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4 Reviews
  • Not for the begginer
  • the patches are horrendously buggy
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    4 Reviews
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      13.05.2002 05:25
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      DarkBASIC is an excellent and powerful 3D games creator aimed at beginners and professionals alike who want to create their own computer games in under an hour. Although slow, DarkBASIC features many commands, good set of supported media types and excellent documentation. The 2D command set in DarkBASIC is on the slow side and so is the 3D command set but this does not mean DarkBASIC isn't any good - it is very, very good. My personal experiences with DarkBASIC have no been so good because I was not able to create what I wanted in DarkBASIC. It could have been my own fault but I believe DarkBASIC is too slow to make a proper decent game. Also, the techincal support provided by Dark Basic Software Ltd. is simply rubbish. It took them two weeks to reply to my email. DarkBASIC is an excellent piece of software but for the price of £40.00 I believe it needs more features and a faster engine. Maybe DarkBASIC Pro will fix this...? We'll just have to wait and see.

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        12.05.2002 17:52
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        • "Not for the begginer"

        If you've ever suddenly had an excellent idea for a computer game before, yet not known how to make it - then knows your chance, with DarkBASIC 'The ultimate 3d games creator'. I personally have been one to fall trap to this program and many like it, as i've always wanted to create my own games. However as soon as you enter the program you know your going to be in for a struggle. Greated with only a menu bar and a blank, word like typing area... yes all your games must be 100% coded, and if your new to coding then your not going to be impressed. And indeed, you can't expect to be creating Tomb Raider style games and selling them for £££'s as soon as your into it. The Help files provided help even the most basic user to pick up the code, very slowly at first but it is simplified and you shoudl soon have your cubes moving with the arrow keys!! The examples provided also give the user a bigger grasp on it and it is also provided with 100's of media, models, textures and sounds for your creation - which can be sold 100% royalty free. So, once you have picked up the coding language you can slowly create a big, action packed game to impress all your freinds right? Well theres one more thing that DarkBASIC doesn't include. Any form of 3d modeller program, and so without this your creation wont take shape. To get a moddler program this could set you back another few £100 and then the amount of practise needed on it to create the best results again is very, very hard! In conclusion then darkBASIC is hard, and with no experience of programming - your not going to pick it up so easily. The lack of 3d modeller lets it down a lot. However if you stick with it, good results can happen - You never now, you might even sell a few of your creations....now that would be nice wouldn't it!

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          23.09.2001 03:53
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          Who will carry on the Future of Gaming? You? Me? Half of us? All of us? Who knows but with this great little programme we will soon find out. Who will go on to be the next Shigeru Miyamoto of games developers? DarkBASIC 3D allows you to create awesome 3D games using basic programming. You can create some of the most classic games like Space Invaders in 3D or create your own little RPG adventure games and play through using might and magic. Are you interested in computer programming, or games development then don't just sit there buy DarkBASIC now and get practising. Start your own buisness using DarkBASIC or even create games to put on your website! An excellent addition to any great computer, web, or games developer wannabe or in training! The programme offers some great tutorials to start you off and help you along the way! And even the option to look at the data for a pre-developed game to show what it will eventually look like! And also for a great price too (around £30-40). Easily uploaded, easily created, pre-made textures, animations for you to use, easy tutorials. It couldn't be simpler! Get DarkBASIC and get programming! And soon we can all be great games developers? Jamie10

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            18.08.2001 22:33
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            • "the patches are horrendously buggy"

