Creating an Initial Game Board

(Part 5 of the Panzer General Portable Project)

The first game-like task I wanted to accomplish was to set up the base game board – like I did here seven years ago.  I fired up the F# Xamarin Forms (XF) project I was working on last post and open the app.fs file.  Following the “Full-On Monty” Elm pattern, I am not going to do any of this app in markup so there are no XAML files to deal with.

Inside the app.fs file, I first created a record type to keep track of the tiles and units for each hex (later in this series, I will create a proper domain model – for now this is a just a spike to see what it takes to render the game board – I named it ContentData).  Notice that ContentData always had a Tile, Row and Column, but it does not always have a unit on it – so I used an option type. for Unit.  I also needed a type for the Tile, the Unit, and the Equipment – starting with image then moving out to additional data to make the game work.  Enter type providers – all I needed to do was to point to the files that were already part of the solution to get the types

1 type TileContext = JsonProvider<"Data//Scenario_Tile.json"> 2 type UnitContext = JsonProvider<"Data//Scenario_Unit.json"> 3 type EquipmentContext = JsonProvider<"Data//Equipment.json"> 4 type ContentData = {TileId: int; ColumnNumber: int; RowNumber: int; UnitId: int option} 5

I then created three functions to get the data for each instance of those types

1 let getTiles (scenarioId:int) = 2 let assembly = IntrospectionExtensions.GetTypeInfo(typeof<App>).Assembly 3 let stream = assembly.GetManifestResourceStream("scenariotile"); 4 let reader = new StreamReader(stream) 5 let json = reader.ReadToEnd() 6 let scenarioTile = TileContext.Parse(json) 7 scenarioTile.Dataroot.ScenarioTile 8 |> Array.filter(fun st -> st.ScenarioId = scenarioId) 9 10 let getUnits (scenarioId: int) = 11 let assembly = IntrospectionExtensions.GetTypeInfo(typeof<App>).Assembly 12 let stream = assembly.GetManifestResourceStream("scenariounit"); 13 let reader = new StreamReader(stream) 14 let json = reader.ReadToEnd() 15 let unit = UnitContext.Parse(json) 16 unit.Dataroot.ScenarioUnit 17 |> Array.filter(fun su -> su.ScenarioId = scenarioId) 18 19 let getEquipments = 20 let assembly = IntrospectionExtensions.GetTypeInfo(typeof<App>).Assembly 21 let stream = assembly.GetManifestResourceStream("equipment"); 22 let reader = new StreamReader(stream) 23 let json = reader.ReadToEnd() 24 let equipment = EquipmentContext.Parse(json) 25 equipment.Dataroot.Equipment

You first thought is “this screams refactoring to a high order function” and I would agree.  I will do that in next iteration

In any event, I needed a way to create the actual image from the file path and then a way of hydrating the ContentData

1 let createImage path = 2 let image = new Image() 3 image.Source <- ImageSource.FromResource(path) 4 image 5 6 let createTileContentData (tile:TileContext.ScenarioTile) (units: UnitContext.ScenarioUnit seq) (equipments: EquipmentContext.Equipment seq) = 7 let scenarioUnit = 8 units 9 |> Seq.tryFind(fun u -> u.StartingScenarioTileId = tile.ScenarioTileId) 10 let unitId = 11 match scenarioUnit with 12 | Some u -> 13 let equipment = equipments |> Seq.find(fun e -> e.EquipmentId = u.EquipmentId) 14 Some equipment.Icon 15 | None -> None 16 17 {TileId = tile.TerrainId; 18 ColumnNumber = tile.ColumnNumber; 19 RowNumber = tile.RowNumber; 20 UnitId = unitId}

With this function ready to return the image, I needed a way to put it in the correct place on the board.  In XF, this is accomplished via the Rectangle type

