Basic Concepts and Terminology
This section identifies all of the fundamental concepts and terminology that form the backbone of the Kit. A brief summary is provided for general topic below. Click on a topic to get all of the details.
- 1 Data File Types
- 2 File Locations and Naming Conventions
- 3 Unique Ids
- 4 XML Files
- 5 Structural Building Blocks
- 6 Visual Building Blocks
- 7 Other Basic Mechanisms
- 8 Tags and Tag Expressions
- 9 Scripting Language
- 10 Evaluation Cycle
- 11 Manipulation of Visual Elements
- 12 Data File Compiler
- 13 Debugging Mechanisms
There are an assortment of different file types involved in a complete set of data files, which are all outlined in this section.
Data files must reside in specific locations for HL to properly find and use them, and there are critical naming conventions that your data files must subscribe to.
Just about everything within HL data files is assigned a unique id that serves to uniquely identify that object throughout the data files and enables it to be referenced by other objects. There are specific rules for unique ids that must be adhered to.
All the data files you'll work with subscribe to the XML standard. A brief overview of XML files, as they pertain to the Kit, is provided in this section.
On a structural level, the Kit relies on an assortment of objects that serve as building blocks for everything pertinent to a given game system. These building blocks are outlined in this section.
Distinct from the structural building blocks for a game system, the Kit has a separate set of objects upon which the visual behaviors of the data files are built. The visual elements are outlined in this section.
This section covers basics mechanisms used by the Kit that don't properly fall under the structural and visual building blocks sections above.
Tags provide a means of classifying objects, while tag expressions provide a means of identifying which objects have been classified in various ways. Together, tags and tag expressions form a critical piece of any set of data files.
The types of behaviors that exist within the realm of RPGs is limitless. As such, it's impossible for HL to anticipate everything, so the Kit provides a versatile scripting language that enables data files to adapt to virtually any game system.
Everything within HL happens at a specific time, which you, as data file author, completely control. The evaluation cycle governs the sequence in which actions are performed.
With the vast diversity of RPGs, the author needs to decide how information is presented to the user and how it responds to the user. The manipulation of the various visual elements is a critical element within any set of data files.
HL compiles the data files you create, allowing it to catch many errors and problems before the data files are even loaded. This section outlines facets of the compiler that are fundamental to writing your own data files.
The writing of data files can become rather complex for some game systems, so HL provides a variety of mechanisms to help you identify problems and diagnose how to fix them. This process is traditionally referred to as "debugging" your data files.