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The Pong Game

The following tutorial will show you some capabilities of the component-based approach, PySDL2 features. We will create the basics of a simple Pong game implementation here. The basics of creating a event loop, dealing with user input, moving images around and creating a rendering function are covered in this tutorial.

Getting started

We start with creating the window and add a small event loop, so we are able to close the window and exit the game.

import sys
try:
    from sdl2 import *
    import sdl2.ext as sdl2ext
except ImportError:
    import traceback
    traceback.print_exc()
    sys.exit(1)

def run():
    sdl2ext.init()
    window = sdl2ext.Window("The Pong Game", size=(800, 600))
    window.show()
    running = True
    while running:
        events = sdl2ext.get_events()
        for event in events:
            if event.type == SDL_QUIT:
                running = False
                break
        window.refresh()
    return 0

if __name__ == "__main__":
    sys.exit(run())

The import statements, video initialisation and window creation were discussed previously in the :ref:`hello_world` tutorial. We import everything from the :mod:`sdl2` package here, too, to have all SDL2 functions available.

Instead of some integrated event processor, a new code fragment is introduced, though.

running = True
while running:
    events = sdl2ext.get_events()
    for event in events:
        if event.type == SDL_QUIT:
            running = False
            break
    window.refresh()

The while loop above is the main event loop of our application. It deals with all kinds of input events that can occur when working with the window, such as mouse movements, key strokes, resizing operations and so on. SDL handles a lot for us when it comes to events, so all we need to do is to check, if there are any events, retrieve each event one by one, and handle it, if necessary. For now, we will just handle the SDL_QUIT event, which is raised when the window is about to be closed.

In any other case we will just refresh the window's graphics buffer, so it is updated and visible on-screen.

Adding the game world

The window is available and working. Now let's take care of creating the game world, which will manage the player paddles, ball, visible elements and everything else. We are going to use an implementation layout loosely based on a COP [1] pattern, which separates data structures and functionality from each other. This allows us to change or enhance functional parts easily without having to refactor all classes we are implementing.

We start with creating the two player paddles and the rendering engine that will display them.

[...]

WHITE = sdl2ext.Color(255, 255, 255)

class SoftwareRenderer(sdl2ext.SoftwareSpriteRenderer):
    def __init__(self, window):
        super(SoftwareRenderer, self).__init__(window)

    def render(self, components):
        sdl2ext.fill(self.surface, sdl2ext.Color(0, 0, 0))
        super(SoftwareRenderer, self).render(components)


class Player(sdl2ext.Entity):
    def __init__(self, world, sprite, posx=0, posy=0):
        self.sprite = sprite
        self.sprite.position = posx, posy


def run():
    ...

    world = sdl2ext.World()

    spriterenderer = SoftwareRenderer(window)
    world.add_system(spriterenderer)

    factory = sdl2ext.SpriteFactory(sdl2ext.SOFTWARE)
    sp_paddle1 = factory.from_color(WHITE, size=(20, 100))
    sp_paddle2 = factory.from_color(WHITE, size=(20, 100))

    player1 = Player(world, sp_paddle1, 0, 250)
    player2 = Player(world, sp_paddle2, 780, 250)

    running = True
    while running:
        events = sdl2ext.get_events()
        for event in events:
            if event.type == SDL_QUIT:
                running = False
                break
        world.process()

if __name__ == "__main__":
    sys.exit(run())

The first thing to do is to enhance the :class:`sdl2.ext.SoftwareSpriteRenderer` so that it will paint the whole window screen black on every drawing cycle, before drawing all sprites on the window.

Afterwards, the player paddles will be implemented, based on an :class:`sdl2.ext.Entity` data container. The player paddles are simple rectangular sprites that can be positioned anywhere on the window.

In the main program function, we put those things together by creating a :class:`sdl2.ext.World`, in which the player paddles and the renderer can live and operate.

Within the main event loop, we allow the world to process all attached systems, which causes it to invoke the process() methods for all :class:`sdl2.ext.System` instances added to it.

Moving the ball

We have two static paddles centred vertically on the left and right of our window. The next thing to do is to add a ball that can move around within the window boundaries.

