# Unity MSVC static lib linking culls some code?

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Hi,

I use macros in quite a few places for classes that need to be created based on their name or ID. It's useful for scripting, serializing and when networking our game. It's basically a dummy struct with a constructor that is initialized before main.

Quote:
 #define IMPLEMENT_OBJECT(name) struct name##Creator { name##Creator () { ObjectManager::addObject (#name, new name); } }; name##Creator name##CreatorInstance;

(Had to modify the source above to a quote or it would screw up the formatting of the page)

Ugly perhaps, but these work great in .cpp files in all cases so far, but today I decided to branch them out into their own lib because I use them in so many projects.

So it seems that if I put one in a .cpp file that contains a class that is never referenced anywhere else, it won't get called at all even though it's actually referenced in the macro itself. This happens only when in the library, and not in the projects themselves so it's not very consistent.

Putting the macro "call" in a .h file that is included didn't help. I have to actually reference the class in those files for the dummy initializer to run.

I know about the compiler option, but is there a pragma or reference trick that I can use to make the library .cpp file compiled and used in all cases like it does in my project?

[EDIT]
It's the same issue mentioned here:

And there are a few mentioned "solutions" though the last one doesn't work and it's still unreferenced. The pragma also didn't work, it finds the symbol but it's not referencing it (since the code still isn't executed).

This is how I tested it:
Quote:
 struct Test{ Test () { MessageBoxA (NULL, "Test", "It works!", MB_OK); }};Test TestInstance;#pragma comment(linker,"/include:TestInstance")

[/EDIT]

Global Compiler/Linker options have no effect.

Thank you for any suggestions!

[Edited by - SymLinked on November 12, 2010 2:09:18 AM]

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bpoint    464
Ah, this wonderful bug. I don't think there is any real solution, but there is a workaround:

void doAbsolutelyNothing() { }
function in the same source file as the instances of the objects you are creating. If you have multiple source files with instances, you'll need multiple functions with different names.

2) Call this:
doAbsolutelyNothing();
function from some other part of your source, such as in initialization code, or code which is only called once.

The VC linker doesn't include object files in the final .exe with no external references as it assumes they're never used (it's apparently not smart enough to notice that object variables are simply instanced in that compilation unit). By adding an external reference, you force the inclusion of that object in the linker.

You could optionally make a variable reference to your TestInstance from some other part of your source which would work just as well, but since you're generating these names with macros, that seems like it would be much more difficult for you.

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the_edd    2109
It's not a bug. This is related to dynamic initializers.

Gory details for the GNU linker, but the idea seems to be the same for the Visual C++ linker in my experience.

Have you tried passing /OPT:NOREF to the linker? (Though beware of dragging in lots of other bloat).

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CmpDev    100
Quote:
 Original post by SymLinked]Ugly perhaps, but these work great in .cpp files in all cases so fars ...

That is not far from my description of a hack and sometimes when you play with fire you do get burnt.

You are relying on the static initialisation of an object which may not be used, to access global (probably) state in ObjectManager::addObject.

Quote:
 Original post by SymLinkedThank you for any suggestions!

You may not like it but fix the source of the problem not the current problem.

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Intro - "The challenges of dynamic system design"
Custom Quest evolved during development, from a minor quest system used for our own needs in our own game production Quest Accepted, to something entirely more dynamic and customizable, now finally released, these are our thoughts on quest design and developing standalone subsystems.
Splitting what is a major production for a small indie team, into smaller installments such as a quest system was a good idea we thought, this way we can get some releases out there and fuel the development of our game. But building a system that works for yourself is one thing, building a unity plugin that will let other developers create quests, missions, and objectives, you would never have thought of is something else entirely.
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That still meant we had to find out what good quest design is and what a quest really is.
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What is a quest? - "Cut to the core"
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A quest is the pursuit, search, expedition, task or assignment a person(s) does in order to find, gain or obtain something.
In games, quests and missions function in many different ways depending on the genre.
A single game can contain a multitude of different types of quests put together in just as many ways. In an MMO, for instance, quests are vehicles for the story and the player's progression. In many cases they are formulaic and simple, some can even be repeated, there are hundreds of them and everyone can do them. In other games quests are for single player campaigns only, here they shape each level giving the player a sense of purpose.
Quests can span the whole game or just be a minor optional task on the way, there are so many design philosophies and creative quest designs that we had to narrow it down and really cut to the core of what is needed for good quest design.
What all quests have in common is the task, the criteria for successful completion of the quest, and the reward, the goal of the quest, what the player gets out of doing what we ask of him.
Quests cover an incredible variety of tasks so it was important for us to base our decisions on thorough research. In our research, we found that there are three layers to quest design.
The type, the pattern and the superstructure.
Quest types exist within quest patterns and quest patterns exist within the quest superstructure.
We found that there are 8 basic types of quests these are the various tasks/criteria the player must do in order to complete the specific quest.
There are 12 quest patterns. These are ways designers can use their quests, connect multiple quests set them up in engaging ways or teach players how to interact with and get the most out of the game world creating variety and engaging the player.
Enveloping the patterns is the quest superstructure, the overall structure of quests in the game, we found that there are two main ways of structuring your quests.
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Quest types - "Do this, do that"
The core task each quest consists of, the criteria for completing part of or all of a single quest. These are the actions we want Custom Quest to be able to handle.
Kill
Probably the most basic quest type, the task is to kill something in the game, for example; kill 10 goblins. Gather
Again very simple, the task is to gather x things in the game world, collecting berries or the like. Escort
The player must escort or follow a person or object from point A to B while keeping it safe. FedX
The player is the delivery boy, they must deliver an item to a person or point. Defend
The player has to defend a location from oncoming enemies, often for a set number of waves or time. Profit
The player must have a certain amount of resources to complete the quest, contrary to gather quests these resources are resources the player would otherwise be able to use himself. Activate
The player's task is to activate/interact with one or more objects in the game world or talk to a number of NPC’s. In some cases, this must be done in a certain order for a puzzle effect. Search
Search an area, discover an area of the game world. This is useful for introducing areas of the map to the player and giving them a sense of accomplishment right off the bat, showing them a new quest hub or the like. Quest Patterns - "An engaging experience"
Tasks are one thing, and in many games, that might be plenty but we wanted custom quest to let the users create chains of quests, specialize them and set them up in ways that draw the player into the experience, there are many ways to go about this.

