Game From Scratch C++ Edition Part 3



So, now we have a functioning game loop and a screen to draw on, lets add some more functionality.  This time we are going to add a menu and a welcome splash screen.  We are going to take a consistent approach in that all “screens” are in charge of handling their own input.


Alright, lets start with adding a SplashScreen for when you start the game.  First off all, you are going to need an image to display as the splash screen.  Keep in mind the game is running at a fixed resolution of 1024x768, so ideally you want to make an image that size.  It is outside of the scope of this tutorial to create that image, but after playing around in Blender for a couple of minutes, I came up with this:



Click here to download full size version of SplashScreen.png


… what can I say, I am a programmer.  You can use this image or create your own it really doesn’t matter, although to follow along with the code, name it SplashScreen.png if you do decide to create your own.  Now that we have our image, lets write some code.


First create a new header file in the Header Files folder named SplashScreen.h.  Now add the following code:


1 #pragma once 2 class SplashScreen 3 { 4 public: 5 void Show(sf::RenderWindow& window); 6 }; 7

Click here to download SplashScreen.h


Simple enough right?  After the last section, there should be nothing new here.  We are simply creating a class called SplashScreen with a single public function Show(), which takes a RenderWindow as a parameter.  Save your changes.



Now we want to create SplashScreen.cpp in the Source Files folder.  Once created, add the following code:

1 #include "StdAfx.h" 2 #include "SplashScreen.h" 3 4 5 void SplashScreen::Show(sf::RenderWindow & renderWindow) 6 { 7 sf::Image image; 8 if(image.LoadFromFile("images/SplashScreen.png") != true) 9 { 10 return; 11 } 12 13 sf::Sprite sprite(image); 14 15 renderWindow.Draw(sprite); 16 renderWindow.Display(); 17 18 sf::Event event; 19 while(true) 20 { 21 while(renderWindow.GetEvent(event)) 22 { 23 if(event.Type == sf::Event::EventType::KeyPressed 24 || event.Type == sf::Event::EventType::MouseButtonPressed 25 || event.Type == sf::Event::EventType::Closed ) 26 { 27 return; 28 } 29 } 30 } 31 }

Click here to download Splashscreen.cpp


This code is also pretty straight forward.  First thing we do is load the splashscreen image from disk and simply return if it doesn’t exist, meaning of course nothing will be shown.  With SFML an image is not seen on screen, that is the job of a sprite.  An image represents the actual pixel data from a file, but a sprite represents displaying that information on screen.  Why, you might wonder would you bother creating two different classes?  Mostly because you could have multiple sprites using the same image.  For example, our game is going to have at least two paddles, but we are going to use only a single image.  Also, in the case of a sprite sheet you often have multiple images in a single image file.


One the sprite is loaded, we simply draw it to the screen.  We don’t need to worry about coordinates because the sprite and the renderWindow are the same size.  Next we simply call RenderWindow.Display() which displays our image on screen.


As I said earlier, all windows are responsible for their own event handling, which exactly what happens starting on line 18.  On 19 we declare an infinite loop, then each pass through we check for available events and if the user presses a key, clicks a mouse or closes the window we exit the function, thus closing the splash screen window.


The main menu works very similarly but has a couple of key differences.  The menu is essentially just an image that is displayed similar to the splash screen.  Let’s take a look at it now.  Create a file called MainMenu.h ( note, you can use Add Class because MainMenu is a reserved class name in MFC… again, stupid bug. ) and add the following code:


1 #pragma once 2 #include "SFML/Window.hpp" 3 #include "SFML/Graphics.hpp" 4 #include <list> 5 6 class MainMenu 7 { 8 9 public: 10 enum MenuResult { Nothing, Exit, Play }; 11 12 struct MenuItem 13 { 14 public: 15 sf::Rect<int> rect; 16 MenuResult action; 17 }; 18 19 MenuResult Show(sf::RenderWindow& window); 20 21 private: 22 MenuResult GetMenuResponse(sf::RenderWindow& window); 23 MenuResult HandleClick(int x, int y); 24 std::list<MenuItem> _menuItems; 25 };

Click here to download MainMenu.h


First thing you may ask is “Why isn’t <list> declared in stdafx?”.  The answer is, you’re right, it should be.  As you know from earlier, any header file you include but aren’t actively being changed should be included in stdafx to accelerate the build process.  For sample code purposes though, it was better to show it included locally instead of having to show stdafx.h over and over.


