article of ZSVGA. It's short, due to time constraints, but the next one should be bigger. In the next article I'll explain more graphic functions including using page flipping for smooth animation. Until then, be sure to explore SVGABC25.TXT to learn about other functions. Signing off...

CONTACTING ME

Here's some ways to annoy me:

ICQ: 18050607
Email: DigitalDude@BizzareCreations.com
IM: BBTMG512
You can usually find me on IRC in #quickbasic, on Efnet. I use the nick DigitlDud.

By Digital Dude

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THIRD ARTICLE:

THE GREAT LIBRARY WAR

Okay people, this has got to be the most hilarious argument since the argument about how good DarkAges I was. The question should not be about if libraries are good or not, it should be about how does a library help the programmer.

You will hear time and time again how libraries encourage laziness, they're not "real" programming because you're using somebody else's code, so on and so forth. From the other side of the argument comes the people who claim that the use of libraries have made them much better programmers. Let's look at both sides of the argument.

Let's be honest: if you use a library, that is code you didn't write. Accept it. However, you also did not write the code behind SCREEN 13, PRINT, and the legions of other QB commands that exist. There are a ton of arguments from there..."Libraries are not true QB code because they didn't come with QB", "You gotta write yer own code!", and my personal favorite "Libraries in QB are written by amateurs, real programmers use pro libs". Don't make me laugh people. These same people will write a Windows-based program, or a DOS program in C++. How many libraries do each of these require? Have any of these people actually looked into what really goes into a Windows program for example? How many DLLs and components from things like DirectX go into these applications? "But, those are professional libraries!" Who cares, it's CODE YOU DIDN'T WRITE! I don't care if they were written by Bill Gates himself, it is still code you didn't write...yet not only do you use it, but you shun QB coders who use libraries like Dash. Does the word "hypocrisy" ring a bell at this point? QB libraries have, without a fraction of a doubt, raised the standards of QB programs over the last two years, and this will continue to persist.

Now...on the other hand, we have legions upon legions of "newbies" entering the QB world, each with no experience and no common sense. They see a library advertised on a webboard or website and think "Wow! All my troubles are already fixed!!". These kids don't even know how to use PRINT yet, and they can rattle off every known function in DirectQB for example. These people anger me more than the hypocrites who oppose libraries. I get so many emails and ICQ messages from these people, begging for help because they can't figure out why the newest library function doesn't work, when all it usually is is that they forgot a simple little thing they needed to do in QB code to solve it. For example, it usually helps to set the screen mode before using GSsprite. This is a concept these people don't understand. They figure "Hey! The library is supposed to do that kind of work for me!! I don't understand!". Hence the reason libraries are dangerous to the newbie. They have not yet grasped the functionality of the language and yet they try to wield such power. And in almost every case, this will backfire on them, driving home even further the arguments that libraries are bad.

The key point to this is this: Libraries are a powerful tool that in the right hands, can have great use, but in the wrong hands, can be painfully destructive. These arguments will persist, and there will never be a victor. Period. So, whichever side you're on, you're just going to have to deal with that truth.

By Nekrophidius

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GAME REVIEW:

HACKMAN III

Hack-Man III Screenshot
Do you miss the old Pac-Man games? Do you wish there would be a sort of a "resurrection"? Well, look no further, here he is! Hack-Man is a very unique series of Pac-Man spinoffs, with 3 being the most recent (and best). Here's a rundown on all it has to offer the player:

-Interesting graphics
-Challenging gameplay
-Good sounds
-High replay value

What is it missing?

-Background music
-Better character control
-More useful options (like, turning off the sound!)

Hack-Man 3 overall is a very good game, from a player's perspective. From a programmer's perspective, there is room for improvement, mainly in the speed department. I have seen a review of this game on a website, and all throughout the review the guy made references to Wetspot II, why I don't have any idea, but he obviously had a certain person stuck waaay too far up his @$$.

The skinny: Download this game if you enjoy a "rebirth" of sorts, or are looking for something to kill some time with. It is fun to play, and that's what we play games for in the first place.

You can pick up the Hack-Man series at WidomDude's Domain

Review by Nekrophidius

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THE GALLERY:

KALDERAN

Submitted by DigitalDude. This is a picture of the inside of a castle it appears. For those who don't know, Kalderan is an SVGA RPG being written by a team of members known collectively as Bizzare Creations.
Kalderan screenshot

This pic is unique, It is very rare to have games in QB with weather-effects, it's raining!
Kalderan screenshot 2

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QUOTE OF THE MONTH:

TEJ

Said on EfNet channel #quickbasic on November 10th, 1999:
"Look, I am not, under any circumstance, goin to write my own rotation sub"

Basically what this person is saying is that they would rather rely on the work of others, rather than their own. They would do well working for Microsoft.

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SHORTEST REVIEW IN THE HISTORY OF QB:

XLATB'S REVIEW OF CODEVIEW

And I quote:

it_sucks_my_wang!

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RECOMMENDED VIEWING:

RECOMMENDED SITES

WOTSIT.ORG
File formats and more.

PROGRAMMER'S HEAVEN
TONS of example code in all languages, a great source of information.

QUICKBASIC RPGS
Follow the latest news on the QBRPG scene. Almost 100 RPGs available for download, all done in QB.

THE ALL BASIC CODE ARCHIVES
If it's BASIC, they got it. Thousands of downloads for all kinds of BASIC.

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NEAT CODE EXAMPLE:

PASCO'S GRASS

This is an interesting animated grass routine written in about 1K of pure QB code.
DEFINT A-Z
TYPE grasspoint
   x AS INTEGER
   y AS INTEGER
   angle AS INTEGER
END TYPE

RANDOMIZE TIMER

ngrass = 1000

DIM SHARED grass(ngrass) AS grasspoint
DIM SHARED presin(360) AS INTEGER

FOR lp = 0 TO ngrass
   grass(lp).x = RND * 320
   grass(lp).y = RND * 200
   grass(lp).angle = (grass(lp).x MOD 360) + RND * 30 - ((200 - grass(lp).y) ^ .5) * 10
NEXT

FOR lp = 0 TO 360
   presin(lp) = SIN(lp * 3.14159 / 180) * 128
NEXT

SCREEN 7
PALETTE 0, 4
OUT &H3C8, 4
OUT &H3C9, 0
OUT &H3C9, 23
OUT &H3C9, 0

PALETTE 1, 1
OUT &H3C8, 1
OUT &H3C9, 0
OUT &H3C9, 16
OUT &H3C9, 0

DO

SCREEN 7, , d, (d + 2) MOD 4
CLS
d = (d + 1) MOD 4

FOR lp = 0 TO ngrass
   grass(lp).angle = (grass(lp).angle + 350) MOD 360
   LINE (grass(lp).x, grass(lp).y)-(grass(lp).x + ABS(presin(grass(lp).angle)) \ 60 + 1, grass(lp).y + 1 + ABS(presin(grass(lp).angle)) \ 60), 1
NEXT
FOR lp = 0 TO ngrass
   LINE (grass(lp).x, grass(lp).y)-(grass(lp).x + ABS(presin(grass(lp).angle)) \ 60, grass(lp).y - 2 + ABS(presin(grass(lp).angle)) \ 100), 2
NEXT

LOOP UNTIL INKEY$ <> ""

By Pasco

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THE END

So, there ya have it folks...the very first issue of QB ON ACID comes to a close. Feel free to send us email with your thoughts, comments, questions, suggestions, viruses, you name it. We print what we receive so feel free to give us a piece of your mind =)

Thanks for reading, and prepare for the next issue, out November 24th!

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