Developing Games With Ruby

Developing Games With Ruby
Developing Games With Ruby
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Table of Contents

A Boy Who Wanted To Create Worlds

Once there was a boy who fell in love with this magical device that could bring things to life inside a glaring screen. He spent endless hours exploring imaginary worlds, fighting strange creatures, shooting pixelated spaceships, racing boxy cars. The boy kept pondering. “How is this made? I want to create my own worlds…”.

Then he discovered programming. “I can finally do it!” - he thought. And he tried. And failed. Then he tried harder. He failed again and again. He was too naive to realize that those worlds he was trying to create were too sophisticated, and his knowledge was too limited. He gave up creating those worlds.

What he didn’t give up is writing code for this magical device. He realized he isn’t smart enough to create worlds, yet he found out he could create simpler things like small applications - web, desktop, server side or whatnot. Few years later he found himself getting paid to make those.

Applications got increasingly bigger, they spanned across multiple servers, integrated with each other, became pats of huge infrastructures. The boy, now a grown man, was all into it. It was fun and challenging enough to spend over 10000 hours learning and building what others wanted him to build.

Some of these things were useful, some where boring and pointless. Some were never finished. There were things he was proud of, there were others that he wouldn’t want to talk about, nonetheless everything he built made him a better builder. Yet he never found the time, courage or reason to build what he really wanted to build since he was a little boy - his own worlds.

Until one day he realized that no one can stop him from following his dream. He felt that equipped with his current knowledge and experience he will be able to learn to create worlds of his own. And he went for it.

This boy must live in many software developers, who dream about creating games, but instead sell their software craftsmanship skills to those who need something else. This boy is me, and you. And it’s time to set him free.

Welcome to the world of game development that was waiting for you all these years.

Why Ruby?

When it comes to game development, everyone will tell you that you should go with C++ or some other statically typed language that compiles down to bare metal instructions. Or that you should go with full blown game development platform like Unity. Slow, dynamic languages like Ruby seem like the last choice any sane game developer would go for.

A friend of mine said “There’s little reason to develop a desktop game with Ruby”, and he was absolutely right. Perhaps this is the reason why there are no books about it. All the casual game action happens in mobile devices, and desktop games are for seasoned gamers who demand fast and detailed 3D graphics, motion-captured animations and sophisticated game mechanics - things we know we are not going to be able to build on our own, without millions from VC pockets and Hollywood grade equipment.

Now, bear with me. Your game will not be a 3D MMORPG set in huge, photo realistic representation of Middle-earth. Let’s leave those things to Bethesda, Ubisoft and Rockstar Games. After all, everyone has to start somewhere, and you have to be smart enough to understand, that even though that little boy in you wants to create an improved version of Grand Theft Auto V, we will have to go for something that resembles lesser known Super Nintendo titles instead.

Why not go mobile then? Those devices seem perfect for simpler games. If you are a true gamer at heart, you will agree that touch screen games you find in modern phones and tablets are only good for killing 10 minutes of your time while taking a dump. You have to feel the resistance when you click a button! Screen size also does matter. Playing anything on mobile phone is a torture for those who know what playing real games should feel like.

So, your game will have to be small enough for you to be able to complete it, it will have to have simple 2D graphics, and would not require the latest GeForce with at least 512MB of RAM. This fact gives you the benefit of choice. You don’t have to worry about performance that much. You can choose a friendly and productive language that is designed for programmer happiness. And this is where Ruby starts to shine. It’s beautiful, simple and elegant. It is close to poetry.

What You Should Know Before Reading This Book

As you can read on the cover, this book is “for those who write code for living”. It’s not a requirement, and you will most likely be able to understand everything even if you are a student or hobbyist, but this book will not teach you how to be a good programmer. If you want to learn that, start with timeless classic: The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master.

You should understand Ruby at least to some extent. There are plenty of books and resources covering that subject. Try Why’s Poignant Guide To Ruby or Eloquent Ruby. You can also learn it while reading this book. It shouldn’t be too hard, especially if you already write code for living. After all programming language is merely a tool, and when you learn one, others are relatively easy to switch to.

You should know how to use the command line. Basic knowledge of Git can also be handy.

You don’t have to know how to draw or compose music. We will use media that is available for free. However, knowledge of graphics and audio editing software won’t hurt.

What Are We Going To Build?

This question is of paramount importance. The answer will usually determine if you will likely to succeed. If you want to overstep your boundaries, you will fail. It shouldn’t be too easy either. If you know something about programming already, I bet you can implement Tic Tac Toe, but will you feel proud about it? Will you be able to say “I’ve built a world!”. I wouldn’t.

Graphics

To begin with, we need to know what kind of graphics we are aiming for. We will instantly rule out 3D for several reasons:

  • We don’t want to increase the scope and complexity
  • Ruby may not be fast enough for 3D games
  • Learning proper 3D graphics programming requires reading a separate book that is several times thicker than this one.

Now, we have to swallow our pride and accept the fact that the game will have simple 2D graphics. There are three choices to go for:

  • Parallel Projection
  • Top Down
  • Side-Scrolling

Parallel Projection (think Fallout 1 & 2) is pretty close to 3D graphics, it requires detailed art if you want it to look decent, so we would have a rough start if we went for it.

Top Down view (old titles of Legend of Zelda) offers plenty of freedom to explore the environment in all directions and requires less graphical detail, since things look simpler from above.

Side Scrolling games (Super Mario Bros.) usually involve some physics related to jumping and require more effort to look good. Feeling of exploration is limited, since you usually move from left to right most of the time.

Going with Top Down view will give us a chance to create our game world as open for exploration as possible, while having simple graphics and movement mechanics. Sounds like the best choice for us.

If you are as bad at drawing things as I am, you could still wonder how we are going to get our graphics. Thankfully, there is this opengameart.org. It’s like GitHub of game media, we will surely find something there. It also contains audio samples and tracks.

Game Development Library

Implement it all yourself or harness the power of some game development library that offers you boilerplates and convenient access to common functions? If you’re like me, you would definitely want to implement it all yourself, but that may be the reason why I failed to make a decent game so many times.

If you will try to implement it all yourself, you will most likely end up reimplementing some existing game library, poorly. It won’t take long while you reach a point where you need to interface with underlying operating system libraries to get graphics. And guess if those bindings will work in a different operating system?

So, swallow your pride again, because we are going to use an existing game development library. Good news is that you will be able to actually finish the game, and it will be portable to Windows, Mac and Linux. We will still have to build our own game engine for ourselves on top of it, so don’t think it won’t be fun.

There are several game libraries available for Ruby, but it’s a simple choice, because Gosu is head and shoulders above others. It’s very mature, has a large and active community, and it is mainly written in C++ but has first class Ruby support, so it will be both fast and convenient to use.

Many of other Ruby game libraries are built on top of Gosu, so it’s a solid choice.

Theme And Mechanics

Choosing the right theme is undoubtedly important. It should be something that appeals to you, something you will want to play, and it should not imply difficult game mechanics. I love MMORPGs, and I always dreamed of making an open world game where you can roam around, meet other players, fight monsters and level up. Guess how many times I started building such a game? Even if I wouldn’t have lost the count, I wouldn’t be proud to say the number.

This time, equipped with logic and sanity, I’ve picked something challenging enough, yet still pretty simple to build. Are you ready?

Drumroll

We will be building a multi directional shooter arcade game where you control a tank, roam around an island, shoot enemy tanks and try not to get destroyed by others.

If you have played Battle City or Tank Force, you should easily get the idea. I believe that implementing such a game (with several twists) would expose us to perfect level of difficulty and provide substantial amount of experience.

We will use a subset of these gorgeous graphics which are available on opengameart.org, generously provided by Csaba Felvegi.

Preparing The Tools

While writing this book, I will be using Mac OS X (10.9), but it should be possible to run all the examples on other operating systems too.

Gosu Wiki has “Getting Started” pages for Mac, Linux and Windows, so I will not be going into much detail here.

Getting Gosu to run on Mac Os X

If you haven’t set up your Mac for development, first install Xcode using App Store. System Ruby should work just fine, but you may want to use Rbenv or RVM to avoid polluting system Ruby. I’ve had trouble installing Gosu with RVM, but your experience may vary.

To install the gem, simply run:

$ gem install gosu

You may need to prefix it with sudo if you are using system Ruby.

To test if gem was installed correctly, you should be able to run this to produce an empty black window:

$ irb
irb(main):001:0> require 'gosu'
=> true
irb(main):002:0> Gosu::Window.new(320, 240, false).show
=> nil

Most developers who use Mac every day will also recommend installing Homebrew package manager, replace Terminal app with iTerm2 and use Oh-My-Zsh to manage ZSH configuration.

Getting The Sample Code

You can find sample code at GitHub: https://github.com/spajus/ruby-gamedev-book-examples.

Clone it to a convenient location:

$ cd ~/gamedev
$ git clone git@github.com:spajus/ruby-gamedev-book-examples.git

The source code of final product can be found at https://github.com/spajus/tank_island

Other Tools

All you need for this adventure is a good text editor, terminal and probably some graphics editor. Try GIMP if you want a free one. I’m using Pixelmator, it’s wonderful, but for Mac only. A noteworthy fact is that Pixelmator was built by fellow Lithuanians.

When it comes to editors, I don’t leave home without Vim, but as long as what you use makes you productive, it doesn’t make any difference. Vim, Emacs or Sublime are all good enough to write code, just have some good plugins that support Ruby, and you’re set. If you really feel you need an IDE, which may be the case if you are coming from a static language, you can’t go wrong with RubyMine.

Gosu Basics

By now Gosu should be installed and ready for a spin. But before we rush into building our game, we have to get acquainted with our library. We will go through several simple examples, familiarize ourselves with Gosu architecture and core principles, and take a couple of baby steps towards understanding how to put everything together.

To make this chapter easier to read and understand, I recommend watching Writing Games With Ruby talk given by Mike Moore at LA Ruby Conference 2014. In fact, this talk pushed me towards rethinking this crazy idea of using Ruby for game development, so this book wouldn’t exist without it. Thank you, Mike.

Hello World

To honor the traditions, we will start by writing “Hello World” to get a taste of what Gosu feels like. It is based on Ruby Tutorial that you can find in Gosu Wiki.

01-hello/hello_world.rb


 1 require 'gosu'
 2 
 3 class GameWindow < Gosu::Window
 4   def initialize(width=320, height=240, fullscreen=false)
 5     super
 6     self.caption = 'Hello'
 7     @message = Gosu::Image.from_text(
 8       self, 'Hello, World!', Gosu.default_font_name, 30)
 9   end
10 
11   def draw
12     @message.draw(10, 10, 0)
13   end
14 end
15 
16 window = GameWindow.new
17 window.show

Run the code:

$ ruby 01-hello/hello_world.rb

You should see a neat small window with your message:

Hello World

Hello World

See how easy that was? Now let’s try to understand what just happened here.

We have extended Gosu::Window with our own GameWindow class, initializing it as 320x240 window. super passed width, height and fullscreen initialization parameters from GameWindow to Gosu::Window.

Then we defined our window’s caption, and created @message instance variable with an image generated from text "Hello, World!" using Gosu::Image.from_text.

We have overridden Gosu::Window#draw instance method that gets called every time Gosu wants to redraw our game window. In that method we call draw on our @message variable, providing x and y screen coordinates both equal to 10, and z (depth) value equal to 0.

Screen Coordinates And Depth

Just like most conventional computer graphics libraries, Gosu treats x as horizontal axis (left to right), y as vertical axis (top to bottom), and z as order.

Screen coordinates and depth

Screen coordinates and depth

x and y are measured in pixels, and value of z is a relative number that doesn’t mean anything on it’s own. The pixel in top-left corner of the screen has coordinates of 0:0.

z order in Gosu is just like z-index in CSS. It does not define zoom level, but in case two shapes overlap, one with higher z value will be drawn on top.

Main Loop

The heart of Gosu library is the main loop that happens in Gosu::Window. It is explained fairly well in Gosu wiki, so we will not be discussing it here.

Moving Things With Keyboard

We will modify our “Hello, World!” example to learn how to move things on screen. The following code will print coordinates of the message along with number of times screen was redrawn. It also allows exiting the program by hitting Esc button.

01-hello/hello_movement.rb


 1 require 'gosu'
 2 
 3 class GameWindow < Gosu::Window
 4   def initialize(width=320, height=240, fullscreen=false)
 5     super
 6     self.caption = 'Hello Movement'
 7     @x = @y = 10
 8     @draws = 0
 9     @buttons_down = 0
10   end
11 
12   def update
13     @x -= 1 if button_down?(Gosu::KbLeft)
14     @x += 1 if button_down?(Gosu::KbRight)
15     @y -= 1 if button_down?(Gosu::KbUp)
16     @y += 1 if button_down?(Gosu::KbDown)
17   end
18 
19   def button_down(id)
20     close if id == Gosu::KbEscape
21     @buttons_down += 1
22   end
23 
24   def button_up(id)
25     @buttons_down -= 1
26   end
27 
28   def needs_redraw?
29     @draws == 0 || @buttons_down > 0
30   end
31 
32   def draw
33     @draws += 1
34     @message = Gosu::Image.from_text(
35       self, info, Gosu.default_font_name, 30)
36     @message.draw(@x, @y, 0)
37   end
38 
39   private
40 
41   def info
42     "[x:#{@x};y:#{@y};draws:#{@draws}]"
43   end
44 end
45 
46 window = GameWindow.new
47 window.show

Run the program and try pressing arrow keys:

$ ruby 01-hello/hello_movement.rb

The message will move around as long as you keep arrow keys pressed.

Use arrow keys to move the message around

Use arrow keys to move the message around

We could write a shorter version, but the point here is that if we wouldn’t override needs_redraw? this program would be slower by order of magnitude, because it would create @message object every time it wants to redraw the window, even though nothing would change.

Here is a screenshot of top displaying two versions of this program. Second screen has needs_redraw? method removed. See the difference?

Redrawing only when necessary VS redrawing every time

Redrawing only when necessary VS redrawing every time

Ruby is slow, so you have to use it wisely.

Images And Animation

It’s time to make something more exciting. Our game will have to have explosions, therefore we need to learn to animate them. We will set up a background scene and trigger explosions on top of it with our mouse.

01-hello/hello_animation.rb


 1 require 'gosu'
 2 
 3 def media_path(file)
 4   File.join(File.dirname(File.dirname(
 5     __FILE__)), 'media', file)
 6 end
 7 
 8 class Explosion
 9   FRAME_DELAY = 10 # ms
10   SPRITE = media_path('explosion.png')
11 
12   def self.load_animation(window)
13     Gosu::Image.load_tiles(
14       window, SPRITE, 128, 128, false)
15   end
16 
17   def initialize(animation, x, y)
18     @animation = animation
19     @x, @y = x, y
20     @current_frame = 0
21   end
22 
23   def update
24     @current_frame += 1 if frame_expired?
25   end
26 
27   def draw
28     return if done?
29     image = current_frame
30     image.draw(
31       @x - image.width / 2.0,
32       @y - image.height / 2.0,
33       0)
34   end
35 
36   def done?
37     @done ||= @current_frame == @animation.size
38   end
39 
40   private
41 
42   def current_frame
43     @animation[@current_frame % @animation.size]
44   end
45 
46   def frame_expired?
47     now = Gosu.milliseconds
48     @last_frame ||= now
49     if (now - @last_frame) > FRAME_DELAY
50       @last_frame = now
51     end
52   end
53 end
54 
55 class GameWindow < Gosu::Window
56   BACKGROUND = media_path('country_field.png')
57 
58   def initialize(width=800, height=600, fullscreen=false)
59     super
60     self.caption = 'Hello Animation'
61     @background = Gosu::Image.new(
62       self, BACKGROUND, false)
63     @animation = Explosion.load_animation(self)
64     @explosions = []
65   end
66 
67   def update
68     @explosions.reject!(&:done?)
69     @explosions.map(&:update)
70   end
71 
72   def button_down(id)
73     close if id == Gosu::KbEscape
74     if id == Gosu::MsLeft
75       @explosions.push(
76         Explosion.new(
77           @animation, mouse_x, mouse_y))
78     end
79   end
80 
81   def needs_cursor?
82     true
83   end
84 
85   def needs_redraw?
86     !@scene_ready || @explosions.any?
87   end
88 
89   def draw
90     @scene_ready ||= true
91     @background.draw(0, 0, 0)
92     @explosions.map(&:draw)
93   end
94 end
95 
96 window = GameWindow.new
97 window.show

Run it and click around to enjoy those beautiful special effects:

$ ruby 01-hello/hello_animation.rb
Multiple explosions on screen

Multiple explosions on screen

Now let’s figure out how it works. Our GameWindow initializes with @background Gosu::Image and @animation, that holds array of Gosu::Image instances, one for each frame of explosion. Gosu::Image.load_tiles handles it for us.

Explosion::SPRITE points to “tileset” image, which is just a regular image that contains equally sized smaller image frames arranged in ordered sequence. Rows of frames are read left to right, like you would read a book.

Explosion tileset

Explosion tileset

Given that explosion.png tileset is 1024x1024 pixels big, and it has 8 rows of 8 tiles per row, it is easy to tell that there are 64 tiles 128x128 pixels each. So, @animation[0] holds 128x128 Gosu::Image with top-left tile, and @animation[63] - the bottom-right one.

Gosu doesn’t handle animation, it’s something you have full control over. We have to draw each tile in a sequence ourselves. You can also use tiles to hold map graphics The logic behind this is pretty simple:

  1. Explosion knows it’s @current_frame number. It begins with 0.
  2. Explosion#frame_expired? checks the last time when @current_frame was rendered, and when it is older than Explosion::FRAME_DELAY milliseconds, @current_frame is increased.
  3. When GameWindow#update is called, @current_frame is recalculated for all @explosions. Also, explosions that have finished their animation (displayed the last frame) are removed from @explosions array.
  4. GameWindow#draw draws background image and all @explosions draw their current_frame.
  5. Again, we are saving resources and not redrawing when there are no @explosions in progress. needs_redraw? handles it.

It is important to understand that update and draw order is unpredictable, these methods can be called by your system at different rate, you can’t tell which one will be called more often than the other one, so update should only be concerned with advancing object state, and draw should only draw current state on screen if it is needed. The only reliable thing here is time, consult Gosu.milliseconds to know how much time have passed.

Rule of the thumb: draw should be as lightweight as possible. Prepare all calculations in update and you will have responsive, smooth graphics.

Music And Sound

Our previous program was clearly missing a soundtrack, so we will add one. A background music will be looping, and each explosion will become audible.

01-hello/hello_sound.rb


  1 require 'gosu'
  2 
  3 def media_path(file)
  4   File.join(File.dirname(File.dirname(
  5     __FILE__)), 'media', file)
  6 end
  7 
  8 class Explosion
  9   FRAME_DELAY = 10 # ms
 10   SPRITE = media_path('explosion.png')
 11 
 12   def self.load_animation(window)
 13     Gosu::Image.load_tiles(
 14       window, SPRITE, 128, 128, false)
 15   end
 16 
 17   def self.load_sound(window)
 18     Gosu::Sample.new(
 19       window, media_path('explosion.mp3'))
 20   end
 21 
 22   def initialize(animation, sound, x, y)
 23     @animation = animation
 24     sound.play
 25     @x, @y = x, y
 26     @current_frame = 0
 27   end
 28 
 29   def update
 30     @current_frame += 1 if frame_expired?
 31   end
 32 
 33   def draw
 34     return if done?
 35     image = current_frame
 36     image.draw(
 37       @x - image.width / 2.0,
 38       @y - image.height / 2.0,
 39       0)
 40   end
 41 
 42   def done?
 43     @done ||= @current_frame == @animation.size
 44   end
 45 
 46   def sound
 47     @sound.play
 48   end
 49 
 50   private
 51 
 52   def current_frame
 53     @animation[@current_frame % @animation.size]
 54   end
 55 
 56   def frame_expired?
 57     now = Gosu.milliseconds
 58     @last_frame ||= now
 59     if (now - @last_frame) > FRAME_DELAY
 60       @last_frame = now
 61     end
 62   end
 63 end
 64 
 65 class GameWindow < Gosu::Window
 66   BACKGROUND = media_path('country_field.png')
 67 
 68   def initialize(width=800, height=600, fullscreen=false)
 69     super
 70     self.caption = 'Hello Animation'
 71     @background = Gosu::Image.new(
 72       self, BACKGROUND, false)
 73     @music = Gosu::Song.new(
 74       self, media_path('menu_music.mp3'))
 75     @music.volume = 0.5
 76     @music.play(true)
 77     @animation = Explosion.load_animation(self)
 78     @sound = Explosion.load_sound(self)
 79     @explosions = []
 80   end
 81 
 82   def update
 83     @explosions.reject!(&:done?)
 84     @explosions.map(&:update)
 85   end
 86 
 87   def button_down(id)
 88     close if id == Gosu::KbEscape
 89     if id == Gosu::MsLeft
 90       @explosions.push(
 91         Explosion.new(
 92           @animation, @sound, mouse_x, mouse_y))
 93     end
 94   end
 95 
 96   def needs_cursor?
 97     true
 98   end
 99 
100   def needs_redraw?
101     !@scene_ready || @explosions.any?
102   end
103 
104   def draw
105     @scene_ready ||= true
106     @background.draw(0, 0, 0)
107     @explosions.map(&:draw)
108   end
109 end
110 
111 window = GameWindow.new
112 window.show

Run it and enjoy the cinematic experience. Adding sound really makes a difference.

$ ruby 01-hello/hello_sound.rb

We only added couple of things over previous example.

72 @music = Gosu::Song.new(
73   self, media_path('menu_music.mp3'))
74 @music.volume = 0.5
75 @music.play(true)

GameWindow creates Gosu::Song with menu_music.mp3, adjusts the volume so it’s a little more quiet and starts playing in a loop.

16 def self.load_sound(window)
17   Gosu::Sample.new(
18     window, media_path('explosion.mp3'))
19 end

Explosion has now got load_sound method that loads explosion.mp3 sound effect Gosu::Sample. This sound effect is loaded once in GameWindow constructor, and passed into every new Explosion, where it simply starts playing.

Handling audio with Gosu is very straightforward. Use Gosu::Song to play background music, and Gosu::Sample to play effects and sounds that can overlap.

Warming Up

Before we start building our game, we want to flex our skills little more, get to know Gosu better and make sure our tools will be able to meet our expectations.

Using Tilesets

After playing around with Gosu for a while, we should be comfortable enough to implement a prototype of top-down view game map using the tileset of our choice. This ground tileset looks like a good place to start.

Integrating With Texture Packer

After downloading and extracting the tileset, it’s obvious that Gosu::Image#load_tiles will not suffice, since it only supports tiles of same size, and there is a tileset in the package that looks like this:

Tileset with tiles of irregular size

Tileset with tiles of irregular size

And there is also a JSON file that contains some metadata:

{"frames": {
"aircraft_1d_destroyed.png":
{
  "frame": {"x":451,"y":102,"w":57,"h":42},
  "rotated": false,
  "trimmed": false,
  "spriteSourceSize": {"x":0,"y":0,"w":57,"h":42},
  "sourceSize": {"w":57,"h":42}
},
"aircraft_2d_destroyed.png":
{
  "frame": {"x":2,"y":680,"w":63,"h":47},
  "rotated": false,
  "trimmed": false,
  "spriteSourceSize": {"x":0,"y":0,"w":63,"h":47},
  "sourceSize": {"w":63,"h":47}
},
...
}},
"meta": {
	"app": "http://www.texturepacker.com",
	"version": "1.0",
	"image": "decor.png",
	"format": "RGBA8888",
	"size": {"w":512,"h":1024},
	"scale": "1",
	"smartupdate": "$TexturePacker:SmartUpdate:2e6b6964f24c7abfaa85a804e2dc1b05$"
}

Looks like these tiles were packed with Texture Packer. After some digging I’ve discovered that Gosu doesn’t have any integration with it, so I had these choices:

  1. Cut the original tileset image into smaller images.
  2. Parse JSON and harness the benefits of Texture Packer.

First option was too much work and would prove to be less efficient, because loading many small files is always worse than loading one bigger file. Therefore, second option was the winner, and I also thought “why not write a gem while I’m at it”. And that’s exactly what I did, and you should do the same in such a situation. The gem is available on GitHub:

https://github.com/spajus/gosu-texture-packer

You can install this gem using gem install gosu_texture_packer. If you want to examine the code, easiest way is to clone it on your computer:

$ git clone git@github.com:spajus/gosu-texture-packer.git

Let’s examine the main idea behind this gem. Here is a slightly simplified version that does handles everything in under 20 lines of code:

02-warmup/tileset.rb


 1 require 'json'
 2 class Tileset
 3   def initialize(window, json)
 4     @json = JSON.parse(File.read(json))
 5     image_file = File.join(
 6       File.dirname(json), @json['meta']['image'])
 7     @main_image = Gosu::Image.new(
 8       @window, image_file, true)
 9   end
10 
11   def frame(name)
12     f = @json['frames'][name]['frame']
13     @main_image.subimage(
14       f['x'], f['y'], f['w'], f['h'])
15   end
16 end

If by now you are familiar with Gosu documentation, you will wonder what the hell is Gosu::Image#subimage. At the point of writing it was not documented, and I accidentally discovered it while digging through Gosu source code.

I’m lucky this function existed, because I was ready to bring out the heavy artillery and use RMagick to extract those tiles. We will probably need RMagick at some point of time later, but it’s better to avoid dependencies as long as possible.

Combining Tiles Into A Map

With tileset loading issue out of the way, we can finally get back to drawing that cool map of ours.

The following program will fill the screen with random tiles.

02-warmup/random_map.rb


 1 require 'gosu'
 2 require 'gosu_texture_packer'
 3 
 4 def media_path(file)
 5   File.join(File.dirname(File.dirname(
 6     __FILE__)), 'media', file)
 7 end
 8 
 9 class GameWindow < Gosu::Window
10   WIDTH = 800
11   HEIGHT = 600
12   TILE_SIZE = 128
13 
14   def initialize
15     super(WIDTH, HEIGHT, false)
16     self.caption = 'Random Map'
17     @tileset = Gosu::TexturePacker.load_json(
18       self, media_path('ground.json'), :precise)
19     @redraw = true
20   end
21 
22   def button_down(id)
23     close if id == Gosu::KbEscape
24     @redraw = true if id == Gosu::KbSpace
25   end
26 
27   def needs_redraw?
28     @redraw
29   end
30 
31   def draw
32     @redraw = false
33     (0..WIDTH / TILE_SIZE).each do |x|
34       (0..HEIGHT / TILE_SIZE).each do |y|
35         @tileset.frame(
36           @tileset.frame_list.sample).draw(
37             x * (TILE_SIZE),
38             y * (TILE_SIZE),
39             0)
40       end
41     end
42   end
43 end
44 
45 window = GameWindow.new
46 window.show

Run it, then press spacebar to refill the screen with random tiles.

$ ruby 02-warmup/random_map.rb
Map filled with random tiles

Map filled with random tiles

The result doesn’t look seamless, so we will have to figure out what’s wrong. After playing around for a while, I’ve noticed that it’s an issue with Gosu::Image.

When you load a tile like this, it works perfectly:

Gosu::Image.new(self, image_path, true, 0, 0, 128, 128)
Gosu::Image.load_tiles(self, image_path, 128, 128, true)

And the following produces so called “texture bleeding”:

Gosu::Image.new(self, image_path, true)
Gosu::Image.new(self, image_path, true).subimage(0, 0, 128, 128)

Good thing we’re not building our game yet, right? Welcome to the intricacies of software development!

Now, I have reported my findings, but until it gets fixed, we need a workaround. And the workaround was to use RMagick. I knew we won’t get too far away from it. But our random map now looks gorgeous:

Map filled with *seamless* random tiles

Map filled with seamless random tiles

Using Tiled To Create Maps

While low level approach to drawing tiles in screen may be appropriate in some scenarios, like randomly generated maps, we will explore another alternatives. One of them is this great, open source, cross platform, generic tile map editor called Tiled.

It has some limitations, for instance, all tiles in tileset have to be of same proportions. On the upside, it would be easy to load Tiled tilesets with Gosu::Image#load_tiles.