MainMenu is a fairly straight forward class.  First off it defines an enum type that contains the various possible return values the menu could return.  Next it declares a struct called MenuItem that represents the individual menu items in the menu.  This struct is exceedingly simple, containing a sf::Rect<int> that represents the dimensions of the MenuItem. It also contains a MenuResult enum presenting the value to return if that MenuItem is clicked.



Optional information


What's with the <int> ???

You may have just encountered your first line of templated code. In MainMenu.h we declared:
sf::Rect<int> rect;
sf::Rect is a templated class.  In this case we are declaring an instance of sf::Rect using the type of int.  In place of int we could have used many other numeric data types, such as float or double or even your own class, as long as it supported all of the operators that sf::Rect requires.
In essence, templates allow a class such as sf::Rect to become more generic by removing the requirement of them to know about the datatype they are operating on.  So instead of having to for example, implement three Add() methods for eac int, float and double, they can simply write one.
This is an extremely simple and incomplete explanation of templates.  Templates are of extreme importance to C++ and are becoming more and more important with every revision, so it is a very good idea to familiarize yourself with how they work.  Such a discussion is well beyond the scope of this work, so you may wish to consult a site such as this or consult a book such as  C++ Templates The Complete Guide, an excellent book on the subject.
You should be able to make it through this tutorial with minimal knowledge of templates, but if you are going to become proficient in C++, it is an area you will need to know extremely well.



Next MainMenu declares a single public function Show() that returns a MenuResult enum type.  Finally are the private functions and data.  GetMenuResponse() is used internally and will be explained shortly, as is HandleClick().  The last line item is a list of type MenuItem, which will hold the various MenuItems that compose MainMenu.  std::list is a templated class from the Standard Template Library.  If you are unfamiliar with STL, you should rectify that as soon as you get the chance.  There are some good book and link suggestions for learning C++ in the C++ section of the Beginners Guide if you wish to learn more.



That’s about it for MainMenu.h.  Most of this will make more sense in a few minutes.  I thought I would take a moment to explain something about the design of MainMenu, the nested structs/enums.  You may be wondering why I nested the definition of MenuItem and MenuResult inside of MainMenu and the simple answer is because they belong to MainMenu, so we want to scope them within MainMenu.  Truth of the matter is, those items are of absolutely no use when not dealing with MainMenu, so there is no sense polluting the global namespace with a number of classes with no use to anything but a MainMenu object.  This is a key aspect of object oriented programming, encapsulation.



This leads to another conversation, the design of MainMenu itself.  Don’t menus share enough functionality they should derive from a common base class and a generic MenuItem class that isn’t specific to a specific type of menu?  The answer is very much yes!  In your own game, if you have multiple menus this is exactly what you would want to do.  In the case of Pang however, we are only going to have a single menu, so I went this route in order to keep the code smaller/easier to understand.  Don’t worry, later in the tutorial we will cover inheritance in more detail.



Optional information


Why a struct?

You may have noticed that MenuItem is a struct instead of a class and may wonder why that is.  The simple answer is, it just as easily could have been a class, but struct is a slightly better choice.
First off, the biggest difference between a class and a struct is that a class defaults to private while a struct defaults to public.  Since MenuItem contains entirely public members, choosing struct saves a bit of typing “public: “.
The second reason is more a convention thing, but is no less important, especially if you are dealing with other coders.  When dealing with fully publicly available POD types ( Plain Old Data ) that has no member functions, the norm is to use struct.  Finally it is common to use struct for functors but you can forget about that for now, we will cover it later.  There are some advantages to POD types ( like no vtables ) but they are well beyond the scope of what we are dealing with and are generally an example of premature optimization.
In short, you could have used class instead and been just as right, struct was just a slightly better fit.


