Weekly Update – March 5, 2021

I made a lot of progress on the big refactoring project this week. The work is gradually shifting from refactoring to fixing bugs in the backlog. Each bug that is easy to find and easy to fix is a sign that the refactoring is making a difference.

I struggled a bit with player input handling. The original solution was not great because player input handling was both event-driven (button OnClick events) and time-driven (checking for input in Update calls). This didn’t work with Unity’s event sequence, in which mouse input events are handled before Update calls. What would happen is that a button click would be handled in the OnClick event, and then the mouse click would be processed again in the Update method in the same frame. I ended up removing the OnClick events and only checking for input in the Update method.

I rewrote the player input handling twice. Not sure why exactly, but it was difficult to implement it in a way that was simple and followed best practices like single responsibility. The first rewrite was overly complicated because of excessive abstraction. Player inputs triggered input events, input events triggered input commands, input commands triggered either UI or player actor actions. I started to get a handle on things when I sketched out the state diagram for inputs. It was also helpful to list out the resulting actions for each input and separate these into UI actions, like displaying a prompt, and player actor actions, like moving to a new location. The solution I ended up with was to check for all input in the Update method of the main UI controller for the scene, create classes for each player action, and map inputs to player actions. 

With UI and player input in good shape, I’m working 50/50 on refactoring and bug fixes. The GameManager is down to 1,000 lines, half of its original size. I need to find a home for most of the remaining methods in that class still. This is the goal for next week, along with clearing the bug backlog.

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