Tiled

Tiled

Tiled uses it’s own custom, XML based tmx format for saving maps. It also allows exporting maps to JSON, which is way more convenient, since parsing XML in Ruby is usually done with Nokogiri, which is heavier and it’s native extensions usually cause more trouble than ones JSON parser uses. So, let’s see how that JSON looks like:

02-warmup/tiled_map.json


 1 { "height":10,
 2  "layers":[
 3         {
 4          "data":[65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 0, 0, 65, 6\
 5 5, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 0, 0, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 0, 0, 0, 65, 65\
 6 , 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 0, 0, 0, 0, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 0, 0, 0, 0, 65, 65, 65\
 7 , 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65\
 8 , 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65\
 9 ],
10          "height":10,
11          "name":"Water",
12          "opacity":1,
13          "type":"tilelayer",
14          "visible":true,
15          "width":10,
16          "x":0,
17          "y":0
18         },
19         {
20          "data":[0, 0, 7, 5, 57, 43, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 28, 1, 1, 42, 0, 0, 0, 0,\
21  0, 0, 44, 1, 1, 42, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 28, 1, 1, 27, 43, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 28, 1, 1\
22 , 1, 27, 43, 0, 0, 0, 0, 28, 1, 1, 1, 59, 16, 0, 0, 0, 0, 48, 62, 61, 61, 16, 0,\
23  0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0\
24 , 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
25          "height":10,
26          "name":"Ground",
27          "opacity":1,
28          "type":"tilelayer",
29          "visible":true,
30          "width":10,
31          "x":0,
32          "y":0
33         }],
34  "orientation":"orthogonal",
35  "properties":
36     {
37 
38     },
39  "tileheight":128,
40  "tilesets":[
41         {
42          "firstgid":1,
43          "image":"media\/ground.png",
44          "imageheight":1024,
45          "imagewidth":1024,
46          "margin":0,
47          "name":"ground",
48          "properties":
49             {
50 
51             },
52          "spacing":0,
53          "tileheight":128,
54          "tilewidth":128
55         },
56         {
57          "firstgid":65,
58          "image":"media\/water.png",
59          "imageheight":128,
60          "imagewidth":128,
61          "margin":0,
62          "name":"water",
63          "properties":
64             {
65 
66             },
67          "spacing":0,
68          "tileheight":128,
69          "tilewidth":128
70         }],
71  "tilewidth":128,
72  "version":1,
73  "width":10
74 }

There are following things listed here:

  • Two different tilesets, “ground” and “water”
  • Map width and height in tile count (10x10)
  • Layers with data array contains tile numbers

Couple of extra things that Tiled maps can have:

  • Object layers containing lists of objects with their coordinates
  • Properties hash on tiles and objects

This doesn’t look too difficult to parse, so we’re going to implement a loader for Tiled maps. And make it open source, of course.

Loading Tiled Maps With Gosu

Probably the easiest way to load Tiled map is to take each layer and render it on screen, tile by tile, like a cake. We will not care about caching at this point, and the only optimization would be not drawing things that are out of screen boundaries.

After couple of days of test driven development, I’ve ended up writing gosu_tiled gem, that allows you to load Tiled maps with just a few lines of code.

I will not go through describing the implementation, but if you want to examine the thought process, take a look at gosu_tiled gem’s git commit history.

To use the gem, do gem install gosu_tiled and examine the code that shows a map of the island that you can scroll around with arrow keys:

02-warmup/island.rb


 1 require 'gosu'
 2 require 'gosu_tiled'
 3 
 4 class GameWindow < Gosu::Window
 5   MAP_FILE = File.join(File.dirname(
 6     __FILE__), 'island.json')
 7   SPEED = 5
 8 
 9   def initialize
10     super(640, 480, false)
11     @map = Gosu::Tiled.load_json(self, MAP_FILE)
12     @x = @y = 0
13     @first_render = true
14   end
15 
16   def button_down(id)
17     close if id == Gosu::KbEscape
18   end
19 
20   def update
21     @x -= SPEED if button_down?(Gosu::KbLeft)
22     @x += SPEED if button_down?(Gosu::KbRight)
23     @y -= SPEED if button_down?(Gosu::KbUp)
24     @y += SPEED if button_down?(Gosu::KbDown)
25     self.caption = "#{Gosu.fps} FPS. Use arrow keys to pan"
26   end
27 
28   def draw
29     @first_render = false
30     @map.draw(@x, @y)
31   end
32 
33   def needs_redraw?
34     [Gosu::KbLeft,
35      Gosu::KbRight,
36      Gosu::KbUp,
37      Gosu::KbDown].each do |b|
38       return true if button_down?(b)
39     end
40     @first_render
41   end
42 end
43 
44 GameWindow.new.show

Run it, use arrow keys to scroll the map.

$ ruby 02-warmup/island.rb

The result is quite satisfying, and it scrolls smoothly without any optimizations:

Exploring Tiled map in Gosu

Exploring Tiled map in Gosu

Generating Random Map With Perlin Noise

In some cases random generated maps make all the difference. Worms and Diablo would probably be just average games if it wasn’t for those always unique, procedurally generated maps.

We will try to make a very primitive map generator ourselves. To begin with, we will be using only 3 different tiles - water, sand and grass. For implementing fully tiled edges, the generator must be aware of available tilesets and know how to combine them in valid ways. We may come back to it, but for now let’s keep things simple.

Now, generating naturally looking randomness is something worth having a book of it’s own, so instead of trying to poorly reinvent what other people have already done, we will use a well known algorithm perfectly suited for this task - Perlin noise.

If you have ever used Photoshop’s Cloud filter, you already know how Perlin noise looks like:

Perlin noise

Perlin noise

Now, we could implement the algorithm ourselves, but there is perlin_noise gem already available, it looks pretty solid, so we will use it.

The following program generates 100x100 map with 30% chance of water, 15% chance of sand and 55% chance of grass:

02-warmup/perlin_noise_map.rb


  1 require 'gosu'
  2 require 'gosu_texture_packer'
  3 require 'perlin_noise'
  4 
  5 def media_path(file)
  6   File.join(File.dirname(File.dirname(
  7     __FILE__)), 'media', file)
  8 end
  9 
 10 class GameWindow < Gosu::Window
 11   MAP_WIDTH = 100
 12   MAP_HEIGHT = 100
 13   WIDTH = 800
 14   HEIGHT = 600
 15   TILE_SIZE = 128
 16 
 17   def initialize
 18     super(WIDTH, HEIGHT, false)
 19     load_tiles
 20     @map = generate_map
 21     @zoom = 0.2
 22   end
 23 
 24   def button_down(id)
 25     close if id == Gosu::KbEscape
 26     @map = generate_map if id == Gosu::KbSpace
 27   end
 28 
 29   def update
 30     adjust_zoom(0.005) if button_down?(Gosu::KbDown)
 31     adjust_zoom(-0.005) if button_down?(Gosu::KbUp)
 32     set_caption
 33   end
 34 
 35   def draw
 36     tiles_x.times do |x|
 37       tiles_y.times do |y|
 38         @map[x][y].draw(
 39           x * TILE_SIZE * @zoom,
 40           y * TILE_SIZE * @zoom,
 41           0,
 42           @zoom,
 43           @zoom)
 44       end
 45     end
 46   end
 47 
 48   private
 49 
 50   def set_caption
 51     self.caption = 'Perlin Noise. ' <<
 52       "Zoom: #{'%.2f' % @zoom}. " <<
 53       'Use Up/Down to zoom. Space to regenerate.'
 54   end
 55 
 56   def adjust_zoom(delta)
 57     new_zoom = @zoom + delta
 58     if new_zoom > 0.07 && new_zoom < 2
 59       @zoom = new_zoom
 60     end
 61   end
 62 
 63   def load_tiles
 64     tiles = Gosu::Image.load_tiles(
 65       self, media_path('ground.png'), 128, 128, true)
 66     @sand = tiles[0]
 67     @grass = tiles[8]
 68     @water = Gosu::Image.new(
 69       self, media_path('water.png'), true)
 70   end
 71 
 72   def tiles_x
 73     count = (WIDTH / (TILE_SIZE * @zoom)).ceil + 1
 74     [count, MAP_WIDTH].min
 75   end
 76 
 77   def tiles_y
 78     count = (HEIGHT / (TILE_SIZE * @zoom)).ceil + 1
 79     [count, MAP_HEIGHT].min
 80   end
 81 
 82   def generate_map
 83     noises = Perlin::Noise.new(2)
 84     contrast = Perlin::Curve.contrast(
 85       Perlin::Curve::CUBIC, 2)
 86     map = {}
 87     MAP_WIDTH.times do |x|
 88       map[x] = {}
 89       MAP_HEIGHT.times do |y|
 90         n = noises[x * 0.1, y * 0.1]
 91         n = contrast.call(n)
 92         map[x][y] = choose_tile(n)
 93       end
 94     end
 95     map
 96   end
 97 
 98   def choose_tile(val)
 99     case val
100     when 0.0..0.3 # 30% chance
101       @water
102     when 0.3..0.45 # 15% chance, water edges
103       @sand
104     else # 55% chance
105       @grass
106     end
107   end
108 
109 end
110 
111 window = GameWindow.new
112 window.show

Run the program, zoom with up / down arrows and regenerate everything with spacebar.

$ ruby 02-warmup/perlin_noise_map.rb
Map generated with Perlin noise

Map generated with Perlin noise

This is a little longer than our previous examples, so we will analyze some parts to make it clear.

81 def generate_map
82   noises = Perlin::Noise.new(2)
83   contrast = Perlin::Curve.contrast(
84     Perlin::Curve::CUBIC, 2)
85   map = {}
86   MAP_WIDTH.times do |x|
87     map[x] = {}
88     MAP_HEIGHT.times do |y|
89       n = noises[x * 0.1, y * 0.1]
90       n = contrast.call(n)
91       map[x][y] = choose_tile(n)
92     end
93   end
94   map
95 end

generate_map is the heart of this program. It creates two dimensional Perlin::Noise generator, then chooses a random tile for each location of the map, according to noise value. To make the map a little sharper, cubic contrast is applied to noise value before choosing the tile. Try commenting out contrast application - it will look like a boring golf course, since noise values will keep buzzing around the middle.

 97 def choose_tile(val)
 98   case val
 99   when 0.0..0.3 # 30% chance
100     @water
101   when 0.3..0.45 # 15% chance, water edges
102     @sand
103   else # 55% chance
104     @grass
105   end
106 end

Here we could go crazy if we had more different tiles to use. We could add deep waters at 0.0..0.1, mountains at 0.9..0.95 and snow caps at 0.95..1.0. And all this would have beautiful transitions.

Player Movement With Keyboard And Mouse

We have learned to draw maps, but we need a protagonist to explore them. It will be a tank that you can move around the island with WASD keys and use your mouse to target it’s gun at things. The tank will be drawn on top of our island map, and it will be above ground, but below tree layer, so it can sneak behind palm trees. That’s as close to real deal as it gets!

02-warmup/player_movement.rb


  1 require 'gosu'
  2 require 'gosu_tiled'
  3 require 'gosu_texture_packer'
  4 
  5 class Tank
  6   attr_accessor :x, :y, :body_angle, :gun_angle
  7 
  8   def initialize(window, body, shadow, gun)
  9     @x = window.width / 2
 10     @y = window.height / 2
 11     @window = window
 12     @body = body
 13     @shadow = shadow
 14     @gun = gun
 15     @body_angle = 0.0
 16     @gun_angle = 0.0
 17   end
 18 
 19   def update
 20     atan = Math.atan2(320 - @window.mouse_x,
 21                       240 - @window.mouse_y)
 22     @gun_angle = -atan * 180 / Math::PI
 23     @body_angle = change_angle(@body_angle,
 24       Gosu::KbW, Gosu::KbS, Gosu::KbA, Gosu::KbD)
 25   end
 26 
 27   def draw
 28     @shadow.draw_rot(@x - 1, @y - 1, 0, @body_angle)
 29     @body.draw_rot(@x, @y, 1, @body_angle)
 30     @gun.draw_rot(@x, @y, 2, @gun_angle)
 31   end
 32 
 33   private
 34 
 35   def change_angle(previous_angle, up, down, right, left)
 36     if @window.button_down?(up)
 37       angle = 0.0
 38       angle += 45.0 if @window.button_down?(left)
 39       angle -= 45.0 if @window.button_down?(right)
 40     elsif @window.button_down?(down)
 41       angle = 180.0
 42       angle -= 45.0 if @window.button_down?(left)
 43       angle += 45.0 if @window.button_down?(right)
 44     elsif @window.button_down?(left)
 45       angle = 90.0
 46       angle += 45.0 if @window.button_down?(up)
 47       angle -= 45.0 if @window.button_down?(down)
 48     elsif @window.button_down?(right)
 49       angle = 270.0
 50       angle -= 45.0 if @window.button_down?(up)
 51       angle += 45.0 if @window.button_down?(down)
 52     end
 53     angle || previous_angle
 54   end
 55 end
 56 
 57 class GameWindow < Gosu::Window
 58   MAP_FILE = File.join(File.dirname(
 59     __FILE__), 'island.json')
 60   UNIT_FILE = File.join(File.dirname(File.dirname(
 61     __FILE__)), 'media', 'ground_units.json')
 62   SPEED = 5
 63 
 64   def initialize
 65     super(640, 480, false)
 66     @map = Gosu::Tiled.load_json(self, MAP_FILE)
 67     @units = Gosu::TexturePacker.load_json(
 68       self, UNIT_FILE, :precise)
 69     @tank = Tank.new(self,
 70       @units.frame('tank1_body.png'),
 71       @units.frame('tank1_body_shadow.png'),
 72       @units.frame('tank1_dualgun.png'))
 73     @x = @y = 0
 74     @first_render = true
 75     @buttons_down = 0
 76   end
 77 
 78   def needs_cursor?
 79     true
 80   end
 81 
 82   def button_down(id)
 83     close if id == Gosu::KbEscape
 84     @buttons_down += 1
 85   end
 86 
 87   def button_up(id)
 88     @buttons_down -= 1
 89   end
 90 
 91   def update
 92     @x -= SPEED if button_down?(Gosu::KbA)
 93     @x += SPEED if button_down?(Gosu::KbD)
 94     @y -= SPEED if button_down?(Gosu::KbW)
 95     @y += SPEED if button_down?(Gosu::KbS)
 96     @tank.update
 97     self.caption = "#{Gosu.fps} FPS. " <<
 98       'Use WASD and mouse to control tank'
 99   end
100 
101   def draw
102     @first_render = false
103     @map.draw(@x, @y)
104     @tank.draw()
105   end
106 end
107 
108 GameWindow.new.show

Tank sprite is rendered in the middle of screen. It consists of three layers, body shadow, body and gun. Body and it’s shadow are always rendered in same angle, one on top of another. The angle is determined by keys that are pressed. It supports 8 directions.

Gun is a little bit different. It follows mouse cursor. To determine the angle we had to use some math. The formula to get angle in degrees is arctan(delta_x / delta_y) * 180 / PI. You can see it explained in more detail on stackoverflow.

Run it and stroll around the island. You can still move on water and into the darkness, away from the map itself, but we will handle it later.

$ ruby 02-warmup/player_movement.rb

See that tank hiding between the bushes, ready to go in 8 directions and blow things up with that precisely aimed double cannon?

Tank moving around and aiming guns

Tank moving around and aiming guns

Game Coordinate System

By now we may start realizing, that there is one key component missing in our designs. We have a virtual map, which is bigger than our screen space, and we should perform all calculations using that map, and only then cut out the required piece and render it in our game window.

There are three different coordinate systems that have to map with each other:

  1. Game coordinates
  2. Viewport coordinates
  3. Screen coordinates
Coordinate systems

Coordinate systems

Game Coordinates

This is where all logic will happen. Player location, enemy locations, powerup locations - all this will have game coordinates, and it should have nothing to do with your screen position.

Viewport Coordinates

Viewport is the position of virtual camera, that is “filming” world in action. Don’t confuse it with screen coordinates, because viewport will not necessarily be mapped pixel to pixel to your game window. Imagine this: you have a huge world map, your player is standing in the middle, and game window displays the player while slowly zooming in. In this scenario, viewport is constantly shrinking, while game map stays the same, and game window also stays the same.

Screen Coordinates

This is your game display, pixel by pixel. You will draw static information, like your HUD directly on it.

How To Put It All Together

In our games we will want to separate game coordinates from viewport and screen as much as possible. Basically, we will program ourselves a “camera man” who will be busy following the action, zooming in and out, perhaps changing the view angle now and then.

Let’s implement a prototype that will allow us to navigate and zoom around a big map. We will only draw objects that are visible in viewport. Some math will be unavoidable, but in most cases it’s pretty basic - that’s the beauty of 2D games:

02-warmup/coordinate_system.rb


  1 require 'gosu'
  2 
  3 class WorldMap
  4   attr_accessor :on_screen, :off_screen
  5 
  6   def initialize(width, height)
  7     @images = {}
  8     (0..width).step(50) do |x|
  9       @images[x] = {}
 10       (0..height).step(50) do |y|
 11         img = Gosu::Image.from_text(
 12           $window, "#{x}:#{y}",
 13           Gosu.default_font_name, 15)
 14         @images[x][y] = img
 15       end
 16     end
 17   end
 18 
 19   def draw(camera)
 20     @on_screen = @off_screen = 0
 21     @images.each do |x, row|
 22       row.each do |y, val|
 23         if camera.can_view?(x, y, val)
 24           val.draw(x, y, 0)
 25           @on_screen += 1
 26         else
 27           @off_screen += 1
 28         end
 29       end
 30     end
 31   end
 32 end
 33 
 34 class Camera
 35   attr_accessor :x, :y, :zoom
 36 
 37   def initialize
 38     @x = @y = 0
 39     @zoom = 1
 40   end
 41 
 42   def can_view?(x, y, obj)
 43     x0, x1, y0, y1 = viewport
 44     (x0 - obj.width..x1).include?(x) &&
 45       (y0 - obj.height..y1).include?(y)
 46   end
 47 
 48   def viewport
 49     x0 = @x - ($window.width / 2)  / @zoom
 50     x1 = @x + ($window.width / 2)  / @zoom
 51     y0 = @y - ($window.height / 2) / @zoom
 52     y1 = @y + ($window.height / 2) / @zoom
 53     [x0, x1, y0, y1]
 54   end
 55 
 56   def to_s
 57     "FPS: #{Gosu.fps}. " <<
 58       "#{@x}:#{@y} @ #{'%.2f' % @zoom}. " <<
 59       'WASD to move, arrows to zoom.'
 60   end
 61 
 62   def draw_crosshair
 63     $window.draw_line(
 64       @x - 10, @y, Gosu::Color::YELLOW,
 65       @x + 10, @y, Gosu::Color::YELLOW, 100)
 66     $window.draw_line(
 67       @x, @y - 10, Gosu::Color::YELLOW,
 68       @x, @y + 10, Gosu::Color::YELLOW, 100)
 69   end
 70 end
 71 
 72 
 73 class GameWindow < Gosu::Window
 74   SPEED = 10
 75 
 76   def initialize
 77     super(800, 600, false)
 78     $window = self
 79     @map = WorldMap.new(2048, 1024)
 80     @camera = Camera.new
 81   end
 82 
 83   def button_down(id)
 84     close if id == Gosu::KbEscape
 85     if id == Gosu::KbSpace
 86       @camera.zoom = 1.0
 87       @camera.x = 0
 88       @camera.y = 0
 89     end
 90   end
 91 
 92   def update
 93     @camera.x -= SPEED if button_down?(Gosu::KbA)
 94     @camera.x += SPEED if button_down?(Gosu::KbD)
 95     @camera.y -= SPEED if button_down?(Gosu::KbW)
 96     @camera.y += SPEED if button_down?(Gosu::KbS)
 97 
 98     zoom_delta = @camera.zoom > 0 ? 0.01 : 1.0
 99 
100     if button_down?(Gosu::KbUp)
101       @camera.zoom -= zoom_delta
102     end
103     if button_down?(Gosu::KbDown)
104       @camera.zoom += zoom_delta
105     end
106     self.caption = @camera.to_s
107   end
108 
109   def draw
110     off_x = -@camera.x + width / 2
111     off_y = -@camera.y + height / 2
112     cam_x = @camera.x
113     cam_y = @camera.y
114     translate(off_x, off_y) do
115       @camera.draw_crosshair
116       zoom = @camera.zoom
117       scale(zoom, zoom, cam_x, cam_y) do
118         @map.draw(@camera)
119       end
120     end
121     info = 'Objects on/off screen: ' <<
122       "#{@map.on_screen}/#{@map.off_screen}"
123     info_img = Gosu::Image.from_text(
124       self, info, Gosu.default_font_name, 30)
125     info_img.draw(10, 10, 1)
126   end
127 end
128 
129 GameWindow.new.show

Run it, use WASD to navigate, up / down arrows to zoom and spacebar to reset the camera.

$ ruby 02-warmup/coordinate_system.rb

It doesn’t look impressive, but understanding the concept of different coordinate systems and being able to stitch them together is paramount to the success of our final product.

Prototype of separate coordinate systems

Prototype of separate coordinate systems

Luckily for us, Gosu helps us by providing Gosu::Window#translate that handles camera offset, Gosu::Window#scale that aids zooming, and Gosu::Window#rotate that was not used yet, but will be great for shaking the view to emphasize explosions.

Prototyping The Game

Warming up was really important, but let’s combine everything we learned, add some new challenges, and build a small prototype with following features:

  1. Camera loosely follows tank.
  2. Camera zooms automatically depending on tank speed.
  3. You can temporarily override automatic camera zoom using keyboard.
  4. Music and sound effects.
  5. Randomly generated map.
  6. Two modes: menu and gameplay.
  7. Tank movement with WADS keys.
  8. Tank aiming and shooting with mouse.
  9. Collision detection (tanks don’t swim).
  10. Explosions, visible bullet trajectories.
  11. Bullet range limiting.

Sounds fun? Hell yes! However, before we start, we should plan ahead a little and think how our game architecture will look like. We will also structure our code a little, so it will not be smashed into one ruby class, as we did in earlier examples. Books should show good manners!

Switching Between Game States

First, let’s think how to hook into Gosu::Window. Since we will have two game states, State pattern naturally comes to mind.

So, our GameWindow class could look like this:

03-prototype/game_window.rb


 1 class GameWindow < Gosu::Window
 2 
 3   attr_accessor :state
 4 
 5   def initialize
 6     super(800, 600, false)
 7   end
 8 
 9   def update
10     @state.update
11   end
12 
13   def draw
14     @state.draw
15   end
16 
17   def needs_redraw?
18     @state.needs_redraw?
19   end
20 
21   def button_down(id)
22     @state.button_down(id)
23   end
24 
25 end

It has current @state, and all usual main loop actions are executed on that state instance. We will add base class that all game states will extend. Let’s name it GameState:

03-prototype/states/game_state.rb


 1 class GameState
 2 
 3   def self.switch(new_state)
 4     $window.state && $window.state.leave
 5     $window.state = new_state
 6     new_state.enter
 7   end
 8 
 9   def enter
10   end
11 
12   def leave
13   end
14 
15   def draw
16   end
17 
18   def update
19   end
20 
21   def needs_redraw?
22     true
23   end
24 
25   def button_down(id)
26   end
27 end

This class provides GameState.switch, that will change the state for our Gosu::Window, and all enter and leave methods when appropriate. These methods will be useful for things like switching music.

Notice that Gosu::Window is accessed using global $window variable, which will be considered an anti-pattern by most good programmers, but there is some logic behind this:

  1. There will be only one Gosu::Window instance.
  2. It lives as long as the game runs.
  3. It is used in some way by nearly all other classes, so we would have to pass it around all the time.
  4. Accessing it using Singleton or static utility class would not give any clear benefits, just add more complexity.

Chingu, another game framework built on top of Gosu, also uses global $window, so it’s probably not the worst idea ever.

We will also need an entry point that would fire up the game and enter the first game state - the menu.

03-prototype/main.rb


 1 require 'gosu'
 2 require_relative 'states/game_state'
 3 require_relative 'states/menu_state'
 4 require_relative 'states/play_state'
 5 require_relative 'game_window'
 6 
 7 module Game
 8   def self.media_path(file)
 9     File.join(File.dirname(File.dirname(
10       __FILE__)), 'media', file)
11   end
12 end
13 
14 $window = GameWindow.new
15 GameState.switch(MenuState.instance)
16 $window.show

In our entry point we also have a small helper which will help loading images and sounds using Game.media_path.

The rest is obvious: we create GameWindow instance and store it in $window variable, as discussed before. Then we use GameState.switch) to load MenuState, and show the game window.

Implementing Menu State

This is how simple MenuState implementation looks like:

03-prototype/states/menu_state.rb


 1 require 'singleton'
 2 class MenuState < GameState
 3   include Singleton
 4   attr_accessor :play_state
 5 
 6   def initialize
 7     @message = Gosu::Image.from_text(
 8       $window, "Tanks Prototype",
 9       Gosu.default_font_name, 100)
10   end
11 
12   def enter
13     music.play(true)
14     music.volume = 1
15   end
16 
17   def leave
18     music.volume = 0
19     music.stop
20   end
21 
22   def music
23     @@music ||= Gosu::Song.new(
24       $window, Game.media_path('menu_music.mp3'))
25   end
26 
27   def update
28     continue_text = @play_state ? "C = Continue, " : ""
29     @info = Gosu::Image.from_text(
30       $window, "Q = Quit, #{continue_text}N = New Game",
31       Gosu.default_font_name, 30)
32   end
33 
34   def draw
35     @message.draw(
36       $window.width / 2 - @message.width / 2,
37       $window.height / 2 - @message.height / 2,
38       10)
39     @info.draw(
40       $window.width / 2 - @info.width / 2,
41       $window.height / 2 - @info.height / 2 + 200,
42       10)
43   end
44 
45   def button_down(id)
46     $window.close if id == Gosu::KbQ
47     if id == Gosu::KbC && @play_state
48       GameState.switch(@play_state)
49     end
50     if id == Gosu::KbN
51       @play_state = PlayState.new
52       GameState.switch(@play_state)
53     end
54   end
55 end

It’s a Singleton, so we can always get it with MenuState.instance.

It starts playing menu_music.mp3 when you enter the menu, and stop the music when you leave it. Instance of Gosu::Song is cached in @@music class variable to save resources.

We have to know if play is already in progress, so we can add a possibility to go back to the game. That’s why MenuState has @play_state variable, and either allows creating new PlayState when N key is pressed, or switches to existing @play_state if C key is pressed.

Here comes the interesting part, implementing the play state.

Implementing Play State

Before we start implementing actual gameplay, we need to think what game entities we will be building. We will need a Map that will hold our tiles and provide world coordinate system. We will also need a Camera that will know how to float around and zoom. There will be Bullets flying around, and each bullet will eventually cause an Explosion.

Having all that taken care of, PlayState should look pretty simple:

03-prototype/states/play_state.rb


 1 require_relative '../entities/map'
 2 require_relative '../entities/tank'
 3 require_relative '../entities/camera'
 4 require_relative '../entities/bullet'
 5 require_relative '../entities/explosion'
 6 class PlayState < GameState
 7 
 8   def initialize
 9     @map = Map.new
10     @tank = Tank.new(@map)
11     @camera = Camera.new(@tank)
12     @bullets = []
13     @explosions = []
14   end
15 
16   def update
17     bullet = @tank.update(@camera)
18     @bullets << bullet if bullet
19     @bullets.map(&:update)
20     @bullets.reject!(&:done?)
21     @camera.update
22     $window.caption = 'Tanks Prototype. ' <<
23       "[FPS: #{Gosu.fps}. Tank @ #{@tank.x.round}:#{@tank.y.round}]"
24   end
25 
26   def draw
27     cam_x = @camera.x
28     cam_y = @camera.y
29     off_x =  $window.width / 2 - cam_x
30     off_y =  $window.height / 2 - cam_y
31     $window.translate(off_x, off_y) do
32       zoom = @camera.zoom
33       $window.scale(zoom, zoom, cam_x, cam_y) do
34         @map.draw(@camera)
35         @tank.draw
36         @bullets.map(&:draw)
37       end
38     end
39     @camera.draw_crosshair
40   end
41 
42   def button_down(id)
43     if id == Gosu::MsLeft
44       bullet = @tank.shoot(*@camera.mouse_coords)
45       @bullets << bullet if bullet
46     end
47     $window.close if id == Gosu::KbQ
48     if id == Gosu::KbEscape
49       GameState.switch(MenuState.instance)
50     end
51   end
52 
53 end

Update and draw calls are passed to the underlying game entities, so they can handle them the way they want it to. Such encapsulation reduces complexity of the code and allows doing every piece of logic where it belongs, while keeping it short and simple.

There are a few interesting parts in this code. Both @tank.update and @tank.shoot may produce a new bullet, if your tank’s fire rate is not exceeded, and if left mouse button is kept down, hence the update. If bullet is produced, it is added to @bullets array, and they live their own little lifecycle, until they explode and are no longer used. @bullets.reject!(&:done?) cleans up the garbage.

PlayState#draw deserves extra explanation. @camera.x and @camera.y points to game coordinates where Camera is currently looking at. Gosu::Window#translate creates a block within which all Gosu::Image draw operations are translated by given offset. Gosu::Window#scale does the same with Camera zoom.

Crosshair is drawn without translating and scaling it, because it’s relative to screen, not to world map.

Basically, this draw method is the place that takes care drawing only what @camera can see.