Now let’s implement MainMenu.  Create a new file called MainMenu.cpp and add the following code:


1 #include "stdafx.h" 2 #include "MainMenu.h" 3 4 5 MainMenu::MenuResult MainMenu::Show(sf::RenderWindow& window) 6 { 7 8 //Load menu image from file 9 sf::Image image; 10 image.LoadFromFile("images/mainmenu.png"); 11 sf::Sprite sprite(image); 12 13 //Setup clickable regions 14 15 //Play menu item coordinates 16 MenuItem playButton; 17 playButton.rect.Top= 145; 18 playButton.rect.Bottom = 380; 19 playButton.rect.Left = 0; 20 playButton.rect.Right = 1023; 21 playButton.action = Play; 22 23 //Exit menu item coordinates 24 MenuItem exitButton; 25 exitButton.rect.Left = 0; 26 exitButton.rect.Right = 1023; 27 exitButton.rect.Top = 383; 28 exitButton.rect.Bottom = 560; 29 exitButton.action = Exit; 30 31 _menuItems.push_back(playButton); 32 _menuItems.push_back(exitButton); 33 34 window.Draw(sprite); 35 window.Display(); 36 37 return GetMenuResponse(window); 38 } 39 40 MainMenu::MenuResult MainMenu::HandleClick(int x, int y) 41 { 42 std::list<MenuItem>::iterator it; 43 44 for ( it = _menuItems.begin(); it != _menuItems.end(); it++) 45 { 46 sf::Rect<int> menuItemRect = (*it).rect; 47 if( menuItemRect.Bottom > y 48 && menuItemRect.Top < y 49 && menuItemRect.Left < x 50 && menuItemRect.Right > x) 51 { 52 return (*it).action; 53 } 54 } 55 56 return Nothing; 57 } 58 59 MainMenu::MenuResult MainMenu::GetMenuResponse(sf::RenderWindow& window) 60 { 61 sf::Event menuEvent; 62 63 while(true) 64 { 65 66 while(window.GetEvent(menuEvent)) 67 { 68 if(menuEvent.Type == sf::Event::MouseButtonPressed) 69 { 70 return HandleClick(menuEvent.MouseButton.X,menuEvent.MouseButton.Y); 71 } 72 if(menuEvent.Type == sf::Event::Closed) 73 { 74 return Exit; 75 } 76 } 77 } 78 }

Click here to download MainMenu.cpp


This code is fairly long, but not very complex.  First off we implement Show(), which is very similar to SplashScreen from before.  We load an image file “mainmenu.png” from the images folder and create a sprite to display it.  Next we create two MenuItem’s, which correspond with the location of their buttons physical locations within the mainmenu.png image file.  Lastly, each MenuItem has an action, which is represented by the MenuResult enum we described earlier.




Click here to download MainMenu.png


After defining the location rects and action type of both MenuItems, we then add them to the _menuItems list using push_back(), which adds to an item to a list in the final position.  Next we draw our menu image to screen and tell the display to Display() just like we did in Splashscreen.  Finally, we call the function GetMenuResponse, returning it’s return value as Show’s return value.


GetMenuResponse() is the event loop for MainMenu.  It works just like our other two eventloops, except it only handles sf::Event::Closed and sf::Event::MouseButtonPressed.  In the event of close, it returns a value of MenuResult::Exit.  In the event of a button press, it passed the coordinates into HandleClick() returning it’s results.


