J2ME Tutorial, Part 3: Exploring the Game API of MIDP 2.0 Blog

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    J2ME Gaming API: An Overview
    A Very S hort Primer on Game Building
    Building a J2ME Game: Start with the GameCanvas
    Defining Game Characteristics</  td>
    Building a J2ME Game: Creating Backgrounds
    Using the TiledLayer class
    Building a J2ME Game: Sprites and LayerMana ger
       Managing Layers Using the LayerManager
    Adding More Sprites and Detecting Collisions

    J2ME is a popular platform for developing games for wireless devices. With MIDP 2.0, a new package has been introduced that provides several gaming constructs that would only have been possible in MIDP 1.0 with a great deal of repetitive code. In this part of this tutorial series, I will introduce you to this gaming package and help you develop a simple game that uses all of the classes of this package as a learning tool. The package is calledjavax.microedition.lcdui.game, and it builds upon the concepts that you learned in the previous installments in this series.

    J2ME Gaming API: An Overview

    There are only five classes in thejavax.microedition.lcdui.game package:GameCanvas, Layer, Sprite,TiledLayer, and LayerManager. These five classes are enough to provide a platform for the development of games with a wide range of capabilities.

    The Layer class is the superclass of theSprite and TiledLayer classes. This class abstracts the behavior of a visual element in a game. This element can be a sprite, which represents an independent graphic (or a collection of graphics for animation) that can be moved around the game screen, or a tiled layer, which represents a graphic that can be used to create vast game backgrounds with only a handful of images. You use the Layer classes for positioning and visibility. The subclasses override thepaint(Graphics g) method, which has the task of rendering the elements on the screen.

    The LayerManager class provides a convenient mechanism to manage the various visual elements of a game (sprites and tiled layers) by rendering the proper layer in the proper order.

    The GameCanvas class is made useful by extending the functionality of the Canvas class (from the previous article). It provides an off-screen buffer, to which all rendering operations are done before flushing them on the device screen. It also provides an easy-to-use mechanism to query the current keys being pressed by the user.

    The best way to introduce you to these classes is with the help of a working game example, which we will build from the ground up, explaining the various facets of a game. This is helpful whether or not you have programmed a game before, if you are looking to learn how to do it for the wireless devices using J2ME's gaming API. After a quick introduction to game building (for those who have never created a game), the remaining sections introduce each of the classes from the javax.microedition.lcdui.gamepackage, with the help of a concise but complete game.

    A Very Short Primer on Game Building

    A game or animation is built according to the principle of repetitively executing a piece of code. This piece of code tracks the value of instance variables and updates the game state accordingly. Based on the game state, the code then draws/paints/repaints the game screen with the elements that make up the game. The values of the instance variables may change because of either user interaction or internal game behavior.

    The repetitive execution is effected by putting the repetitive code in an infinite loop. Before entering the loop, an instance variable may be checked to see if the game should still be running, and if not, the loop may be exited. The code in the loop should allow the current thread of execution to sleep every few milliseconds to control the rate at which the update to the instance variables is done (in effect, how fast the game screen should be refreshed).

    To put it in coding terms:

    // main class public MainClass { private GameCanvas canvas = new MyGameCanvas(); public MainClass() { // start a thread that will run infinitely canvas.start(); } // rest of the code } // the actual drawing class public MyGameCanvas extends GameCanvas implements Runnable { public MyGameCanvas() { // instantiation code } public void start() { // do initialization // and then start a thread Thread runner = new Thread(this); runner.start(); } private void run() { // or while(keeprunning = true) // where keeprunning is an instance variable while(true) { // checks if the game has reached // some boundary states or special conditions verifyGameState(); // gets input from user and // updates instance variables // that describe the games elements checkUserInput(); // paints elements on screen to reflect // the current game state using the current // graphics object updateGameScreen(getGraphics()); // control the rate at which screen updates are done Thread.sleep(milliseconds); } } }

    We will use this structure to develop a game in the following sections.