1 let createRectangle columnIndex rowIndex scale = 2 let height = 50.0 * scale 3 let width = 60.0 * scale 4 let yOffsetPlug = 25.0 * scale 5 let xOffsetPlug = -15.0 * scale 6 let columnIndex' = float columnIndex 7 let rowIndex' = float rowIndex 8 let yOffset = 9 match columnIndex % 2 = 0 with 10 | true -> yOffsetPlug 11 | false -> yOffsetPlug + yOffsetPlug 12 let xOffset = (columnIndex' * xOffsetPlug) + xOffsetPlug 13 let x = xOffset + columnIndex' * width 14 let y = yOffset + rowIndex' * height 15 new Rectangle(x,y,width,height)

With the individual hex functions ready, I was ready to put them onto the screen.  In XF, there is a type called layout that seems what I need to position images in absolute positions

1 let createLayout numberOfTiles scale = 2 let width = 60.0 * scale 3 let height = 50.0 * scale 4 let layout = new AbsoluteLayout() 5 layout.WidthRequest <- 12.0 * width 6 let rows = numberOfTiles % 20 |> float 7 layout.HeightRequest <- rows * height 8 layout

With the layout ready, I could create a function that takes in the layout, an individual hex’s contentdata, find it in the image files, and put it on the board.  I used the Children property of the Layout type to push multiple images on the same hex – I am not sure about Z-ordering yet, so I put the unit image after the tile

1 let addTileContent (layout:AbsoluteLayout) (contentData: ContentData) (scale: float) = 2 let rectangle = createRectangle contentData.ColumnNumber contentData.RowNumber scale 3 let terrainImageLocator = "tacmapdry" + contentData.TileId.ToString() 4 layout.Children.Add(createImage terrainImageLocator, rectangle) 5 match contentData.UnitId with 6 |Some i -> 7 let unitImageLocator = "tacicons" + i.ToString() 8 layout.Children.Add(createImage unitImageLocator, rectangle) 9 |None -> ()

With the individual hex functions ready, I could iterate through the first scenario and populate its initial board.  Notice that I put the Content control inside a ScrollView type that then put into a ContentPage that is then put into the Page.  I think the common convention is right – UX is very much OO in nature

1 let populateBoard = 2 let tiles = getTiles 0 3 let units = getUnits 0 4 let equipments = getEquipments 5 let numberOfTiles = tiles |> Seq.length 6 let scale = 1.0 7 let layout = createLayout numberOfTiles scale 8 tiles 9 |> Array.map(fun t -> createTileContentData t units equipments) 10 |> Array.iter(fun cd -> addTileContent layout cd scale) 11 let scrollView = new ScrollView() 12 scrollView.Orientation <- ScrollOrientation.Both 13 scrollView.Content <- layout 14 base.MainPage <- ContentPage(Content = scrollView) 15 16 do 17 populateBoard

So when I fired up the emulator, I got some pretty good first results

Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 8.22.57 PM

Out of the box with Win Phone, I could pinch and spread a location and the screen images would automatically adjust and get bigger/smaller.  No such luck with XF – so I need to see how to do that.  In any event, zooming into the bottom left corner, all Panzer General fans will immediate recognize this layout. 

image

And it looks pretty good compared to the winphone

image

and the original game

image

Lots to do, but I am happy with the progress

Gist is here

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Creating File Reference For An XF Shared .FSProj File

(Part 4 of the Panzer General Portable Project)

As I talked about in the last post, I have about 700 images to be referenced from the Panzer General Portable game.  When dealing with images in Xamarin Forms (XF), there are two choices:  make the image an embedded resource in the shared project or create a stub in the shared project and have the image in both the iOS and Android project.  Following Occam’s Razor, I opted for one file in the shared project.

Going back to the project, I opened the shared project and added the folder that contained all of the images.  A demo project looks like this:

Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 6.15.01 PM

So far so good. 

I then high-lighted all of the images (that took a bit) and right clicked –> Build Action –> EmbeddedResource

Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 6.16.20 PM

Visual Studio then tagged each of the files with a ResourceId of the file name:

Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 6.15.29 PM

So far, so bad.  When I tried to reference these files in my code, the app could not find the images

So it turns out that when you are doing cross-platform development, Xamarin tries to reconcile any problems to the lowest level.  In this case, Android has some very specific opinions about naming and the file names that I used did not match.  iOS does not seem to have such limitations.   The frustrating thing for me is that Visual Studio for Mac let me assign illegal values and did not issue any warnings so it took way too long of trial and error to figure this out.  In my case, I used an underscore “_", which is an illegal character.

