Older blog entries for ruoso (starting at number 29)

Writing Games in Perl - Part 4 - Implementing a Camera

Following posts 1, 2 and 3 on the subject of writing games in Perl, now we are going to add a camera.

Up to this point, we've been coupling the positional information in our simulated universe with the screen position. This is very easy to do, but very limiting as well, how can we represent off-screen elements that way?

Our next step is to implement a camera. The idea is quite simple, instead of asking for each model object to render itself, We're going to:

  1. Initialize a view object for each of the model objects.
  2. Detect which model objects are in the current view sight of the camera.
  3. Send to the view objects the positional information of the model objects.
  4. Ask the view objects to draw themselves.

At this point you might have noticed that I'm using the terms "model" and "view" as a direct reference to the Model-View-Controller architecture, and that's precisely my intention. The basic idea is: The model is only responsible for managing the simulation of our universe, while the view is only responsible for turning that simulation visible to the user. The Controller here is the code that implements the main loop, receiving the user events, and coordinating the FPS management.

I could list several reasons on why having the model and the view as separated objects is a good idea, but I'd like two point just two of them, since these are going to be future topics in this tutorial:

  1. You can apply "themes" to the visualization, like "hi-res" and "low-res" simply by changing the initialization of the view, adding support for zoom and rotation is also very simple.
  2. You can have the calculations on the simulation side in a different thread then the rendering of the objects, enabling our game to take advantage on multi-core systems.

Code Layout

The first thing I'm going to do is reorganize our current module layout. Up to this point our code had:

  • ball.pl
  • lib/Ball.pm
  • lib/Wall.pm
  • lib/Util.pm

But now we're going to need a different layout, here is our target organization:

ball.pl
This is still going to be our main script, but we're going to have less code in it.
lib/BouncingBall/Model/Ball.pm
Yes, I named our game BouncingBall, and the first model class is the ball itself, it will look much like the current code, but the "get_rect" and the "draw" methods won't be there.
lib/BouncingBall/Model/Wall.pm
This looks like our current Wall code, but as with the ball, "get_rect" and "draw" won't be there.
lib/BouncingBall/Controller/InGame.pm
At this point we're only going to have one controller, but the general idea is that we're going to have one controller for each of the main states of the game, like "MainMenu", "Paused", "InGame", "GameOver" etc. The InGame controller will implement the code that is currently inside the main loop of ball.pl
lib/BouncingBall/View.pm
This defines the types for the things that implement draw.
lib/BouncingBall/View/Plane.pm
This implements the background.
lib/BouncingBall/View/FilledRect.pm
Currently, our ball and our wall are just filled rectangles, so we're going to preserve that for now. This is interesting to make the view vs model point even more clear. The view doesn't need to be aware of what it is representing, as long as it knows how to do it. In our case, it doesn't need to know if it is representing a Ball or a Wall, it simply needs to know where it is and what color to paint.
lib/BouncingBall/View/MainSurface.pm
This class represents the main application surface, it is special because it needs to configure the video mode, but it is also a dependency for the FilledRect view, since it needs to blit itself somewhere.
lib/BouncingBall/View/Camera.pm
This is the view class that will implement the mapping of coordinates from the simulated universe to the MainSurface, the FilledRect also depends on this class.
lib/BouncingBall/Event/RectMoved.pm
Typed event that describes the movement of some object represented by its enclosing rect.
lib/BouncingBall/Event/Rect.pm
Object describing a simple rect (using floating-point instead of integer), to be used by RectMoved.
lib/BouncingBall/Event/MovingRectObservable.pm
Moose role that implements the logic for being a class that can be observed.
lib/BouncingBall/Event/MovingRectObserver.pm
Moose role that defines the type of the observer class.

General flow

  1. ball.pl initializes the BouncingBall module.
  2. BouncingBall initializes the MainSurface view, as this view is special and is preserved during the entire application lifetime, independent of the controller in charge right now.
  3. As we don't implement game menu or any other fancy stuff, we go directly to the game. That means we'll initialize the InGame Controller.
  4. The connection between the views and the models is defined by the controller, so it needs to initialize the models, the views and connect them together.
  5. After the initialization, we're ready for the game loop, which is, at this point, entirely handled by the InGame controller.

The case for Observers

A naive implementation of the connection between the models and the views would be, at each step, to fetch the relevant information from the model and set it into the view. Or possibly have the view itself fetch the data from the model. But there's one important point to consider, if the model and the view ends in a different thread, accessing each other's data would become significantly complicated.

That being said, a different mechanism for view-model integration is necessary. If we go to the way GUI toolkits work, we'll notice a pattern called "The Observer Pattern", basically, one object registers itself as "observing" the other. When that specific type of event happens, a pre-defined method is called in the observing object.

So what we're going to do is to preserve a local cache of the information that view needs from the model, use it directly and get it updated using the observer pattern. That way we have the model and the view decoupled in terms of threading.

To the code

The first thing we need to do is porting our Ball and Wall into proper model objects, at first, simply removing the "get_rect" and "draw" methods. I'm not going to put all its code again here, but renaming the modules and removing that methods is the only thing I'm doing right now. The time_lapse is also simplfied to remove the automatic bounce, we're going to put extra walls to enclose the ball.

Now we need to step-by-step get to the final code layout presented earlier, let's start by the view classes, and in that case, let's get the most important view class, the MainSurface.

package BouncingBall::View::MainSurface;
use Moose;
use SDL ':all';
use SDL::Video;# ':all';

has 'surface' => (is => 'rw');
has 'width' => (is => 'ro', default => 800);
has 'height' => (is => 'ro', default => 600);
has 'depth' => (is => 'ro', default => 32);

sub BUILD {
    my ($self) = @_;

    die 'Cannot init ' . SDL::get_error()
      if ( SDL::init( SDL_INIT_VIDEO ) == -1 );

    $self->surface
      ( SDL::Video::set_video_mode
        ( $self->width, $self->height, $self->depth,
          SDL_HWSURFACE | SDL_DOUBLEBUF | SDL_HWACCEL ))
        or die 'Error initializing video.';

    return 1;
}

Here we use Moose object initialization to initialize the SDL Video subsystem and get a new surface for the required videomode. This is a bit different then what we were doing in the original ball.pl, but not much. The most important difference is that we're now using double hardware buffering, which is more efficient then doing individual updates.

Now we need the Plane view, which implements the background.

package BouncingBall::View::Plane;
use Moose;
use SDL::Video ':all';
use SDL::Surface;

with 'BouncingBall::View';
has color     => ( is => 'rw',
                   default => 0 );
has surface   => ( is => 'rw' );
has rect_obj  => ( is => 'rw' );
has color_obj => ( is => 'rw' );
has main      => ( is => 'ro',
                   required => 1 );

sub BUILD {
    my ($self) = @_;
    $self->_init_surface;
    $self->_init_color_object;
    $self->_init_rect;
    $self->_fill_rect;
    return 1;
}

sub _init_surface {
    my ($self) = @_;
    $self->surface
      ( SDL::Surface->new
        ( SDL_SWSURFACE,
          $self->main->width,
          $self->main->height,
          $self->main->depth,
          0, 0, 0, 255 ) );
    return 1;
}

sub _init_color_object {
    my ($self) = @_;
    $self->color_obj
      ( SDL::Video::map_RGB
        ( $self->main->surface->format,
          ((0xFF0000 & $self->color)>>16),
          ((0x00FF00 & $self->color)>>8),
          0x0000FF & $self->color ));
    return 1;
}

sub _init_rect {
    my ($self) = @_;
    $self->rect_obj
      ( SDL::Rect->new
        ( 0, 0,
          $self->main->width,
          $self->main->height ) );
    return 1;
}

sub _fill_rect {
    my ($self) = @_;
    SDL::Video::fill_rect
        ( $self->surface,
          $self->rect_obj,
          $self->color_obj );
    return 1;
}

after 'color' => sub {
    my ($self, $color) = @_;
    if ($color) {
        $self->_init_color_object;
        $self->_fill_rect;
    }
    return 1;
};

sub draw {
    my ($self) = @_;
    SDL::Video::blit_surface
        ( $self->surface, $self->rect_obj,
          $self->main->surface, $self->rect_obj );
    return 1;
}

Now we need the Camera view, which is going to implement the logic on translating the coordinates from each object to the current visualization. This is a very important decoupling in our logic, because it is here that we relativize the points from the simulated universe to the screen. And this is going to be done by setting a camera position which is going to serve as pivot in the coordinate translation.

This is going to be implemented through three methods in our camera, one that converts a distance in meters to pixels, other that converts a coordinate to the screen and finally one that checks if a coordinate is visible at that moment.

package BouncingBall::View::Camera;
use Moose;

with 'BouncingBall::Event::RectMovingObserver';

has pointing_x => ( is => 'rw',
                    default => 0 );
has pointing_y => ( is => 'rw',
                    default => 0 );
has dpi        => ( is => 'rw',
                    default => 0.96 );
has pixels_w   => ( is => 'ro',
                    required => 1 );
has pixels_h   => ( is => 'ro',
                    required => 1 );

sub m2px {
    my ($self, $input) = @_;
    return int((($input) * ($self->dpi / 0.0254)) + 0.5);
}

sub px2m {
    my ($self, $input) = @_;
    return ($input) / ($self->dpi / .0254);
}

sub width {
    my ($self) = @_;
    return $self->px2m($self->pixels_w);
}

sub height {
    my ($self) = @_;
    return $self->px2m($self->pixels_h);
}

sub translate_point {
    my ($self, $x, $y) = @_;
    my $uplf_x = $self->pointing_x - ($self->width / 2);
    my $uplf_y = $self->pointing_y - ($self->height / 2);
    my $rel_x = $x - $uplf_x;
    my $rel_y = $y - $uplf_y;
    my $pix_x = $self->m2px($rel_x);
    my $pix_y = $self->m2px($rel_y);
    my $inv_y = $self->pixels_h - $pix_y;
    return ($pix_x, $inv_y);
}

sub translate_rect {
    my ($self, $x, $y, $w, $h) = @_;
    my ($pix_x, $inv_y) = $self->translate_point($x, $y);
    my $pix_h = $self->m2px($h);
    my $pix_w = $self->m2px($w);
    return ($pix_x, $inv_y - $pix_h, $pix_w, $pix_h);
}

sub is_visible {
    my ($self, $x, $y) = @_;
    my ($tx, $ty) = $self->translate($x, $y);
    if ($tx > 0 && $ty > 0 &&
        $tx pixels_w &&
        $ty pixels_h) {
        return 1;
    } else {
        return 0;
    }
}

The Camera requires the information from the MainSurface on the ammount of pixels it has to be able to do the translations.

Now we need to implement the FilledRect view class.

package BouncingBall::View::FilledRect;
use Moose;
use SDL::Video ':all';
use SDL::Surface;

with 'BouncingBall::View';
with 'BouncingBall::Event::RectMovingObserver';

has x         => ( is => 'rw',
                   default => 0 );
has y         => ( is => 'rw',
                   default => 0 );
has w         => ( is => 'rw',
                   default => 0 );
has h         => ( is => 'rw',
                   default => 0 );
has color     => ( is => 'rw',
                   default => 0 );
has rect_obj  => ( is => 'rw' );
has surface   => ( is => 'rw' );
has color_obj => ( is => 'rw' );
has camera    => ( is => 'rw',
                   required => 1 );
has main      => ( is => 'rw',
                   required => 1 );

sub BUILD {
    my ($self) = @_;
    $self->_init_surface;
    $self->_init_color_object;
    $self->_init_rect;
    $self->_fill_rect;
    return 1;
}

sub _init_surface {
    my ($self) = @_;
    $self->surface
      ( SDL::Surface->new
        ( SDL_SWSURFACE,
          $self->camera->m2px($self->w),
          $self->camera->m2px($self->h),
          $self->main->depth,
          0, 0, 0, 255 ) );
    return 1;
}

sub _init_color_object {
    my ($self) = @_;
    $self->color_obj
      ( SDL::Video::map_RGB
        ( $self->main->surface->format,
          ((0xFF0000 & $self->color)>>16),
          ((0x00FF00 & $self->color)>>8),
          0x0000FF & $self->color ));
    return 1;
}

sub _init_rect {
    my ($self) = @_;
    $self->rect_obj
      ( SDL::Rect->new
        ( 0, 0,
          $self->camera->m2px($self->w),
          $self->camera->m2px($self->h) ) );
    return 1;
}

sub _fill_rect {
    my ($self) = @_;
    SDL::Video::fill_rect
        ( $self->surface(),
          $self->rect_obj(),
          $self->color_obj() );
    return 1;
}

after 'color' => sub {
    my ($self, $color) = @_;
    if ($color) {
        $self->_init_color_object;
        $self->_fill_rect;
    }
    return 1;
};

after qw(w h) => sub {
    my ($self, $newval) = @_;
    if ($newval) {
        $self->_init_surface;
        $self->_init_rect;
        $self->_fill_rect;
    }
    return 1;
};

sub draw {
    my ($self) = @_;
    my $rect = SDL::Rect->new
      ( $self->camera->translate_rect( $self->x, $self->y,
                                       $self->w, $self->h ) );

    SDL::Video::blit_surface
        ( $self->surface, $self->rect_obj,
          $self->main->surface, $rect );

    return 1;
}

Ok, now that we have the Model and the View classes, we can implement the observer pattern, so the view can be updated as the model changes.

One important aspect on how the MVC model works is that the controller should have just a limited control on the interaction between the model and the view, otherwise you'll get a very complicated code in the controller. Ideally you should have the same level of abstraction in the model as you have in the view, so you have componentization of your application.

That being said, we need to plan the communication pattern between the view and the model. It is important that they should be mostly unaware of each other, in the sense that the view doesn't need to know that it's a ball being modelled, but just that it has a point describing its position and a rect describing its measures - We can even keep only the rect for our current purposes.

That is our RectMoved event class and the Rect class which is used by it:

package BouncingBall::Event::RectMoved;
use Moose;

has old_rect => ( is => 'ro',
                  isa => 'BouncingBall::Event::Rect',
                  required => 0 );
has new_rect => ( is => 'ro',
                  isa => 'BouncingBall::Event::Rect',
                  required => 1 );

The rect class is implemented here because SDL::Rect expects integers as its members, and we don't want to loose the precision.

package BouncingBall::Event::Rect;
use Moose;

has x => ( is => 'ro',
           isa => 'Num',
           required => 1 );
has y => ( is => 'ro',
           isa => 'Num',
           required => 1 );
has w => ( is => 'ro',
           isa => 'Num',
           required => 1 );
has h => ( is => 'ro',
           isa => 'Num',
           required => 1 );

Now we need the role that implements the observable part, meaning that any class that wants to fire events for moving rects just need to compose that role and call the fire_rect_moved method.

package BouncingBall::Event::RectMovingObservable;
use Moose::Role;
use MooseX::Types::Moose qw(ArrayRef);

use aliased 'BouncingBall::Event::RectMovingObserver';
use aliased 'BouncingBall::Event::RectMoved';

has 'rect_moving_listeners' => ( traits => ['Array'],
                                 is => 'ro',
                                 isa => ArrayRef[RectMovingObserver],
                                 default => sub { [] },
                                 handles => { add_rect_moving_listener => 'push' } );

sub remove_rect_moving_listener {
    my ($self, $object) = @_;
    my $count = $self->rect_moving_listeners->count;
    my $found;
    for my $i (0..($count-1)) {
        if ($self->rect_moving_listeners->[$i] == $object) {
            $found = $i;
            last;
        }
    }
    if ($found) {
        splice @{$self->rect_moving_listeners}, $found, 1, ();
    }
}

sub fire_rect_moved {
    my ($self, $old_rect, $new_rect) = @_;
    my %args = ( new_rect => $new_rect );
    $args{old_rect} = $old_rect if $old_rect;
    my $ev = RectMoved->new(\%args);
    $_->rect_moved($ev) for @{$self->rect_moving_listeners};
}

