SuperSpriteSurface (SSS) Framework
Issue: 2.6 (July/August 2004)
Author: Thomas J. Cunningham
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,139
Starting Page Number: 10
Article Number: 2607
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SSS is a newly released set of frameworks that give REALbasic game developers a modern foundation to build the next generation of two dimensional games. SSS is written by John Balestrieri, a former employee of REAL Software who currently works as an independent consultant out of New York. The software is now final after initial beta testing. This new alternative was a long time in coming as it gives RB developers a whole new set of tools to write games and other applications using a modern, powerful, integrated sprite surface system.
Features abound in the SSS framework. First of all, this sprite system is built upon the OpenGL rendering system. Second of all, it provides a robust set of collision routines from an assortment of geometry primitives. In general, frame rates and performance are excellent. Since this is a framework of classes, all code is native RB code -- no plugins -- and everything you need to use SSS is simply dropped in your project. The frameworks for the SSS are encrypted and will cost you $29.95 to register them. While it is unregistered, SuperSpriteSurface will run in demo mode. Demo mode limits the running time of the SuperSpriteSurface control to 5 minutes per application launch/debug session. No other limitations are imposed on the demo mode. As a bonus, you get the latest version of the OpenGL set of classes from Tinrocket at no charge.
Using SSS has been an enjoyable experience. It is very well thought out and relatively easy to use once the general API routines are studied. Developers more familiar with sprites will find a simple transition to SSS that will allow their applications to do more using less development time.
If you would like to explore OpenGL in RB, look no further. Essentially, any of the routines available to OpenGL are available to your sprites. SSS provides a perfect platform to explore OpenGL without worrying about all of the gory details involved in setting things up -- these are done for you in SSS. You can focus on the drawing routines used in OpenGL, which isvery handy.
SSS builds upon the things that RB is good at, like giving you the tools and interface to get things done while leaving the heavy lifting to classes behind the scenes. The SSS interface and hierarchy of base classes have been very well planned and implemented.
Need examples? Careful attention to detail has been carried to the impressive demos that come with SSS. They are well crafted, fun to look at and use, and will give you almost everything you need to study to get the most out of SSS. An HTML-based set of documents is included to help in understanding the classes and usage of SSS.
SSS currently is only for Mac operating systems, although a Windows version are in the planning stages.
Check SSS out, it is an excellent example of what can be done to extend the capabilities of RB using just classes and good design planning. SSS will surely make your sprite-based application more robust.
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