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DLL Talk / is it the money - making dll's

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Spike
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Posted: 9th Dec 2004 05:21
hi All,

I have been reading this forum for a long time now. I bought my first copy of DB when it came in a brown paper page. I had to put it down because the fact I could not interface with the outside world(dll's) and my project needed to. Well to make a long story short...I have been reading the forum again for about six months, I am getting DBpro for xmas, and I still need to use DLL's (I am building a script engine for my project...I program in C# and vb.net and have been trying to read up whats needed to interface with DBpro...Here is my point....In my opinion....what makes DB is the DB comunity.. the product is better than some not as good as others...the people are what brings me back here.....
It seems to me that people are being real selfish with info that they might have figure out....I understand that they want to make money from their labor...but make money from some kind of idea you code...some product you write.. not from the fact that you read the MSN LIB and found some ATTB tags or can use tblexp better than anyone else....help other people, and profit from 'your' ideas...I will have it figured out soon...I wish some 'smart' would help out the new people...here.and me..It would have saved me alot of work.....


fleanbilly

Live Large---Code Hard
Rob K
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Posted: 9th Dec 2004 05:58
I really don't follow your argument. Nobody here is benefitting in any way from "special" knowledge of how to use DLLs in DBPro.

If you are referring to the commercial DLLs, then the only commercial DLLs are those which took a *lot* of work to write, and are not just a wrapper for an existing C++ library.

The vast majority of plugins are free, and all the information you need to make a plugin is public domain (the SDK document included with DBPro). If you need help get hold of IanM, Exeat, CattleRustler, TCA or myself. We are all more than happy to help out.


BlueGUI:Windows UI Plugin - All the power of the windows interface in your DBPro games.
dj chainz
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Posted: 9th Dec 2004 06:05
Well, windows commands are just based on knowledge of windows DLLs are they not? And yet you sell BlueGUI...

I am the lead programmer at red spark studios
I also have a blog on how to make a game engine
http://www.dbgame.blogspot.com
Mussi
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Posted: 9th Dec 2004 06:22 Edited at: 9th Dec 2004 06:24
@dj chainz, and so is DB based on DirectX is it not? It takes a hell lot of time to make such a plugin, Robbert has the right to demand money for it.



Specs: AMD Athlon 1800+, 256 DDRRam 266mhz, 80GB HD 7200rmp U133, Geforce4 Ti4400 128mb
BatVink
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Posted: 9th Dec 2004 06:49
Quote: "Well, windows commands are just based on knowledge of windows DLLs are they not? And yet you sell BlueGUI..."


If you can do it yourself...do it yourself. Personally, I snapped at the chance to pick up a whole load of new functionality for a few quid.

Even if you could do it yourself, what is your time worth? I'm sure you can grow potatoes if you try hard enough, but are you going to tell the local chip shop to stop robbing everybody?

BatVink
Shadow Robert
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Posted: 9th Dec 2004 07:34
Quote: "@dj chainz, and so is DB based on DirectX is it not? It takes a hell lot of time to make such a plugin, Robbert has the right to demand money for it"


Difference being, is that RobK's BlueGUI is more of a wrapper for the WinAPI to make it DarkBASIC friendly. The work is timely but not requiring any special understanding or such.

RobK is just making money off the fact that, a majority of people are well.. lazy.
Especially given you don't even need a wrapper to use the WinAPI, as has been demonstrated numerous times in forum examples.

DirectX on the other hand requires a more descriptive language, and for you to produce anything you need to create an engine. TGC didn't simple make DirectX Functions available, what they've done is created an entire 3D engine and ontop of that given you a much more simplistic interface with, which to build upon for the engine.

Very little is actually direct DirectX access.
It is all down to the Capitalist nature of the DLL developer really.

Why does RobK charge for a 250function DLL Wrapper for WinAPI, when Walaber releases a free 450function DLL Wrapper for Newton Game Dynamics?

It is the parogative of the developer and a commentry on how lazy other developers actually are.


