How do I Create an 8-Puzzle Game?
This lesson describes how to create a simple interactive 8-Puzzle game. Sample code is provided that can be placed in and run from the main stack. The board and game tiles are automatically generated.
You can download the stack that was created in this lesson from this url: https://tinyurl.com/yboka7d2
The 8-Puzzle is a popular single person game that comes in many shapes and sizes. It fundamentally consists of eight squares or tiles that can be moved around a 3X3 board grid. Tiles can be moved one at a time to take up the empty place on the board. The purpose of the game is to create an ordering of letters, numbers or to restore a picture that is printed on the eight tiles of the puzzle. In our game the tiles are numbered 0 to 7.
You will be able to shuffle the tiles and slide them individually to restore the initial numerical ordering.
The followup lesson How do I Tell the Computer to Solve the 8-Puzzle Game? describes the implementation of a commonly used Artificial Intelligence algorithm to solve the 8-Puzzle for you.
The Components of the Game
We discussed the physical components of the game in the introduction; what we need to focus on now are the computational components that make up the game in LiveCode. Soft components that simulate the physical components are the stack card that serves as the game board, eight square buttons that make up the tiles that slide around the board, and a rectangular button that is used to trigger the shuffle algorithm.
In the background we need to simulate physical constraints that are inherent in the physical design of the game. This is the ability to move tiles and at the same time restrict the order in which tiles can be moved. Tiles can only be moved that are either horizontally or vertically adjacent to the empty space.
Creating the Board
The board is created as soon as openStack is called. You should only have to run the following code once, but there is no harm in calling the code several times.
First set up the variables that store information about the game:
# these are local stack variables that store the offset between tiles, the number of tiles # used horizontally and vertically, the order of the tiles in the winning state and the # number of the space button local sOffset, sTilesX, sTilesY, sWinningState, sSpaceButton
Now create openStack that calls a command to initialize the local stack variables and set up the tiles that are to appear on the 3X3 grid.
Note: We are creating nine tiles on the board and then hide the last one. This makes it easier to keep track of the board state and swap tiles around. The Shuffle button is also created in openStack.
on openStack # set up the constants for the game type setGameConstants 3, 3 # remove any previous buttons that may already be on the card # this prevents us from duplicating existing buttons repeat while the number of buttons of this card > 0 delete button 1 of this card end repeat # create the board buttons createBoard 50 # write the values onto the buttons writeButtonLabels sWinningState # create the space on the board hide button ("b" & sSpaceButton) # create the shuffle button createShuffleButton # make sure the board cannot be resized set resizable of me to false end openStack
Command setGameConstants sets up the local stack variables that store relevant board information. This command takes pPuzzleSizeX and pPuzzleSizeY that specify how many tiles are to appear horizontally and vertically on the game board.
command setGameConstants pPuzzleSizeX pPuzzleSizeY local tTile # set the offset between the squares on the board put 2 into sOffset # set up the number of tiles to use put pPuzzleSizeX into sTilesX put pPuzzleSizeY into sTilesY # set up the start up and winning board state put empty into sWinningState repeat with tTile = 0 to (pPuzzleSizeX * pPuzzleSizeY - 1) if sWinningState is not empty then put " " after sWinningState end if put tTile after sWinningState end repeat # define what button is used as space put pPuzzleSizeX * pPuzzleSizeY - 1 into sSpaceButton end setGameConstants
Command createBoard places the eight tiles on the stack card. pPadding specifies the amount of space that is to be placed between the top and the left edge of the stack card and the grid of tiles. Command createBoard also populates the button scripts that are executed when you select a tile that is to be moved around the game board.
