I am in the process of designing my own Game Engine for use in a real time CRPG - think Baulder's Gate. I know most of my specifications right now, and I am currently in a planning phase.

I chose Lua for a good number of reasons.

  • Fast and real time iteration.
  • Easy to lay out data and serialize tables.
  • Easy to learn for other programmers.
  • Can design tools to automatically write scripts for certain entities

For the first reason, I decided to have as much of my game code handled inside Lua as possible. With the exception of low level systems being handled inside of C++: Audio, physics, animation, rendering, resource managers(?).

But I came to a problem when it came to threading. I settled on using a job system. But I am not sure how to approach this with a heavy emphasis on Lua.

My Update look will look something like...

Local dt {}
While Game.isRunning() {
    dt = timer.delta();
    PreUpdate(dt);           //Delayed Raycasts for AI, Physics Triggers
    UpdateLogic(dt);         //AI, UI, Event Handling, etc.
    UpdateAnimations(dt);    //State Machines, Blending, framed scripts

How should I approach threading this?

My first thought is that I have only one VM of Lua, and set it on the main thread; then, the worker threads will work only in C++. Lua will have C++ API callbacks. When Lua calls this callback, it returns to C++. The C++ will create a job to be dispatched. The job is placed inside a qeue and processed on other threads in native code. I was thinking of following this idea. Most games seem to handle Game Logic in a serial manner -UpdateLogic(dt)-, then asynchronously updates lower level systems, multi-thread rendering, or handle events that are needed to fire immediately.

My Second thought is to use a job system with all threads using a Lua instance. I guess with this system I would be able to update entities in a threaded manner. But I can quickly see the problem. Because an entity's data is mutable, this can quickly cause logical errors. Even if I decided to defer updates to data, I can still see this becoming a problem with math errors.

Any guidance would be helpful here.


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