And the RectMovingObserver role:

package BouncingBall::Event::RectMovingObserver;
use Moose::Role;

requires 'rect_moved';

Now we need to make our Ball model class fire that event whenever its position or size attributes are changed. So we're goint to add the following modifiers to the attributes. At first we're not going to support the old_rect attribute of the event, so we're just sending the new_rect.

with 'BouncingBall::Event::RectMovingObservable';

after qw(cen_v cen_h) => sub {
    my ($self, $newval) = @_;
    if ($newval) {
        $self->fire_rect_moved( undef,
                                Rect->new({ x => $self->pos_h,
                                            y => $self->pos_v,
                                            w => $self->width,
                                            h => $self->height }) );
    }
}

And finally adding the observer code in the view class.

with 'BouncingBall::Event::RectMovingObserver';

sub rect_moved {
    my ($self, $ev) = @_;
    $self->$_($ev->$_()) for grep { $self->$_() != $ev->$_() } qw(x y w h);
}

Everything's set! To the controller!

Now we finally can have the controller code written. It should:

  1. Initialize the models
  2. Initialize the views
  3. Connect them together
  4. Orchestrate the time_lapse and the general rendering

So, in the end our controller looks like the following:

package BouncingBall::Controller::InGame;
use Moose;
use MooseX::Types::Moose qw(ArrayRef);

use SDL::Events ':all';
use aliased 'BouncingBall::Model::Ball';
use aliased 'BouncingBall::Model::Wall';
use aliased 'BouncingBall::View';
use aliased 'BouncingBall::View::Plane';
use aliased 'BouncingBall::View::FilledRect';
use aliased 'BouncingBall::View::Camera';
use aliased 'BouncingBall::View::MainSurface';
use aliased 'BouncingBall::Event::Rect';

has 'ball' => ( is => 'rw',
                isa => Ball,
                default => sub { Ball->new() } );

has 'main_surface' => ( is => 'ro',
                        isa => MainSurface,
                        required => 1 );

has 'camera' => ( is => 'ro',
                  isa => Camera );

has 'walls' => ( traits => ['Array'],
                 is => 'rw',
                 isa => ArrayRef[Wall] );
has 'views' => ( traits => ['Array'],
                 is => 'rw',
                 isa => ArrayRef[View] );


sub BUILD {
    my $self = shift;

    my $background = Plane->new({ main => $self->main_surface,
                                  color => 0xFFFFFF });

    my $camera = Camera->new({ pixels_w => $self->main_surface->width,
                               pixels_h => $self->main_surface->height,
                               pointing_x => $self->ball->cen_h,
                               pointing_y => $self->ball->cen_v });

    my $ball_view = FilledRect->new({ color => 0x0000FF,
                                      camera => $camera,
                                      main => $self->main_surface,
                                      x => $self->ball->pos_h,
                                      y => $self->ball->pos_v,
                                      w => $self->ball->width,
                                      h => $self->ball->height });
    $self->ball->add_rect_moving_listener($ball_view);

    $self->views([]);
    push @{$self->views}, $background, $ball_view;

    $self->walls([]);

    # now we need to build four walls, to enclose our ball.
    foreach my $rect ( Rect->new({ x => 0,
                                   y => 0,
                                   w => 20,
                                   h => 1 }),
                       Rect->new({ x => 0,
                                   y => 0,
                                   h => 20,
                                   w => 1 }),
                       Rect->new({ x => 20,
                                   y => 0,
                                   h => 20,
                                   w => 1 }),
                       Rect->new({ x => 0,
                                   y => 20,
                                   w => 21,
                                   h => 1 }),
                       Rect->new({ x => 10,
                                   y => 0,
                                   h => 10,
                                   w => 1 })) {

        my $wall_model = Wall->new({ pos_v => $rect->y,
                                     pos_h => $rect->x,
                                     width => $rect->w,
                                     height => $rect->h });

        push @{$self->walls}, $wall_model;

        my $wall_view = FilledRect->new({ color => 0xFF0000,
                                          camera => $camera,
                                          main => $self->main_surface,
                                          x => $rect->x,
                                          y => $rect->y,
                                          w => $rect->w,
                                          h => $rect->h });

        push @{$self->views}, $wall_view;

    }

}

sub handle_sdl_event {
    my ($self, $sevent) = @_;

    my $ball = $self->ball;
    my $type = $sevent->type;

    if ($type == SDL_KEYDOWN &&
        $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_LEFT) {
        $ball->acc_h(-5);

    } elsif ($type == SDL_KEYUP &&
             $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_LEFT) {
        $ball->acc_h(0);

    } elsif ($type == SDL_KEYDOWN &&
             $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_RIGHT) {
        $ball->acc_h(5);

    } elsif ($type == SDL_KEYUP &&
             $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_RIGHT) {
        $ball->acc_h(0);

    } elsif ($type == SDL_KEYDOWN &&
             $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_UP) {
        $ball->acc_v(5);

    } elsif ($type == SDL_KEYUP &&
             $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_UP) {
        $ball->acc_v(0);

    } elsif ($type == SDL_KEYDOWN &&
             $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_DOWN) {
        $ball->acc_v(-5);

    } elsif ($type == SDL_KEYUP &&
             $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_DOWN) {
        $ball->acc_v(0);

    } else {
        return 0;
    }
    return 1;
}

sub handle_frame {
    my ($self, $oldtime, $now) = @_;

    my $frame_elapsed_time = ($now - $oldtime)/1000;

    my $ball = $self->ball;
    my $collided = 0;
    foreach my $wall (@{$self->walls}) {
        if (my $coll = collide($ball, $wall, $frame_elapsed_time)) {
            # need to place the ball in the result after the bounce given
            # the time elapsed after the collision.
            my $collision_remaining_time = $frame_elapsed_time - $coll->time;
            my $movement_before_collision_h = $ball->vel_h * $coll->time;
            my $movement_before_collision_v = $ball->vel_v * $coll->time;
            my $movement_after_collision_h = $ball->vel_h * $collision_remaining_time;
            my $movement_after_collision_v = $ball->vel_v * $collision_remaining_time;
            if ($coll->axis eq 'x') {
                $ball->cen_h(($ball->cen_h + $movement_before_collision_h) +
                             ($movement_after_collision_h * -1));
                $ball->cen_v($ball->cen_v +
                             $movement_before_collision_v +
                             $movement_after_collision_v);
                $ball->vel_h($ball->vel_h * -1);
            } elsif ($coll->axis eq 'y') {
                $ball->cen_v(($ball->cen_v + $movement_before_collision_v) +
                             ($movement_after_collision_v * -1));
                $ball->cen_h($ball->cen_h +
                             $movement_before_collision_h +
                             $movement_after_collision_h);
                $ball->vel_v($ball->vel_v * -1);
            } elsif (ref $coll->axis eq 'ARRAY') {
                my ($xv, $yv) = @{$coll->bounce_vector};
                $ball->cen_h(($ball->cen_h + $movement_before_collision_h) +
                             ($xv * $collision_remaining_time));
                $ball->vel_h($xv);
                $ball->cen_v(($ball->cen_v + $movement_before_collision_v) +
                             ($yv * $collision_remaining_time));
                $ball->vel_v($yv);
            } else {
                warn 'BAD BALL!';
                $ball->cen_h(($ball->cen_h + $movement_before_collision_h) +
                             ($movement_after_collision_h * -1));
                $ball->cen_v(($ball->cen_v + $movement_before_collision_v) +
                             ($movement_after_collision_v * -1));
                $ball->vel_h($ball->vel_h * -1);
                $ball->vel_v($ball->vel_v * -1);
            }
            $collided = 1;
        }
    }

    if (!$collided) {
        $ball->time_lapse($oldtime, $now);
    }

    foreach my $view (@{$self->views}) {
        my $ret = $view->draw();
    }

    SDL::Video::flip($self->main_surface->surface);

