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Flow Charts

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This is more of an information gathering post rather than looking to receive the answer to a particular question. Do you think Flow Charts are important for documentation? Do you think Flow Charts really help the development phase? Anyone still use Flow Charts? I'll start off by answering. 1.) I think they are important because you can cleary see the relations and get visual feedback on how a program or process should act. 2.) I use them a little bit for simple stuff, but it doesn't really help me that much. (probably because im really abstract in creating them)

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I think it depends on the problem. If you have an object oriented design, then no, I don't think they are the best way to document the system. However, if you are documenting a low level system that's possibly in assembly, or low level C, just above the hardware level, then they can be very useful.

I've used them in documentation at work for certain parts of the system that is very close to the hardware and is therefore very low level. Just looking at the source makes it hard to understand what's really going on, but looking at a flow chart, it's very obvious.

If you have an OO system though, then they probably won't do much good, since the code will be sufficiently abstract and (relatively) easy to understand anyway.

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Flowcharts can be helpful for understanding some elements of the game, such as the way a player can progress through various levels and choices of game options. Based on the player's selections, various UI elements or screens may become hidden or unavailable. Another example is to define how you make various missions available (or blocked) to a user. IF you want to use this on a low level, flowcharts are good for working out algorithms inside specific code modules such as damage calculation based on weapon, armor, distance, etc.

Another useful type of simple graphic representation is a Message Sequence Chart (http://www.item.ntnu.no/fag/ttm4115/MSC_HTML-version/02-01_MSC-Introduction/MSC-Intro-description.htm). This captures how information should or could pass between game subystems, and how each subsystem responds to the new information. For example, you could represent the process of how a player logs into your MMORPG from their PC at home, with information passing from the player's PC to a login server which checks the player's information and then gives him a choice of world servers to play on, from which he chooses one particular world and then you retrieve information about the player's characters on that world form a world server and send it back to the player's PC. The world server and/or the player's PC client may respond differently if he has no active characters on the chose server.

What I like about both of these methods is that I can do them by myself with pen and paper - there's no need to have any underlying record-keeping software running (although there are programs that will do that), or I can work it out on a wihte board with other people on my team.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Cold_Steel
If you have an OO system though, then they probably won't do much good, since the code will be sufficiently abstract and (relatively) easy to understand anyway.


I don't think OO code is inherently any easier to understand than other paradigms.

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This topic is 4559 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

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