If it’s hard to understand how this works, get back to “Game Coordinate System” chapter and let it sink in.

Implementing World Map

We will start analyzing game entities with Map.

03-prototype/entities/map.rb


 1 require 'perlin_noise'
 2 require 'gosu_texture_packer'
 3 
 4 class Map
 5   MAP_WIDTH = 100
 6   MAP_HEIGHT = 100
 7   TILE_SIZE = 128
 8 
 9   def initialize
10     load_tiles
11     @map = generate_map
12   end
13 
14   def find_spawn_point
15     while true
16       x = rand(0..MAP_WIDTH * TILE_SIZE)
17       y = rand(0..MAP_HEIGHT * TILE_SIZE)
18       if can_move_to?(x, y)
19         return [x, y]
20       else
21         puts "Invalid spawn point: #{[x, y]}"
22       end
23     end
24   end
25 
26   def can_move_to?(x, y)
27     tile = tile_at(x, y)
28     tile && tile != @water
29   end
30 
31   def draw(camera)
32     @map.each do |x, row|
33       row.each do |y, val|
34         tile = @map[x][y]
35         map_x = x * TILE_SIZE
36         map_y = y * TILE_SIZE
37         if camera.can_view?(map_x, map_y, tile)
38           tile.draw(map_x, map_y, 0)
39         end
40       end
41     end
42   end
43 
44   private
45 
46   def tile_at(x, y)
47     t_x = ((x / TILE_SIZE) % TILE_SIZE).floor
48     t_y = ((y / TILE_SIZE) % TILE_SIZE).floor
49     row = @map[t_x]
50     row[t_y] if row
51   end
52 
53   def load_tiles
54     tiles = Gosu::Image.load_tiles(
55       $window, Game.media_path('ground.png'),
56       128, 128, true)
57     @sand = tiles[0]
58     @grass = tiles[8]
59     @water = Gosu::Image.new(
60       $window, Game.media_path('water.png'), true)
61   end
62 
63   def generate_map
64     noises = Perlin::Noise.new(2)
65     contrast = Perlin::Curve.contrast(
66       Perlin::Curve::CUBIC, 2)
67     map = {}
68     MAP_WIDTH.times do |x|
69       map[x] = {}
70       MAP_HEIGHT.times do |y|
71         n = noises[x * 0.1, y * 0.1]
72         n = contrast.call(n)
73         map[x][y] = choose_tile(n)
74       end
75     end
76     map
77   end
78 
79   def choose_tile(val)
80     case val
81     when 0.0..0.3 # 30% chance
82       @water
83     when 0.3..0.45 # 15% chance, water edges
84       @sand
85     else # 55% chance
86       @grass
87     end
88   end
89 end

This implementation is very similar to the Map we had built in “Generating Random Map With Perlin Noise”, with some extra additions. can_move_to? verifies if tile under given coordinates is not water. Pretty simple, but it’s enough for our prototype.

Also, when we draw the map we have to make sure if tiles we are drawing are currently visible by our camera, otherwise we will end up drawing off screen. camera.can_view? handles it. Current implementation will probably be causing a bottleneck, since it brute forces through all the map rather than cherry-picking the visible region. We will probably have to get back and change it later.

find_spawn_point is one more addition. It keeps picking a random point on map and verifies if it’s not water using can_move_to?. When solid tile is found, it returns the coordinates, so our Tank will be able to spawn there.

Implementing Floating Camera

If you played the original Grand Theft Auto or GTA 2, you should remember how fascinating the camera was. It backed away when you were driving at high speeds, closed in when you were walking on foot, and floated around as if a smart drone was following your protagonist from above.

The following Camera implementation is far inferior to the one GTA had nearly two decades ago, but it’s a start:

03-prototype/entities/camera.rb


 1 class Camera
 2   attr_accessor :x, :y, :zoom
 3 
 4   def initialize(target)
 5     @target = target
 6     @x, @y = target.x, target.y
 7     @zoom = 1
 8   end
 9 
10   def can_view?(x, y, obj)
11     x0, x1, y0, y1 = viewport
12     (x0 - obj.width..x1).include?(x) &&
13       (y0 - obj.height..y1).include?(y)
14   end
15 
16   def mouse_coords
17     x, y = target_delta_on_screen
18     mouse_x_on_map = @target.x +
19       (x + $window.mouse_x - ($window.width / 2)) / @zoom
20     mouse_y_on_map = @target.y +
21       (y + $window.mouse_y - ($window.height / 2)) / @zoom
22     [mouse_x_on_map, mouse_y_on_map].map(&:round)
23   end
24 
25   def update
26     @x += @target.speed if @x < @target.x - $window.width / 4
27     @x -= @target.speed if @x > @target.x + $window.width / 4
28     @y += @target.speed if @y < @target.y - $window.height / 4
29     @y -= @target.speed if @y > @target.y + $window.height / 4
30 
31     zoom_delta = @zoom > 0 ? 0.01 : 1.0
32     if $window.button_down?(Gosu::KbUp)
33       @zoom -= zoom_delta unless @zoom < 0.7
34     elsif $window.button_down?(Gosu::KbDown)
35       @zoom += zoom_delta unless @zoom > 10
36     else
37       target_zoom = @target.speed > 1.1 ? 0.85 : 1.0
38       if @zoom <= (target_zoom - 0.01)
39         @zoom += zoom_delta / 3
40       elsif @zoom > (target_zoom + 0.01)
41         @zoom -= zoom_delta / 3
42       end
43     end
44   end
45 
46   def to_s
47     "FPS: #{Gosu.fps}. " <<
48       "#{@x}:#{@y} @ #{'%.2f' % @zoom}. " <<
49       'WASD to move, arrows to zoom.'
50   end
51 
52   def target_delta_on_screen
53     [(@x - @target.x) * @zoom, (@y - @target.y) * @zoom]
54   end
55 
56   def draw_crosshair
57     x = $window.mouse_x
58     y = $window.mouse_y
59     $window.draw_line(
60       x - 10, y, Gosu::Color::RED,
61       x + 10, y, Gosu::Color::RED, 100)
62     $window.draw_line(
63       x, y - 10, Gosu::Color::RED,
64       x, y + 10, Gosu::Color::RED, 100)
65   end
66 
67   private
68 
69   def viewport
70     x0 = @x - ($window.width / 2)  / @zoom
71     x1 = @x + ($window.width / 2)  / @zoom
72     y0 = @y - ($window.height / 2) / @zoom
73     y1 = @y + ($window.height / 2) / @zoom
74     [x0, x1, y0, y1]
75   end
76 end

Our Camera has @target that it tries to follow, @x and @y that it currently is looking at, and @zoom level.

All the magic happens in update method. It keeps track of the distance between @target and adjust itself to stay nearby. And when @target.speed shows some movement momentum, camera slowly backs away.

Camera also tels if you can_view? an object at some coordinates, so when other entities draw themselves, they can check if there is a need for that.

Another noteworthy method is mouse_coords. It translates mouse position on screen to mouse position on map, so the game will know where you are targeting your guns.

Implementing The Tank

Most of our tank code will be taken from “Player Movement With Keyboard And Mouse”:

03-prototype/entities/tank.rb


  1 class Tank
  2   attr_accessor :x, :y, :body_angle, :gun_angle
  3   SHOOT_DELAY = 500
  4 
  5   def initialize(map)
  6     @map = map
  7     @units = Gosu::TexturePacker.load_json(
  8       $window, Game.media_path('ground_units.json'), :precise)
  9     @body = @units.frame('tank1_body.png')
 10     @shadow = @units.frame('tank1_body_shadow.png')
 11     @gun = @units.frame('tank1_dualgun.png')
 12     @x, @y = @map.find_spawn_point
 13     @body_angle = 0.0
 14     @gun_angle = 0.0
 15     @last_shot = 0
 16     sound.volume = 0.3
 17   end
 18 
 19   def sound
 20     @@sound ||= Gosu::Song.new(
 21       $window, Game.media_path('tank_driving.mp3'))
 22   end
 23 
 24   def shoot(target_x, target_y)
 25     if Gosu.milliseconds - @last_shot > SHOOT_DELAY
 26       @last_shot = Gosu.milliseconds
 27       Bullet.new(@x, @y, target_x, target_y).fire(100)
 28     end
 29   end
 30 
 31   def update(camera)
 32     d_x, d_y = camera.target_delta_on_screen
 33     atan = Math.atan2(($window.width / 2) - d_x - $window.mouse_x,
 34                       ($window.height / 2) - d_y - $window.mouse_y)
 35     @gun_angle = -atan * 180 / Math::PI
 36     new_x, new_y = @x, @y
 37     new_x -= speed if $window.button_down?(Gosu::KbA)
 38     new_x += speed if $window.button_down?(Gosu::KbD)
 39     new_y -= speed if $window.button_down?(Gosu::KbW)
 40     new_y += speed if $window.button_down?(Gosu::KbS)
 41     if @map.can_move_to?(new_x, new_y)
 42       @x, @y = new_x, new_y
 43     else
 44       @speed = 1.0
 45     end
 46     @body_angle = change_angle(@body_angle,
 47       Gosu::KbW, Gosu::KbS, Gosu::KbA, Gosu::KbD)
 48 
 49     if moving?
 50       sound.play(true)
 51     else
 52       sound.pause
 53     end
 54 
 55     if $window.button_down?(Gosu::MsLeft)
 56       shoot(*camera.mouse_coords)
 57     end
 58   end
 59 
 60   def moving?
 61     any_button_down?(Gosu::KbA, Gosu::KbD, Gosu::KbW, Gosu::KbS)
 62   end
 63 
 64   def draw
 65     @shadow.draw_rot(@x - 1, @y - 1, 0, @body_angle)
 66     @body.draw_rot(@x, @y, 1, @body_angle)
 67     @gun.draw_rot(@x, @y, 2, @gun_angle)
 68   end
 69 
 70   def speed
 71     @speed ||= 1.0
 72     if moving?
 73       @speed += 0.03 if @speed < 5
 74     else
 75       @speed = 1.0
 76     end
 77     @speed
 78   end
 79 
 80   private
 81 
 82   def any_button_down?(*buttons)
 83     buttons.each do |b|
 84       return true if $window.button_down?(b)
 85     end
 86     false
 87   end
 88 
 89   def change_angle(previous_angle, up, down, right, left)
 90     if $window.button_down?(up)
 91       angle = 0.0
 92       angle += 45.0 if $window.button_down?(left)
 93       angle -= 45.0 if $window.button_down?(right)
 94     elsif $window.button_down?(down)
 95       angle = 180.0
 96       angle -= 45.0 if $window.button_down?(left)
 97       angle += 45.0 if $window.button_down?(right)
 98     elsif $window.button_down?(left)
 99       angle = 90.0
100       angle += 45.0 if $window.button_down?(up)
101       angle -= 45.0 if $window.button_down?(down)
102     elsif $window.button_down?(right)
103       angle = 270.0
104       angle -= 45.0 if $window.button_down?(up)
105       angle += 45.0 if $window.button_down?(down)
106     end
107     angle || previous_angle
108   end
109 end

Tank has to be aware of the Map to check where it’s moving, and it uses Camera to find out where to aim the guns. When it shoots, it produces instances of Bullet, that are simply returned to the caller. Tank won’t keep track of them, it’s “fire and forget”.

Implementing Bullets And Explosions

Bullets will require some simple vector math. You have a point that moves along the vector with some speed. It also needs to limit the maximum vector length, so if you try to aim too far, the bullet will only go as far as it can reach.

03-prototype/entities/bullet.rb


 1 class Bullet
 2   COLOR = Gosu::Color::BLACK
 3   MAX_DIST = 300
 4   START_DIST = 20
 5 
 6   def initialize(source_x, source_y, target_x, target_y)
 7     @x, @y = source_x, source_y
 8     @target_x, @target_y = target_x, target_y
 9     @x, @y = point_at_distance(START_DIST)
10     if trajectory_length > MAX_DIST
11       @target_x, @target_y = point_at_distance(MAX_DIST)
12     end
13     sound.play
14   end
15 
16   def draw
17     unless arrived?
18       $window.draw_quad(@x - 2, @y - 2, COLOR,
19                         @x + 2, @y - 2, COLOR,
20                         @x - 2, @y + 2, COLOR,
21                         @x + 2, @y + 2, COLOR,
22                         1)
23     else
24       @explosion ||= Explosion.new(@x, @y)
25       @explosion.draw
26     end
27   end
28 
29   def update
30     fly_distance = (Gosu.milliseconds - @fired_at) * 0.001 * @speed
31     @x, @y = point_at_distance(fly_distance)
32     @explosion && @explosion.update
33   end
34 
35   def arrived?
36     @x == @target_x && @y == @target_y
37   end
38 
39   def done?
40      exploaded?
41   end
42 
43   def exploaded?
44     @explosion && @explosion.done?
45   end
46 
47   def fire(speed)
48     @speed = speed
49     @fired_at = Gosu.milliseconds
50     self
51   end
52 
53   private
54 
55   def sound
56     @@sound ||= Gosu::Sample.new(
57       $window, Game.media_path('fire.mp3'))
58   end
59 
60   def trajectory_length
61     d_x = @target_x - @x
62     d_y = @target_y - @y
63     Math.sqrt(d_x * d_x + d_y * d_y)
64   end
65 
66   def point_at_distance(distance)
67     return [@target_x, @target_y] if distance > trajectory_length
68     distance_factor = distance.to_f / trajectory_length
69     p_x = @x + (@target_x - @x) * distance_factor
70     p_y = @y + (@target_y - @y) * distance_factor
71     [p_x, p_y]
72   end
73 end

Possibly the most interesting part of Bullet implementation is point_at_distance method. It returns coordinates of point that is between bullet source, which is point that bullet was fired from, and it’s target, which is the destination point. The returned point is as far away from source point as distance tells it to.

After bullet has done flying, it explodes with fanfare. In our prototype Explosion is a part of Bullet, because it’s the only thing that triggers it. Therefore Bullet has two stages of it’s lifecycle. First it flies towards the target, then it’s exploding. That brings us to Explosion:

03-prototype/entities/explosion.rb


 1 class Explosion
 2   FRAME_DELAY = 10 # ms
 3 
 4   def animation
 5     @@animation ||=
 6     Gosu::Image.load_tiles(
 7       $window, Game.media_path('explosion.png'), 128, 128, false)
 8   end
 9 
10   def sound
11     @@sound ||= Gosu::Sample.new(
12       $window, Game.media_path('explosion.mp3'))
13   end
14 
15   def initialize(x, y)
16     sound.play
17     @x, @y = x, y
18     @current_frame = 0
19   end
20 
21   def update
22     @current_frame += 1 if frame_expired?
23   end
24 
25   def draw
26     return if done?
27     image = current_frame
28     image.draw(
29       @x - image.width / 2 + 3,
30       @y - image.height / 2 - 35,
31       20)
32   end
33 
34   def done?
35     @done ||= @current_frame == animation.size
36   end
37 
38   private
39 
40   def current_frame
41     animation[@current_frame % animation.size]
42   end
43 
44   def frame_expired?
45     now = Gosu.milliseconds
46     @last_frame ||= now
47     if (now - @last_frame) > FRAME_DELAY
48       @last_frame = now
49     end
50   end
51 end

There is nothing fancy about this implementation. Most of it is taken from “Images And Animation” chapter.

Running The Prototype

We have walked through all the code. You can get it at GitHub.

Now it’s time to give it a spin. There is a video of me playing it available on YouTube, but it’s always best to experience it firsthand. Run main.rb to start the game:

$ ruby 03-prototype/main.rb

Hit N to start new game.

Tanks Prototype menu

Tanks Prototype menu

Time to go crazy!

Tanks Prototype gameplay

Tanks Prototype gameplay

One thing should be bugging you at this point. FPS shows only 30, rather than 60. That means our prototype is slow. We will put it back to 60 FPS in next chapter.

Optimizing Game Performance

To make games that are fast and don’t require a powerhouse to run, we must learn how to find and fix bottlenecks. Good news is that if you wasn’t thinking about performance to begin with, your program can usually be optimized to run twice as fast just by eliminating one or two biggest bottlenecks.

We will be using a copy of the prototype code to keep both optimized and original version, therefore if you are exploring sample code, look at 04-prototype-optimized.

Profiling Ruby Code To Find Bottlenecks

We will try to find bottlenecks in our Tanks prototype game by profiling it with ruby-prof.

It’s a ruby gem, just install it like this:

$ gem install ruby-prof

There are several ways you can use ruby-prof, so we will begin with the easiest one. Instead of running the game with ruby, we will run it with ruby-prof:

$ ruby-prof 03-prototype/main.rb

The game will run, but everything will be ten times slower as usual, because every call to every function is being recorded, and after you exit the program, profiling output will be dumped directly to your console.

Downside of this approach is that we are going to profile everything there is, including the super-slow map generation that uses Perlin Noise. We don’t want to optimize that, so in order to find bottlenecks in our play state rather than map generation, we have to keep playing at dreadful 2 FPS for at least 30 seconds.

This was the output of first “naive” profiling session:

Initial profiling results

Initial profiling results

It’s obvious, that Camera#viewport and Camera#can_view? are top CPU burners. This means either that our implementation is either very bad, or the assumption that checking if camera can view object is slower than drawing the object off screen.

Here are those slow methods:

class Camera
  # ...
  def can_view?(x, y, obj)
    x0, x1, y0, y1 = viewport
    (x0 - obj.width..x1).include?(x) &&
      (y0 - obj.height..y1).include?(y)
  end
  # ...
  def viewport
    x0 = @x - ($window.width / 2)  / @zoom
    x1 = @x + ($window.width / 2)  / @zoom
    y0 = @y - ($window.height / 2) / @zoom
    y1 = @y + ($window.height / 2) / @zoom
    [x0, x1, y0, y1]
  end
  # ...
end

It doesn’t look fundamentally broken, so we will try our “checking is slower than rendering” hypothesis by short-circuiting can_view? to return true every time:

class Camera
  # ...
  def can_view?(x, y, obj)
    return true # short circuiting
    x0, x1, y0, y1 = viewport
    (x0 - obj.width..x1).include?(x) &&
      (y0 - obj.height..y1).include?(y)
  end
  # ...
end

After saving camera.rb and running the game without profiling, you will notice a significant speedup. Hypothesis was correct, checking visibility is more expensive than simply rendering it. That means we can throw away Camera#can_view? and calls to it.

But before doing that, let’s profile once again:

Profiling results after short-circuiting `Camera#can_view?`

Profiling results after short-circuiting Camera#can_view?

We can see Camera#can_view? is still in top 3, so we will remove if camera.can_view?(map_x, map_y, tile) from Map#draw and for now keep it like this:

class Map
  # ...
  def draw(camera)
    @map.each do |x, row|
      row.each do |y, val|
        tile = @map[x][y]
        map_x = x * TILE_SIZE
        map_y = y * TILE_SIZE
        tile.draw(map_x, map_y, 0)
      end
    end
  end
  # ...
end

After completely removing Camera#can_view?, profiling session looks like dead-end - no more low hanging fruits on top:

Profiling results after removing `Camera#can_view?`

Profiling results after removing Camera#can_view?

The game still doesn’t feel fast enough, FPS occasionally keeps dropping down to ~45, so we will have to do profile our code in smarter way.

Advanced Profiling Techniques

We would get more accuracy when profiling only what we want to optimize. In our case it is everything that happens in PlayState, except for Map generation. This time we will have to use ruby-prof API to hook into places we need.

Map generation happens in PlayState initializer, so we will leverage GameState#enter and GameState#leave to start and stop profiling, since it happens after state is initialized. Here is how we hook in:

require 'ruby-prof'
class PlayState < GameState
  # ...
  def enter
    RubyProf.start
  end

  def leave
    result = RubyProf.stop
    printer = RubyProf::FlatPrinter.new(result)
    printer.print(STDOUT)
  end
  # ...
end

Then we run the game as usual:

$ ruby 04-prototype-optimized/main.rb

Now, after we press N to start new game, Map generation happens relatively fast, and then profiling kicks in, FPS drops to 15. After moving around and shooting for a while we hit Esc to return to the menu, and at that point PlayState#leave spits profiling results out to the console:

Profiling results for `PlayState`

Profiling results for PlayState

We can see that Gosu::Image#draw takes up to 20% of all execution time. Then goes Gosu::Window#caption, but we need it to measure FPS, so we will leave it alone, and finally we can see Hash#each, which is guaranteed to be the one from Map#draw, and it triggers all those Gosu::Image#draw calls.

Optimizing Inefficient Code

According to profiling results, we need to optimize this method:

class Map
  # ...
  def draw(camera)
    @map.each do |x, row|
      row.each do |y, val|
        tile = @map[x][y]
        map_x = x * TILE_SIZE
        map_y = y * TILE_SIZE
        tile.draw(map_x, map_y, 0)
      end
    end
  end
  # ...
end

But we have to optimize it in more clever way than we did before. If instead of looping through all map rows and columns and blindly rendering every tile or checking if tile is visible we could calculate the exact map cells that need to be displayed, we would reduce method complexity and get major performance boost. Let’s do that.

We will use Camera#viewport to return map boundaries that are visible by camera, then divide those boundaries by Map#TILE_SIZE to get tile numbers instead of pixels, and retrieve them from the map.

class Map
  # ...
  def draw(camera)
    viewport = camera.viewport
    viewport.map! { |p| p / TILE_SIZE }
    x0, x1, y0, y1 = viewport.map(&:to_i)
    (x0..x1).each do |x|
      (y0..y1).each do |y|
        row = @map[x]
        if row
          tile = @map[x][y]
          map_x = x * TILE_SIZE
          map_y = y * TILE_SIZE
          tile.draw(map_x, map_y, 0)
        end
      end
    end
  end

This optimization yielded astounding results. We are now getting nearly stable 60 FPS even when profiling the code! Compare that to 2 FPS while profiling when we started.

Profiling results for `PlayState` after `Map#draw` optimization

Profiling results for PlayState after Map#draw optimization

Now we just have to do something about that Gosu::Window#caption, because it is consuming 1/3 of our CPU cycles! Even though game is already flying so fast that we will have to reduce tank and bullet speeds to make it look more realistic, we cannot let ourselves leave this low hanging fruit remain unpicked.

We will update the caption once per second, it should remove the bottleneck:

class PlayState < GameState
  # ...
  def update
    # ...
    update_caption
  end
  # ...
  private

  def update_caption
    now = Gosu.milliseconds
    if now - (@caption_updated_at || 0) > 1000
      $window.caption = 'Tanks Prototype. ' <<
        "[FPS: #{Gosu.fps}. " <<
        "Tank @ #{@tank.x.round}:#{@tank.y.round}]"
      @caption_updated_at = now
    end
  end
end

Now it’s getting hard to get FPS to drop below 58, and profiling results show that there are no more bottlenecks:

Profiling results for `PlayState` after introducing `Gosu::Window#caption` cache

Profiling results for PlayState after introducing Gosu::Window#caption cache

We can now sleep well at night.

Profiling On Demand

When you develop a game, you may want to turn on profiling now and then. To avoid commenting out or adding and removing profiling every time you want to do so, use this trick:

# ...
require 'ruby-prof' if ENV['ENABLE_PROFILING']
class PlayState < GameState
  # ...
  def enter
    RubyProf.start if ENV['ENABLE_PROFILING']
  end

  def leave
    if ENV['ENABLE_PROFILING']
      result = RubyProf.stop
      printer = RubyProf::FlatPrinter.new(result)
      printer.print(STDOUT)
    end
  end

  def button_down(id)
    # ...
    if id == Gosu::KbQ
      leave
      $window.close
    end
  end
  # ...
end

Now, to enable profiling, simply start your game with ENABLE_PROFILING=1 environmental variable, like this:

$ ENABLE_PROFILING=1 ruby-prof 03-prototype/main.rb

Adjusting Game Speed For Variable Performance

You should have noticed that our optimized Tanks prototype runs way too fast. Tanks and bullets should travel same distance no matter how fast or slow the code is.

One would expect Gosu::Window#update_interval to be designed exactly for that purpose, but it returns 16.6666 in both original and optimized version of the prototype, so you can guess it is the desired interval, not the actual one.

To find out actual update interval, we will use Gosu.milliseconds and calculate it ourselves. To do that, we will introduce Game#track_update_interval that will be called in GameWindow#update, and Game#update_interval which will retrieve actual update interval, so we can use it to adjust our run speed.

We will also add Game#adjust_speed method that will take arbitrary speed value and shift it so is as fast as it was when the game was running at 30 FPS. The formula is simple, if 60 FPS expects to call Gosu::Window#update every 16.66 ms, our speed adjustment will divide actual update rate from 33.33, which roughly equals to 16.66 * 2. So, if bullet would fly 100 pixels per update in 30 FPS, adjusted speed will change it to 50 pixels at 60 FPS.

Here is the implementation:

# 04-prototype-optimized/main.rb
module Game
  # ...
  def self.track_update_interval
    now = Gosu.milliseconds
    @update_interval = (now - (@last_update ||= 0)).to_f
    @last_update = now
  end

  def self.update_interval
    @update_interval ||= $window.update_interval
  end

  def self.adjust_speed(speed)
    speed * update_interval / 33.33
  end
end

# 04-prototype-optimized/game_window.rb
class GameWindow < Gosu::Window
  # ...
  def update
    Game.track_update_interval
    @state.update
  end
  # ...
end

Now, to fix that speed problem, we will need to apply Game.adjust_speed to tank, bullet and camera movements.

Here are all the changes needed to make our game run at roughly same speed in different conditions:

# 04-prototype-optimized/entities/tank.rb
class Tank
  # ...
  def update(camera)
    # ...
    shift = Game.adjust_speed(speed)
    new_x -= shift if $window.button_down?(Gosu::KbA)
    new_x += shift if $window.button_down?(Gosu::KbD)
    new_y -= shift if $window.button_down?(Gosu::KbW)
    new_y += shift if $window.button_down?(Gosu::KbS)
    # ...
  end
  # ...
end

# 04-prototype-optimized/entities/bullet.rb
class Bullet
  # ...
  def update
    # ...
    fly_speed = Game.adjust_speed(@speed)
    fly_distance = (Gosu.milliseconds - @fired_at) * 0.001 * fly_speed
    @x, @y = point_at_distance(fly_distance)
    # ...
  end
  # ...
end

# 04-prototype-optimized/entities/camera.rb
class Camera
  # ...
  def update
    shift = Game.adjust_speed(@target.speed)
    @x += shift if @x < @target.x - $window.width / 4
    @x -= shift if @x > @target.x + $window.width / 4
    @y += shift if @y < @target.y - $window.height / 4
    @y -= shift if @y > @target.y + $window.height / 4

    zoom_delta = @zoom > 0 ? 0.01 : 1.0
    zoom_delta = Game.adjust_speed(zoom_delta)
    # ...
  end
  # ...
end

There is one more trick to make the game playable even at very low FPS. You can simulate such conditions by adding sleep 0.3 to GameWindow#draw method. At that framerate game cursor is very unresponsive, so you may want to start showing native mouse cursor when things get ugly, i.e. when update interval exceeds 200 milliseconds:

# 04-prototype-optimized/game_window.rb
class GameWindow < Gosu::Window
  # ...
  def needs_cursor?
    Game.update_interval > 200
  end
  # ...
end

Frame Skipping

You will see strange things happening at very low framerates. For example, bullet explosions are showing up frame by frame, so explosion speed seems way too slow and unrealistic. To avoid that, we will modify our Explosion class to employ frame skipping if update rate is too slow:

# 04-prototype-optimized/explosion.rb
class Explosion
  FRAME_DELAY = 16.66 # ms
  # ...
  def update
    advance_frame
  end

  def done?
    @done ||= @current_frame >= animation.size
  end
  # ...
  private
  # ...
  def advance_frame
    now = Gosu.milliseconds
    delta = now - (@last_frame ||= now)
    if delta > FRAME_DELAY
      @last_frame = now
    end
    @current_frame += (delta / FRAME_DELAY).floor
  end
end

Now our prototype is playable even at lower frame rates.

Refactoring The Prototype

At this point you may be thinking where to go next. We want to implement enemies, collision detection and AI, but design of current prototype is already limiting. Code is becoming tightly coupled, there is no clean separation between different domains.

If we were to continue building on top of our prototype, things would get ugly quickly. Thus we will untangle the spaghetti and rewrite some parts from scratch to achieve elegance.

Game Programming Patterns

I would like to tip my hat to Robert Nystrom, who wrote this amazing book called Game Programming Patterns. The book is available online for free, it is a relatively quick read - I’ve devoured it with pleasure in roughly 4 hours. If you are guessing that this chapter is inspired by that book, you are absolutely right.

Component pattern is especially noteworthy. We will be using it to do major housekeeping, and it is great time to do so, because we haven’t implemented much of the game yet.