command createBoard pPadding local tHorizontal, tVertical, tButtonNumber put 0 into tButtonNumber # cycle through the vertical board buttons repeat with tVertical = 0 to sTilesY - 1 # cycle through the horizontal board buttons repeat with tHorizontal = 0 to sTilesX - 1 # create a button that is used as a game tile new button "New Button" set the width of button "New Button" to 60 set the height of button "New Button" to 60 set the location of button "New Button" to \ pPadding + tHorizontal * (60 + sOffset), pPadding + tVertical * (60 + sOffset) # populate the button script for each tile set the script of button "New Button" to \ "on mouseUp" & cr & \ "local tCurrentState" & cr & \ "swapButtons " & sSpaceButton & ", " & tButtonNumber & cr & \ "put boardToBoardState (" & pPadding & \ ") into tCurrentState" & cr & \ "if manhattanDistance (tCurrentState) is 0 then" & cr & \ "answer " & quote & "You Made It!" & quote & " with "& quote & \ "OK" & quote & cr & \ "end if" & cr & \ "end mouseUp" # give each button a unique name set the name of button "New Button" to "b" & tButtonNumber add 1 to tButtonNumber end repeat end repeat end createBoard
Command writeButtonLabels assigns numbers to the labels of the tiles. The tiles are numbered 0 to 7. 8 is the hidden tile that represents the empty space. Argument pButtonLabelNames is the string of labels that is to be assigned to the tiles.
command writeButtonLabels pButtonLabelNames local tButtonLabelName, tButtonNumber put 0 into tButtonNumber # populate each label of a button with a number repeat for each word tButtonLabelName in pButtonLabelNames set the label of button ("b" & tButtonNumber) to tButtonLabelName add 1 to tButtonNumber end repeat end writeButtonLabels
Command createShuffleButton creates the Shuffle button and populates the script that is called when pressing the button. This command also resizes the card on which the button and tiles are placed.
command createShuffleButton # create the shuffle button new button set the name of the last button to "New Button" set label of button "New Button" to "Shuffle" set width of button "New Button" to 60 * sTilesX + sOffset * (sTilesX - 1) set location of button "New Button" to (60 * sTilesX + sOffset * (sTilesX - 1)) / 2 + 20, \ (60 * sTilesY + sOffset * (sTilesY - 1)) + 50 # populate the button script for the shuffle button set the script of button "New Button" to \ "on mouseUp" & cr & \ "shuffleBoard 10" & cr & \ "end mouseUp" set the name of button "New Button" to "Shuffle" # resize the board for the buttons set the width of me to 60 * sTilesX + sOffset * (sTilesX - 1) + 40 set the height of me to 60 * sTilesY + sOffset * (sTilesY - 1) + 80 end createShuffleButton
The board is now ready, we are just missing the underlying functionality that drives the game.
Shuffling the Tiles
In order to make the game more challenging, there is a Shuffle button that moves the tiles around. The Shuffle button randomly selects tiles and moves them a set number of times. pTimes specifies how many times a tile is to be moved.
command shuffleBoard pTimes local tSwaps, tButtonToSwap, tLastTile repeat while tSwaps < pTimes # randomly chose a tile put random (sSpaceButton) - 1 into tButtonToSwap # if the tile is not the last one that was moved and # the tile can be moved into the empty space then move # it and increment the number of successful moves if (tLastTile is not tButtonToSwap) and \ (isSwapable (sSpaceButton, tButtonToSwap) is true) then swapButtons sSpaceButton, tButtonToSwap put tButtonToSwap into tLastTile add 1 to tSwaps end if end repeat end shuffleBoard
One of the most important actions to take is to move tiles around the board. This is easily implemented on a physical board due to the natural constraints that real tiles have. Simulating these constraints in software is somewhat more challenging. The following code implements the physical constraints, but it is easy to change the code to allow for more exotic moves. An example would be to allow tiles to move diagonally.
Function isSwapable provides a test that determines if two tiles are either horizontally or vertically adjacent.
Note: We are using the physical location of the buttons to calculate whether or not a move is possible. pButton1 and pButton2 are the two tiles to be tested.
function isSwapable pButton1, pButton2 local tRelativeX, tRelativeY # calculate the horizontal offset between two button locations put item 1 of location of button ("b" & pButton1) - \ item 1 of location of button ("b" & pButton2) into tRelativeX # calculate the vertical offset between two button locations put item -1 of location of button ("b" & pButton1) - \ item -1 of location of button ("b" & pButton2) into tRelativeY # if there is only a horizontal or a vertical offset and the offset is of a specific size # then the tiles can be swapped if (tRelativeX is 0 and abs (tRelativeY) is 60 + sOffset) or \ (tRelativeY is 0 and abs (tRelativeX) is 60 + sOffset) then return true else return false end if end isSwapable
Command swapButtons swaps two tiles around. A test is also performed to determine whether or not tiles can be swapped. The moves are animated to provide more of a physical game experience. As with isSwapable, buttons pButton1 and pButton2 are the buttons to be swapped.
