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There is more information in the Sandbox Manual on how to use the Flow Graph Editor.

It's also possible to add Flowgraph functionality to any Lua entity by Adding Lua Flownode Inputs and Outputs.

Overview

This article describes the steps to implement a new flow graph node.

Table of Contents
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Basic Code

It is recommended to implement flow nodes that belong to the same group in a single cpp files. Usually there is no need for a header except for some special nodes.

Place the cpp file in the project file in CryAction/Flow System Files/Nodes and within the file system directory structure in Code/CryEngine/CryAction/FlowSystem/Nodes.

In the cpp file, add a class using the following code template and replace "MyName" with the desired name of your flow node. Replace "FlowNodeGroup" with your desired group name and create a corresponding sub-folder in the editor node selector where this node type will be placed.

Code Block
#include "StdAfx.h"
#include "FlowBaseNode.h"

class CFlowNode_MyName : public CFlowBaseNode<eNCT_Instanced>
{
public:
  CFlowNode_MyName(SActivationInfo* pActInfo)
  {
  };
 
  virtual IFlowNodePtr Clone(SActivationInfo *pActInfo)
  {
	return new CFlowNode_MyName(pActInfo);
  };

  virtual void GetMemoryUsage(ICrySizer* s) const 
  { 
     s->Add(*this); 
  }

  virtual void GetConfiguration(SFlowNodeConfig& config)
  {
    static const SInputPortConfig in_config[] = {
      {0}
    };
    static const SOutputPortConfig out_config[] = {
      {0}
    };
    config.sDescription = _HELP( "A description of this flow node" );
    config.pInputPorts = in_config;
    config.pOutputPorts = out_config;
    config.SetCategory(EFLN_APPROVED);
  }

  virtual void ProcessEvent(EFlowEvent event, SActivationInfo* pActInfo)
  {
     switch (event)
     {
     };
  }
};

REGISTER_FLOW_NODE("FlowNodeGroup:MyName", CFlowNode_MyName);
 

eNCT_Instanced vs eNCT_Singleton

When you declare a FlowNode in code you can choose between Instanced and Singleton in the template parameter of the parent.

If you have a singleton node, it will only create 1 instance of it. you can still have multiple nodes in your Flowgraph, but the memory footprint will be much smaller.

As a general rule of thumb, use singleton whenever you are not keeping any state data (member variables etc.) and prefer singleton over instanced.

Adding Output Ports

Flow nodes have both input and output ports. An output port can be added by altering the GetConfiguration function, as can be seen in the following example:

Code Block
class CFlowNode_MyName : public CFlowBaseNode<eNCT_Instanced>
{
public:
  // ...

  virtual void GetConfiguration( SFlowNodeConfig& config )
  {
    static const SInputPortConfig in_config[] = {
      {0}
    };
    static const SOutputPortConfig out_config[] = {
      OutputPortConfig<int>("alertness", _HELP("useful help text")),
      {0}
    };
    config.sDescription = _HELP( "A description of this flow node" );
    config.pInputPorts = in_config;
    config.pOutputPorts = out_config;
    config.nFlags = 0;
  }

  // ...
};

OutputPortConfig is a templatized helper function that is useful for filling a small structure with appropriate data.

Various types can be specified but in the sample the type of the port is "int". The available types are: SFlowSystemVoid, int, float, EntityId, Vec3, string, and bool. SFlowSystemVoid is a special type which represents "no value". OutputPortConfig takes three parameters: the name of the output port, some descriptive help text that is shown in the editor GUI and an optional human readable port name which is visible to designers. Make sure that you choose a good port name as changing it later will break all flow graphs that use this node. If you need to change the displayed name, use the third parameter.

