Can I use Revolution for this?

Rodney Somerstein rodneys at io.com
Fri Aug 2 14:59:01 CDT 2002


OK, I have a question about whether or not I can use Revolution for 
the project that I want to do. I hope so, because I have effectively 
wasted a few hundred dollars in Rev licensing and documentation if 
not.

Let me describe the project, which I mentioned here once before, and 
then my concerns. The project is a system to allow people to play 
games online. This system will support a variety of board and card 
games, many of which are very complex and could potentially have 1000 
playing pieces, cards, boards, etc. in certain games. I want the 
users to be able to create their own games as the goal is to be able 
to adapt existing strategy games to be playable online using 
Revolution to create the front end.

Now, my concern has to do with the standalone limitations. Is there a 
way that I can read data from an external file and then create all of 
the playing pieces and such that are needed in a particular game? 
Even a small game is likely to have more than 50 pieces. It seems 
that I'm going to bump into the limitations of the standalone 
environment as each of these pieces would be an object and the  user 
needs to be able to script them to a certain extent. Is this a real 
concern, or is there a simple workaround?

My initial thoughts are that there might be several possibilities. 
First of all, I could pre-populate the game engine with a couple of 
thousand objects. At run-time, I can read from a configuration file 
to determine what graphics to set for each object, how to resize 
them, etc. Startup time for a game would be slow, but this might 
work. Can a Rev stack even handle this many objects on a single card 
without bogging down and having the performance become too slow to be 
workable? Not all of the objects would be visible at any one time, 
but I don't know that this would make much of a difference.

As for the scripting issue, the only thing that I can see to do is to 
create a custom scripting language for the game designers to use. I 
would read these scripts in from a configuration file or files and 
then parse them myself. XML would probably be ideal for this, but I 
don't think that Revolution supports XML. I'm also concerned about 
the speed of doing this kind of parsing if I can't use XML. This 
would let me get around the scripting limitations in standalones.

If anyone has any other suggestions, please let me know. Also, if my 
thinking is wrong in any of these areas, please let me know that too.

Also, if someone from RunRev could reply, I would love to know why I 
even have to deal with any of these limitations in the first place. I 
am a licensed user of Revolution. I'm just trying to use the 
environment to create a standalone program that provides the 
functionality I need. Why should I have to deal with the limitations 
imposed on users who haven't paid for the product?

Thanks,

Rodney Somerstein
rodneys at io.com



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