Tonypa's tile-based tutorials (updated)
[ September 03, 2004 ] by Tonu Paldra, alias Tonypa
A long, well organized and in depth series of articles that cover all the aspects of tile-based games: moving, jumping, scrolling, shooting and much more!

Why tiles?
Map format
More maps
Creating tiles
The hero
Keys to move
Hit the wall
Open the door
Stupid enemy
More on enemy
Shoot him
Getting items
Moving tiles
More scrolling
Isometric view
Mouse to move
Isometric mouse
Isometric scroll
Rotate hero
Rotate bground
More pathfinding


Its time to let go the keyboard and grab that little furry thing on your desk. Not that, the computer mouse. While moving hero around with the keys is fine and has been happening for a long time, we should also understand why mouse is so popular. Mouse is so damn convenient, click here, click there:

Before we jump on the mouse, one thing should be made clear. So far our hero was able to move pixel perfect, not so with the mouse. Mouse control also means hero will be stepping from center of one tile to the center of next and he cant stop somewhere between two tile, look around, whistle nice tune. Moving from one tile another is much simpler the pixel perfect positioning. We dont need collision detection for example, when we want to walk on next tile, we only check if its walkable and then its all happy walking until we reach the center.


Draw rectangle, which will represent the mouse, make it movie clip and set its linkage name to "mouse". Make sure you have aligned mouse graphics same way as tiles - left upper corner.

Now attach mouse to the stage, above all the tiles. In the buildMap function write.

_root.attachMovie("mouse", "mouse", 2);

Everything else in the buildMap function remains the same, so Im not going to go over it again. For mouse cursor to update its position correctly, lets create new function, called work:

function work()
	game.xmouse = Math.round((_root._xmouse - game.tileW / 2) / game.tileW);
	game.ymouse = Math.round((_root._ymouse - game.tileH / 2) / game.tileH);
	_root.mouse._x = game.xmouse * game.tileW;
	_root.mouse._y = game.ymouse * game.tileH;

We calculate properties xmouse and ymouse in the game object, which will know where mouse is. To be exact, the tile number its over. In the char object we had similar properties called xtile and ytile. Last two lines place the mouse over that tile.

This function will be called on every frame from the controller movie clip on stage:

onClipEvent (enterFrame)

As we dont use keys, you can delete detectKeys function in case you have it left over from earlier chapter.

Now that we have mouse moving like it should, we add a way to click on stage. Write this to the controller mc:

onClipEvent (mouseUp)

When left mouse button is released, we call function getTarget. By using clip event "mouseUp", we call the function only, when mouse button is released, not when its pressed down. If you prefer it other way, replace it with mouseDown event. Write the getTarget function:

function getTarget()
	if(game["t_" + game.ymouse + "_" + game.xmouse].walkable)
		game.targetx = game.xmouse;
		game.targety = game.ymouse;
		char.moving = true;

Here we make sure player actually clicks on walkable tile. You know how players are, they click everywhere and when you ask them politely "Why in the name of God did you have to click there?", they only say "I dunno, looked like nice spot". Anyway, we ensure they can still click anywhere they want to, but our function ignores all the clicks on non-walkable tiles. If, however, by some miracle, the player manages to click on walkable tile, we set properties "targetx" and "targety" to the tiles below the mouse. And we set variable "char.moving" to true.


In the getTarget function we did set variable "moving" to true and as long that variable is true, our hero tries to move. Since we dont want the hero to move when game starts, set the moving variable to false in char object:

char = {xtile:2, ytile:1, speed:2, moving:false};

Add some code in the end of work function:

var ob = char;
if (!ob.moving)

Until moving variable is false, hero stands still and doesnt play any animations. But when moving is true, we play the walking animation and call function to move the char. Dont worry, for the movement from tile-to-tile our moveChar function is much simpler:

function moveChar(ob)
   if((ob.x - game.tileW / 2) % game.tileW == 0 and (ob.y - game.tileH / 2)
                                                         % game.tileH == 0)
      ob.xtile = Math.floor(ob.x / game.tileW);
      ob.ytile = Math.floor(ob.y / game.tileH);
      if(game["t_" + ob.ytile + "_" + (ob.xtile+1)].walkable and game.targetx > ob.xtile)
         ob.dirx = 1;
         ob.diry = 0;
      else if(game["t_" + ob.ytile + "_" + (ob.xtile-1)].walkable
	                               and game.targetx < ob.xtile)
         ob.dirx = -1;
         ob.diry = 0;
      else if(game["t_" + (ob.ytile + 1) + "_" + ob.xtile].walkable
	                                 and game.targety > ob.ytile)
         ob.dirx = 0;
         ob.diry = 1;
      else if(game["t_" + (ob.ytile - 1) + "_" + ob.xtile].walkable
	                                 and game.targety < ob.ytile)
         ob.dirx = 0;
         ob.diry = -1;
         ob.moving = false;
   ob.y += ob.speed * ob.diry;
   ob.x += ob.speed * ob.dirx;
   ob.clip._x = ob.x;
   ob.clip._y = ob.y;
   ob.clip.gotoAndStop(ob.dirx + ob.diry * 2 + 3);

First line in the function checks if hero is currently standing in the center of tile and that would mean he is ready to move, if he only knew where to go and why to go there. The x position and y position are checked using modulo "%". This basically checks the remainder of dividing chars position by tile size. When x and y are in the center of tile, then dividing them with tileW gives remainder 0 and we start to pick new direction.

Advanced pathfinding algorithms are available for Flash too, mainly A*. Most of them are going to take a lot of time to calculate path from point A to point B. Our method here is very basic and doesnt find any paths, hero moves in one direction until it reaches the target coordinate or wall. Then he moves vertically same way.

To know which way to turn, lets look at the going right decision:

if(game["t_" + ob.ytile + "_" + (ob.xtile+1)].walkable and game.targetx > ob.xtile)

We check if the tile 1 step right from the heros current tile, has walkable property set to true. And we also check if the mouse was clicked right from the hero.

Thats all for today about controlling the hero with mouse.

You can download the source fla with all the code and movie set up here.

Name: Tonu Paldra, alias Tonypa
Location: Estonia
Age: 34
Flash experience: Discovered Flash4 in the year 2000 and fell in love with it. Abandoned Flash4, when they ended Flash4 help forum in Flashkit. Been playing with Flash only in spare time, thinking its great hobby
Job: Magazine designer
| Homepage | News | Games | Articles | Multiplayer Central | Reviews | Spotlight | Forums | Info | Links | Contact us | Advertise | Credits |

| | | |

gotoAndPlay() v 3.0.0 -- (c)2003-2008 gotoAndPlay() Team -- P.IVA 03121770048