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Dolce and Overriding Methods in D

Posted by , in D, Dolce 21 August 2011 · 779 views

D Dolce
I'm making very slow progress on Dolce, but progress nonetheless. I managed to grab a couple of hours today to refactor event handling and to simplify the framework interface.

In my initial implementation, it was necessary when making a game with Dolce to make all of the initialization and termination calls yourself. All of these calls are found in the different modules of the core package. They wrap a lot of Derelict and Allegro setup/cleanup in a way that is configurable, providing sensible defaults where required. But, while it's a good deal less boilerplate than you would otherwise need to type, it could be improved.

So, now, to start implementing a game with Dolce, the minimal amount of code you need is this:

module mygame.main;

import dolce.game.game;

class MyGame : Game
	protected override
		string name()
			return "MyGame";
		void frame()

int main(string[] args)
	Game.start(new MyGame);
	return 0;

Add your per-frame code in the frame method, and away you go. Both name and frame are abstract methods in the Game class, so they are the only two methods that must be overridden. I may yet rework it to eliminate the frame method and have a pair of render/update methods instead (haven't decided where or how to handle timing yet). But the point is, there's very little to do just to display something on screen. Of course, there are several other methods that can be overridden for game-specific init/cleanup, event handling, and more. But as is, this will call the frame method as fast as possible and has default handling for the escape key and window close button. And now this is starting to look like what I had envisioned in the beginning.

It's also possible to avoid the Game.start method and manage the life cycle yourself:

int main(string[] args)
	auto game = new MyGame;
	scope(exit) game.term();
	return 0;

Or, you can ignore the game module entirely and use the core package modules directly. Your choice.

The real point of this post, though, was a chance to talk about how D handles method overriding. Notice the override keyword in the first code block above. This is not mandatory when overriding, but it's a good idea to use it. DMD will spit out a warning if you don't. What it's good for is to protect against the case when the superclass changes. Imagine that you override a method from the Game class, but in the future that method is removed or renamed. By using override, the compiler will let you know the next time you compile that your method isn't actually overriding anything. Otherwise, it would be creating a new method in your derived class that doesn't override anything and you might never be the wiser until you get a funky bug in your app. So when writing D code, using override is a good habit to pick up.

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