Designing a Manager

Let's go trough and create a texture manager together. What functions will this manager need?

  • Initialize All managers should have some kind of initialize function (that's not the constructor). Even if the function does nothing, it helps keep code readable
  • Destroy Whatever is initialized must be destroyed! This is also a good place to warn the rest of the code if any resources where not unloaded
  • LoadTexture This function is the powerhouse, it does the actual work of loading a texture, OR incrementing the reference on an already loaded texture
  • UnloadTexture LoadTexture requests memory, this function will release memory
  • GetSize We need a way to retrieve the width / height of a texture, we might need it to normalize coordinates.
  • GetTexture We need a way to access the raw OpenGL texture handle. This is it.

Are there any other considerations to designing this system? Tons! Do we want insertion of new data to be fast and retrieval to be slow? Or do we want insertion to be slow and retrieval to be fast?

This is an important question because it affects the data structures we will use internally. If we want to retrieve the data fast, we must store it in a linear array, but every time we insert that array must be searched; making retrieval slow.

Because most games use a loading screen when loading assets, we're going to design this system for fast retrieval, slow insertion. This means the underlying data structure is going to be an array, so our handles will be integers (Indices into the array)

Helper classes

We can't just have an array of OpenGL handles. We need more data! Like a unique way of identifying each texture (the texture path) and a reference count (an integer).

We could maintain parallel arrays, but it would become a nightmare to maintain them all. Instead we're going to use OOP design, and make private inner classes to the manager.

A private inner class means that the class will not be referenced (or known) from outside of the manager, and that's a good thing, it's just housekeeping data.

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