First of all: Merry christmas to everyone and thanks for reading all this stuff, my page views increased a lot since I do this daily series.
I spend the last couple of hours trying to get Unit Testing on the engine level to work and I finally got now everything up and running. This is really one of the greatest things ever in Game Development IMO! Normally I would spend a lot of time changing code to just test stuff or even write small test application only to check the behaviour and graphical output of effects, newly imported textures or models or new game features. Now I can just write a VERY short Unit Test for that INSIDE my project, no more extra projects, no more messing around in the code.
Just to make this clear: This is not a usual Unit Test like in other parts of the engine, like when checking file input/output, internal methods or some logic issues. These Game Unit Tests (thats how I will call them from now on, or just GUT, which is german for good ^^) give you all the features and easy testing possibilities like normal unit tests, but you can initialize the whole engine, see visually whats going on and shut down everything automatically or by user input. Let me give you an example how this looks:
Note: This code uses .NET 2.0, if you want to read about Anonymous Methods click here.
Same thing is of course possible with a couple of lines
more code when not using Anonymous Methods (using Events or just duplicating the code in TestInitEngine). This code will create all the stuff required for the game engine, then execute the initialization code to create the effectManager. Then it will proceed to the game loop and execute the render code each loop there, everything will be shut down if the user quits the form, presses some key or if we set a timeout to quit automatically. There is a lot of hidden code behind all that, but this is exactly the code executed when just running the game and testing that is always good :-)
In the next 2 days I will not code much (visiting family, chrismas, etc.), but I will to read 2 nice book from Steve McConnell: Code Complete 2 and Rapid Development. I already read a couple of pages of Rapid Development and it is really written good and very interessting.
The next Lost Squadron screenshot will be posted presumably in 2 days.
The game itself did only get some minor improvements today, I spend most of the time on the engine. As you can see on the screenshot, there are now effects like that explosion effect (there are already over 20 effect types), but the EffectManager isn't complete yet. Additionally to the road it is now possible to set railroads and I imported some new objects and new graphics into the editor (not on the screenshot).