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Level management advice?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:55 pm
by verilog
Hey guys!

This post is just for seeking general info about level management. I’m working on a platform game, and right now I’m outlining a general scheme for a level management system (select level, load resources, unload resources) what I have right now is a couple of files describing some tables for level geometry (collision paths), some helper functions, and resources instances.

The first file is just pretty much a collection of tables and functions, it is something like this:

Code: Select all

--File: level0-A.lua

level0 = {}
local levelGeometry = {some stuff…}

function level0:someFunction()
In another file I’ve got some graphics and resources instances, this file is described as a (SECS) class, and is structured a little bit like this:

Code: Select all

--File: level0-B.lua

level = class:new()

function level:init()
	--Load level images
	--Load level resources (enemies, platforms)

function level:update()
	--update level state

function level:draw()
	--draw all images
The reason of having two files is pretty much direct result of me testing stuff and building/debugging it as I was experimenting. Both of these files are loaded right away when the game starts. What I’m looking for is a flexible scheme for level selection that just depends on one, current, level file (leve0.lua, level1.lua, …., leveln.lua).

What I’m thinking right off the bat is to merge all my level stuff in a one file, structured as a class, eventually I’ll end up with n level files and I could require them with a state machine-like structure in my main game file, but I honestly haven’t tested that idea yet and I’m unsure of its effectiveness. What do you think?

If you’ve got any suggestions for me, please feel free to comment! Thanks for your time :crazy:

Re: Level management advice?

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:12 pm
by ivan
Hello verilog.
Hope you don't mind me sharing my opinions here. Others may have better ideas and I'd be interested in seeing other approaches to level formats/management as well.
In my experience, it's better not to have code in your level files. Levels are supposed to be content that your game loads. Suppose you have functions like "level3_load ( )", "level4_load ( )", etc which depend on functions in the "core" of your game. Then you decide to change how a function works which your levels are depending on. Now you have to manually edit all of those level files. What I'm saying is, it's probably better to represent the levels purely as data (not code). Each level file could have a list of images and sounds and then the "core" of your game could simply iterate and load those assets.
Loading the levels dynamically can also be pretty handy. I usually like to be able to swap and re-order levels without changing any of the code. Something like:

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local level = {}
level.images = { "player.png", "enemy.png", etc }
level.sounds = { "shoot.wav", "explode.wav", etc }
-- maps and other level data

return level
Basically, you save this as "level1.lua" or something then you can load it from the game, perhaps like:

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levels = {}
for i = 1, numberoflevels do
  levels[i] = require("level" .. i)
Hope this helps. :)

Re: Level management advice?

Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:18 am
by verilog
Hello ivan!

Please, feel free (as anyone reading this topic) to share your thoughts and opinions, I’m sure we can all benefit from sharing a little bit of tips/knowledge.

Thanks for your input, I think your approach is good and definitely makes sense, and has prompted me to follow a pure data-description model for my level files, excluding any game-modifying functions. I’ll review my code and make the necessary changes.

Thanks again for your time, man! If you have other level management tips, I’d love to hear them! :megagrin: