so I'm making a 2d Java game with the slick2d and MarteEngine libraries. This is the biggest project since I made checkers for my Java class. I am still pretty new to programming concepts and using optimal ways to get stuff done.
The basic structure of my game is you are a player/hero in a zombie apocalypse and you can gather survivors to help you. There are a many areas that I'm concerned about in my programming. I'm not sure if my methods are a good choice for what I want. This game also does not currently have a grid/tile system.
I've looked at some open source java games and they don't really answer my questions to my methods. So I'm going to make a list here of what I'm uncertain about and I hope you guys can confirm/deny if my methods are appropriate. Sorry if this list gets too long, I'm thinking of the questions as I type.
Targeting/Attacking - Survivors will automatically attack zombies once they get within the gun's target range. To do this, I have every survivor get the distance (using distance formula) to every zombie and find the closest one to attack. I check for this constantly so if a faster zombie gets closer, the survivor will change targets. For zombies, they acquire a target and stick to it (for now). The zombies constantly check if they are within the attack range (around 50 pixels) using the distance formula. If they are within range, stop and attack, otherwise, move towards the target.
2D Camera - So a camera in a 2D environment moves the world around instead of you. My current method is have my zombies/survivors/any entities on the map stored in array lists. First the background is adjusted, then all the lists are cycled through and every entity's x and y values are modified. This seems to work alright but some stuff you can really notice sliding around on the background. Not really sure how to avoid this.
User Interface - I really have no clue how to work with UI. What I've been doing so far is simply using a background and then generating button objects and manually lining them up. Then, I check if the mouse is over any of the button's areas and if there is a click while moused over the button. I have three different backgrounds and buttons that I switch out with booleans. I'm going to recode that area though, using objects with the background and buttons. Is this the correct way to do UI?
Path Finding - I have no path finding system yet. Do I have to stick to a grid system? I really rather my entities move freely along the terrain and not in a weird square to square motion.
Selecting - I have it so you can select survivors, upgrade them, and other random stuff. My current method for selecting is constantly check where the mouse X and Y is. I get the distance from the mouse to every survivor and check if it is within 30 pixels. Then, I check if there is a click, if so, select the survivor and unselect all others. I'm still trying to figure out how to unselect all survivors if I click on open space. Is there a better way to go about doing this?
Picking stuff up - Same way as said before. I check the distance from the player to every item that can be picked up. If the item is within 30 pixels of the player, it picks it up. It seems to work fine for the moment I suppose. Maybe there really is no other way to do this.
Animations - I understand the how to animate with sprites, but I just want to make sure. So if I have 7 different guns to be shot, do I need to manually make functions that have precise timing on each sprite. Say if I have a shotgun, it needs a recoil, pump forward, brief pause, pump back, and ready again. For a pistol I need just the recoil really. So I'd have to make unique functions for each of these animations?
Sorry to type this long list of questions. I try to gather information on this stuff as much as possible and I haven't been able to find many examples on this stuff. I greatly appreciated any answers, even just a yes or no answer. Thanks in advance!