When considering the script system in Leadwerks 5, I looked at alternatives including Squirrel, which is used by Valve in many games, but these gave me a deeper appreciation for the simplicity of Lua. There are only a handful of rules you need to learn to use the language, it’s fun to use, yet somehow it does everything you could ever need.
These were three big issues I had to solve. First, the Leadwerks 5 API makes extensive use of smart pointers, which our binding library tolua++ does not support. Second, I wanted better auto completion and a better user experience in the IDE in general. Third, if an external IDE is going to be used it needs to be able to interface with the Leadwerks debugging system.
To support smart pointers, I found a new library called sol2 that does everything we need. @Rick and I discussed the idea at great length and I am happy to say we’ve come up with a design that is simple to use and quite a bit easier than Leadwerks 4.x even. The binding code is nowhere near done but at this point I can see that everything will work.
@AggrorJorn suggested using Visual Studio Code as our official script IDE in Leadwerks 5, and after investigating I think it’s a great idea. The auto completion is quite good and the IDE feels more natural then anything I could come up with using a custom text editor made with Scintilla. In fact eliminating the built-in script editor in Leadwerks 5 relieves me of a lot of uncertainty and potential issues when this is written.
Finally, VS Code has support for custom debuggers. I wrote an example command line debugger for Leadwerks and I will use this to show another programmer how to interface with Leadwerks. (I don’t plan on writing the debugger myself.)
With your feedback and ideas are shaping up to make Leadwerks 5 a huge leap forward over our previous designs. The improved simplicity of the new script system is a big cognitive relief. Having fewer things to worry about makes life better in a subtle but definite way.
There’s something else that consumes a lot of mental attention. Social media and the internet have grown and changed over the years and become more efficient at consuming our attention. (Many features of this site are designed the same way.)
The scary thing is that normal non-technical people seem to be more vulnerable than nerds. We’ll fire up the Witcher and play for an hour, but regular people are checking their phones 24/7 for feedback and validation. It’s much much worse than any accusation we got as kids of being “Nintendo zombies” because we spent an afternoon playing games instead of staring passively at broadcast TV. People who play games generally don’t care about posting photographs of their food or collecting followers.
Somewhere along the line the internet went from being a weird thing on your computer to the collective consciousness of humanity. Reality is online and the physical world around us is just a mirage, one possible instance of a million possible individual experiences. Maybe it was around the time they started using AI to optimize clickbait that things got out of hand.
Although my career and the way I live my life are only possible through the internet, I am old enough to remember life before the web, and in many ways it was better. Things were more focused. Even the early web before clickbait ads and online echo chambers was pretty nice. You could go to a record store and hang out talking to people about new music. Printed paper magazines were a thing.
I already removed the link to our Google+ page in the website footer and no one noticed. I think about deleting our Facebook and twitter accounts, or at least not linking to them on our site. Why must every website pay homage to these monopolies? What are they doing for me, besides a limited flow of hits that pale in comparison to what my own email list brings in? I have written about this before but now that it is fashionable to criticize social media I might act on it. I don’t know, we’ll see.
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