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Is the qbasic/freebasic scene still alive?

Posted: Wed May 05, 2010 1:49 pm
by Optimus
Hi there!

I don't know if it's very wise to ask this question but I was just curious. There is a specific point in history where it seems that the feeling of a community of basic programmers suddenly disappeared. Maybe it's somewhere around the last quarter of 2008. Although my monitoring was happening mostly from Phatcode scene news which displays news from three major qbasic sites. There seems to be not much movement there and also the last zine I read was Qb Express 29 in September 2008.

This is just my curiosity, I am not trying to argue why the scene is active or not. It just seems strange because it happened suddenly. In other communities, like the demoscene, people argue that the scene is dead or not, but you never see this. If it's about 8bit scenes, it's logical, but you never seen activity suddenly disappearing. You see the scene fading slowly away. It's interesting how different it is happening in the qb/fbscene. Maybe most good freebasic coders got a real job and suddenly stopped? (And qbasic died because nobody has DOS anymore). How bout this Qb64 compiler? Do we have programms made with it released there? Why don't I hear anything? Not that I should talk, because I am absent too :)

I am also curious if I am missing some other place on the web where there is activity? Aren't there any new games/demos/utils/etc in the scene? Some site with latest news about recent releases? Or work in progress updates, projects? I don't see something but I only checked the news resources from phatcode.

Response To: Is the qbasic scene alive?

Posted: Wed May 05, 2010 2:13 pm
by JamesWiding
It won't die until the old farts that remember die. You had a wonderful topic. Your right it is dead but it was free and runs,(what it looks like)everything. If I decide to write a program with it, I dont have to worry about anybody caring enough to crack it although it would be easy and with todays computers it runs like an assemblier anyways. Freedom will never die so neither will free old programs. :D

Posted: Wed May 05, 2010 5:42 pm
by bongomeno
The Qbasic scene is not dead! Just not what it used to be.
The 8bit scene is also still VERY active. Just go to!


Posted: Thu May 06, 2010 1:16 am
by JamesWiding
Let me correct myself. I total Love Qbasic and I just wanted to share with the world. I really didn't mean it when I said it was Dead. I'm sorry. I just ment that he's right it is getting harder and harder to find stuff about it. I had to get it off an old win95 cd. Microsoft needs to put all the old stuff that it doesn't support with source code for free for everyone on the internet or at least offer them for money. They offer some stuff but they stop providing it if it's too old. If you read about how the tried to protect the electronics in the Xbox, they think they own it even if you paid for it and did upgrades on the box without telling everyone. But on a different note I thought after reading the previous statement that I had made that I would say sorry for saying the four letter "dead" word. I just needed to talk. I usually bore people when I talk about it.

Posted: Thu May 06, 2010 1:54 am
by angros47
Many QBasic fans have switched to QB64 (and since the success of QB64 started in 2008, that's why in 2008 the qbasic community "disappeared")

Back in the past, many QB fans switched to FreeBasic, because it was very similar to QB, and very compatible; but now, Freebasic is going on its own way, and QB compatibility is not a priority any more.

So, only QB "purist" kept on; they refused freebasic, and continued to use QB; anyway, everyone who wanted to develop new libraries, or access to new features (improved graphics, 3d, sound processing, multitasking) used freebasic, so QB community began to stagnate: no more add-ons were developed, and new codes were written in basic-only (no more tricks in assembly, for example).

When QB64 (that is aimed to keep 100% qb compatibility, at any cost)came on the scene, many members of the QB community saw it as a solution: advanced features (like freebasic) without loosing compatibility with older codes.

Also, with some OSes (like Windows Vista 64) 16 bit programs like QB are not supported any more, so, either you use it in dosbox (but, in that way, even your compiled programs will need it), or you use qb64.

You can use QB code in QB64, but, of course, you can't use "hacks", neither you can use quick libraries (so, if your program used them, you cannot recompile it in QB64). Therefore, even programmers that still use QB, try to avoid using quick libraries, to maintain portability (so, no more usage of directqb, xms expanders, vesa graphics etc..).

So, true qb community is still alive, but it lost a lot: if you limit yourself to built-in qb functions, you'll have a limited potential; and, in nearly 20 years (QBasic born in 1991), that potential has been exausted (it's difficult to do something that's really "new": if you have an idea for a program, often you'll find that either it's impossible to do in qbasic, or that somebody already did it).

Posted: Thu May 06, 2010 8:57 am
by bongomeno
qbasic was 1991, quickbasic was 1985

Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 9:35 am
by relsoft
Yo Optimus!! Long time no see. Yeah, the QB community is almost dying but the FB community is still kicking. Well, I'm kinda absent from the community too. LOL.

I mainly go to dbf and these days though I mostly code for the Nintendo DS (since 1 month ago.)

Try the DS homebrew section. I have some old school fx there, some 3d effects and a game engine that runs on the real hardware as well as all the emulators I've tested them. no$gba and desmume.


What's your new site @Optimus?

Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 12:51 pm
by angros47
At the end of 2008, many communities suffered (effect of the recession?)

FB community is coming back to life: there are some developers working on the compiler (V1ctor came back for a while, and there is also dkls).
Also, FreeBasic is now in the list of the best compilers for linux, so it should grow further (

QB64 community is small, but alive; network54 seems to be indestructible.

This one is almost inactive... as QBasic itself is almost inactive; when Pete went away, and QB Express died, most of the interest disappeared.

Also, this forum has an annoying bug, that discourages many posters, since sometimes you loose all your just-written post.

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 12:08 pm
by Optimus
Hi there!

You answers are interesting. I didn't know there is some movement in Qb64. I see that the compiler gets updated (that's the only news in Phatcode) but I haven't checked to see if people are making projects or porting old stuff by using this compiler.

Hi Relsoft, it's great to see that you are trying something with the DS. I am going to fire up my DS and check them. I tried coding something a long time ago, like a water effect I can touch with the touchpad and make ripples just for fun, I might wanted to make a demo or something for DS but it's a long time since I planned this and I forgot it. I am also interested for democoding in my GBA whenever I get the time.

What happened to AAP? He used to have that AAP Freebasic gfx demo central site among other stuff but it doesn't seem to be updated, since... maybe the end of 2008 :)

Yeah, as long someone is interested in doing something, it doesn't matter much if the scene is alive or not. There are people doing stuff on 8bit machines nobody knows (not talking about c64 or stuff that people watch regularly demos, but strange 8bit machines like Oric or Thompson or MZ800 or whatever). Still it's a curiosity of me about where did everybody go.

About me and compilers and how I think them according to the scene feeling:

* Freebasic is good but there is something about it. It's like a C compiler with all the good libs (SDL, Fmod, OpenGL, etc, etc..) but with basic syntax. So, when I first started I really liked it. But later, I got used to the C syntax and loved that one, so there wasn't any reason to go back to Freebasic, because C did the same things Freebasic do and faster and I didn't hate C syntax to stay in basic. So, I am not motivated at all to do something explicitly for freebasic (but if there is a specific freebasic demo competition I might like to do something).

* Quickbasic? This is still in my interest. Why? Because it's not like Freebasic which is like a slower C with same good libs in windows. It's unique, you are in a restricted DOS environment and you just have qb. There is challenge. Some tutorials impressed me where qbasic coders still have to use hardware ports in DOS for sound, gfx, comms and others. It's the last scene where you can still do that. So there is a special feeling if I try to create a new demo effect in qbasic. In freebasic I know it will run and have all the memory availiable and a faster processor will make it worthwhile. But in qbasic you have to struggle with memory, to play with old VGA, which may sound negative but it's the only thing keeping my wanting to try new stuff. The only problem is I have to stick in Dosbox which is slow for basic (also Vista here, I have seen a demo from Plasma running in XP with sound somehow he did this, but Vista here :P) or I might use an old Pentium laptop which will be fun with DOS.

* Qb64. I might have to look at this. If I can port my old demos easily it will be interesting. Still, it's a compiler running on windows that maybe avoids the restrictions of old good qbasic. Maybe it stops being challenging. But, if I decide to do something in old qbasic in DOS and still want people to be able to watch it in windows, then maybe I could provide both qb45 version and qb64 version if porting proves to be very very easy. That could be the way to go.

Posted: Fri May 14, 2010 12:35 am
by relsoft
Yeah, coding for the DS is so much fun. You could almost do it ala QB in framebuffer mode. IE, direct video pixel blits. ;*)

I have been contacting AAP for the past month to no avail. ;*(

Posted: Sun May 23, 2010 3:06 pm
by TCM
I'd guess that there are probably a lot of people using QBASIC, FreeBASIC, and QuickBASIC who don't becoming involved in QB-related Internet sites (as I did for a long time). Also, there's likely plenty of people downloading and running QB and FB executables they don't even know were programmed in this language.

Posted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:04 pm
by Cyperium
For me QB is definitely alive as I use the old QB 4.5 version as well as QB64. We at QB64 are very alive as well, I've just finished a editor for QB64 that you might want to check out :)

Also, I'm working on a game called Venture, which is a mario like game where you can jump on walls, shoot fire, use items, etc.

Another project I'm working on is a port of directqb to qb64 compatible code. The file will be called and as such will be directly compatible with old source using directqb as QB64 supports the $include metacommand.

Even though QB64 is close to fully compatible with QB 4.5 Galleon says that it is just at the beginning of its journey, with even more modern features planned while keeping the old compatibility!

I have faith that QB will live for a long time into the future!


Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:01 am
by floogle11
QB is awsome its really easy but still can be really hard a lot of times figuring out how to do some stuff. And its free and easy to get to and run.

Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:43 pm
by jasbales
Yeah, there doesn't seem to be much of a "scene", but like TCM said, there's probably a lot of people using QB and FB who you don't see on the forums.

Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 5:21 pm
by coma8coma1
qb64 is the future of QBASIC, IMHO