squidgetx wrote:
There's no way this is not a language war.


War (n.) -- A state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state.

Debate (n.) -- A formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward.

I think the latter sounds more like what's going on now. Yes, we *are* having a "Language Debate".

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While you may not be saying 'axe sux' with no supporting evidence, you are still calling into question the value of a language in the context of its role and usefulness.


.. And? I think that point has already been established, dude Razz It's the whole point of the thread here!

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also, one thing I do note is that the axe games I have seen so far are not as high quality as asm games, am I the only one who thinks this?

Someone tell me when the last assembly game not written by thepenguin was released that can compare to what some of the more skilled Axe programmers have done.


Invalid Tangram DE was amazing, broseph. Whatch'ou talkin' 'bout willis?
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Debate (n.) -- A formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward.

I think the latter sounds more like what's going on now. Yes, we *are* having a "Language Debate".
Fair enough.
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And? I think that point has already been established, dude It's the whole point of the thread here!
I'm just saying that it's kind of a useless discussion as most language wars/debates tend to be. However, since it has since remarked that it's just an intelligent debate for the sake of intelligent debate (more or less), I see no problem with it. (And I hope that is what it is)

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Invalid Tangram DE was amazing

July 2007 =/
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broseph. Whatch'ou talkin' 'bout willis
Relax, dude.
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Wouldn't you agree that the kind of understanding of how Axe works and how the underlying processing, memory management, and code generation that an ASM coder might have would allow him or her to create better and more efficient Axe programs? Also, I believe I heard that Runer was responsible for optimizing Axe to a large extent, so kudos to him for making the gap between ASM and Axe smaller, if that is indeed the case.

Yes. My big question that I just realized is, how do you know that Axe *isn't* serving as a bridge to assembly? It's only been a year or so. How long does it take to learn assembly? I can say with confidence that Runer and Axe have helped me to understand much of the underlying architecture etc etc but I wouldn't say I'm ready to start a project in assembly just yet =/
[quote="Ashbad"]
squidgetx wrote:
Besides, language wars are dumb.
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Also, the particles were a request and I thought about it for days how to implement it.I still have >9000 bytes to fill up in the App, so these little treats are nice and give an effect to easily take advantage of.

Erm, sorry if I offend anybody :/


Well, I'm still against the notion of adding the particle effects to the language, but it's your language Razz do what you want! My personal suggestion would be to allow for inline assembly perhaps, so that one could still achieve making such fast routines without them being built into the language?


Thanks and actually inline Asm is now possible as well as calling external assembly programs and executing them Smile
Nice, addition with the execution of inline assembly and external programs, Kudos! Smile
Thanks for mentioning Invalid Tangram; I was hoping that someone would. Very Happy I don't think that it's fair to claim that there's only one good ASM game programmer; have you seen benryves most recent work, Nostromo? There's a world-class ASM coder that I look up to in awe if there ever was one:

http://benryves.com/journal/tags/Nostromo

Squidget, that's a fair point about ASM. I know it certainly took a few years from my starting to learn ASM, through being able to make programs in it, but not quickly, to being able to think and write ASM that functions on the first or second try nearly as quickly as I could write BASIC or C. However, I feel that it's important to make people aware that there are other languages out there, that ASM is not some insurmountably hard language, and that there are best tools to use for various things. For example, a grayscale tetris game would be a good application for Axe. A shell where you need to read and manipulate the VAT and memory would be very bad, and a recent Cemetech member who had previously been at Omnimaga started such a project, not knowing that ASM was a possibility at all. It sounds to me as if other than your initial impression that we were "bashing" Axe, that you and I are more or less saying the same thing, Squidget. Smile Perhaps I should have stressed the point about Axe being good as a means to an end for certain games a little more in my first post rather than focusing on its weaknesses for other types of games, but other than that, I'm impressed with the intelligence, maturity, passion, and respect we're all showing.
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Yes, you can claim that Assembly game programmers do use pre-made routines at times, and I'm sure quite a few do use some. But, it's not all packed in a neat little box pre-made for you so you can draw sprites all over the graph buffer in a cool fashion in like 3 lines of code or less. Game Maker is like this, as is Axe, which has a sliced bread routine for pretty much any graphical command you can think of. C doesn't. Even the easiest to use graphics libraries that can be used with C, such as SFML, SDL, or Allegro, don't hold all out of the box commands. So, tell me Axe is closer to C than Game Maker?


