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A beginning

Posted by Arhim, 14 July 2013 · 351 views

Hello GameDev,

Arhim here starting a new journal. First of all I will make some things clear:
  • I am a hobbyist programmer who works on projects for fun and learning purposes
  • English is not my first language so there will probably be grammatical errors
Having cleared that up I will, for my first post, talk about the current project I am working on with two of my friends. The basic goal for us is to make a clone of the Advance Wars game for the GBA which is an excuse for trying out an entity system for managing units. (We already made a clone of asteroids where we used hierarchy for game objects). On this project I will be mostly working on the supporting classes and system, one friend will work on the GUI and the other will be working on the entity system.

We are using SFML for the window and event handling and OpenGL for rendering in C++ with the help of CodeBlocks as the IDE. We will try to write as much of the engine and game ourselves. Because of that, this journal will be more about engine implementation than game play development. The game will be written for Windows and Linux simultaneously.

Starting of that I will write about some of the helper classes needed for the engine.
  • Config manager - mainly responsible for reading and editing config files, but will be used for loading levels, writing game states, etc.
  • Asset manager - responsible for handling loading of textures, sounds, texture maps, as well as unloading and keeping track of already loaded assets
1) The config manager accepts files of this format:
[section1]
    name1 = value
    name2 = other_value
[section2]
    name1 = value3
    name4 = some_other_value
[window]
    width = 800
    height = 600
    fullscreen = 1 // or on or true

The section name goes into brackets and everything following it up belongs to that section. The name-value pairs have to be unique for each individual section and they will be stored as strings. Because of that the ConfigManager should supply a way for reading values as other types like int and bool.

Example of use:
ConfigManager myCM;
int width;
int height;
bool fullscreen;

myCM.parseFile("config.cfg");

width = myCM.getInt("window","width");
height = myCM.getInt("window","height");

fullscreen = myCM.getBool("window","fullscreen");
Similarly to parsing config files, ConfigManager will also be able to write configs to files.
I had written a more complex version of the ConfigManager which could read in tree-like structured config files, but that was a complete overkill on my part for a test project. Following that experience this time I settled on making it much simpler.


2) The AssetManager is pretty straightforward. It implements functions for loading textures and binding them with OpenGL, for unloading textures and it keeps track of when assets need to be released.

Behind the scenes it uses SFMLs interface for loading image data from files, binds the data with OpenGL and then stores the index returned for later access in a map with string as keys (name of the file) and int as the texture index.

For fonts the AssetManager again uses SFMLs interface. For now we don't need to load any sounds or something else because we are working only on the bare core (but if the need shall present itself we will implement it).


Hope you had an interesting read Posted Image

For future entries I will be writing about managing states, a bit about the GUI and the Entity system and how we plan to implement it. I hope on getting some pictures in this because it looks dull.




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