Man functions

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Functions are named blocks of code which are be called with a number of argument values, and which return a result value to the caller.

Functions are defined in an object and are also known as "local funs" or short "lfuns".

Defining a function

A function definition takes the form

         <modifiers> <type> name ( <arguments> ) {

The parts in detail:

- <modifiers> can be any one of "static", "private", "public" and "protected" (see modifiers(LPC)), optionally combined with "varargs" (see varargs(LPC)) and/or "nomask". If not specified, the function behaves as if it was specified as "public", but this visibility can be restricted

 in derived object through non-public inheritance.

- <type> is the type of the result returned by the function. If specified as "void", the function is compiled to return the value 0 under all circumstances. If not specified, the type is assumed to be "mixed", furthermore typechecking is disabled for this function.

- name is the name of the function, e.g. "short", or "Nice_Try", under which it is made known.

- <arguments> is a list of variable definitions in the normal '<type> <name>' style, separated by comma.


                       () : no argument taken
                       (int a) : takes on integer argument
                       (mixed a, object *b): takes two arguments, one
                          arbitrary type, one array of objects.

- { statements... } defines the code for this function. This is a normal block (see block(LPC)) and as such can define its own local variables.

Declaring a function

A function declaration makes the name and type of a function known to the compiler with the assertion that the code for this function will be provided "elsewhere".

The form is:

         <modifiers> <type> name ( <arguments> );

Typical uses are:

- to declare in advance functions which are called before they can be defined; for example if the create() function of an object calls other functions which are defined after the create().

- to declare functions which will be provided by an inheriting object.

Calling a declared but undefined function results in a runtime error.

Calling a function

Functions in other objects are called with the call_other() efun, which can be shortened to '->':

          ob->fun(a, b, c)
          call_other(ob, "fun", a, b, c)

Functions in the same object are called just by writing their name, followed by the arguments in parenthesis:

          do_that(a, "foo")

If the number of values passed to the function does not match the number of expected arguments (and if type checking is enabled), the driver will perform the necessary adaption at call time: excess values are ignored, missing values are substituted by the number 0. The values passed to the called function are massaged by the driver to match the argument list

Functions and Inheritance

A "public" or "protected" (== "static") function defined in one object is also visible in all inheriting objects. The exception from this rule is when an inheriting child redefines ("overloads") the inherited function with its own. When compiling with type checking, the argument list of the redefined function has to match the original one.

When a function is called, the driver looks for the function first in the object called, and if not found there, then in the inherited objects.

To explicitly call an inherited function (useful when a redefining functions wants to use the original one), the "::" operator is used:


The named function is searched only in the inherited objects, and the first found is used.

If the function is inherited from several objects and a specific one is to be called, the "::" can be extended to contain the partial or full name of the inherited object:

           inherit "/obj/cooker";
           inherit "/obj/container";

all call the create() in the container inherit. Note that the name given to the :: operator is matched against the ends of the inherited names.

One special form of this call is


which bypasses any redefinition of an efun (here find_object()) and directly calls the efun itself. This is only possible for efun-redefinitions which do not use the "nomask" modifier.

Additionally, a call to a function inherited from several objects can be instructed to call _all_ inherited functions through the use of the wildcards "*" (match any number of arbitrary characters) and "?" (match one arbitrary character):

           inherit "/obj/cooker";
           inherit "/obj/container";

all call both inherited create()s. The function called this way must not take arguments, and the single results from all calls are combined into one array used as final result. If there is no such function inherited at all, the statement will just return an empty array.

See Also

types(LPC), modifiers(LPC), varargs(LPC), references(LPC), call_other(E), simul_efun(C), call_out(E)

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