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a package containing an object system for 3D games

Games::3D - a package containing an object system for 3D games


Games::3D - a package containing an object system for (not only) 3D games


        use Games::3D::World;

        my $world = Games::3D::World->new();

        $world->save_to_file( $filename );


        my $loaded = Games::3D::world->load_from_file( $filename );

        my $thing1 = $world->add ( Games::3D::Thingy->new( ... ) );

        my $thing2 = $world->add ( Games::3D::Thingy->new( ... ) );

        $world->link($thing1, $thing2);


=head1 EXPORTS

Exports nothing.


This package is just the basis documentation for all the classes contained under Games::3D. It does not need to be used, unless you want to require a specific version of this package.



the Games::3D::World manpage provides you with a container class that will contain every object in your game object system. This are primarily objects that have states, change these states and need to announce the states to other objects.

The the Games::3D::World manpage container also enables you to save and restore snapshots of your objects system.

Basic things that you object system contains are derived from a class called the Games::3D::Thingy manpage. These can represent physical objects (buttons, levers, doors, lights etc) as well as virtual objects (trigger, sensors, links, markers, sound sources etc).

You can link Thingys together, either directly or via the Games::3D::Links manpage. The links have some more features than direct linking, which are explained below.

This package also provides you with the Games::3D::Sensor manpage, a class for objects that sense state changes and act upon them. Or not, depending on the sensor. Sensors are primarily used to watch for certain conditions and then act when they are met. Examples are the death of an object, values that go below a certain threshold etc.

State changes are transported in the object system with signals.

A detailed explanation of all these basic building blocks follows below.

World and Things

The the Games::3D::World manpage is just a container to hold all the things. One advantage of having a global container is that you can get a snapshot of the world and save it to a file, and later restore it.

There are also certan performance advantages, for instance, if you want an event to trigger if one object from a certain class of objects dies, you can just ask the container to notify you. This is better than linking every object of that class to each sensor to watch for this particular state change.

The world contains Thingys, Links and Sensors.

=head2 Templates

Templates are blueprints for objects. Each template describes a class of objects, their valid settings as well as default values for these settings.

Thingys belong to a class, and Templates descirbe these classes. The template list is hirarchival, meaning templates for subclasses inherit all settings from their parent class. Here is an example for a template list:

        Virtual {

          base = 'Games::3D::Thingy'

          visible = off


        Virtual::Link {

          base = 'Games::3D::Link'


        Virtual::Sensor {

          base = 'Games::3D::Sensor'


        Physical {

          model = "default.md2"

          visible = 1


        Physical::Light {

          r = FRACT=0

          g = FRACT=0

          b = FRACT=0

          a = FRACT=0

          state_0 = [ 75, a, 0 ]

          state_1 = [ 250, a, 1 ]


The first three templates describe virtual (invisible) objects with different base classes. The last two are physical (visible) objects (their base class is automatically Games::3D::Thingy).

Note that Virtual::Link inherits the visible = off setting from Virtual!

There are a few settings that are common to all templates and don't need to be defined - everything else can be defined at will, to describe complex game environments. Here is an overview with their names and default values:

visible = BOOL=off
Flag to tell whether the object is visible (needs rendering) or not.

active = BOOL=on
Flag to tell whether the object is active (receiving/relaying signals) or not.

base = STR=``Games::3D::Thingy''
The underlying base object class.

id = INT=
The unqiue ID of the object. Will be automatically set. Read-only.

name = STR=
The name of the object. A 'Physical::Light' with ID=2 will have a default name of 'Light #2'. The name is usefull for refering objects by name, instead by the (possible changing) ID.

info = STR=
Short info text, that will be displayed in-game if someone looks at the object.

Since the Template defines an object with default settings, it is possible to construct new objects in-game just by giving the template name.


Each Thingy has the ability to link itself to another object. If the Thingy receives a signal, it will pass it along to all other objects that it is linked to (except for a few signals that the Thingy will act upon, but not pass along. See below).

From now on Thingys will be simple called object because even Links and Sensors are Thingys underneath.

States and State changes

Each object is in a certain state. Currently 16 different states exist, although most objects will only have two states. Switching between states is achived by sending the object a signal with the desired target state.

The signals SIG_ON and SIG_OFF switch to state 1 and state 0, respectively. SIG_FLIP flips between these two states.

Each state has a state-change-time associated with itself. The object will take so long to switch from the current state to the next state. There are also variables that will change from value A to value B while the state change takes place.

This means you can have a light come on (over a certain short period of time) and off again.

When the target state is reached, the object will send of a (different than the one it received to switch it's state) signal to all linked objects.

Thus it is possible to distinguish between start and end of the state change. This is important if you want certain things to happen immidiately, or after the state change is complete.


While you can create arbitrary signals and have your object act upon, there are a few basic signals an object knows. Here is an overview:

Signals that are not relayed:

This causes the object that receives the signal to be destroyed. It will send out a SIG_KILLED to all linked objects to announce it's death.

