Spaceballs - Day 20 - Screens, States, and Transitions, Oh My!

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I didn't quite get around to implementing the lives functionality tonight. However, I did do some general cleanup and "paved the road" for me to easily drop in the code for respawning and multiple lives tomorrow.

One of the refactorings I did was to take what I was calling "States" before and change them to "Screens". Really, they were screens. As I needed to start adding states to the gameplay itself (like PlayingState, LostLifeState, etc.), I didn't want to go down the road of making a hierarchical state manager because I felt it would muddle up what was really being done under the hood. I felt that separating out Screens from States would lead to a much more clean implementation.

Rather than states being things like MenuState, PlayState, RecapState, and HighScoreState, those are now MenuScreen, PlayScreen, RecapScreen, and HighScoreScreen. In my mind, that makes it much more clear what they are actually doing. States are now concepts like ReadyToPlayState, PlayingState, LostLifeState, PowerUpState, GameOverState, etc. Once again, I am happy about this change as I am really liking the separation between "Screens" and "States" rather than hacking both concepts into one. The code is not only cleaner, but it will also be much more clear where the functionality I'm about to implement goes. For instance, the multiple lives functionality will simply be transitions from PlayingState to LostLifeState and back to PlayingState. If I add the "countdown" at the beginning of the game (think "Starting in 3... 2... 1.... GO!"), it will simply be starting with ReadyToPlayState and transitioning to PlayingState when appropriate. This will also help break out the code into more manageable chunks as well (which I always like).

On an aside, I think I use Source Control much more than I originally thought. It's only day 20, and I'm already up to revision 61 in SVN (61 commits). Better safe than sorry, I suppose :).

I still don't have any comments to make on Visual C# Express. I still haven't really noticed the difference all that much for my hobbyist development. Anyone out there that wants to get into C# development should _totally_ download Visual C# Express and use that. Besides, you can't beat the price of FREE :). The one thing that I can say is that, in my opinion, the Express products are better than the other free IDEs that are out there today. Usually, you get what you pay for (meaning free can suck tremendously), but not with the Express editions.

That's it for this update. For tomorrow night, I'm going to shoot for implementing multiple lives (a.k.a. LostLifeState) and hopefully get around to implementing the ReadyToPlayState as well to add the countdown to play time. Those shouldn't take too long (hence the reason I'm hoping I can get both of them done tomorrow night). Until then, I'll see you on the flip side :).

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