Is it possible to design games in VB6?

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Answered by: Steven, An Expert in the How to Use VB.6 Category
Visual Basic 6, commonly called VB6, is an older Microsoft specific programming language known for its rapid development speed and ease of use. While the language is a bit dated, having been released in 1998, it is still a very viable language for developing games that do not rely heavily on 3D graphics. For example, I currently design Audio games in VB6, mainly geared towards blind or visually impaired gamers, as well as simple 2D games such as Platformers, RPGs, and Strategy games. Be aware that, as with any language, there are definite pros and cons to designing in VB6.

First, the positive side of developing games in VB6. Due to the language being designed for rapid development, you can, once you learn the basics of programming, effectively go from concept to demo in a relatively short amount of time. Many commonly used functions are already in place for you to use, such as timers, pictures, file boxes, and many more. The VB6 development environment allows you to quickly and easily add these to your programs with little to no extra coding.

Also, due to the age of the language, there are many tutorials and guides available for you to learn from. A simple search for "VB6 Tutorials" will provide you with almost everything you need to start learning the language. Also, do to the language's focus on easy and quick development, VB6 is a fairly straightforward and simple language to learn. Even a novice programmer can jump right in and start designing simple games with just a few tutorials under their belts. However, despite how easy it is to learn the basics, VB6 has a lot to offer the more experienced programmer as well, allowing for complex and detailed games. As the old saying goes, it's easy to learn, but takes years to master.

Unfortunately, as with anything, there are cons to the language as well. Visual Basic 6 was never designed with 3D graphics in mind. They CAN be done, and done well, but it's not something that comes naturally to the language and requires a lot of advanced code to pull off. Also, due to the language being no longer officially supported by Microsoft, newer operating systems, such as Windows Vista and Windows 7, may require extra steps to ensure that your games will function properly. Lastly, due to the language being specific to Microsoft, games designed in VB6 will not be playable on any operating systems other than Windows. While there ARE workarounds for this, they do not always work and can be buggy even when they do.

As you can see, VB6 has many pros AND cons as a game design language. However, while the language is dated and Microsoft specific, it can allow for some amazing development times and is a very viable option for creating unique and extremely fun games. Whether you are a novice programmer looking for a language to start with, or a grizzled veteran looking for something new to try, VB6 is a great choice, especially for Audio Game or 2D Video Game development.

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