For the last couple of weeks Christmas has mostly taken over my life, where a week in Devon with my family, playing board games, drinking and repeatedly attempting to run up waterlogged hills has reduced the amount of time I’ve spent programming. Still I took my Mac Mini South-Westward, plugged it into the monitor in my Dad’s office and took a few hours each day to at least stare at some code, if not make effective, focused advances.
Most critiques suggested that RapidXML was the least feature rich and had the least useable interface, whilst it was also considered the fastest. Between TinyXML and pugixml, the latter was considered smaller whilst running and faster at parsing files.
Pugixml has a comparison on their website for a variety of parsers and, whilst they might be somewhat biased, they provided all the files for others to test with themselves, so I find it cautiously reliable. Based on the above I ended up choosing pugixml, which has done everything I need and seems simple to use so far.
Once the XML side of the loader was done, I then started with the level creation. That forced me to take my prototype code, which essentially just about held together the bits of tech I’d written already, and start forming it into a proper game loop, with more sensible organisation of the code and the various aspects of the game. When you’re knocking a prototype together you generally don’t think too much about where feature divisions should be, as you just want to see things work (or not) to decide whether it’s worth continuing in the direction you’re prototyping (or not). Going from having various bits of OpenGL code sitting in the physics engine (there were reasons, honest), to having a well-considered interface between the two, easily eats up days, as you don’t want to have to do this sort of thing more than three or four times before the end of the project. By the time that was done I had to pack up and return to Merry Olde Wormley, wherein I got to meet up with some ex-Lionhead friends, each of whom have had a different experience in trying / succeeding in forming their own start-ups over the last couple of years. Experiences that I shall start typing up now…