[...]
class MovementSystem(sdl2ext.Applicator):
    def __init__(self, minx, miny, maxx, maxy):
        super(MovementSystem, self).__init__()
        self.componenttypes = (Velocity, sdl2ext.Sprite)
        self.minx = minx
        self.miny = miny
        self.maxx = maxx
        self.maxy = maxy

    def process(self, world, componentsets):
        for velocity, sprite in componentsets:
            swidth, sheight = sprite.size
            sprite.x += velocity.vx
            sprite.y += velocity.vy

            sprite.x = max(self.minx, sprite.x)
            sprite.y = max(self.miny, sprite.y)

            pmaxx = sprite.x + swidth
            pmaxy = sprite.y + sheight
            if pmaxx > self.maxx:
                sprite.x = self.maxx - swidth
            if pmaxy > self.maxy:
                sprite.y = self.maxy - sheight


class Velocity(object):
    def __init__(self):
        super(Velocity, self).__init__()
        self.vx = 0
        self.vy = 0


class Player(sdl2ext.Entity):
    def __init__(self, world, posx=0, posy=0):
        [...]
        self.velocity = Velocity()


class Ball(sdl2ext.Entity):
    def __init__(self, world, sprite, posx=0, posy=0):
        self.sprite = sprite
        self.sprite.position = posx, posy
        self.velocity = Velocity()


def run():
    [...]
    sp_ball = factory.from_color(WHITE, size=(20, 20))
    [...]
    movement = MovementSystem(0, 0, 800, 600)
    spriterenderer = SoftwareRenderer(window)

    world.add_system(movement)
    world.add_system(spriterenderer)

    [...]

    ball = Ball(world, sp_ball, 390, 290)
    ball.velocity.vx = -3

    [...]

Two new classes are introduced here, Velocity and MovementSystem. The Velocity class is a simple data bag. It does not contain any application logic, but consists of the relevant information to represent the movement in a certain direction. This allows us to mark in-game items as being able to move around.

The MovementSystem in turn takes care of moving the in-game items around by applying the velocity to their current position. Thus, we can simply enable any Player instance to be movable or not by adding or removing a velocity attribute to them, which is a Velocity component instance.

Note

The naming is important here. The EBS implementation as described in :ref:`ref-ebs` requires every in-application or in-game item attribute bound to a :class:`sdl2.ext.Entity` to be the lowercase class name of its related component.

Player.vel = Velocity(10, 10)

for example would raise an exception, since the system expects Player.vel to be an instance of a Vel component.

The MovementSystem is a specialised :class:`sdl2.ext.System`, a :class:`sdl2.ext.Applicator`, which can operate on combined sets of data. When the :meth:`sdl2.ext.Applicator.process()` method is called, the passed componentsets iterable will contain tuples of objects that belong to an instance and feature a certain type. The MovementSystem's process() implementation hence will loop over sets of Velocity and Sprite instances that belong to the same :class:`sdl2.ext.Entity`. Since we have a ball and two players currently available, it typically would loop over three tuples, two for the individual players and one for the ball.

The :class:`sdl2.ext.Applicator` thus enables us to process combined data of our in-game items, without creating complex data structures.

Note

Only entities that contain all attributes (components) are taken into account. If e.g. the Ball class would not contain a Velocity component, it would not be processed by the MovementSystem.

Why do we use this approach? The :class:`sdl2.ext.Sprite` objects carry a position, which defines the location at which they should be rendered, when processed by the SoftwareRenderer. If they should move around (which is a change in the position), we need to apply the velocity to them.

We also define some more things within the MovementSystem, such as a simple boundary check, so that the players and ball cannot leave the visible window area on moving around.

Bouncing

We have a ball that can move around as well as the general game logic for moving things around. In contrast to a classic OO approach we do not need to implement the movement logic within the Ball and Player class individually, since the basic movement is the same for all (yes, you could have solved that with inheriting Ball and Player from a MovableObject class in OO).

The ball now moves and stays within the bounds, but once it hits the left side, it will stay there. To make it bouncy, we need to add a simple collision system, which causes the ball to change its direction on colliding with the walls or the player paddles.

[...]
class CollisionSystem(sdl2ext.Applicator):
    def __init__(self, minx, miny, maxx, maxy):
        super(CollisionSystem, self).__init__()
        self.componenttypes = (Velocity, sdl2ext.Sprite)
        self.ball = None
        self.minx = minx
        self.miny = miny
        self.maxx = maxx
        self.maxy = maxy

    def _overlap(self, item):
        pos, sprite = item[0], item[1]
        if sprite == self.ball.sprite:
            return False

        left, top, right, bottom = sprite.area
        bleft, btop, bright, bbottom = self.ball.sprite.area

        return bleft < right and bright > left and \
            btop < bottom and bbottom > top

    def process(self, world, componentsets):
        collitems = [comp for comp in componentsets if self._overlap(comp)]
        if len(collitems) != 0:
            self.ball.velocity.vx = -self.ball.velocity.vx


def run():
    [...]
    world = World()

    movement = MovementSystem(0, 0, 800, 600)
    collision = CollisionSystem(0, 0, 800, 600)
    spriterenderer = SoftwareRenderer(window)

    world.add_system(movement)
    world.add_system(collision)
    world.add_system(spriterenderer)