What Is Wrong With Current Design

Until this point we have been building the code in monolithic fashion. Tank class holds the code that:

  1. Loads all ground unit sprites. If some other class handled it, we could reuse the code to load other units.
  2. Handles sound effects.
  3. Uses Gosu::Song for moving sounds. That limits only one tank movement sound per whole game. Basically, we abused Gosu here.
  4. Handles keyboard and mouse. If we were to create AI that controls the tank, we would not be able to reuse Tank class because of this.
  5. Draws graphics on screen.
  6. Calculates physical properties, like speed, acceleration.
  7. Detects movement collisions.

Bullet is not perfect either:

  1. It renders it’s graphics.
  2. It handles it’s movement trajectories and other physics.
  3. It treats Explosion as part of it’s own lifecycle.
  4. Draws graphics on screen.
  5. Handles sound effects.

Even the relatively small Explosion class is too monolithic:

  1. It loads it’s graphics.
  2. It handles rendering, animation and frame skipping
  3. It loads and plays it’s sound effects.

Decoupling Using Component Pattern

Best design separates concerns in code so that everything has it’s own place, and every class handles only one thing. Let’s try splitting up Tank class into components that handle specific domains:

Decoupled Tank

Decoupled Tank

We will introduce GameObject class will contain shared functionality for all game objects (Tank, Bullet, Explosion), each of them would have it’s own set of components. Every component will have it’s parent object, so it will be able to interact with it, change it’s attributes, or possibly invoke other components if it comes to that.

Game objects and their components

Game objects and their components

All these objects will be held within ObjectPool, which would not care to know if object is a tank or a bullet. Purpose of ObjectPool is a little different in Ruby, since GC will take care of memory fragmentation for us, but we still need a single place that knows about every object in the game.

Object Pool

Object Pool

PlayState would then iterate through @object_pool.objects and invoke update and draw methods.

Now, let’s begin by implementing base class for GameObject:

05-refactor/entities/game_object.rb


 1 class GameObject
 2   def initialize(object_pool)
 3     @components = []
 4     @object_pool = object_pool
 5     @object_pool.objects << self
 6   end
 7 
 8   def components
 9     @components
10   end
11 
12   def update
13     @components.map(&:update)
14   end
15 
16   def draw(viewport)
17     @components.each { |c| c.draw(viewport) }
18   end
19 
20   def removable?
21     @removable
22   end
23 
24   def mark_for_removal
25     @removable = true
26   end
27 
28   protected
29 
30   def object_pool
31     @object_pool
32   end
33 end

When GameObject is initialized, it registers itself with ObjectPool and prepares empty @components array. Concrete GameObject classes should initialize Components so that array would not be empty.

update and draw methods would cycle through @components and delegate those calls to each of them in a sequence. It is important to update all components first, and only then draw them. Keep in mind that @components array order has significance. First elements will always be updated and drawn before last ones.

We will also provide removable? method that would return true for objects that mark_for_removal was invoked on. This way we will be able to weed out old bullets and explosions and feed them to GC.

Next up, base Component class:

05-refactor/entities/components/component.rb


 1 class Component
 2   def initialize(game_object = nil)
 3     self.object = game_object
 4   end
 5 
 6   def update
 7     # override
 8   end
 9 
10   def draw(viewport)
11     # override
12   end
13 
14   protected
15 
16   def object=(obj)
17     if obj
18       @object = obj
19       obj.components << self
20     end
21   end
22 
23   def x
24     @object.x
25   end
26 
27   def y
28     @object.y
29   end
30 
31   def object
32     @object
33   end
34 end

It registers itself with GameObject#components, provides some protected methods to access parent object and it’s most often called properties - x and y.

Refactoring Explosion

Explosion was probably the smallest class, so we will extract it’s components first.

05-refactor/entities/explosion.rb


 1 class Explosion < GameObject
 2   attr_accessor :x, :y
 3 
 4   def initialize(object_pool, x, y)
 5     super(object_pool)
 6     @x, @y = x, y
 7     ExplosionGraphics.new(self)
 8     ExplosionSounds.play
 9   end
10 end

It is much cleaner than before. ExplosionGraphics will be a Component that handles animation, and ExplosionSounds will play a sound.

05-refactor/entities/components/explosion_graphics.rb


 1 class ExplosionGraphics < Component
 2   FRAME_DELAY = 16.66 # ms
 3 
 4   def initialize(game_object)
 5     super
 6     @current_frame = 0
 7   end
 8 
 9   def draw(viewport)
10     image = current_frame
11     image.draw(
12       x - image.width / 2 + 3,
13       y - image.height / 2 - 35,
14       20)
15   end
16 
17   def update
18     now = Gosu.milliseconds
19     delta = now - (@last_frame ||= now)
20     if delta > FRAME_DELAY
21       @last_frame = now
22     end
23     @current_frame += (delta / FRAME_DELAY).floor
24     object.mark_for_removal if done?
25   end
26 
27   private
28 
29   def current_frame
30     animation[@current_frame % animation.size]
31   end
32 
33   def done?
34     @done ||= @current_frame >= animation.size
35   end
36 
37   def animation
38     @@animation ||=
39     Gosu::Image.load_tiles(
40       $window, Utils.media_path('explosion.png'),
41       128, 128, false)
42   end
43 end

Everything that is related to animating the explosion is now clearly separated. mark_for_removal is called on the explosion after it’s animation is done.

05-refactor/entities/components/explosion_sounds.rb


 1 class ExplosionSounds
 2   class << self
 3     def play
 4       sound.play
 5     end
 6 
 7     private
 8 
 9     def sound
10       @@sound ||= Gosu::Sample.new(
11         $window, Utils.media_path('explosion.mp3'))
12     end
13   end
14 end

Since explosion sounds are triggered only once, when it starts to explode, ExplosionSounds is a static class with play method.

Refactoring Bullet

Now, let’s go up a little and reimplement our Bullet:

05-refactor/entities/bullet.rb


 1 class Bullet < GameObject
 2   attr_accessor :x, :y, :target_x, :target_y, :speed, :fired_at
 3 
 4   def initialize(object_pool, source_x, source_y, target_x, target_y)
 5     super(object_pool)
 6     @x, @y = source_x, source_y
 7     @target_x, @target_y = target_x, target_y
 8     BulletPhysics.new(self)
 9     BulletGraphics.new(self)
10     BulletSounds.play
11   end
12 
13   def explode
14     Explosion.new(object_pool, @x, @y)
15     mark_for_removal
16   end
17 
18   def fire(speed)
19     @speed = speed
20     @fired_at = Gosu.milliseconds
21   end
22 end

All physics, graphics and sounds are extracted into individual components, and instead of managing Explosion, it just registers a new Explosion with ObjectPool and marks itself for removal in explode method.

05-refactor/entities/components/bullet_physics.rb


 1 class BulletPhysics < Component
 2   START_DIST = 20
 3   MAX_DIST = 300
 4 
 5   def initialize(game_object)
 6     super
 7     object.x, object.y = point_at_distance(START_DIST)
 8     if trajectory_length > MAX_DIST
 9       object.target_x, object.target_y = point_at_distance(MAX_DIST)
10     end
11   end
12 
13   def update
14     fly_speed = Utils.adjust_speed(object.speed)
15     fly_distance = (Gosu.milliseconds - object.fired_at) * 0.001 * fly_speed
16     object.x, object.y = point_at_distance(fly_distance)
17     object.explode if arrived?
18   end
19 
20   def trajectory_length
21     d_x = object.target_x - x
22     d_y = object.target_y - y
23     Math.sqrt(d_x * d_x + d_y * d_y)
24   end
25 
26   def point_at_distance(distance)
27     if distance > trajectory_length
28       return [object.target_x, object.target_y]
29     end
30     distance_factor = distance.to_f / trajectory_length
31     p_x = x + (object.target_x - x) * distance_factor
32     p_y = y + (object.target_y - y) * distance_factor
33     [p_x, p_y]
34   end
35 
36   private
37 
38   def arrived?
39     x == object.target_x && y == object.target_y
40   end
41 end

BulletPhysics is where the most of Bullet ended up at. It does all the calculations and triggers Bullet#explode when ready. When we will be implementing collision detection, the implementation will go somewhere here.

05-refactor/entities/components/bullet_graphics.rb


 1 class BulletGraphics < Component
 2   COLOR = Gosu::Color::BLACK
 3 
 4   def draw(viewport)
 5     $window.draw_quad(x - 2, y - 2, COLOR,
 6                       x + 2, y - 2, COLOR,
 7                       x - 2, y + 2, COLOR,
 8                       x + 2, y + 2, COLOR,
 9                       1)
10   end
11 
12 end

After pulling away Bullet graphics code, it looks very small and elegant. We will probably never have to edit anything here again.

05-refactor/entities/components/bullet_sounds.rb


 1 class BulletSounds
 2   class << self
 3     def play
 4       sound.play
 5     end
 6 
 7     private
 8 
 9     def sound
10       @@sound ||= Gosu::Sample.new(
11         $window, Utils.media_path('fire.mp3'))
12     end
13   end
14 end

Just like ExplosionSounds, BulletSounds are stateless and static. We could make it just like a regular component, but consider it our little optimization.

Refactoring Tank

Time to take a look at freshly decoupled Tank:

05-refactor/entities/tank.rb


 1 class Tank < GameObject
 2   SHOOT_DELAY = 500
 3   attr_accessor :x, :y, :throttle_down, :direction, :gun_angle, :sounds, :physics
 4 
 5   def initialize(object_pool, input)
 6     super(object_pool)
 7     @input = input
 8     @input.control(self)
 9     @physics = TankPhysics.new(self, object_pool)
10     @graphics = TankGraphics.new(self)
11     @sounds = TankSounds.new(self)
12     @direction = @gun_angle = 0.0
13   end
14 
15   def shoot(target_x, target_y)
16     if Gosu.milliseconds - (@last_shot || 0) > SHOOT_DELAY
17       @last_shot = Gosu.milliseconds
18       Bullet.new(object_pool, @x, @y, target_x, target_y).fire(100)
19     end
20   end
21 end

Tank class was reduced over 5 times. We could go further and extract Gun component, but for now it’s simple enough already. Now, the components.

05-refactor/entities/components/tank_physics.rb


 1 class TankPhysics < Component
 2   attr_accessor :speed
 3 
 4   def initialize(game_object, object_pool)
 5     super(game_object)
 6     @object_pool = object_pool
 7     @map = object_pool.map
 8     game_object.x, game_object.y = @map.find_spawn_point
 9     @speed = 0.0
10   end
11 
12   def can_move_to?(x, y)
13     @map.can_move_to?(x, y)
14   end
15 
16   def moving?
17     @speed > 0
18   end
19 
20   def update
21     if object.throttle_down
22       accelerate
23     else
24       decelerate
25     end
26     if @speed > 0
27       new_x, new_y = x, y
28       shift = Utils.adjust_speed(@speed)
29       case @object.direction.to_i
30       when 0
31         new_y -= shift
32       when 45
33         new_x += shift
34         new_y -= shift
35       when 90
36         new_x += shift
37       when 135
38         new_x += shift
39         new_y += shift
40       when 180
41         new_y += shift
42       when 225
43         new_y += shift
44         new_x -= shift
45       when 270
46         new_x -= shift
47       when 315
48         new_x -= shift
49         new_y -= shift
50       end
51       if can_move_to?(new_x, new_y)
52         object.x, object.y = new_x, new_y
53       else
54         object.sounds.collide if @speed > 1
55         @speed = 0.0
56       end
57     end
58   end
59 
60   private
61 
62   def accelerate
63     @speed += 0.08 if @speed < 5
64   end
65 
66   def decelerate
67     @speed -= 0.5 if @speed > 0
68     @speed = 0.0 if @speed < 0.01 # damp
69   end
70 end

While we had to rip player input away from it’s movement, we got ourselves a benefit - tank now both accelerates and decelerates. When directional buttons are no longer pressed, tank keeps moving in last direction, but quickly decelerates and stops. Another addition that would have been more difficult to implement on previous Tank is collision sound. When Tank abruptly stops by hitting something (for now it’s only water), collision sound is played. We will have to fix that, because metal bang is not appropriate when you stop on the edge of a river, but we now did it for the sake of science.

05-refactor/entities/components/tank_graphics.rb


 1 class TankGraphics < Component
 2   def initialize(game_object)
 3     super(game_object)
 4     @body = units.frame('tank1_body.png')
 5     @shadow = units.frame('tank1_body_shadow.png')
 6     @gun = units.frame('tank1_dualgun.png')
 7   end
 8 
 9   def draw(viewport)
10     @shadow.draw_rot(x - 1, y - 1, 0, object.direction)
11     @body.draw_rot(x, y, 1, object.direction)
12     @gun.draw_rot(x, y, 2, object.gun_angle)
13   end
14 
15   private
16 
17   def units
18     @@units = Gosu::TexturePacker.load_json(
19       $window, Utils.media_path('ground_units.json'), :precise)
20   end
21 end

Again, graphics are neatly packed and separated from everything else. Eventually we should optimize draw to take viewport into consideration, but it’s good enough for now, especially when we have only one tank in the game.

05-refactor/entities/components/tank_sounds.rb


 1 class TankSounds < Component
 2   def update
 3     if object.physics.moving?
 4       if @driving && @driving.paused?
 5         @driving.resume
 6       elsif @driving.nil?
 7         @driving = driving_sound.play(1, 1, true)
 8       end
 9     else
10       if @driving && @driving.playing?
11         @driving.pause
12       end
13     end
14   end
15 
16   def collide
17     crash_sound.play(1, 0.25, false)
18   end
19 
20   private
21 
22   def driving_sound
23     @@driving_sound ||= Gosu::Sample.new(
24       $window, Utils.media_path('tank_driving.mp3'))
25   end
26 
27   def crash_sound
28     @@crash_sound ||= Gosu::Sample.new(
29       $window, Utils.media_path('crash.ogg'))
30   end
31 end

Unlike Explosion and Bullet, Tank sounds are stateful. We have to keep track of tank_driving.mp3, which is no longer Gosu::Song, but Gosu::Sample, like it should have been.

When Gosu::Sample#play is invoked, Gosu::SampleInstance is returned, and we have full control over it. Now we are ready to play sounds for more than one tank at once.

05-refactor/entities/components/player_input.rb


 1 class PlayerInput < Component
 2   def initialize(camera)
 3     super(nil)
 4     @camera = camera
 5   end
 6 
 7   def control(obj)
 8     self.object = obj
 9   end
10 
11   def update
12     d_x, d_y = @camera.target_delta_on_screen
13     atan = Math.atan2(($window.width / 2) - d_x - $window.mouse_x,
14                       ($window.height / 2) - d_y - $window.mouse_y)
15     object.gun_angle = -atan * 180 / Math::PI
16     motion_buttons = [Gosu::KbW, Gosu::KbS, Gosu::KbA, Gosu::KbD]
17 
18     if any_button_down?(*motion_buttons)
19       object.throttle_down = true
20       object.direction = change_angle(object.direction, *motion_buttons)
21     else
22       object.throttle_down = false
23     end
24 
25     if Utils.button_down?(Gosu::MsLeft)
26       object.shoot(*@camera.mouse_coords)
27     end
28   end
29 
30   private
31 
32   def any_button_down?(*buttons)
33     buttons.each do |b|
34       return true if Utils.button_down?(b)
35     end
36     false
37   end
38 
39   def change_angle(previous_angle, up, down, right, left)
40     if Utils.button_down?(up)
41       angle = 0.0
42       angle += 45.0 if Utils.button_down?(left)
43       angle -= 45.0 if Utils.button_down?(right)
44     elsif Utils.button_down?(down)
45       angle = 180.0
46       angle -= 45.0 if Utils.button_down?(left)
47       angle += 45.0 if Utils.button_down?(right)
48     elsif Utils.button_down?(left)
49       angle = 90.0
50       angle += 45.0 if Utils.button_down?(up)
51       angle -= 45.0 if Utils.button_down?(down)
52     elsif Utils.button_down?(right)
53       angle = 270.0
54       angle -= 45.0 if Utils.button_down?(up)
55       angle += 45.0 if Utils.button_down?(down)
56     end
57     angle = (angle + 360) % 360 if angle && angle < 0
58     (angle || previous_angle)
59   end
60 end

We finally come to a place where keyboard and mouse input is handled and converted to Tank commands. We could have used Command pattern to decouple everything even further.

Refactoring PlayState

05-refactor/game_states/play_state.rb


 1 require 'ruby-prof' if ENV['ENABLE_PROFILING']
 2 class PlayState < GameState
 3   attr_accessor :update_interval
 4 
 5   def initialize
 6     @map = Map.new
 7     @camera = Camera.new
 8     @object_pool = ObjectPool.new(@map)
 9     @tank = Tank.new(@object_pool, PlayerInput.new(@camera))
10     @camera.target = @tank
11   end
12 
13   def enter
14     RubyProf.start if ENV['ENABLE_PROFILING']
15   end
16 
17   def leave
18     if ENV['ENABLE_PROFILING']
19       result = RubyProf.stop
20       printer = RubyProf::FlatPrinter.new(result)
21       printer.print(STDOUT)
22     end
23   end
24 
25   def update
26     @object_pool.objects.map(&:update)
27     @object_pool.objects.reject!(&:removable?)
28     @camera.update
29     update_caption
30   end
31 
32   def draw
33     cam_x = @camera.x
34     cam_y = @camera.y
35     off_x =  $window.width / 2 - cam_x
36     off_y =  $window.height / 2 - cam_y
37     viewport = @camera.viewport
38     $window.translate(off_x, off_y) do
39       zoom = @camera.zoom
40       $window.scale(zoom, zoom, cam_x, cam_y) do
41         @map.draw(viewport)
42         @object_pool.objects.map { |o| o.draw(viewport) }
43       end
44     end
45     @camera.draw_crosshair
46   end
47 
48   def button_down(id)
49     if id == Gosu::KbQ
50       leave
51       $window.close
52     end
53     if id == Gosu::KbEscape
54       GameState.switch(MenuState.instance)
55     end
56   end
57 
58   private
59 
60   def update_caption
61     now = Gosu.milliseconds
62     if now - (@caption_updated_at || 0) > 1000
63       $window.caption = 'Tanks Prototype. ' <<
64         "[FPS: #{Gosu.fps}. " <<
65         "Tank @ #{@tank.x.round}:#{@tank.y.round}]"
66       @caption_updated_at = now
67     end
68   end
69 end

Implementation of PlayState is now also a little simpler. It doesn’t update @tank or @bullets individually anymore. Instead, it uses ObjectPool and does all object operations in bulk.

Other Improvements

05-refactor/main.rb


 1 #!/usr/bin/env ruby
 2 
 3 require 'gosu'
 4 
 5 root_dir = File.dirname(__FILE__)
 6 require_pattern = File.join(root_dir, '**/*.rb')
 7 @failed = []
 8 
 9 # Dynamically require everything
10 Dir.glob(require_pattern).each do |f|
11   next if f.end_with?('/main.rb')
12   begin
13     require_relative f.gsub("#{root_dir}/", '')
14   rescue
15     # May fail if parent class not required yet
16     @failed << f
17   end
18 end
19 
20 # Retry unresolved requires
21 @failed.each do |f|
22   require_relative f.gsub("#{root_dir}/", '')
23 end
24 
25 $window = GameWindow.new
26 GameState.switch(MenuState.instance)
27 $window.show

Finally, we made some improvements to main.rb - it now recursively requires all *.rb files within same directory, so we don’t have to worry about it in other classes.

05-refactor/utils.rb


 1 module Utils
 2   def self.media_path(file)
 3     File.join(File.dirname(File.dirname(
 4       __FILE__)), 'media', file)
 5   end
 6 
 7   def self.track_update_interval
 8     now = Gosu.milliseconds
 9     @update_interval = (now - (@last_update ||= 0)).to_f
10     @last_update = now
11   end
12 
13   def self.update_interval
14     @update_interval ||= $window.update_interval
15   end
16 
17   def self.adjust_speed(speed)
18     speed * update_interval / 33.33
19   end
20 
21   def self.button_down?(button)
22     @buttons ||= {}
23     now = Gosu.milliseconds
24     now = now - (now % 150)
25     if $window.button_down?(button)
26       @buttons[button] = now
27       true
28     elsif @buttons[button]
29       if now == @buttons[button]
30         true
31       else
32         @buttons.delete(button)
33         false
34       end
35     end
36   end
37 end

Another notable change is renaming Game module into Utils. The name finally makes more sense, I have no idea why I put utility methods into Game module in the first place. Also, Utils received button_down? method, that solves the issue of changing tank direction when button is immediately released. It made very difficult to stop at diagonal angle, because when you depressed two buttons, 16 ms was enough for Gosu to think “he released W, and S is still pressed, so let’s change direction to S”. Utils#button_down? gives a soft 150 ms window to synchronize button release. Now controls feel more natural.

Simulating Physics

To make the game more realistic, we will spice things up with some physics. This is the feature set we are going to implement:

  1. Collision detection. Tank will bump into other objects - stationary tanks. Bullets will not go through them either.
  2. Terrain effects. Tank will go fast on grass, slower on sand.

Adding Enemy Objects

It’s boring to play alone, so we will make a quick change and spawn some stationary tanks that will be deployed randomly around the map. They will be stationary in the beginning, but we will still need a dummy AI class to replace PlayerInput:

06-physics/entities/components/ai_input.rb


1 class AiInput < Component
2   def control(obj)
3     self.object = obj
4   end
5 end

A quick and dirty way to spawn some tanks would be when initializing PlayState:

class PlayState < GameState
  # ...
  def initialize
    @map = Map.new
    @camera = Camera.new
    @object_pool = ObjectPool.new(@map)
    @tank = Tank.new(@object_pool, PlayerInput.new(@camera))
    @camera.target = @tank
    # ...
    50.times do
      Tank.new(@object_pool, AiInput.new)
    end
  end
  # ...
end

And unless we want all stationary tanks face same direction, we will randomize it:

class Tank < GameObject
  # ...
  def initialize(object_pool, input)
    # ...
    @direction = rand(0..7) * 45
    @gun_angle = rand(0..360)
  end
  # ...
end

Fire up the game, and wander around frozen tanks. You can pass through them as if they were ghosts, but we will fix that in a moment.

Brain dead enemies

Brain dead enemies

Adding Bounding Boxes And Detecting Collisions

We want our collision detection to be pixel perfect, that means we need to have a bounding box and check colisions against it. Get ready for some math!

First, we need to find a correct way to construct a bounding box. Tank has it’s body image, so let’s see how it’s boundaries look like. We will add some code to TankGraphics component to see it:

class TankGraphics < Component
  def draw(viewport)
    # ...
    draw_bounding_box
  end

  def draw_bounding_box
    $window.rotate(object.direction, x, y) do
      w = @body.width
      h = @body.height
      $window.draw_quad(
        x - w / 2, y - h / 2, Gosu::Color::RED,
        x + w / 2, y - h / 2, Gosu::Color::RED,
        x + w / 2, y + h / 2, Gosu::Color::RED,
        x - w / 2, y + h / 2, Gosu::Color::RED,
        100)
    end
  end
  # ...
end

Result is pretty good, we have tank shaped box, so we will be using body image dimensions to determine our bounding box corners:

Tank's bounding box visualized

Tank’s bounding box visualized

There is one problem here though. Gosu::Window#rotate does the rotation math for us, and we need to perform these calculations on our own. We have four points that we want to rotate around a center point. It’s not very difficult to find how to do this. Here is a Ruby method for you:

module Utils
  # ...
  def self.rotate(angle, around_x, around_y, *points)
    result = []
    points.each_slice(2) do |x, y|
      r_x = Math.cos(angle) * (x - around_x) -
        Math.sin(angle) * (y - around_y) + around_x
      r_y = Math.sin(angle) * (x - around_x) +
        Math.cos(angle) * (y - around_y) + around_y
      result << r_x
      result << r_y
    end
    result
  end
  # ...
end

We can now calculate edges of our bounding box, but we need one more function which tells if point is inside a polygon. This problem has been solved million times before, so just poke the internet for it and drink from the information firehose until you understand how to do this.

If you wasn’t familiar with the term yet, by now you should discover what vertex is. In geometry, a vertex (plural vertices) is a special kind of point that describes the corners or intersections of geometric shapes.

Here’s what I ended up writing:

module Utils
  # ...
  # http://www.ecse.rpi.edu/Homepages/wrf/Research/Short_Notes/pnpoly.html
  def self.point_in_poly(testx, testy, *poly)
    nvert = poly.size / 2 # Number of vertices in poly
    vertx = []
    verty = []
    poly.each_slice(2) do |x, y|
      vertx << x
      verty << y
    end
    inside = false
    j = nvert - 1
    (0..nvert - 1).each do |i|
      if (((verty[i] > testy) != (verty[j] > testy)) &&
         (testx < (vertx[j] - vertx[i]) * (testy - verty[i]) /
         (verty[j] - verty[i]) + vertx[i]))
        inside = !inside
      end
      j = i
    end
    inside
  end
  # ...

It is Jordan curve theorem reimplemented in Ruby. Looks ugly, but it actually works, and is pretty fast too.

Also, this works on more sophisticated polygons, and our tank is shaped more like an H rather than a rectangle, so we could define a pixel perfect polygon. Some pen and paper will help.

class TankPhysics < Component
  #...

  # Tank box looks like H. Vertices:
  # 1   2   5   6
  #     3   4
  #
  #    10   9
  # 12 11   8   7
  def box
    w = box_width / 2 - 1
    h = box_height / 2 - 1
    tw = 8 # track width
    fd = 8 # front depth
    rd = 6 # rear depth
    Utils.rotate(object.direction, x, y,
                 x + w,      y + h,      #1
                 x + w - tw, y + h,      #2
                 x + w - tw, y + h - fd, #3

                 x - w + tw, y + h - fd, #4
                 x - w + tw, y + h,      #5
                 x - w,      y + h,      #6

                 x - w,      y - h,      #7
                 x - w + tw, y - h,      #8
                 x - w + tw, y - h + rd, #9

                 x + w - tw, y - h + rd, #10
                 x + w - tw, y - h,      #11
                 x + w,      y - h,      #12
                )
  end
  # ...
end

To visually see it, we will improve our draw_bounding_box method:

class TankGraphics < Component
  # ...
  DEBUG_COLORS = [
    Gosu::Color::RED,
    Gosu::Color::BLUE,
    Gosu::Color::YELLOW,
    Gosu::Color::WHITE
  ]
  # ...
  def draw_bounding_box
    i = 0
    object.box.each_slice(2) do |x, y|
      color = DEBUG_COLORS[i]
      $window.draw_triangle(
        x - 3, y - 3, color,
        x,     y,     color,
        x + 3, y - 3, color,
        100)
      i = (i + 1) % 4
    end
  end
  # ...

Now we can visually test bounding box edges and see that they actually are where they belong.

High precision bounding boxes

High precision bounding boxes

Time to pimp our TankPhysics to detect those collisions. While our algorithm is pretty fast, it doesn’t make sense to check collisions for objects that are pretty far apart. This is why we need our ObjectPool to know how to query objects in close proximity.

class ObjectPool
  # ...
  def nearby(object, max_distance)
    @objects.select do |obj|
      distance = Utils.distance_between(
        obj.x, obj.y, object.x, object.y)
      obj != object && distance < max_distance
    end
  end
end

Back to TankPhysics:

class TankPhysics < Component
  # ...
  def can_move_to?(x, y)
    old_x, old_y = object.x, object.y
    object.x = x
    object.y = y
    return false unless @map.can_move_to?(x, y)
    @object_pool.nearby(object, 100).each do |obj|
      if collides_with_poly?(obj.box)
        # Allow to get unstuck
        old_distance = Utils.distance_between(
          obj.x, obj.y, old_x, old_y)
        new_distance = Utils.distance_between(
          obj.x, obj.y, x, y)
        return false if new_distance < old_distance
      end
    end
    true
  ensure
    object.x = old_x
    object.y = old_y
  end
  # ...
  private

  def collides_with_poly?(poly)
    if poly
      poly.each_slice(2) do |x, y|
        return true if Utils.point_in_poly(x, y, *box)
      end
      box.each_slice(2) do |x, y|
        return true if Utils.point_in_poly(x, y, *poly)
      end
    end
    false
  end
  # ...
end

It’s probably not the most elegant solution you could come up with, but can_move_to? temporarily changes Tank location to make a collision test, and then reverts old coordinates just before returning the result. Now our tanks stop with banging sound when they hit each other.

Tanks colliding

Tanks colliding

Catching Bullets

Right now bullets fly right through our tanks, and we want them to collide. It’s a pretty simple change, which mostly affects BulletPhysics class:

# 06-physics/entities/components/bullet_physics.rb
class BulletPhysics < Component
  # ...
  def update
    # ...
    check_hit
    object.explode if arrived?
  end
  # ...
  private

  def check_hit
    @object_pool.nearby(object, 50).each do |obj|
      next if obj == object.source # Don't hit source tank
      if Utils.point_in_poly(x, y, *obj.box)
        object.target_x = x
        object.target_y = y
        return
      end
    end
  end
  # ...
end

Now bullets finally hit, but don’t do any damage yet. We will come back to that soon.

