Published on 14 May 2023 in Agile Game Development with Python and Pygame.
I noticed something strange when playing the game.
When shooting arrows out the left side of the screen, a blue horizontal line is drawn. It looks something like this:
But it only shows for a split second and then disappears. What’s going on?
We troubleshoot by playing the game and shooting wildly in different directions.
It seems like the blue horizontal line only appears when we shoot arrows to the left–not when we shoot up or to the right.
So why does it only show for a split second? Most likely because arrows outside the screen are removed. But they are only removed if they are far enough outside the screen. The idea is that arrows are only removed if they are completely outside the screen. However, I don’t think it’s working quite like that at the moment. But arrows can be partially outside the screen before being removed.
We modify the code to draw a static arrow just outside the screen to the left, and indeed the blue horizontal line stays on the screen forever. (That’s how I managed to get the screenshot. It was not timing.)
The problem can now be consistently reproduced. Good!
At first I thought we might use Pygame wrong in some way. But now I’m starting to think that there might actually be an issue with Pygame.
Let’s ask DuckDuckGo.
Ha! A bug in Pygame. It all makes sense now. And we are not at fault.
However, we still have an ugly, annoying graphics artifact in our game that we want to get rid of. How?
Any place in the code where we draw a circle we have to modify it to handle negative x values.
Let’s see how.
We have used the infrastructure wrapper pattern in our game. That means that every time our code interacts with the outside world, it does so via an infrastructure wrapper.
Anytime we draw something on the screen, we do it via the game loop infrastructure wrapper. Here is how the arrow draws itself:
class Arrow: ... def draw(self, loop): v = Point.from_angle(self.angle + 180) loop.draw_circle(self.position, color="blue", radius=10) loop.draw_circle(self.position.add(v.times(20)), color="blue", radius=15) loop.draw_circle(self.position.add(v.times(40)), color="blue", radius=20)
draw_circle above is part of the infrastructure wrapper. In code that we control. It in turn makes calls to Pygame like this:
class GameLoop(Observable): ... def draw_circle(self, position, radius=40, color="red"): ... self.pygame.draw.circle( self.screen, color, (int(position.x), int(position.y)), radius )
So we are actually only calling Pygame’s
draw_circle in one place in our code.
We patch it like this:
class GameLoop(Observable): ... def draw_circle(self, position, radius=40, color="red"): ... if position.x >= 0: # https://github.com/pygame/pygame/issues/3778 self.pygame.draw.circle( self.screen, color, (int(position.x), int(position.y)), radius )
This means that circles drawn partially outside the screen to the left will not be drawn at all. Not ideal. But I very much prefer that to an annoying blue horizontal line.
And when I play the game, I don’t notice circles of the arrow disappearing a little to early. They move so fast anyway.
We could do something more fancy like checking for specific versions of Pygame where we know this bug exists. But this will do for now.
We were able to fix an annoying graphics artifact by adding a single if-statement to our infrastructure wrapper.
Wrapping third party libraries might seem like unnecessary overhead sometimes, but the benefit shown in this episode makes me think that we should do it more often.
See you in the next episode!
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