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Drawing (rotating) shapes

Rotating shapes.

After writing the smooth line class last week I wanted to write another one, and I decided to write a class to aid the drawing regular shapes. While writing the library I found myself with some rather nice looking rotating shapes that I thought would make a good blog post here.

Before I go any further, here's the demo:

See the Pen Rotating shapes by Starbeamrainbowlabs (@sbrl) on CodePen.

The background is a just a set of fancy css3 radial and linear gradients layered on top of one another. The interesting part is the calculating of the points in each shape - let me explain with a hexagon.

Shape drawing explained.

In the above, the hexagon I am drawing is shown in red, and a circle in green. In order to work out the co-ordinates for each corner (or vertex) of the hexagon, we can walk around a circle and note down our location at regular intervals (shown by the blue lines). I learnt this trick from this stack overflow answer. They can explain it much better than I probably could:

Let's assume you want to draw an N-sided polygon of radius r, centred at (0,0). Then the n vertices are given by:

x[n] = r * cos(2*pi*n/N)
y[n] = r * sin(2*pi*n/N)

where 0 <= n < N. Note that cos and sin here are working in radians, not degrees (this is pretty common in most programming languages).

If you want a different centre, then just add the coordinates of the centre point to each (x[n], y[n]). If you want a different orientation, you just need to add a constant angle. So the general form is:

x[n] = r * cos(2*pi*n/N + theta) + x_centre
y[n] = r * sin(2*pi*n/N + theta) + y_centre

By Answerer Avatar Oliver Charlesworth. Source: Stack Overflow

Anyway, here's the code I came up with:

I can't think of anything else I wanted to say, so I think I'll end this post here. Please comment down below if you have anything you want to say :)

Easy Smooth Lines with Bezier Curves

The smooth line class in action.

A while ago I wrote a vector class and a bezier curve class for my 2D graphics University ACW (Assessed CourseWork). After packaging them up and posting them here, I thought it a good idea to take a step further and write a smooth line class too, to start building up a library of implementations of various different algorithms.

While I was searching for a good alternative to jsbin (it doesn't let me use tabs instead of spaces), I came across Codepen again, and finally decided to take a look. Apparently you can do quite a bit with a free account, so I signed up and posted about new my account on this blog.

Since the quality of the content on Codepen is considerably high, and you can see who has done what, I've decided to put more time into the visual effects of the things that I put up on there.

Anyway, here's a demo of my SmoothLine class in action:

See the Pen Smooth Lines by Starbeamrainbowlabs (@sbrl) on CodePen.

Click to add a point. A line will show up when you have 3 points. Here's the class itself:

Note that it depends on my earlier Vector and BezierCurve classes (links above).

The code is actually really simple. You create a new instance of the SmoothLine class, add some Vector points with the add() method (it takes both a single vector and an array of vectors), and then call the line() method when you are reading to add the SmoothLine to your drawing context path.

Here's some example code:

// Creation code
var smoothLine = new SmoothLine();
smoothline.add(new Vector(138, 330));
    new Vector(161, 10),
    new Vector(561, 111),
    new Vector(890, 254),
    new Vector(1088, 254),
    new Vector(1152, 130),
    new Vector(1186, 55),
    new Vector(1230, 21)

// Rendering code
// Do stuff here
smoothline.line(context, 16);
// Do stuff here

Over the next few months if I can possibly manage it I want to implement a bunch of other useful algorithms in order to build up a library of code that I can just drop into a project and use. Suggestions for the next algorithm are welcome!


Codepen Logo


This is a short announcement post to tell you that I've created an account on Codepen. Codepen is a site that lets you experiment with HTML, CSS and Javascript (or their compiled variants) and share your creations with the world.

I've already created something on there - I'll be blogging about that soon.

Right now though I'm rather ill though, so please don't be disappointed if I don't post right away (although I'll certainly try to get it out asap).

Here's a link to my Codepen profile page.

Procedural Castle Generation

See the Pen Procedural Castle Generator by Starbeamrainbowlabs (@sbrl) on CodePen.

(Full screen)

The subreddit /r/proceduralgeneration has recently set up monthly challenges, and after missing the first one I decided to enter the second one. February's challenge was to generate random castles procedurally. The challenge was a lot of fun to take part in - my entry can be seen above.

I've published the code behind my entry on Github, too if you're interested in checking it out.

There were 15 other entries apart from mine. Here are all the entries next to each other:

All the entries

(Full size image [15MB])

I liked zapetch's because although it's 2D, the generated castles are very varied and they look nice and simple. Moosekk's was great too - The towers look complicated and it has buildings and trees too. Comment down below with your favourites. Why did you like them? Voting is now open - please go and vote here. Your votes will decide who gets to decide on the next challenge!

How it works

Since I can't write a post on something that I've done without explaining just a little bit about how it works, I've written up a quick overview below. If anyone is interested in a longer writeup or any specific part of the generator, please comment down below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

The generator works by picking a random regular shape, and then randomly altering the location of each of the resulting corners a little bit. After that the towers (and their stairs) and the keep are generated, and the flags are placed. Since the wind only flows in one direction, all the flags all face the same direction.

The moat is generated as a closed smooth line, with it's control points generated by taking the corners of the castle and moving them a set distance away from the main keep. Since the moat originally was way too wide for the drawbridge (whose parameters don't actually have anything to do with the moat at all!), I added a pair of extra control points to the moat's smooth line to bring it closer to the 2 towers that sit either side of the entrance (the moat was built intentionally, right?).

Originally I was going to generate random buildings inside the castle and draw paths between them, the towers, the keep, and the entrance, but the maths behind that got rather complicated and I didn't have time to wrap my head around it. I was also going to generate random people in the castle too, but again I didn't have time for this. I'll probably come back to this at a later date and work on these features.

If this challenge looks interesting, then /r/proceduralgeneration are hosting another challenge this month - this time the challenge is to procedurally generate a side-scrolling platformer.

Art by Mythdael