Home Forums General Chat So I decided to try and learn coding…

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    Ever since I had my first 48K Spectrum I’ve wanted to try and make game. I tried to learn BASIC, but at the time when there was no internet and no one to help me I inevitably lost motivation and the idea drifted away, far to the back of my mind.


    I recently found a youtube series called Hanmade Hero, where a guy decided to show the entire process of coding a game in the C language from start to finish. The WHOLE thing coded by hand. Even though I don’t understand C, I find the way the guy explains what he is doing very accessible, and I can see that as my knowledge and understanding increases, I will be able to learn the language at a good speed.


    As mind boggling as it is to learn a new language at 36, I am inspired enough to give it a go.


    However, I am discovering that it is even more complicated than that, and even before I start writing any code at all, just setting up eveything I need is hard enough.


    So, I need a little help, and so far google has not answered my simplest questions, which makes me feel like I’m missing some fundamental background knowledge.


    I wanted to follow along with the youtube series and use all the same software, and one thing I needed was the Emacs text editor(version 23.4.1 for windows, not the latest release). This is where I hit my first problem. By default, Emacs has black lettering on white background, and I would much prefer white on black background as it’s much easier on the eyes. But can I figure out how that’s done? Nope. I get the feeling you need to know about Emacs lisp or something, but it seems odd that it would be so hard to change straightforward settings like. I’ve google face customization but the results don’t ever seem to help. Or at least I can’t make them help.


    If anyone is familiar with this I would greatly appreciate any advice(aside from using a different text editor), or least explaining what I’m dealing with.








    Hey Overlord,


    Good luck with your quest! Programming (or “coding” as the trendy kids indeed call it nowadays 🙂 ) is great fun and can be the source of both endless frustration and endless satisfaction.


    Unfortunately, I can’t answer your question here (with any confidence), but as a long-time UNIX user, I know emacs is horrifically complicated under the covers, and not always intuitive to learn. I’ve installed the version you’re using and played around with it [EDIT: and appear to have worked out how to do this; see post below]. 


    But really, if you want to learn C, I’d really recommend just using a different editor when following the tutorials, if possible. Otherwise you risk getting so frustrated by emacs that it puts you off learning to code, which would be a pity.





    Ok, try this.


    (1) Open Windows Emacs

    (2) In the toolbar at the top, go to Options > Customize Emacs > Top-Level Customization Group. The customisation options should open in a pane.

    (3) Drill down to the environment options by scrolling down and clicking the highlighted Environment link. The environment options will appear in the pane

    (4) Drill down to the frame options by scrolling down and clicking the highlighted Frames link. The frame options will appear in the pane

    (5) Scroll down until you see the Default Frame Alist section. Expand it by clicking on the little arrow beside the name.

    (6) Insert a new parameter/value pair by clicking on the INS button

    (7) In the Parameter: line, enter foreground-color

    (8 ) In the corresponding Value: line underneath, enter “white” (including the quotes)

    (9) INS another new parameter/value pair

    (10) This time the Parameter: is background-color and the Value: is “black”

    (11) Now scroll all the way to the top of the pane again

    (12) Click the “set for current session” and “save for future sessions” buttons, which should save the values. My emacs crashed at this point, but when I restarted, I had the color scheme I wanted! 🙂


    Good luck! 😀





    Thank you so much auryx it worked first time!


    You wouldn’t believe(or maybe you would)how long I’ve googled for this simple change. There I was thinking I was going to have to learn lisp aswell.


    Now I just have to learn how to use it, AND get my head around learning C. Maybe as I start to understand things a bit better I’ll change to a different editor. At the moment I have no point of reference to how good or bad Emacs is. Any recommendations?


    Thanks again



    there’s a lot of IDE that are free and more comfortable to use (assuming you do your experimentations on Windows platform):


    and alot more…


    good luck



    Thanks Nevil I’ll check them out.


    Auryx’s description of Emacs as “not intuitive” is possibly the most accurate decription of something I have ever read!



    Glad I could help 🙂


    I’m a bit old-fashioned, but to me, before you start programming with any fancy IDE, you should do it in a plain text editor first (…and emacs doesn’t count!)


    Again, there’s the danger that you start relying on the features of the IDE, or fighting them, or associating them with the code, which isn’t healthy. Before you choose one, make sure you can do some simple programs with just a basic editor (notepad might work, if you’re in Windows) or even with a command prompt. That will give you the confidence to know that your programming abilities don’t depend on having clever tools to help you 🙂


    Also – wanted to thank you for drawing my attention to that handmade hero series – it’s a brilliant idea, watched a few of the intro videos just to see how it went!






    Well I’ll see about that. Using notepad actually seems more straightforward than Emacs from where I’m sitting.


    I’m pretty fussy when it comes to understanding what I’m doing. I have to know why I’m doing this, or that. Emacs may just keep me stuck at the beginning while I try to understand how to use it, so it may not actually be the best thing to use.


    I really like the guy doing the handmade hero series, he explains most things in enough detail that in time you can work it out but not so much that he spends hours on every tiny thing. It’s a perfect source of knowledge, demonstration and explanation for someone like me.

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