Moving To Windows / Direct X
Question submitted by (12 July 1999)

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  Hey Guys! A hopefully simple (but for me very important question): I programmed old crusty 16-bit DOS code till now and want to aim now on Win9x and DirectX. I do have Borland C++ 4.5 compiler, Tasm 4.0 and some books about programming. What else do I need (considering software)?

Where can I get the source code of famous games (DOOM, DUNE, Heretic, whatever...)

  Borland compilers should work just fine. Just keep in mind that the DirectX lib files aren't compatible with Borland compilers as is, but DirectX includes a "Borland" directory under its "lib" directory that houses the libs you'll need.

Depending on the type of app / game you're developing, there are several free and cheap tools available to you. [Please note that opinions vary greatly from developer to developer - Check around and see what others are ranting and raving about] .

Graphics Tools:
  • 2D Graphics Editing - JASC ( makes a great shareware paint program called Paint Shop Pro.
  • 3D Retracing - POV is a popular freeware ray tracer available from
  • 3D Graphics Editing (photo realistic) - Moray ( is a shareware 3D editor (and more) with a GUI similar to 3D Studio Max. It's a

    great companion for POV and it promises some very impressive (for the price) improvements in the not-so-distant future. A fairly promising tool.
  • 3D Graphics Editing (low poly modeling) - Nendo is a nice low-poly modeler available from Nichimen ( for around $99 (demo available). Very nice (for the price) for making real-time 3D objects.
Code Tools:
  • Class Builder - Freeware. A nifty design tool for OO / C++ weenies. Design your app - then export the source (CPP) and docs (RTF or HTML). External changes are automagically recognized and incorporated back into your design. (
  • UltraEdit - Shareware. Nice, simple, small IDE with customizable syntax highlighting. (
Research / Reference:
  • The Microsoft Developer Network is an invaluable resource for win32 programming. Search docs, specs, KBs, articles, partial books, samples, and much more. (
  • Dejanews is another great resource. It's a web-based interface to usenet and it's home to what seems like a complete archive of past articles for every topic from gardening to skydiving to game development - all searchable. Search, post, browse. (
MUCH better tools are available commercially if you're willing / able to spend the big bucks. But the price vs performance ratio of these tools is pretty awesome.

As for the source code: While it is easy to find and obtain source for countless shareware / freeware / and commercial games, those sources are generally not very good learning resources. But they are pretty good for seeing how a specific technical hurdle was overcome.

Crack's Abuse and Golgotha are available at, id's Wolfenstien 3D and Doom are available at, and 47 Tek's GoMan can be found at As I said earlier, there are countless others... Seek and ye shall find.

Happy Coding!

Response provided by Joseph Hall

This article was originally an entry in flipCode's Fountain of Knowledge, an open Question and Answer column that no longer exists.


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