March 05, 2005

CDL prototype working

I just got my prototype CDL metacompiler working. It can compile the CDL class definition I posted previously and it outputs all the automatically generated schema and C++ serialization code. It's not even close to being production ready but I have taken it far enough to satisfy myself that it would be feasible for a game project. It was pretty straightforward to get working: just 18 hours.

I ended up not using the Puma C++ transformation library. It was overkill for my needs. I used the Program Database Toolkit instead. PDT is based on the EDG C++ compiler, which is used by a lot of commercial C++ compilers including Comeau C++. EDG can successfully compile boost (which gives a lot of compilers difficulty) so my metacompiler could compile class definitions that used boost or other template heavy code.

EDG is commercial, but they allow it to be used free for non-commercial purposes. I haven't been able to find out what kind of licensing arrangements are available. Alternatively, I could base CDL on Puma as originally planned. It would just be a little more work and I don't know if it would be able to parse things like boost.

I originally started considering this as an alternative to my C# to C++ translator for exploiting metadata and automatic code generation in game projects. I think they could both be made to work, although C# would offer more benefits. Of course, the CDL metacompiler is much simpler and much lower risk.

I think for my next project I will look at some scripting languages: their applications in games and how to effectively bind them to game code, possibly using CDL to automatically generate the bindings from annotated class definitions.

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