Sunday, June 26, 2011

Managing Resources

I have made some progress in managing resources. I'm almost up to the point where I need to start thinking about incorporating drawing code to see the progress, but I'm resisting the temptation. Once I have that up, it's going to take too much attention away from drawing the basic infrastructure.

Instead, I'm looking into how to manage my resources. There are three basic things you need to do with resources (be they models, entities, sounds or whatever). They need to be loaded from files (or created procedurally), they need to be called during play, and they have to be unloaded when not needed any more. My current problem is with all three.

I'm trying to determine what the best way to handle them in each situation is. Before calling up a specific file to load, I need to know what specific resource I need, and check if it is already loaded. If it isn't, then I look up the file and load it. Consider the case of models, for example. Several entities might use the same model. There's no point in storing in the entity the filename of the model, since then I'd be loading the model once per entity. I'd need a table of some kind that looks up a specific filename and checks to see if it is loaded or not. If it is loaded, it would provide the 'model id' that the system assigned it when loading it, and that can be used to refer to it. Otherwise it loads the file, assigns it a model id, and then returns it.

Hmm, that could work, I guess.

I already implemented a way to ensure that the vector holding the pointers to the resources doesn't fill up with holes at least. I'll keep a count of how many pointers are stored in it, which increases when added to and decreses when one is freed. Then I can know if any holes develop by comparing the size of the vector to the number of resources loaded. If when loading a new resource I find that there's a hole, I'll search the vector for the hole and use the first I come upon.

So coming up, more design work. I'm kinda sorta stuck in that I don't know where exactly to move forward. All of the code needs to be worked on. I'll spend the next week looking at the event handling, that should provide some interesting avenues to make inroads.

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