1tg46
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Posted: 9th Dec 2004 08:04
It is not the developers for the TGC forum are to lazy, it is that it gets complicated calling dll's with specifications that are specifyed in other languages other than Dark Basic Pro. I have tried literally hundreds of times to try and use WindowsAPI commands from DBP and it is hard. And their are also limitations on the length of parameters for the call dll() function in DBP, I do believe the max amount of paramters is 9(I could be wrong). And you have to keep in mind that I would say half(or less) of the people who buy DBP or DBC don't have any programming experience at all, I know that are sure didn't. But after a year or two in these forums, you learn on how to do this stuff.

And back to commercial dll's, I say that they deserve to get money because they put lots of effort in creating dll's and if the dll has 100+ functions for DBP then I would say it is worthy to be sold.

Regards,
1tg46


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Shadow Robert
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Posted: 9th Dec 2004 10:57
Quote: "And back to commercial dll's, I say that they deserve to get money because they put lots of effort in creating dll's and if the dll has 100+ functions for DBP then I would say it is worthy to be sold."


As I said above, it's all down to the capitalist nature of the developer. You can't demand some people not to make money from something, just as you can't force someone who want to release something freely to do so.

Either the end user things it is worth the price-tag or they don't.. it's up to the developer to choose what that price-tag is.
In either situation, getting worked up about it will not make a blind bit of difference.

People do as they please. It's like TGC, it might be annoying for them to finally release working Terrain controls through a plug-in we have to buy.. but then that is thier choice. You decide if it's worth it... if not then fine make your own.


Dave J
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Posted: 9th Dec 2004 17:07
And it appears that a large amount of people believe Rob's Blue GUI plugin is worth it.


"Computers are useless - They can only give you answers."
Rob K
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Posted: 9th Dec 2004 19:45 Edited at: 9th Dec 2004 20:09
Quote: "Why does RobK charge for a 250function DLL Wrapper for WinAPI"


BlueGUI is certainly not a simple Windows API wrapper, as even a cursory glance at the plugin's documentation or a few minutes on MSDN (the Microsoft developer reference) would show. For example, the following two lines of DarkBASIC-BlueGUI code translate to over 100 lines of C++:

toolbar=createToolbar(0)
addStandardToolBarButtons toolbar

In addition, it took me several months of work to put BlueGUI together, I think it is fair to charge a small amount for it, around two thirds of the price of a single DVD.


BlueGUI:Windows UI Plugin - All the power of the windows interface in your DBPro games.
1tg46
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Posted: 9th Dec 2004 20:15
Quote: "For example, the following two lines of DarkBASIC-BlueGUI code translate to over 100 lines of C++:"


How many lines of code are in BlueGUI?


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IanM
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Posted: 9th Dec 2004 20:16
Hey, if you don't want to pay for it then don't.

You'll just need to write your own version ... then you'll find out the sorts of issues that need to be dealt with for some of these plug-ins.

*** Coming soon - Network Plug-in - Check my site for info ***
For free Plug-ins and source code http://www.matrix1.demon.co.uk
Ron Erickson
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Posted: 9th Dec 2004 21:21
Some of the people that have released commercial (paid) dll's are also the same people that contribute the most to this community for free. If you don't like it, simply don't buy it.

EZrotate!
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Rob K
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Posted: 9th Dec 2004 21:22
Quote: "How many lines of code are in BlueGUI?"


Around 7000 for the core plugin itself, with another 3500 or so for Rainbow. The actual total is probably higher than this, but it is a while since I totalled them up.


BlueGUI:Windows UI Plugin - All the power of the windows interface in your DBPro games.
BatVink
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Posted: 9th Dec 2004 21:40
The simple laws of supply and demand have already proved that the plugins are worth it.

The mathematics behind whether it is worth it to you is simple - work out what how much money you could make in the time that it would take you to program it yourself, delivering newspapers, heading the board of a global company, whatever it is you do. I reckon you could make £200 delivering newspapers in the time it took you to reproduce BlueGUI and all of the features it includes.

As I've already said, you can do most things yourself. But I imagine you haven't started pulping wood to make your own toilet paper yet.

