Complete Roguelike Tutorial, using python3+pysdl2, part 1

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This is part of a series of tutorials; the main page can be found here.


Showing the character on screen

Time to work with - the shiny part our game. Create it in the project's folder.

For this step we're going to need a character sprite. Don't worry, we will draw some letters in the tradition of roguelikes later on. But for now lets use an image. We're using art by David E. Gervais, available here under CC BY 3.0 license. Specifically we're using ``HalfOgreFighter3.png``, because, well, they look mighty! Note that those sprites are in 54x54 resolution. And they have a pink background. A proper sized version with transparent background is available at the project's GitHub. Create a resources folder and save the image on it. Save the license there too, so that we do not forget to give the author its deserved credits.

By now your project's folder should look like this:

  | |
  | +-davir_gervais_tileset.license
  | |
  | +-HalfOgreFighter3.png

Because we did some hard work creating our Manager, SceneBase, etc., we won't even need to import sdl2 for this part. All we need is to import those classes (and Resources) from manager:

from manager import Manager, SceneBase, Resources

We're using the object-oriented paradigm so far, and we're going to put Inheritance, one of its pillars, to use by subclassing SceneBase:

class RogueLike(SceneBase):
    """An aspiring Roguelike game's scene."""

    def __init__(self, **kwargs):
        # Nothing there for us but lets call super in case we implement
        # something later on, ok?

        # pass the name of the resource to the sdl2.ext.Resources instance on
        fname = Resources.get("HalfOgreFighter3.png")

        # use the pysdl2 factory to create a sprite from an image
        self.sprite = self.factory.from_image(fname)

        # set it to a position to look better on our screenshot :)
        self.sprite.position = (128, 128)

    def on_update(self):
        """Graphical logic."""
        # use the render method from manager's spriterenderer

That would be all for now. To test, at the end of the, adding the belo lines and run it:

if __name__ == '__main__':
    # create a game/Manager instance
    # we're using an arbitrary size to put our half-ogre right in the middle 
    # of the screen
    m = Manager(width=288, height=288)

    # pass our created RogueLike scene to the Manager

    # make it fly!

And now we should be able to see a mighty half-ogre in the middle of a black screen:

Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination

Show me the @!!!

In this tutorial we're using a bitmap created from a regular font. I've done this myself and you can download it here. Now, something libtcod-specific: we're going to use a custom font! It's pretty easy. libtcod comes bundled with a few fonts that are usable right out of the box. Remember however that they can be in different formats, and you'll need to tell it about this. This one is "grayscale" and using the "tcod layout", most fonts are in this format and thus end with _gs_tc. If you wanna use a font with a different layout or make your own, the docs on the subject are really informative. You can worry about that at a later time though. Notice that the size of a font is automatically detected.

libtcod.console_set_custom_font('arial10x10.png', libtcod.FONT_TYPE_GREYSCALE | libtcod.FONT_LAYOUT_TCOD)

This is probably the most important call, initializing the window. We're specifying its size, the title (change it now if you want to), and the last parameter tells it if it should be fullscreen or not.

libtcod.console_init_root(SCREEN_WIDTH, SCREEN_HEIGHT, 'python/libtcod tutorial', False)

For a real-time roguelike, you wanna limit the speed of the game (frames-per-second or FPS). If you want it to be turn-based, ignore this line. (This line will simply have no effect if your game is turn-based.)


Now the main loop. It will keep running the logic of your game as long as the window is not closed.

while not libtcod.console_is_window_closed():

For each iteration we'll want to print something useful to the window. If your game is turn-based each iteration is a turn; if it's real-time, each one is a frame. Here we're setting the text color to be white. There's a good list of colors you can use here, along with some info about mixing them and all that. The zero is the console we're printing to, in this case the screen; more on that later.

    libtcod.console_set_default_foreground(0, libtcod.white)

Don't forget the indentation at the beginning of the line, it's extra-important in Python. Make sure you don't mix tabs with spaces for indentation! This comes up often if you copy-and-paste code from the net, and you'll see an error telling you something about the indentation (that's a pretty big clue right there!). Choose one option and stick with it. In this tutorial we're using the 4-spaces convention, but tabs are easy to work with in many editors so they're a valid choice too.