    Building a J2ME Game: Start with theGameCanvas

    A GameCanvas class is a specialized subclass of theCanvas class that you encountered in the previous installment of this series. GameCanvas is optimized for gaming because it provides a special off-screen buffer in which all painting operations are done. When all painting on this buffer is complete, the buffer is rendered on the device screen by calling the flushGraphics() method. This double buffering has the advantage of producing smooth transitions of moving elements on a screen to counter the flickering that might happen if no buffering were provided. The size of the buffer is equal to the size of the device screen, and there is only one buffer perGameCanvas instance.

    The GameCanvas class provides a storage mechanism for the state of game keys, which is a useful way to query user interaction with the game. This provides a simple way of keeping track of the number of times the user has pressed a particular key. Calling the method getKeyStates() returns a bitwise representation of all of the physical game keys, expressed as1 for pressed and 0 for unpressed,since the last time the method was called. Only the following game states are identified, which is what you would expect, keeping in mind the game keys defined by the Canvasclass: DOWN_PRESSED, UP_PRESSED,RIGHT_PRESSED, LEFT_PRESSED,FIRE_PRESSED, GAME_A_PRESSED,GAME_B_PRESSED, GAME_C_PRESSED, andGAME_D_PRESSED.

    Let's build a game canvas by extending theGameCanvas class. Listing 1 shows the first attempt, while Listing 2 shows the MIDlet that will be used to run the examples.

    Please follow the instructions given in part one of this series, which explain how to create, test, and run a MIDlet using the Wireless toolkit.

    package com.j2me.part3; import javax.microedition.lcdui.Image; import javax.microedition.lcdui.Graphics; import javax.microedition.lcdui.game.GameCanvas; import java.io.IOException; public class MyGameCanvas extends GameCanvas implements Runnable { public MyGameCanvas() { super(true); } public void start() { try { // create and load the couple image // and then center it on screen when // the MIDlet starts coupleImg = Image.createImage("/couple.gif"); coupleX = CENTER_X; coupleY = CENTER_Y; } catch(IOException ioex) { System.err.println(ioex); } Thread runner = new Thread(this); runner.start(); } public void run() { // the graphics object for this canvas Graphics g = getGraphics(); while(true) { // infinite loop // based on the structure // first verify game state verifyGameState(); // check user's input checkUserInput(); // update screen updateGameScreen(getGraphics()); // and sleep, this controls // how fast refresh is done try { Thread.currentThread().sleep(30); } catch(Exception e) {} } } private void verifyGameState() { // doesn't do anything yet } private void checkUserInput() { // get the state of keys int keyState = getKeyStates(); // calculate the position for x axis calculateCoupleX(keyState); } private void updateGameScreen(Graphics g) { // the next two lines clear the background g.setColor(0xffffff); g.fillRect(0, 0, getWidth(), getHeight()); // draws the couple image according to current // desired positions g.drawImage( coupleImg, coupleX, coupleY, Graphics.HCENTER | Graphics.BOTTOM); // this call paints off screen buffer to screen flushGraphics(); } private void calculateCoupleX(int keyState) { // determines which way to move and changes the // x coordinate accordingly if((keyState & LEFT_PRESSED) != 0) { coupleX -= dx; } else if((keyState & RIGHT_PRESSED) != 0) { coupleX += dx; } } // the couple image private Image coupleImg; // the couple image coordinates private int coupleX; private int coupleY; // the distance to move in the x axis private int dx = 1; // the center of the screen public final int CENTER_X = getWidth()/2; public final int CENTER_Y = getHeight()/2; }
    Listing 1. MyGameCanvas: A first attempt at building a gaming canvas

    Listing 2 shows the MIDlet that will use this gaming canvas:

    package com.j2me.part3; import javax.microedition.midlet.MIDlet; import javax.microedition.lcdui.Display; public class GameMIDlet extends MIDlet { MyGameCanvas gCanvas; public GameMIDlet() { gCanvas = new MyGameCanvas(); } public void startApp() { Display display = Display.getDisplay(this); gCanvas.start(); display.setCurrent(gCanvas); } public void pauseApp() { } public void destroyApp(boolean unconditional) { } }
    Listing 2. MIDlet class to run the game examples

    Using both of these classes, create a project with your Toolkit (I have called this project "Part 3 Game Examples") and then build and run the project. You will need this image file: couple.gif, named couple.gif, in theres folder of your project, or you can use a similar-sized image. Figure 1 shows the expected output.