}

use Collision::2D ':all';
sub collide {
    my ($ball, $wall, $time) = @_;
    my $rect = hash2rect({ x => $wall->pos_h, y => $wall->pos_v,
                           h => $wall->height, w => $wall->width });
    my $circ = hash2circle({ x => $ball->cen_h, y => $ball->cen_v,
                             radius => $ball->radius,
                             xv => $ball->vel_h,
                             yv => $ball->vel_v });
    return dynamic_collision($circ, $rect, interval => $time);
}

And with all the reorganization, the main ball.pl code is now pretty simple:

#!/usr/bin/perl

use 5.10.0;
use strict;
use warnings;

use SDL;
use SDL::Event;
use SDL::Events;

use lib 'lib';

use aliased 'BouncingBall::Controller::InGame';
use aliased 'BouncingBall::View::MainSurface';

SDL::init( SDL_INIT_EVERYTHING );

my $fps = 60;

my $surf = MainSurface->new();

my $sevent = SDL::Event->new();
my $time = SDL::get_ticks;

my $controller = InGame->new({ main_surface => $surf });

while (1) {
    my $oldtime = $time;
    my $now = SDL::get_ticks;

    while (SDL::Events::poll_event($sevent)) {
        my $type = $sevent->type;
        if ($type == SDL_QUIT) {
            exit;
        } elsif ($controller->handle_sdl_event($sevent)) {
            # handled.
        } else {
            # unknown event.
        }
    }

    $controller->handle_frame($time, $now);

    $time = SDL::get_ticks;
    SDL::delay(1000/$fps);
}

The case for the Camera!

We started this post around the idea of making a camera, but we haven't done anything really interesting with it. So now I'm going to implement the really usefull part of all this thing we've done.

Currently the camera is being set as looking at the point the ball starts, but soon enough, the ball is going to get too close to the bottom border of the screen.

The idea is pretty simple, try to keep the ball inside a threshold margin by moving the camera when it gets too close of the border.

What makes this really simple is the fact that we just need to do two things:

  1. Add the camera as an observer of the ball.
  2. Implement the chasing logic in the rect_moved method

And that's all. Really. So here are all the code we need to make the camera chase the ball:

# in the controller, we just need to add one line, after the camera
# initialization.
$self->ball->add_rect_moving_listener($camera);

And then we need to implement rect_moved on the camera:

sub rect_moved {
    my ($self, $ev) = @_;
    # implement a loose following of the ball.  if the ball gets near
    # the border of the screen, we follow it so it stays inside the
    # desired area.

    my $lf_x = $self->pointing_x - ($self->width / 2);
    my $br_lf_x = $lf_x + $self->width * 0.2;

    my $rt_x = $self->pointing_x + ($self->width / 2);
    my $br_rt_x = $rt_x - $self->width * 0.2;

    my $up_y = $self->pointing_y + ($self->height / 2);
    my $br_up_y = $up_y - $self->height * 0.2;

    my $dw_y = $self->pointing_y - ($self->height / 2);
    my $br_dw_y = $dw_y + $self->height * 0.2;

    if ($ev->new_rect->x pointing_x( $self->pointing_x - ($br_lf_x - $ev->new_rect->x))
    } elsif ($ev->new_rect->x > $br_rt_x) {
        $self->pointing_x( $self->pointing_x + ($ev->new_rect->x - $br_rt_x));
    }

    if ($ev->new_rect->y pointing_y( $self->pointing_y - ($br_dw_y - $ev->new_rect->y))
    } elsif ($ev->new_rect->y > $br_up_y) {
        $self->pointing_y( $self->pointing_y + ($ev->new_rect->y - $br_up_y));
    }

    return 1;
}

And that's all. That's the joy of a properly designed MVC architecture.

As usual, follows a small video of the game.

Syndicated 2010-03-30 23:19:05 from Daniel Ruoso

Writing games in Perl - Part 3 - Collision detection

Following posts 1 and 2 on the subject of writing games in Perl, now we are going to add colision.

The idea is quite simple, we are going to add another square to the game, and when the ball hits it, it will change direction. Following the way we were working, I'm going to add another object, called Wall.

The first thing is modelling our wall, which will be a rectangle, so it has the following attributes.

package Wall;
use Moose;
use Util;
use SDL::Rect;

# Position - vertical and horizontal
has pos_v => (is => 'rw', isa => 'Num', default => 0);
has pos_h => (is => 'rw', isa => 'Num', default => 0.12);

# Width and height
has width => (is => 'rw', isa => 'Num', default => 0.005);
has height => (is => 'rw', isa => 'Num', default => 0.4);

Unlike the ball, a wall doesn't move, so we don't need a time_lapse method, but we still have the get_rect and draw methods.

sub get_rect {
  my ($self, $height, $width) = @_;

  my $inverted_v = ($height - ($self->pos_v + $self->height));

  my $x = Util::m2px( $self->pos_h );
  my $y = Util::m2px( $inverted_v );
  my $h = Util::m2px( $self->height );
  my $w = Util::m2px( $self->width );

  my $screen_w = Util::m2px( $width );
  my $screen_h = Util::m2px( $height );

  if ($x  $screen_w) {
    $w -= ($x + $w) - $screen_w;
  }

  if ($y  $screen_h) {
    $h -= ($y + $h) - $screen_h;
  }

  return SDL::Rect->new( $x, $y, $w, $h );
}

my $color;
sub draw {
  my ($self, $surface, $height, $width) = @_;
  unless ($color) {
    $color = SDL::Video::map_RGB
      ( $surface->format(),
        255, 0, 0 ); # red
  }
  SDL::Video::fill_rect
      ( $surface,
        $self->get_rect($height, $width),
        $color );
}

See the first post for more details on the get_rect and draw codes.

Now we need to add our wall to the game, that will mean a simple change in our main code, first we need to load the Wall module, then initialize the Wall just after initializing the ball, and finally calling the draw method just after calling the same method on ball.

use Wall;
my $wall = Wall->new;
$wall->draw($app, $height, $width);

If you tried to run the code at this point, you'll notice you won't see any wall. That happens because the application is only updating the screen where the ball is passing. The Wall needs to be drawn a first time, and the screen needs to be updated at that position. This prevents us from re-updating the wall rect everytime, which is pointless, since the wall is static - that code goes right before the main loop.

# let's draw the wall for the first time.
$wall->draw($app, $height, $width);
SDL::Video::update_rects
  ( $app,
    $wall->get_rect($height, $width) );

Now we need to check for a collision. This should happen in the place of the time_lapse call. Note that while I neglected math in the movement part, here it's more complicated because I need to react in a reasonable manner depending on how the collision happened. But as we're working in Perl and we have CPAN, I can just use Collision::2D (zpmorgan++ for working on this and pointing me in the correct direction)

If you don't have the Collision::2D module installed, just call

# cpan Collision::2D

If you're not sure wether you have it or not, just try installing it anyway, it will suceed if the module is already installed.

use Collision::2D ':all';
sub collide {
    my ($ball, $wall, $time) = @_;
    my $rect = hash2rect({ x => $wall->pos_h, y => $wall->pos_v,
                           h => $wall->height, w => $wall->width });
    my $circ = hash2circle({ x => $ball->cen_h, y => $ball->cen_v,
                             radius => $ball->radius,
                             xv => $ball->vel_h,
                             yv => $ball->vel_v });
    return dynamic_collision($circ, $rect, interval => $time);
}

I assumed an API that wasn't currently implemented in our Ball object, so I changed the ball so that pos_v, pos_h, width and height return the bounding dimensions for the ball I won't put the code in the post, but you can check at the github repo.

