Creating a game with SapphoΒΆ


This document is a work in progress and may be incomplete.

If you’ve been following along with the previous tutorials (creating a tilesheet and map and creating a character sprite), you’re now ready to move on in the world of game development, and create your first simple game!

Let’s have a look at what we have so far. Our game directory should now have these files in it:

|- tilesheet.png
|- tilesheet.png.rules
|- tilemap.tmx
|- sprite.gif

From here, let’s create a file to house our game code.

To start off, let’s import pygame and the Sappho modules we need:

import pygame

from import Camera, CameraCenterBehavior
from sappho.layers import SurfaceLayers
from sappho.animatedsprite import AnimatedSprite
from sappho.tilemap import Tilesheet, tmx_file_to_tilemaps

Next, let’s define a few constants, like the names of our files, our screen resolution, and how big we want the viewport onto the map to be:

RESOLUTION = (800, 600)
VIEWPORT = (50, 50) # 5 by 5 tiles

SPRITE_FILE = "sprite.gif"
TILESHEET_FILE = "tilesheet.png"
MAP_FILE = "tilemap.tmx"

# Number of pixels to move each tick

Now we can get down to the initialization of the game. First, we need to initialize Pygame and create our screen:

# Initialize Pygame
screen = pygame.display.set_mode(RESOLUTION)

Next, we need to create our game structures.

First, let’s load our tilesheet:

# Load tilesheet, telling the Tilesheet class that our tilesheet has
# 10x10 tiles
tilesheet = Tilesheet.from_file(TILESHEET_FILE, 10, 10)

And then load our tilemap and retrieve the surfaces for each map layer:

# Load tilemap
tilemap_layers = tmx_file_to_tilemaps(MAP_FILE, tilesheet)
tilemap_surfaces = []
for map_layer in tilemap_layers:

All our map layers are the same size, so we can take the size of the first tilemap layer surface and use that as the size of our camera’s source surface. Let’s create the camera now:

# Create camera
camera = Camera(tilemap_surfaces[0].get_size(), RESOLUTION, VIEWPORT)

Now we need to create a SurfaceLayers object. The SurfaceLayers object will handle drawing the map layers in the right order, and making sure our character doesn’t get obscured by anything on the map.

We pass the Camera we created earlier to the SurfaceLayers object, so that when the layers are rendered, they are rendered directly to the camera. We also need to give the SurfaceLayers object the number of layers we have - which is the number of map layers we have, plus one for the character sprite.

# Create SurfaceLayers to handle rendering
layers = SurfaceLayers(camera, len(tilemap_surfaces) + 1)

Let’s now load our sprite.

# Load our AnimatedSprite
sprite = AnimatedSprite.from_file(SPRITE_FILE)

Lastly for the initialization, we need to create a clock. This clock will keep track of the time between frames, and act as a frame limiter so that we don’t choke CPU time rendering too fast.

# Create clock
clock = pygame.time.Clock()

Before we start the grunt of the game, let’s initialize a couple variables that control where our sprite is positioned on the map:

# Position our character one tile from the left and one tile from
# the top of the screen
x_coord = 10
y_coord = 10

# Current movement speed per frame
x_speed = 0
y_speed = 0

Now, we can start our game’s main loop. This is where the magic happens.

Let’s create a variable that tells us whether the game is still running:

running = True

Now, let’s start the loop by processing any Pygame events that the game receives. These events will include the close button being pressed, key presses and releases, and various other things, but we only want to handle closing and key presses. The key presses will set the speed at which the character is moving.

while running:
    for event in pygame.event.get():

        # Handle the close button being pressed
        if event.type == pygame.QUIT:
            running = False

        # User pressed down on a key
        elif event.type == pygame.KEYDOWN:

            # Figure out if it was an arrow key. If so
            # adjust speed.
            if event.key == pygame.K_LEFT:
                x_speed = MOVEMENT_SPEED * -1
            elif event.key == pygame.K_RIGHT:
                x_speed = MOVEMENT_SPEED
            elif event.key == pygame.K_UP:
                y_speed = MOVEMENT_SPEED * -1
            elif event.key == pygame.K_DOWN:
                y_speed = MOVEMENT_SPEED

        # User let up on a key
        elif event.type == pygame.KEYUP:

            # If it is an arrow key, reset vector back to zero
            if event.key == pygame.K_LEFT or event.key == pygame.K_RIGHT:
                x_speed = 0
            elif event.key == pygame.K_UP or event.key == pygame.K_DOWN:
                y_speed = 0
# Blit our map surfaces to the SurfaceLayers object
for i, surface in enumerate(tilemap_surfaces):
    layers[i].blit(tilemap_surfaces, (0, 0))

# Blit our character to the SurfaceLayers object
layers[-1].blit(sprite, (x_coord, y_coord))