Tutorial: AssetManager


The Public Interface of AssetManager



Croquet Microverse has a "service" called AssetManager. AssetManager loads asset files (images, vector graphics, and 3D models) and helps the Microverse system create cards. AssetManager also implements a simple caching mechanism to reduce network traffic and asset decoding.

As AssetManager deals with external resources, it is only available from the view (pawn) side code. This document describes how to use it to load assets and cache them if desired.

The main functionality of AssetManager is written in src/assetManager.js. Its core part does not depend on Microverse or Worldcore, but then the core is wrapped as a Worldcore service in src/wcAssetManager.js. Typically you get to the core features of AssetManager with expression this.service("AssetManager").assetManager.

Handling File Drop Events

The setupHandlersOn(dom: HTMLElement, callback?: (buffer, fileName, type) => void) method adds a DOM event handler for drop event on the specified DOM element. Upon a drop event, the system determines the type of the file based on the file name, extracts the file content into an ArrayBuffer and invokes the callback.

Microverse uses it in this manner:

this.service("AssetManager").assetManager.setupHandlersOn(document, (buffer, fileName, type) => {
    if (type === "pastedtext") {
    } else if (type === "vrse") {
    } else {
        this.analyzeAndUploadFile(new Uint8Array(buffer), fileName, type);

The call to AvatarPawn's analyzeAndUploadFile() creates a new card with a proper card spec. The CardPawn of the card constructs a 3D or 2D view based on the card spec.

Loading an asset from an Uint8Array

The AssetManager implements a method called load(buffer:Uint8Array, type:string, THREE:Module, options). Typically the buffer and type are simply passed from the callback. (THREE is passed in to use the feature written in code that does not assume a JS bundler. Options affects some properties of the loaded object.)

If the buffer contains data of a known type (currently "glb", "obj", "fbx" for 3D, "svg", "png", "jpg", "jpeg", "gif" for 2D and "exr" for the sky box are supported), the load method returns a promise that resolves to a Three js Object3D, a Three.js Texture, or Three.js EXR data, respectively.

For SVG, you can pass an option that specifies the color, depth, and fullBright properties to affect the properties of the resulting 3D object with ExtrudedGeometry.

Caching Data

The AssetManager offers a simple caching mechanism. You can think of the cache as a mapping from an id to the data, associated with the list of "users" of the data.

setCache(dataId:string, data:any: id:string)

The setCache() method creates a new cache entry for data named dataId, and id as the first user of this data. Unlike the variable names suggests, the dataId can be any string (typically a path, url or Croquet DataId), and id can be any string (typically the id of a pawn).


The getCache() method retrives the data specified by the dataId. It returns null if the specified entry is not found.

fillCacheIfAbsent(dataId:string, func:()=>any, id:string):any

The fillCacheIfAbsent() method is a combination of setCache and getCache; it adds a new cache entry if the item is not found by calling func, and either case returns the specified cache entry.

revoke(dataId:string, id:string)

The revoke() method tells the AssetManager that the object specified by id no longer uses the data. If the list of users for data becomes empty by removing id, the data is freed.

Usage in Microverse

While the caching mechanism of the AssetManager expects that revoke() is called manually, Microverse manages the revoke call automatically for known cases. For a card of "3d" type, the loaded buffer is added to the cache to avoid multiple loading. (The created 3D model is not cached however as Microverse sometimes mutates a loaded 3D model.) For a "2d" card with a texture, Microverse caches the Texture object. The destroy() method of a CardPawn calls revoke() for those data, so if the card being destroyed is the last user the resource is freed.

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