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CHAPTER 3: Essentials
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The Director
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The CCDirector class, or simply Director for short, is the heart of the cocos2d game engine. If you recall the HelloWorld application from 2, you ll remember that a lot of the cocos2d initialization procedure involved calls to [CCDirector sharedDirector]. The Director is a singleton and for good reason: it stores global configuration settings for cocos2d and also manages the cocos2d scenes. The major uses of the Director include: Access to and changing scenes Access to cocos2d configuration details Access to views (OpenGL, UIView, UIWindow) Pausing, resuming, and ending the game Converting UIKit and OpenGL coordinates There are actually four different types of Directors you can choose from, but they differ only in details. The most common Director is the CCDisplayLinkDirector, which uses Apple s CADisplayLink class internally. It s the preferred choice but available only on iOS versions 3.1 or higher; the alternative is to use the CCFastDirector. If you plan on using Cocoa Touch views alongside cocos2d, you may have to switch over to the CCThreadedFastDirector because it s the only one that fully supports them. The downside is that the CCThreadedFastDirector puts a greater strain on the device s battery. If that s very important to you, you can fall back to using the CCTimerDirector, but this should really be a last resort because it s the slowest director type.
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The Scene Graph
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Sometimes called a scene hierarchy, the scene graph is a hierarchy of every cocos2d node that s currently active. Every node has exactly one parent node, except the scene itself, and can have any number of child nodes. When you add nodes to other nodes, you re building a scene graph of nodes. Figure 3 1 depicts an excerpt from an imaginary game s scene graph. At the top level, you always have the scene node, usually followed by a layer node, which in cocos2d is responsible
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for receiving touch and accelerometer input.
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Figure 3 1. A very simplified cocos2d scene graph using a variety of different nodes to display a player and his weapon, the game s score, and an in-game menu to pause the game or access game options.
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Building on top of the CCLayer object are the constituents of your game, most of them some form of sprite nodes, including the occasional label node displaying the game s score. Menu and menu item nodes are used to display the in-game menu in this example, allowing the player to pause the game or return to the main menu. You ll notice in Figure 3 1 that the PlayerSprite node has another node added to it named PlayerWeaponSprite. In other words, the PlayerWeaponSprite is attached to the PlayerSprite. If the PlayerSprite moves, rotates, or scales, the PlayerWeaponSprite will do the same without any additional code. This is what makes the scene graph so powerful: most changes you make to a node affect all of its child nodes. But it s also what makes it confusing at times because suddenly things like position and rotation become relative to the parent node. I wrote a small sample Xcode project called NodeHierarchy, which comes with the book s source code and shows an example of how nodes in a hierarchy affect one another. It s much more easily understood if you see it on screen than if I tried to explain it with text and images.
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The CCNode Class Hierarchy
All nodes have a common parent class, CCNode, which defines a lot of the common properties and methods, except how to display the node. Figure 3 2 shows the most important classes derived from CCNode. These are the ones you ll work with most often and you can actually make quite impressive games with just these classes.
Figure 3 2. The most important node classes in cocos2d. All node classes derive from CCNode, which defines the common properties and methods.
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