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RPG based in a world where cellular automata have run rampant. Developed using libGDX. All rights reserved

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Developer Setup

This project (and LibGDX) uses Gradle to install dependencies, but you need to ensure your java environment and android sdk are properly set up first. We use primarily intellij IDEA to develop (but you can use others) and will do our best to guide you through the process. In addition to the guide below, you can find more information in libGDX's dev environment set up guide.

If you're having trouble, check the troubleshooting section at the bottom of this section and contact us on our Gitter Chatroom; we're more than happy to assist.

Set up Java

You will need Java Development Kit 7 (6 and 8 will not work! JREs will not work).

On windows, download and install the appropriate JDK from Oracle.

On *buntu, sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jdk. You may also need to set the $JAVA_HOME environment variable to your jdk dir (probably usr/lib/jvm/java-7-openjdk or similar). You can do this by editing etc/environment.

Set up Android SDK

  1. Install the Android Stand-alone SDK Tools (not the ADT bundle!) using (this link)[].

  2. start the Android SDK Manager.

  3. install exactly the following:

    • Android SDK build-tools rev 21.x.x
    • Android 5.0.x (API 21) > SDK Platform
    • you may install system images, but note that each is ~500mb and only needed to run the different android emulators. Select only the ones you want to run to save disk space, or none at all if you only want to run the desktop build.
  4. You may need to set an environment variable, $ANDROID_HOME to the android sdk's directory.

Install Intellij IDEA

D/l and install using included instructions here.

Install gradle dependencies

Once your development environment is ready, navigate to the root directory of the project, and run ./gradlew clean (or gradlew.bat if you're on Windows) to download and install dependencies. This will take a few minutes.

Now that you have all of the dependencies you can make and run a build using ./gradlew desktop:run. Please ensure this works before trying to import into intellij.

Import into Intellij

Finally, import the project as a Gradle Project in your favorite IDE. Follow LibGDX's import guide to import the project. That particular link is for Eclipse, but if you look on the table of contents, you will see setup guides for various other IDEs.

run configurations:

  • desktop game (application): workingDir=\android\assets, mainClass=desktop.DesktopLauncher
  • texturePacker (application): workingDir=\, mainClass=desktop.TexPacker
  • jUnit test suite (JUnit): workingDir=\, mainClass=desktop.AllTestSuite


JDK Required: 'tools.jar' seems to be not in IDEA classpath. Please ensure JAVA_HOME points to JDK rather than JRE.

Your $JAVA_HOME is pointing at an incomplete JDK or a JRE, verify that $JAVA_HOME is pointing to the right place, or try re-installing the JDK.

*buntu: JAVA_HOME or ANDROID_HOME are set in /etc/environment are not working

You must log out and log back in to re-load the environment globally. To check these variables, open a terminal and enter $JAVA_HOME or $ANDROID_HOME.

.gradlew won't run!

Make sure it is marked as executable using chmod +x ./gradlew

.gradlew clean FAILURE: SDK location not found

$ANDROID_HOME environment variable is not set properly. You may need to edit it or reboot.

Gradle is giving me unusual build errors!

Ensure that you are using the copy of gradle provided in the repository (gradlew), or that you are using version 2.4

Gradle's stacktrace isn't formatted with symbolic links to code in IntelliJ IDEA

With the recent addition of IDEA version 15, java-grade and android-gradle misbehave when they are in the same project. To fix this, open the desktop module settings in IntelliJ, and remove any references to android-gradle under Facets

ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException: 0 at LinuxDisplay.getAvailableDisplayModes(

This seems to occur when running the project on an xorg-server with more than one monitor attached. Ensure that xorg-xrandr is installed and configured correctly.

Getting Started

Project Structure

# build-targets

# main codebase
    /PixelonTransmission    # main game class
    /components/            # component classes used in entity-component system
    /core/                  # classes deemed generalizable enough for possible use in other projects
                /Entities/    # entities for entity-component system
    /events/        # event classes for pub/sub event system
    /input/         # player input controllers
    /managers/      # classes which act as middlemen in use of assets by systems
    /scenes/        # in-game scene classes
    /systems/       # controllers for entity components
        /mapeditor/ # in-game map editor classes
        /menus/     # in-game GUI menu classes
        /mixpanel/  # metric collection/reporting
        /postprocessing/    # custom shaders
        /profiling/         # helper scripts for performance testing 
        /saves/             # game state i/o helpers

# raw assets not *directly* used by game
art/  # NOTE: !!! assets used by all targets are in `android/assets/resources`

# helper libraries

Basic Concepts

The codebase is organized using the Entity–component–system pattern. In short, every in-game object has an entity which is composed of components. Component behavior is controlled via various systems. This allows for a wide variety of entity attributes to be shared while maximizing performance (since systems don't waste time on entities without relevant components) and minimizing entity boilerplate (entity definition is primarily a listing of components and values which define the entity).

Events in the game are organized using the publish-subscribe pattern. Using this pattern, entities and systems can respond to a wide variety of contextual events without needing to maintain game state information; they need only to subscribe to the events of interest on the entities they care about.


My most typical workflow goes something like:

  1. create/modify component/entity/system
  2. use RunTests build configuration to verify new functionality
  3. modify ./android/assets/resources/log4j2.xml to enable detailed logging on classes I am working on
  4. test game manually using desktopGame build configuration
  5. commit & push to github if working (branch if I want to commit something that isn't working)

If modifying art assets, the steps are a bit different:

  1. modify svg asset in ./art/ using inkscape
  2. export frames named 0.png, 1.png, etc to a directory in android/assets/resources/textures/unpacked
  3. use script to collect sprites into intermediate spritesheet
  4. use packTextures build configuration to automatically generate spritesheets & TexturePack.atlas
  5. use aurelienribon/physics-body-editor.jar to open & modify android/assets/resources/data/colliderProject

For particle effects:

  1. use libgdx-particle-editor to create particle effects & save them to android/assets/resources/particleEffects

Building for a Release: 0. releases are done from the "demo" branch so first you should git checkout demo, git pull origin master, git push origin demos to merge in latest commits

  1. determine the semantic version number of release from android/resources/property.settings
  2. tag the current commit with the version number eg git tag -a v0.4.0 -m "loadouts PoC release"
  3. use ./gradlew desktop:dist to create jar in Cell-RPG/desktop/build/libs/
  4. create the release using the tag and jar in github releases
  5. 🍻

Other Random Notes

  • game save files are stored using libGDX preferences and are thus stored in ~/.prefs/My Preferences AKA %UserProfile%/.prefs/My Preferences (for windows).

There are a lot of random experiments sprinkled in here that might catch your interest. For example:

  • one of the Cellular Automata Systems (CASystems) implements a Digital Gene Regulatory Network (DGRN) that gives each cell a hereditary genetic code.
  • the music system attempts to dynamically combine multiple track loops based on the intensity of the current gameplay.
  • the TimingSystem tries to align enemy spawns with musical changes such that in-game sounds might be on tempo.


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