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[Enigma-devel] New level format discussion

From: Nat Pryce
Subject: [Enigma-devel] New level format discussion
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2003 14:16:40 +0000 (GMT)

Sorry I'm posting about this after all this time, but
I have been unable to receive a lot of mail while in
Africa and so had to unsubscribe from a lot of mailing
lists.  I hope I'm not repeating what has already been

I am concerned about the new level format that was
discussed recently.  Firstly, I must say that I agree
that providing a simple level format and a graphical
level editor will be a great help for people who want
to create levels and cannot program in Lua.  The more
people who can contribute levels the better!

However, dropping the procedural level format will
throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Many of the
most sophisticated and interesting levels make full
use of the programming power provided by Lua -- for
example, the levels that generate random mazes each
time they are played.  These will be impossible to
replicate in a purely data-based format.

I would suggest using a layered architecture for

1) Stick with Lua scripts as the level file format. 
This will let Enigma support all existing levels with
no additional work and allow sophisticated levels to
be designed in the future by "hand coding".

2) Define a data-based level-format that is also
syntactically correct Lua code.  The data format could
be based on some of the "renderer" level scripts that
already exist.  As long as data-based levels are
read/written by automatic tools, the fact that the
data is also code can be just a detail of the Enigma
implementation and hidden from the tools.  Also, by
using Lua as a data format, tools might eventually be
able to support some limited scripting.  I'm thinking
along the lines of the VisualBasic forms designer
where the GUI designer can link to/from procedures.

BTW.  I have some new levels to upload when I get
back.  I love the new features and levels in version
0.7.  It's kept me entertained while trapped in camp
by tribal warfare and a dusk-to-dawn curfew!


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