Thursday, April 4, 2013

using what I've learned

First off, hey, this is the 70th post of this blog. Not bad for something less than a year old, I think. Just goes to show how geeky I can be about taking apart an IF language!

Anyhow, I had been thinking that of all of my extensions, my NPC  pathfinding extension "findpath.h" probably had the most bad code, memory-wise, as it assigns every room two additional properties, which it clears between uses. That is not unlike my array-clearing code that caused that huge headache in Roodylib.

It's always interesting to look at code you wrote a year ago, as I found several parts of "findpath.h" useless. Among the changes:
  • Previously, before writing the directions to be taken to the applicable character's script, I stored it in a property for that character (something that I was replacing the whole character class to give each character enough open slots). Since the code only sets up one path at a time, I figured I could just store the steps in a regular array that all characters would use. I think I wrote the original code at a time that I was especially fond of property arrays.
  • The code used an included routine called PropertyCount that went through the given property array and counted how many elements had values. Now, this might still be useful somewhere, but the way my code used it, I found I could easily replace it with better usage of local variables. I also clipped some of my determining-which-exit-is-best code by using local variables better.
  • Instead of clearing the room properties, I now determine whether or not a room has been counted yet by using the already_listed attribute. I can't say for certain, but I thought there was a chance that using an attribute might leave a smaller memory footprint.
  • I replaced this finding-the-other-side-of-this-door-object code:
            if InList(a.d, between, a ) = 1
                a = (a.d).between #2
                a = (a.d).between
    With this code:
            a = ((a.d).between #((a = a.d.between # 1) + 1))  
     Anyhow, that second thing, which I got off of CharMove or somewhere, might take a bit longer to read, but it does the same thing without having to call InList. Now, I don't know if calling InList really uses that much more processing power or memory or anything, but at least, when you are using the debugger, you won't have to step through those extra lines.

    So, all in all, findpath.h is a leaner, meaner machine now. It still has some of the same hang-ups. Like, it doesn't have awesome code for dealing with locked doors or anything, but even with that, I think I put it in a much more stable place (now, if there is no available path to the "prize", the code should shut down without printing anything embarrassing).

    So yeah, there's that. If you are curious about the two versions, the old version is and the new version is

    Happy pathfinding!

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