    [...]
    collision.ball = ball

    running = True
    while running:
        events = sdl2ext.get_events()
        for event in events:
            if event.type == SDL_QUIT:
                running = False
                break
        SDL_Delay(10)
        world.process()

if __name__ == "__main__":
    sys.exit(run())

The CollisionSystem only needs to take care of the ball and objects it collides with, since the ball is the only unpredictable object within our game world. The player paddles will only be able to move up and down within the visible window area and we already dealt with that within the MovementSystem code.

Whenever the ball collides with one of the paddles, its movement direction (velocity) should be inverted, so that it bounces back.

Additionally, we won't run at the full processor speed anymore in the main loop, but instead add a short delay, using the :func:`sdl2.SDL_Delay` function. This reduces the overall load on the CPU and makes the game a bit slower.

Reacting on player input

We have a moving ball that bounces from side to side. The next step would be to allow moving one of the paddles around, if the player presses a key. The SDL event routines allow us to deal with a huge variety of user and system events that could occur for our application, but right now we are only interested in key strokes for the Up and Down keys to move one of the player paddles up or down.

[...]
def run():
    [...]
    running = True
    while running:
        events = sdl2ext.get_events()
        for event in events:
            if event.type == SDL_QUIT:
                running = False
                break
            if event.type == SDL_KEYDOWN:
                if event.key.keysym.sym == SDLK_UP:
                    player1.velocity.vy = -3
                elif event.key.keysym.sym == SDLK_DOWN:
                    player1.velocity.vy = 3
            elif event.type == SDL_KEYUP:
                if event.key.keysym.sym in (SDLK_UP, SDLK_DOWN):
                    player1.velocity.vy = 0
        SDL_Delay(10)
        world.process()

if __name__ == "__main__":
    sys.exit(run())

Every event that can occur and that is supported by SDL2 can be identified by a static event type code. This allows us to check for a key stroke, mouse button press, and so on. First, we have to check for SDL_KEYDOWN and SDL_KEYUP events, so we can start and stop the paddle movement on demand. Once we identified such events, we need to check, whether the pressed or released key is actually the Up or Down key, so that we do not start or stop moving the paddle, if the user presses R or G or whatever.

Whenever the Up or Down key are pressed down, we allow the left player paddle to move by changing its velocity information for the vertical direction. Likewise, if either of those keys is released, we stop moving the paddle.

Improved bouncing

We have a moving paddle and we have a ball that bounces from one side to another, which makes the game ... quite boring. If you played Pong before, you know that most variations of it will cause the ball to bounce in a certain angle, if it collides with a paddle. Most of those implementations achieve this by implementing the paddle collision as if the ball collides with a rounded surface. If it collides with the center of the paddle, it will bounce back straight, if it hits the paddle near the center, it will bounce back with a pointed angle and on the corners of the paddle it will bounce back with some angle close to 90 degrees to its initial movement direction.

class CollisionSystem(sdl2ext.Applicator):
    [...]

    def process(self, world, componentsets):
        collitems = [comp for comp in componentsets if self._overlap(comp)]
        if len(collitems) != 0:
            self.ball.velocity.vx = -self.ball.velocity.vx

            sprite = collitems[0][1]
            ballcentery = self.ball.sprite.y + self.ball.sprite.size[1] // 2
            halfheight = sprite.size[1] // 2
            stepsize = halfheight // 10
            degrees = 0.7
            paddlecentery = sprite.y + halfheight
            if ballcentery < paddlecentery:
                factor = (paddlecentery - ballcentery) // stepsize
                self.ball.velocity.vy = -int(round(factor * degrees))
            elif ballcentery > paddlecentery:
                factor = (ballcentery - paddlecentery) // stepsize
                self.ball.velocity.vy = int(round(factor * degrees))
            else:
                self.ball.velocity.vy = - self.ball.velocity.vy

The reworked processing code above simulates a curved paddle by creating segmented areas, which cause the ball to be reflected in different angles. Instead of doing some complex trigonometry to calculate an accurate angle and transform it on a x/y plane, we simply check, where the ball collided with the paddle and adjust the vertical velocity.