To emit a value from the port, you can use the function CFlowBaseNode::ActivateOutput( pActInfo, nPort, value ). This function takes a pActInfo (typically passed to ProcessEvent()), the port identifier (count starting a zero from the top of out_config), and a value of the same type as the port. So to activate our output "alertness" with 3 we could write:

Code Block
ActivateOutput( pActInfo, 0, 3 );

Adding Input Ports

An input port can be added in a similar way as an output port by altering the GetConfiguration function:

Code Block
class CFlowNode_MyName : public CFlowBaseNode<eNCT_Instanced>
{
public:
  // ...

  virtual void GetConfiguration( SFlowNodeConfig& config )
  {
    static const SInputPortConfig in_config[] = {
      InputPortConfig<int>("someInput", _HELP("useful help text")),
      {0}
    };
    static const SOutputPortConfig out_config[] = {
      {0}
    };
    config.sDescription = _HELP( "A description of this flow node" );
    config.pInputPorts = in_config;
    config.pOutputPorts = out_config;
    config.nFlags = 0;
  }

  // ...
};

InputPortConfig is a templatized helper function similar to OutputPortConfig. The same types as for output ports can be specified for the input ports as well.

InputPortConfig takes the following parameters:

  • name [required] - used internally and for saving the graph. It is again recommended to choose the port name carefully as changing it later will break flow graphs using this node. Important: Do not use the underscore character '_' in port names as this was used in previous versions to specify a specialized editor for the port,
  • value - default value of the port when a new node is created,
  • description - for the tooltip on mouse hover,
  • humanName - human readable name for display on the node. Use this to visually override a port name without breaking script compatibility,
  • sUIConfig - a formatted string specifying how the UI should behave when setting the port value. Here you can choose a specialized widget or tune the allowed range of the input. See 'UI Configuration' for more details.

UI Configuration

The interface for setting the Input Port value can be defined by passing a series of options in the form of a string with key-value pairs in the InputPortConfig.

Possibilities are:

  • Setting the value range:
Code Block
languagecpp
_UICONFIG("v_min=0, v_max=10")

This will limit the widget's arrows and ramp as well as clamp manually inserted values as seen in the picture.

screenshot of input with defined range

 

  • Enum dropdown:
Code Block
languagecpp
_UICONFIG("enum_int:Relaxed=0,Alert=1,Combat=2,Crouch=3")

There are several types of enums that can be used to display a dropdown list of readable strings which map to a value that is actually used by the node (and persisted when the graph is saved). Enums can be of type int or float as in the example above and shown in the picture.

 

An enum can also be of type string with or without mapping to another value:

Code Block
languagecpp
_UICONFIG("enum_string:a,b,c")
_UICONFIG("enum_string:DisplayA=a,DisplayB=b,DisplayC=c")

Enums can also refer to the Global and dynamic UI Enums defined in InitUIEnums. For instance, 'vehicleLightTypes' is read from Scripts/Entities/Vehicles/Lights/DefaultVehicleLights.xml . Optionally the enum can depend on another port to affect the available selection:

Code Block
languagecpp
_UICONFIG("enum_global:ENUM_NAME")
_UICONFIG("enum_global:vehicleLightTypes")
_UICONFIG("enum_global_def:ENUM_NAME")
_UICONFIG("enum_global_ref:ENUM_NAME_FORMAT_STRING:REF_PORT")

 

  • Specialized Editor
Code Block
languagecpp
_UICONFIG("dt=editorName")
_UICONFIG("dt=entityProperties, ref_entity=entityId") 
_UICONFIG("dt=matparamslot, slot_ref=Slot, sub_ref=SubMtlId, param=float")

A dedicated property editor can be indicated with the keyword 'dt', followed by parameters optionally needed by the editor as can be seen in the example above.

There is a set of available editors which name can be consulted in the table below. The following picture illustrates the color picker.

Full engine licensees can add new editors. For that, see the file Sandbox/Editor/HyperGraph/FlowGraphVariables.cpp.

Note: previously the editor names were passed as a prefix to the port name, however this is not recommended because changes to the port name will break compatibility with saved graphs.

