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Game Programming in Visual Basic - Lesson Two

Visual Basic 6, or VB Classic

This article is lesson two in my mini-series of "Game Programming in Visual Basic". If you like it or even dislike please tell me what was wrong and what was good. PLEASE EVERYONE VOTE, IT ONLY TAKES A FEW SECONDS!!!!

Original Author: Greg L English



Game Programming in Visual Basic

Game Programming in Visual Basic

style='font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Tahoma'>By Greg



to the second of a series of tutorials about ǣGame Programming in Visual
Basic. This lesson will get you down into the nitty gritty of the Win32 API.
So go ahead and read on and get coding


Getting Started

In this lesson,
you will learn the techniques of the Win32 API to make a catchy little game for
you and your friends to play. All game programming is are techniques that you
learn and put them together to make the next Quake 3 Engine! We will start off
with good old bitblt. The lesson itself won't be big, but you can reference my
Sample Project of Asteroids in which I made in 3 hours



What is BitBlt?

BitBlt is the main graphics drawing function for the Win32
GDI, there are others like StretchBlt, but they aren't really needed here. So
lets take a look at the function


Public Declare Function BitBlt Lib "gdi32" (ByVal
hDestDC As Long, ByVal X As Long, ByVal Y As Long, ByVal nWidth
As Long, ByVal nHeight As Long, ByVal hSrcDC As Long, ByVal xSrc
As Long, ByVal ySrc As Long, ByVal dwRop As Long) As Long


hDestDC The destination DC(Device
Context) example: frmMain.hdc/picGame.hdc


X,Y The coordinates of where you want the Top/Left
part of the graphics being drawn


nWidth, nHeight The dimensions of the graphic
to be drawn.


hSrcDC The source DC from which the graphic comes from.


xSrc, ySrc The source coordinates from the
hSrcDC you get the image from(nWidth and nHeight determine xSrc2 and ySrc2)


dwRop The rasterization option. Example: SRCCOPY =
Copy as is, SRCINVERT = Inverts the colors, SRCAND = Copies all but the white,
SRCPAINT = Copies all but the black.


Tip For Debugging BitBlt

If you haven't noticed, BitBlt is a function, so it will
return a value. If the value returned is less than or equal to zero, then the
execution of BitBlt has failed. Below is sample code for debugging BitBlt


[Code Start]

Dim RetVal as long


RetVal =


If RetVal = 0 Then

??????????? MsgBox
ǣBitBlt has failed!

??????????? Exit

End If

[Code Stop]


Extra BitBlt Stuff


Getting Transparent Blts

Sometimes you
will need to get an image by itself(say a character sprite with a green
background, you would need a Mask for the graphic. A Mask is just a Black and
White picture of the graphic.


You would draw
the Mask first using SRCAND, then draw the real graphic EXACTLY AFTER IT, using
SRCINVERT. You can get mask creators off PSC, because I don't have the time to
make one.


[Code Start]

BitBlt frmMain.hdc,0,0,640,480,picLogo.hdc,0,0,SRCAND


[Code Stop]



What is GetAsyncKeyState?

This function allows the programmer to access character
input throughout the program without the use of the default
Form_KeyPress/KeyDown/KeyUp events allowing more versatility I would'mso-bidi-font-family:Tahoma'>Lets take a look at the function, its VERY
VERY VERY simple.


Public Declare Function GetAsyncKeyState Lib
"user32" (ByVal vKey As Long) As Integer


vKey You insert the key constant here to check its
current state, you can use the basic vbKey constants with this.


This API is very simple to use.


[Code Start]

Dim btnDown as Boolean


btnDown = GetAsyncKeyState(vbKeyDown)


If btnDown = True Then //the key is being pressed

??????????? //code


??????????? //code

End If

[Code Stop]

A cool way to use this API can be looked at modEngine.bas
in the Asteroids directory.



What is SndPlaySound?

This function is pretty easy to use as well, but at the
same time, it can cause some big problems if the flags given are kinda awkward.
So let's take a look at this function.


Public Declare
Function sndPlaySound Lib "winmm.dll" Alias "sndPlaySoundA"
(ByVal lpszSoundName As String, ByVal uFlags As Long) As Long


= The filename for the
WAVE sound(must be .WAV sound file)


UFlags style='mso-bidi-font-family:Tahoma'>- Flags for the sound when it's played.

style="mso-spacerun: yes">??? SND_ASYNC - &H1 lets you
play a new wav sound, interrupting another

style="mso-spacerun: yes">??? SND_LOOP - &H8 loops the
wav sound

style="mso-spacerun: yes">??? SND_NODEFAULT - &H2 if
wav file not there, then make sure NOTHING plays

style="mso-spacerun: yes">??? SND_SYNC - &H0 no
control to program til wav is done playing

style="mso-spacerun: yes">??? SND_NOSTOP - &H10 if a
wav file is already playing then it wont interrupt


[Code Start]

sndPlaySound App.Path & ǣAudioSound.wav, SND_ASYNC

[Code Stop]


For some basic subs and functions on using sndPlaySound,
refer to the Asteroids example.



What is IntersectRect?

This function takes to RECT types and determines whether
they overlap each other. Let's take a look at this function.


Public Declare Function IntersectRect Lib
"user32" (lpDestRect As RECT, lpSrc1Rect As RECT, lpSrc2Rect As RECT)
As Long


lpDestRect This RECT will receive the area that
the 2 RECTs crossed over. You would be able to use this RECT for pixel perfect
detection. More on that in a later lesson (maybeǪ)

lpSrc1Rect The first source RECT

lpSrc2Rect The second source RECT


[Code Start]

Dim tmpRECT as RECT

Dim PlayerX as Integer, PlayerY As Integer

Dim CompX As Integer, CompY as Integer

Dim PlayerRect as RECT, CompRect As RECT


//We are assuming the dimenions of the player are 50x50
and the comp 50x50

//createrect is a helper function I wrote for creating

PlayerRect = CreateRect(PlayerX, PlayerY, PlayerX +50, PlayerY
+ 50)

CompRect = CreateRect(CompX,CompY,CompX + 50, CompY + 50)


If IntersectRect(tmpRECT,PlayerRect,CompRect) = True Then //there
was an overlap between the 2 rects

??????????? //code

End If

[Code Stop]


Using IntersectRect
can provide a mere decent collision detection like I used in the Asteroids
game. Refer to modEngine.bas for my short Collide function for collision


Other APIs Used

I'm well aware of the other 6 or 7 APIs I used in the
lesson, but if you go to, there are some good tutorials
on all the DC stuff, they are very good and that's where I learned from. Or you
can check out a kick-azz VB community at, with lots of
other cool tutorials on such stuff, including some APIs I used.



With these simple techniques, you can effectively create
a nice 2d game, better than my Asteroids game I made because I made it in 1 2
Hours. You must remember, these are just the techniques NEEDED to create the
game, you gotta learn to put them together by yourself, and when you can
program a cool game(even a simple one), you can probably say to yourself, you
can program anything because games require all the basics of the language like
strings(chars in C++ unless in an array), simple math operations, arrays etcǪ Until
next time, see ya later J


If you have any questions, comments, or ideas about this
lesson please email me at


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Posted: 2002-06-01
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Visual Basic 6

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