Game Development

Some time wasted, some progress made

Last night, with a helpful download link from someone on the Games-L mailling list, I got a Mozilla plugin working in about an hour. I was pretty happy about that, because the same task with Active X took a week. I spent another hour trying to figure out how to get the data in the SRC tag into the C++ code but got nowhere. Thinking this should be something easy, I ask around in some online lists and go watch Battlestar Galactica.

This morning I check my email, expecting to find numerous relies about how stupid I am and pointing out some obvious answer. However, aside from spam there was nothing there. So I get back to work (it’s 8AM or so). My initial guess was that you were passed the file data in the startup code. This is not an unreasonable assumption in my opinion. I pursue this guess for about an hour but just can’t find the file data anywhere. I browse the web, find someone elses’ open source plugin, figure out how they downloaded the file, and painfully converted that to work with what I had. I set it up as a synchronous download, so I just get the whole file in one function call. It’s 11:00 AM now. As the final step, I decide to try out asynchronous download and add a progress bar. I change my download to asynch and suddenly I get two asynch reads rather than one. It turns out the original file was downloading asynch the whole time. Great…

I’m done dealing with the Mozilla plugin at this point. My next step is to get the custom LZMA pack that I wrote and convert it from file->file to memory->memory. This is harder than it sounds, because the LZMA author decided to implement his own version of cross-platform COM. So rather than the simple step of changing a few fopen lines, I now have to implement 2 custom COM classes as a memory stream class and painfully debug them. This was a risky stage in development due to the difficulty and reliance on 3rd party code. I was lucky that it worked without having to go too level because I would have given up and used Winzip instead rather than try to debug COM. Once again I’m thankful for open source libraries. This would have been impossible to accomplish otherwise.

Now that it works I have 3 different ways to launch the game. The Mozilla plugin downloads the data and starts a thread. ActiveX, for IE, gets the data from a resource and starts a thread. The EXE launcher just loads the regular data files from disk and runs in the default thread. They all run the same game code so in theory, though not very well in practice, I should be able to work from one launcher and have the other two automatically work.

Solution with firefox launcher

The next step is to finish up my resource manager, so fopen calls to Irrlicht go to that instead. If and when that is done I can finally see models in the browser.

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