Main Menu

Sponsored Links


Web Cartoon Maker: a Fun Way to Learn C++ Contents Previous Next

What is a Programming Language?

The programming language you will be learning is C++. This is actually not a pure C++ but its modification adopted by Web Cartoon Maker for development of animated cartoons. C++ is a high-level programming language. Other high-level programming languages you might have heard of are Java, C, C#, Basic and Fortran.

Note: Most of these languages also have several versions or dialects. Fortran was the first high level scientific computer language and was developed in the late 1950’s, over half a century ago. It still exists – there is a Fortran 2008 – but has generally been replaced by “object oriented” languages, such as C++, C# and Java. Object Oriented Programming (OOP) will be discussed later in this document.

Fun Note: The most common first computer program shown for any computer language is a “Hello World” program. A WCM version of this classic program will be presented a few pages later. A collection of “Hello World” programs written in 441 different computer languages and 64 human languages is available at

Programs written in a high-level language have to be compiled (translated) before they can run. Your programs (s cripts) will be translated into a computer friendly (low level) language and run on your computer. The result you will receive is an animated cartoon in WCM format which can be played by WCM Player software and converted to other video formats to run on other video viewers.

Note that the WCM compiler differs from a general purpose compiler in that the output is a video file instead of an executable computer file!

In summary, the C++ compiler is going to translate and run your programs. It will compile your program to an intermediate format first, and then execute (interpret) it to produce animated cartoons. In the process, it will also use various library elements such as characters, sounds, backgrounds, etc. A fairly extensive library is available on the web site and will be accessed automatically by the software. You may also include other images and sounds from the many sources available on the web. For advanced users, you may also create your own characters, images and sound tracks and store them on your own computer. The WCM will use the file paths provided and incorporate these into the final video.

What is a Program – General C++ vs. WCM C++?

A program is a sequence of instructions that specifies what should a computer do. Unlike a general program flow, however, your WCM program will specify how to build your animated cartoons rather than a general executable file. There are a few basic functions that appear in about every language, as well as syntax rules that are language specific. WCM follows the C++ rules and in general supports the same programming functions that a regular C++ program does.

A summary of the basic functions expected in C++, and the corresponding implementation (or lack of implementation) in WCM are summarized below. If you aren’t interested in C++ as a regular programming language, you can either just skim this section or skip it altogether .

  1. Input: Get data from the keyboard, or a file, or some other device. Since your programs will be converted into animated movies there are no interactive input commands supported. Since the main purpose of Web Cartoon Maker is to produce non-interactive animated cartoons this limitations is not very important. However, if you are interested in C++ as a general programming language, you should study the available input commands carefully.

  2. Output: Display data on screen or send data to file or other device. In our case we will display our data in generated animated cartoons.

  3. Math: Perform basic mathematical operations like addition and multiplication. While in many cases we do not need them for programming animated cartoons these operations still may be useful if we want a realistic animation of physics (like ball trajectory or a jumping pattern). Random numbers are also sometimes useful.

  4. String Manipulation: Combine, separate and otherwise manipulate groups of words and characters. Again, this is often not needed, but can be quite useful.

  5. Testing: Check for certain conditions and execute the appropriate sequence of statements. Like math and string manipulation, this also is often not needed, but can be quite useful.

  6. Object Manipulation: Many WCM C++ commands display, move and otherwise change the object characteristics that will be ultimately included in the final video output. In WCM C++, there is a built in library of objects and using these objects is the most commonly used capability, however in basic C++, there is no similar built in library unless some graphics package such as GPL (Graphics Programming Language) supported by the compiler.

  7. Repetition: Perform some action repeatedly, usually with some variations. This is a very useful capability in WCM.

Believe it or not, that’s pretty much all there is to it. Every program you’ve ever used, no matter how complicated, is made up of functions that look more or less like these. Thus, one way to describe programming is the process of breaking a large, complex task up into smaller and smaller subtasks until eventually the subtasks are simple enough to be performed with one of these simple functions. In our case of making non-interactive animated cartoons it is even simpler because we do not need input functions. In later sections efficient and effective ways to accomplish these basic tasks will be described in more detail.

Contents Previous Next

New Tales Animator Video by Alan Sturgess

Alan Sturgess shared an excellent video he made using Tales Animator! You can still download Tales Animator here. Unfortunately it is only available for Wi


Simple Online Character Designer

There is a prototype of simple online character designer available HERE. It is only a prototype, it does not contain many pieces yet but it can already generat


Book is updated

Now our book "Web Cartoon Maker: A Fun Way to Learn C++" is fully in synch with WCM 1.5! It is available for download and online reading HERE.


Web Cartoon Maker 1.5 is here!

Web Cartoon Maker 1.5 is finally here! You can download it HERE! Here is what was updated in version 1.5: Web Cartoon Maker Desktop Edition is now fully standal


read more news...