    Figure 1
    Figure 1. Building a game: usingGameCanvas

    The solitary image in the middle of the screen can be moved left and right with the help of the left and right game keys, respectively. In the code shown in Listing 1, this is achieved by querying the game states in the checkUserInput()method and then calling the calculateCoupleX() method with this game state. As you can see, by bit-wiseORing the state with the suppliedConstants in the GameCanvas class, you can easily determine which key the user has pressed and act accordingly. The x axis position of the image is moved left or right of the current position by adding or subtracting delta x (dx) from it.

    The image is rendered on the screen in theupdateGameScreen() method. This method is passed the current Graphics object. This object is created for you by the GameCanvas class, and there is only one such object per GameCanvas. The method clears this graphics buffer of any previous renderings, draws the couple image based on the current coupleX variable (and the currently unchanging coupleY variable) and then flushes this buffer on the device screen.

    The infinite loop in the run() method follows the game structure that I described in the sidebar earlier. This loop sleeps for 30 milliseconds before going on another cycle to determine the user input and refresh the buffer. You can experiment with this value to slow down or speed up the refresh rate.

    Finally, notice that the MyGameCanvas constructor calls its superclass GameCanvas's constructor with a parameter value of true. This indicates that the normal key event mechanism, inherited from the Canvasclass, should be suppressed, as this code does not require these notifications. The game state is adequately handled by the key state information, which is fetched from thegetKeyStates() method. By suppressing the notification mechanism for "key pressed," "key released," and "key repeated," the game performance is improved.

    Defining Game Characteristics

    A game where all you have to do is to move the central character left and right is not very fun. Let's make some modifications to the game skeleton in Listing 1 to define this game a little better. To start with, specify a boundary for your game. It is essential to do this, because it helps to make your game consistently sized across different devices. To do this, start by defining some constants that are shown in the code here:

    // the game boundary public static final int GAME_WIDTH = 160; public static final int GAME_HEIGHT = 160; // the shifted x,y origin of the game public final int GAME_ORIGIN_X = (getWidth() - GAME_WIDTH)/2; public final int GAME_ORIGIN_Y = (getHeight() - GAME_HEIGHT)/2; // the height of sections below and above the couple public final int SECTION_HEIGHT = 64; // the base on which the couple will move public final int BASE = GAME_ORIGIN_Y + GAME_HEIGHT - SECTION_HEIGHT; // the max height the couples can jump public final int MAX_HEIGHT = 32;

    (Note that I have introduced a game characteristic that indicates that this couple may soon be jumping on the screen, with the help of the MAX_HEIGHT constant.) On the screen, these constants help define the boundary of the game and its sole element (the couple), as shown in Figure 2.

    Figure 2
    Figure 2. Defining the game boundaries using the game constants

    Of course, now you need to modify the rest of the code to use these constants. Add a new method to Listing 1 calledbuildGameScreen(Graphics g), as shown in code here:

    private void buildGameScreen(Graphics g) { // set the drawing color to black g.setColor(0x000000); // draw the surrounding rectangle g.drawRect(GAME_ORIGIN_X, GAME_ORIGIN_Y, GAME_WIDTH, GAME_HEIGHT); // draw the base line g.drawLine(GAME_ORIGIN_X, BASE, GAME_ORIGIN_X + GAME_WIDTH, BASE); // draw the maximum line to where the couple can jump to g.drawLine(GAME_ORIGIN_X, BASE - MAX_HEIGHT, GAME_ORIGIN_X + GAME_WIDTH, BASE - MAX_HEIGHT); }

    Also add a call to this method in theupdateGameScreen() method, before the couple image is drawn. The game boundaries have been defined and the only thing left to do is to make the starting position for the couple image as the BASE and not CENTER_Y. Change this in the start() method by setting coupleY = BASE;.

