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Geary treats components as entities, so each class gets a unique entity id. Relations take advantage of this by combining two ids together.

Definition: Relation

A relation is a component-entity pair which may store data.

  • The entity with the relation is called the source
  • The component part is the relation's kind, it defines what the relation is
  • The second is the relation's target, or which entity our relation is with

For instance, we may say Alice has a relation of the kind Friend with Bob. Alice is the relation's source, and Bob is the relation's target.


Relations are extremely useful in many situations where we can't create unlimited components. We explore two key uses for them.

Describing entity relations

Relations can describe a tangible relation between two entities. For example, parent/child relations, or being the instance of a prefab.

Avoiding component reuse

We may use relations to avoid making many variations of the same component.

For instance, if we had potion effects with a duration, instead of a HealingDuration, StrengthDuration, etc... we may use a single Duration component as a relation with any effect.


Relations may be added or set just like components:

sealed class Friend
sealed class Persists
data class Loves(val amount: Int)

val alice = entity()
val bob = entity()

alice.addRelation<Friend>(bob) //(1)

alice.set<String>("Hello world")
alice.addRelation<Persists, String>() //(2)

alice.setRelation(Loves(3000), bob) //(3)
  1. A relation with kind defined by a component
  2. A relation with both kind and target defined by components
  3. A relation with data set

Reading relations

getRelation and hasRelation for reading a single relation

alice.hasRelation<Persists, String>() // returns true
alice.getRelation<Loves>(bob) // returns Loves(amount = 3000)

getRelations for quick queries

Geary provides a function that can handle many kinds of relation queries by letting you specify a kind and target through components. Here are the rules:

  • Any on kind/target <=> The kind/target may be any entity
  • non nullable kind <=> The relation must hold data
  • non nullable target <=> A component of the target's type must also be set on the entity
getRelations<Friend?, Any?>() // Gets any added/set relations with kind Friend
getRelations<Loves, Any?>() // Gets any set relations with kind Loves

getRelationsWithData for extra info in queries

The queries are identical to getRelations, but the returned items have a lot more info in them, which looks a bit like this:

class RelationWithData<T, K> {
    val data: T
    val targetData: K
    val kind: GearyEntity
    val target: GearyEntity
    val relation: Relation

This is useful for certain applications but requires a bit more overhead:

alice.getRelationsWithData<Persists?, Any>().forEach { relWithData ->
    // assuming save takes the component type, and data to save for it, relWithData.targetData)