Bullet hitting enemy tank

Bullet hitting enemy tank

Implementing Turn Speed Penalties

Tanks cannot make turns and go into reverse at full speed while keeping it’s inertia, right? It is easy to implement. Since it’s related to physics, we will delegate changing Tank’s @direction to our TankPhysics class:

# 06-physics/entities/components/player_input.rb
class PlayerInput < Component
  # ...
  def update
    # ...
    motion_buttons = [Gosu::KbW, Gosu::KbS, Gosu::KbA, Gosu::KbD]

    if any_button_down?(*motion_buttons)
      object.throttle_down = true
      object.physics.change_direction(
        change_angle(object.direction, *motion_buttons))
    else
      object.throttle_down = false
    end
    # ...
  end
  # ...
end

# 06-physics/entities/components/tank_physics.rb
class TankPhysics < Component
  # ...
  def change_direction(new_direction)
    change = (new_direction - object.direction + 360) % 360
    change = 360 - change if change > 180
    if change > 90
      @speed = 0
    elsif change > 45
      @speed *= 0.33
    elsif change > 0
      @speed *= 0.66
    end
    object.direction = new_direction
  end
  # ...
end

Implementing Terrain Speed Penalties

Now, let’s see how can we make terrain influence our movement. It sounds reasonable for TankPhysics to consult with Map about speed penalty of current tile:

# 06-physics/entities/map.rb
class Map
  # ...
  def movement_penalty(x, y)
    tile = tile_at(x, y)
    case tile
    when @sand
      0.33
    else
      0
    end
  end
  # ...
end

# 06-physics/entities/components/tank_physics.rb
class TankPhysics < Component
  # ...
  def update
    # ...
      speed = apply_movement_penalty(@speed)
      shift = Utils.adjust_speed(speed)
    # ...
  end
  # ...

  private

  def apply_movement_penalty(speed)
    speed * (1.0 - @map.movement_penalty(x, y))
  end
  # ...
end

This makes all tanks move 33% slower on sand.

Implementing Health And Damage

I know you have been waiting for this. We will be implementing health system and most importantly, damage. Soo we will be ready to blow things up.

To implement this, we need to:

  1. Add TankHealth component. Start with 100 health.
  2. Render tank health next to tank itself.
  3. Inflict damage to tank when it is in explosion zone
  4. Render different sprite for dead tank.
  5. Cut off player input when tank is dead.

Adding Health Component

If we didn’t have Component system in place, it would be way more difficult. Now we just kick in a new class:

07-damage/entities/components/tank_health.rb


 1 class TankHealth < Component
 2   attr_accessor :health
 3 
 4   def initialize(object, object_pool)
 5     super(object)
 6     @object_pool = object_pool
 7     @health = 100
 8     @health_updated = true
 9     @last_damage = Gosu.milliseconds
10   end
11 
12   def update
13     update_image
14   end
15 
16   def update_image
17     if @health_updated
18       if dead?
19         text = '✝'
20         font_size = 25
21       else
22         text = @health.to_s
23         font_size = 18
24       end
25       @image = Gosu::Image.from_text(
26           $window, text,
27           Gosu.default_font_name, font_size)
28       @health_updated = false
29     end
30   end
31 
32   def dead?
33     @health < 1
34   end
35 
36   def inflict_damage(amount)
37     if @health > 0
38       @health_updated = true
39       @health = [@health - amount.to_i, 0].max
40       if @health < 1
41         Explosion.new(@object_pool, x, y)
42       end
43     end
44   end
45 
46   def draw(viewport)
47     @image.draw(
48       x - @image.width / 2,
49       y - object.graphics.height / 2 -
50       @image.height, 100)
51   end
52 end

It hooks itself into the game right away, after we initialize it in Tank class:

class Tank < GameObject
  attr_accessor :health
  # ...
  def initialize(object_pool, input)
    # ...
    @health = TankHealth.new(self, object_pool)
    # ..
  end
  # ..
end

Inflicting Damage With Bullets

There are two ways to inflict damage - directly and indirectly. When bullet hits enemy tank (collides with tank bounding box), we should inflict direct damage. It can be done in BulletPhysics#check_hit method that we already had:

class BulletPhysics < Component
  # ...
  def check_hit
    @object_pool.nearby(object, 50).each do |obj|
      next if obj == object.source # Don't hit source tank
      if Utils.point_in_poly(x, y, *obj.box)
        # Direct hit - extra damage
        obj.health.inflict_damage(20)
        object.target_x = x
        object.target_y = y
        return
      end
    end
  end
  # ...
end

Finally, Explosion itself should inflict additional damage to anything that are nearby. The effect will be diminishing and it will be determined by object distance.

class Explosion < GameObject
  # ...
  def initialize(object_pool, x, y)
    # ...
    inflict_damage
  end

  private

  def inflict_damage
    object_pool.nearby(self, 100).each do |obj|
      if obj.class == Tank
        obj.health.inflict_damage(
          Math.sqrt(3 * 100 - Utils.distance_between(
              obj.x, obj.y, x, y)))
      end
    end
  end
end

This is it, we are ready to deal damage. But we want to see if we actually killed somebody, so TankGraphics should be aware of health and should draw different set of sprites when tank is dead. Here is what we need to change in our current TankGraphics to achieve the result:

class TankGraphics < Component
  # ...
  def initialize(game_object)
    super(game_object)
    @body_normal = units.frame('tank1_body.png')
    @shadow_normal = units.frame('tank1_body_shadow.png')
    @gun_normal = units.frame('tank1_dualgun.png')
    @body_dead = units.frame('tank1_body_destroyed.png')
    @shadow_dead = units.frame('tank1_body_destroyed_shadow.png')
    @gun_dead = nil
  end

  def update
    if object.health.dead?
      @body = @body_dead
      @gun = @gun_dead
      @shadow = @shadow_dead
    else
      @body = @body_normal
      @gun = @gun_normal
      @shadow = @shadow_normal
    end
  end

  def draw(viewport)
    @shadow.draw_rot(x - 1, y - 1, 0, object.direction)
    @body.draw_rot(x, y, 1, object.direction)
    @gun.draw_rot(x, y, 2, object.gun_angle) if @gun
  end
  # ...
end

Now we can blow them up and enjoy the view:

Target practice

Target practice

But what if we blow ourselves up by shooting nearby? We would still be able to move around. To fix this, we will simply cut out player input when we are dead:

class PlayerInput < Component
  # ...
  def update
    return if object.health.dead?
    # ...
  end
  # ...
end

And to prevent tank from throttling forever if the pedal was down before it got killed:

class TankPhysics < Component
  # ...
  def update
    if object.throttle_down && !object.health.dead?
      accelerate
    else
      decelerate
    end
    # ...
  end
  # ...
end

That’s it. All we need right now is some resistance from those brain dead enemies. We will spark some life into them in next chapter.

Creating Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is a subject so vast that we will barely scratch the surface. AI in Video Games is usually heavily simplified and therefore easier to implement.

There is this wonderful series of articles called Designing Artificial Intelligence for Games that I highly recommend reading to get a feeling how game AI should be done. We will be continuing our work on top of what we already have, example code for this chapter will be in 08-ai.

Designing AI Using Finite State Machine

Non player tanks in our game will be lone rangers, hunting everything that moves while trying to survive. We will use Finite State Machine to implement tank behavior.

First, we need to think “what would a tank do?” How about this scenario:

  1. Tank wanders around, minding it’s own business.
  2. Tank encounters another tank. It then starts doing evasive moves and tries hitting the enemy.
  3. Enemy took some damage and started driving away. Tank starts chasing the enemy trying to finish it.
  4. Another tank appears and fires a couple of accurate shots, dealing serious damage. Our tank starts running away, because if it kept receiving damage at such rate, it would die very soon.
  5. Tank keeps fleeing and looking for safety until it gets cornered or the opponent looks damaged too. Then tank goes into it’s final battle.

We can now draw a Finite State Machine using this scenario:

Vigilante Tank FSM

Vigilante Tank FSM

If you are on a path to become a game developer, FSM should not stand for Flying Spaghetti Monster for you anymore.

Implementing AI Vision

To make opponents realistic, we have to give them senses. Let’s create a class for that:

08-ai/entities/components/ai/vision.rb


 1 class AiVision
 2   CACHE_TIMEOUT = 500
 3   attr_reader :in_sight
 4 
 5   def initialize(viewer, object_pool, distance)
 6     @viewer = viewer
 7     @object_pool = object_pool
 8     @distance = distance
 9   end
10 
11   def update
12     @in_sight = @object_pool.nearby(@viewer, @distance)
13   end
14 
15   def closest_tank
16     now = Gosu.milliseconds
17     @closest_tank = nil
18     if now - (@cache_updated_at ||= 0) > CACHE_TIMEOUT
19       @closest_tank = nil
20       @cache_updated_at = now
21     end
22     @closest_tank ||= find_closest_tank
23   end
24 
25   private
26 
27   def find_closest_tank
28     @in_sight.select do |o|
29       o.class == Tank && !o.health.dead?
30     end.sort do |a, b|
31       x, y = @viewer.x, @viewer.y
32       d1 = Utils.distance_between(x, y, a.x, a.y)
33       d2 = Utils.distance_between(x, y, b.x, b.y)
34       d1 <=> d2
35     end.first
36   end
37 end

It uses ObjectPool to put nearby objects in sight, and gets a short term focus on one closest tank. Closest tank is cached for 500 milliseconds for two reasons:

  1. Performance. Uncached version would do Array#select and Array#sort 60 times per second, now it will do 2 times.
  2. Focus. When you choose a target, you should keep it a little longer. This should also avoid “jitters”, when tank would shake between two nearby targets that are within same distance.

Controlling Tank Gun

After we made AiVision, we can now use it to automatically aim and shoot at closest tank. It should work like this:

  1. Every instance of the gun has it’s own unique combination of speed, accuracy and aggressiveness.
  2. Gun will automatically target closest tank in sight.
  3. If no other tank is in sight, gun will target in same direction as tank’s body.
  4. If other tank is aimed at and within shooting distance, gun will make a decision once in a while whether it should shoot or not, based on aggressiveness level. Aggressive tanks will be trigger happy all the time, while less aggressive ones will make small random pauses between shots.
  5. Gun will have a “desired” angle that it will be automatically adjusting to, according to it’s speed.

Here is the implementation:

08-ai/entities/components/ai/gun.rb


  1 class AiGun
  2   DECISION_DELAY = 1000
  3   attr_reader :target, :desired_gun_angle
  4 
  5   def initialize(object, vision)
  6     @object = object
  7     @vision = vision
  8     @desired_gun_angle = rand(0..360)
  9     @retarget_speed = rand(1..5)
 10     @accuracy = rand(0..10)
 11     @aggressiveness = rand(1..5)
 12   end
 13 
 14   def adjust_angle
 15     adjust_desired_angle
 16     adjust_gun_angle
 17   end
 18 
 19   def update
 20     if @vision.in_sight.any?
 21       if @vision.closest_tank != @target
 22         change_target(@vision.closest_tank)
 23       end
 24     else
 25       @target = nil
 26     end
 27 
 28     if @target
 29       if (0..10 - rand(0..@accuracy)).include?(
 30         (@desired_gun_angle - @object.gun_angle).abs.round)
 31         distance = distance_to_target
 32         if distance - 50 <= BulletPhysics::MAX_DIST
 33           target_x, target_y = Utils.point_at_distance(
 34             @object.x, @object.y, @object.gun_angle,
 35             distance + 10 - rand(0..@accuracy))
 36           if can_make_new_decision? && @object.can_shoot? &&
 37               should_shoot?
 38             @object.shoot(target_x, target_y)
 39           end
 40         end
 41       end
 42     end
 43   end
 44 
 45   def distance_to_target
 46     Utils.distance_between(
 47       @object.x, @object.y, @target.x, @target.y)
 48   end
 49 
 50 
 51   def should_shoot?
 52     rand * @aggressiveness > 0.5
 53   end
 54 
 55   def can_make_new_decision?
 56     now = Gosu.milliseconds
 57     if now - (@last_decision ||= 0) > DECISION_DELAY
 58       @last_decision = now
 59       true
 60     end
 61   end
 62 
 63   def adjust_desired_angle
 64     @desired_gun_angle = if @target
 65        Utils.angle_between(
 66         @object.x, @object.y, @target.x, @target.y)
 67     else
 68       @object.direction
 69     end
 70   end
 71 
 72   def change_target(new_target)
 73     @target = new_target
 74     adjust_desired_angle
 75   end
 76 
 77   def adjust_gun_angle
 78     actual = @object.gun_angle
 79     desired = @desired_gun_angle
 80     if actual > desired
 81       if actual - desired > 180 # 0 -> 360 fix
 82         @object.gun_angle = (actual + @retarget_speed) % 360
 83         if @object.gun_angle < desired
 84           @object.gun_angle = desired # damp
 85         end
 86       else
 87         @object.gun_angle = [actual - @retarget_speed, desired].max
 88       end
 89     elsif actual < desired
 90       if desired - actual > 180 # 360 -> 0 fix
 91         @object.gun_angle = (360 + actual - @retarget_speed) % 360
 92         if @object.gun_angle > desired
 93           @object.gun_angle = desired # damp
 94         end
 95       else
 96         @object.gun_angle = [actual + @retarget_speed, desired].min
 97       end
 98     end
 99   end
100 end

There is some math involved, but it is pretty straightforward. We need to find out an angle between two points, to know where our gun should point, and the other thing we need is coordinates of point which is in some distance away from source at given angle. Here are those functions:

module Utils
  # ...
  def self.angle_between(x, y, target_x, target_y)
    dx = target_x - x
    dy = target_y - y
    (180 - Math.atan2(dx, dy) * 180 / Math::PI) + 360 % 360
  end

  def self.point_at_distance(source_x, source_y, angle, distance)
    angle = (90 - angle) * Math::PI / 180
    x = source_x + Math.cos(angle) * distance
    y = source_y - Math.sin(angle) * distance
    [x, y]
  end
  # ...
end

Implementing AI Input

At this point our tanks can already defend themselves, even through motion is not yet implemented. Let’s wire everything we have in AiInput class that we had prepared earlier. We will need a blank TankMotionFSM class with 3 argument initializer and empty update, on_collision(with) and on_damage(amount) methods for it to work:

08-ai/entities/components/ai_input.rb


 1 class AiInput < Component
 2   UPDATE_RATE = 200 # ms
 3 
 4   def initialize(object_pool)
 5     @object_pool = object_pool
 6     super(nil)
 7     @last_update = Gosu.milliseconds
 8   end
 9 
10   def control(obj)
11     self.object = obj
12     @vision = AiVision.new(obj, @object_pool,
13                            rand(700..1200))
14     @gun = AiGun.new(obj, @vision)
15     @motion = TankMotionFSM.new(obj, @vision, @gun)
16   end
17 
18   def on_collision(with)
19     @motion.on_collision(with)
20   end
21 
22   def on_damage(amount)
23     @motion.on_damage(amount)
24   end
25 
26   def update
27     return if object.health.dead?
28     @gun.adjust_angle
29     now = Gosu.milliseconds
30     return if now - @last_update < UPDATE_RATE
31     @last_update = now
32     @vision.update
33     @gun.update
34     @motion.update
35   end
36 end

It adjust gun angle all the time, but does updates at UPDATE_RATE to save CPU power. AI is usually one of the most CPU intensive things in games, so it’s a common practice to execute it less often. Refreshing enemy brains 5 per second is enough to make them deadly.

Make sure you spawn some AI controlled tanks in PlayState and try killing them now. I bet they will eventually get you even while standing still. You can also make tanks spawn below mouse cursor when you press T key:

class PlayState < GameState
  # ...
  def initialize
    # ...
    10.times do |i|
      Tank.new(@object_pool, AiInput.new(@object_pool))
    end
  end
  # ...
  def button_down(id)
    # ...
    if id == Gosu::KbT
      t = Tank.new(@object_pool,
                   AiInput.new(@object_pool))
      t.x, t.y = @camera.mouse_coords
    end
    # ...
  end
  # ...
end

Implementing Tank Motion States

This is the place where we will need Finite State Machine to get things right. We will design it like this:

  1. TankMotionFSM will decide which motion state tank should be in, considering various parameters, e.g. existence of target or lack thereof, health, etc.
  2. There will be TankMotionState base class that will offer common methods like drive, wait and on_collision.
  3. Concrete motion classes will implement update, change_direction and other methods, that will fiddle with Tank#throttle_down and Tank#direction to make it move and turn.

We will begin with TankMotionState:

08-ai/entities/components/ai/tank_motion_state.rb


 1 class TankMotionState
 2   def initialize(object, vision)
 3     @object = object
 4     @vision = vision
 5   end
 6 
 7   def enter
 8     # Override if necessary
 9   end
10 
11   def change_direction
12     # Override
13   end
14 
15   def wait_time
16     # Override and return a number
17   end
18 
19   def drive_time
20     # Override and return a number
21   end
22 
23   def turn_time
24     # Override and return a number
25   end
26 
27   def update
28     # Override
29   end
30 
31   def wait
32     @sub_state = :waiting
33     @started_waiting = Gosu.milliseconds
34     @will_wait_for = wait_time
35     @object.throttle_down = false
36   end
37 
38   def drive
39     @sub_state = :driving
40     @started_driving = Gosu.milliseconds
41     @will_drive_for = drive_time
42     @object.throttle_down = true
43   end
44 
45   def should_change_direction?
46     return true unless @changed_direction_at
47     Gosu.milliseconds - @changed_direction_at >
48       @will_keep_direction_for
49   end
50 
51   def substate_expired?
52     now = Gosu.milliseconds
53     case @sub_state
54     when :waiting
55       true if now - @started_waiting > @will_wait_for
56     when :driving
57       true if now - @started_driving > @will_drive_for
58     else
59       true
60     end
61   end
62 
63   def on_collision(with)
64     change = case rand(0..100)
65     when 0..30
66       -90
67     when 30..60
68       90
69     when 60..70
70       135
71     when 80..90
72       -135
73     else
74       180
75     end
76     @object.physics.change_direction(
77       @object.direction + change)
78   end
79 end

Nothing extraordinary here, and we need a concrete implementation to get a feeling how it would work, therefore let’s examine TankRoamingState. It will be the default state which tank would be in if there were no enemies around.

Tank Roaming State

08-ai/entities/components/ai/tank_roaming_state.rb


 1 class TankRoamingState < TankMotionState
 2   def initialize(object, vision)
 3     super
 4     @object = object
 5     @vision = vision
 6   end
 7 
 8   def update
 9     change_direction if should_change_direction?
10     if substate_expired?
11       rand > 0.3 ? drive : wait
12     end
13   end
14 
15   def change_direction
16     change = case rand(0..100)
17     when 0..30
18       -45
19     when 30..60
20       45
21     when 60..70
22       90
23     when 80..90
24       -90
25     else
26       0
27     end
28     if change != 0
29       @object.physics.change_direction(
30         @object.direction + change)
31     end
32     @changed_direction_at = Gosu.milliseconds
33     @will_keep_direction_for = turn_time
34   end
35 
36   def wait_time
37     rand(500..2000)
38   end
39 
40   def drive_time
41     rand(1000..5000)
42   end
43 
44   def turn_time
45     rand(2000..5000)
46   end
47 end

The logic here:

  1. Tank will randomly change direction every turn_time interval, which is between 2 and 5 seconds.
  2. Tank will choose to drive (80% chance) or to stand still (20% chance).
  3. If tank chose to drive, it will keep driving for drive_time, which is between 1 and 5 seconds.
  4. Same goes with waiting, but wait_time (0.5 - 2 seconds) will be used for duration.
  5. Direction changes and driving / waiting are independent.

This will make an impression that our tank is driving around looking for enemies.

Tank Fighting State

When tank finally sees an opponent, it will start fighting. Fighting motion should be more energetic than roaming, we will need a sharper set of choices in change_direction among other things.

08-ai/entities/components/ai/tank_fighting_state.rb


 1 class TankFightingState < TankMotionState
 2   def initialize(object, vision)
 3     super
 4     @object = object
 5     @vision = vision
 6   end
 7 
 8   def update
 9     change_direction if should_change_direction?
10     if substate_expired?
11       rand > 0.2 ? drive : wait
12     end
13   end
14 
15   def change_direction
16     change = case rand(0..100)
17     when 0..20
18       -45
19     when 20..40
20       45
21     when 40..60
22       90
23     when 60..80
24       -90
25     when 80..90
26       135
27     when 90..100
28       -135
29     end
30     @object.physics.change_direction(
31       @object.direction + change)
32     @changed_direction_at = Gosu.milliseconds
33     @will_keep_direction_for = turn_time
34   end
35 
36   def wait_time
37     rand(300..1000)
38   end
39 
40   def drive_time
41     rand(2000..5000)
42   end
43 
44   def turn_time
45     rand(500..2500)
46   end
47 end

We will have much less waiting and much more driving and turning.

Tank Chasing State

If opponent is fleeing, we will want to set our direction towards the opponent and hit pedal to the metal. No waiting here. AiGun#desired_gun_angle will point directly to our enemy.

08-ai/entities/components/ai/tank_chasing_state.rb


 1 class TankChasingState < TankMotionState
 2   def initialize(object, vision, gun)
 3     super(object, vision)
 4     @object = object
 5     @vision = vision
 6     @gun = gun
 7   end
 8 
 9   def update
10     change_direction if should_change_direction?
11     drive
12   end
13 
14   def change_direction
15     @object.physics.change_direction(
16       @gun.desired_gun_angle -
17       @gun.desired_gun_angle % 45)
18 
19     @changed_direction_at = Gosu.milliseconds
20     @will_keep_direction_for = turn_time
21   end
22 
23   def drive_time
24     10000
25   end
26 
27   def turn_time
28     rand(300..600)
29   end
30 end

Tank Fleeing State

Now, if our health is low, we will do the opposite of chasing. Gun will be pointing and shooting at the opponent, but we want body to move away, so we won’t get ourselves killed. It is very similar to TankChasingState where change_direction adds extra 180 degrees to the equation, but there is one more thing. Tank can only flee for a while. Then it gets itself together and goes into final battle. That’s why we provide can_flee? method that TankMotionFSM will consult with before entering fleeing state.

We have implemented all the states, that means we are moments away from actually playable prototype with tank bots running around and fighting with you and each other.

Wiring Tank Motion States Into Finite State Machine

Implementing TankMotionFSM after we have all motion states ready is surprisingly easy:

08-ai/entities/components/ai/tank_motion_fsm.rb


 1 class TankMotionFSM
 2   STATE_CHANGE_DELAY = 500
 3 
 4   def initialize(object, vision, gun)
 5     @object = object
 6     @vision = vision
 7     @gun = gun
 8     @roaming_state = TankRoamingState.new(object, vision)
 9     @fighting_state = TankFightingState.new(object, vision)
10     @fleeing_state = TankFleeingState.new(object, vision, gun)
11     @chasing_state = TankChasingState.new(object, vision, gun)
12     set_state(@roaming_state)
13   end
14 
15   def on_collision(with)
16     @current_state.on_collision(with)
17   end
18 
19   def on_damage(amount)
20     if @current_state == @roaming_state
21       set_state(@fighting_state)
22     end
23   end
24 
25   def update
26     choose_state
27     @current_state.update
28   end
29 
30   def set_state(state)
31     return unless state
32     return if state == @current_state
33     @last_state_change = Gosu.milliseconds
34     @current_state = state
35     state.enter
36   end
37 
38   def choose_state
39     return unless Gosu.milliseconds -
40       (@last_state_change) > STATE_CHANGE_DELAY
41     if @gun.target
42       if @object.health.health > 40
43         if @gun.distance_to_target > BulletPhysics::MAX_DIST
44           new_state = @chasing_state
45         else
46           new_state = @fighting_state
47         end
48       else
49         if @fleeing_state.can_flee?
50           new_state = @fleeing_state
51         else
52           new_state = @fighting_state
53         end
54       end
55     else
56       new_state = @roaming_state
57     end
58     set_state(new_state)
59   end
60 end

All the logic is in choose_state method, which is pretty ugly and procedural, but it does the job. The code should be easy to understand, so instead of describing it, here is a picture worth thousand words:

First real battle

First real battle

You may notice a new crosshair, which replaced the old one that was never visible:

class Camera
  # ...
  def draw_crosshair
    factor = 0.5
    x = $window.mouse_x
    y = $window.mouse_y
    c = crosshair
    c.draw(x - c.width * factor / 2,
           y - c.height * factor / 2,
           1000, factor, factor)
  end
  # ...
  private

  def crosshair
    @crosshair ||= Gosu::Image.new(
      $window, Utils.media_path('c_dot.png'), false)
  end
end

However this new crosshair didn’t help me win, I got my ass kicked badly. Increasing game window size helped, but we obviously need to fine tune many things in this AI, to make it smart and challenging rather than dumb and deadly accurate.

Making The Prototype Playable

Right now we have a somewhat playable, but boring prototype without any scores or winning conditions. You can just run around and shoot other tanks. Nobody would play a game like this, hence we need to to add the missing parts. There is a crazy amount of them. It is time to give it a thorough play through and write down all the ideas and pain points about the prototype.

Here is my list:

  1. Enemy tanks do not respawn.
  2. Enemy tanks shoot at my current location, not at where I will be when bullet hits me.
  3. Enemy tanks don’t avoid collisions.
  4. Random maps are boring and lack detail, could use more tiles or random environment objects.
  5. Bullets are hard to see on green surface.
  6. Hard to tell where enemies are coming from, radar would help.
  7. Sounds play at full volume even when something happens across the whole map.
  8. My tank should respawn after it’s dead.
  9. Motion and firing mechanics seem clumsy.
  10. Map boundaries are visible when you come to the edge.
  11. Enemy tank movement patterns need polishing and improvement.
  12. Both my tank and enemies don’t have any identity. Sometimes hard to distinguish who is who.
  13. No idea who has most kills. HUD with score and some state that displays score details would help.
  14. Would be great to have random powerups like health, extra damage.
  15. Explosions don’t leave a trace.
  16. Tanks could leave trails.
  17. Dead tanks keep piling up and cluttering the map.
  18. Camera should be scouting ahead of you when you move, not dragging behind.
  19. Bullets seem to accelerate.

This will keep us busy for a while, but in the end we will probably have something that will hopefully be able to entertain people for more than 3 minutes.

Some items on this list are easy fixes. After playing around with Pixelmator for 15 minutes, I ended up with a bullet that is visible on both light and dark backgrounds:

Highly visible bullet

Highly visible bullet

Motion and firing mechanics will either have to be tuned setting by setting, or rewritten from scratch. Implementing score system, powerups and improving enemy AI deserve to have chapters of their own. The rest can be taken care of right away.

