Coding-tutorial

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This tutorial will give you guidelines on creating an element in The Powder Toy. We will use the heater (HETR) element in this example, which you can find here. The color will be the same as the HEAT element, and it will be an indestructible solid in the special menu, that transfers heat quickly. If you have any problems please post a thread on the forums

It's not as simple as typing the name, color, and features, but it's almost that easy.

Contents

Part One: Defining the Element's Properties

Step One: Defining the Element

Create a new element file, (HETR.cpp for this example, or whatever name your element will be) inside of src/simulation/elements.

After you put this into the /elements folder, you have to add it to the solution.

1. Open up your solution file, then go to the Solution Explorer pane.

2. Go to src/simulation/elements/

4. Right click the 'elements' folder

5. Go to Add -> Existing file

6. Navigate to src/simulation/elements and double click your element file HETR.cpp

Your new element should now be included in the solution! If you don't do this, you will get errors when you try compiling your new mod.

Open ElementClasses.h in the editor of your choice (Visual Studio for windows users). ElementClasses.h is located under Source Files -> generated in the Solution Explorer. Double click it to open it up. You will see a file that should have a big list of #define PT_XXXX Y. Scroll down until you reach the end of this list of statements that follow this format. Remember this number. You will need to enter a number greater than this one into the .cpp file you create for your new element. Currently, the largest element ID is LSNS, 185. Your element should have an ID of 186.

But multipurpose element's ID is 189 in git123hub/graftabl's mod.

You should not edit ElementClasses.h yourself, this file is generated automatically when generator.py is ran. It uses the "//#TPT-Directive" comments to do this, so make sure you have the element fully written before you run it. For Visual Studio you have to run generator.py manually every time you finish making a new element. The Visual Studio compiling guide should have given a good explanation. If you didn't read that, then here is a short version:

1. Locate the folder where your source code is located.

2. In this directory there should be a file named "generator.py"

3. Double click it to run it. A black window should appear for a second or so, then disappear. This means that it worked. You can check to see if ElementClasses.h was updated to confirm.

Step Two: Defining the Element's Primary Properties

Now, open up your new element file. It is empty right now, it is recommended you copy from another element, or this template here: HETR.cpp . The file is entirely commented, you can just change the properties to how you want.

Please look at the full list of Properties is here: Element_Properties

This is a lot to handle, and if you feel overwhelmed by some of the choices, try looking at elements similar to what you are creating and copy the values from those.

Step Three: Defining the Element's State Changes

In the linked property list page you will notice some special ones named LowPressure, LowPressureTransition, etc. These control all state changes for high/low pressure and temperature. It is very easy to edit these and add in transitions. Lets take GAS as an example. In GAS.cpp, you will find this:

	LowPressure = IPL;
	LowPressureTransition = NT;
	HighPressure = 6.0f;
	HighPressureTransition = PT_OIL;
	LowTemperature = ITL;
	LowTemperatureTransition = NT;
	HighTemperature = 573.0f;
	HighTemperatureTransition = PT_FIRE;

This makes it change into OIL at higher than 6.0 pressure, and change into FIRE at higher than 573.0K. Note that all temperatures are in Kelvin, so you have to subtract 273.15 to get the temperature in Celcius. In this case it transitions at 299.85C.

For some transitions, there is one more step. If you want it to transition back, you need to add similar code into the other element. Lets say you wanted OIL to change back into GAS once it goes under 6.0 pressure again. You would need to go into OIL.cpp and change the pressure transitions to this:

	LowPressure = PT_GAS;
	LowPressureTransition = 6.0f;

NOTE: For an element that does NOT have a transition at high/low pressure/temp, please follow the same format as the others and use IPL,IPH,ITL,ITH and NT.

HETR is very simple and has no transitions, so everything should be IPL,IPH,ITL,ITH and NT.

Step Four: Defining initial values

Some elements start off with certain properties by default, for example PHOT gets a .life value of 680. This is done inside of Simulation.cpp. Navigate to src/simulation/Simulation.cpp and find the function create_part. If you scroll down in this function, you will eventually find case statements that look like this:

			case PT_SOAP:
				parts[i].tmp = -1;
				parts[i].tmp2 = -1;
				break;
			case PT_ACID: case PT_CAUS:
				parts[i].life = 75;
				break;

Adding default values is as simple as making a new case statement. HETR doesn't require any default values, but lets pretend we wanted .tmp to start out as "1". We would add a new statement (anywhere in the list, but near the end might be better) that looks like this:

			case PT_HETR:
				parts[i].tmp = 1;
				break;

Don't forget the "break;", without it wouldn't error, but your element might get some properties you didn't want it to have.