When I renamed a test image and followed the same steps, I got it working

Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 6.15.48 PM

So I then went back and changed the naming of the photo parsing script.  But then I realized that highlighting all of the files in the solution explorer is a drag, so I wrote a new script that gave the correct file name and ResourceId for the fsproj file:

1 let createBlock (resource:string) (logicalName:string)= 2 ""\"><LogicalName>" + logicalName + "</LogicalName></EmbeddedResource>"

I then looped though all of the images files and created a text file

1 let getOutput path = 2 let resources = getResources path 3 let logicalNames = getLogicalNames path 4 resources 5 |> Array.zip logicalNames 6 |> Array.map(fun (r,ln) -> createBlock ln r) 7 |> Array.map(fun s -> " " + s)

the getLogicalNames function makes the ResourceId (Logical name in the .fsproj) acceptable to Android

1 let getLogicalNames path = 2 subDirectoryInfos path 3 |> Array.collect(fun sdi -> sdi.GetFiles()) 4 |> Array.map(fun f -> f.Name) 5 |> Array.map(fun n -> n.ToLowerInvariant()) 6 |> Array.map(fun n -> n.Replace(".jpeg",String.Empty)) 7 |> Array.map(fun n -> n.Replace("_",String.Empty))

I took the contents of that file, open the Panzer General project .fsproj file, pasted it in, and I got my images working

Gist is here

Parsing Photos

(Part 3 of the Panzer General Portable Project)

When I created Panzer General Portable (PGP) for the windows phone, I had to deal with creating a game board based on a a single image file that looks like this:

image

There are 12 rows and 20 columns of images – each image is 60 pixels wide and 50 pixels wide.  Each image represents a hex on the game board.  When I did the Windows Phone app, I loaded this image each time in needed a hex – not the most efficient use of resources to be sure.  In addition to these game board images, there are similar composite images of units, country flags, etc..  The game board is a series of overlaid images for a given hex. The application keeps track of the correct image to be used via the x/y coordinates of the hex.  For example, the top left fix has a x/y of 0,0.

image

 

In other parts of the app, an index is used so the 0,0 hex is also index 0 with the 1,19 hex having an index value of 20.

image

 

You will also note that each image is a rectangle, and the area outside of the hex is a pink color.  Apparently, back in the old days, that color meant “transparent” to windows.  However, it does not to the iOS and Android, so that color needs to be converted into transparent

I fired up a new FSharp project in Visual Studio for Mac and created a F# script

I created a function that takes in the path to this composite image on my file system, a target directory where I want the small image to be written to, the name of that file, and the x y coordinates to locate the smaller image in the composite image:

1 let createHexImage sourcePath targetDirectory (fileName:string) x y = 2 let width = 60 3 let height = 50 4 let index = x + (y * 20) 5 use sourceImage = Image.FromFile(sourcePath) 6 use bitmap = new Bitmap(width,height) 7 use graphics = Graphics.FromImage(bitmap) 8 let targetRectangle = new Rectangle(0,0,width,height) 9 let sourceRectangle = new Rectangle(width*x,height*y,width,height) 10 graphics.DrawImage(sourceImage,targetRectangle,sourceRectangle,GraphicsUnit.Pixel) 11 graphics.Flush() 12 let transparentBitmap = createTransparentBitmap bitmap 13 let fileName = fileName.Replace("_",String.Empty) 14 let fileName' = targetDirectory + "//" + fileName + index.ToString() + ".jpeg" 15 transparentBitmap.Save(fileName') 16

The code is pretty straight forward File I/O and image creation.  Notice on line 12 a function called “createTransparentBitmap” is called to turn the pink into transparent.  That function is actually step 0 of a function chain like this (BTW: read from the bottom up in F# world):

