Computeds Plugin

Computed values are basically read only values which are updated on changes, much like IObservable instances which notify you on data changing, computed objects also let you see what the value of the object is as well.

Computed Types

There are 3 computed types available within the system:

IComputed<T> (For computed single values)

Simplest computed and provides a current value and allows subscription to when the value changes, this can be very useful for precomputing things based off other data, i.e calculating MaxHp once all buffs have been taken into account.

IComputedCollection<T> (For computed collections of data)

A reactive collection which provides an up to date collection of values and allows you to subscribe to when it changes, this could be useful for tracking all beneficial buffs on a player where the source data is just ALL buffs/debuffs on the entity.

IComputedGroup (For computed observable groups of IEntity)

This acts as a way to constrain an IObservableGroup further than just the components included, this can be useful for things where you want to maintain a subset of a group for processing. Its worth noting that IComputedGroup also implements IObservableGroup too so can be used in other IComputedGroup objects or passed into systems as if it were a normal observable group.

How do I use them

So there are a few different ways to use them and most of that is based upon your use cases, and you can make your own implementations if you want to wrap up your own scenarios.

All of these classes are provided as abstract classes so you should inherit from them if you wish to build off them.

ComputedGroup

var myGroup = new MyComputedGroup(someObservableGroup); // inherits from ComputedGroup
foreach(IEntity entity in myGroup)
{
// ...
}

This implements IComputedGroup and takes in an IObservableGroup instance in its constructor which it constrains off. This is useful for just constraining a group of entities further than just the components on the entity but the values within those components.

ComputedCollectionFromGroup

var scoresForEntities = new ComputedScores(someObservableGroupWithScores); // inherits from ComputedCollectionFromGroup<int>
foreach(int someScore in scoresForEntities)
{
//...
}

This provides a way to create a computed collecton based off an observable group (or as mentioned before a computed group). The benefit of this is that it allows you to select what data should be returned, so where a computed group returns IEntity instances for you to use, this returns whatever data you want and will manage when data is added/removed etc.

ComputedFromGroup

var partyRating = new ComputedPartyRating(observableGroupOfPartyMemebers); // inherits from ComputedFromGroup<float>
GroupHud.PartyRating.Text = partyRating.Value.ToString();

This can be useful for taking a group and computing a singular value based upon all the data available, like for example you may want to average values on all entities or even just create a payload object containing multiple bits of data from the group.

ComputedFromData

var firstPlaceRacer = new ComputedFirstPlace(collectionOfRacers); // inherits from ComputedFromData<Racer, IEnumerable<Racer>>
RacerHud.CurrentWinner.Text = firstPlaceRacer.Value.Name;

This is a versatile computed generator where you can basically create a pre computed variable based upon anything. So you pass in any object you require which represents the state, then you calculate what the output value should be internally.

Sounds good, but why?

You may never need this functionality, but in some cases you may want to share pre-computed data around your application without having to constantly re-compute it everywhere. This can make your code more simplistic and easier to maintain while also providing performance benefits were you do not need to keep doing live queries for data.

So to look at some real world scenarios, lets pretend we have a game with the following components:

  • CanAttack

  • HasHealth

  • HasLevel

  • HasGroup

We now have a few requirements:

  • We need to show on the HUD all the people within OUR group

  • We need to show an effect on someone in the group when their HP < 20%

  • We need to show a value as to how hard the current area is

Now I appreciate this is all a bit whimsical but stay with me, now we can easily constrain on groups based on the components, so we can find all entities which are in a group and can attack etc, but thats where our current observations stop.

Getting all OUR group members (IComputedGroup scenario)

So at this point we want a way to get all entities within our group, so instead of making our PartyHUDSystem (or whatever you call it) have to keep drilling down into EVERY entity which has a HasGroup component, we can create an IComputedGroup which basically computes all the entities which have a HasGroup component AND the id of the group matches your group id.

This way you now have a group which will just stay up to date and always reflect (based upon implementation used) all entities which are in your group. You can create this ahead of time and inject it into many other systems, so much like IObservableGroup objects are shared and cached to improve performance/simplicity, this also brings those same benefits and can be built off further.

Showing all party members with low HP (IComputedCollection scenario)

We now have a computed group of party members, but now we want to be able to know who in that group has low health, so we can create an IComputedCollection which is already constrained to the party (so we dont need to worry about working out that bit again), then we can check if their health is < 20% and if so put them in the list with their HP value, this way we can just bind our whimscial PartyMembersWithLowHealthComputedCollection which would implement IComputedCollection<PartyMemberWithLowHealth> (verbose I know) in the DI config then inject it into a system and boom you now have a system which can just look at this one object to find out whos got low health and be notified when anything changes.

Show a value as to how hard the current area is (IComputed scenario)

So with the other bits out the way we basically want a way to quickly identify how hard the current area is, lets just assume this is based on what level all the enemies within a 30 unit radius is.

So we know how to make computed groups, so we can make one of them to wrap up all entities which are not within our group and are within 30 units of the player. Once we have that we can then create a computed variable (which just exposes a singular value) to loop through all the enemies within 30 units (which we now have from the computed group) and get all the enemies levels and average then, returning that as the result.

This way you can inject this into various other places, so if you need to show some colour indicator on current difficulty or warn the player you can use this value.