Okay, now it's time to check for collisions and act accordingly. Again, we'll assume an 100% efficient collision, so the code looks like:

  my $frame_elapsed_time = ($now - $oldtime)/1000;
  if (my $coll = Util::collide($ball, $wall, $frame_elapsed_time)) {
      # need to place the ball in the result after the bounce given
      # the time elapsed after the collision.
      my $collision_remaining_time = $frame_elapsed_time - $coll->time;
      my $movement_before_collision_h = $ball->vel_h * $coll->time;
      my $movement_before_collision_v = $ball->vel_v * $coll->time;
      my $movement_after_collision_h = $ball->vel_h * $collision_remaining_time;
      my $movement_after_collision_v = $ball->vel_v * $collision_remaining_time;
      if ($coll->axis eq 'x') {
          $ball->cen_h(($ball->cen_h + $movement_before_collision_h) +
                       ($movement_after_collision_h * -1));
          $ball->cen_v($ball->cen_v +
                       $movement_before_collision_v +
                       $movement_after_collision_v);
          $ball->vel_h($ball->vel_h * -1);
      } elsif ($coll->axis eq 'y') {
          $ball->cen_v(($ball->cen_v + $movement_before_collision_v) +
                       ($movement_after_collision_v * -1));
          $ball->cen_h($ball->cen_h +
                       $movement_before_collision_h +
                       $movement_after_collision_h);
          $ball->vel_v($ball->vel_v * -1);
      } elsif (ref $coll->axis eq 'ARRAY') {
          my ($xv, $yv) = @{$coll->bounce_vector};
          $ball->cen_h(($ball->cen_h + $movement_before_collision_h) +
                       ($xv * $collision_remaining_time));
          $ball->vel_h($xv);
          $ball->cen_v(($ball->cen_v + $movement_before_collision_v) +
                       ($yv * $collision_remaining_time));
          $ball->vel_v($yv);
      } else {
          warn 'BAD BALL!';
          $ball->cen_h(($ball->cen_h + $movement_before_collision_h) +
                       ($movement_after_collision_h * -1));
          $ball->cen_v(($ball->cen_v + $movement_before_collision_v) +
                       ($movement_after_collision_v * -1));
          $ball->vel_h($ball->vel_h * -1);
          $ball->vel_v($ball->vel_v * -1);
      }
  } else {
      $ball->time_lapse($oldtime, $now, $height, $width);
  }

Okay, the above code was a bit complicated, let's brake it down...

  my $frame_elapsed_time = ($now - $oldtime)/1000;

Collision::2D works with time in seconds, it calculates if the two objects would have collided during the duration of this frame.

  if (my $coll = Util::collide($ball, $wall, $frame_elapsed_time)) {
     ...
  } else {
      $ball->time_lapse($oldtime, $now, $height, $width);
  }

Now we check if there was a collision. If not, we just proceed to the regular code that calculates the new position for the ball.

      my $collision_remaining_time = $frame_elapsed_time - $coll->time;
      my $movement_before_collision_h = $ball->vel_h * $coll->time;
      my $movement_before_collision_v = $ball->vel_v * $coll->time;
      my $movement_after_collision_h = $ball->vel_h * $collision_remaining_time;
      my $movement_after_collision_v = $ball->vel_v * $collision_remaining_time;

In the case we have a collision, Collision::2D tells us when and how it happened. In order to implement the bouncing, I also calculate how far they would have been proceeded before and after the collision.

      if ($coll->axis eq 'x') {
          ...
      } elsif ($coll->axis eq 'y') {
          ...
      } elsif (ref $coll->axis eq 'ARRAY') {
          ...
      } else {
          ...
      }

The method that describes how the collision happened is "axis". If it was a purely horizontal colision, it will return 'x', if it was purely vertical, it will return 'y', if it was mixed, it will return a vector that describes it. In the case of a bug, it will return undef.

          $ball->cen_h(($ball->cen_h + $movement_before_collision_h) +
                       ($movement_after_collision_h * -1));
          $ball->cen_v($ball->cen_v +
                       $movement_before_collision_v +
                       $movement_after_collision_v);
          $ball->vel_h($ball->vel_h * -1);

In the case of perfect horizontal or vertical collision (or bug), we reposition the ball by first calculating where it would be at the time of the collision and then bounce it away - depending on how the collision occurred.

          my ($xv, $yv) = @{$coll->bounce_vector};
          $ball->cen_h(($ball->cen_h + $movement_before_collision_h) +
                       ($xv * $collision_remaining_time));
          $ball->vel_h($xv);
          $ball->cen_v(($ball->cen_v + $movement_before_collision_v) +
                       ($yv * $collision_remaining_time));
          $ball->vel_v($yv);

This last part of the code uses a cool feature for Collision::2D, which returns a bounce information for that collision, which we then use to figure out the correct position after the bounce.

And now we can run our code. I have made some other changes not explained here, because they are just settings that control the behavior. Remember to access the github repo for more details.

Now a small video of the game running.

Syndicated 2010-03-20 22:03:50 from Daniel Ruoso

Introducing the Null CMS [Perl]

I'm working for some time in a concept on what I've been calling Null CMS, which would be simply a content repository with metadata support and authorization. The interface would simply be a search and an edit screen. The data would be stored in Plain Old Semantic HTML (POSH), tags and categorization would be made with HTML META tags, microformats would also be used to allow structuring other types of data. Media files could be stored with an associated html file describing it.

In order to make it fast, I'd use KinoSearch to index all of that, including inexing known microformats and other patterns that could be defined in code. The other requisite for that is supporting UNIX-style permissions (ugo+rwx) so I could have three sets of indices - 1 for each user, 1 for each group and 1 for others.

In the end, this is going to be presented as a Catalyst Model, that will then be used to implement web sites in an easy and clean way - using a specialized cat front-end for sites is very straight forward, I had experience front-ending wordpress which, besides it's weird data modelling (and "weird" is putting it in a nice way), and it was pretty nice.

This could easily be solved with a XML database, such as Sedna, eXist or even bdbxml, but they require an extra level of control of the operating system that would make this project pointless (If I have this kind of control, I'd use Alfresco which already implements everything I need).

Conceptually, something as simple as storing everything in a tar file would solve it, but then we have concurrent access and it fails.

I was wondering about KiokuDB, but I'd still need a storage for kinosearch indexes, maybe it's possible to create a store class for kinosearch that stores it in a relational database.

In summary, I need a solution that could be used in a regular cheap shared hosting (which probably means only MySQL).

The other alternative is using Amazon services, but that would make me too depedant on them - although it would probably be a minor problem, since it's all encapsulated in a model class...

I'd like to hear ideas on this topic... what do you think?

Syndicated 2010-03-15 11:02:10 from Daniel Ruoso

Google AI Challenge in Perl

I'm usually not thrilled by competitions, but I must admit this one has taken me. I refer to the Google AI Challenge promoted by the University of Waterloo Computer Science Club. This is a simple bot competition where you play in a one-to-one tron game with another bot from the competition in one of a set of maps.

The deadline for bot submission is 26th february, but don't wait untill there. The example bots are nothing close to the competition bots... You can follow my status here.

Syndicated 2010-02-13 20:18:29 from Daniel Ruoso

Writing games in Perl - Part 2 - Controlling the Ball

Following the first post on the subject of writing games in Perl, where we created a bouncing ball (I know, it is a rectangle, but I trust your imagination), this post is going to add something very important when dealing with games: input.

Silveira Neto suggested that I should include more specific instructions on how to start the game (and maybe a video), so I recalled that I didn't mention that all the sources for this posts (including the text) is currently hosted at a github repository (if you plan to contribute, please just ask me for commit permissions instead of forking the repo).