This causes the object that receives the signal to be (de)activated. Once deactivated, an object will stop receiving and sending signals until it get's SIG_ACTIVATE again.

Upon receiving such a signal, will send out a SIG_ACTIVATED respectively a SIG_DEACTIVATED to all linked objects.

Signals that are relayed:

These signals will change two-state objects between the ON and OFF state, and will be relayed to other objects as they are and immidiately.


When an object receives ON or OFF, it will turn itself ON, or OFF, respectively, and once it finished, it will send NOW_ON or NOW_OFF, respectively.

The same as ON or OFF, but instead flips the state between ON and OFF.

This signal cause the object to go to the desired state (over a certain time period).

When you invert a SIG_ON, it becomes SIG_OFF, and vice versa. SIG_FLIP and SIG_DIE, SIG_NOW_0 up to SIG_NOW_15 as well as SIG_STATE_2 up to SIG_STATE_15 cannot be inverted.

Various other signals:

This signal is send out when a certain value changes. It is only send out to objects that requested to be notified of state changes (e.g. typically Sensors). It carries the type (what was changed) and the new value.

This is used to signal an object that it should change a setting of itself. SET is used to set the value directly, ADD brings in a (possible negative) change (e.g. 5 +2 => 7), and MUL multiplies the old value with the new one (5 * -3 => -15).


Links are special objects that link other objects together. While you could just link two objects directly, links enhance this by adding some features:

A link can delay any signal coming across by a fixed (or randomized) time.

Links can invert signals. Thus SIG_ON becomes SIG_OFF, and vice versa.

They can also repeat signals, e.g each incomming signal is send out multiple times with delays in between.

Fixed Output
By setting the output of the link to a specific signal, we can make the link send out always the same signal, regardless of input signal.

A further advantage of link objects is that you can send a SIG_DIE to the link object itself, and thus destroying it. This breaks the link between the two objects in a finite manner. You can also deactivate and later activate the link again, without effecting the objects linked together itself.


Sensors sense state changes and when they happen, send out a signal. Each sensor attaches either to a specific object (``Player''), or to an entire class (``->Food''). The sensor also announces what type of change it wants to watch, for instance 'origin', 'health', 'position', 'age' etc. Whenever this value changes, the sensor get's notified.


There are certain events than can occur to an object. These are specified with a 'on_' prefix in the Templates like:

        Physical::Switch {

          on_frob = SIG_FLIP


        Physical::Loot {

          on_frob = CODE="$src->add($self)"


The notation of a single signal is shorthand for CODE="$self-signal($src,SIG_...)``> and means that on the event the object will send itself the specified signal.

$src is the object that caused the event. $self is the object that the event is happening to.

Here is a short overview of the possible events:

The player (or an NPC) frobbed the object. To frob means to touch, to use. For instance, the player walks to a switch and then uses it.

Objects (Player, NPCs) can only apply items that are in their inventory.

The object in question gets applied to the source object, e.g. the Player would eat the food object, or drink a potion.

Objects (Player, NPCs) can only use items that are in their inventory.

on_use is very similiar to on_apply, except that the object is used on a different object in the world, not the one that posesses it.

For instance, the player might use a key on a door.

This event 'occurs' just before the object gets killed.

There might be more events, like heal or hurt but it is currently whether these need to be distinct events, or can fall under the decreased_value and increased_value events.


Objects can have snippets of code that is executed upon an event. The code does have some predefined variables, here is a short overview:

The object that initiated/triggered the event.

The object on that the event is triggered.

The object on that $self should be used on (only for on_use event).

The world, contains the entire object system. One usefull method to call on that object is for instance $world->create('Some::Class::Here').


The aforementioned system is quite flexible, but there is also a certain rendunancy, which means there are sometimes multiple was to accomplish something. Here follow some real-game examples on how to represent often occuring scenaries with the given system.

We assume that you have physical objects which can be manipulated by the player, and that have two states: ON and OFF (or OPEN, CLOSED, UP, DOWN etc). This is often sufficient, and in the few cases were we need more than two states, custom scripting can solve the problem.

In the following text you will see some ASCII art drawings representing the game world as a network. Signals travel along the arrows (-->), and only in one direction. The possible signals are mentioned on the path.

The placement in the following networks has nothing to do with the actual object placement in the game world!

Door-Opener Button

Imagine a button that sends, when pressed, an ON signal.


        [ OnButton ] ---------------> [ Door ]

Press the button, and the door will be opened. Pressing it again will do nothing, since the door is already open.

(Of course, the door must prevent player interaction on itself, otherwise the player would just walk to the door and open it :)

=head2 Self-disabling Door-Opener Button

The button in the first example has one slight problem: It can be pressed again and again, even though without effect. If you want the button to be disabled, we can route its signal to a link, and use this:


        [ OnButton ] +--------------> [ Door ]

            ^        | ON

            |        |            DEACTIVATE

            |        +-> [ Link ] --------------+

            |                                   |


Pressing the button will open the door and de-activate the button.