    The couple image can move left and right with the left and right game keys, but now we ensure that it does not move past the game boundary. This was a problem in Listing 1, too, but in that case, the image simply vanished off the screen, as the boundary was the edge of the screen. It will look very odd if the image went past the boundaries now. Therefore, modify the left and right press actions in the calculateCoupleX() method to restrict movement beyond the boundaries. This modified method is listed here:

    private void calculateCoupleX(int keyState) { // determines which way to move and changes the // x coordinate accordingly if((keyState & LEFT_PRESSED) != 0) { coupleX = Math.max( GAME_ORIGIN_X + coupleImg.getWidth()/2, coupleX - dx); } else if((keyState & RIGHT_PRESSED) != 0) { coupleX = Math.min( GAME_ORIGIN_X + GAME_WIDTH - coupleImg.getWidth()/2, coupleX + dx);; } }

    This method now uses Math.max() andMath.min() methods to restrict the couple image within the game boundaries. Notice that it also incorporates the width the of the image in these calculations.

    I spoke earlier about making the couple image jump around on the screen. Let's see how this can be achieved by adding a method to move the image along the Y axis, independently of the user playing the game.

    Add three new instance variables to Listing 1, calledup, jumpHeight, and random, as shown here:

    // a flag to indicate which direction the couple are moving private Boolean up = true; // indicates the random jump height, calculated for every jump private int jumpHeight = MAX_HEIGHT; // random number generator public Random random = new Random();

    As you can see, jumpHeight is initialized toMAX_HEIGHT. This jumpHeight variable will be calculated for each jump that the couple make and it will be set to a random value each time. This is shown in thecalculateCoupleY() method shown here:

    private void calculateCoupleY(int keyState) { // check if the couple were on the way up if(up) { // if yes, see if they have reached the current jump height if((coupleY > (BASE - jumpHeight + coupleImg.getHeight()))) { // if not, continue moving them up coupleY -= dy; } else if(coupleY == (BASE - jumpHeight + coupleImg.getHeight())) { // if yes, start moving them down coupleY += dy; // and change the flag up = false; } } else { // the couple are on their way down, have they reached base? if(coupleY < BASE) { // no, so keep moving them down coupleY += dy; } else if(coupleY == BASE) { // have reached base, so calculate a new // jump height which is not more than MAX_HEIGHT int hyper = random.nextInt(MAX_HEIGHT + 1); // but make sure that this it is atleast greater than the image height if(hyper > coupleImg.getHeight()) jumpHeight = hyper; // move the image up coupleY -= dy; // and reset the flag up = true; } } }

    Note that since this method doesn't depend on the user pressing the up or down game keys, it has no use for thekeyState information. But this value is passed to it nonetheless, in order to maintain conformity with thecalculateCoupleX() method. This method starts moving the couple image by changing the coupleY variable in the upwards direction until it reaches the current jump height (which is the MAX_HEIGHT at starting). Once it reaches this jump height, it starts moving it in the opposite direction until it reaches BASE. At this point, a new jump height value, between the MAX_HEIGHT and couple image heights, is randomly calculated and the couple start jumping again.

    The overall effect is of a randomly jumping couple who can be moved left and right by the user playing the game. A snapshot is shown in Figure 3.

    Figure 3
    Figure 3. Game snapshot

    Building a J2ME Game: Creating Backgrounds Using the TiledLayer Class

    In this section, you will add some color to the game by providing a background using the TiledLayer class. The game is divided into three sections: the top section can be thought of as the sky, the middle section in which the couple jump is the earth, and the bottom section is the sea. These three sections can be filled easily using three colored images of the size 32 by 32 pixels each, one for each section. However, each section is bigger than 32 by 32 pixels, and the TiledLayer class is used to define large areas like these with small images.