BatVink
Spike
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Posted: 10th Dec 2004 03:14
To Be honest...I think my point was missed....I dont have a problem with commercial Dll's...God bless you...Its a free market and if you make a product that can save someone time...It has a cash value...your time is worth money also...The point that got me going was....I program alot myself in VB.net, I just wanted info on how to write my custom Dll (internal script engine) I read the White paper, but still dont get it...so I look to the forums...(which is why I came back to DB) for help...And I do a search and see comments like "I wont post that here do a net search"... I look to the makers of these DLL..the ones that are said to be written in VB.net...and find the posts where people have asked can and how this can be done. NO one wants to help or share their secret...I must have read 50 posts with the same general outcome, It seemed that people wanted to help till they saw they could make some money...I dont have an issue with guys making money from their idea. If you have a better mouse trap..go sell it...My issue is no one wants to talk about the general code/way to get dll working. Its like once they figure it they write some plug -in and try to sell it....they stop answering questions and only hype what there product can do... I think that stinks....

Live Large---Code Hard
Rob K
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Posted: 10th Dec 2004 03:45 Edited at: 10th Dec 2004 03:50
There *are* no commercial DLLs for DBPro written in VB.NET though! - All of the commercial DLLs and all bar one of the free DLLs are written in C++ I believe.
CattleRustler / Exeat are the only people providing a .NET DLL as far as I know.
The reason that no information is available then is really down to the fact that hardly anyone on this forum has practical experience of using .NET "DLLs" in DBPro.

VB.NET does not make "proper" DLLs, it creates .NET components, which are a whole different kettle of fish to normal libraries. I assure you the lack of publically available information is not malice on the part of any forum users.


BlueGUI:Windows UI Plugin - All the power of the windows interface in your DBPro games.
CattleRustler
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Posted: 10th Dec 2004 03:56
You can convert .net dll's into standard dlls to use in DBP and the information to do so is public on the internet. Aside from that I wont speak further on it as someone here has put in alot of work to a program that will do it for you but they may want to sell that program (which is their right) so I will not provide the info. If you find it then you do. The .net dll that I did, and the Exeat wrapped in c++ is just that, a wrapped .net dll, so dbp requires IT and the c++ one in the plugins dir. This is different than this other persons program. Thats about all I can say.


DBP_NETLIB_v1.4.3 DarkTOPIA site coming soon!
1tg46
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Posted: 10th Dec 2004 04:22
I am pretty sure Cattlerustler is talking about ZKAT8IT's program which is a VB.NET dll converter. And cattlerustler, if this is the person that you speak of then why do you always have to go around his name and not just say it?


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Shadow Robert
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Posted: 10th Dec 2004 04:59
Quote: "BlueGUI is certainly not a simple Windows API wrapper, as even a cursory glance at the plugin's documentation or a few minutes on MSDN (the Microsoft developer reference) would show. For example, the following two lines of DarkBASIC-BlueGUI code translate to over 100 lines of C++:

toolbar=createToolbar(0)
addStandardToolBarButtons toolbar"


This is more down to how your coding it though. While yes DarkBASIC Professional cannot use some functions exactly meaning you have to recode them in order to use them directly... fact remains that is still a wrapper.

Adding a Linked List for holding the main data (or atleast i'd assume that's what you've done as it would be the quickest way) is hardly much of a challenge as most of it is in place.

While I'm not knocking that you've put alot of time into the plug-in, to say it is much more than a wrapper really is a bit of a stretch from the truth, unless you've developed it in a way that actually adds to your workload needlessly. :-\

Furthermore, I could've sworn you were/are a Pascal programmer and that is what the BlueGUI was developed in. o_0


Rob K
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Posted: 10th Dec 2004 05:28 Edited at: 10th Dec 2004 05:56
Edit: Raven, you clearly didn't write the plugin so from your perspective, to say that if BlueGUI is a wrapper for the Windows API really is like saying that DarkBASIC is a wrapper for DirectX.

Spike has clarified the fact that his query is about using VB.NET DLLs in DBPro - so lets stick to discussing that.


BlueGUI:Windows UI Plugin - All the power of the windows interface in your DBPro games.
CattleRustler
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Posted: 10th Dec 2004 05:46
1tg46, Yes ZK is who I mean.

Shadow Robert
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Posted: 10th Dec 2004 06:25
Quote: "Edit: Raven, you clearly didn't write the plugin so from your perspective, to say that if BlueGUI is a wrapper for the Windows API really is like saying that DarkBASIC is a wrapper for DirectX."