1 let updateColor (color:Color) = 2 match color.R, color.G, color.B with 3 | 255uy,225uy,225uy -> Color.FromArgb(0x00FFFFFF) 4 | _,_,_ -> color 5 6 let getCoordinates index (bitmap:Bitmap) = 7 let y = index / bitmap.Width 8 let x = index % bitmap.Width 9 x,y 10 11 let adjustColor index (bitmap:Bitmap) = 12 let coordinates = getCoordinates index bitmap 13 let x = fst coordinates 14 let y = snd coordinates 15 let color = bitmap.GetPixel(x,y) 16 let updatedColor = updateColor color 17 bitmap.SetPixel(x,y,updatedColor) 18 19 let createTransparentBitmap (bitmap:Bitmap) = 20 let totalPixels = bitmap.Height * bitmap.Width 21 [0 .. totalPixels - 1] 22 |> Seq.iter(fun i -> adjustColor i bitmap) 23 bitmap

  • updateColor looks at a given pixel and if it is “pink”, it returns a new pixel of transparent, else it returns the pixel that came in (note that System drawing uses Pixel and Color interchangeably, which can be confusing)
  • getCordinates gets the pixel from the x,y coordinate of the bitmap
  • adjustColor takes in a bitmap and an index – it uses the index to locate the targeted pixel, updates the color if needed, and then sets a new pixel into the bitmap with the updated pixel.
  • createTransparentBitmap takes in the bitmap, calculates the total pixels, creates an array of integers, and then calls the adjustColor function

So after running this script, you can see my file system has a list of all of the images that the game needs:

image

The gist is here

 

 

 

 

g

Setting Up The Environment For Mobile Development

(Part 2 of the Panzer General Portable Project)

I tried, I really did, to use my ultra-hyped personal computer running Win10 and Visual Studio 2017 to create a Xamarin phone app.  Things were actually OK until I tried to launch the emulator for iOS and Android.  The machine just fell on its face and after waiting several minutes for the simulator to launch… and then crash, I gave up.

Also, since you need a Mac to publish to the Apple store, it made sense to go out and get a MacBook.  I know that you can “rent a Mac” for Apple store deployment using services like Azure Dev Ops, but:

  • I would have to develop on a PC (see the paragraph above)
  • I couldn’t debug on a real device
  • Everyone, I mean everyone, I talked to about writing a phone app said to get a Mac to reduce friction
  • I could finally look like a hipster hacker at the local Starbucks

Getting started with a MacBook wasn’t particular hard – though I had to retrain some muscle memory for the keyboard shortcuts.  Visual Studio for Mac certainly has some quirks that are worth mentioning (some of which I documented here):

1) VS sits on top of XCode.  If XCode has an update, VS may not recognize it, so it will break.  A rule of thumb is to manually update XCode whenever there is a VS update, and manually update VS whenever there is an XCode Update

2) Managing files in the .fsproj file is not seamless.  F# requires the files to be in a certain order for dependency management which allows the awesomeness of inferred typing when compiling.  In Visual Studio for the PC, you can hold down the shift key and move your files up and down.  There is no such feature in VS for Mac so you need to open the .fsproj file and manually move things as demonstrated here

3) Some some random reason, my solution would stop building and I would get the following errors.

Screen Shot 2018-11-07 at 3.22.01 PM

I put it into User Voice here – until then, I just recreate a new project.  Obviously once I start coding for real, this is not a good solution,

Panzer General Portable: Redux

(Part 1 of the Panzer General Portable Project)

I recently had the need to come up to speed on build a phone app targeting both iOS and Android.  Since I have limited experience with Cordova and I much prefer writing F# over javascript, it made sense to take a look at what Xamarin has to offer.  Coincidently, I went to a meet up where Don Syme and Jim Bennett were presenting a new F# framework based on Elm called fabulous.  So what the heck – what not take Xamarin and fabulous out for a spin?  I decided to revisit the game I wrote for Windows Phone 7 called Panzer General Portable.  I was especially curious how the code would compare from the original C# + XML to F# + Xamarin Forms + fabulous.

Over the coming weeks, I plan to post my journey into this endeavor.  Hopefully, I can learn some things, contribute to the F#/fabulous community, and have some fun.