    To start, divide the game screen into squares of 32 by 32 each and number each row and column, starting with an index of 0. This is shown in Figure 4 and results in a 5-by-5-cell background.

    Figure 4
    Figure 4. Divide the game screen into individual cells

    Thus, cells (0, 0) to (1, 4) are to painted with a sky image; cells (2, 0) to (2, 4) are to be painted with an earth image, and cells (3, 0) to (4, 4) are to be painted with a sea image. You will do this with the image shown in Figure 5.

    Figure 5
    Figure 5. Background image

    The first 32 by 32 cell represents the earth image, the second represents the sea, and the last represents the sky. When you use the TiledLayer class, these images are numbered starting from index 1 (not 0; therefore, earth is 1, sea is 2, and sky is 3). The TiledLayer class will take this one image and divide it into three separate images used for rendering the game background. In our case, we want theTiledLayer class to render a 5-by-5-cell background using cells of 32 by 32 pixels each. This is achieved by the following code:

    // load the image backgroundImg = Image.createImage("/tiledLayer1.gif"); // create the tiledlayer background background = new TiledLayer(5, 5, backgroundImg, 32, 32);

    As you can see, the first two parameters to theTiledLayer constructor represent the total background size, the next parameter represents the image, and the last two parameters represents the size of each cell. This size will be used by the TiledLayer class to carve the image into its individual background cells.

    All that is now left is to set each cell with its respective image. The full code to create the background is listed below in a method called createBackground(). You will need to add a call to this method from the start() method of theMyGameCanvas class. Once this is done, add a call to paint this background using background.paint(g) at the end of the buildGameScreen() method, which will render it to screen.

    // creates the background using TiledLayer private void createBackground() throws IOException { // load the image backgroundImg = Image.createImage("/tiledlayer1.gif"); // create the tiledlayer background background = new TiledLayer(5, 5, backgroundImg, 32, 32); // array that specifies what image goes where int[] cells = { 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, // sky 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, // sky 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, // earth 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, // sea 2, 2, 2, 2, 2 // sea }; // set the background with the images for (int i = 0; i < cells.length; i++) { int column = i % 5; int row = (i - column)/5; background.setCell(column, row, cells[i]); } // set the location of the background background.setPosition(GAME_ORIGIN_X, GAME_ORIGIN_Y); }

    The final result will look like Figure 6.

    Figure 6
    Figure 6. Game with a background added

    Building a J2ME Game: Sprites andLayerManager

    So far, I have used an image of a jumping couple to showcase a game element. This element is currently rendered as an image; but it makes sense to render it as a sprite instead. A sprite is a term in gaming parlance that refers to any visual element, usually an animated image, that can be moved around the screen independently of the other elements. The Sprite class is used to represent sprites in the MIDP 2.0 gaming API. This class provides methods to animate the sprite based on a handful of images, similar to the way backgrounds are created using theTiledLayer class. More importantly, it provides methods to check collisions with other game elements, including images, sprites, or tiled layers.

    Let's start by converting the existing couple image into a sprite. To showcase animation, I will use the image showed in Figure 7, which is the couple image duplicated over with a different color into two different frames, each 10 by 10 pixels each.

    Figure 7
    Figure 7. Frames for couple Spriteanimation

    Similar to the TiledLayer class, theSprite class requires that the size of each frame be passed in to its constructor. This is shown here:

    coupleSprite = new Sprite(coupleImg, 10, 10);

    This code, added after the creation of the couple image in thestart() method, creates a couple sprite with two frames of 10 by 10 pixels each, numbered from 0 onwards. Thus, to alternate between the sprite images, you can call thenextFrame() method, which gets the next image in the current sequence. Since there are only two images in this sprite sequence, they will be shown one after another. If you want to make a particular frame/image the current displayable image for a sprite in a longer frame sequence, you can do so by using the methodsetFrame(int sequenceNo). In this case, addcoupleSprite.nextFrame() in theupdateGameScreen() method.