HandleClick() is a very simple method that might look very confusing to you if you are new to STL datatypes.  First off, it declares an iterator, which is a datatype used for navigating through a collection of data.  In the for loop the iterator “it” is initially assigned a location of _menuItems.begin() which is the first element in the list.  Each pass through, the iterator’s ++ operator is called, which moves to the next item in the list, until the iterators location is equal to _menuItems.end().  One thing than can be a bit tricky is List.end() refers to a value past the end of the list, not to the last item in the list.  Think of .end() like you would a file’s EOF.  It does not represent a value, but instead the end of available values. 


Iterators also represent a pointer to the underlying datatype contained within the list<>.  Therefore when we dereference it ( using    (*it)  ) it contains a MenuItem type.  We then check to see if the click location is within the MenuItem’s rect.  If in fact the click was within MenuItem’s rect, we return the action (MenuResult). 



Lastly, we need to make a few changes to Game.h and Game.cpp, which will illustrate the power of using a state driven game structure. 


Change Game.h to contain the following:

1 #pragma once 2 #include "SFML\Window.hpp" 3 #include "SFML\Graphics.hpp" 4 5 6 class Game 7 { 8 public: 9 static void Start(); 10 11 private: 12 static bool IsExiting(); 13 static void GameLoop(); 14 15 static void ShowSplashScreen(); 16 static void ShowMenu(); 17 18 enum GameState { Uninitialized, ShowingSplash, Paused, 19 ShowingMenu, Playing, Exiting }; 20 21 static GameState _gameState; 22 static sf::RenderWindow _mainWindow; 23 };

Click here to download Game.h


The only changes we made here were the two next new functions on line 15 and 16, as well as the two new states on lines 18 and 19. The purpose of these changes will be explained in a moment.


In Game.cpp, we want to edit Game::Start() to look like:

1 void Game::Start(void) 2 { 3 if(_gameState != Uninitialized) 4 return; 5 6 _mainWindow.Create(sf::VideoMode(1024,768,32),"Pang!"); 7 8 _gameState= Game::ShowingSplash; 9 10 while(!IsExiting()) 11 { 12 GameLoop(); 13 } 14 15 _mainWindow.Close(); 16 }


The only real change here is line 8.  This simply sets the state to ShowingSplash when the game starts up.  Next up we just add two new states to Game::GameLoop, as follows:

1 void Game::GameLoop() 2 { 3 switch(_gameState) 4 { 5 case Game::ShowingMenu: 6 { 7 ShowMenu(); 8 break; 9 } 10 case Game::ShowingSplash: 11 { 12 ShowSplashScreen(); 13 break; 14 } 15 case Game::Playing: 16 { 17 sf::Event currentEvent; 18 while(_mainWindow.GetEvent(currentEvent)) 19 { 20 _mainWindow.Clear(sf::Color(sf::Color(0,0,0))); 21 _mainWindow.Display(); 22 23 if(currentEvent.Type == sf::Event::Closed) _gameState = 24 Game::Exiting; 25 26 if(currentEvent.Type == sf::Event::KeyPressed) 27 { 28 if(currentEvent.Key.Code == sf::Key::Escape) ShowMenu(); 29 } 30 } 31 break; 32 } 33 } 34 }



All that we add here are the Game::ShowingMenu and ShowingSplash case handlers, which call ShowMenu() and ShowSplash() respectively.  They are defined as:



1 void Game::ShowSplashScreen() 2 { 3 SplashScreen splashScreen; 4 splashScreen.Show(_mainWindow); 5 _gameState = Game::ShowingMenu; 6 } 7 8 void Game::ShowMenu() 9 { 10 MainMenu mainMenu; 11 MainMenu::MenuResult result = mainMenu.Show(_mainWindow); 12 switch(result) 13 { 14 case MainMenu::Exit: 15 _gameState = Game::Exiting; 16 break; 17 case MainMenu::Play: 18 _gameState = Game::Playing; 19 break; 20 } 21 }

Click here to download Game.cpp


Game::ShowSplashScreen() simply creates a SplashScreen object, calls its Show() method, then sets the game state to Showing Menu.  Game::ShowMenu() creates a MainMenu object and calls it’s Show() method.  In this case, it takes the returned MenuResults value and sets the game’s state accordingly.  This is how we handle the progression from state to state within our game. 



