Suitable for...??

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Suitable for...??

Postby MooCow » Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:24 pm

Hi there

I've been using EZGUI for some time now and really pleased with it. I'm looking at EZ Game Saver but unsure if it might work for my needs. Here's some detail of the project's structure:

* First level contains player data and persistent objects like the player and the GUI, all set to DontDestroyOnLoad()
* Subsequent levels are loaded with the root level persisting.
* We have a system for dropping items on the floor and the same system for items already on the ground
* We can merrily pick up and drop items

Okay, so where does EZ Game Saver come in? Well if our beach level has some items already dropped, I need to be able to pick the items up, leave the beach and come back and those items bot re-appear because they were reloaded from the original scene. I'm thinking I would need to do some sort of partial save/diff but I don't know if EZ Game Saver would be able to help in this scenario.

Also I see that only certain types can be saved - presumably if I have a script DroppedItem, I can save any built in types exposed publically on that script, but no Lists<> of objects - is this the case?

Thanks
Ian
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Re: Suitable for...??

Postby Brady » Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:02 pm

Regarding your last presumption, yes, you are correct.

When you say you pick up the items and leave the beach, I'm not sure what's actually taking place behind the scenes. Basically, objects that are built into a scene at edit-time will still be there again (unless you intervene in your own script) when you re-load that scene. EZ Game Saver cannot prevent Unity from loading that portion of the scene. However, if the objects in question are dynamically instantiated at runtime, EZ Game Saver will save which objects were instantiated at the time of the previous save. Saves are also scene-specific, meaning that when you restore a game, it re-loads the scene that was open when the game was saved. It then re-instantiates any dynamic objects that were instantiated previously.

So if you had, let's say, a beach ball that was instantiated at runtime, then you "picked it up" and took it into another scene (let's say a "City" scene), then saved the game, then if you were to reload that game, you would appear back in the "City" scene with the beach ball. If you returned to the "Beach" scene, presumably your code wouldn't instantiate the ball again since you already have it in your inventory or whatever.

I'm not sure if that answers your question or not, but that's how EZ Game Saver handles things. If you're wanting, however, each scene to somehow "remember" what was in it separately, then EZ Game Saver won't necessarily do that automatically. What you would need to do if you used EZ Game Saver is to have a series of flags or something corresponding to each scene (but which exists in a structure/class that will be present at all times regardless of scene), and those flags would indicate which objects are supposed to currently exist in which scene. Of course, that, by itself, wouldn't necessarily save the position, orientation, or velocity of those objects. For that data to be saved and restored automatically, the objects need to be in the current scene when the game is saved. That data won't be saved for non-open scenes.
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Re: Suitable for...??

Postby MooCow » Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:12 pm

Okay, so here is perhaps a fundamental I'm struggling with - if I have a beach scene in Whig there should be a beachball, how cab the beachball be in the scene from the start? Instantiating prefabs is one thing for new items or newly dropped items, but what about a beach with a ball on it the first time the player encounters the beach?

I'm getting the impression that I shouldn't be adding an instance of the prefab for an item to the scene but somehow instantiating the item in the scene, the first time the scene is loaded.

I appreciate this is slightly off topic, but it would probably help me see how EZ Game Saver might come in...

Cheers!
Ian
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Re: Suitable for...??

Postby Brady » Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:25 pm

What you would probably want to do if using EZ Game Saver is to store a flag somewhere that says something like, "firstBeachEncounter". Mark the flag to be saved in your savegame (and this value will need to be in a component that will exist at all times, regardless of scene). If that flag is true, then you set it to false, and that will get saved. Then, in your beach scene, you register a delegate to be called by EZ Game Saver after the game is loaded (the docs explain how to do this). When your delegate gets called, you then do your start-up logic. By this time, you know whether a savegame was loaded or not, and if so, you know that all the data has been restored by this point. So now you can check the flag. If the flag indicates this is the first encounter, then you instantiate all the "first encounter" objects, then set the flag to false. If the flag is false, then you skip instantiating the objects, knowing that the game must have been loaded from save, and in which case, any dynamic objects have already been re-instantiated by EZ Game Saver.
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Re: Suitable for...??

Postby MooCow » Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:45 pm

Yep this was the direction I was heading in but I was wondering if it was a bit clunky. I guess I'll need to use some editor/editorwindow to position 'first-time' details as to what to instantiate. So maybe ez game saver will work fine for me.

Thanks for the help/advice!
Ian
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Re: Suitable for...??

Postby MooCow » Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:18 pm

Hi Brady

Just another question - do you have any plans/is it possible to support any List<T> of objects in a future release?

I notice the features state that only public members are visible. Typically the interface for my scripts are a kind of black box, but there may be some values that I need to save that wouldn't typically be publicly accessible. Is there a way, perhaps using attributes that a non-public member could be saved as well?

And.... if we upgrade the version of EZ Game Saver, or we change what gets saved, will an old save still load okay? Let's say we release the game, we have customers with a bazillion save games out there - we do an update and maybe add a few things to be saved that weren't previously and maybe stop saving something we shouldn't now save - will those bazillion saves blow up on load or will the data that is stored in the save load okay and only set where appropriate fields are found, ignoring new fields and any fields that have subsequently gone away? If we updated EZ Game Saver as well, will the old saves still load into the newer version?

Sorry, I keep editing and thinking of more questions - what is the execution order for scripts? To explain: If I load a saved game, I may load some data for a given script, say a script for spawning an enemy. This script may initially in Start() elect to spawn the enemy because no enemy was spawned. However, if the enemy was killed, the script may then know that it should re-spawn the enemy in 5 minutes of game-time. This timespan would be saved by EZGS and then restored the next time that scene was loaded. At what point would the spawn script have its data restored when the saved game is loaded, will the script's Start() method have already been called? Basically I don't want to the script to always spawn a creature because it thinks it needs to do so, when the save data would know differently.

Is that clear? As my questions are getting longer, do you want me to post new ones or keep them in this thread?

Thanks
Ian
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Re: Suitable for...??

Postby Brady » Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:27 pm

I've numbered your questions for easy reference:

1. Regarding generics, this is not currently supported, and will probably not be supported in the near future, if ever, due to the problem of properly recognizing the type when reading data back in.

2. Regarding public members, this is currently a definite requirement due to limitations with .NET reflection.

3. Regarding future save data, this is unfortunately a very sensitive area mostly due to some features sorely lacking in Unity's PlayerPrefs. For example, PlayerPrefs has no way to enumerate keys. As a result, things have to be saved sequentially, and that is how components and fields are identified. So a change in the order of these will throw the previous save data off.

4. Regarding script execution, this is handled using callbacks/delegates. You can register your spawn code to be called by EZ Game Saver after loading is complete, to ensure that your spawn code only runs after the necessary data is loaded.
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Re: Suitable for...??

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