So if you want to run the codes posted here, you first need to:

$ git clone http://github.com/ruoso/games-perl.git

You can check for updates by calling

$ git pull origin master

from inside the games-perl directory. Each directory inside games-perl starts with the number of the post. The first post is inside the 1-bouncing-ball directory and the second is in 2-controlling. To run the the first code just get inside the first directory and call:

$ perl ball.pl

The second example code is based on the first, so the script name is the same, so just get into the other directory and run the same line. If you get an error like:

Can't locate SDL/Video.pm in @INC (@INC contains: /etc/perl
/usr/local/lib/perl/5.10.0 /usr/local/share/perl/5.10.0 /usr/lib/perl5
/usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/perl/5.10 /usr/share/perl/5.10
/usr/local/lib/site_perl .) at ball.pl line 8.

It means you probably don't have the newest SDL, take a look at the first post to see how to get the newest redesigned SDL.

Controlling the Ball

Enough for the introduction, let's get to the actual code. The first thing we need is understanding SDL Events. If you ever programmed GUI applications or even if you wrote some javascript you are aware of how an event framework looks like. SDL is no exception, you need to wait (or poll) for the events, and each event will contain the information you need to figure out what happened.

In our case, we want to apply additional acceleration to the ball whenever the arrow keys are pressed. But if we have an event-based system, the way to figure out which of those four keys is currently pressed is keeping a state mask and update it when you receive keydown and keyup events.

So what we're going to do is to manipulate the acc_h and acc_v ball attributes depending on the keydown and keyup events. It might look complicated, but the only change we need is (this is inside ball.pl main loop):

  while (SDL::Events::poll_event($event)) {
    if ($event->type == SDL_QUIT) {
      exit;

    } elsif ($type == SDL_KEYDOWN &&
             $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_LEFT) {
      $ball->acc_h(-1);

    } elsif ($type == SDL_KEYUP &&
             $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_LEFT) {
      $ball->acc_h(0);

    } elsif ($type == SDL_KEYDOWN &&
             $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_RIGHT) {
      $ball->acc_h(1);

    } elsif ($type == SDL_KEYUP &&
             $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_RIGHT) {
      $ball->acc_h(0);

    } elsif ($type == SDL_KEYDOWN &&
             $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_UP) {
      $ball->acc_v(1);

    } elsif ($type == SDL_KEYUP &&
             $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_UP) {
      $ball->acc_v(0);

    } elsif ($type == SDL_KEYDOWN &&
             $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_DOWN) {
      $ball->acc_v(-1);

    } elsif ($type == SDL_KEYUP &&
             $sevent->key_sym() == SDLK_DOWN) {
      $ball->acc_v(0);

    }
  }

So, this is it. Follows a small video of the game.

Syndicated 2010-02-07 10:30:30 from Daniel Ruoso

Writing games in Perl - part 1 - Bouncing Ball

I've been saying I will write a lengthy description of my experiments with SDL in Perl for a while, today kthakore uploaded a SDL experimental version with all the code involved in this experiments. So I decided to start, but I decided to make it a serial post. I'm still unsure about how the format will look like for the rest of the posts, but I certainly would love any comment with ideas of where I should go next.

So at the first post, I'll try to make a very simple application: "bouncing ball". It is simply a ball bouncing in the screen, where the left and right cursors will accelerate them to each side.

Starting the environment

Well, at first you need version 2.3_5 or greater of the SDL module available here. Building the SDL perl binding will require the headers for most of the sdl related libraries. If you're in a Debian machine (or most debian-based distros) you can simply install the regular version of the SDL perl bindings. You can also do:

# apt-get build-dep libsdl-perl

This line requires you to have a deb-src line in your /etc/apt/sources.list. Mine looks like:

deb-src http://ftp.br.debian.org/debian lenny main

In the case you change your sources.list file, remember you need to call apt-get update for it to get the new info.

After that you can simply download SDL 2.3_5 from CPAN and follow the README instructions, which basically means (note that this version is experimental so you might notice some failing tests):

# perl Build.PL
# ./Build
# ./Build test
# ./Build install

You might setup a local::lib if you still want to run other applications that require the older and stable version of SDL (yes, there are a lot of API changes). I'm not a Windows user, but it has been reported that it works like charm when using Strawberry Perl.

If everything is fine, you should be able to get "2.35" when you do:

$ perl -MSDL -E 'say $SDL::VERSION'

You might always get into #sdl@irc.perl.org if you run into trouble.

The way I write games

Alright, before getting into the technicalities of how to write a game with SDL in Perl, let's think a bit on the mechanics of how a game works.

The first thing to realize is that a game needs to simulate some universe, and that this universe needs to have some universal rules like the physics you apply. For instance, it is very important that you decide, from the beggining, if you're going to have gravity in your game.

The second thing to realize is that, even if we have the impression that the time is a continuum, time is actually a sequence of events, like the shutter of a camera in burst mode (okay, for the not interested in photography, think in stop motion). That basically means: in frame A the ball was at position 10,10 and in frame B it was at 20,30. There's no in-between, you don't have to worry about it. You might be wondering if a collision might be lost in that move, but the point is, if the machine can't evaluate enough frames per second as to avoid that, it probably wouldn't be able to evaluate a more ellaborated calculation of the tragetories to see if they would have collided.

This provides an important simplification on how to think your game model. In this first example I'm going to overlook the modelling for interaction with different objects, since we have just a bouncing ball.

One last thing before we go on. You might be tempted to use pixels as your measuring unit, there's one important aspect to keep in mind. A Pixel is an integer value, which means that you'll need to do roundings for each frame. And if you need to store it as a integer value, you're going to accumulate imprecision, which might lead to weird effects, specially when the fps rate changes dramatically. My suggestion is to stick with the good old international measuring system and just use meters, a simple calculation can covert from/to pixels.

package Util;
use strict;
use warnings;
our $DPI = 96; # I think there's a sane way to fetch this value
sub m2px { int(((shift) * ($DPI / 0.0254)) + 0.5) }
sub px2m { (shift) / ($DPI / .0254) }

Modelling the ball

I think there probably isn't a better fit for Object Orientation than games, since you're actually dealing with simulated objects, and the most obvious choice is to use object orientation to work with it. So that's the attributes I can think right now to our object.

package Ball;
use Moose;

use constant g => 1.5;
use Util;
use SDL::Rect;

# how much space does it take
has radius => (is => 'rw', isa => 'Num', default => 0.005);

# Position - vertical and horizontal
has pos_v => (is => 'rw', isa => 'Num', default => 0.1);
has pos_h => (is => 'rw', isa => 'Num', default => 0.04);

# Velocty - vertical and horizontal
has vel_v => (is => 'rw', isa => 'Num', default => 0);
has vel_h => (is => 'rw', isa => 'Num', default => 0);

# Current acceleration - vertical and horizontal
# gravity is added later
has acc_v => (is => 'rw', isa => 'Num', default => 0);
has acc_h => (is => 'rw', isa => 'Num', default => 0);

With our virtual ball defined, we need to implement the simulation of time. And again, we need to think that time is not a continuum, so what we do is providing a "time_lapse" method that will recalculate the attributes of our object according to the ammount of time past.

sub time_lapse {
  my ($self, $old_time, $new_time, $height, $width) = @_;
  my $elapsed = ($new_time - $old_time)/1000; # convert to seconds...

