Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Trying out the Processing language

I had seen references to the Processing language on a few web pages (like, but a couple of key things I read about it recently led to me actually trying it out:
  • I noticed that a variation of it is used as the language for the Arduino boards, which I had become interested in as a useful way to get into PIC-type electronics
  • I learned that it has a feature to export programs as Java applets, complete with wrapper html pages, making it super easy to put a program out for people to consume
  • I learned that it's graphically-oriented, with a ton of features for 2d and 3d graphics. I've been looking for a graphically-oriented, easy, hobbyist-type open source language for several years now, and this one seems to fit the bill.
So I installed it and tried it out yesterday. This evening I was showing it to my 10 year old, and said that I thought it would be easy to make a simple arcade game like Space Invaders using it. And then I coded up a simplified clone, in one evening. :) And here it is.

This ability to easily post a program on a web page is a big deal, because most languages I've tried require a lot more work to do that. I like Perl, but someone would need to install Perl and any modules I used, before they could use a script...or I'd have to compile the script into an executable, at a minimum. Emacs lisp is fun, but you have to install Emacs first before you can do anything with it.

Now my amateur game programming shall be limited only by my time and sticktoitiveness. Maybe I'll finally write the computer version of Dungeon's Revenge I've been dreaming about for years (a takeoff on the Dungeon! boardgame, where you play monsters who come out of a dungeon to attack the city).

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