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Posted 30 Aug 2002


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RaceX - A 2D racing game using DirectDraw

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30 Aug 200214 min read
This is a 2D racing game that uses a DirectX wrapper library. The game has single player and multiplayer support.

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This is the second complete game that I have created using the DirectX library (actually is the 3rd, but I lost the partial project of the 2nd one in some of mine HD reformatting sessions). The game was created using a library created by me (called cMain.lib), that works as a wrapper around the DirectX library. The library source is included with the game source code so that you can use it to create your own games. I'll start explaining how this library actually works and them I'll explain how the game works.

Before you compile the project

Before you compile the project, make sure you have the DirectX SDK 8.0 installed (the DirectX SDK, not the run-time). If you have already installed the SDK and are still having trouble compiling the project, check if the DX include and library directory is the top of the list in VC++. If this doesn't work, just post a message or send me an email that I'll help you as soon as possible.

The cMain Library

If you open the project workspace file (.DSW) you'll notice that the workspace is composed of two projects. One project is the library project that works as a wrapper for the DirectX library and have some other functions that are needed in almost every game project. This library is composed of 14 classes, each one with its own function in the game. I will explain each one of the classes so that you understand their role in the game.

The cApplication Class

The cApplication class is basically a wrapper to a simple windows program. Since we're working with DirectX here, this application class is also responsible for creating the basic framework needed to use DirectDraw. In the library we can find a global function that id responsible for the creation of the application (WinMain). There you'll find a call to a CreateApplication() function.

The CreateApplication() function is a virtual function that needs to be create in the game project itself, and need to return a new instance of an application class. This new instace will be your own application class, derived from cApplication class.

There are three important virtual functions in the cApplication class that are extremely important in the game creation process, they are AppInitialized,

and DoIdle.

The AppInitialize is called when all the application startup procedures called, so that you can start your own initialization procedures. The ExitApp is called when we're exiting the game, and is used to destroy and deallocate anything that was created in the AppInitialized function or during the game. The DoIdle function is where the game actually happens. When we don't have any windows messages to process, the cApplication base class call this virtual function, allowing you to process your game.

The cWindow Class

If you check the cApplication class, you'll check that it have a cWindow class instance. This cWindow class is responsible for creating the main window in the game. This class is used only inside the library, and there is no need to change its attributes during the game.

The cInputDevice, cKeyboard and cMouse classes

These three classes take care of the user input for our game. Since the Mouse and Keyboard input rely on the DirectInput framework, we need a place to put the DirectInput main objects initialization. This place is the cInputDevice Class.

In the cInputDevice class we have a pointer to a DirectInput interface and a reference count. The reference count is used to check how many classes are currently using the DirectInput main interface. Notice that the reference count and the interface pointer are static variables. This is done because the cMouse and the cKeyboard classes are derived from the cInputDevice class, and use the same DirectInput main object.

The cKeyboard class take care of the keyboard entry. It have a static variable that represents a buffer containing the state of each keyboard key. This buffer is a static variable, allowing us to create a cKeyboard instance anywhere in our code and use the same keyboard buffer (we read the keyboard state once, and use it along the game iteration).

The cMouse class take care of the mouse input. It work very similar to the

class. Each time we call the Process() function, it change its internal variables to reflect the current mouse position in the screen and the state of each one of its buttons.

The cSurface and cSprite classes

The surface class is a wrapper around the the DirectX Surface object. It is a structure that hold the game graphics in the video (or local) memory so that we can blit this graphics in the screen at each game iteration. If you want more information about this class and the process of surface blitting, you can read my other article here in Code Project.

The cSprite class is a wrapper to work with sprites. Basically it have an instance of the cSurface class and some information about the sprite. The main difference here is that you can move through the sprite steps automatically, without worrying about the position and size you need to get from the source surface.

The cSoundInterface, cSound and cWavFile classes

These three classes are responsible for the sound handling in our game. The

creates the main DirectSound objects that will be used to create the sound buffers of the game. Its recommended that you initialize  an instance of this class in the AppInitialize virtual function of the
class, so that you initialize the Sound Interface before you start the game.

