Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Random Blog Day

On my mind recently:

I watched @Jonathan_Blow live-coding on twitch.tv - he has been working on his own language, and it's nice to watch someone else have mind-bending code generation problems for a change.  :)

I have a lot of interest in game development languages, though I have primarily focused on scripting, as opposed to an entire game development language.  It's probably a little vague as to which category some things should drop into. 

Conceptually, I like to think of scripting as writing custom code for individual game objects.  This doesn't make it strictly game-specific, but it probably tends to be.  Ultimately, it lets you glue all of the bits of the game engine together into something new.  Also, having some syntactic control can let you specify certain this more easily.  For instance, I have special notation to convert musical beat/measure values into actual time values, and ways to specify timing, sequencing and interpolation.  It could be done in C, but the point is to make it easier to read and write than make it possible.

Engine coding is a fairly different beast.  First, you probably have to talk to third party libraries, even if that's just DirectX, OpenGL, basic operating system, etc.  So, you're probably stuck at some point with whatever language those are written in.  For simpler games you can get away with a higher level language, but for maximum performance and compatability, you're still looking at C/C++.

One interesting idea is to have a sort of pre-compiler that spits out C/C++ code.  I've seen similar things done before, to varying degrees of success.  This is pretty much guaranteed to degrade the already dubious quality of debuggers and debugging, but it's a way to add language features that are otherwise hard to get.  For instance, pre-hashed strings.


In other news, the new World of Warcraft expansion Warlords of Draenor is out.  It is good. :)  They have done a lot of work scripting out quests, and there are a lot of places with a huge number of NPCs wandering around, which helps to bring the world to life a lot more than I remember seeing before.  Some of the battles are truly epic.

You have your own garrison now, which is a pretty cool idea, although we'll have to see how some of the features play out.  Since everyone is doing stuff in their own garrison, you don't see other people as much.  As a hardcore solo player, it doesn't affect me much, just feels a bit weird for an MMO. 

You can also build buildings to give you access to the various professions, including ones you haven't taken on yourself.  On one hand, this seems like a good idea, as it gives you access to some of the crafting you otherwise wouldn't have.  On the other, you can't have all of the buildings at once, and you probably want the ones you do have the professions for, so your choices are kind of limited.


That's all for now - sorry I haven't been posting recently.  Too much going on, not enough stuff that makes good blog posts.  :)

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