make clean

May 13, 2008

HoM : an experiment in Scala

Filed under: Uncategorized — harshadrj @ 7:35 pm
Tags: ,

I wrote a little game in scala; House of Mirrors. It is a logic game heavily inspired by Chromatron.

It was just a for-fun project and I also wanted to familiarize myself with scala with a real-world application.

My notes:

  • I first wrote the core of the game, with no interface at all. It was probably about 100 lines of Scala code. I found I could easily design and code on the go.
  • I built up all objects using a hierarchy of case classes and stuck to immutable data types.
  • Adding a GUI layer on top of the core was easy with the SQUIB library. I think the total code was about 400 lines of code.
  • However, when dealing with colored light beams I had to get my hands dirty with Swing, since I wanted to define my own Composite class. I found some missing functionality in AWT and had to use Double buffering while compositing. This is what to took most of my time, though it’s just 17 lines of code
  • The next part was saving and loading game files in XML format. Needless to say, this was a breeze to write in Scala. Total code was about 500 lines of code
  • After a lot of game features and minor GUI enhancements the code now stands at 1k loc

The biggest hurdle I faced when dealing with Scala was a lack of documentation for the standard APIs. The others being : instability of the compiler itself, changing APIs and some inconsistencies in the language. An example of the latter; “case North” is treated differently from “case north”! why? because capitalisation of identifiers is treated specially! Bad design choice I think; it’s too quirky.

Most of these problems should go away with time & love but some like the above quirkiness are potential hair-pullers.

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