Drawing Water Beyond Map Boundaries

We don’t want to see darkness when we come to the edge of game world. Luckily, it is a trivial fix. In Map#draw we check if tile exists in map before drawing it. When tile does not exist, we can draw water instead. And we can always fallback to water tile in Map#tile_at:

class Map
  # ...
  def draw(viewport)
    viewport.map! { |p| p / TILE_SIZE }
    x0, x1, y0, y1 = viewport.map(&:to_i)
    (x0..x1).each do |x|
      (y0..y1).each do |y|
        row = @map[x]
        map_x = x * TILE_SIZE
        map_y = y * TILE_SIZE
        if row
          tile = @map[x][y]
          if tile
            tile.draw(map_x, map_y, 0)
          else
            @water.draw(map_x, map_y, 0)
          end
        else
          @water.draw(map_x, map_y, 0)
        end
      end
    end
  end
  # ...
  private
  # ...
  def tile_at(x, y)
    t_x = ((x / TILE_SIZE) % TILE_SIZE).floor
    t_y = ((y / TILE_SIZE) % TILE_SIZE).floor
    row = @map[t_x]
    row ? row[t_y] : @water
  end
  # ...
end

Now the edge looks much better:

Map edge

Map edge

Generating Tree Clusters

To make the map more fun to play at, we will generate some trees. Let’s start with Tree class:

09-polishing/entities/tree.rb


 1 class Tree < GameObject
 2   attr_reader :x, :y, :health, :graphics
 3 
 4   def initialize(object_pool, x, y, seed)
 5     super(object_pool)
 6     @x, @y = x, y
 7     @graphics = TreeGraphics.new(self, seed)
 8     @health = Health.new(self, object_pool, 30, false)
 9     @angle = rand(-15..15)
10   end
11 
12   def on_collision(object)
13     @graphics.shake(object.direction)
14   end
15 
16   def box
17     [x, y]
18   end
19 end

Nothing fancy here, we want it to shake on collision, and it has graphics and health. seed will used to generate clusters of similar trees. Let’s take a look at TreeGraphics:

09-polishing/entities/components/tree_graphics.rb


 1 class TreeGraphics < Component
 2   SHAKE_TIME = 100
 3   SHAKE_COOLDOWN = 200
 4   SHAKE_DISTANCE = [2, 1, 0, -1, -2, -1, 0, 1, 0, -1, 0]
 5   def initialize(object, seed)
 6     super(object)
 7     load_sprite(seed)
 8   end
 9 
10   def shake(direction)
11     now = Gosu.milliseconds
12     return if @shake_start &&
13       now - @shake_start < SHAKE_TIME + SHAKE_COOLDOWN
14     @shake_start = now
15     @shake_direction = direction
16     @shaking = true
17   end
18 
19   def adjust_shake(x, y, shaking_for)
20     elapsed = [shaking_for, SHAKE_TIME].min / SHAKE_TIME.to_f
21     frame = ((SHAKE_DISTANCE.length - 1) * elapsed).floor
22     distance = SHAKE_DISTANCE[frame]
23     Utils.point_at_distance(x, y, @shake_direction, distance)
24   end
25 
26   def draw(viewport)
27     if @shaking
28       shaking_for = Gosu.milliseconds - @shake_start
29       shaking_x, shaking_y = adjust_shake(
30         center_x, center_y, shaking_for)
31       @tree.draw(shaking_x, shaking_y, 5)
32       if shaking_for >= SHAKE_TIME
33         @shaking = false
34       end
35     else
36       @tree.draw(center_x, center_y, 5)
37     end
38     Utils.mark_corners(object.box) if $debug
39   end
40 
41   def height
42     @tree.height
43   end
44 
45   def width
46     @tree.width
47   end
48 
49   private
50 
51   def load_sprite(seed)
52     frame_list = trees.frame_list
53     frame = frame_list[(frame_list.size * seed).round]
54     @tree = trees.frame(frame)
55   end
56 
57   def center_x
58     @center_x ||= x - @tree.width / 2
59   end
60 
61   def center_y
62     @center_y ||= y - @tree.height / 2
63   end
64 
65   def trees
66     @@trees ||= Gosu::TexturePacker.load_json($window,
67       Utils.media_path('trees_packed.json'))
68   end
69 end

Shaking is probably the most interesting part here. When shake is called, graphics will start drawing tree shifted in given direction by amount defined in SHAKE_DISTANCE array. draw will be stepping through SHAKE_DISTANCE depending on SHAKE_TIME, and it will not be shaken again for SHAKE_COOLDOWN period, to avoid infinite shaking while driving into it.

We also need some adjustments to TankPhysics and Tank to be able to hit trees. First, we want to create an empty on_collision(object) method in GameObject class, so all game objects will be able to collide.

Then, TankPhysics starts calling Tank#on_collision when collision is detected:

class Tank < GameObject
  # ...
  def on_collision(object)
    return unless object
    # Avoid recursion
    if object.class == Tank
      # Inform AI about hit
      object.input.on_collision(object)
    else
      # Call only on non-tanks to avoid recursion
      object.on_collision(self)
    end
    # Bullets should not slow Tanks down
    if object.class != Bullet
      @sounds.collide if @physics.speed > 1
    end
  end
  # ...
end

The final ingredient to our Tree is Health, which is extracted from TankHealth to reduce duplication. TankHealth now extends it:

09-polishing/entities/components/health.rb


 1 class Health < Component
 2   attr_accessor :health
 3 
 4   def initialize(object, object_pool, health, explodes)
 5     super(object)
 6     @explodes = explodes
 7     @object_pool = object_pool
 8     @initial_health = @health = health
 9     @health_updated = true
10   end
11 
12   def restore
13     @health = @initial_health
14     @health_updated = true
15   end
16 
17   def dead?
18     @health < 1
19   end
20 
21   def update
22     update_image
23   end
24 
25   def inflict_damage(amount)
26     if @health > 0
27       @health_updated = true
28       @health = [@health - amount.to_i, 0].max
29       after_death if dead?
30     end
31   end
32 
33   def draw(viewport)
34     return unless draw?
35     @image && @image.draw(
36       x - @image.width / 2,
37       y - object.graphics.height / 2 -
38       @image.height, 100)
39   end
40 
41   protected
42 
43   def draw?
44     $debug
45   end
46 
47   def update_image
48     return unless draw?
49     if @health_updated
50       text = @health.to_s
51       font_size = 18
52       @image = Gosu::Image.from_text(
53           $window, text,
54           Gosu.default_font_name, font_size)
55       @health_updated = false
56     end
57   end
58 
59   def after_death
60     if @explodes
61       if Thread.list.count < 8
62         Thread.new do
63           sleep(rand(0.1..0.3))
64           Explosion.new(@object_pool, x, y)
65           sleep 0.3
66           object.mark_for_removal
67         end
68       else
69         Explosion.new(@object_pool, x, y)
70         object.mark_for_removal
71       end
72     else
73       object.mark_for_removal
74     end
75   end
76 end

Yes, you can make tree explode when it’s destroyed. And it causes cool chain reactions blowing up whole tree clusters. But let’s not do that, because we will add something more appropriate for explosions.

Our Tree is ready to fill the landscape. We will do it in Map class, which will now need to know about ObjectPool, because trees will go there.

class Map
  # ...
  def initialize(object_pool)
    load_tiles
    @object_pool = object_pool
    object_pool.map = self
    @map = generate_map
    generate_trees
  end
  # ...
  def generate_trees
    noises = Perlin::Noise.new(2)
    contrast = Perlin::Curve.contrast(
      Perlin::Curve::CUBIC, 2)
    trees = 0
    target_trees = rand(300..500)
    while trees < target_trees do
      x = rand(0..MAP_WIDTH * TILE_SIZE)
      y = rand(0..MAP_HEIGHT * TILE_SIZE)
      n = noises[x * 0.001, y * 0.001]
      n = contrast.call(n)
      if tile_at(x, y) == @grass && n > 0.5
        Tree.new(@object_pool, x, y, n * 2 - 1)
        trees += 1
      end
    end
  end
  # ...
end

Perlin noise is used in similar fashion as it was when we generated map tiles. We allow creating trees only if noise level is above 0.5, and use noise level as seed value - n * 2 - 1 will be a number between 0 and 1 when n is in 0.5..1 range. And we only allow creating trees on grass tiles.

Now our map looks a little better:

Hiding among procedurally generated trees

Hiding among procedurally generated trees

Generating Random Objects

Trees are great, but we want more detail. Let’s spice things up with explosive boxes and barrels. They will be using the same class with single sprite sheet, so while the sprite will be chosen randomly, behavior will be the same. This new class will be called Box:

09-polishing/entities/box.rb


 1 class Box < GameObject
 2   attr_reader :x, :y, :health, :graphics, :angle
 3 
 4   def initialize(object_pool, x, y)
 5     super(object_pool)
 6     @x, @y = x, y
 7     @graphics = BoxGraphics.new(self)
 8     @health = Health.new(self, object_pool, 10, true)
 9     @angle = rand(-15..15)
10   end
11 
12   def on_collision(object)
13     return unless object.physics.speed > 1.0
14     @x, @y = Utils.point_at_distance(@x, @y, object.direction, 2)
15     @box = nil
16   end
17 
18   def box
19     return @box if @box
20     w = @graphics.width / 2
21     h = @graphics.height / 2
22     # Bounding box adjusted to trim shadows
23     @box = [x - w + 4,     y - h + 8,
24             x + w , y - h + 8,
25             x + w , y + h,
26             x - w + 4,     y + h]
27     @box = Utils.rotate(@angle, @x, @y, *@box)
28   end
29 end

It will be generated with slight random angle, to preserve realistic shadows but give an impression of chaotic placement. Tanks will also be able to push boxes a little on collision, but only when going fast enough. Health component is the same one that Tree has, but initialized with less health and explosive flag is true, so the box will blow up after one hit and deal extra damage to the surroundings.

BoxGraphics is nothing fancy, it just loads random sprite upon initialization:

09-polishing/entities/components/box_graphics.rb


 1 class BoxGraphics < Component
 2   def initialize(object)
 3     super(object)
 4     load_sprite
 5   end
 6 
 7   def draw(viewport)
 8     @box.draw_rot(x, y, 0, object.angle)
 9     Utils.mark_corners(object.box) if $debug
10   end
11 
12   def height
13     @box.height
14   end
15 
16   def width
17     @box.width
18   end
19 
20   private
21 
22   def load_sprite
23     frame = boxes.frame_list.sample
24     @box = boxes.frame(frame)
25   end
26 
27   def center_x
28     @center_x ||= x - width / 2
29   end
30 
31   def center_y
32     @center_y ||= y - height / 2
33   end
34 
35   def boxes
36     @@boxes ||= Gosu::TexturePacker.load_json($window,
37       Utils.media_path('boxes_barrels.json'))
38   end
39 end

Time to generate boxes in our Map. It will be similar to trees, but we won’t need Perlin noise, since there will be way fewer boxes than trees, so we don’t need to form patterns. All we need to do is to check if we’re not generating box on water.

class Map
  # ...
  def initialize(object_pool)
    # ...
    generate_boxes
  end
  # ...
  def generate_boxes
    boxes = 0
    target_boxes = rand(10..30)
    while boxes < target_boxes do
      x = rand(0..MAP_WIDTH * TILE_SIZE)
      y = rand(0..MAP_HEIGHT * TILE_SIZE)
      if tile_at(x, y) != @water
        Box.new(@object_pool, x, y)
        boxes += 1
      end
    end
  end
  # ...
end

Now give it a go. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Boxes and barrels in the jungle

Boxes and barrels in the jungle

Implementing A Radar

With all the visual noise it is getting increasingly difficult to see enemy tanks. That’s why we will implement a Radar to help ourselves.

09-polishing/entities/radar.rb


 1 class Radar
 2   UPDATE_FREQUENCY = 1000
 3   WIDTH = 150
 4   HEIGHT = 100
 5   PADDING = 10
 6   # Black with 33% transparency
 7   BACKGROUND = Gosu::Color.new(255 * 0.33, 0, 0, 0)
 8   attr_accessor :target
 9 
10   def initialize(object_pool, target)
11     @object_pool = object_pool
12     @target = target
13     @last_update = 0
14   end
15 
16   def update
17     if Gosu.milliseconds - @last_update > UPDATE_FREQUENCY
18       @nearby = nil
19     end
20     @nearby ||= @object_pool.nearby(@target, 2000).select do |o|
21       o.class == Tank && !o.health.dead?
22     end
23   end
24 
25   def draw
26     x1, x2, y1, y2 = radar_coords
27     $window.draw_quad(
28       x1, y1, BACKGROUND,
29       x2, y1, BACKGROUND,
30       x2, y2, BACKGROUND,
31       x1, y2, BACKGROUND,
32       200)
33     draw_tank(@target, Gosu::Color::GREEN)
34     @nearby && @nearby.each do |t|
35       draw_tank(t, Gosu::Color::RED)
36     end
37   end
38 
39   private
40 
41   def draw_tank(tank, color)
42     x1, x2, y1, y2 = radar_coords
43     tx = x1 + WIDTH / 2 + (tank.x - @target.x) / 20
44     ty = y1 + HEIGHT / 2 +  (tank.y - @target.y) / 20
45     if (x1..x2).include?(tx) && (y1..y2).include?(ty)
46       $window.draw_quad(
47         tx - 2, ty - 2, color,
48         tx + 2, ty - 2, color,
49         tx + 2, ty + 2, color,
50         tx - 2, ty + 2, color,
51         300)
52     end
53   end
54 
55   def radar_coords
56     x1 = $window.width - WIDTH - PADDING
57     x2 = $window.width - PADDING
58     y1 = $window.height - HEIGHT - PADDING
59     y2 = $window.height - PADDING
60     [x1, x2, y1, y2]
61   end
62 end

Radar, like Camera, also has a target. It uses ObjectPool to query nearby objects and filters out instances of alive Tank. Then it draws a transparent black background and small dots for each tank, green for target, red for the rest.

To avoid querying ObjectPool too often, Radar updates itself only once every second.

It is initialized, updated and drawn in PlayState, right after Camera:

class PlayState < GameState
  # ...
  def initialize
    # ...
    @camera.target = @tank
    @radar = Radar.new(@object_pool, @tank)
    # ...
  end
  # ...
  def update
    # ...
    @camera.update
    @radar.update
    # ...
  end
  # ...
  def draw
    # ...
    @camera.draw_crosshair
    @radar.draw
  end
  # ...
end

Time to enjoy the results.

Radar in action

Radar in action

Dynamic Sound Volume And Panning

We have improved the visuals, but sound is still terrible. Like some superhero, you can hear everything that happens in the map, and it can drive you insane. We will fix that in a moment.

The idea is to make everything that happens further away from camera target sound less loud, until the sound fades away completely. To make player’s experience more immersive, we will also take advantage of stereo speakers - sounds should appear to be coming from the right direction.

Unfortunately, Gosu::Sample#play_pan does not work as one would expect it to. If you play the sample with just a little panning, it completely cuts off the opposite channel, meaning that if you play a sample with pan level of 0.1 (10% to the right), you would expect to hear something in left speaker as well. The actual behavior is that sound plays through the right speaker pretty loudly, and if you increase pan level to, say, 0.7, you will hear the sound through right speaker again, but it will be way more silent.

To implement realistic stereo sounds that come through both speakers when panned, we need to play two samples with opposite pan level. After some experimenting, I discovered that fiddling with pan level makes things sound weird, while playing with volume produces softer, more subtle effect. This is what I ended up having:

09-polishing/misc/stereo_sample.rb


 1 class StereoSample
 2   @@all_instances = []
 3 
 4   def self.register_instances(instances)
 5     @@all_instances << instances
 6   end
 7 
 8   def self.cleanup
 9     @@all_instances.each do |instances|
10       instances.each do |key, instance|
11         unless instance.playing? || instance.paused?
12           instances.delete(key)
13         end
14       end
15     end
16   end
17 
18   def initialize(window, sound_l, sound_r = sound_l)
19     @sound_l = Gosu::Sample.new(window, sound_l)
20     # Use same sample in mono -> stereo
21     if sound_l == sound_r
22       @sound_r = @sound_l
23     else
24       @sound_r = Gosu::Sample.new(window, sound_r)
25     end
26     @instances = {}
27     self.class.register_instances(@instances)
28   end
29 
30   def paused?(id = :default)
31     i = @instances["#{id}_l"]
32     i && i.paused?
33   end
34 
35   def playing?(id = :default)
36     i = @instances["#{id}_l"]
37     i && i.playing?
38   end
39 
40   def stopped?(id = :default)
41     @instances["#{id}_l"].nil?
42   end
43 
44   def play(id = :default, pan = 0,
45            volume = 1, speed = 1, looping = false)
46     @instances["#{id}_l"] = @sound_l.play_pan(
47       -0.2, 0, speed, looping)
48     @instances["#{id}_r"] = @sound_r.play_pan(
49       0.2, 0, speed, looping)
50     volume_and_pan(id, volume, pan)
51   end
52 
53   def pause(id = :default)
54     @instances["#{id}_l"].pause
55     @instances["#{id}_r"].pause
56   end
57 
58   def resume(id = :default)
59     @instances["#{id}_l"].resume
60     @instances["#{id}_r"].resume
61   end
62 
63   def stop
64     @instances.delete("#{id}_l").stop
65     @instances.delete("#{id}_r").stop
66   end
67 
68   def volume_and_pan(id, volume, pan)
69     if pan > 0
70       pan_l = 1 - pan * 2
71       pan_r = 1
72     else
73       pan_l = 1
74       pan_r = 1 + pan * 2
75     end
76     pan_l *= volume
77     pan_r *= volume
78     @instances["#{id}_l"].volume = [pan_l, 0.05].max
79     @instances["#{id}_r"].volume = [pan_r, 0.05].max
80   end
81 end

StereoSample manages stereo playback of sample instances, and to avoid memory leaks, it has cleanup that scans all sample instances and removes samples that have finished playing. For this removal to work, we need to place a call to StereoSample.cleanup inside PlayState#update method.

To determine correct pan and volume, we will create some helper methods in Utils module:

module Utils
  HEARING_DISTANCE = 1000.0
  # ...
  def self.volume(object, camera)
    return 1 if object == camera.target
    distance = Utils.distance_between(
      camera.target.x, camera.target.y,
      object.x, object.y)
    distance = [(HEARING_DISTANCE - distance), 0].max
    distance / HEARING_DISTANCE
  end

  def self.pan(object, camera)
    return 0 if object == camera.target
    pan = object.x - camera.target.x
    sig = pan > 0 ? 1 : -1
    pan = (pan % HEARING_DISTANCE) / HEARING_DISTANCE
    if sig > 0
      pan
    else
      -1 + pan
    end
  end

  def self.volume_and_pan(object, camera)
    [volume(object, camera), pan(object, camera)]
  end
end

Apparently, having access to Camera is necessary for calculating sound volume and pan, so we will add attr_accessor :camera to ObjectPool class and assign it in PlayState constructor. You may wonder why we didn’t use Camera#target right away. The answer is that camera can change it’s target. E.g. when your tank dies, new instance will be generated when you respawn, so if all other objects would still have the reference to your old tank, guess what you would hear?

Remastered TankSounds component is probably the most elaborate example of how StereoSample should be used:

09-polishing/entities/components/tank_sounds.rb


 1 class TankSounds < Component
 2   def initialize(object, object_pool)
 3     super(object)
 4     @object_pool = object_pool
 5   end
 6 
 7   def update
 8     id = object.object_id
 9     if object.physics.moving?
10       move_volume = Utils.volume(
11         object, @object_pool.camera)
12       pan = Utils.pan(object, @object_pool.camera)
13       if driving_sound.paused?(id)
14         driving_sound.resume(id)
15       elsif driving_sound.stopped?(id)
16         driving_sound.play(id, pan, 0.5, 1, true)
17       end
18       driving_sound.volume_and_pan(id, move_volume * 0.5, pan)
19     else
20       if driving_sound.playing?(id)
21         driving_sound.pause(id)
22       end
23     end
24   end
25 
26   def collide
27     vol, pan = Utils.volume_and_pan(
28       object, @object_pool.camera)
29     crash_sound.play(self.object_id, pan, vol, 1, false)
30   end
31 
32   private
33 
34   def driving_sound
35     @@driving_sound ||= StereoSample.new(
36       $window, Utils.media_path('tank_driving.mp3'))
37   end
38 
39   def crash_sound
40     @@crash_sound ||= StereoSample.new(
41       $window, Utils.media_path('metal_interaction2.wav'))
42   end
43 end

And this is how static ExplosionSounds looks like:

09-polishing/entities/components/explosion_sounds.rb


 1 class ExplosionSounds
 2   class << self
 3     def play(object, camera)
 4       volume, pan = Utils.volume_and_pan(object, camera)
 5       sound.play(object.object_id, pan, volume)
 6     end
 7 
 8     private
 9 
10     def sound
11       @@sound ||= StereoSample.new(
12         $window, Utils.media_path('explosion.mp3'))
13     end
14   end
15 end

After wiring everything so that sound components have access to ObjectPool, the rest is straightforward.

Giving Enemies Identity

Wouldn’t it be great if you could tell yourself apart from the enemies. Moreover, enemies could have names, so you would know which one is more aggressive or have, you know, personal issues with someone.

To do that we need to ask the player to input a nickname, and choose some funny names for each enemy AI. Here is a nice list we will grab: http://www.paulandstorm.com/wha/clown-names/

We first compile everything into a text filed called names.txt, that looks like this:

media/names.txt


Strippy
Boffo
Buffo
Drips
...

Now we need a class to parse the list and give out random names from it. We also want to limit name length to something that displays nicely.

09-polishing/misc/names.rb


 1 class Names
 2   def initialize(file)
 3     @names = File.read(file).split("\n").reject do |n|
 4       n.size > 12
 5     end
 6   end
 7 
 8   def random
 9     name = @names.sample
10     @names.delete(name)
11     name
12   end
13 end

Then we need to place those names somewhere. We could assign them to tanks, but think ahead - if our player and AI enemies will respawn, we should give names to inputs, because Tank is replaceable, driver is not. Well, it is, but let’s not get too deep into it.

For now we just add name parameter to PlayerInput and AiInput initializers, save it in @name instance variable, and then add draw(viewport) method to make it render below the tank:

# 09-polishing/entities/components/player_input.rb
class PlayerInput < Component
  # Dark green
  NAME_COLOR = Gosu::Color.argb(0xee084408)

  def initialize(name, camera)
    super(nil)
    @name = name
    @camera = camera
  end
  # ...
  def draw(viewport)
    @name_image ||= Gosu::Image.from_text(
      $window, @name, Gosu.default_font_name, 20)
    @name_image.draw(
      x - @name_image.width / 2 - 1,
      y + object.graphics.height / 2, 100,
      1, 1, Gosu::Color::WHITE)
    @name_image.draw(
      x - @name_image.width / 2,
      y + object.graphics.height / 2, 100,
      1, 1, NAME_COLOR)
  end
  # ...
end

# 09-polishing/entities/components/ai_input.rb
class AiInput < Component
  # Dark red
  NAME_COLOR = Gosu::Color.argb(0xeeb10000)

  def initialize(name, object_pool)
    super(nil)
    @object_pool = object_pool
    @name = name
    @last_update = Gosu.milliseconds
  end
  # ...
  def draw(viewport)
    @motion.draw(viewport)
    @gun.draw(viewport)
    @name_image ||= Gosu::Image.from_text(
      $window, @name, Gosu.default_font_name, 20)
    @name_image.draw(
      x - @name_image.width / 2 - 1,
      y + object.graphics.height / 2, 100,
      1, 1, Gosu::Color::WHITE)
    @name_image.draw(
      x - @name_image.width / 2,
      y + object.graphics.height / 2, 100,
      1, 1, NAME_COLOR)
  end
  # ...
end

We can see that generic Input class can be easily extracted, but let’s follow the Rule of three and not do premature refactoring.

Instead, run the game and enjoy dying from a bunch of mad clowns.

Identity makes a difference

Identity makes a difference

Respawning Tanks And Removing Dead Ones

To implement respawning we could use Map#find_spawn_point every time we wanted to respawn, but it may get slow, because it brute forces the map for random spots that are not water. We don’t want our game to start freezing when tanks are respawning, so we will change how tank spawning works. Instead of looking for a new respawn point all the time, we will pre-generate several of them for reuse.

class Map
  # ...
  def spawn_points(max)
    @spawn_points = (0..max).map do
      find_spawn_point
    end
    @spawn_points_pointer = 0
  end

  def spawn_point
    @spawn_points[(@spawn_points_pointer += 1) % @spawn_points.size]
  end
  # ...
end

Here we have spawn_points method that prepares a number of spawn points and stores them in @spawn_points instance variable, and spawn_point method that cycles through all @spawn_points and returns them one by one. find_spawn_point can now become private.

We will use Map#spawn_points when initializing PlayState and pass ObjectPool to PlayerInput (AiInput already has it), so that we will be able to call @object_pool.map.spawn_point when needed.

class PlayState < GameState
  # ...
  def initialize
    # ...
    @map = Map.new(@object_pool)
    @map.spawn_points(15)
    @tank = Tank.new(@object_pool,
      PlayerInput.new('Player', @camera, @object_pool))
    # ...
    10.times do |i|
      Tank.new(@object_pool, AiInput.new(
        @names.random, @object_pool))
    end
  end
  # ...
end

When tank dies, we want it to stay dead for 5 seconds and then respawn in one of our predefined spawn points. We will achieve that by adding respawn method and calling it in PlayerInput#update and AiInput#update if tank is dead.

# 09-polishing/entities/components/player_input.rb
class PlayerInput < Component
  # ...
  def update
    return respawn if object.health.dead?
    # ...
  end
  # ...
  private

  def respawn
    if object.health.should_respawn?
      object.health.restore
      object.x, object.y = @object_pool.map.spawn_point
      @camera.x, @camera.y = x, y
      PlayerSounds.respawn(object, @camera)
    end
  end
  # ...
end

# 09-polishing/entities/components/ai_input.rb
class AiInput < Component
  # ...
  def update
    return respawn if object.health.dead?
    # ...
  end
  # ...
  private

  def respawn
    if object.health.should_respawn?
      object.health.restore
      object.x, object.y = @object_pool.map.spawn_point
      PlayerSounds.respawn(object, @object_pool.camera)
    end
  end
end

We need some changes in TankHealth class too:

class TankHealth < Health
  RESPAWN_DELAY = 5000
  # ...
  def should_respawn?
    Gosu.milliseconds - @death_time > RESPAWN_DELAY
  end
  # ...
  def after_death
    @death_time = Gosu.milliseconds
    # ...
  end
end

class Health < Component
  # ...
  def restore
    @health = @initial_health
    @health_updated = true
  end
  # ...
end

It shouldn’t be hard to put everything together and enjoy the never ending gameplay.

You may have noticed that we also added a sound that will be played when player respawns. A nice “whoosh”.

09-polishing/entities/components/player_sounds.rb


 1 class PlayerSounds
 2   class << self
 3     def respawn(object, camera)
 4       volume, pan = Utils.volume_and_pan(object, camera)
 5       respawn_sound.play(object.object_id, pan, volume * 0.5)
 6     end
 7 
 8     private
 9 
10     def respawn_sound
11       @@respawn ||= StereoSample.new(
12         $window, Utils.media_path('respawn.wav'))
13     end
14   end
15 end

Displaying Explosion Damage Trails

When something blows up, you expect it to leave a trail, right? In our case explosions disappear as if nothing has ever happened, and we just can’t leave it like this. Let’s introduce Damage game object that will be responsible for displaying explosion residue on sand and grass:

09-polishing/entities/damage.rb


 1 class Damage < GameObject
 2   MAX_INSTANCES = 100
 3   attr_accessor :x, :y
 4   @@instances = []
 5 
 6   def initialize(object_pool, x, y)
 7     super(object_pool)
 8     DamageGraphics.new(self)
 9     @x, @y = x, y
10     track(self)
11   end
12 
13   def effect?
14     true
15   end
16 
17   private
18 
19   def track(instance)
20     if @@instances.size < MAX_INSTANCES
21       @@instances << instance
22     else
23       out = @@instances.shift
24       out.mark_for_removal
25       @@instances << instance
26     end
27   end
28 end

Damage tracks it’s instances and starts removing old ones when MAX_INSTANCES are reached. Without this optimization, the game would get increasingly slower every time somebody shoots.

We have also added a new game object trait - effect? returns true on Damage and Explosion, false on Tank, Tree, Box and Bullet. That way we can filter out effects when querying ObjectPool#nearby for collisions or enemies.

09-polishing/entities/object_pool.rb


 1 class ObjectPool
 2   attr_accessor :objects, :map, :camera
 3 
 4   def initialize
 5     @objects = []
 6   end
 7 
 8   def nearby(object, max_distance)
 9     non_effects.select do |obj|
10       obj != object &&
11         (obj.x - object.x).abs < max_distance &&
12         (obj.y - object.y).abs < max_distance &&
13         Utils.distance_between(
14           obj.x, obj.y, object.x, object.y) < max_distance
15     end
16   end
17 
18   def non_effects
19     @objects.reject(&:effect?)
20   end
21 end

When it comes to rendering graphics, to make an impression of randomness, we will cycle through several different damage images and draw them rotated:

09-polishing/entities/components/damage_graphics.rb


 1 class DamageGraphics < Component
 2   def initialize(object_pool)
 3     super
 4     @image = images.sample
 5     @angle = rand(0..360)
 6   end
 7 
 8   def draw(viewport)
 9     @image.draw_rot(x, y, 0, @angle)
10   end
11 
12   private
13 
14   def images
15     @@images ||= (1..4).map do |i|
16       Gosu::Image.new($window,
17         Utils.media_path("damage#{i}.png"), false)
18     end
19   end
20 end

Explosion will be responsible for creating Damage instances on solid ground, just before explosion animation starts:

class Explosion < GameObject
  def initialize(object_pool, x, y)
    # ...
    if @object_pool.map.can_move_to?(x, y)
      Damage.new(@object_pool, @x, @y)
    end
    # ...
  end
  # ...
end

And this is how the result looks like:

Damaged battlefield

Damaged battlefield

Debugging Bullet Physics

When playing the game, there is a feeling that bullets start out slow when fired and gain speed as time goes. Let’s review BulletPhysics#update and think why this is happening:

class BulletPhysics < Component
  # ...
  def update
    fly_speed = Utils.adjust_speed(object.speed)
    fly_distance = (Gosu.milliseconds - object.fired_at) *
      0.001 * fly_speed / 2
    object.x, object.y = point_at_distance(fly_distance)
    check_hit
    object.explode if arrived?
  end
  # ...
end

Flaw here is very obvious. Gosu.milliseconds - object.fired_at will be increasingly bigger as time goes, thus increasing fly_distance. The fix is straightforward - we want to calculate fly_distance using time passed between calls to BulletPhysics#update, like this:

class BulletPhysics < Component
  # ...
  def update
    fly_speed = Utils.adjust_speed(object.speed)
    now = Gosu.milliseconds
    @last_update ||= object.fired_at
    fly_distance = (now - @last_update) * 0.001 * fly_speed
    object.x, object.y = point_at_distance(fly_distance)
    @last_update = now
    check_hit
    object.explode if arrived?
  end
  # ...
end

But if you would run the game now, bullets would fly so slow, that you would feel like Neo in The Matrix. To fix that, we will have to tell our tank to fire bullets a little faster.

class Tank < GameObject
  # ...
  def shoot(target_x, target_y)
    if can_shoot?
      @last_shot = Gosu.milliseconds
      Bullet.new(object_pool, @x, @y, target_x, target_y)
        .fire(self, 1500) # Old value was 100
    end
  end
  # ...
end

Now bullets fly like they are supposed to. I can only wonder why haven’t I noticed this bug in the very beginning.

