Coding Concepts

For the most part, Xentu is an environment for running code written in the Lua programming language. However if you wish to interact with the systems exposed to make a computer game, there are some concepts and conventions you should understand.

In this section we will go over what each of those concepts are so that you can take full advantage of the engine.

Object Types

Xentu encourages OOP (object-orientated programming) where possible. To facilitate this, an event system is implemented on the game and scene subsystems. And a set of object types are exposed.

Keyword Object Type

The main core components of the Xentu game engine are exposed as already existing global variables which we call keywords. The keywords never change, and provide static methods and properties which should be accessed using period notation. For example, the game keyword exposes a method called trigger and has 1 argument called name. We would interact with this in Lua like this:


Other keywords include audio, config, keyboard, mouse, viewport and renderer.

Class Object Type

When the engine is asked to natively load a complex data object such as a TileMap or say a SpriteMap, Xentu creates a native C++ instance, then exposes it to Lua using something called Luna. This is mostly done for the keywords as explained above, which allows the engine to run really fast.

There is an exception to the rule. Xentu allows you to create new instances of the Scene class, which allows the engine to wrap it’s fast rendering and update system around chunks of your code.

Struct Object Type

Structs (or structures) in Xentu are a built in system for creating smart objects. These objects are native to Lua, can have a constructor, inherited properties, functions and are a great way to manage things like entities.

Here is an example of how the Font struct used for rendering text was created:

-- A class that holds information about a font that can be used to draw text.
Font = struct(function(inst, texture, spritemap)
    if not (type(texture) == "number") then error("Invalid value for texture.") end
    if not (type(spritemap) == "number") then error("Invalid value for spritemap.") end
    inst.texture = texture
    inst.spritemap = spritemap
    inst.letter_spacing = 1
    inst.line_height = 20

You don’t have to use the struct system, it’s there to help keep your code organised and easy to manage.

Asset Object Type

When you load a texture or a sound using the asset <the asset keyword> keyword, the value returned is actually an integer. Xentu uses a basic reference counting/accessor system to keep track of memory allocated. The integer value is the count -1 of the specific loaded asset index.

So if you loaded 2 textures, you would likely get 1 and 2 back (0 usually is reserved for the blank default texture). If you then loaded a sound, the returned value would start again from 0.

So when you load a texture, assign that texture to a sprite, then draw the sprite, the engine actually just passes an integer around to find the right texture to draw.


The integer returned when loading a texture is not the id you get from creating a texture in OpenGL. These integers might align by accident, however the integer you get is specific to the index in a vector stored in C++

You may find several uses fo