Pang running now:





Click any key or mouse button to get past the splash screen, then in the menu click either “Exit Game” to um… exit.   That’s it for now.  In the next section we will work a bit more with graphics and delve a little deeper into object oriented programming.


You can download a completely updated project here.



Back to Part Two Forward to Part Four

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3D Graphical Applications
Home > Art

3D Graphical Applications

11. May 2011


The following is a list of most of the available 3D applications, links to their websites, current MSRP and a link to the downloadable version if available.  If I have missed any applications, please email me at and I will rectify that.




Autodesk 3ds Max

The program most often used for creating game graphics, 3DS is probably the gold standard of3ds-max-logo_thumb[2] 3D applications. In recent years Autodesk has been snapping up all the competition and slowly they are becoming very similar. Package does just about everything you could imagine, as well as having perhaps one of the easiest IK systems ever created.

Operating Systems: Windows

Cost (MSRP): 3,495$

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: 30 Day trial

Sample Titles: Rockband, FarCry 2, Assassins Creed




Autodesk Maya

The ultimate evolution of Alias Sketch. Re-written for Windows as Alias Wavefront Maya in Autodesk_Maya_ruukasu_thumb[2]1998, then simply Maya it was acquired by Autodesk in 2005. Responsible for the now nearly universal QWERTY control system as well as the visual move/scale/translate gizmo.

Operating Systems: Windows, Mac, Linux

Cost (MSRP): 3,495$ without subscription, 4,090$ with

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: 30 Day trial

Sample Titles: Deus Ex Human Revolution, EA Sports MMA, Resident Evil 5




Autodesk Softimage

Softimage is another commercial package with a long history, starting as Softimage|3D in XSI6_thumb[1]1988, to become Softimage XSI in 2000, then purchased by Autodesk in 2009 to become Autodesk Softimage. In the middle there was a brief stint where it was owned by Microsoft. Softimage has been used to create numerous films and games. Since being acquired by Autodesk, the price has increased substantially, with the elimination of different tiers being available.

Operating Systems: Windows, Linux

Cost (MSRP): 2,995$ without subscription, 3,790$ with.

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: 30 Day trial

Sample Titles: Lost Planet, Metal Gear Solid, Bayonetta




Softimage Mod Tool

Back before being acquired by Autodesk, Softimage released a free version of Softimage modtool7_thumbbased on Softimage 7.5, designed for mod makers working with Source Engine ( Halflife2 and others ) powered games. When XNA was released, ModTool was also available for XNA Creator Club subscribers to freely make commercial games. Since these days, Autodesk seems to have abandoned ModTool.

Operating Systems:

Cost (MSRP): 3,495$

Demo/Trial Available? No

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: Full featured, non-commercial license (unless working with XNA)

Sample Titles: Unknown




Nevercenter Silo 2.2

This program is extremely polished and intuitive to use, with a price that is extremelysilo_logo_white_on_black_thumb[1] appealing. Silo is a dedicated modeler, with only minimal UV editing features. I highly recommend you check out the 30 day download, but caution you that the developer support is incredibly iffy. When evaluating your purchase, ask yourself if the version you are evaluating is worth the price of admission WITHOUT any further patches or upgrades, as there may be none!

Operating Systems: Windows, Mac

Cost (MSRP): 99$ Core, 159$ Pro

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: 30 Day full featured, after 30 days limited save functionality

Sample Titles: Unknown




Luxology Modo

In the beginning there was Lightwave and all was good. Then something happened and mostmodo401logo1_thumb[1] of the Lightwave went off and started Luxology. Frankly I think we are lucky they did. It started off as a pure modeler but now it is a modeler, sculpter, texture/painting and rendering suite. There is now animation support but it is relatively primitive. Up until recently they have only had a paid demo, which was really really really stupid, but fortunately they have rectified that, somewhat.

