Here's an old post I made on the subject,
That's already a bit better, as those environments usually have wizards that allow you to design windows and standard controls with ease. However, for any custom rendering, you will have to get your hands dirty, and for defining "actors" etc. you will also have to lay down your own structures/classes etc.
However, I'm thinking on that I'll work with Microsoft Visual C# 2010 because I've worked with that previously and way easier to work with than writing a whole program from a blank file in Code:Blocks or DevC++. What do you think?
Geo's proposal of Actionscript is not a bad one: you get a "visual" environment for animations/sounds/images/resources (Flash), plus a C-like language that is closely integrated with the various "stage objects".
For all of its specialized nature, ACS is still TONS more flexible and closer to a "real" programming language than Stencyl. At least it will teach you something and will even allow you to reuse code written by others, something that you absolutely cannot do cleanly in Stencyl: you can only cobble together your own play-doh functions :-D
And yeah, even BASIC is much better. For all of its deficiencies, it remains a complete programming language, with enough "syntactic sugar" not to scare away beginners. Of course don't start with some 80s BASIC dialect....use some more modern variants.
A final word of advice, as a teaching assistant for the last 3 years: due to some academia fuck-ups, freshman Mech. Eng. students in my faculty are taught FORTRAN first (1st semester) AKA a hard-to-learn, irregular, and unforgiving compiled language and THEN MATLAB (2nd semester), which instead is a much more forgiving, interpreted, has "easy" plot functions etc. You'd think they'd benefit from swapping them around, right?
Not really: those that DO have the stuff to learn actual programming or at least to apply and study it (which is about 70-80% of alumni) do make it through the 2-stage course. The other 20%, just don't "get it" anyway. I've yet to see someone performing significantly better in the MATLAB part while flunking the FORTRAN one, so for me starting off with a neutered/"kid friendly" language has no didactic value whatsoever.
Last edited by Maes on Feb 14 2013 at 11:50