The most basic quest pattern, the quest chain starts out broad and easy, the player has to kill some low-level cronies. The next quest is narrower, the player must kill fewer but tougher enemies, lets say the boss' bodyguards. The last quest is the boss fight, the player has killed the gang and can now kill the boss. This quest pattern is very straightforward and works well, giving rewards either at every stage or only when the boss is dead.
Side stub
A side stub is an optional part of the overlapping quest. Lets say quest A leads to quest C but there is an option to complete a side objective B, which makes completing C easier or it changes the reward, for example. The player must escape prison, the side stub is “free the other prisoners” in this example escaping with all the prisoners is voluntary but it might make it easier to overpower the guards or the prisoners might reward the player when he gets them out. The side stub differs from a generic side quest in that it is tied to the main quest directly.
Continuous side-quests
These are side-quests that evolve throughout the game, one unlocks the next, but they are also affected by external requirements such as story progress. This pattern is often found with party members in RPG games, where the player must befriend the party member to unlock their story quests.

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Deja-vu quests
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Delayed impact
Delayed consequences of a previous decision. Often used in games where the story is important and the players’ choices matter. These quests are tied together without the player knowing. Let's say the player is set the optional task of giving a beggar some gold to feed himself. The player gives the beggar a few gold and is on his way. The next time he meets the beggar the beggar has become rich and rewards the player for his kindness with ten times what he gave.
One of many
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Hidden quests
Hidden tasks that aren’t obviously quests at first glance or are hidden away for only the most intrepid players to find. This could be an item the player picks up with an inscription in it if the player then finds the person the inscription is about he can get a reward for delivering it. A good quest pattern for puzzles, these kinds of quests can really make the game world come alive and feel a lot more engaging, allowing the player to uncover secrets, Easter eggs and discover all of the world created for them
Moral dilemma
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Side quests
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Tournament
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Vehicle missions
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Quest superstructure - "The whole package"
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The diamond structure
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Linear hub structure
This structure consists of a number of required “bridge” quests that need to be completed in order to unlock the next area or “hub”, each hub can have any number of quests, this could be a town full of people in trouble, each with their own quests and quest chains to complete, when they are all done, the player moves on to the next hub through another bridge quest. Limiting the quest size of the hubs will make the quest structure feel more linear and thereby the game linear, and creating larger more open hubs can make the player feel freer.

Outcome - "So many options!"
The development of custom quest has been the quest to allow game developers to create quests and missions that use these types. However, no matter how well we have researched, some one will come up with a new and creative way of doing quests.

The solution for us was to make the system more customizable. Letting users convert their quest prefabs to quest scripts that automatically inherits the core functionality, so the user can freely add their own additional functionality on top of the existing core
Asset development as fuel - "A learning experience"
Developing this way, splitting the production into sub systems that can function on their own and even be used by others is not something that should be taken lightly, but if you can build something lasting, something others can find value in using, then the final product will be all the better for it. Custom Quest started as a project we thought could be completed in a couple of months, it ended up taking 7.
In part this is because we realised that if we were going to release the system, we might as well do it right, that meant creating a system that was customizable and robust, a system that can be added to the users game and not the other way around, a system we could be proud of.
The experience of developing for other developers is quite different to developing a game. One that has made us much stronger as programmers and as a company, it forced us to think in new ways, in order to create a dynamic and customizable solution. Custom quest has evolved from an asset we could use in Quest Accepted, into a tool others can use to create a unique game experience. All in all, the experience has been a good one and Random Dragon is stronger for it, I would, however, recommend thinking about your plugin and extra time before you start developing.

Sources:
www.pcgamesn.com -"We know you aren't stupid" - a quest design master class from CD Projekt RED
http://www.pcgamesn.com/the-witcher-3-wild-hunt/the-witcher-quest-design-cd-projekt-masterclass
http://www.gamasutra.com/ - Game Design Essentials: 20 RPGs - http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4066/game_design_essentials_20_rpgs.php?print=1
Extra credits - Quest Design I - Why Many MMOs Rely on Repetitive Grind Quests https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otAkP5VjIv8&t=219s
Extra credits - Quest Design II - How to Create Interesting MMO and RPG Quests https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur6GQp5mCYs
Center for Games and Playable Media - Situating Quests: Design Patterns for Quest and Level Design in Role-Playing Games - http://sokath.com/main/files/1/smith-icids11.pdf
Center for Games and Playable Media - RPG Design patterns https://rpgpatterns.soe.ucsc.edu/doku.php?id=patterns:questindex

Special thanks to Allan Schnoor, Kenneth Lodahl and Kristian Wulff for feedback, constructive criticism and background materials.
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