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CONCEPT
Inheritance
DESCRIPTION
Have you noticed how many objects in the system have the same
functionality in common? Let's look at rooms for instance, they
all have the ability to host people and provide commands. It's
not that every room is programmed with the same basic functions
again and again, rather it will use a model room and then make
some special changes to it. That doesn't work by copying the
file.. Ouch! Don't replicate code! But by putting a tiny inherit
declaration
inherit "<model-class>";
at the beginning of your new file. This must come before any local
variables or functions. Once inherited your class will behave just
like the model class, because all the public methods are available
to the outside world. Now it is in your hands to change such an
inherited behaviour. You have the following tools to do so:
* Access to variables
It is one of the best design decisions in LPC that variables
are not accessible from outside, but you can use inherited
variables just as if they were your own. Modifiers apply however.
* Method overloading
int method_that_also_exists_in_the_model() {
<your new code>
}
You can simply rewrite a method that is also defined in the model
class, and thus change how it behaves. Contrary to other languages
in LPC method overloading only matches the name of the method, so
even by changing the amount and type of parameters you will mask
out the original version of the method. You can even apply other
modifiers to it as the original.
* Calling inherited methods
int method_that_also_exists_in_the_model() {
<your new code>
return ::method_that_also_exists_in_the_model();
}
You can add to the behaviour of a method by redefining it,
then calling it from within your new version. You can actually
call inherited methods from anywhere in your code. The double
colon tells the compiler you are looking for the inherited
variant.
EXAMPLE
Let's imagine very simple food in a file called "/the/food.c":
// unless "modified" variables are accessible by inheritors
int vitamins = 10;
// please overload this function with your own description
public short() { return "something edible"; }
// let's do some standard action for food
public consume() {
this_player() -> nourish(vitamins);
destruct(this_object());
}
And now someone else decides to do some italian cooking in a
file called "/the/fusilli.c"
inherit "/the/food";
// we have our own variables.
int gone_cold = 0;
// and we simply redefine the short() function to replace it
public short() {
// description changes depending on gone_cold
return "a "+( gone_cold ? "stinking" : "steaming" )
+" plate of fusilli";
}
// we have a new function to make food go cold
private deteriorate() {
gone_cold = 1;
write("The fusilli have gone cold.\n");
}
// assume this gets called at creation
private create() {
// we can access the variable we inherited from food.c
vitamins = 44; // tomato has plenty of vitamins
// go cold in 5 minutes
call_out( #'deteriorate, 5 * 60 );
}
// we can overload the function even with new parameters
public consume(how) {
// fetch the name of the person, or use "Someone"
string name = this_player() -> name() || "Someone";
if (!gone_cold) {
write("You enjoy a delicious plate of fusilli.\n");
say(name +" guzzles a plate of hot fusilli.\n");
}
else if (how == "quickly") {
write("You eat the fusilli so quickly you "
"hardly notice they have gone cold.\n");
say(name +" wolfs down a plate of cold fusilli.\n");
}
else {
write("You eye the plate and wonder if you "
"really feel like eating cold fusilli.\n");
return; // don't eat
}
// and here comes the most important part:
// we execute consume() from food.c, so we
// actually inherit its behaviour.
::consume();
}
ADVANCED USAGE
* Doing multiple inheritance
While the Java(TM) language has so-called interfaces as a kludge,
LPC doesn't need them as it supports real multiple inheritance.
A very powerful feature, it lets you combine the behaviour of
several classes into a new one. Simply put several lines of
inherit declarations underneath each other. If you have name
collisions in the namespace of inherited methods, you will have
to address them explicitely with a "the/file"::method(args) syntax.
* Wildcarded multiple inheritance
LDMud 3.2.1@117 introduces an advanced voodoo syntax which allows
you to call several methods in model classes at once. This works by
writing a glob type match ('*' and '?' wildcards) into the string
in front of the double colon, as in "*"::create().
I wouldn't recommend you to use this, it's better to be clearly
conscious of what you inherit and do. But if you're desperate, there
you go.
Since LDMud 3.5.0 it is possible to pass arguments as well.
ADVANCED EXAMPLE
inherit "foo";
inherit "bar";
inherit "baz";
inherit "ball";
reset() {
"ba?"::reset();
// calls bar::reset() and baz::reset()
"ba*"::reset();
// calls bar::reset(), baz::reset() and ball::reset()
"*"::reset();
// calls every inherited reset() function.
"ball"::rejoice("Listen to italectro today!");
// only explicit filename of model class allows
// passing arguments to the inherited method
}
AUTHOR
symlynX of PSYC and Nemesis, with a little help from Someone
SEE ALSO
functions(LPC), initialisation(LPC), modifiers(LPC), pragma(LPC),
overloading(C),
function_exists(E), functionlist(E), inherit_list(E),
symbol_variable(E), variable_exists(E), variable_list(E)