No I didn't write it, but given the way it works and how WinAPI works.. if it wasn't a simple wrapper, then you've basically given yourself far more work than you've needed too.

Quote: "Spike has clarified the fact that his query is about using VB.NET DLLs in DBPro - so lets stick to discussing that"


It's you who argued my original point and dragged the conversation off-topic for your own ego on the subject.


Rob K
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Posted: 10th Dec 2004 07:04
Quote: "No I didn't write it, but given the way it works and how WinAPI works.. if it wasn't a simple wrapper, then you've basically given yourself far more work than you've needed too."


You do not know how my plugin works, so you cannot possibly comment on the efficiency of the code.

Quote: "It's you who argued my original point and dragged the conversation off-topic for your own ego on the subject."


No, I merely corrected some of the many factual inaccuracies in your post.


BlueGUI:Windows UI Plugin - All the power of the windows interface in your DBPro games.
Spike
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Posted: 10th Dec 2004 15:01
Well thanks for the active discussion, I really didn't want to start a flame session about the products out there, This whole wrapper discussion is wacked.....DB classic was really not much more then a DX wrapper when I bought....and thats why I bought it...It was a wrapper that saved me tons of time, I wanted to code games and not spend all my time loading and locking buffers and such.. It was worth every penny even back then... but the fact is it was not much more than a DX wrapper with a script engine. It has grown alot and DBpro has even added more nice features....and I spent the money again.....I am cool with that....Truevision started the same way...it was a VB version of a DX wrapper....managed DX is alot simpler to use...but DBpro still makes the job quicker and easy (well sort of)....This is the kinda stuff that gets me pissed...
Quote: "You can convert .net dll's into standard dlls to use in DBP and the information to do so is public on the internet. Aside from that I wont speak further on it as someone here has put in alot of work to a program that will do it for you but they may want to sell that program (which is their right) so I will not provide the info"
Ok....I have been looking on the net...I have been reading MSD LIb and I may be close....But I came to the forum to get help...and we are all tight lipped about the process....give me a break....It is possable and it was not your thinking or doing that made it so...It was microsoft's way of maintaining backwards looking software with the .net platform...and true to their way I find their help files just alittle more helpful than DB's....If you write a converter ...great... if it makes my life easy I may buy it..but to be all hush hush about what the process is when it is not even your idea....Stinks....DB was build on Lee's hard work and the user feedback....I saw it happen... So maybe I will just ask....

Can anyone point me to any information about using .net Dlls with DBpro...If its a email --website-- page in the documention somewhere....any help?
Thank you all (really) for your passion on the subject
Spike (spike@loveable.com)

Live Large---Code Hard
CattleRustler
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Posted: 10th Dec 2004 20:25
Thats like asking how any programmer or software company "did what they do" and you being pissed when they don't tell you. That stand point makes no sense. Why should they just tell you, when whatever it is they did cost them their time and money. Why should you suddenly be the priveledged one who does nothing other than asks a question and receives all the answers? Your quote above is from me, and anyone on these boards who really knows me (especially people in the irc channel) know that I go above and beyond the call of duty to help people when I can, provide code examples, etc etc etc. Again your logic is flawed. The programmer I spoke of about the .NET converter is ZKAT8IT. Who am I to give away his trade-secrets? He has a thread on these very forums about his converter. At last check I didnt see that you have posted in it so I wonder how good your "search" for the info really is. I wish you would ask him how the conversion is done. I'm betting he wont tell you. Will you then be mad at him too?

Rob K
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Posted: 10th Dec 2004 21:56 Edited at: 10th Dec 2004 21:56
This web site has information about creating an interface DLL between managed and unmanaged components using managed C++:

http://www.developer.com/net/cplus/article.php/10919_1553221_2

If you don't have Managed C++, you can get a free edition from http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/vs2005/


BlueGUI:Windows UI Plugin - All the power of the windows interface in your DBPro games.
Hamish McHaggis
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Posted: 11th Dec 2004 03:08
Quote: "RobK is just making money off the fact that, a majority of people are well.. lazy"


If you actually took that view seriously, you'd be coding your own OS and everything to go on it from machine language. Scratch that, you'd be creating your own computer to write these programs on, in fact, you should really be living in a cave, mining for metal and silicon to create your own computer using the flint and elephant tusk tools you created with your bare hands.