Now print a character to the coordinates (1,1). Once more the first zero specifies the console, which is the screen in this case. Can you guess what that character is? No, it doesn't move yet!

    libtcod.console_put_char(0, 1, 1, '@', libtcod.BKGND_NONE)

At the end of the main loop you'll always need to present the changes to the screen. This is called flushing the console and is done with the following line.


Ta-da! You're done. Run that code and give yourself a pat on the back!

Common reasons the code won't run.
  • On Windows? Is either of the libtcod or SDL dlls not found?
    Make sure your Python and libtcod are either BOTH 32 bit, or BOTH 64 bit.
  • Python errors? Using Python 3?
    We said above that this tutorial is only for Python 2. So use Python 2, with Python 3 you are on your own. They're different languages, it won't just magically work!
  • Still blocked? Check out the problems page.

Note that since we don't have any input handling code, the game may crash on exit (it won't process the OS's requests to close). Oops! Don't worry though, this problem will go away as soon as we add keyboard support.

Here's the complete code so far.

Moving around

That was pretty neat, huh? Now we're going to move around that @ with the keys!

First, we need to keep track of the player's position. We'll use these variables for that, and take the opportunity to initialize them to the center of the screen instead of the top-left corner. This can go just before the main loop.

playerx = SCREEN_WIDTH/2
playery = SCREEN_HEIGHT/2

There are functions to check for pressed keys. When that happens, just change the coordinates accordingly. Then, print the @ at those coordinates. We'll make a separate function to handle the keys.

def handle_keys():
    global playerx, playery
    #movement keys
    if libtcod.console_is_key_pressed(libtcod.KEY_UP):
        playery -= 1
    elif libtcod.console_is_key_pressed(libtcod.KEY_DOWN):
        playery += 1
    elif libtcod.console_is_key_pressed(libtcod.KEY_LEFT):
        playerx -= 1
    elif libtcod.console_is_key_pressed(libtcod.KEY_RIGHT):
        playerx += 1

Done! These are the arrow keys, if you want to use other keys here's a reference (pay attention to the Python-specific notes).

While we're at it, why not include keys to toggle fullscreen mode, and exit the game? You can put this at the beginning of the function.

    key = libtcod.console_check_for_keypress()
    if key.vk == libtcod.KEY_ENTER and key.lalt:
        #Alt+Enter: toggle fullscreen
        libtcod.console_set_fullscreen(not libtcod.console_is_fullscreen())
    elif key.vk == libtcod.KEY_ESCAPE:
        return True  #exit game

From now on, we'll show code for a real-time game with a green background, and code for a turn-based game with a blue background.

Notice a subtle difference here. The console_is_key_pressed function is useful for real-time games, since it checks if a key is pressed with no delays. console_check_for_keypress, on the other hand, treats the key like it's being typed. So after the first press, it will stop working for a fraction of a second. This is the same behavior you see when you type, otherwise pressing a key would result in you typing 3 or 4 letters! It's useful for all commands except movement, which you usually want to react as soon as possible with no delays, and continue for as long as you press the movement keys.

Now here's an important thing: you can use that first line to distinguish between real-time and turn-based gameplay! See, console_check_for_keypress won't block the game. But if you replace it with this line:

    key = libtcod.console_wait_for_keypress(True)

Then the game won't go on unless the player presses a key. So effectively you have a turn-based game now.

Now, the main loop needs to call this function in order for it to work. If the returned value is True, then we "break" from the main loop, ending the game. The inside of the main loop should now look like this:

    libtcod.console_set_default_foreground(0, libtcod.white)
    libtcod.console_put_char(0, playerx, playery, '@', libtcod.BKGND_NONE)
    #handle keys and exit game if needed
    exit = handle_keys()
    if exit:

The reason why we draw stuff before handling key input is that, in a turn-based game, the first screen is shown before the first key is pressed (otherwise the first screen would be blank).

One more thing! If you try that, you'll see that moving you leave around a trail of little @'s. That's not what we want! We need to clear the character at the last position before moving to the new one, this can be done by simply printing a space there. Put this just before exit = handle_keys().

        libtcod.console_put_char(0, playerx, playery, ' ', libtcod.BKGND_NONE)

Here's a rundown of the whole code so far.

Go on to the next part.