Atari lite-C / Gamestudio Workshops

Welcome to the lite-C workshops! If you've just downloaded this amazing piece of software, beware: you've got a powerful toy to play with. But why do we call it 'lite'? Well... mainly because it requires a lot less effort and resources than a heavyweight development system like Visual C++®. Nevertheless, lite-C comes with all the software needed to create multimedia applications or 2D and 3D computer games: it includes the powerful Acknex engine and a script editor and debugger.

Walk with me through 25 workshops and you will become an advanced lite-C programmer even if you've never programmed before. You will need about 25 hours (well... that's slightly above one day if you don't sleep) to complete the workshops, but trust me - you will be glad you did it. At the end of the workshops, take the Online Quiz to check out what you've learned! And if you achieve less than 50%, start over...

The focus of the workshops is game programming, because the majority of lite-C projects are computer games. Therefore we'll concentrate on the game features of lite-C. We'll also introduce the C language, but won't go much into details. If you want to become a real master of lite-C, I recommend to buy a C/C++ book or go through a free online C tutorial, such as Sam's Teach Yourself C in 24 Hours, after finishing the workshops.

Every workshop includes fully functional code that can be used in all your future game projects. You will find all the code samples inside the archive, which is contained in the zip archive of this tutorial and can also be downloaded from or copied from the Gamestudio CD. Unzip them in a folder on your PC - but don't copy them into your Gamestudio folder, as Windows Vista and above won't let you modify files in a program folder without administrator rights! You'll need Gamestudio / A8 for running the code samples; if you don't have it yet, download it from All workshops can be done with the free Gamestudio version, except for the last workshop about multiplayer games, which requires the Gamestudio Commercial or Pro Edition.

Finally, a few words about me: my name is George Pirvu and I am the CEO for Randombyte, a software development company - . I have started to use Acknex version A3 in 1997; it was a good engine but what you hold in your hands now is way better, trust me! I am the editor of the Acknex User Magazine (AUM), a free magazine that presents a game template and a lot of lite-C tutorials and code every month.

If you think that lite-C is a good tool only when it comes to game development, think again: AUM contains examples for synthesizers, alarm clocks, spreadsheet viewers, tools that generate script code, model viewers, calculators and more! I have worked with several game engines but Acknex is the best tool for its money: it is powerful, easy to use and has a great (not to mention huge) user community.

Next: Getting to know the engine