It's Official -- Office is an Operating System

When you can write nearly perfect versions of PacMan and Space Invaders in your favorite productivity application, you know it's crossed the boundary. Of course, treating cells like pixels and implementing the game by changing the background colors probably wasn't what the Excel developers had in mind, but frankly, that's not much different than what the guys writing the original games had to deal with. Wow.


Comment Feed 7 comments on this post

Kevin Dente:


Wow, that's impressive. What's next, a preemptive multitasking operating system written entirely in VBA? They can call it OffOS.

Wednesday, Dec 3, 2003, 9:58 AM


Paul Russell:


Cool but not really new. As I recall, Wordperfect's macro language was powerful enough to enable game development (circa 90). They had some interesting examples of Centipede (which had a "BOSS" mode).

Saturday, Dec 6, 2003, 2:33 AM


Steve Hiner:


That runs remarkably well considering how it's implemented.

It's actually really similar to a couple old projects of mine, one for fun, one for work. The fun one was a mandelbrot fractal generator in excel that colored the cells to create the fractal.

The work one was for a VB6 project where I had gray-scale image data of a 20 micron target. I had to write an edge finding routine to figure out the location of the center of the target. VB6 doesn't have a good way to look at a 2D matrix of data so I dumped it into Excel, used the data to color the cells, then wrote the edge finder in VBA. I had it color the cell border when it thought it found an edge and I could go back later and select the cells around it to find out what the values were. WAY easier than using the local window to look at the values. Once I had the routine working in Excel it was super easy to port it back to VB6.

Glad to see someone used a similar technique to create something with mass market appeal.

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