Making Camera Look Ahead

One of the most annoying things with current state of prototype is that Camera is dragging behind instead of showing what is in the direction you are moving. To fix the issue, we need to change the way how Camera moves around. First we need to know where Camera wants to be. We will use Utils.point_at_distance to choose a spot ahead of the Tank. Then, Camera#update needs to be rewritten, so Camera can dynamically adjust to it’s desired spot. Here are the changes:

class Camera
  # ...
  def desired_spot
    if @target.physics.moving?
      Utils.point_at_distance(
        @target.x, @target.y,
        @target.direction,
        @target.physics.speed.ceil * 25)
    else
      [@target.x, @target.y]
    end
  end
  # ...
  def update
    des_x, des_y = desired_spot
    shift = Utils.adjust_speed(
      @target.physics.speed).floor + 1
    if @x < des_x
      if des_x - @x < shift
        @x = des_x
      else
        @x += shift
      end
    elsif @x > des_x
      if @x - des_x < shift
        @x = des_x
      else
        @x -= shift
      end
    end
    if @y < des_y
      if des_y - @y < shift
        @y = des_y
      else
        @y += shift
      end
    elsif @y > des_y
      if @y - des_y < shift
        @y = des_y
      else
        @y -= shift
      end
    end
    # ...
  end
  # ...
end

It wouldn’t win code style awards, but it does the job. Game is now much more playable.

Reviewing The Changes

Let’s get back to our list of improvements to see what we have done:

  1. Enemy tanks do not respawn.
  2. Random maps are boring and lack detail, could use more tiles or random environment objects.
  3. Bullets are hard to see on green surface.
  4. Hard to tell where enemies are coming from, radar would help.
  5. Sounds play at full volume even when something happens across The whole map.
  6. My tank should respawn after it’s dead.
  7. Map boundaries are visible when you come to the edge.
  8. Both my tank and enemies don’t have any identity. Sometimes hard to distinguish who is who.
  9. Explosions don’t leave a trace.
  10. Dead tanks keep piling up and cluttering the map.
  11. Camera should be scouting ahead of you when you move, not dragging behind.
  12. Bullets seem to accelerate.

Not bad for a start. This is what we still need to cover in next couple of chapters:

  1. Enemy tanks shoot at my current location, not at where I will be when bullet hits me.
  2. Enemy tanks don’t avoid collisions.
  3. Enemy tank movement patterns need polishing and improvement.
  4. No idea who has most kills. HUD with score and some state that displays score details would
  5. Would be great to have random powerups like health, extra damage.
  6. Motion and firing mechanics seem clumsy. help.
  7. Tanks could leave trails.

I will add “Optimize ObjectPool performance”, because game starts slowing down when too many objects are added to the pool, and profiling shows that Array#select, which is the heart of ObjectPool#nearby, is the main cause. Speed is one of most important features of any game, so let’s not hesitate to improve it.

Dealing With Thousands Of Game Objects

Gosu is blazing fast when it comes to drawing, but there are more things going on. Namely, we use ObjectPool#nearby quite often to loop through thousands of objects 60 times per second to measure distances among them. This slows everything down when object pool grows.

To demonstrate the effect, we will generate 1500 trees, 30 tanks, ~100 boxes and leave 1000 damage trails from explosions. It was enough to drop FPS below 30:

Running slow with thousands of game objects

Running slow with thousands of game objects

Spatial Partitioning

There is a solution for this particular problem is “Spatial Partitioning”, and the essence of it is that you have to use a tree-like data structure that divides space into regions, places objects there and lets you query itself in logarithmic time, omitting objects that fall out of query region. Spatial Partitioning is explained well in Game Programming Patterns.

Probably the most appropriate data structure for our 2D game is quadtree. To quote Wikipedia, “quadtrees are most often used to partition a two-dimensional space by recursively subdividing it into four quadrants or regions.” Here is how it looks like:

Visual representation of quadtree

Visual representation of quadtree

Implementing A Quadtree

There are some implementations of quadtree available for Ruby - rquad, rubyquadtree and rubyquad, but it seems easy to implement, so we will build one tailored (read: closely coupled) to our game using the pseudo code from Wikipedia.

Axis Aligned Bounding Box

One of prerequisites of quadtree is Axis aligned bounding box, sometimes referred to as “AABB”. It is simply a box that surrounds the shape but has edges that are in parallel with the axes of underlying coordinate system. The advantage of this box is that it gives a rough estimate where the shape is and is very efficient when it comes to querying if a point is inside or outside it.

Axis aligned bounding box with center point and half dimension

Axis aligned bounding box with center point and half dimension

To define axis aligned bounding box, we need it’s center point and half dimension vector, which points from center point to one of the corners of the box, and two methods, one that tells if AABB contains a point, and one that tells if AABB intersects with another AABB. This is how our implementation looks like:

10-partitioning/misc/axis_aligned_bounding_box.rb


 1 class AxisAlignedBoundingBox
 2   attr_reader :center, :half_dimension
 3   def initialize(center, half_dimension)
 4     @center = center
 5     @half_dimension = half_dimension
 6     @dhx = (@half_dimension[0] - @center[0]).abs
 7     @dhy = (@half_dimension[1] - @center[1]).abs
 8   end
 9 
10   def contains?(point)
11     return false unless (@center[0] + @dhx) >= point[0]
12     return false unless (@center[0] - @dhx) <= point[0]
13     return false unless (@center[1] + @dhy) >= point[1]
14     return false unless (@center[1] - @dhy) <= point[1]
15     true
16   end
17 
18   def intersects?(other)
19     ocx, ocy = other.center
20     ohx, ohy = other.half_dimension
21     odhx = (ohx - ocx).abs
22     return false unless (@center[0] + @dhx) >= (ocx - odhx)
23     return false unless (@center[0] - @dhx) <= (ocx + odhx)
24     odhy = (ohy - ocy).abs
25     return false unless (@center[1] + @dhy) >= (ocy - odhy)
26     return false unless (@center[1] - @dhy) <= (ocy + odhy)
27     true
28   end
29 
30   def to_s
31     "c: #{@center}, h: #{@half_dimension}"
32   end
33 end

If you dig in 10-partitioning/specs, you will find tests for this implementation too.

The math used in AxisAlignedBoundingBox#contains? and AxisAlignedBoundingBox#intersects? is fairly simple and hopefully very fast, because these methods will be called billions of times throughout the game.

QuadTree For Game Objects

To implement the glorious QuadTree itself, we need to initialize it with boundary, that is defined by an instance of AxisAlignedBoundingBox and provide methods for inserting, removing and querying the tree. Private QuadTree#subdivide method will be called when we try to insert an object into a tree that has more objects than it’s NODE_CAPACITY.

10-partitioning/misc/quad_tree.rb


 1 class QuadTree
 2   NODE_CAPACITY = 12
 3   attr_accessor :ne, :nw, :se, :sw, :objects
 4 
 5   def initialize(boundary)
 6     @boundary = boundary
 7     @objects = []
 8   end
 9 
10   def insert(game_object)
11     return false unless @boundary.contains?(
12       game_object.location)
13 
14     if @objects.size < NODE_CAPACITY
15       @objects << game_object
16       return true
17     end
18 
19     subdivide unless @nw
20 
21     return true if @nw.insert(game_object)
22     return true if @ne.insert(game_object)
23     return true if @sw.insert(game_object)
24     return true if @se.insert(game_object)
25 
26     # should never happen
27     raise "Failed to insert #{game_object}"
28   end
29 
30   def remove(game_object)
31     return false unless @boundary.contains?(
32       game_object.location)
33     if @objects.delete(game_object)
34       return true
35     end
36     return false unless @nw
37     return true if @nw.remove(game_object)
38     return true if @ne.remove(game_object)
39     return true if @sw.remove(game_object)
40     return true if @se.remove(game_object)
41     false
42   end
43 
44   def query_range(range)
45     result = []
46     unless @boundary.intersects?(range)
47       return result
48     end
49 
50     @objects.each do |o|
51       if range.contains?(o.location)
52         result << o
53       end
54     end
55 
56     # Not subdivided
57     return result unless @ne
58 
59     result += @nw.query_range(range)
60     result += @ne.query_range(range)
61     result += @sw.query_range(range)
62     result += @se.query_range(range)
63 
64     result
65   end
66 
67   private
68 
69   def subdivide
70     cx, cy = @boundary.center
71     hx, hy = @boundary.half_dimension
72     hhx = (cx - hx).abs / 2.0
73     hhy = (cy - hy).abs / 2.0
74     @nw = QuadTree.new(
75       AxisAlignedBoundingBox.new(
76         [cx - hhx, cy - hhy],
77         [cx, cy]))
78     @ne = QuadTree.new(
79       AxisAlignedBoundingBox.new(
80         [cx + hhx, cy - hhy],
81         [cx, cy]))
82     @sw = QuadTree.new(
83       AxisAlignedBoundingBox.new(
84         [cx - hhx, cy + hhy],
85         [cx, cy]))
86     @se = QuadTree.new(
87       AxisAlignedBoundingBox.new(
88         [cx + hhx, cy + hhy],
89         [cx, cy]))
90   end
91 end

This is a vanilla quadtree that stores instances of GameObject and uses GameObject#location for indexing objects in space. It also has specs that you can find in code samples.

You can experiment with QuadTree#NODE_CAPACITY, but I found that values between 8 and 16 works best, so I settled with 12.

Integrating ObjectPool With QuadTree

We have implemented a QuadTree, but it is not yet incorporated into our game. To do that, we will hook it into ObjectPool and try to keep the old interface intact, so that ObjectPool#nearby will still work as usual, but will be able to cope with way more objects than before.

10-partitioning/entities/object_pool.rb


 1 class ObjectPool
 2   attr_accessor :map, :camera, :objects
 3 
 4   def size
 5     @objects.size
 6   end
 7 
 8   def initialize(box)
 9     @tree = QuadTree.new(box)
10     @objects = []
11   end
12 
13   def add(object)
14     @objects << object
15     @tree.insert(object)
16   end
17 
18   def tree_remove(object)
19     @tree.remove(object)
20   end
21 
22   def tree_insert(object)
23     @tree.insert(object)
24   end
25 
26   def update_all
27     @objects.map(&:update)
28     @objects.reject! do |o|
29       if o.removable?
30         @tree.remove(o)
31         true
32       end
33     end
34   end
35 
36   def nearby(object, max_distance)
37     cx, cy = object.location
38     hx, hy = cx + max_distance, cy + max_distance
39     # Fast, rough results
40     results = @tree.query_range(
41       AxisAlignedBoundingBox.new([cx, cy], [hx, hy]))
42     # Sift through to select fine-grained results
43     results.select do |o|
44       o != object &&
45         Utils.distance_between(
46           o.x, o.y, object.x, object.y) <= max_distance
47     end
48   end
49 
50   def query_range(box)
51     @tree.query_range(box)
52   end
53 end

An old fashioned array of all objects is still used, because we still need to loop through everything and invoke GameObject#update. ObjectPool#query_range was introduced to quickly grab objects that have to be rendered on screen, and ObjectPool#nearby now queries tree and measures distances only on rough result set.

This is how we will render things from now on:

class PlayState < GameState
  # ...
  def draw
    cam_x = @camera.x
    cam_y = @camera.y
    off_x =  $window.width / 2 - cam_x
    off_y =  $window.height / 2 - cam_y
    viewport = @camera.viewport
    x1, x2, y1, y2 = viewport
    box = AxisAlignedBoundingBox.new(
      [x1 + (x2 - x1) / 2, y1 + (y2 - y1) / 2],
      [x1 - Map::TILE_SIZE, y1 - Map::TILE_SIZE])
    $window.translate(off_x, off_y) do
      zoom = @camera.zoom
      $window.scale(zoom, zoom, cam_x, cam_y) do
        @map.draw(viewport)
        @object_pool.query_range(box).map do |o|
          o.draw(viewport)
        end
      end
    end
    @camera.draw_crosshair
    @radar.draw
  end
  # ...
end

Moving Objects In QuadTree

There is one more errand we now have to take care of. Everything works fine when things are static, but when tanks and bullets move, we need to update them in our QuadTree. That’s why ObjectPool has tree_remove and tree_insert, which are called from GameObject#move. From now on, the only way to change object’s location will be by using GameObject#move:

class GameObject
  attr_reader :x, :y, :location, :components
  def initialize(object_pool, x, y)
    @x, @y = x, y
    @location = [x, y]
    @components = []
    @object_pool = object_pool
    @object_pool.add(self)
  end

  def move(new_x, new_y)
    return if new_x == @x && new_y == @y
    @object_pool.tree_remove(self)
    @x = new_x
    @y = new_y
    @location = [new_x, new_y]
    @object_pool.tree_insert(self)
  end
  # ...
end

At this point we have to go through all the game objects and change how they initialize their base class and update x and y coordinates, but we won’t cover that here. If in doubt, refer to code at 10-partitioning.

Finally, FPS is back to stable 60 and we can focus on gameplay again.

Spatial partitioning saves the day

Spatial partitioning saves the day

Implementing Powerups

Game would become more strategic if there were ways to repair your damaged tank, boost it’s speed or increase rate of fire by picking up various powerups. This should not be too difficult to implement. We will use some of these images:

Powerups

Powerups

For now, there will be four kinds of powerups:

  1. Repair damage. Wrench badge will restore damaged tank’s health back to 100 when picked up.
  2. Health boost. Green +1 badge will add 25 health, up to 200 total, if you keep picking them up.
  3. Fire boost. Double bullet badge will increase reload speed by 25%, up to 200% if you keep picking them up.
  4. Speed boost. Airplane badge will increase movement speed by 10%, up to 150% if you keep picking them up

These powerups will be placed randomly around the map, and will automatically respawn 30 seconds after pickup.

Implementing Base Powerup

Before rushing forward to implement this, we have to do some research and think how to elegantly integrate this into the whole game. First, let’s agree that Powerup is a GameObject. It will have graphics, sounds and it’s coordinates. Effects can by applied by harnessing GameObject#on_collision - when Tank collides with Powerup, it gets it.

11-powerups/entities/powerups/powerup.rb


 1 class Powerup < GameObject
 2   def initialize(object_pool, x, y)
 3     super
 4     PowerupGraphics.new(self, graphics)
 5   end
 6 
 7   def box
 8     [x - 8, y - 8,
 9      x + 8, y - 8,
10      x + 8, y + 8,
11      x - 8, y + 8]
12   end
13 
14   def on_collision(object)
15     if pickup(object)
16       PowerupSounds.play(object, object_pool.camera)
17       remove
18     end
19   end
20 
21   def pickup(object)
22     # override and implement application
23   end
24 
25   def remove
26     object_pool.powerup_respawn_queue.enqueue(
27       respawn_delay,
28       self.class, x, y)
29     mark_for_removal
30   end
31 
32   def respawn_delay
33     30
34   end
35 end

Ignore Powerup#remove, we will get to it when implementing PowerupRespawnQueue. The rest should be straightforward.

Implementing Powerup Graphics

All powerups will use the same sprite sheet, so there could be a single PowerupGraphics class that will be rendering given sprite type. We will use gosu-texture-packer gem, since sprite sheet is conveniently packed already.

11-powerups/entities/components/powerup_graphics.rb


 1 class PowerupGraphics < Component
 2   def initialize(object, type)
 3     super(object)
 4     @type = type
 5   end
 6 
 7   def draw(viewport)
 8     image.draw(x - 12, y - 12, 1)
 9     Utils.mark_corners(object.box) if $debug
10   end
11 
12   private
13 
14   def image
15     @image ||= images.frame("#{@type}.png")
16   end
17 
18   def images
19     @@images ||= Gosu::TexturePacker.load_json(
20       $window, Utils.media_path('pickups.json'))
21   end
22 end

Implementing Powerup Sounds

It’s even simpler with sounds. All powerups will emit a mellow “bleep” when picked up, so PowerupSounds can be completely static, like ExplosionSounds or BulletSounds:

11-powerups/entities/components/powerup_sounds.rb


 1 class PowerupSounds
 2   class << self
 3     def play(object, camera)
 4       volume, pan = Utils.volume_and_pan(object, camera)
 5       sound.play(object.object_id, pan, volume)
 6     end
 7 
 8     private
 9 
10     def sound
11       @@sound ||= StereoSample.new(
12         $window, Utils.media_path('powerup.mp3'))
13     end
14   end
15 end

Implementing Repair Damage Powerup

Repairing broken tank is probably the most important powerup of them all, so let’s implement it first:

11-powerups/entities/powerups/repair_powerup.rb


 1 class RepairPowerup < Powerup
 2   def pickup(object)
 3     if object.class == Tank
 4       if object.health.health < 100
 5         object.health.restore
 6       end
 7       true
 8     end
 9   end
10 
11   def graphics
12     :repair
13   end
14 end

This was incredibly simple. Health#restore already existed since we had to respawn our tanks. We can only hope other powerups are as simple to implement as this one.

Implementing Health Boost

Repairing damage is great, but how about boosting some extra health for upcoming battles? Health boost to the rescue:

11-powerups/entities/powerups/health_powerup.rb


 1 class HealthPowerup < Powerup
 2   def pickup(object)
 3     if object.class == Tank
 4       object.health.increase(25)
 5       true
 6     end
 7   end
 8 
 9   def graphics
10     :life_up
11   end
12 end

This time we have to implement Health#increase, but it is pretty simple:

class Health < Component
  # ...
  def increase(amount)
    @health = [@health + 25, @initial_health * 2].min
    @health_updated = true
  end
  # ...
end

Since Tank has @initial_health equal to 100, increasing health won’t go over 200, which is exactly what we want.

Implementing Fire Rate Boost

How about boosting tank’s fire rate?

11-powerups/entities/powerups/fire_rate_powerup.rb


 1 class FireRatePowerup < Powerup
 2   def pickup(object)
 3     if object.class == Tank
 4       if object.fire_rate_modifier < 2
 5         object.fire_rate_modifier += 0.25
 6       end
 7       true
 8     end
 9   end
10 
11   def graphics
12     :straight_gun
13   end
14 end

We need to introduce @fire_rate_modifier in Tank class and use it when calling Tank#can_shoot?:

class Tank < GameObject
  # ...
  attr_accessor :fire_rate_modifier
  # ...
  def can_shoot?
    Gosu.milliseconds - (@last_shot || 0) >
      (SHOOT_DELAY / @fire_rate_modifier)
  end
  # ...
  def reset_modifiers
    @fire_rate_modifier = 1
  end
  # ...
end

Tank#reset_modifier should be called when respawning, since we want tanks to lose their powerups when they die. It can be done in TankHealth#after_death:

class TankHealth < Health
  # ...
  def after_death
    object.reset_modifiers
    # ...
  end
end

Implementing Tank Speed Boost

Tank speed boost is very similar to fire rate powerup:

11-powerups/entities/powerups/tank_speed_powerup.rb


 1 class TankSpeedPowerup < Powerup
 2   def pickup(object)
 3     if object.class == Tank
 4       if object.speed_modifier < 1.5
 5         object.speed_modifier += 0.10
 6       end
 7       true
 8     end
 9   end
10 
11   def graphics
12     :wingman
13   end
14 end

We have to add @speed_modifier to Tank class and use it in TankPhysics#update when calculating movement distance.

# 11-powerups/entities/tank.rb
class Tank < GameObject
  # ...
  attr_accessor :speed_modifier
  # ...
  def reset_modifiers
    # ...
    @speed_modifier = 1
  end
  # ...
end

# 11-powerups/entities/components/tank_physics.rb
class TankPhysics < Component
  # ...
  def update
    # ...
      new_x, new_y = x, y
      speed = apply_movement_penalty(@speed)
      shift = Utils.adjust_speed(speed) * object.speed_modifier
    # ...
  end
  # ...
end

Camera#update has also refer to Tank#speed_modifier, otherwise the operator will fail to catch up and camera will be lagging behind.

class Camera
  # ...
  def update
    # ...
    shift = Utils.adjust_speed(
      @target.physics.speed).floor *
      @target.speed_modifier + 1
    # ...
  end
  # ...
end

Spawning Powerups On Map

Powerups are implemented, but not yet spawned. We will spawn 20 - 30 random powerups when generating the map:

class Map
  # ...
  def initialize(object_pool)
    # ...
    generate_powerups
  end
  # ...
  def generate_powerups
    pups = 0
    target_pups = rand(20..30)
    while pups < target_pups do
      x = rand(0..MAP_WIDTH * TILE_SIZE)
      y = rand(0..MAP_HEIGHT * TILE_SIZE)
      if tile_at(x, y) != @water
        random_powerup.new(@object_pool, x, y)
        pups += 1
      end
    end
  end

  def random_powerup
    [HealthPowerup,
     RepairPowerup,
     FireRatePowerup,
     TankSpeedPowerup].sample
  end
  # ...
end

The code is very similar to generating boxes. It’s probably not the best way to distribute powerups on map, but it will have to do for now.

Respawning Powerups After Pickup

When we pick up a powerup, we want it to reappear in same spot 30 seconds later. A thought “we can start a new Thread with sleep and initialize the same powerup there” sounds very bad, but I had it for a few seconds. Then PowerupRespawnQueue was born.

First, let’s recall how Powerup#remove method looks like:

class Powerup < GameObject
  # ...
  def remove
    object_pool.powerup_respawn_queue.enqueue(
      respawn_delay,
      self.class, x, y)
    mark_for_removal
  end
  # ...
end

Powerup enqueues itself for respawn when picked up, providing it’s class and coordinates. PowerupRespawnQueue holds this data and respawns powerups at right time with help of ObjectPool:

11-powerups/entities/powerups/powerup_respawn_queue.rb


 1 class PowerupRespawnQueue
 2   RESPAWN_DELAY = 1000
 3   def initialize
 4     @respawn_queue = {}
 5     @last_respawn = Gosu.milliseconds
 6   end
 7 
 8   def enqueue(delay_seconds, type, x, y)
 9     respawn_at = Gosu.milliseconds + delay_seconds * 1000
10     @respawn_queue[respawn_at.to_i] = [type, x, y]
11   end
12 
13   def respawn(object_pool)
14     now = Gosu.milliseconds
15     return if now - @last_respawn < RESPAWN_DELAY
16     @respawn_queue.keys.each do |k|
17       next if k > now # not yet
18       type, x, y = @respawn_queue.delete(k)
19       type.new(object_pool, x, y)
20     end
21     @last_respawn = now
22   end
23 end

PowerupRespawnQeueue#respawn is called from ObjectPool#update_all, but is throttled to run once per second for better performance.

class ObjectPool
  # ...
  attr_accessor :powerup_respawn_queue
  # ...
  def update_all
    # ...
    @powerup_respawn_queue.respawn(self)
  end
  # ...
end

This is it, the game should now contain randomly placed powerups that respawn 30 seconds after picked up. Time to enjoy the result.

Playing with powerups

Playing with powerups

We haven’t done any changes to AI though, that means enemies will only be picking those powerups by accident, so now you have a significant advantage and the game has suddenly became too easy to play. Don’t worry, we will be fixing that when overhauling the AI.

Implementing Heads Up Display

In order to know what’s happening, we need some sort of HUD. We already have crosshair and radar, but they are scattered around in code. Now we want to display active powerup modifiers, so you would know what is your fire rate and speed, and if it’s worth getting one more powerup before going into the next fight.

Design Considerations

While creating our HUD class, we will have to start building game stats, because we want to display number of kills our tank made. Stats topic will be covered in depth later, but for now let’s assume that @tank.input.stats.kills gives us the kill count, which we want to draw in top-left corner of the screen, along with player health and modifier values.

HUD will also be responsible for drawing crosshair and radar.

Rendering Text With Custom Font

Previously, all text were rendered with Gosu.default_font_name, and we want something more fancy and more thematic, probably a dirty stencil based font like this one:

Armalite Rifle font

Armalite Rifle font

And one more fancy font will make our game title look good. Too bad we don’t have a title yet, but “Tanks Prototype” writen in a thematic way still looks pretty good.

To have convenient access to these fonts, we will add a helper methods in Utils:

module Utils
  # ...
  def self.title_font
    media_path('top_secret.ttf')
  end

  def self.main_font
    media_path('armalite_rifle.ttf')
  end
  # ...
end

Use it instead of Gosu.default_font_name:

size = 20
Gosu::Image.from_text($window, "Your text", Utils.main_font, size)

Implementing HUD Class

After we have put everything together, we will get HUD class:

12-stats/entities/hud.rb


 1 class HUD
 2   attr_accessor :active
 3   def initialize(object_pool, tank)
 4     @object_pool = object_pool
 5     @tank = tank
 6     @radar = Radar.new(@object_pool, tank)
 7   end
 8 
 9   def player=(tank)
10     @tank = tank
11     @radar.target = tank
12   end
13 
14   def update
15     @radar.update
16   end
17 
18   def health_image
19     if @health.nil? || @tank.health.health != @health
20       @health = @tank.health.health
21       @health_image = Gosu::Image.from_text(
22         $window, "Health: #{@health}", Utils.main_font, 20)
23     end
24     @health_image
25   end
26 
27   def stats_image
28     stats = @tank.input.stats
29     if @stats_image.nil? || stats.changed_at <= Gosu.milliseconds
30       @stats_image = Gosu::Image.from_text(
31         $window, "Kills: #{stats.kills}", Utils.main_font, 20)
32     end
33     @stats_image
34   end
35 
36   def fire_rate_image
37     if @tank.fire_rate_modifier > 1
38       if @fire_rate != @tank.fire_rate_modifier
39         @fire_rate = @tank.fire_rate_modifier
40         @fire_rate_image = Gosu::Image.from_text(
41           $window, "Fire rate: #{@fire_rate.round(2)}X",
42           Utils.main_font, 20)
43       end
44     else
45       @fire_rate_image = nil
46     end
47     @fire_rate_image
48   end
49 
50   def speed_image
51     if @tank.speed_modifier > 1
52       if @speed != @tank.speed_modifier
53         @speed = @tank.speed_modifier
54         @speed_image = Gosu::Image.from_text(
55           $window, "Speed: #{@speed.round(2)}X",
56           Utils.main_font, 20)
57       end
58     else
59       @speed_image = nil
60     end
61     @speed_image
62   end
63 
64   def draw
65     if @active
66       @object_pool.camera.draw_crosshair
67     end
68     @radar.draw
69     offset = 20
70     health_image.draw(20, offset, 1000)
71     stats_image.draw(20, offset += 30, 1000)
72     if fire_rate_image
73       fire_rate_image.draw(20, offset += 30, 1000)
74     end
75     if speed_image
76       speed_image.draw(20, offset += 30, 1000)
77     end
78   end
79 end

To use it, we need to hook into PlayState:

class PlayState < GameState
  # ...
  def initialize
    # ...
    @hud = HUD.new(@object_pool, @tank)
  end

  def update
    # ...
    @hud.update
  end

  def draw
    # ...
    @hud.draw
  end
  # ...
end

Assuming you have mocked @tank.input.stats.kills in HUD, you should get a neat view showing interesting things in top-left corner of the screen:

Shiny new HUD

Shiny new HUD

Implementing Game Statistics

Games like one we are building are all about competition, and you cannot compete if you don’t know the score. Let us introduce a class that will be responsible for keeping tabs on various statistics of every tank.

