Rogue is a dungeon crawling video game first developed by Michael Toy and Glenn Wichman around 1980. It is generally credited with being the first "graphical" adventure game, and was a favorite on college Unix systems in the early to mid-1980s, in part due to the procedural generation of game content.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Doing things the Hardway

(Okay, so I actually did some work on the project since Alpha Protocol arrived, but it arrived early)

I am starting in the next major component of the project. One that is fundamental to all games (and even most software projects) and that is data file reading and writing. Not just simple file I/O, but how to save and reload the various state information regarding the game itself.

I have done data and configuration file parsing many times in Perl and Shell. A simple Mark Up parser can be done fairly quickly with a few well place regexes and hash in Perl. With a few "Hash of Hashes and Lists" and i can easily slorp in an XML file for processing.

Now I am in C++. None of my old tools are there. I have fopen() and getc(). Okay, it isn't that bad. Using the STL I do get strings and streams. However the implementation is new to me. So here I am going over documents and examples to figure out how these things work. My goal is to make a JSON and/or XML parser. (IMO they very much the same thing, just with different brackets).

The interesting thing about C++ is that there are well supported add-ons. Namely the Boost libraries. There are all the old tools I am used to having in Perl. But I would rather still work with the streams myself for now just to get a better understanding of what is going on.

This brings me to why am I doing this in C++ and wanting to make my own engine from the ground up. If wanted to create a game, there are many components that can be gotten for free that do everything that need. But that isn't the point of this project for me. I want to truly grok game engines.

It is how I work in IT as well. I have quiet a bit of breadth in the whole technology stack from bits-on-the wire transmission cable properties to high level report generation tools for business intelligence. I would not really classify myself an expert in any of these fields. But then again I classify an expert as anyone who knows more than me in a particular field.

Also C++ is the "Mother Language" of most other game design environments. (C itself being the grandfather) Even my friend Perl is very C like. Off to the side you have Java and Visual Basic and they have their uses as well.

Personally, I am fairly language agnostic. So another personal advantage of C++ means I can work more under the hood to really understand what goes on behind the scenes for various aspects of game mechanics. In the recent book I picked up on Game Architecture, it had three dimensional polar vectors and ODEs. I got excited to see things I haven't seen since Engineering School. But then I like math :)


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