# [SOLVED] Speeds of 3D Vector Versus 3D Array of Varying Size

## Issue

I’m designing a dynamic hurtbox for characters in a text-based game, which catches the locations of hits (or misses) of a weapon swung at them. The location (indices) and damage (magnitude) of hits are then translated into decreases in corresponding limb health variables for a character. My thoughts are that this hurtbox would best be implemented using a class with some 3D vector/array member.

Naturally, I might want varying dimensions of the 3D container for different sizes of enemy, but I’m aware that size is usually determined upon initialization. So here’s my question:

Would it be more efficient to use a C-style dynamic array, the size of which I can decide and allocate inside a parameterized constructor, like so?

class hurtBox {
private:
int ***hurtBoxMatrix;
public:
hurtBox(int l, int w, int h) {
hurtBoxMatrix = new int**[l];
for (int i = 0; i < l; i++) {
hurtBoxMatrix[i] = new int*[w];
for (int j = 0; j < w; j++) {
hurtBoxMatrix[i][j] = new int[h] ();
}
}
}
};

Or, would a vector that I push elements into, up to my desired dimensions, suffice?

class hurtBox {
private:
vector<vector<vector<int>>> hurtBoxMatrix;
public:
hurtBox(int l, int w, int h) {
for (int i = 0; i < l; i++) {
hurtBoxMatrix.push_back(vector<vector<int>>);
for (int j = 0; j < w; j++) {
hurtBoxMatrix[i].push_back(vector<int>);
for (int k = 0; k < h; k++) {
hurtBoxMatrix[i][j].push_back(0);
}
}
}
}
};

I imagine the former, since that first allocation is constant time, right? Is there a way to do this that’s better than either of these?

## Solution

You’d be better off simply allocating the 3D array in a single allocation, and use indexing to access the elements. Allocation for the std::vector storage can then be handled in the constructor for std::vector.

In general it’s best to avoid:

1. multiple allocations
2. repeatedly calling push_back
class hurtBox {
private:
vector<int> hurtBoxMatrix;
int m_l;
int m_w;
int m_h;
public:
hurtBox(int l, int w, int h)
: hurtBoxMatrix(l * w * h), m_l(l), m_w(w), m_h(h) {}

int& operator (int i, int j, int k) {
return hurtBoxMatrix[ I*m_w*m_h + j*m_w + k ];
}
const int operator (int i, int j, int k) const {
return hurtBoxMatrix[ i*m_w*m_h + j*m_w + k ];
}
};