Come on, if no-one made use of the things other people made, we'd still be communicating in ugs and grunts and picking the fleas off of each others hairy backs.

Isn't it? Wasn't it? Marvellous!
CattleRustler
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Posted: 11th Dec 2004 03:56
Quote: "...picking the fleas off of each others hairy backs"


wait, is that bad? I do that for Philip the Bear.



Spike
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Posted: 11th Dec 2004 04:45
I dont mean to keep a flame threed going...so Thanks Rob K for the Link...I still must be missing something...reading the Docs with Vs2003...I thought I was on the right track....trying to forget the images of the last post about flea's and backs....could I just ask this....here is my simple .net class...All the docs say to use an interface when unmanged code is calling your managed code so I did...


Now I use Regasm to export a tlb and reg. the net asemebly with com... regasm mytestdll.dll /tlb:mytestdll.tlb
that works and I have a type Lib.....
now I though the DBpro code would work...It loads the Dll...but of my functions just return zero...


Reading The Docs in VS2003....this should be ok...But I must have missed something cause it dont work...any Ideas...


Thanks again
Spike

Live Large---Code Hard
Rob K
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Posted: 11th Dec 2004 05:03
DBPro doesn't treat DLLs as COM components (which is what your component is being exported as).

According to the article I linked to above, .NET cannot export 'normal' DLL functions. Hence the need for C++ glue.


BlueGUI:Windows UI Plugin - All the power of the windows interface in your DBPro games.
CattleRustler
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Posted: 11th Dec 2004 06:32
Any dll created in .net is prepared for COM interop (have a look in the assemby file) but .NET, on its own, cant export "Standard" dlls that DBP can use straight away. It can export COM dlls, which you have, but these things are not the same - As you have found out. If I were you I'd stick with just making a plain old .NET dll, compile it, and then look around for what you need to do to it which a this point has nothing whatsoever to do with visual studio .net or vb.net

and thats all I'll say on this matter as far as "hints" go.

1tg46
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Posted: 11th Dec 2004 08:23
Quote: "and thats all I'll say on this matter as far as "hints" go."


I would've never thought you were hinting at anything Cattleruslter. (Meant to be sarcastic)


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Mattman
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Posted: 11th Dec 2004 08:24
This is why I have a problem with you Raven

You come in here disrespecting RobK's work for no reason. He has put hours upon hours upon hours of community service to all of us without making DLL's. If he thinks that making a DLL which would make it easier for us DB'ers to make GUI's, let him do so. If he puts in enough effort that he feels it is worth a value in money, let him think that. If the commmunity believes it is worth that amount let them pay.

I myself have never bought it, never tried it, but only heard great comments from the community so I would assume I would get my money's worth if I were to buy it. And if you disagree WITHOUT owning his DLL first, I think you should shut up right now, simple as that.

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1tg46
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Posted: 11th Dec 2004 08:29
Quote: "I myself have never bought it, never tried it, but only heard great comments from the community so I would assume I would get my money's worth if I were to buy it."


You should try the plugin, their is a full trial plugin on RobK's website, the only drawback is that it only works for 20 minutes then the gadgets won't work (this is on a per execution of exe file basis), and their is also a nag screen.


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Dave J
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Posted: 11th Dec 2004 14:51
If you're having some serious problems getting a VB.NET (or even a simple .NET DLL itself) running, then just shoot me an email. I can easily whip up a sample project with some documentation. However, although minimum, you will have to use C++ in one form or another. It's not that hard though, honest.


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Rob K
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Posted: 11th Dec 2004 16:45
Thanks for the support guys, but lets get back to VB.NET

Exeat, I think it would be a good idea to set up a small sample project and sticky it to the top of this forum for users in the future.


BlueGUI:Windows UI Plugin - All the power of the windows interface in your DBPro games.
Dave J
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Posted: 11th Dec 2004 19:31
Good idea, there seem to be an increasingly large number of queries in reguards to it.


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1tg46
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Posted: 12th Dec 2004 00:08
great idea


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