12-stats/misc/stats.rb


 1 class Stats
 2   attr_reader :name, :kills, :deaths, :shots, :changed_at
 3   def initialize(name)
 4     @name = name
 5     @kills = @deaths = @shots = @damage = @damage_dealt = 0
 6     changed
 7   end
 8 
 9   def add_kill(amount = 1)
10     @kills += amount
11     changed
12   end
13 
14   def add_death
15     @deaths += 1
16     changed
17   end
18 
19   def add_shot
20     @shots += 1
21     changed
22   end
23 
24   def add_damage(amount)
25     @damage += amount
26     changed
27   end
28 
29   def damage
30     @damage.round
31   end
32 
33   def add_damage_dealt(amount)
34     @damage_dealt += amount
35     changed
36   end
37 
38   def damage_dealt
39     @damage_dealt.round
40   end
41 
42   def to_s
43     "[kills: #{@kills}, " \
44       "deaths: #{@deaths}, " \
45       "shots: #{@shots}, " \
46       "damage: #{damage}, " \
47       "damage_dealt: #{damage_dealt}]"
48   end
49 
50   private
51 
52   def changed
53     @changed_at = Gosu.milliseconds
54   end
55 end

While building the HUD, we established that Stats should belong to Tank#input, because it defines who is controlling the tank. So, every instance of PlayerInput and AiInput has to have it’s own Stats:

# 12-stats/entities/components/player_input.rb
class PlayerInput < Component
  # ...
  attr_reader :stats

  def initialize(name, camera, object_pool)
    # ...
    @stats = Stats.new(name)
  end
  # ...
  def on_damage(amount)
    @stats.add_damage(amount)
  end
  # ...
end

# 12-stats/entities/components/ai_input.rb
class AiInput < Component
  # ...
  attr_reader :stats

  def initialize(name, object_pool)
    # ...
    @stats = Stats.new(name)
  end

  def on_damage(amount)
    # ...
    @stats.add_damage(amount)
  end
end

That itch to extract a base class from PlayerInput and AiInput is getting stronger, but we will have to resist the urge, for now.

Tracking Kills, Deaths and Damage

To begin tracking kills, we need to know whom does every bullet belong to. Bullet already has source attribute, which contains the tank that fired it, there will be no trouble to find out who was the shooter when bullet gets a direct hit. But how about explosions? Bullets that hit the ground nearby a tank deals indirect damage from the explosion.

Solution is simple, we need to pass the source of the Bullet to the Explosion when it’s being initialized.

class Bullet < GameObject
  # ...
  def explode
    Explosion.new(object_pool, @x, @y, @source)
    # ...
  end
  # ...
end

Making Damage Personal

Now that we have the source of every Bullet and Explosion they trigger, we can start passing the cause of damage to Health#inflict_damage and incrementing the appropriate stats.

# 12-stats/entities/components/health.rb
class Health < Component
  # ...
  def inflict_damage(amount, cause)
    if @health > 0
      @health_updated = true
      if object.respond_to?(:input)
        object.input.stats.add_damage(amount)
        # Don't count damage to trees and boxes
        if cause.respond_to?(:input) && cause != object
          cause.input.stats.add_damage_dealt(amount)
        end
      end
      @health = [@health - amount.to_i, 0].max
      after_death(cause) if dead?
    end
  end
  # ...
end

# 12-stats/entities/components/tank_health.rb
class TankHealth < Health
  # ...
  def after_death(cause)
    # ...
    object.input.stats.add_death
    kill = object != cause ? 1 : -1
    cause.input.stats.add_kill(kill)
    # ...
  end
# ...
end

Tracking Damage From Chain Reactions

There is one more way to cause damage. When you shoot a tree, box or barrel, it explodes, probably triggering a chain reaction of explosions around it. If those explosions kill somebody, it would only be fair to account that kill for the tank that triggered this chain reaction.

To solve this, simply pass the cause of death to the Explosion that gets triggered afterwards.

# 12-stats/entities/components/health.rb
class Health < Component
  # ...
  def after_death(cause)
    if @explodes
      Thread.new do
        # ...
        Explosion.new(@object_pool, x, y, cause)
        # ...
      end
      # ...
    end
  end
end

# 12-stats/entities/components/tank_health.rb
class TankHealth < Health
  # ...
  def after_death(cause)
    # ...
    Thread.new do
      # ...
      Explosion.new(@object_pool, x, y, cause)
    end
  end
end

Now every bit of damage gets accounted for.

Displaying Game Score

Having all the data is useless unless we display it somehow. For this, let’s rethink our game states. Now we have MenuState and PlayState. Both of them can switch one into another. What if we introduced a PauseState, which would freeze the game and display the list of all tanks along with their kills. Then MenuState would switch to PlayState, and from PlayState you would be able to get to PauseState.

Let’s begin by implementing ScoreDisplay, that would print a sorted list of tank kills along with their names.

12-stats/entities/score_display.rb


 1 class ScoreDisplay
 2   def initialize(object_pool)
 3     tanks = object_pool.objects.select do |o|
 4       o.class == Tank
 5     end
 6     stats = tanks.map(&:input).map(&:stats)
 7     stats.sort! do |stat1, stat2|
 8       stat2.kills <=> stat1.kills
 9     end
10     create_stats_image(stats)
11   end
12 
13   def create_stats_image(stats)
14     text = stats.map do |stat|
15       "#{stat.kills}: #{stat.name} "
16     end.join("\n")
17     @stats_image = Gosu::Image.from_text(
18       $window, text, Utils.main_font, 30)
19   end
20 
21   def draw
22     @stats_image.draw(
23       $window.width / 2 - @stats_image.width / 2,
24       $window.height / 4 + 30,
25       1000)
26   end
27 end

We will have to initialize ScoreDisplay every time when we want to show the updated score. Time to create the PauseState that would show the score.

12-stats/game_states/pause_state.rb


 1 require 'singleton'
 2 class PauseState < GameState
 3   include Singleton
 4   attr_accessor :play_state
 5 
 6   def initialize
 7     @message = Gosu::Image.from_text(
 8       $window, "Game Paused",
 9       Utils.title_font, 60)
10   end
11 
12   def enter
13     music.play(true)
14     music.volume = 1
15     @score_display = ScoreDisplay.new(@play_state.object_pool)
16     @mouse_coords = [$window.mouse_x, $window.mouse_y]
17   end
18 
19   def leave
20     music.volume = 0
21     music.stop
22     $window.mouse_x, $window.mouse_y = @mouse_coords
23   end
24 
25   def music
26     @@music ||= Gosu::Song.new(
27       $window, Utils.media_path('menu_music.mp3'))
28   end
29 
30   def draw
31     @play_state.draw
32     @message.draw(
33       $window.width / 2 - @message.width / 2,
34       $window.height / 4 - @message.height,
35       1000)
36     @score_display.draw
37   end
38 
39   def button_down(id)
40     $window.close if id == Gosu::KbQ
41     if id == Gosu::KbC && @play_state
42       GameState.switch(@play_state)
43     end
44     if id == Gosu::KbEscape
45       GameState.switch(@play_state)
46     end
47   end
48 end

You will notice that PauseState invokes PlayState#draw, but without PlayState#update this will be a still image. We make sure we hide the crosshair and restore previous mouse location when resuming play state. That way player would not be able to cheat by pausing the game, targeting the tank while nothing moves and then unpausing ready to deal damage. Our HUD had attr_accessor :active exactly for this reason, but we need to switch it on and off in PlayState#enter and PlayState#leave.

class PlayState < GameState
  # ...
  def button_down(id)
    # ...
    if id == Gosu::KbEscape
      pause = PauseState.instance
      pause.play_state = self
      GameState.switch(pause)
    end
    # ...
  end
  # ...
  def leave
    StereoSample.stop_all
    @hud.active = false
  end

  def enter
    @hud.active = true
  end
  # ...
end

Time for a test drive.

Pausing the game to see the score

Pausing the game to see the score

For now, scoring most kills is relatively simple. This should change when we will tell enemy AI to collect powerups when appropriate.

Building Advanced AI

The AI we have right now can kick some ass, but it is too dumb for any seasoned gamer to compete with. This is the list of current flaws:

  1. It does not navigate well, gets stuck among trees or somewhere near water.
  2. It is not aware of powerups.
  3. It could do better job at shooting.
  4. It’s field of vision is too small, compared to player’s, who is equipped with radar.

We will tackle these issues in current chapter.

Improving Tank Navigation

Tanks shouldn’t behave like Roombas, randomly driving around and bumping into things. They could be navigating like this:

  1. Consult with current AI state and find or update destination point.
  2. If destination has changed, calculate shortest path to destination.
  3. Move along the calculated path.
  4. Repeat.

If this looks easy, let me assure you, it would probably require rewriting the majority of AI and Map code we have at this point, and it is pretty tricky to implement with procedurally generated maps, because normally you would use a map editor to set up waypoints, navigation mesh or other hints for AI so it doesn’t get stuck. Sometimes it is better to have something working imperfectly over a perfect solution that never happens, thus we will use simple things that will make as much impact as possible without rewriting half of the code.

Generating Friendlier Maps

One of main reasons why tanks get stuck is bad placement of spawn points. They don’t take trees and boxes into account, so enemy tank can spawn in the middle of a forest, with no chance of getting out without blowing things up. A simple fix would be to consult with ObjectPool before placing a spawn point only where there are no other game objects around in, say, 150 pixel radius:

class Map
  # ...
  def find_spawn_point
    while true
      x = rand(0..MAP_WIDTH * TILE_SIZE)
      y = rand(0..MAP_HEIGHT * TILE_SIZE)
      if can_move_to?(x, y) &&
          @object_pool.nearby_point(x, y, 150).empty?
        return [x, y]
      end
    end
  end
  # ...
end

How about powerups? They can also spawn in the middle of a forest, and while tanks are not seeking them yet, we will be implementing this behavior, and leading tanks into wilderness of trees is not the best idea ever. Let’s fix it too:

class Map
  # ...
  def generate_powerups
    pups = 0
    target_pups = rand(20..30)
    while pups < target_pups do
      x = rand(0..MAP_WIDTH * TILE_SIZE)
      y = rand(0..MAP_HEIGHT * TILE_SIZE)
      if tile_at(x, y) != @water &&
          @object_pool.nearby_point(x, y, 150).empty?
        random_powerup.new(@object_pool, x, y)
        pups += 1
      end
    end
  end
  # ...
end

We could also reduce tree count, but that would make the map look worse, so we are going to keep this in our pocket as a mean of last resort.

Implementing Demo State To Observe AI

Probably the best way to figure out if our AI is any good is to target one of AI tanks with our game camera and see how it plays. It will give us a great visual testing tool that will allow tweaking AI settings and seeing if they perform better or worse. For that we will introduce DemoState where only AI tanks will be present in the map, and we will be able to switch camera from one tank to another.

DemoState is very similar to PlayState, the main difference is that there is no player. We will extract create_tanks method that will be overridden in DemoState.

class PlayState < GameState
  attr_accessor :update_interval, :object_pool, :tank

  def initialize
    # ...
    @camera = Camera.new
    @object_pool.camera = @camera
    create_tanks(4)
  end
  # ...
  private

  def create_tanks(amount)
    @map.spawn_points(amount * 3)
    @tank = Tank.new(@object_pool,
      PlayerInput.new('Player', @camera, @object_pool))
    amount.times do |i|
      Tank.new(@object_pool, AiInput.new(
        @names.random, @object_pool))
    end
    @camera.target = @tank
    @hud = HUD.new(@object_pool, @tank)
  end
  # ...
end

We will also want to display a smaller version of score in top-right corner of the screen, so let’s add some adjustments to ScoreDisplay:

class ScoreDisplay
  def initialize(object_pool, font_size=30)
    @font_size = font_size
    # ...
  end

  def create_stats_image(stats)
    # ...
    @stats_image = Gosu::Image.from_text(
      $window, text, Utils.main_font, @font_size)
  end
  # ...
  def draw_top_right
    @stats_image.draw(
      $window.width - @stats_image.width - 20,
      20,
      1000)
  end
end

And here is the extended DemoState:

13-advanced-ai/game_states/demo_state.rb


 1 class DemoState < PlayState
 2   attr_accessor :tank
 3 
 4   def enter
 5     # Prevent reactivating HUD
 6   end
 7 
 8   def update
 9     super
10     @score_display = ScoreDisplay.new(
11       object_pool, 20)
12   end
13 
14   def draw
15     super
16     @score_display.draw_top_right
17   end
18 
19   def button_down(id)
20     super
21     if id == Gosu::KbSpace
22       target_tank = @tanks.reject do |t|
23         t == @camera.target
24       end.sample
25       switch_to_tank(target_tank)
26     end
27   end
28 
29   private
30 
31   def create_tanks(amount)
32     @map.spawn_points(amount * 3)
33     @tanks = []
34     amount.times do |i|
35       @tanks << Tank.new(@object_pool, AiInput.new(
36         @names.random, @object_pool))
37     end
38     target_tank = @tanks.sample
39     @hud = HUD.new(@object_pool, target_tank)
40     @hud.active = false
41     switch_to_tank(target_tank)
42   end
43 
44   def switch_to_tank(tank)
45     @camera.target = tank
46     @hud.player = tank
47     self.tank = tank
48   end
49 end

To have a possibility to enter DemoState, we need to change MenuState a little:

class MenuState < GameState
  # ...
  def update
    text = "Q: Quit\nN: New Game\nD: Demo"
    # ...
  end
  # ...
  def button_down(id)
    # ...
    if id == Gosu::KbD
      @play_state = DemoState.new
      GameState.switch(@play_state)
    end
  end
end

Now, main menu has the option to enter demo state:

Overhauled main menu

Overhauled main menu

Observing AI in demo state

Observing AI in demo state

Visual AI Debugging

After watching AI behavior in demo mode for a while, I was terrified. When playing game normally, you usually see tanks in “fighting” state, which works pretty well, but when tanks go roaming, it’s a complete disaster. They get stuck easily, they don’t go too far from the original location, they wait too much.

Some things could be improved just by changing wait_time, turn_time and drive_time to different values, but we certainly have to do bigger changes than that.

On the other hand, “observe AI in action, tweak, repeat” cycle proved to be very effective, I will definitely use this technique in all my future games.

To make visual debugging easier, build yourself some tooling. One way to do it is to have global $debug variable which you can toggle by pressing some button:

class PlayState < GameState
  # ...
  def button_down(id)
    # ...
    if id == Gosu::KbF1
      $debug = !$debug
    end
    # ...
  end
  # ...
end

Then add extra drawing instructions to your objects and their components. For example, this will make Tank display it’s current TankMotionState implementation class beneath it:

class TankMotionFSM
  # ...
  def set_state(state)
    # ...
    if $debug
      @image = Gosu::Image.from_text(
          $window, state.class.to_s,
          Gosu.default_font_name, 18)
    end
  end
  # ...
  def draw(viewport)
    if $debug
      @image && @image.draw(
        @object.x - @image.width / 2,
        @object.y + @object.graphics.height / 2 -
        @image.height, 100)
    end
  end
  # ...
end

To mark tank’s desired gun angle as blue line and actual gun angle as red line, you can do this:

class AiGun
  # ...
  def draw(viewport)
    if $debug
      color = Gosu::Color::BLUE
      x, y = @object.x, @object.y
      t_x, t_y = Utils.point_at_distance(x, y, @desired_gun_angle,
                                         BulletPhysics::MAX_DIST)
      $window.draw_line(x, y, color, t_x, t_y, color, 1001)
      color = Gosu::Color::RED
      t_x, t_y = Utils.point_at_distance(x, y, @object.gun_angle,
                                         BulletPhysics::MAX_DIST)
      $window.draw_line(x, y, color, t_x, t_y, color, 1000)
    end
  end
  # ...
end

Finally, you can automatically mark collision box corners on your graphics components. Let’s take BoxGraphics for example:

# 13-advanced-ai/misc/utils.rb
module Utils
  # ...
  def self.mark_corners(box)
    i = 0
    box.each_slice(2) do |x, y|
      color = DEBUG_COLORS[i]
      $window.draw_triangle(
        x - 3, y - 3, color,
        x,     y,     color,
        x + 3, y - 3, color,
        100)
      i = (i + 1) % 4
    end
  end
  # ...
end

# 13-advanced-ai/entities/components/box_graphics.rb
class BoxGraphics < Component
  # ..
  def draw(viewport)
    @box.draw_rot(x, y, 0, object.angle)
    Utils.mark_corners(object.box) if $debug
  end
  # ...
end

As a developer, you can make yourself see nearly everything you want, make use of it.

Visual debugging of AI behavior

Visual debugging of AI behavior

Although it hurts the framerate a little, it is very useful when building not only AI, but the rest of the game too. Using this visual debugging together with Demo mode, you can tweak all the AI values to make it shoot more often, fight better, and be more agile. We won’t go through this minor tuning, but you can find the changes by viewing changes introduced in 13-advanced-ai.

Making AI Collect Powerups

To even out the odds, we have to make AI seek powerups when they are required. The logic behind it can be implemented using a couple of simple steps:

  1. AI would know what powerups are currently needed. This may vary from state to state, i.e. speed and fire rate powerups are nice to have when roaming, but not that important when fleeing after taking heavy damage. And we don’t want AI to waste time and collect speed powerups when speed modifier is already maxed out.
  2. AiVision would return closest visible powerup, filtered by acceptable powerup types.
  3. Some TankMotionState implementation would adjust tank direction towards closest visible powerup in change_direction method.

Finding Powerups In Sight

To implement changes in AiVision, we will introduce closest_powerup method. It will query objects in sight and filter them out by their class and distance.

class AiVision
  # ...
  POWERUP_CACHE_TIMEOUT = 50
  # ...
  def closest_powerup(*suitable)
    now = Gosu.milliseconds
    @closest_powerup = nil
    if now - (@powerup_cache_updated_at ||= 0) > POWERUP_CACHE_TIMEOUT
      @closest_powerup = nil
      @powerup_cache_updated_at = now
    end
    @closest_powerup ||= find_closest_powerup(*suitable)
  end

  private

  def find_closest_powerup(*suitable)
    if suitable.empty?
      suitable = [FireRatePowerup,
                  HealthPowerup,
                  RepairPowerup,
                  TankSpeedPowerup]
    end
    @in_sight.select do |o|
      suitable.include?(o.class)
    end.sort do |a, b|
      x, y = @viewer.x, @viewer.y
      d1 = Utils.distance_between(x, y, a.x, a.y)
      d2 = Utils.distance_between(x, y, b.x, b.y)
      d1 <=> d2
    end.first
  end
  # ...
end

It is very similar to AiVision#closest_tank, and parts should probably be extracted to keep the code dry, but we will not bother.

Seeking Powerups While Roaming

Roaming is when most picking should happen, because Tank sees no enemies in sight and needs to prepare for upcoming battles. Let’s see how can we implement this behavior while leveraging the newly made AiVision#closest_powerup:

class TankRoamingState < TankMotionState
  # ...
  def required_powerups
    required = []
    health = @object.health.health
    if @object.fire_rate_modifier < 2 && health > 50
      required << FireRatePowerup
    end
    if @object.speed_modifier < 1.5 && health > 50
      required << TankSpeedPowerup
    end
    if health < 100
      required << RepairPowerup
    end
    if health < 190
      required << HealthPowerup
    end
    required
  end

  def change_direction
    closest_powerup = @vision.closest_powerup(
      *required_powerups)
    if closest_powerup
      @seeking_powerup = true
      angle = Utils.angle_between(
        @object.x, @object.y,
        closest_powerup.x, closest_powerup.y)
      @object.physics.change_direction(
        angle - angle % 45)
    else
      @seeking_powerup = false
      # ... choose random direction
    end
    @changed_direction_at = Gosu.milliseconds
    @will_keep_direction_for = turn_time
  end
  # ...
  def turn_time
    if @seeking_powerup
      rand(100..300)
    else
      rand(1000..3000)
    end
  end
end

It is simple as that, and our AI tanks are now getting buffed on their spare time.

Seeking Health Powerups After Heavy Damage

To seek health when damaged, we need to change TankFleeingState#change_direction:

class TankFleeingState < TankMotionState
  # ...
  def change_direction
    closest_powerup = @vision.closest_powerup(
      RepairPowerup, HealthPowerup)
    if closest_powerup
      angle = Utils.angle_between(
        @object.x, @object.y,
        closest_powerup.x, closest_powerup.y)
      @object.physics.change_direction(
        angle - angle % 45)
    else
      # ... reverse from enemy
    end
    @changed_direction_at = Gosu.milliseconds
    @will_keep_direction_for = turn_time
  end
  # ...
end

This small change tells AI to pick up health while fleeing. The interesting part is that when tank picks up RepairPowerup, it’s health gets fully restored and AI should switch back to TankFightingState. This simple thing is a major improvement in AI behavior.

Evading Collisions And Getting Unstuck

While observing AI navigation, it was noticeable that tanks often got stuck, even in simple situations, like driving into a tree and hitting it repeatedly for a dozen of seconds. To reduce the number of such occasions, we will introduce TankNavigatingState, which would help avoid collisions, and TankStuckState, which would be responsible for driving out of dead ends as quickly as possible.

To implement these states, we need to have a way to tell if tank can go forward and a way of getting a direction which is not blocked by other objects. Let’s add a couple of methods to AiVision:

class AiVision
  # ...
  def can_go_forward?
    in_front = Utils.point_at_distance(
      *@viewer.location, @viewer.direction, 40)
    @object_pool.map.can_move_to?(*in_front) &&
      @object_pool.nearby_point(*in_front, 40, @viewer)
        .reject { |o| o.is_a? Powerup }.empty?
  end

  def closest_free_path(away_from = nil)
    paths = []
    5.times do |i|
      if paths.any?
        return farthest_from(paths, away_from)
      end
      radius = 55 - i * 5
      range_x = range_y = [-radius, 0, radius]
      range_x.shuffle.each do |x|
        range_y.shuffle.each do |y|
          x = @viewer.x + x
          y = @viewer.y + y
          if @object_pool.map.can_move_to?(x, y) &&
              @object_pool.nearby_point(x, y, radius, @viewer)
                .reject { |o| o.is_a? Powerup }.empty?
            if away_from
              paths << [x, y]
            else
              return [x, y]
            end
          end
        end
      end
    end
    false
  end

  alias :closest_free_path_away_from :closest_free_path
  # ...
  private

  def farthest_from(paths, away_from)
    paths.sort do |p1, p2|
      Utils.distance_between(*p1, *away_from) <=>
        Utils.distance_between(*p2, *away_from)
    end.first
  end
  # ...
end

AiVision#can_go_forward? tells if tank can move ahead, and AiVision#closest_free_path finds a point where tank can move without obstacles. You can also call AiVision#closest_free_path_away_from and provide coordinates you are trying to get away from.

We will use closest_free_path methods in newly implemented tank motion states, and can_go_forward? in TankMotionFSM, to make a decision when to jump into navigating or stuck state.

Those new states are nothing fancy:

13-advanced-ai/entities/components/ai/tank_navigating_state.rb


 1 class TankNavigatingState < TankMotionState
 2   def initialize(object, vision)
 3     @object = object
 4     @vision = vision
 5   end
 6 
 7   def update
 8     change_direction if should_change_direction?
 9     drive
10   end
11 
12   def change_direction
13     closest_free_path = @vision.closest_free_path
14     if closest_free_path
15       @object.physics.change_direction(
16         Utils.angle_between(
17           @object.x, @object.y, *closest_free_path))
18     end
19     @changed_direction_at = Gosu.milliseconds
20     @will_keep_direction_for = turn_time
21   end
22 
23   def wait_time
24     rand(10..100)
25   end
26 
27   def drive_time
28     rand(1000..2000)
29   end
30 
31   def turn_time
32     rand(300..1000)
33   end
34 end

TankNavigatingState simply chooses a random free path, changes direction to it and keeps driving.

13-advanced-ai/entities/components/ai/tank_stuck_state.rb


 1 class TankNavigatingState < TankMotionState
 2   def initialize(object, vision)
 3     @object = object
 4     @vision = vision
 5   end
 6 
 7   def update
 8     change_direction if should_change_direction?
 9     drive
10   end
11 
12   def change_direction
13     closest_free_path = @vision.closest_free_path
14     if closest_free_path
15       @object.physics.change_direction(
16         Utils.angle_between(
17           @object.x, @object.y, *closest_free_path))
18     end
19     @changed_direction_at = Gosu.milliseconds
20     @will_keep_direction_for = turn_time
21   end
22 
23   def wait_time
24     rand(10..100)
25   end
26 
27   def drive_time
28     rand(1000..2000)
29   end
30 
31   def turn_time
32     rand(300..1000)
33   end
34 end

TankStuckState is nearly the same, but it keeps driving away from @stuck_at point, which is set by TankMotionFSM upon transition to this state.

class TankMotionFSM
  STATE_CHANGE_DELAY = 500
  LOCATION_CHECK_DELAY = 5000

  def initialize(object, vision, gun)
    # ...
    @stuck_state = TankStuckState.new(object, vision, gun)
    @navigating_state = TankNavigatingState.new(object, vision)
    set_state(@roaming_state)
  end
  # ...
  def choose_state
    unless @vision.can_go_forward?
      unless @current_state == @stuck_state
        set_state(@navigating_state)
      end
    end
    # Keep unstucking itself for a while
    change_delay = STATE_CHANGE_DELAY
    if @current_state == @stuck_state
      change_delay *= 5
    end
    now = Gosu.milliseconds
    return unless now - @last_state_change > change_delay
    if @last_location_update.nil?
      @last_location_update = now
      @last_location = @object.location
    end
    if now - @last_location_update > LOCATION_CHECK_DELAY
      puts "checkin location"
      unless @last_location.nil? || @current_state.waiting?
        if Utils.distance_between(*@last_location, *@object.location) < 20
          set_state(@stuck_state)
          @stuck_state.stuck_at = @object.location
          return
        end
      end
      @last_location_update = now
      @last_location = @object.location
    end
    # ...
  end
  # ...
end

What this does is automatically change state to navigating when tank is about to hit an obstacle. It also tracks tank location, and if tank hasn’t moved 20 pixels away from it’s original direction for 5 seconds, it enters TankStuckState, which deliberately tries to navigate away from the stock_at spot.

AI navigation has just got significantly better, and it didn’t take that many changes.

Wrapping It Up

Our journey into the world of game development has come to an end. We have learned enough to produced a playable game, yet only scratched the surface. Writing this book was a very enlightening experience, and hopefully reading it inspired or helped someone to get a start.

Lessons Learned

Building this small tanks game and learning about game development with Ruby certainly had some nasty bumps along the way, some of them made my head hit the ceiling.

Ruby Is Slow

This shouldn’t be a shocker, because Ruby is a dynamic, interpreted language, but how exactly slow it is at some points was a staggering discovery. Probably the best evidence is that drawing map tiles off screen using native extensions was actually faster than doing Camera#can_view? checks that involve simple integer arithmetic and range checks.

If your game is going to deal with large number of entities, Ruby will start letting you down. Dreaming about going pro? Go for C++, you won’t make a mistake here.

Knowing this, keep in mind that Ruby is a wonderful language, that has it’s own strengths. It’s great for prototyping and dynamic things. Some 5-10 lines of Ruby could translate into 50-100 lines of C++. Also, knowing multiple languages makes you a better developer.

Packaging Ruby Games Sucks

Unless you are releasing your game for tech savvy guys who can gem install it, get ready to go through hell. There is no nice and easy way to create a standalone executable application from Ruby code that involves native extensions. And you will go through hell once for every operating system you want to publish your game for.

That’s not everything. Want to use the latest Ruby version? Check if you can make a package for it in your target OS before you start coding. Thinking of using something that relies on ImageMagick? Too bad, you probably won’t be able to package the game into a native standalone app, at least on OSX. If you are planning on releasing the game, package early and package often, for every OS, and check if there will be no problems with native extensions.

Plan Networked Multiplayer Early

If you are going to build a game, don’t make a mistake of thinking “I’ll just make it multiplayer later”, start at the very beginning. This was a lesson I learned the hard way. There had to be a chapter in this book about turning Tanks into multiplayer, but it didn’t happen, because it would require a major rewrite of the code.

Creating A Well Polished Game Requires Extraordinary Effort

Hacking up a rough prototype is extremely fun. You get to build an engine, wire everything together. It definitely gives a sense of achievement. Turning it into a great game, however, is a different story. You can spend hours or even days tweaking how game controls work and still remain unsatisfied. Every tiny detail can be pushed further. Prefer quality over quantity, and remember that you probably cannot afford both and actually finish it within next couple of years.

Start Small, Take Baby Steps

Your first few games should be small experiments, prototypes or demos. Don’t attempt to build a game you wanted to build forever with your first shot. Try reimplementing Tetris, Pacman or Bejeweled instead. You will find it to be challenging enough, and when you will feel you have the skills to do something bigger, practice just a little more.

Don’t Reinvent The Wheel

Before doing anything, research. You will probably not get point in poly collision detection better than W. Randolph Franklin did it in his research. Even if you think you can do it on your own, learn what others discovered before you. Learn from other’s mistakes, not your own.

Special Thanks

I would like to thank Julian Raschke for creating and maintaining Gosu and for all the help on IRC, Gosu forums and GitHub. This book would not exist without your enormous contribution to Ruby game development scene.

Shout out goes to Shawn Anderson, creator of Gamebox. Thank you for moral support and encouragement. Studying Gamebox source code taught me many things about Gosu and game development.

You can find Julian, Shawn and more game development enthusiasts in #gosu on FreeNode.

And most importantly, thank you for reading this book!