command swapButtons pButton1, pButton2 local tRelativeX, tRelativeY, tButtonLocation # calculate the horizontal offset between two button locations put item 1 of location of button ("b" & pButton1) - \ item 1 of location of button ("b" & pButton2) into tRelativeX # calculate the vertical offset between two button locations put item -1 of location of button ("b" & pButton1) - \ item -1 of location of button ("b" & pButton2) into tRelativeY # if there is no horizontal offset but the vertical offset has a specific size # then swap the two tiles if (tRelativeX is 0 and abs (tRelativeY) is 60 + sOffset) or \ (tRelativeY is 0 and abs (tRelativeX) is 60 + sOffset) then put location of button ("b" & pButton1) into tButtonLocation set the moveSpeed to 65535 move button ("b" & pButton1) from location of button ("b" & pButton1) to \ location of button ("b" & pButton2) without messages set the moveSpeed to 200 move button ("b" & pButton2) from location of button ("b" & pButton2) to \ tButtonLocation without messages end if end swapButtons
Did You Win?
Function boardToBoardState produces a string of numbers that specifies the order in which the labels on the tiles appear. pPadding specifies the amount of space that exists between the top and the left edge of the stack card and the grid of tiles.
Note: We have to access the physical button locations in order to determine the order in which the tiles are placed.
function boardToBoardState pPadding local tHorizontal, tVertical, tButtonNumber, tPositionArray, tLine, tResult # cycle through the vertical board buttons repeat with tVertical = 0 to sTilesY - 1 # cycle through the horizontal board buttons repeat with tHorizontal = 0 to sTilesX - 1 # cycle through the button numbers repeat with tButtonNumber = 0 to sTilesX * sTilesY - 1 # put the number of the button label into an array if location of button ("b" & tButtonNumber) is \ pPadding + tHorizontal * (60 + sOffset), pPadding + tVertical * (60 + sOffset) then put tHorizontal + tVertical * sTilesX into tPositionArray [tButtonNumber] end if end repeat end repeat end repeat # order the array by its keys get the keys of tPositionArray sort lines of it numeric by tPositionArray[each] # convert the list of keys into a string repeat for each line tLine in it if tResult is not empty then put " " after tResult end if put tLine after tResult end repeat return tResult end boardToBoardState
Function manhattanDistance determines by how many squares a tile is displaced from the position that would be considered a winning position. There are simpler ways to determine if a board stated is a winning position, for example comparing pBoardState with the string of the winning board state. We are introducing the manhattan distance her as it will be used in the follow up lessons to help solve the puzzle automatically. pBoardState is a string with a sequence of tiles that is to be tested.
function manhattanDistance pBoardState local tButton, tButton1H, tButton1V, tButton2H, tButton2V, tResult # test how far each tile is away from its winning location # we are not testing the location of the space repeat with tButton = 0 to sSpaceButton - 1 # get the x and y positions of the two buttons to be swapped, # with respect to the horizontal and vertical game grid put (wordOffset (tButton, sWinningState) - 1) mod sTilesX into tButton1H put (wordOffset (tButton, sWinningState) - 1) div sTilesY into tButton1V put (wordOffset (tButton, pBoardState) - 1) mod sTilesX into tButton2H put (wordOffset (tButton, pBoardState) - 1) div sTilesY into tButton2V add abs (tButton1H - tButton2H) + abs (tButton1V - tButton2V) to tResult end repeat return tResult end manhattanDistance
The 8-Puzzle Board
This figure shows you the board you should get when running the code in this lesson. The Shuffle button moves tiles around for you and changes the order in which the tiles are displayed.
To move a single tile, simply click on the tile you would like to move. In this example, you can only move tiles 5 and 7.
Which versions of LC can run the Puzzle example?
This lesson was written some time ago, however it should still work in recent versions of LiveCode. Have you encountered a problem?
I re-installed livecode7 and it worked perfectly. Thanks
I have modified this puzzle app. Can l use your code and my new functions to write and publish an ebook? Thanks
You can use this code as a basis for any apps you want to make. Good luck with your ebook!
Thanks very much. I will keep you posted. Have a superb day!