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Magmavision2000

Is BASIC Useful for Making Games?

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I've heard that BASIC is slower than assembly, but has there been any games made with BASIC that we're comparable to assembly games, or is it only good for text adventures?

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Which BASIC and which system are you thinking about? An interpreting dialect from the 80's has its shortcomings for sure, but nowadays even BASIC tends to be cross compiled into just as good executables as any other higher level language like C. Often the difference to pure assembly language is relatively little, in particular if you factor in the development time.

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11 minutes ago, carlsson said:

Which BASIC and which system are you thinking about? An interpreting dialect from the 80's has its shortcomings for sure, but nowadays even BASIC tends to be cross compiled into just as good executables as any other higher level language like C. Often the difference to pure assembly language is relatively little, in particular if you factor in the development time.

I'm mainly talking about the built in BASIC for microcomputers from the 80s.

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Ok. Besides text adventures, also strategy games obviously work just as well in BASIC. With the right programming techniques, you can even get action games running rather smooth, sometimes with helper routines in machine code. Sometimes they compiled BASIC programs in the 80's as well, though not super common to do that.

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20 hours ago, Magmavision2000 said:

I'm mainly talking about the built in BASIC for microcomputers from the 80s.

Yes those will be much slower than assembly language, and often more limited.   Sometimes there are Basic compilers available or better Basics that are more optimized for game development.

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New BASIC's for computers from the 70's and 80's like batari BASIC and SuperCharger BASIC for the Atari VCS allow you to write BASIC Video Games at Machine Language speed. One thing I really liked about the era were the programming books with screenshots on the cover of what looked like colorful Atari 2600 games that could apparently be written in BASIC, spanning systems with no color or sound. They didn't compare of course but BASIC games were tremendous fun and educational, they still inspire us :) 

 

BASIC design improvements kept up as hardware improved -

 

This interesting video features the history with a powerful 90's BASIC for creating 3D games on the Sega Saturn:

 

 

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