Thanks for the info, This should be fun to play with. When I
first played with QBasic, I especially liked doing graphics type
stuff. I usually made circles leave a trail across the screen
in many different colors, bounce off the walls and go a different
direction. I still don't know how to do stuff like that in perl, but that
doesn't mater anyway, this sounds more fun to me.
Re: Learning how to program (for youngsters of any age)
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I also looked at Squeak, but what decided for GameMaker was: you do not need to write a line of code to program. You just drag images of statements, drop them into action "slots", and maybe right-click them to change some properties.
In example, simple game "Catch The Dog" is implemented by just 1 object (image of a dog), and 3 statements: in slot of "on MouseClick" action:
SCORE (+1, relative),
CREATE OBJECT AT RANDOM PLACE (dog).
All these statements are basic for GameMaker buttons with cute icons. SCORE "knows" to display current score in title bar.
My first "program" was to add:
to action slot for "when leaving playing area", DELETE (self), and SCORE (-1), and
to action slot "when created": MOVE IN RANDOM DIRECTION.
add some "walls" (images), with attribute "solid" - so dog will bounce after collision - it knows how to bounce from solid object.
That's it - I created new fully playable simple game. Dog lurked out at random place, was running away, bounced from wall, and if I did not click on it fast enough, I lost a point.
Sorry for off-topic node, but I just want to show how is possible to "program" without writing any code, if you have high-level statements in a language carefully targeted to very specific area. We may forget it is possible, because we are using perl - "swiss army chainsaw" universal language all the time.
To make errors is human. But to make million errors per second, you need a computer.