Each level has a tilemap as the base layer. Tilemaps are easy to build using the built-in editor. I wanted to experiment with the scale of the tiles. The actual pixel size of tiles is now 512×512 but I can scale it up or down to make the result look nice.
To get a better idea about how much they take up on screen, I decided to make another tileset, with a blueprint-style grid on it. In Photoshop I drew a tile with thin lines around the border and across the center. Also added a label with the tile number.
I didn’t want to export each tile manually, so I used the “data sets” feature in Photoshop where you can feed it a text file with values and it applies them to the assigned layers. Then do an batch export for each row of the data set and voilā:
Game assets are packed into a single “PAK” data file, with optional compression. The game’s virtual filesystem can access files in the PAK file and has a fallback to the native filesystem. For compression I used the LZ4 library – it’s fast and easy to integrate.
The format of the PAK file is quite simple. It contains data of all the files and at the end there’s a table of contents, with filenames, offsets and lengths.
I have a simple utility app that creates the data file. There’s an option to turn off compression for faster rebuilds during development; it also gets automatically disabled for files smaller than 1KB and for all OGG audio tracks.
Next step was to integrate it into the existing codebase. Quite a transplant!
There were raw Entity pointers throughout the codebase and lifetime, ownership & validity checks were not exactly a solved problem – at least not systematically.
I also had to make sure the serialization still worked and preserve the same entity IDs across load/save cycles. Perhaps not 100% necessary but I want the diffs to look tidy.
Last major issue was the level editor, which needs to hold on to entities for a little longer than the rest of the game for undo/redo support. I added custom methods to remove them from the entity list without deallocating and to add them back with the same EntityID.
On to the next one. Time to clean up the filesystem layer.
Some of the C++ code is not so great. It’s been a while…
The property system is “awesome” but it seems like I was trying to be very clever and now it all looks pretty complicated for what it does. But at least it works, so let’s keep it for now.
First, I’m going to rework the entity system and make it simple and solid.
We won’t store entity pointers directly anywhere in the game. Instead, let’s store an index into the entity array and use a getter to retrieve the pointer when we need it. To make sure the array slot actually contains the object we expect, we’ll add a “generation” index, which gets increased each time a new entity is added. That way, we can query the entity list using a handle and get a valid pointer or NULL if it’s gone.
EntityID AddEntity( Entity* e );
Entity *GetEntity( EntityID id );
void RemoveEntity( EntityID id );