Last week I started with three game libraries and picked the smallest one, named Fly, to use. Fly seemed easy to use and had some documentation but I couldn't get it to load images. Fly tries to make it "easy" but it ends up not working. I think it tries to uses reflection or some advance Java stuff. (Fly didn't come with the source code so I couldn't try to fix it. I thought about decompiling it but I just tried the next videogame library.)
Ucigame was my next choice. (And no, I don't know what it stands for.) It had more documentation than Fly as well as 12 short demos programs which showed how various stuff works. So step 1 is loading an image and showing it on the screen. Check, thankfully Ucigame had no problems there.
So I went on and coded a few more things before I found Ucigame's game breaking problem. You can't use "for" loops, or any other kind of loops, in the draw() method. At first I thought I could "code around it" and ignore the problem but I couldn't. The more I coded the more I thought that this was a serious bug. I presume it had something to do with a threading problem, where a computer runs two programs at the same time, but I have no idea. Coding threads is always a problem and that is why I was using someone else's code in the first place.
OK, I was down to my last Java videogame library GTGE, which stands for "Golden T Game Engine". The slightly odd name stems from the fact that English is not the author's first language. The good news is that GTGE can load images and use "for" loops in the draw() method. The bad news is that nothing else is done. I felt like I didn't do any "real" programming this week because I had to spend a few hours sorting through the various game libraries. Thankfully GTGE seems pretty good and I'll deal with any problems that it has.
A good game library (API) tries to help you out but doesn't restrict you either, which is a hard line to walk.
Tanks for reading,
--Yes, "tanks" is an intentionally misspelled.
--"API" stands for "application programming interface" and is programming talk for a code library that someone else wrote. The library tends to have a specific goal like "get web pages over the Internet" or "make writing videogames easier".
--I didn't have any humor in this column so feel free to think of a joke about exploding chickens. :=)