Two-state button

The OnButton in the former examples only send one signal: ON. What if we have a button that sends ON when pressed and OFF when the player stops pressing it? Linking it to a door would do no good, because the door would open and immidiately close again. But you could use this to turn a light on while the button is pressed:

                   ON, OFF

        [ Button ] ---------------> [ Light ]

You could also supress one signal:

                   ON, OFF              ON

        [ Button ] ----------> [ LINK ] ---------> [ Door ]

via a link that only sends an ON signal.

TODO: Filters, that only allow (a) certain signal(s) to pass or filter (a) certain signal(s).


The same network as before would work with a lever, that sends an ON and OFF signal, provided the lever is in the OFF position after start. The first signal, ON, send when the lever is flipped, would open the door and disable the lever. If you want the lever to open and close the door, connect it directly:

                  ON, OFF

        [ Lever ] ---------------> [ Door ]

But what if the should be able to open the door from both sides? Simple placing two levers and link them directly would work, but have the side effect that if you open the door with one lever, walk through and try to close it with the other lever would not work immidiately. This is because the second lever is also in the OFF setting and would try to open the door again, and you need to flip it twice to close the door:

                  ON, OFF

        [ Lever ] ---------------> [ Door ]


                  ON, OFF            |  

        [ Lever ] -------------------+

There are two solutions: syncronise the levers, or easier, let each lever flip the door's status:

                  ON, OFF                   FLIP

        [ Lever ] ---------------> [ Link ] --------> [ Door ]


                  ON, OFF            |  

        [ Lever ] -------------------+

Here is the diagram to syncronise the levers:

                    ON, OFF

        [ Lever ] +--------------> [ Door ]

           ^      |                  ^

           |      |                  |

           |      |                  |  

           |      v        ON, OFF   |  

           |    [ Lever ] +----------+

           |      |

           |      | ON, OFF


If you flip the first lever, it will open the door and also set the second lever to ON. Flipping either the first or second lever will switch both of them OFF again, as well as close the door. It even needs on object less (the link object is not neccessary).

However, there is a slight problem, can you spot it?

We have just created a loop, flipping the first lever would flip the second, which would send ON to the first, which would send ON to the second, which would send ON to the first etc. etc. However, the network will prevent this by not relaying signals from the originating object back to itself.

Another thing is that the door will receive each signal twice: Flipping the first lever will route a SIG_ON to the door, as well as the second lever, which, since it is connected to the door, would also relay it's ON signal to the door. This works, though, since the door will ignore multiple signals of the same type.

Sound and delayed action

Let's assume you want, if a lever is flipped, a x seconds long sound sample be played (for instance sound of some heavy machinery), and then open a door.

There are again, multiple ways to solve this:

                              2s     ON   

        [ OnButton ] +----> [ Link ] -------> [ Door ]

            ^        | ON

            |        |                                    DEACTIVATE

            |        +----> [ SoundEmitter ] --> [ Link ]------------+

            |                                                        |


Pressing the button will play the sound, and deactivate the button. It will also open the door after 2 seconds. If you don't know in advance how long the sound plays, try this:

                                Invert ON, OFF    

        [ OnButton ] +        [ Link ] -------> [ Door ]

            ^        | ON       ^

            |        |          |                         DEACTIVATE

            |        +----> [ SoundEmitter ] --> [ Link ]------------+

            |                                                        |


Pressing the button will play the sound, and deactivate the button. If the sound is finished, the emitter will send a signal OFF, and this will be turned into an ON signal by the link (it is inverted) and open the door. The first signal, ON, will be inverted to OFF and do nothing, because the door is already closed.

Note: You could not used a link that just converted every signal into ON, because the first ON signal, send by the Button to the SoundEmitter, would also be relayed to the door, and open it to early.

Lever combinations

Imagine you want a door to be opened after the player has flipped two levers (but only then!):

Both levers have to be on the same side of the door, naturally:

The following would not work, because either lever would open the door alone:

                  ON, OFF

        [ Lever ] ---------------> [ Door ]


                  ON, OFF            |  

        [ Lever ] -------------------+

So, we use a link, and also turn the link into an AND gate. Normaly links act as OR gate, relaying each signal as it comes in. In AND gate mode, links only relay a signals if all inputs have received the same signal. Each input stores the last signal that arrives there and as soon as they are all in the same setting, the signal is send out (possible inverted, and delayed, though).

                  ON, OFF            AND    ON, OFF

        [ Lever ] ---------------> [ Link ] --------> [ Door ]


                  ON, OFF            |  

        [ Lever ] -------------------+

Setting both levers to ON opens the door, setting both to OFF closes it. Setting on lever different than the other does nothing.


This package defines no methods.


None known yet.


(c) 2003, 2004, 2006 Tels <>


the Games::Irrlicht manpage as well as:

the Games::3D::Thingy manpage, the Games::3D::Link manpage, the Games::3D::Signal manpage, the Games::3D::Sensor manpage.