    You now don't want the couple image to be painted on the screen. Before the couple sprite can be painted on the screen, you need to define a reference pixel for it. Think of this as an origin around which all painting operations are done. By default, a sprite is painted with its upper left corner as its origin. Similar to the way you set the reference of the couple image using theGraphics.HCENTER | Graphics.BOTTOM code, you need to define a reference pixel for the sprite. This is shown here:

    coupleSprite.defineReferencePixel(coupleSprite.getWidth()/2, coupleSprite.getHeight());

    Add this snippet after the creation of the sprite as described earlier. Now, instead of positioning the sprite based on its original origin, you will position it based on this reference pixel as, shown here:

    coupleSprite.setRefPixelPosition(coupleX, coupleY); coupleSprite.paint(g);

    The last line in this code snippet paints the sprite on the graphics object that is passed to it. As expected, you will need to insert these lines in the updateGameScreen() method in lieu of the lines that painted the couple image. The final result will look exactly the same as before, except the jumping couple will be replaced with a flickering jumping couple!

    Before going forward, make sure that you change all references to the coupleImg variable to coupleSpritein thecalculateX() and calculateY()methods.

    Managing Layers Using theLayerManager

    Recall that both the Sprite andTiledLayer classes extend the Layerclass. A game may contain at least one TiledLayer and several Sprite classes. With so many layers to control, the LayerManager class comes in handy. This class provides methods to add, remove, or insert layers from a game, and also provides a single method to paint all of these layers to the underlying Graphics object. This means that you don't need to individually call the paint()method of each of the layers of a game.

    An instance of LayerManager is created using its no-args constructor. Layers are then added, removed, or inserted into it by using the methods append(Layer layer),remove(Layer layer), and insert(Layer l, int index), respectively. The order in which layers are added is important, because this order determines which layer is painted first, as this becomes the z-order index. The layer at index 0 is painted on top of all the other layers, and hence, isclosest to the user, and so on.

    In our game, the start() method now needs to be modified, as shown here:

    // creates the layermanager manager = new LayerManager(); // and adds layers to it manager.append(coupleSprite); // creates the game background createBackground(); manager.append(background);

    As you can see, the coupleSprite layer will be closest to the user and the background layer will be farthest back, based on their indices. ThebuildGameScreen() method now does not need to paint the background (as the LayerManager will paint the background now), and therefore the background.paint(g)line needs to be removed from this method. Finally, in the previous section, you used the coupleSprite to paint it on the screen instead of the coupleImage. Now even that is not required, as the LayerManager will do this for you. Remove coupleSprite.paint(g) from theupdateGameScreen() method and replace it withmanager.paint(g, 0, 0). As you can see, all calls to individual layers' paint() methods have been replaced with a single call to the LayerManager'spaint() method. The last two parameters represent the location at which the manager should paint. Since thebackground and carSprite are responsible for their own positioning, you can leave these parameters as is (that is, paint from the device origin).

    Listing 3 shows the revised updateGameScreen(). The lines that are to be removed are retained as comments to make it easy to locate the changes.

    private void updateGameScreen(Graphics g) { // the next two lines clear the background g.setColor(0xffffff); g.fillRect(0, 0, getWidth(), getHeight()); // creates the game borders buildGameScreen(g); // draws the couple image according to current // desired positions /*g.drawImage( coupleImg, coupleX, coupleY, Graphics.HCENTER | Graphics.BOTTOM);*/ // animates the sprite coupleSprite.nextFrame(); // moves the sprite based on its reference pixel coupleSprite.setRefPixelPosition(coupleX, coupleY); // paints it on the buffer // coupleSprite.paint(g); // the manager paints all the layers manager.paint(g, 0, 0); // this call paints off screen buffer to screen flushGraphics(); }
    Listing 3. Updated updateGameScreen() method

    Adding More Sprites and Detecting Collisions

    What fun is a single lonely sprite jumping around for no obvious purpose? It's time to introduce another sprite, in the form a car sprite that will randomly appear at several locations across the game screen. The jumping/shining couple will need to bumpinto these evil car manifestations to defeat them! The more cars that are hit by the couple in a fixed time, the higher the score.

