So many programming, and technical things are bodged, not just in games or software, but everywhere, because the ideal best-case academic method is totally useless given that we are always working from an imperfect base.
The railway network, telephone infrastructure, road network, sewers and god-knows-what-else here in England are all rubbish. Why? Because we got these things very early in history due to being economically and technologically quite advanced, esp during victorian times. As a result, as pioneers, we have what I guess is ‘first-mover disadvantage’. Our countries infrastructure is like excite vs today’s google :D
I definitely find this problem in my own code, my own methods of working etc. I have an engine, it doesn’t really have a name, the folder is called ‘Positech Engine’. I save my imagination for the actual game… The engine isn’t like the unreal engine or other fully-featured thing, but it has all my library code which handles stuff like directinput, rendering, vertex buffer and texture management, file loading and so on. Bizzarely, 90% of the my UI code is NOT in the library, I copy it to each new game. How sucky.
Not only that, but I have a bunch of long standing balls-ups that I am now stuck with, pending a major rewrite for the next game. I should have done them for this one, really… Here are the ones that spring to mind.
STRINGS: I can’t decide if I like char* buffers or std::string. I pretty much use std::string, but because historically I know functions like sprintf and strcpy really well, I still use them in places. As a result some of my library stuff is designed to accept either std::string or char* as input. I can type ‘.c_str()’ so fast now it’s scary
UNICODE: I don’t use unicode. This means a Japanese GSB is not going to happen any time soon. I should probably use unicode, but I don’t
TOOLTIPS: I know this seems minor, but my tooltip class isn’t integrated with my window class. This means if I create a new window, and it needs a tooltip, I need to add a tooltip object, and call a destructor, and make it respond to the mouse and get drawn. This sucks. I should have defaulted to all windows having tooltip functionality
BUTTONS: Buttons should be a subset of windows, but mine aren’t. Both windows and buttons at least derive from the same class, but a window thus now derives from a buttonlist. That means a window has a list of buttons, and a list of child windows, and they are handled seperately. THIS SUCKS.
I know this all sounds crap, and if you are a coder writing a new engine, or a student, it sounds like I’m a n00b, but the thing is, you wouldn’t start from here. Unfortunately I have, and re-using my existing engine saves me hundreds if not thousands of hours for each game, so it’s tough to make a business case for changing a lot of this. Both big studios I worked on had code that was at least as messy as this, so I know it’s not just me…
Next game I’ll fix it all, sure… maybe…