  # now simple mechanics...
  $self->vel_h( $self->vel_h + $self->acc_h * $elapsed );
  # and add gravity for vertical velocity.
  $self->vel_v( $self->vel_v + ($self->acc_v - g) * $elapsed );

  # finally get the new position
  $self->pos_v( $self->pos_v + $self->vel_v * $elapsed );
  $self->pos_h( $self->pos_h + $self->vel_h * $elapsed );

  # this ball is supposed to bounce, so let's check $width and $height
  # if we're out of bounds, we assume a 100% efficient bounce.
  if ($self->pos_v pos_v($self->pos_v * -1);
    $self->vel_v($self->vel_v * -1);
  } elsif ($self->pos_v > $height) {
    $self->pos_v($height - ($self->pos_v - $height));
    $self->vel_v($self->vel_v * -1);
  }

  if ($self->pos_h pos_h($self->pos_h * -1);
    $self->vel_h($self->vel_h * -1);
  } elsif ($self->pos_h > $width) {
    $self->pos_h($width - ($self->pos_h - $width));
    $self->vel_h($self->vel_h * -1);
  }


}

From the simulated universe to pixels

You probably noticed that we haven't talked much about the game development per se, so let's start thinking about it

The first difference from the simulated universe and the actual game is the coordinate system. In our universe the vertical position 0 is near the floor, but in the screen, the vertical position 0 is at the top of the screen.

The other difference, which I already mentioned, is that our measures are in meters, and the screen is measured in pixels. The SDL library provides an important class to interact with this issue, the SDL::Rect.

That way, we're going to have a method to return a rect - but we need to remember to only return a rect that is inside the expected bounds, otherwise SDL will throw an exception.

sub get_rect {
  my ($self, $height, $width) = @_;

  my $inverted_v = $height - $self->pos_v;

  my $x = Util::m2px( $self->pos_h - $self->radius );
  my $y = Util::m2px( $inverted_v - $self->radius );
  my $h = Util::m2px( $self->radius * 2 );
  my $w = Util::m2px( $self->radius * 2 );

  my $screen_w = Util::m2px( $width );
  my $screen_h = Util::m2px( $height );

  if ($x  $screen_w) {
    $w -= ($x + $w) - $screen_w;
  }

  if ($y  $screen_h) {
    $h -= ($y + $h) - $screen_h;
  }

  return SDL::Rect->new( $x, $y, $w, $h );
}

Painting

The last part is actually drawing the ball, which involves painting the ball in the correct place. In our first version, our ball will be a square, since it's the most primitive drawing we have and I don't want to get into that specifics.

my $color;
sub draw {
  my ($self, $surface, $height, $width) = @_;
  unless ($color) {
    $color = SDL::Video::map_RGB
      ( $surface->format(),
        0, 0, 255 ); # blue
  }
  SDL::Video::fill_rect
      ( $surface,
        $self->get_rect($height, $width),
        $color );
}

Yeah, I know, it's an ugly ball, but it bounces... ;)

Putting the pieces together

Now we just need the actual application to use our Ball. Note that the cycle is basically:

  • Listen for events
  • Evaluete the time_lapse
  • Draw the background
  • Draw the ball
  • Update the parts of the screen that where changed
  • Ask for a delay to keep the desired fps rate

Note that I could have asked for it to update the entire screen instead of only the parts that were changed, but that particular operation is actually the most expensive thing you can have in your app, so we try to update as few parts of the screen as possible.

#!/usr/bin/perl

use 5.10.0;
use strict;
use warnings;

use SDL;
use SDL::Video;
use SDL::App;
use SDL::Events;
use SDL::Event;
use SDL::Time;

use lib 'lib';
use Util;
use Ball;

my $ball = Ball->new;
my $width = 0.2;
my $height = 0.15;
my $fps = 60;

my $app = SDL::App->new
  ( -title => 'Bouncing Ball',
    -width => Util::m2px($width),
    -height => Util::m2px($height));

my $black = SDL::Video::map_RGB
  ( $app->format(),
    0, 0, 0 ); # black

my $event = SDL::Event->new();
my $time = SDL::get_ticks;
my $app_rect = SDL::Rect->new(0, 0, $app->w, $app->h);
my $ball_rect = $ball->get_rect($height, $width);

while (1) {
  my $oldtime = $time;
  my $now = SDL::get_ticks;

  while (SDL::Events::poll_event($event)) {
    exit if $event->type == SDL_QUIT;
  }

  my $old_ball_rect = $ball_rect;

  $ball->time_lapse($oldtime, $now, $height, $width);

  $ball_rect = $ball->get_rect($height, $width);

  SDL::Video::fill_rect
      ( $app,
        $app_rect,
        $black );

  $ball->draw($app, $height, $width);

  SDL::Video::update_rects
      ( $app,
        $old_ball_rect, $ball_rect );

  $time = SDL::get_ticks;
  if (($time - $oldtime) < (1000/$fps)) {
    SDL::delay((1000/$fps) - ($time - $oldtime));
  }
}

Syndicated 2010-02-01 12:54:20 from Daniel Ruoso

My quest to SDL in Perl

I think this thing started when Silveira Neto posted his code snippet on Pygame animating the tile set he has been creating for a long time. I knew for a long time that Perl supported SDL and that Frozen Bubble is written in Perl, but I have never tried it myself.

Working with graphics wasn't new to me, back in the days I played with BASIC, I wrote a blackjack program with animated cards, some time later - already in Linux, I played a bit with vgalib. I've been also thinking for a while on the concept of how to evaluate the progress of time in a game environment.

If you join this with the fact that I now have a 1yo kid, it kinda urged me to writing something in SDL for him. The idea was quite simple, as he doesn't coordinate mouse and keyboard movement yet, the game would simply present random images and sounds as there was any event at all.

So I started by using a simple event loop for the SDL events, and a timer to evaluate the time lapse and draw the game. To my surprise, using the timer caused segfaults, because the timer callback runs in a different thread in SDL, but the binding didn't provide any support for it and all I got was kaboom.

I worked around this issue by using Event, a simple event library I already used some other places, to implement the timer. It worked like charm, as there was events in SDL, it was creating rects of random sizes and colors that would last for a random amount of time, fading to black.

Then I thought: Ok, now let's proceed to audio. To my surprise, the callbacks for procedural audio generation were simply missing - Frozen Bubble only plays pre-produced audio files - and my idea was to produce random audio (not noise, but sounds in random frequencies). This was the push I needed to get to the redesign branch in github and start porting the app to it.

Lots of research later, with the help of kthakore++ and the tips from Nicholas++, we managed to have a working version of SDL based on threads and threads::shared. This was a very great moment. I must confess I always kept some envy from python people because of the - so I thought - better support for threads in Python. At some point in this path I found out that Python doesn't support threads at all, because they have a Global Interpreter Lock, which basically means that POE implements the same kind of scalability than Python (and it also explained why the people at ce.gov.br have so much trouble with zope scalability). So now not only we have a thread-enabled SDL binding, but it is *really* threaded, which means that the audio callback will really run at the same time as the timer callback , which will also run together with the event loop. And now I'm happy to know that Perl does have a better threading support than Python - yeah, I know envy is a bad thing, but... whatever...

After I finished Tecla, the app for my 1yo kid, I decided to play with Game::PerlInvaders, which I saw some time ago and I knew some things I could improve. The result is in the branch refact_ruoso at github.

I should make another post, with the details on how tecla and the rewrite of Game::PerlInvaders work, but that's it for now.

Syndicated 2010-01-08 09:17:46 from Daniel Ruoso

Analog ASCII Clock

Today I started the day looking at this post that inspired me to write an ascii analog clock in Perl.

Unlike the linked post, I didn't intend to golf, but rather writing a clean and readable code.