    With the game objectives now clear, let's first create a class that will keep track of the time so that the game can be stopped once the time has expired. Listing 4 shows the code for theClock class.

    package com.j2me.part3; import java.util.TimerTask; public class Clock extends TimerTask { int timeLeft; public Clock(int maxTime) { timeLeft = maxTime; } public void run() { timeLeft--; } public int getTimeLeft() { return this.timeLeft; } }

    Listing 4. The Clock class that will keep track of the game time

    The Clock class extends the TimerTaskclass, whose run() method gets executed after a predefined time. Here, it reduces the maxTime variable every second, which helps us keep track of the time. To use theClock class, create and start it just before the infinite loop inside of the run() method of theMyGameCanvas class is executed, as shown here:

    // before going in the loop, start the timer clock with a // 30 seconds countdown clock = new Clock(30); new Timer().schedule(clock, 0, 1000);

    Of course, now the infinite loop must be preempted with a flag that stops the loop from running when the time has expired. To do this, define a Boolean flag called stop, as shown here:

    // the flag that tells the game to stop private Boolean stop = false;

    Use it in the while loop aswhile(!stop) and enter the first lines of code in theverifyGameState() method:

    private void verifyGameState() { if(clock.getTimeLeft() == 0) { stop = true; return; } }

    Finally, the user needs to be informed of the time left in the game. To do this, add a method called showTimeLeft(Graphics g), as shown here:

    private void showTimeLeft(Graphics g) { // what does the clock say int timeLeft = clock.getTimeLeft(); // if less than 6 seconds left // flicker time with red and black if(timeLeft < 6) { if((timeLeft % 2) == 0) g.setColor(0xff0000); else g.setColor(0x000000); } // draw the time left string g.drawString("Time Left: " + timeLeft + " seconds", 0, 0, 0); // reset the color g.setColor(0x000000); }

    This is called at the end of the buildGameScreen()method. Figure 8 shows a snapshot of the game as it looks now.

    Figure 8
    Figure 8. Game with time left showing

    It is time to add a new (actually several new) sprites into this game. Listing 5 shows the code for the car sprite in a separate class called CarSprite. This code uses the image of a car shown in Figure 9.

    Figure 9
    Figure 9. Image for car sprite

    package com.j2me.part3; import java.util.Random; import javax.microedition.lcdui.Image; import javax.microedition.lcdui.game.Sprite; import javax.microedition.lcdui.game.LayerManager; public class CarSprite implements Runnable { public CarSprite(MyGameCanvas parent) { this.parent = parent; this.manager = parent.getManager(); } public void start() { // first load the car image try { carImage = Image.createImage("/car.gif"); } catch(Exception e) { System.err.println(e); return; } // next start the thread that will display cars // are random locations runner = new Thread(this); runner.start(); } public void run() { try { while(true) { // create a random car randomCar(); // wait before creating another one Thread.currentThread()Sleep(500); } } catch(Exception e) { System.err.println(e); } } // creates and displays a car at a random location private void randomCar() { // if maximum cars are being shown return if(currentCars == MAX_CARS) return; // create a new car sprite carSprite = new Sprite(carImage, 10, 10); // generate the random places where cars may appear int randomCarX = parent.getRandom().nextInt(parent.GAME_WIDTH); int randomCarY = (parent.BASE - parent.getRandom().nextInt(parent.MAX_HEIGHT + 1) - carSprite.getHeight()); // make sure that these places are within bounds if(randomCarX < parent.GAME_ORIGIN_X) randomCarX = parent.CENTER_X; if(randomCarY < (parent.BASE - parent.MAX_HEIGHT)) randomCarY = parent.CENTER_Y; // set this newly created car sprite in its random position carSprite.setPosition(randomCarX, randomCarY); // add it to the manager at index 0 manager.insert(carSprite, 0); // increase the no of cars created currentCars++; } public void checkForCollision() { // if there are no cars being shown (only background and couple) if(manager.getSize() == 2) return; // iterate through the layers, remember don't worry about // the last two because they are the couple and background for(int i = 0; i < (manager.getSize() - 2); i++) { // if collision occurs if(parent.getCoupleSprite().collidesWith( (Sprite)manager.getLayerAt(i), true)) { // remove the offending car manager.remove(manager.getLayerAt(i)); // reduce the no of cars on display currentCars--; // and increase the no of cars hit carsHit++; } } } // the no of cars hit public int getCarsHit() { return carsHit; } // the car sprite private Sprite carSprite; // the car image private Image carImage; // the no of current cars in display private int currentCars; // the parent canvas private MyGameCanvas parent; // the parent canvas's layer manager private LayerManager manager; // runner private Thread runner; // tracks the no of cars hit private int carsHit; // the maximum no of cars to create private static final int MAX_CARS = 20; }