First of all, *all* of those complaints basically boil down to complaints about the syntax being too simple, which is a relatively ridiculous problem given that simplicity was one of the design principles. Secondly, Axe was designed with graphics in mind. It kind of makes sense that it would make graphics simple. Would you like functions to be difficult to declare in Haskell as well?

As for prepackaged routines, I'd argue that C has its fair share of those. Care to notice sprintf, some fairly advanced floating point math in math.h, etc...? Sure, C graphics aren't simple. They also have to solve a much more difficult problem: High quality color graphics on high resolution screens of varying dimensions and by various manufacturers. Axe has to deal with one screen by a single manufacturer of a specific size in black and white. And lest you forget, C on the Prizm looks a lot like Axe with some additional boilerplate.

Thirdly, Axe is conceptually a lot closer to C than Game maker. Axe involves heavy use of pointers, has only basic looping structures, reads raw keypresses, involves buffering, deals with raw arrays, sends port data over a literal port, can interface directly with the hardware, etc... Syntactically, it may not be C. But it's definitely C in concept.

So again, are there any legitimate arguments against Axe?
What's wrong with Game Maker? Does it have a bad reputation or something? Because I started using Game maker about 7 years ago, it was one of the core utilities that got me into programming and game development in the first place and I built some really really awesome stuff with it. And guess what, I still use it today when I want to quickly put together a prototype for a game, and it works great.

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Wouldn't you agree that the kind of understanding of how Axe works and how the underlying processing, memory management, and code generation that an ASM coder might have would allow him or her to create better and more efficient Axe programs? Also, I believe I heard that Runer was responsible for optimizing Axe to a large extent, so kudos to him for making the gap between ASM and Axe smaller, if that is indeed the case.

Not really. Most of the concepts required to master Axe are not asm specific. For instance; pointers, bit-masking, and accumulators are useful universal concepts in Axe but aren't solely asm concepts. By contrast; registers, flags, and the instruction stack are totally abstracted out from the language.

And yes, Runer and I have made many optimizations since the first release. Calc84maniac is another significant contributing author and plus a handful of others.


I'd like to clarify one last point. Whether you like it or not, Axe IS in fact a replacement for assembly game making. Why? Because I'd say around 80 to 90 percent of the assembly games in the ticalc archive could have easily been cloned identically using pure Axe (including *cough* Invalid Tangram) and the rest of them could have been done with some extra assembly libraries. You don't need assembly to make great games so why should someone be expected to eventually "switch over" if all they want is to make games. You can make nearly any professional looking game with Axe which is what makes it different in concept from Game Maker.

But Axe is obviously NOT a replacement for assembly programs in general and anyone who wants to tread in those waters should maybe reconsider which language would make the task easiest.
Quigibo wrote:
What's wrong with Game Maker? Does it have a bad reputation or something?
Aye, it has a widespread reputation of being a tool that non-programmers use to create games, and I don't feel many programmers that I've spoken with consider it to really be programming. Not to say anything about you, of course, clearly you've moved on to not just use GameMaker for programming.

Quigibo wrote:
I'd like to clarify one last point. Whether you like it or not, Axe IS in fact a replacement for assembly game making. Why? Because I'd say around 80 to 90 percent of the assembly games in the ticalc archive could have easily been cloned identically using pure Axe (including *cough* Invalid Tangram) and the rest of them could have been done with some extra assembly libraries. You don't need assembly to make great games so why should someone be expected to eventually "switch over" if all they want is to make games. You can make nearly any professional looking game with Axe which is what makes it different in concept from Game Maker.
Hmm, I'd argue that the recursive routine with complicated data structure manipulation that I use to find which blocks may be cleared when other blocks are cleared would be hard to write as fast as I managed to optimize it in Axe, at least from what I know of the language. The bullets and ships could probably be done easily in Axe, since that seems to be the sort of things it's tuned for. Actually, to be honest the vast majority of Axe games that I've seen have been sidescrollers of various sorts, including DJ's abandoned ball game, Graviter, and Portal X. Hence why I have been arguing for a lack of originality. Perhaps the problem is just that until relatively recently, when a lot of Omnimaga users started visiting us to post their Axe programs, relatively few Axe projects crossed my radar. Regardless, I continue to maintain that it is a good tool for writing games, and can be good for writing games if you don't know ASM, but if you're a skilled ASM coder, you can writing a game in ASM just as fast as in Axe, and can make it smaller and faster.

Long story short: I think Axe is another tool for possible games. I think that people should choose between Axe, ASM, and BASIC based on their personal preference and skills. I don't believe Axe makes ASM irrelevant for games.