The cSound class holds the sound buffers of the game. It have all the compatibilities of a normal DirectSound buffer, like Frequency and Pan control, 3D sound, and looping. To load the sounds from the resource or from the file, it uses an instance of the cWavFile class. This class is basically a loader for wave files. All its code was taken from Microsoft DirectX Samples (I modified then a bit, so that they work with WAV files in the resource).

The cMultiplayer and cMessageHandler classes

This classes are wrappers around the DirectPlay interfaces, and are used to create multiplayer games. The cMultiplayer class handles all the DirectPlay functions like device enumeration, session enumeration, and player connection. It also hold all the information about each one of the players in a gaming session. It is important to notice that each player have an exclusive ID that is store in a list in the cMultiPlayer class. This IDs can be used to control some behaviors of the game in a multiplayer session.

To handle the multiplayer network messages, cMultiplayer class have a pointer to a cMessageHandler class. The cMessageHandler class is a simple class with a virtual function. This virtual function is called each time the computer receive a DirectPlay message from a peer. Its recommended that you derive your application class from this cMessageHandler class too, so that you can pass the application class itself as a message handler to the multiplayer game class (as done in RaceX).

The cMatrix Class

This is a simple class used to create dynamic matrices. There's no big deal about it, it have a Create method that allocates the necessary memory and a Destroy() function to deallocate it. It also have a GetValue and SetValue function used to retrieve and set the values of the matrix.

The cHitChecker Class

This class takes care of the hit checking in the game. It creates a GDI region and use the GDI functions the test if something has hit the region or not. This class is the same used in my other article about hit checking. If you want more information about it, just check the other article.

The Game Classes and Elements

Now that we have a brief description of each one of the classes in the game library, let's take a look at the game project. The game project has a dependency of the game lib project, if you load the .DSW file. Each one of the classes in the game sample describes a unit of the game (the Game itself, the Track, the Car, the Competition), so I'll explain each one so that you understand how the game works.

The cRaceXApp

This class is derived from cApplication and from cMessageHandler. Since we derive it from cApplication, we have to create an implementation to the AppInitialize, ExitApp and DoIDle Functions.

In the AppInitialize, we do the initialization of some objects that are not initialize in the base class. Notice that in the cRaceXApp class we have some member variables to handle the SoundInterface, the Multiplayer and the Mouse and Keyboard Input. All this member variables are initialized in this virtual function implementation, calling the Initialize method of each member variable. Notice that in the initialization of the cMultiplayer instance we are calling the SetHandler() function, passing this as a parameter. We can pass the "this" as a parameter because our application class is derive from cMessageHandler. Using this implementation allow us to handle the DirectPlay network messages from our application class itself. You can notice that we have an implementation for the IncomingMessage function. This function is called when we receive a message from a DirectPlay peer (as described in the cMultiplayer class description)

The other implementation we have in this function is the DoIdle() implementation.  The DoIdle is where the entire game logic is build. The first thing we do in this function is check the m_iState member variable, to know at which game state we are working. When you start the game, the game state is assigned with the GS_MAINSCREEN value, that represents the menu screen. You can check the GS_MAINSCREEN case in the DoIdle function to see how the menu structure is built.

Another important variable in the DoIdle implementation is the iStart variable. This variable is used to know when we're changing from one game state to another. When we change the game state, we set this variable to 0 so that in the next iteration, when the base class call the DoIdle again, the new game state can load all its surface and do the extra initialization needed. After the game state initialize its objects, it sets the iStart to a value other than 0 and reset it to 0 when it changes the state of the game again.

When the user select one of the game types in the menu screen (Single or Multi Player, Single Track or Competition Mode), the game enters in the track selection screen (or in the start competition screen). When the user enter in the track selection screen the program initialize some other class instances in the cRaceXApp class, the cCompetition instance and the cRaceTrack instace. I'll explain these two classes so that you understand how this screen works.