If the ball now hits a paddle, it can be reflected at different angles, hitting the top and bottom window boundaries... and will stay there. If it hits the window boundaries, it should be reflected, too, but not with a varying angle, but with the exact angle, it hit the boundary with. This means that we just need to invert the vertical velocity, once the ball hits the top or bottom.

if self.ball.sprite.y <= self.miny or \
        self.ball.sprite.y + self.ball.sprite.size[1] >= self.maxy:
    self.ball.velocity.vy = - self.ball.velocity.vy

if self.ball.sprite.x <= self.minx or \
        self.ball.sprite.x + self.ball.sprite.size[0] >= self.maxx:
    self.ball.velocity.vx = - self.ball.velocity.vx

Creating an enemy

Now that we can shoot back the ball in different ways, it would be nice to have an opponent to play against. We could enhance the main event loop to recognise two different keys and manipulate the second paddle's velocity for two people playing against each other. We also could create a simple computer-controlled player that tries to hit the ball back to us, which sounds more interesting.

class TrackingAIController(sdl2ext.Applicator):
    def __init__(self, miny, maxy):
        super(TrackingAIController, self).__init__()
        self.componenttypes = (PlayerData, Velocity, sdl2ext.Sprite)
        self.miny = miny
        self.maxy = maxy
        self.ball = None

    def process(self, world, componentsets):
        for pdata, vel, sprite in componentsets:
            if not pdata.ai:
                continue

            centery = sprite.y + sprite.size[1] // 2
            if self.ball.velocity.vx < 0:
                # ball is moving away from the AI
                if centery < self.maxy // 2:
                    vel.vy = 3
                elif centery > self.maxy // 2:
                    vel.vy = -3
                else:
                    vel.vy = 0
            else:
                bcentery = self.ball.sprite.y + self.ball.sprite.size[1] // 2
                if bcentery < centery:
                    vel.vy = -3
                elif bcentery > centery:
                    vel.vy = 3
                else:
                    vel.vy = 0


class PlayerData(object):
    def __init__(self):
        super(PlayerData, self).__init__()
        self.ai = False


class Player(sdl2ext.Entity):
    def __init__(self, world, sprite, posx=0, posy=0, ai=False):
        self.sprite = sprite
        self.sprite.position = posx, posy
        self.velocity = Velocity()
        self.playerdata = PlayerData()
        self.playerdata.ai = ai


def run():
    [...]
    aicontroller = TrackingAIController(0, 600)

    world.add_system(aicontroller)
    world.add_system(movement)
    world.add_system(collision)
    world.add_system(spriterenderer)

    player1 = Player(world, sp_paddle1, 0, 250)
    player2 = Player(world, sp_paddle2, 780, 250, True)
    [...]
    aicontroller.ball = ball

    [...]

We start by creating a component PlayerData that flags a player as being AI controlled or not. Afterwards, a TrackingAIController is implemented, which, depending on the information of the PlayerData component, will move the specific player paddle around by manipulating its velocity information.

The AI is pretty simple, just following the ball's vertical movement, trying to hit it at its center, if the ball moves into the direction of the AI-controlled paddle. As soon as the ball moves away from the paddle, the paddle will move back to the vertical center.

Tip

Add True as last parameter to the first Player() constructor to see two AIs playing against each other.

Next steps

We created the basics of a Pong game, which can be found in the examples folder. However, there are some more things to do, such as

  • resetting the ball to the center with a random vertical velocity, if it hits either the left or right window bounds
  • adding the ability to track the points made by either player, if the ball hit the left or right side
  • drawing a dashed line in the middle to make the game field look nicer
  • displaying the points made by each player

It is your turn now to implement these features. Go ahead, it is not as complex as it sounds.

  • you can reset the ball's position in the CollisionSystem code, by changing the code for the minx and maxx test

  • you could enhance the CollisionSystem to process PlayerData components and add the functionality to add points there (or write a small processor that keeps track of the ball only and processes only the PlayerData and video.SoftSprite objects of each player for adding points). Alternatively, you could use the :class:`sdl2.ext.EventHandler` class to raise a score count function within the CollisionSystem, if the ball collides with one of the paddles.

  • write an own Renderer, based on :class:`sdl2.ext.Applicator`, which takes care of position and sprite sets

    StaticRepeatingSprite(Entity):
        ...
        self.positions = Positions((400, 0), (400, 60), (400, 120), ...)
        ...
    
  • draw some simple images for 0-9 and render them as sprites, depending on the points a player made.

Footnotes

[1]Component-Oriented Programming