Quigibo wrote:
But Axe is obviously NOT a replacement for assembly programs in general and anyone who wants to tread in those waters should maybe reconsider which language would make the task easiest.
Well, I'm glad that we at least agree on that.

By the way, just so we have nice two-way communication, feel free to weigh in on this topic if you have any thoughts on perceptions between intelligent, respectful (even if heated) discussion and bashing/insulting:
http://ourl.ca/13996
Let's leave the drama out of this topic though, please; I continue to think we've had, from my perspective, a heartfelt and constructive discussion and meeting of the minds here, even if we all don't agree. Indeed, the site would be a very boring place if we all agreed.
Although I'm not a z80 guy, I think I know enough to make a few comments Very Happy

Ashbad wrote:
The fact that it's slow may be attributed to Java's weakness in speed compared to something like C, but the "bugginess" has *nothing* to do with the language, just Notch-quality crappy programming.

There is nothing wrong with the language itself, but the Java VM itself has quite some problems. (I'm not saying that minecraft is good programmed though :p)

Also, Axe is much closer to Assembly then Game Maker to C. Axe is compiled, just like C while Game Maker is interpreted. Game Maker is also a huge degree more simple.

Comment to someone, but I forgot who.
Now, Axe is a made for game programming, and that doesn't mean its a simple (or bad) language.
PHP, for example is a language designed for the web. Would you tell everybody to jump to C to create their web application?

I have looked at Axe, and I can say its a decent language, not too simple and n00b minded. Also, I can't recall people marketing Axe as better than ASM (and I'm quite allot on Omnimaga, the home of Axe).

I'm sorry for my simple worded sentences, I'm not the best writer :/
Ashbad wrote:
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Being a "hardcore" Axe game programmer myself, I wholeheartedly agree with what Quigibo said.

... Do you care to do more than just agree with him wholeheartedly, and perhaps provide some reasons why you personally like it rather than "It's cool cuz I use it"?


Uh...no. I'd rather not get involved. Debates about different languages ultimately boil down to our personal preferences, and out motives for programming (which is basically just personal preference), and it's useless IMHO to kvatch about why you should like this or that as compared to something else.

And truly, greatness can come from anywhere. You can make a world class game from anywhere, including Game Maker, Java, Axe, whatever. The only limit is yourself! Smile </cheesy comments>
Buttsfred, indeed, we're all welcome to our opinions, but it's nice to hear other people's opinions and perhaps have a chance to re-evaluate (or to stick with) our own opinions based on hearing what other people have to say, which is why we're having this discussion. Smile I for one am interested to hear reasons that attract you to the language (or any language) not to try to knock them down, but just to hear them.
Okay. I like Axe because I'm first off very familiar with it. I have a bunch of experience with it so I can make stuff pretty dang fast (and I hope pretty good quality too). A pretty big reason I like Axe is because it's really easy. I've messed around with C++ and DirectX, and compared to Axe, it's a HUGE PITA to set up DirectDraw surfaces, load bitmaps, blah blah blah all this other stuff. In Axe, you supply the program with some hex code and pretty much say, draw this here. I don't really see that as dumb or stupid that Axe allows stuff like that, and I REALLY don't get the hate for the Pt-Get function.

But yeah. Another huge compelling reason for Axe and me is that it's on-calc. I'm at a point in my life where I don't have unlimited computer access, I don't have my own computer, otherwise I probably would program ASM quite a bit. BASIC is also on-calc but I have my own set of issues with BASIC Smile so I use Axe.
I think the on-calcness is certainly a strong argument for, as you say, a certain audience that doesn't have unlimited computer access and/or their own computer. Indeed, that's a major reason why I was such a prolific BASIC programmer for such a long time. Regarding the differences between Direct X programming with C++ and Axe, remember that the range of displays and display drivers that DirectX has to deal with is vastly wider than what Axe, z80 ASM, or TI-BASIC has to address, and at the same time how much more complex things can be manipulated with it. It is an unfortunate fact that that additional power and complexity brings additional programming pain, in my opinion. Smile
however, the on-calc problem with ASM is actually fixed with a certain application known as mimas.

http://www.ticalc.org/archives/files/fileinfo/431/43140.html
Even though I have my own computer and any access I want, for me, on-calc programming is still a strong point for any calculator development tool. I hate being tethered to the computer. I'd much rather be able to carry around whatever I'm working on and be able to sit or lie in whatever comfortable position I want in any room of the house (or away from the house, for that matter). It's really exciting to finally see some viable on-calc tools appear, even though most of it is focused on a calc platform that I don't have (my being more of a TI-89 person). Admittedly, I've had some increasing interest in the HP 50g since it seems to be extremely strong in the area of on-calc developmentónot just high-level stuff, but low-level and even ASM as well.
Right, that's why it's so great to program for a system were every unit has the same processor, the same memory storage, the same hardware, etc.
quigibo wrote:
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I feel that any time someone makes something cool in Axe, the only person who really did any work was Quigibo