The cCompetiton Class

Even if the name states the this class is responsible for handling all the competition stuff in the game, this class is used even in Single Track mode. This class stores some basic information about each one of the players in the game. When we start a game, we need to call the AddPlayer method of this class do add players to our game. Adding player to this class makes them apper in the race when we change the state of the game to GS_RACE. If you check the GS_RACE state, you'll notice that it uses the player list information in the

class instance to create each one of the cars to the race. This class also stores the points and position of each player in the case we're playing in competition mode, and its also responsible for telling the program the track sequence of the competition (by using the NextRace and GetNextRace methods).

The cRaceTrack Class

The cRaceTrack class takes care of the track creation and handling in the game. Most of the game logic is inside this class. The first thing we need to do when working with this class is load a Track from a Track file. The class have a

method that is used to Load the tracks from a .rxt file (Race X Track file).

When we load the track from the file, it fills the internal member variables of the cRaceTrack class with information about the track. The track is structured as a bidimensional matrix and each one of the matrix cells represent a road type. When we draw the Track in the screen, we use this road type to draw a 40x40 pixels tile in the place corresponding to the matrix position. In the track file, an array of DWORDs describe each one of those tiles in the track. Since a DWORD can store 4 bytes we use only the LOWORD to store the road type. The HIWORD of this DWORD array is used to store other information, the CheckPoints (in the LOBYTE) and the Angle Information (in the HYBYTE).

The CheckPoint stored in the TrackFile is used to control the sequence that run throught the Track. So if the car passed throught checkpoint 1, he needs to pass through checkpoint 2 to fulfill the track, as so on until he reach the last checkpoint. Using this checkpoint structure prevents the user to run backward from the start line and pass through the start line several times, increasing its Laps Completed counter. Since he needs to pass through all the check points, its mandatory the he runs the entire race path.

The race lap counter will only increment when we reach the checkpoint 1 again and the last checkpoint we have passed is the last check point we have avaible in this track.

The Angle information is used to allow the computer to drive the car. It will point the direction that the computer-driven car should head so that he can finish the race. We'll now check the cRaceCar class so that we understand what is the role of this angle information.

The cRaceCar Class

The cRaceCar class takes car of all the car behavior handling in the game. The most important function of this car class is the Process function that process the car behavior in each game iteration.

When we call the Process function the car class check how this instance of the car is controlled. The car can be controlled by the computer, by the user or by the network.

If the car is controlled by the user, the car class check the keyboard input to see if the user is trying to accelerate, break or turn the car. Depending on the information retrieved from the keyboard, the class call the Accellerate, BreakCar, TurnCarRight or TurnCarLeft methods.

If the car is controlled by the computer, the car class checks the current position of the car in the track and get the angle information associated with this position. If the angle is different from the current angle of the car, the computer turns the car to clockwise or anticlockwise. The computer always accelerate the car when its driving, except when it checks that it'll hit in a wall he keep running at the same speed.

If the car is controlled by the "network" we need to check if we're the hoster of the game or not. If we're hosting the game we need to process the car information based on the keyboard input from the remote computer. If we're not the hoster of the game, we need to sned our keyboard infomation to the multiplayer game hoster.

Putting it all togheter - Processing the Track

When we start a new race in the game, and the game state changes to GS_RACE, we create instaces of the cRaceCar object based on the information found in the cCompetiton class. Then we call the AddCar() method of the

class to add each one of the cars to the race in the track. After adding all the cars to the race track we can process the race track class, in order to play the game.

At each iteration of the game we call the Process() method of the

class. In this method, we'll loop in the car array, available in the cRaceTrack, class to call the Process() method of each car and move them around the track. We'll also use the cHitChecker class to check if each one of the cars hit the wall or hit another car. If the car hit a wall, we change its state to CARSTATE_CRASHEDWALL. The cars will keep running around the track until the user car finish the track (have a Lap count equal to the number of the laps in the track).

Final Words

I tried to explain the basic functionality of the game in the article, but there are lots of comments inside the game sample that will help you to  understand the game much better. If you have any questions about the game implementation just post a message or send me an email.

