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Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest News: A new architcture for the monster generator

About Olvand with 1 comment by Woseseltops on Apr 19th, 2015

Hi all! I'm happy to tell you that I'm finally back on track, working again on Olvand's next update. The last few blogposts, I mostly told you about what exactly is in these updates, and why. This week, I would like to take a slightly different approach, and tell you about the code architecture. This is because I've spent a lot of time working on integrating the [monster generator] into the game, and I ended up doing it in a much more generic, elegant way than I originally imagined.

The original plan and its downsides

The code for the monster generator already seemed largely finished when I wanted to start integrating it: it could generate monsters with various appearances, various colors, from various sides, and also 'summarize' its creations in 8-character strings, so they could easily be sent around the internet.


My original plan was to simply add this generator to the Olvand repository, and then link to it from other parts of the game. For example, when the server generates a cave, it asks the monster generator for a few 8-character strings that represent monsters, and when the client needs to turn these representations into actual graphics, it again asks the monster generator to do so.

However, there were two main downsides to the original implementation:

* The generator was not easily extendible: adding new bodies, bodyparts, colors, etc. always meant fiddling with the code. While that is not that problematic right now, now I remember how everything works, it will be when I return to this code in, say, 2 years. But more importantly, it won't allow people without access to the source code (=everybody except me) to extend the generator. Over the last few years, I've grown more and more enthousiastic about content creation by the players; it's definitely something I would want to encourage. Closing the whole thing off right now already would be completely opposite to that.

* The generator could only be used for monsters. Just like the fish generator could only be used for fish, the original monster generator could only be used for monsters, despite there being a lot of overlap in their functionality. This is a particularly stupid thing to do because I already have a -spoiler!- fruit generator planned for the next update.

The new architecture

So the new plan is something that can be (1) used for anything and (2) extended without programming. I achieved this with a combination of a special folder structure in combination with JSON configuration files. To understand how that works exactly, you have to realize that all of Olvand's generators work in roughly this way:

1. A base image is chosen
2. "Bodyparts" are merged with this base image
3. The whole thing is recolored


And in the case of the monsters, this has to be done for all positions the monster can be in (looking down, walking west, lying death, etc.). This leads to this folder structure:

code:
Base A
* Side a
  * Bodypart type I
    * Option 1.png
    * Option 2.png
  * Bodypart type II
    * Option 1.png
    * Option 2.png
* Side b
  * Bodypart type I
    * Option 1.png
    * Option 2.png
  * Bodypart type II
    * Option 1.png
    * Option 2.png
Base B
* Side a
  * Bodypart type I
    * Option 1.png
    * Option 2.png
  * Bodypart type II
    * Option 1.png
    * Option 2.png
* Side b
  * Bodypart type I
    * Option 1.png
    * Option 2.png
  * Bodypart type II
    * Option 1.png
    * Option 2.png

 

And obviously, in this example there are only two options for everything, but this can be extended to infinity by simply creating more folders.

So there you have it, a nice and easy system to generate monsters, and anything really. I have to admit the actual system is slightly more complicated, because it also covers animation, but this is not much more than editing a JSON file in the top folder. This is also where you can specify which colors can be varied, and to what extent. Anyway, right now, I'm pretty happy it, and I will be even more when it's time to build the fruit generator!

If you want more development, see [twitter] or [facebook]. If you want to be a tester, you can subscribe on[olvand.com].

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Post comment Comments  (20 - 30 of 121)
XHH
XHH Apr 14 2013, 6:10pm says:

when I start a new project in this engine it give me a error. this is it:

error14:main.cbe
line 27: int void main(){
issue: invalid syntax. also, syntax does not exist. btw, engine not found.

can someone help me pls????????