I couldn't disagree more and just the thought of this literally makes me laugh out loud. There are very few constructs in the Axe language that automate game making. Nearly all of the built-in routines are common throughout a wide variety of programs. There aren't built-in "cellular automation" features or things similar to that (not that there's anything wrong with that, it's a cool feature of Grammar).

I mean, its a terrible argument to make. EVERYTHING is a derivative work in some way or another. How do you call yourself a 'hacker' when you didn't even write the drivers for your computer that allow you to type your post. Or create your own instruction set architecture instead of unfairly mooching off of all the hard work of those engineers who invented z80, x86, and ARM. Sometimes you have to draw a line...


I agree with almost everything quigibo said. I'd like to posit that saying Axe programmers are less skilled than z80 Asm programmers is like saying that C programmers are less skilled than x86 Asm programmers, for example. I mean, it's not the level of skill that changes, it's more of the paradigm and level of programming abstraction that changes. Not to say programming in Asm is less difficult, because it's not, but Axe is a platform for expressing a program using a more abstract level of thinking. It allows the programmer to focus more on the program and less about optimizations, low-level techniques and quirks, etc. What's wrong with programming efficiency? I mean, other than the fact that the calculator's resources are very limited. We're talking about the principal of programming in Axe, aren't we?

KermMartian wrote:
I still call myself a hacker because I understand how those drivers work, and if I was marooned on a desert island with a computer, a bootloader, and electricity, I could find a way to write drivers to make the hardware work, given enough time and reference material. I also understand the components of an instruction architecture, how they affect and are affected by the physical components and layout inside the CPU, and could design my own instruction set and schematic for a CPU that could execute it, again given time and a big enough piece of paper. If I just took it for granted that when I run function blah, something magically appears on the screen, and didn't want to investigate and understand what happened under the hood, I wouldn't call myself a hacker. That's the difference.


KermMartian wrote:
You know me, I always like reinventing the wheel so I can understand how things work. Wink


I just felt it's worth mentioning that I have very much the same kind of inquisitive, insatiable personality. I was never satisfied using a computer and not knowing how it worked on the software level. Once I began to explore that, I wasn't satisfied until I knew how things worked so magically on the hardware level and through the hardware-software interface. Thanks to my curiosity, I'm now sour cream-white and able to build a simple computer from logic gates. And it was completely worth it, because it made me a better programmer. But I digress!
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also, one thing I do note is that the axe games I have seen so far are not as high quality as asm games, am I the only one who thinks this?


You are very right. Any programming tool that has a lower skill threshold will invariably invite less skilled people who cannot tell what a good product is, so the novices release a ton of awful programs. The more skilled programmers have so much experience that they have a better time differentiating between good and bad, and thus the higher skilled languages don't have many bad things associated with them. There are plenty of horrible ASM programs in existence, but they are just aren't available to the general web population.

KermMartian wrote:
Quigibo wrote:
What's wrong with Game Maker? Does it have a bad reputation or something?
Aye, it has a widespread reputation of being a tool that non-programmers use to create games, and I don't feel many programmers that I've spoken with consider it to really be programming. Not to say anything about you, of course, clearly you've moved on to not just use GameMaker for programming.


Game Maker is a perfectly valid tool. I use it all the time for prototyping (*Cou-Raccoon King-gh*). The loose syntax, the (sometimes) detailed error messages, the integrated resource handling, and the integrated DirectX bindings make development in it quite fast and forcibly organized. I never release anything written in Game Maker anymore, but it makes my programming style more bearable. (You know the one where you just jump in and start programming?) I can tell ahead of time the problems I will have to face, and I won't be tempted to recycle the code since it's not the same language, so I can rewrite my program from scratch and take in to account all the new design specifications.
Kaslai wrote:
There are plenty of horrible ASM programs in existence, but they are just aren't available to the general web population.
Indeed. I feel as if the threshold of difficulty of programming the language, although much lower than many make it out to be, is sufficient to prevent the most incompetent coders from making a sufficiently big enough game or program. Therefore, their work doesn't get widely (if at all) disseminated, and their coding and design shortcomings are less visible. An excellent point.
  
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