I want to send a special thanks to all my beta testers, in special to Colin J Davies, Isaac Sasson, James T Johnson, Nishant Sivakumar, Nnamdi Onyeyiri and Smitha (Tweety), for their effort finding bugs in the game, and for all their suggestions.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Mauricio Ritter
Web Developer
Brazil Brazil
Mauricio Ritter lives in Brazil, in the city of Porto Alegre. He is working with software development for about 8 years, and most of his work was done at a bank, within a home and office banking system.
Mauricio also holds MCSD, MCSE, MCDBA, MCAD and MCT Microsoft certifications and work as a trainer/consultant in some MS CTEC in his city.
Mauricio also works in his own programming site, aimed to Brazilian Developers:

In his spare time he studys korean language...

Comments and Discussions

Suggestionnice game Pin
emma ashly16-Aug-14 13:18
Memberemma ashly16-Aug-14 13:18 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Reza Ahmadi15-Apr-12 3:59
MemberReza Ahmadi15-Apr-12 3:59 
QuestionCompiling issue Pin
fkjadoon31-Oct-11 2:34
Memberfkjadoon31-Oct-11 2:34 
AnswerRe: Compiling issue Pin
Maximilien31-Oct-11 3:06
MemberMaximilien31-Oct-11 3:06 
GeneralRe: Compiling issue Pin
fkjadoon31-Oct-11 6:04
Memberfkjadoon31-Oct-11 6:04 
QuestionCan I use the car images in another car racing article? Pin
Paulo Zemek18-Jul-11 4:37
MemberPaulo Zemek18-Jul-11 4:37 
GeneralCompile Error Pin
Owen oj17-Mar-11 13:36
MemberOwen oj17-Mar-11 13:36 
Generalyour web is down Pin
Eduardo_David24-Jun-10 16:30
MemberEduardo_David24-Jun-10 16:30 
Generalyour page Pin
Eduardo_David24-Jun-10 16:29
MemberEduardo_David24-Jun-10 16:29 
GeneralMemory Leak. Pin
eraccn20-Aug-09 1:34
Membereraccn20-Aug-09 1:34 
GeneralI can't download the source code. Help me!!! Pin
Duong Kim Ngoc7-Sep-07 18:28
MemberDuong Kim Ngoc7-Sep-07 18:28 
QuestionHelp,I can't download!!! Can anyone email it to me? Pin
shfnoopy22-Aug-07 20:30
Membershfnoopy22-Aug-07 20:30 
AnswerRe: Help,I can't download!!! Can anyone email it to me? Pin
shfnoopy23-Aug-07 4:29
Membershfnoopy23-Aug-07 4:29 
GeneralDirectX 9 problem: no ddrawex.h Pin
bombie_zot7-Aug-07 7:58
Memberbombie_zot7-Aug-07 7:58 
QuestionDirectx Pin
tiho_bg15-Apr-07 11:05
Membertiho_bg15-Apr-07 11:05 
AnswerRe: Directx Pin
shfnoopy22-Aug-07 20:44
Membershfnoopy22-Aug-07 20:44 
GeneralRe: Directx Pin
shfnoopy23-Aug-07 4:28
Membershfnoopy23-Aug-07 4:28 
Generalproblem about sound Pin
xivphoenix29-Jun-06 3:07
Memberxivphoenix29-Jun-06 3:07 
GeneralIs it possible in C# Pin
pravin dingore20-Jun-06 18:37
Memberpravin dingore20-Jun-06 18:37 
Generalerror when compling Pin
john gamer29-Apr-06 13:40
Memberjohn gamer29-Apr-06 13:40 
GeneralToo many linking errors arises Pin
pofgito13-Apr-06 4:14
Memberpofgito13-Apr-06 4:14 
GeneralRe: Too many linking errors arises Pin
Mauricio Ritter14-Apr-06 1:51
MemberMauricio Ritter14-Apr-06 1:51 
Generala quick start for the AppLib Pin
sharpthinker884813-Feb-06 18:13
Membersharpthinker884813-Feb-06 18:13 
GeneralHelp me compiling the program Pin
$@rk@r11-Nov-05 13:58
Member$@rk@r11-Nov-05 13:58 
GeneralThe Program crash when it start from windows ... Pin
bruno_calderan17-Sep-05 4:44
Memberbruno_calderan17-Sep-05 4:44 

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