            In the 1980s when videogames were a fledgling pastime and not the commercial, massmarket, Ministry of Sound occupation that they are now, many of the games available at retail were made by one person writing in BASIC (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) - the so-called bedroom coders. Sony's innovative and highly commendable Net Yaroze scheme tried to reinvent the bedroom coder for the new generation but high costs and its use of complex programming language C meant that its appeal was limited. Now, though, we have 'DarkBASIC', a PC programming language that allows you to harness the power of 'DirectX' and make your own 3D games. Best of all, cost is minimal and the language is far simpler than C. There is a downside however... Obviously DarkBASIC Software haven't heard the saying 'first impressions count' because the first problem you'll encounter with their eponymous programming language comes when installing the editor (the application you write the code in). Working as I am with limited disk space, I always like to choose the custom installation option when installing new software. Unfortunately, 'DarkBASIC' only offers full and minimum installations and, to make matters worse, there is no explanation anywhere (in the setup program, the manual, the website, etc.) of the differences between the two versions despite a disparity between the two of a few hundred megabytes. To this day I still don't know what I'm missing out on. Woe is me. Once installed, you'll be distinctly underwhelmed by the appearance and functionality of said editor. It only runs at 640x480 screen resolution (although you can set your games to run at higher resolutions) which is totally inexcusable when 800x600 was the standard three years ago and 1024x768 is becoming standard now. On top of this, there's no horizontal scrollbar. You'd think after they made the screen so tiny that the developer would
            account for the inevitable side-effect of lines of code being too long to fit within those 640 pixels. But no, you have to use the arrows keys instead. The menu system is just as much of a mess. How can an oversight such as neglecting to include the option to create a new file make it's way into the final version of a modern piece of software? In a throwback to the bad old days of DOS, 'DarkBASIC' doesn't run in a window so minimisation is impossible without hunting around in the menus or using the function keys. Windows containing multiple programs can't be done either. There is the option to have two files open at the same time but they can't be viewed side-by-side and every time you switch between them the cursor is reset at the top of the program meaning that in big projects it'll take you ages to re-find the bit you were working on. There is a third-party 'Windows'-based version of the 'DarkBASIC' editor included in the package ('Dark Edit') that is very good while it works but, in my experience, is notoriously buggy. The language itself isn't without fault either. Continuing the theme of shoddiness and half-arsedness, some of the commands are unnecessarily complex and so much of it is totally illogical. Take, for example, three commands relating to 2D images: LOAD BITMAP, LOAD IMAGE and SPRITE. You'd think that the first one would be for loading bitmap images into the memory and the second one for non-bitmap images but, no, the first one loads and shows a background bitmap while the second one only loads an image (which could be a bitmap) into memory. To put that image on the screen, you need to use the third command. Then we come to the sound commands: LOAD SOUND and PLAY SOUND. If images require LOAD IMAGE and SPRITE to display something on the screen then why aren't the sound commands LOAD SOUND and SOUND? More sensibly, why can't the image commands follo
            w the sound's lead and be LOAD IMAGE and SHOW IMAGE? As a final example, take the command that returns the current position of the mouse on the X axis and the one that returns the width of any given sprite: MOUSEX() and SPRITE X(). Why does the latter have a space while the former doesn't? The only reason I can see is to unnecessarily confuse programmers. Inconsistencies and annoyances like this are rife in 'DarkBASIC'. 'DarkBASIC' is aimed squarely at the novice market so in-depth help files and product support are absolutely paramount. On the first count 'DarkBASIC' doesn't fare too well. Although there is an entry for each command (albeit badly spelt in the majority of cases) and a short explanation as to what each one does, often the these are inadequate and it is left to the programmer to decide how the command should be best used. To make things more annoying, the example files included with the software are hastily written and offer very little explanation as to what they're doing (and any explanation that is included is inevitably badly spelt) and the paper manual is merely a transcript of the help files. Thank God, then, for the 'DarkBASIC' community. Via the website (www.darkbasic.com), you have access to thousands of experienced users who are only too happy to help you with queries or problems you are having with the language. Where the help files fail, the community come through. If you take a look at the 'DarkBASIC' website you'll notice it has an upgrade section which offers patches that add new commands and more comprehensive help files. Considering my complaints so far, this sounds great, right? No, not really, because they don't work. I upgraded to v1.09 but found that it had a bug that made it impossible to run (the mouse pointer had disappeared in the editor) so reported it, along with many other users, to DarkBASIC Software. When the next upgrade came the exact same
            problem was present meaning that I still can't get my hands on some very useful commands (including ones that give your programs the ability to play MP3 files and allow them to run in windows for example). A cursory glance at the bug report forum on the same website will reveal that plenty of other people are having similar problems with different bugs. Most software houses release buggy software and use patches to fix the bugs, the makers of 'DarkBASIC' release buggy software and use patches to make it even more buggy. Well done lads, your ineptitude is staggering. At this point you will be quite understandably confused. Why, you are asking, has my favourite reviewer given this product three stars when he has panned it mercilessly throughout his opinion? Because, I answer, making games is absolutely compelling and 'DarkBASIC', although it has some serious flaws, gets the job done, albeit with a generous helping of angst along the way because you forgot that SPRITEX() is supposed to have a space. The beauty of it is that anyone, as long as you are prepared to put in the time to learn the language (games don't happen over night remember), can make a game with it and, for those of us who have been admiring visionaries (dare I say geniuses?) like Shigeru Miyamoto and Peter Moulyneux for so many years, that's a pretty damn amazing thought.

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