Saturday, July 13, 2019

Monster selector

Okay, it's not much and it wouldn't even be posted alone despite I haven't been posting about tools development for weeks. I have now the 'selected monster' arrow showing you where on the map is the selected monster if you happen to get it off-screen.

But it is not alone. Changing that required more refactoring that I kept track of, and I'll have to break that giant "stash: okay, it works" commit into proper commits. It's not just that the code was old or buggy: my coding standards have quite evolved by working in a team where most of the code you have to deal with has been written long ago (and likely not by yourself).

It's not that much about the lack of comments. Having something like

// use sprite tile 0 for the cursor
sprites[CURSOR].attribute[2] = 0;

only works if this is the only place in your code where it can happen, and without coding habits that guide you towards

const oamno_t CURSOR_TILE=0;
sprite[CURSOR].attribute[2] = CURSOR_TILE;

you're very unlikely to get it done at a single place.

I had to fix things like that, as over time, I ended up with two widgets deciding to use sprite tile 0 for their own special purpose. I had to migrate the 'sprites granularity' into the recently-introduced "UsingSprites" class as I realised that more and more parts of the code now depended on that granularity (like whenever you're allocating sprite tiles) and top-screen and bottom-screen might not be using the same granularity...

Among the ugly things in LEDS code, I shall name a global "UI-like" object -- QuickGo -- that renders the level into a small bitmap, so that we can quickly navigate the level. That object is created in the 'MapEditWindow', but it is never inserted as a widget. It seems to be a global pointer, which is accessed through LayersWindow -- the part of the application where it actually shows up -- and even there, it doesn't directly reacts to user inputs. Instead, there is a 'QuickWidget' object that doesn't show anything on screen, but that does produce events on stylus touches that MapEditWindow will further catch and process.

Such a "code-that-works" approach that breaks almost every coding convention in the "GEDS" library is tricky to reason upon. You see QuickGo in a window, so you should be allowed to assume it is part of the UI, and used in that window. 

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