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The msdn website also contains a set of videos. I've found these very helpful and painless (or at the very least, effortless) way of learning about these tools. Try starting here:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/beginner/windows/tier1/

Writing stimulus delivery programs



Languages and tools

Eprime

The successor to "Psyscope" and "Mel", this point & click program is good for non-programmers, who wish to write fairly simple experiments. It has a scripting back end that is like Visual Basic. While quite flexible, it does have its limits, and sometimes ends up more complicated and harder to set up than when using a full programming language.

Visual Basic 6 & .net

A Microsoft language that is quick to develop in, fast to run and flexible. It has a slick development environment and good support for the design of graphical interfaces. It allows easy integration with the vast range of Windows components, including those in the "Useful tools" section below.

The latest version is VB.net, which runs on the "Microsoft .Net Framework", which allows easy integration with other .Net languages such as C#. These languages are interoperable, with users able to extend programs written in one language with another.

Free "Express" versions of VB.net and C# are available, and probably do everything needed for experiements http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/downloads/.

The msdn website also contains a set of videos. I've found these very helpful and painless (or at the very least, effortless) way of learning about these tools. Try starting here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/beginner/windows/tier1/

The older version, Visual Basic 6, is gradually being phased out, so if you are new to programming, choose VB.net.

An example .net program is on this page VbDotNetExample

C#

A new language somewhat like C or Java, but running on the .net Framework. The most refined of the .net languages.

Cogent (runs under Matlab)

A piece of software from various London labs http://www.vislab.ucl.ac.uk/Cogent/

DMDX

See http://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/~mattd/dmdx.html

Useful tools for Windows

ScannerSync

The ScannerSync tool is designed to help synchronising with the scanner from Windows programs.

DirectX

You'll need this if you want tight control of your visual or auditory presentation. Designed for games, it allows complete use of the hardware. Most people in the unit still use DirectX 7 (DirectDraw) but in due course we must switch to more recent versions. See http://msdn.microsoft.com/directx

Other

(Partly obsolete) help not yet transferred to Wiki at http://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/vb

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