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Justin
Justin

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DragonRuby: Basic Sprite Animation

Animating sprites in DragonRuby is fairly simple, but it does require putting a couple ideas together.

First, it's best to have a single image with all frames of the animation together, equally spaced apart. I prefer the frames are arranged horizontally from left-to-right, so that is what we will use here.

Here is an example, borrowed from here:

Animation frames of a walking adventurer

The first frame can be displayed like this:

def tick args
  height = 195
  width = 192

  args.outputs.sprites << {
    x: args.grid.center_x - (width / 2),
    y: args.grid.center_y - (height / 2),
    h: height,
    w: width,
    source_x: 0,
    source_y: 0,
    source_w: width,
    source_h: height,
    path: 'sprites/walking.png',
  }
end
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source_x and source_y set the bottom left corner of a "tile" or basically a slice of the image. (To use the top left instead, set tile_x and tile_y). source_w and source_h set the width and height of the tile. The sprite can be scaled when displayed with w and h.

Single frame of adventurer

If the frames are laid out horizontally, then all one needs to do is update the source_x value (typically by the width of the tile) in order to change the frame.

Here is an illustration for a few frames:

Frame index illustration

We could accomplish this by using the multiplying the width of the tile by the current tick (modulo the number of frames, so it loops):

def tick args
  height = 195
  width = 192
  num_frames = 8

  source_x = width * (args.tick_count % num_frames)

  args.outputs.sprites << {
    x: args.grid.center_x - (width / 2),
    y: args.grid.center_y - (height / 2),
    h: height,
    w: width,
    source_x: source_x,
    source_y: 0,
    source_w: width,
    source_h: height,
    path: 'sprites/walking.png',
  }
end
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This works... but it's a bit fast for a walk!

Very fast walk

This is where DragonRuby helps out. The frame_index method will do the calculation of the current frame for us.

frame_index accepts these arguments:

  • count: total number of frames in the animation
  • hold_for: how many ticks to wait between frames
  • repeat: whether or not to loop

frame_index can be called on any integer, but typically uses the tick number on which the animation started. Below, the code sets this to 0 (the first tick). This could instead be when an event happens, based on input, or anything else.

Multiplying the width of the tile by the frame index results in the source_x value for the current frame of the animation:

def tick args
  height = 195
  width = 192
  num_frames = 8
  start_tick = 0
  delay = 4

  source_x = width * start_tick.frame_index(count: num_frames, hold_for: delay, repeat: true)

  args.outputs.sprites << {
    x: args.grid.center_x - (width / 2),
    y: args.grid.center_y - (height / 2),
    h: height,
    w: width,
    source_x: source_x,
    source_y: 0,
    source_w: width,
    source_h: height,
    path: 'sprites/walking.png',
  }
end
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Slower walk

And that's it!

But With Ruby Classes

Once a game starts to get moderately complex, I like to arrange behavior into classes. It's also convenient to use attr_gtk to avoid passing args around and to save on some typing (e.g. args.outputs becomes just outputs).

class MyGame
  attr_gtk

  def initialize(args)
    @my_sprite = MySprite.new(args.grid.center_x, args.grid.center_y)
    args.outputs.static_sprites << @my_sprite
  end

  def tick
    if inputs.mouse.click
      if @my_sprite.running?
        @my_sprite.stop
      else
        @my_sprite.start(args.state.tick_count)
      end
    end

    @my_sprite.update
  end
end

class MySprite
  attr_sprite

  def initialize x, y
    @x = x
    @y = y

    @w = 192
    @h = 195
    @source_x = 0
    @source_y = 0
    @source_w = @w
    @source_h = @h
    @path = 'sprites/walking.png'

    @running = false
  end

  # Set @running to the current tick number
  # this is so the frame_index can use that as the
  # start of the animation timing.
  def start(tick_count)
    @running = tick_count
  end

  def stop
    @running = false
  end

  def running?
    @running
  end

  # Update source_x based on frame_index
  # if currently running
  def update
    if @running
      @source_x = @source_w * @running.frame_index(count: 8, hold_for: 4, repeat: true)
    end
  end
end

def tick args
  $my_game ||= MyGame.new(args)
  $my_game.args = args
  $my_game.tick
end
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This example essentially follows my Object-Oriented Starter approach and moves the logic into a game class and a sprite class.

When the mouse is clicked, the sprite starts moving (using the current tick_count as the starting tick). When the mouse is clicked again, the sprite stops.

Source vs. Tile

To use just a piece of an image (for animations or otherwise), there are two options: source_(x|y|h|w) or tile_(x|y|h|w).

These options are nearly identical, except source_y is bottom left and tile_y is top left.

The source_ options were added in DragonRuby 1.6 and are more consistent with the rest of DragonRuby where the origin is the bottom left. On the other hand, the tile_ options align easier with image editors.

Either option works, depending on what is important to you.

Go!

Now that's really it! Get moving!

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