Thursday, December 24, 2009

Although my original plan for the day, was to spend it working on Stargella, I've not found time for it, and I've to much of a headache now to worry about it.

I got in some good SWAT action then set to work on dependency compiling and evaluation, getting the freetype and jpeg libraries built. It was excellent to see that the freetype folks know how to use autotools, something a lot of projects fail at; and that jpeg has an gone through insane hoops to make their package easily built, on virtually anything lol. Tomorrow is moving on to other libs that may be useful. Since the handling of model and map information, will likely be done through XML files, I also need to start evaluating XML parsers again; something I have absolutely no love for. Also, because of that, there's no point in taking a few moments to write a simple config file parser, when the application requires an XML parser :-S.

Code wise, the main focus for the day was to be working on implementing a simple drop down console, but I haven't had time to focus on it, due to the time and effort it takes to compile software in a Windows environment. Which is approximately 200% more trouble then a unix environment, or 90% higher if it's a Linux application written by assholes who knew less about what they're doing then the puts who wrote the tools 8=).

I'm interested in seeing what SDL_ttf can do for rendering the textual part of the console, but that requires freetype, lol. Freetype however is a very painless thing to setup under Windows, at least using MinGW and MSVC. Whether or not SDL_ttf will be so hunky dory, remains to be seen.

Also spent some time in evaluating the concept of using JavaScript as an embedded scripting language. Mozillas Spidermonkey seems to be the only engine that fits the bill: written in C. It's also fairly portable and has one hell of a nice (JS)API , with out a doubt it's gotta be a lovely way of embedding a language into your program. The only problem, the build system issues. I will explore it's compilation under Windows but expect it to be a wash out. The comments about autotools alone, virtually make Spidermonkey something you can rule out of any sane programmers toolkit.  I've already learned about Python extension modules, but have never had time to look closely into embedding the interp into an application, but will do that also in time. Another thing to consider, is embedding Lua, a language I've never had an excuse to study, lol.

On the embedding a language thing, my thoughts are focused around in game scripting, more so then implementing the game in it. Although with the JSAPI, it wouldn't be to tricky to do the entire game in JavaScript, as absurd as that might sound to the uninformed. For Stargella, the scripting needs can actually be integrated into the map data, in a fairly simple manor as firing positional events off to the game code. However the underlying code is meant to be (largely) shared across several games, and some (the tactical fps for example) will need much more useful scripting capabilities. Using shared objects written in C would be possible, but then maps would become non-platform independent, and I don't want that. Quakes solution, was inventing their own C based language, and to a lesser extent the Q3VM, but ahem, I'm not quite going to do that :-P.

Some how, the idea of scripting the game system using JavaScript is still an attractive idea.... but do I really want to live with compiling Spidermonkey in order to do it?

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