Operating Systems: Windows, Mac

Cost (MSRP): 995$

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: 15 Day trial, have a 30 day trial bundle available for 25$

Sample Titles: Test Drive Unlimited 2, Rage & Doom 4



Newtek Lightwave

As mentioned earlier, the team behind Modo started off at Newtek working on Lightwave.1294076283_NewTek_Light_Wave_3D_10_HAPPY_NEW_YEAR_thumb[1] Lightwave has been around a long time, with roots on the Amiga in the 80s. Perhaps most famous for Babylon 5, Lightwave has been used in hundreds of games, films and tv series. It’s followers were almost rabidly loyal. Since the team at Luxology split off, Newtek seems to be spinning it’s wheels a bit. They announced a re-write called Lightwave CORE in 2009, and just released Lightwave 10 at the end of 2010. It is definitely worth checking out, Lightwave has always been an affordable option and I believe the current price is as low as it has ever been.

Operating Systems: Windows, Mac OS

Cost (MSRP): 895$

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: 30 Day trial

Sample Titles:






Blender is covered in much greater detail across this site, such as here. Its comprehensive, powerful and free, why not check it out? Simply put, it is one of the programs this site focusesLogoBlender_thumb[1] on. As I personally just discovered, it is also a remarkably capable video composition tool.

Operating Systems: Windows, Linux, Mac OS, FreeBSD

Cost (MSRP): 0$

Demo/Trial Available? Not Applicable

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: Full release!

Sample Titles: Ignite PC, others?




Wings 3D

Like Blender,Wings 3D is one of the primary programs featured elsewhere on this site. It’s a dedicated sub-division surface modeler with some UV editing features. Its based on Nendo,4de26d04385328d44115e5724765c61d18ee9f74_thumb[1] its remarkably powerful, a little awkward and completely free. With that price tag, you have no reason not to check it out! I find the workflow on par or better than most commercial packages.

Operating Systems: Windows, Linux and Mac OS. Other Unix OS’s built from sources

Cost (MSRP): 0$

Demo/Trial Available? Not Applicable

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: Full release!

Sample Titles: Unknown




Cheetah 3D

A full featured, extremely affordable 3D suite for the Macintosh, with a very Mac focused user interface. Integration with Unity is seamless. Full modeling, texturing, animating and c3d_logo_thumbrendering support out of the box.

Operating Systems: Mac OS

Cost (MSRP): 99$ ( currently on sale, regularly 149$ )

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: No time limit, save functionality disabled.

Sample Titles: Unknown




Cinema 4D

Cinema has been around a long time, first release in 1991 on the Amiga. Full modeling, texturing, animating and rendering abilities are included as well as advanced painting tools.c4d_logo_shadow_thumb[1] Most of the dynamics features ( Rigid/Soft Bodies, advanced particles, hair, etc.. ) are limited to the much more expensive Studio version. Two other versions exists, but neither is geared towards game development.

Operating Systems: Windows, Mac OS

Cost (MSRP): Prime:995$, Studio:3,695$ (All suites currently 25% off these prices )

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: 42 day heavily restricted trial

Sample Titles: Warhammer:Mark of Chaos ( cinematics )




SideFX Houdini

Another package that has been around for a very long time, and one I really try to love as we share the same home city. Truth is though, I just don’t understand this program, the workflowhoudini_logo_thumb[2] is just so different from what I am used to. It is a purely procedural package, working on a series of operators. Again, I want to try to explain it, but I simply can’t, I just don’t understand it! It is as full featured as any other suite out there. Even though I can’t explain this package to you, do let that put you off it, as SideFX has some of the best free trial options available, as well as a 99$ starving artist edition! So, please evaluate it for yourself!

Operating Systems: Windows, Linux, MacOS

Cost (MSRP): Apprentice:HD 99$, Houdini:Escape 1,995$, Houdini:Master 6,695$

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: No time limit, watermarked renderings and export limited

Sample Titles: Killzone 2/3, Final Fantasy X


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