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kisrael

What are your favorite tools in VisualbB?

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As a Mac user, VisualbB has never been an option for me - and I lean towards stand alone tools anyway.

But it is so popular, people have gotten so much out of it, that I thought I'd fire up an ancient cheap laptop and try it more.

(Admittedly, some my negativity comes from A. frustration no longer being used to Windows  and B. this cheap laptop w/ a trackpad that is just Blargh... I think I need to get a mouse) 

 

The current VisualbB user experience is not great. Like, after you install it (after install bB and Stella), you get a ton of errors, I guess its web engine is too old for the AA page it's trying to show. And that's like some of why I don't like the philosophy of "include everything including the kitchen sink"... I know it seemed helpful to integrate with the AA website, but (IMO) a web browser doesn't really belong in an IDE, and now the first user experience is a pile of errors. 

But - some of the tools it DOES include are damn helpful (even if I don't know what kind of images to use to try out the graphics program, is there a tutorial for those anywhere?)


The music tool in it was pretty cool - putting note estimations on a picture of a piano, and showing which notes are available... that's genius UI relative to webtune2600's approach of "tell us the notes you want, we'll try our best" - really encourages active learning and experimentation. And generating little musical programs is huge! 

 

I'd love to make more of these things in standalone tools... I know VbB fans don't care quite as much, but I think it's great to bring things out so users on every computer type can use them... and also, by making generated bB code the "go between" rather than trying to be part of a big editor. you can use whatever new tool comes along, or even start using a different core editor!  

So let me know what tools I might have missed in VbB, what you find most useful. I might try to recreate things for my own use, or advance things a bit (especially tempted to build stuff encouraging music exploration)






 

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Never Open Web Pages With VbB

 

I've had that feature disabled for so long that I kind of forgot it was possible. Always have Load Start Web Page on Open disabled.

 

 

Sprite Frames

 

The sprite editor in VbB is adequate, but clunky. Here's how I make an animated sprite in VbB:

 

randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-batari-basic-vbb.html#creatinganimations

Quote

If you want to work on an animation and you've never done it before, here's one way to do it. Create a sprite in the Sprite Editor and save it. Then use Save As to save a copy of it. Open that copy and as you work on that 'frame' of your animation, you can click on the tab for it to make sure it's active and 'flip' between the two sprite editors by using the left/right arrow keys on your keyboard. You can flip back and forth, work on the image some more, flip back and forth and so on until you get it looking perfect. Make sure you save the sprite, then use Save As to save a copy of that sprite. Open that copy and work on it, click on a tab and flip between all three using the left/right cursor keys to see how your animation is progressing. You can keep on with this process until you have perfected your animation. Just remember to save the latest version of all of your 'frames' and you'll be ready to use the Sprite Animator.

 

I'd rather use the Commodore 64 sprite editor in Atari Dev Studio, but I don't think it's been adapted for bB yet. I also don't see a way to flip back and forth between frames with the keyboard arrow keys. I'll go ask in the Atari Dev Studio thread.

 

 

Code Editor Right Click Menu

 

Check out all of the useful options in the right click menu when you're using the code editor:

 

randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-batari-basic-vbb.html#ce_rcm

 

I use Comment/Uncomment a lot.

 

I don't use Flip Text that often, but I use it enough to like having it.

 

When working on a huge program, Add Bookmark is very useful. I just wish jwierer would have chosen a different way to do it. My Bookmarks were always getting out of order.

 

Audit Variables is especially useful when working on another person's program (if they used dim for all of their variables).

 

Audit Goto/Gosub is great, especially when switching from one bank to multiple banks.

 

I use Find Next more than I thought I would.

 

Find Label saves me a lot of time.

 

I use Force Minimum Spacing on every program I have to work on.

 

When working on a large program with a lot of banks, Identify Current Bank can be very helpful.

 

I probably use Save As more than any of the other options.

 

 

Score Editor

 

The Score Editor allows you to create custom fonts for the score across the bottom of your game. You can do more than just make your own numbers. If your game doesn't use a score, you can use the score to display a life bar, items for an adventure game, or anything you can imagine.

 

 

Music and Sound Editor

 

You can create music or sound effects with the Music and Sound Editor, then move the data to your program. I like how I can quickly test a sound effect I'm working on countless times until it's as perfect as I can get it.

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The ones mentioned are really good. I had just started to utilize some of them, like Bookmark so I can quickly jump to sections and review code.

 

I really like the keyboard/music program but I have a hard time integrating the code into my games. I am sure it is not as hard as I think but I do wish it was a but more intuitive.

 

I agree that the sprite editor and playfield editor can be clunky. I like them but I'm sure there could be easier ways.

 

I love the color chart.

 

I do wish the font in the editor was somewhat uniform solely for the editing of playfields but it is not a huge problem. Sometimes I edit them on the fly and wish they were easier to read if you have a lot going on.

 

 

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27 minutes ago, KevKelley said:

The font in the editor was somewhat uniform solely for the editing of playfields but it is not a huge problem. Sometimes I edit them on the fly and wish they were easier to read if you have a lot going on.

 

I use Droid Sans Mono With Slashed Zero.

 

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I forgot to add the Score Editor and the Music and Sound Editor. They're now in my post above.

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2 hours ago, Gemintronic said:

I could never do high res title screens or music without those components of VisualbB.

Works with ADS too, however you obviously need to create then using VisualbB. Then just add the titlescreen files to the ADS project directory and the includes. Would be nice to see a stand alone package that features all these nice little tools to use with ADS

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5 minutes ago, TwentySixHundred said:

Works with ADS too, however you obviously need to create then using VisualbB. Then just add the titlescreen files to the ADS project directory and the includes. Would be nice to see a stand alone package that features all these nice little tools to use with ADS

 

Yeah.  Was trying to avoid mentioning ADS as this was VisualbB specific.  Also, the fact that VisualbB and its integration of all these tools is unique so you can't really have a favorite - it was the only choice for many years.  I hope ADS comes to parity with VisualbB and much further :)  The fact it plays nice with modern Windows is already a boon.

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I was moderately happy and productive using Komodo edit and batch files, and then my own playfield pal. 

 

I really prefer standalone tools, and everyone can pick their favorite text editor and use whatever graphic editor or music tool they want... 

 

I'm willing to put in some level of work for improving the multi-platform (mac/windows, sometimes linux) tool set. But there's some stuff I won't be able to recreate. 
(and now that I realized DPC+ can do 32x88 for title screens, I'm more inclined to use those for my own works... I might try to recreate one of the simpler highrez title screen makers tho...

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