Game Services

A common approach in software architecture for loose coupling of systems is the use of services. Services are implemented with 1) a service provider - essentially a collection of services that can be searched for a service, and new services can be registered with, 2) interfaces that define specific services how to work with the service, and 3) classes that implement these interfaces. This is the Service Locator Pattern as implemented in C#.

For a Service Provider, MonoGame provides the GameServiceContainer class, and the Game class has one as its Service property. The default game class adds at least two services: an IGraphicsDeviceService and an IGraphicsDeviceManager. If we need to retrieve the graphics device for some reason we could use the code:

var gds = game.Services.GetService(typeof(IGraphicDeviceService));
GraphicsDevice gd = gds.GraphicsDevice;

We can add any service we want to with the GameServicesContainer.AddService(Type type, object provider). In effect, the GameServicesContainer acts as a dictionary for finding initialized instances of services you would use across the game. For example, we might want to have a custom service for reporting achievements in the game. Because the implementation would be different for the Xbox than the Playstation, we could define an interface to represent our type:

public class IAchievementService 
    public void RegisterAchievement(Achievement achievement);

Then we could author two classes implementing this interface, one for the Xbox and one for the Playstation. We would initalize and register the appropriate one for the build of our program:

game.Services.AddService(IAchievementService, new XBoxAchievementService());

This provides us with that desirable “loose coupling”, where the only change we’d need to make between the two builds is what achievement service we initialize. A second common use for the GameServicesContainer is it can be passed to a constructor to provide multiple services as a single parameter, instead of having to pass each one separately. It can also be held onto to retrieve the service at a later point in the execution, as is the case with the ContentManager constructor.

Game services are a good replacement for systems that you might otherwise use the Singleton Pattern to implement.