Skip to main content

Seeking Questions (and DOM/HTML5 Game Layout)

I had been pondering some architecture issues after a day of refactoring and cleanup on an HTML5 game I’m building at work. Some common data/UI integration problems were bugging me, mostly just for the feeling of good separation, and I was about to post to r/gamedev:

I'm looking for advice on some minor architect issues in some HTML5 gamedev work I've been up to. My background is as a web developer professionally and a very trivial game developer as a hobby, and I"m only recently combining those. However, for lots of reasons related to the positioning of this game as *part* of a larger web project at work, it isn't a traditional <canvas> HTML5 game, but being done with a combination of DOM and concern-separated logic.

I'm having trouble figuring out how where to draw the lines between the bits that implement my UI and the bigs that run logic behind it, and how to keep them in sync efficiently. There are patterns for this, but I don't feel like my usual approaches make sense in a game context, so I'm looking for any advice you've got.

This is a card game, though the situation and question would apply to other types of games, as well. Right now, I have a new refactoring that gives me two parts: a card logic component, which shuffles the deck, draws cards, manages a discard pile, play states, etc; and, all the animations and transitions of the card sprites that I display.

BAM. Right there the answer smacked me in the face. And at that moment my first thought was how interesting it is for the act of writing out a problem to trigger the solution in your head, and this isn’t a new idea in the world of even for myself. It is, however, something I want to cultivate, both in myself and others.

Write more and often, about your projects.

I try to keep a development journal and used to do a better job of it. I’m going to look at setting up some kind of prompt to keep myself reminded through the day and maybe that will help. But, on to the solution here.

If I were responding to this post, rather than writing it, maybe this is what I would say:

Separation is great, but at some point these different parts just have to talk to each other. At least, something has to connect them. You’re going to be redundant if you model all the card state twice, both in your logic and your UI, so keep one of them dumb. That’s probably going to be the UI.

Those visuals need to respond to the state changes in the logic, rather than trying to mirror them.

That logic going on, tracking your cards moving between the deck and the hand and discard pile and whatever other states you have needs to allow some reponse to that state changing. When the logic draws a hand from the deck, the visuals need to know which three cards to slide across the screen into your hand. When you play a card, the player needs to see that happen.

Just fire a simple event when the state of a card changes in the logic, and let the DOM update accordingly.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

On Pruning Your Passions

We live in a hobby-rich world. There is no shortage of pastimes to grow a passion for. There is a shortage of one thing: time to indulge those passions. If you're someone who pours your heart into that one thing that makes your life worthwhile, that's a great deal. But, what if you've got no shortage of interests that draw your attention and you realize you will never have the time for all of them?

If I look at all the things I'd love to do with my life as a rose bush I'm tending, I realize that careful pruning is essential for the best outcome. This is a hard lesson to learn, because it can mean cutting beautiful flowers and watching the petals fall to the ground to wither. It has to be done.

I have a full time job that takes a lot of my mental energy. I have a wife and a son and family time is very important in my house. I try to read more, and I want to keep up with new developments in my career, and I'm trying to make time for simple, intentional relaxing t…

The Insidiousness of The Slow Solution

In software development, slow solutions can be worse than no progress at all. I'll even say its usually worse and if you find yourself making slow progress on a problem, consider stopping while you're a head.

Its easy to see why fast progress is better: either you solve the problem or you prove a proposed solution wrong and find a better one. Even a total standstill in pushing forward on a task or a bug or a request can force you to seek out new information or a second opinion.

Slow solutions, on the other hand, is kind of sneaky. Its insidious. Slow solution is related the Sunk Cost Fallacy, but maybe worse. Slow solutions have you constantly dripping more of your time, energy, and hope into a path that's still unproven, constantly digging a hole. Slow solutions are deceptive, because they still do offer real progress. It is hard to justify abandoning it or trying another route, because it is "working", technically.

We tend to romanticize the late night hacking…

Finding "One Game A Month"

I was really excited about the One Game A Month challenge as soon as I heard about it.
For about two years I've struggled in fits and starts to make my way into game development. This hasn't been productive in any of the ways I hoped when I started. Its really difficult to be fairly experienced as a developer, which I believe I am in my day job as a web developer, while struggling really hard at an area in which your experience just doesn't exist.
Its like being a pilot who doesn't know how to drive.

But this challenge provided a new breath to this little hobby of mine. It gave me a scaffolding to experiment, to learn, to reflect on finished projects. I had spent far too much time on game projects that stretched on far past their exciting phases, bogged down by bad decisions and regret.
And it has worked.
I have a lot to learn. I have a lot of experience to gain through trial and error and mistake and discovery. I have a lot of fun to be had making more small games t…