    Listing 5. Code to create several car sprites

    The CarSprite class implementsRunnable, as it needs to spawn several new car sprites every half a second. The run() method calls therandomCar() method after sleeping for 500 milliseconds. The randomCar() method checks if the number of existing car sprites hasn't exceeded the limit, then creates a new sprite using the car image loaded earlier. It then calculates a random position for this sprite to appear at, making sure that this random position is within the game bounds. It sets this newly created sprite in this random position and adds the sprite to the LayerManager at index 0, so that it becomes the most recent (and closest to the user) sprite.

    This class also provides a method to check for collision of the couple with the random cars. The checkForCollision()method iterates through the current car sprites being shown by theLayerManager, and uses the collidesWith()method of the Sprite class to check for collision. This method returns a Boolean true when collision has occurred, and accepts a layer, an image, or another with which sprite to check collision. It also accepts a flag to indicate if collision detection should take into account the transparent pixels around an image, or only opaque pixels. When a collision is detected, the number of cars hit is incremented and the number of cars visible is decremented.

    To use the CarSprite class, append the following lines of code at the end of the start() method of theMyGameCanvas class.

    // create the car sprite thread and start it carSprite = new CarSprite(this); carSprite.start();

    Also add the following line of code at the end of theverifyGameState() method.


    Thus, the CarSprite thread starts spawning new cars, up to a maximum number of cars. Once the user hits a car by moving the jumping/shining couple with an unpredictable bounce, the car disappears. This is checked in theverifyGameState() method by calling thecheckForCollision() method on theCarSprite thread. More cars keep appearing till the time runs out. Figure 10 shows a typical game in progress.

    Figure 10
    Figure 10. A typical game in progress after adding the car sprites

    All that is left now is to inform the user about the number of cars that he has hit. After the while() loop has exited, add a call to a new method calledshowGameScore(getGraphics()), and add this new method as shown here:

    // at the end of the game show the score private void showGameScore(Graphics g) { // create a base rectangle g.setColor(0xffffff); g.fillRect(0, CENTER_Y - 20, getWidth(), 40); g.setColor(0x000000); // and show the score g.drawString("You hit " + carSprite.getCarsHit() + " cars.", CENTER_X, CENTER_Y, Graphics.HCENTER | Graphics.BASELINE); flushGraphics(); }

    This draws a small rectangle in the middle of the screen at the end of the game showing the number of cars hit by the player. A typical game ending is shown in Figure 11.

    Figure 11
    Figure 11. A typical game ending and the message displayed

    You can, of course, display this information in any format or location that you want.


    This part of the J2ME tutorial series was a long-winded but comprehensive look at the gaming API of MIDP 2.0. You learned how to use the classes of this API using a full-fledged example and built a game successfully. You also learned the basics of game building through this example.

    In the next few parts of this tutorial, you will learn how to add multimedia to your MIDlets, something that can be very useful in J2ME games. You will also learn how to use the record-store management API to consistently store information permanently. In the meantime, you can download and experiment with the game that you built in this article by downloading the full source code. You can also play with the final game by downloading the JAD and JAR files.