Step Five: Defining the Element's Special Properties

This is the part where we actually code what the element does. The HETR.cpp linked above already has an element function, which looks like this:

//#TPT-Directive ElementHeader Element_HETR static int update(UPDATE_FUNC_ARGS)
int Element_HETR::update(UPDATE_FUNC_ARGS)
{
	int r, rx, ry;
	for (rx = -1; rx < 2; rx++)
		for (ry = -1; ry < 2; ry++)
			if (BOUNDS_CHECK)
			{
				r = pmap[y+ry][x+rx];
				if (!r || (r&0xFF) == PT_HETR)
					r = sim->photons[y+ry][x+rx];
				if (!r)
					continue;
				if (parts[r>>8].temp + (parts[r>>8].temp*0.2f) <= MAX_TEMP)
				{
					parts[r>>8].temp += parts[r>>8].temp*0.2f;
				}
				else 
				{
					parts[r>>8].temp = MAX_TEMP;
				}
			}
    return 0;
}

This is a model for what most elements should look like. We can break it down line by line.


//#TPT-Directive ElementHeader Element_HETR static int update(UPDATE_FUNC_ARGS)
int Element_HETR::update(UPDATE_FUNC_ARGS)
{

The first is the line that is read by generator.py and makes it work. Make sure this line is 100% correct or else your element won't compile. If it is not named HETR, you should change Element_HETR to match your element name.


	int r, rx, ry;
	for (rx = -1; rx < 2; rx++)
		for (ry = -1; ry < 2; ry++)
			if (BOUNDS_CHECK)
			{

These lines start a search around the particle of HETR for things to heat up. It searches the 8 spaces directly surrounding HETR. It also searches the location the HETR itself is in, which is almost always unnecessary. You can fix this by changing the BOUNDS_CHECK line to if (BOUNDS_CHECK && (rx || ry)).


				r = pmap[y+ry][x+rx];
				if (!r || (r&0xFF) == PT_HETR)
					r = sim->photons[y+ry][x+rx];
				if (!r)
					continue;

These lines get the particle at location (x+rx, y+ry). It first checks if it exists, and then checks whether it isn't another particle of HETR (we don't want HETR heating up other HETR). If there is no particle in that location, it then checks whether any energy particles are in that location. If there isn't an energy particle either, it stops, continue; in C++ skips the entire for loop above and goes onto the next location.

For more information on pmap, photons, r, and i; go to Variables


				if (parts[r>>8].temp + (parts[r>>8].temp*0.2f) <= MAX_TEMP)
				{
					parts[r>>8].temp += parts[r>>8].temp*0.2f;
				}
				else 
				{
					parts[r>>8].temp = MAX_TEMP;
				}

This is the code unique to HETR, the rest was just a base used by almost every element. The temperature of the particle we found is stored in parts[r>>8].temp. We want to multiply this by 1.2. If it's too close to MAX_TEMP, we just want to increase it to MAX_TEMP instead of doing the multiplication though. This code achieves just that.

			}
    return 0;
}

Not much interesting here, except for the return 0; The function returns an int, so you should always have a return 0; at the end. If your particle gets killed during the update function, you should immediately return 1;. This will let the game know it died, and skip the movement code for it since it's already dead and doesn't need to move.


Fore more complicated element functions, check out the list of useful Functions.

Part Two: Uploading Your Work to GitHub

(NOTE: GitHub is NOT necessary to just add elements, it is for getting code into the official)

1) Open SmartGit (make sure you've saved your changes in Visual Studio).

2) Simulation.cpp and any other files you may have changed should be listed as "Modified".

3) Press "Commit" at the top, list the things you have changed in the text box, and press "Commit".

4) Press "Push" at the top, and press "Push" again.


Now you are done, if you have any more questions, type them at the discussion part of this page.

Welcome to coding the powder toy!

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