 

Editor Name

Property Editor Type

snd

IVariable::DT_SOUND

sound

IVariable::DT_SOUND

clr

IVariable::DT_COLOR

color

IVariable::DT_COLOR

tex

IVariable::DT_TEXTURE

texture

IVariable::DT_TEXTURE

obj

IVariable::DT_OBJECT

object

IVariable::DT_OBJECT

file

IVariable::DT_FILE

text

IVariable::DT_LOCAL_STRING

equip

IVariable::DT_EQUIP

reverbpreset

IVariable::DT_REVERBPRESET

aianchor

IVariable::DT_AI_ANCHOR

aibehavior

IVariable::DT_AI_BEHAVIOR

aicharacter

IVariable::DT_AI_CHARACTER

aipfpropertieslist

IVariable::DT_AI_PFPROPERTIESLIST

aientityclassesIVariable::DT_AIENTITYCLASSES

aiterritory

IVariable::DT_AITERRITORY

aiwave

IVariable::DT_AIWAVE

soclass

IVariable::DT_SOCLASS

soclasses

IVariable::DT_SOCLASSES

sostate

IVariable::DT_SOSTATE

sostates

IVariable::DT_SOSTATES

sopattern

IVariable::DT_SOSTATEPATTERN

soaction

IVariable::DT_SOACTION

sohelper

IVariable::DT_SOHELPER

sonavhelper

IVariable::DT_SONAVHELPER

soanimhelper

IVariable::DT_SOANIMHELPER

soevent

IVariable::DT_SOEVENT

customactionIVariable::DT_CUSTOMACTION

gametoken

IVariable::DT_GAMETOKEN

mat

IVariable::DT_MATERIAL

seq

IVariable::DT_SEQUENCE

mission

IVariable::DT_MISSIONOBJ

anim

IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB

animstate

IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB

animstateEx

IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB

bone

IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB

attachment

IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB

dialog

IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB

matparamslot

IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB

matparamname

IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB

matparamcharatt

IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB

seqid IVariable::DT_SEQUENCE_ID
lightanimation IVariable::DT_LIGHT_ANIMATION
  formation IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
communicationVariable IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
uiElements IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
uiActions IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
uiVariables IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
uiArrays IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
uiMovieclips IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
uiVariablesTmpl IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
uiArraysTmpl IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
uiMovieclipsTmpl IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
uiTemplates IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
vehicleParts IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
vehicleSeatViews IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
entityProperties IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
actionFilter IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
actionMaps IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
actionMapActions IVariable::DT_USERITEMCB
geomcache IVariable::DT_GEOM_CACHE
audioTrigger IVariable::DT_AUDIO_TRIGGER
audioSwitch IVariable::DT_AUDIO_SWITCH
audioSwitchState IVariable::DT_AUDIO_SWITCH_STATE
audioRTPC IVariable::DT_AUDIO_RTPC
audioEnvironment IVariable::DT_AUDIO_ENVIRONMENT
audioPreloadRequest IVariable::DT_AUDIO_PRELOAD_REQUEST
dynamicResponseSignal IVariable::DT_DYNAMIC_RESPONSE_SIGNAL

 

Trigger Ports

Sometimes it is useful to have a trigger signal as input or output port. Such ports should be implemented using the type In/OutputPortConfig_Void or In/OutputPortConfig_AnyType and not bool.

Update event

Sometimes you want to have an update loop for your node instead of just reacting on ports, below is explained how to do this. You can also only temporarily enable the update event.

The following code will add your node to the list of regularly updated nodes:

Code Block
languagecpp
pActInfo->pGraph->SetRegularlyUpdated( pActInfo->myID, true);

This means from now on you will get ProcessEvent calls with eFE_Update event.

To be removed again from this list call the same function with false as the second parameter.

Frequency: you will get 1 ProcessEvent(eFE_Updated) call per Game update call.

...