Follows the code:

#!/usr/bin/perl

# besides DateTime, the standard pragmas
use 5.010;
use strict;
use warnings;
use utf8;
use DateTime;

# initialize configuration variables
my $width = 32;
my $height = 32;
my $mark_at = 15;
my $length_m = 12;
my $length_h = 8;
my $length_s = 15;
my $pi = 3.14159265;
my $center_x = int(0.5 + ($width / 2));
my $center_y = int(0.5 + ($height / 2));
my $loop = 1;

# clear the screen and position the cursor in the left top corner
print "\x1b[0;0H\x1b[2J";

# loop the rendering of the clock
while ($loop && sleep 1) {

  # create a matrix of the configured height and width with blanks
  # I use two spaces because most console fonts have the height with
  # twice the width
 my $data = [map {[ map { '  ' } 1..$width ]} 1..$height];

  # get the date and time in the local time zone
  my $now = DateTime->now(time_zone => 'local');
  my $hour = $now->hour_12;
  my $min = $now->minute;
  my $sec = $now->second;

  # convert that to degrees for the hands of that clock
  my $degree_m = ($min * 6) + 270;
  my $degree_h = ($hour * 30) + 270;
  my $degree_s = ($sec * 6) + 270;

  # see the place sub down there
  # place the numbers 1 to 12 around the clock
  place($data,($_ * 30) + 270,$mark_at,sprintf("%02d",$_)) for 1..12;

  # now the seconds hand
  place($data,$degree_m, $_ , '<>') for 0..$length_m;
  
  # the hours hand
  place($data,$degree_h, $_ , '::') for 0..$length_h;

  # the seconds hand
  place($data,$degree_s, $_ , '..') for 0..$length_s;

  # mark the center o the clock
  $data->[$center_y][$center_x] = 'OO';

  # position the cursor in the left top corner
  print "\x1b[0;0H\n";
  
  # covert the matrix into a single string and print it
  say join "\n", map { join '', @$_ } @$data;
};

# covert degrees and distance into X and Y coords using basic trigonometry
sub vec2xy {
  my ($deg, $len) = @_;
  return $center_x + int(0.5 + ($len * cos($deg * ($pi/180)))),
    $center_y + int(0.5 + ($len * sin($deg * ($pi/180))));
}

# place a string into some degree and distance
sub place {
  my ($data, $deg, $len, $txt) = @_;
  my ($x,$y) = vec2xy($deg,$len);
  $data->[$y][$x] = $txt;
}

Syndicated 2009-12-14 13:37:02 from Daniel Ruoso

Differences between agile and traditional methods

Sorry guys, I'm having no time to translate this content, so here follows the original portuguese version, I might come back here later to translate it

Hoje recebi um link para um TCC que comparava PMBoK com Scrum...

É interessante esse tema, uma vez que venho debatendo extensamente sobre ele em ambiente de trabalho. Ainda assim, acredito que o TCC em questão deixa de lado um aspecto fundamental na diferença entre as duas metodologias (não, não li tudo, mas foquei principalmente no capítulo que compara e no que tenta compatibilizar).

Acredito que o primeiro equívoco é considerar o PMBoK um "método de desenvolvimento". O PMBoK é simplesmente uma base de conhecimento que estabelece uma nomenclatura e mapeia um conjunto base de processos a serem utilizados no gerenciamento de projetos. Como lá pela página 70 ele mesmo mostra, é completamente possível você aderir ao Scrum enquanto utiliza a nomenclatura e a base de processos do PMBoK.

No entanto entendo que esse não é o fim do debate, uma vez que, na verdade, está-se aqui tentando fazer uma oposição à gestão de projetos tradicional vs a gestão de projetos ágil. Isso nos leva a duas perguntas:

1) O que diferencia os métodos tradicionais dos ágeis?

2) Quando a escolha de um ou outro é mais acertada?

Para a pergunta 1, existem dois pontos, que no meu entender são chaves para mapear a diferença entre os dois projetos.

1) Em métodos tradicionais, entende-se que o projeto tem um produto que só faz sentido na sua totalidade, mesmo que existam alterações no escopo (devidamente documentadas e aprovadas), o projeto só é bem sucedido no final. Em métodos ágeis, parte-se do princípio que um conjunto mínimo das funcionalidades já irá ser de valor para o cliente, de forma que, mesmo que o projeto seja descontinuado depois de um tempo, o cliente já recebeu um valor efetivo. No entanto, é importante entender que não se trata aqui de ter ou não entregas intermediárias, mas sim trata-se de um sucesso progressivo ou se só é sucesso no final.

2) Em métodos ágeis, a medida das entregas está 100% sobre o trabalho realizado, quem faz os orçamentos é o desenvolvedor e o gerente negocia com o cliente *quais* atividades serão desenvolvidas agora, mas a eficiência da equipe não é propriamente um centro da discussão. Isso é importante porque o cliente não tem, nas metodologias ágeis, uma visão completa de quanto vai custar o produto final, enquanto em métodos tradicionais a medida das entregas está 100% sobre o escopo especificado, e, em geral, o valor total do investimento também é conhecido à princípio, de forma que o papel do cliente é validar o escopo, equanto a eficiência da equipe é um problema única e exclusivamente do próprio laboratório.

Acredito que esses dois pontos nos levam para uma solução interessante para a segunda pergunta, vou tentar resumir quais são, na minha opinião, as linhas de corte sobre quando adotar métodos ágeis e quando adotar métodos tradicionais.

1) Se o projeto tem um escopo fechado à princípio e, na visão do cliente, não existe sucesso a não ser que o produto esteja 100% entregue, ir para métodos ágeis significa que você está simplesmente ignorando os riscos do projeto, uma vez que você não consegue ter uma visão clara das linhas de base de escopo e cronograma.

2) Se a remuneração do projeto (mesmo que estejamos falando apenas em termos conceituais) estiver ligada a um escopo previamente planejado em oposição à remuneração pelo trabalho efetivamente realizado (incluindo o custo dos re-trabalhos), ir para métodos ágeis significa que você estará efetivamente dando um tiro no pé, pois você tem um montante a receber para entregar um conjunto específico de funcionalidades e não vai receber a mais só porque você entregou em versões sucessivas que atendem melhor a necessidade real do cliente.

Alguns exemplos onde métodos ágeis dificilmente fazem sentido, imnsho:

1) atendimento a um edital de licitação ou um edital de seleção de uma fonte qualquer de financiamento. Em geral o termo de referência - sejam submetidos por você ou definidos pelo licitante - define um escopo fechado.

2) entregas de primeiras versões de software. Em geral conhece-se um conjunto mínimo de funcionalidades necessária para aquele software ser útil e, em geral, esse escopo mínimo normalmente representa uma quantidade significativa de trabalho e normalmente a expectativa é que os recursos disponíveis para essa primeira entrega sejam definidos à priori.

Em resumo, se eu tivesse que definir a diferença entre os métodos tradicionais e os métodos ágeis em uma frase, eu diria:

"Nos métodos tradicionais o risco deve ser gerenciado pela equipe de desenvolvimento, nos métodos ágeis é pelo cliente".

Syndicated 2009-11-30 15:53:28 from Daniel Ruoso

PMBoK

Sometimes I hear people saying they're going to use the "PMBoK methodology" to drive some project. One of this days I saw a controversy about an article at iMasters (brazillian web-related e-magazine) where the author was criticizing agile methodologies, and in the comments section that also was repeated.

I think it's worth to clarify: PMBoK is not a project management methodology, in fact, the acronym stands for Project Management Book of Knowledge, which describes a common vocabulary in the knowledge areas related to project management.

Putting it simple, nothing stops you from using what is described in PMBoK to manage a Scum or eXtreme Programming project the same way that nothing stops you from managing a non-agile project and still being far from PMBoK recomendations.

The greatest value of PMBoK, to me, is to stablish the 8 axes that any project manager (in any area) should pay attention for. The axes are:

  • Scope
  • Time
  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Risk
  • Human Resources
  • Communication
  • Procurement

The book itself says that it's up to the project manager to define how much each of this axes are relevant to the success of the project. The same way, despite PMBoK describing a set of processes in each of the axes and each of the phases of the project management, that processess have a role of equalizing the "language" for the project managers, since it lists almost all the possible procedures in project management. It's up, again, to the managr to decide which one will generate value to the project

In summary: methodolodies are always specific to the theme, and to clarify, the curring line, imho, for agile vs non-agile methodologies is in the previous definition of scope vs the definition of a floating scope where some small part of the software already generates a lot of value. If you say your're using agile and your project doesn'g fit here, you're just butying your head in the sand..

Syndicated 2009-10-16 22:56:06 from Daniel Ruoso

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