+2 votes     reply to comment
mescalin
mescalin Jul 18 2013, 8:28am replied:

did you include using cbe at the top so it points to the right libraries?

also did you write the appropriate libraries?.... don't get me wrong the cbe can potentially be the most powerful game engine there is, it's just getting it working can be quite long winded

-1 votes     reply to comment
Arethrid
Arethrid Jun 3 2013, 5:08pm replied:

Here's what you should do: Create a text file and call it "my_engine.cpp" and immediately delete it! When it's in the recycle bin restore it back to it's original directory, count to six and then open the file. If it doesn't instantly contain all the codes of a custom engine repeat the process again. It works most of the time, if not try it with "MAH_ENGINE.jar". That's how minecraft came to being.

-1 votes     reply to comment
ThePC007
ThePC007 May 10 2013, 3:36pm replied:

This isn't a real engine. This is just there so that people who submit games here who have actually made their engine themselves can also mark their engine as their own engine.

+4 votes     reply to comment
MrTaxikiller
MrTaxikiller May 9 2013, 12:52pm replied:

error on line 27, and the issue is a invalid syntax. also the syntax does not seem to exist, and it seem your game cant find the engine.

Ohh yeah I dont know nothing about this engine but when I take a look at your error and use my brain it seems that when you think about it all the errors are giving for example in your code like I said before with line27, here are my answers i can give by only thinking and reading your error log.

error14:main.cbe "I think that the error14 have something to do with your main.cbe ?"

Line27: Int void main (){ "It seems there is something wrong on line 27 of your code maybe with your int not sure because I dont see your code."

issue: invalid syntax. also, syntax does not exist. btw, engine not found. "it says that the syntax is invalid plus your syntax doesnt even exist and it cant find the engine directory"

+2 votes     reply to comment
sondrebot
sondrebot May 7 2013, 4:50pm replied:

Lol!

+3 votes     reply to comment
Jungletoe
Jungletoe Feb 12 2013, 9:08pm says:

I need help guys.

I downloaded this engine expecting a lot (even Minecraft uses this engine!), but when the install was finished, nothing showed up! I contacted several developers who claim to be using this engine and all I got was some smart *** responses like "i made it on my own". WHAT SNOBS! If you made it on your own, can you at least explain why I get a blank download!

What a waste of money! I spent $100 for the indie license and all I got was a blank screen! LOOK AT THE GRAPHICS ON AMNESIA! DO THOSE LOOK BLANK!?

I gave this engine a 1/10. Terrible support, a complete scam, and extremely expensive for a mere indie developer like myself. You'd expect better from big indies like Notch, but I guess not. All of them are in on this conspiracy! I SWEAR! IT'S A CONSPIRACY!

+11 votes     reply to comment
Demondays1
Demondays1 Aug 2 2013, 11:01pm replied:

Amnesia isn't a custom built game. It was made with HPL engine.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Pixelatoration
Pixelatoration Aug 29 2013, 10:52am replied:

Nice gif.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Ausländer
Ausländer Apr 30 2013, 9:39pm replied:

Everything is a conspiracy, have you not realized it by now?

+2 votes     reply to comment
Dragon000
Dragon000 Apr 19 2013, 6:00pm replied:

any smart person would kno tat no downloadable game is worth even half wat u claim to have paid if u realy paid tat much u should have ur parents handle ur money

+2 votes     reply to comment
SirIslandstone
SirIslandstone Mar 14 2013, 12:13pm replied:

I Lol'd, good one!

+7 votes     reply to comment
PsychoEliteNZ
PsychoEliteNZ Mar 9 2013, 5:22am replied:

Notch has nothing to do wit this.

0 votes     reply to comment
aps6686
aps6686 Feb 26 2013, 11:55am replied:

what are you on about?

+2 votes     reply to comment
hakaru-x
hakaru-x Jan 23 2013, 3:41pm says:

This is the best engine ever, look at the possibilities!!!

+8 votes     reply to comment
belva1234
belva1234 Jan 24 2013, 2:43pm replied:

read about unity...

-4 votes     reply to comment
zZChronoZz
zZChronoZz Aug 29 2013, 12:43pm replied:

These people don't get it

+2 votes     reply to comment
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