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Manual Reference Pages  -  TERM::ANIMATION (3)

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Term::Animation - ASCII sprite animation framework



  use Term::Animation;

  # Constructors
  $anim = Term::Animation->new();
  $anim = Term::Animation->new($curses_window);


A framework to produce sprite animations using ASCII art.


This module provides a framework to produce sprite animations using ASCII art. Each ASCII ’sprite’ is given one or more frames, and placed into the animation as an ’animation object’. An animation object can have a callback routine that controls the position and frame of the object.

If the constructor is passed no arguments, it assumes that it is running full screen, and behaves accordingly. Alternatively, it can accept a curses window (created with the Curses newwin call) as an argument, and will draw into that window.


This example moves a small object across the screen from left to right.

    use Term::Animation;
    use Curses;

    $anim = Term::Animation->new();

    # set the delay for getch
    halfdelay( 2 );

    # create a simple shape we can move around
    $shape = "<=O=>";

    # turn our shape into an animation object
                 shape         => $shape,        # object shape
                 position      => [3, 7, 10],    # row / column / depth
                 callback_args => [1, 0, 0, 0],  # the default callback
                                                 #  routine takes a list
                                                 #  of x,y,z,frame deltas
                 wrap          => 1              # turn screen wrap on

    # animation loop
    while(1) {
      # run and display a single animation frame

      # use getch to control the frame rate, and get input at the
      # same time. (not a good idea if you are expecting much input)
      my $input = getch();
      if($input eq q) { last; }

    # cleanly end the animation, to avoid hosing up the users terminal

This illustrates how to draw your animation into an existing Curses window.

    use Term::Animation;
    use Curses;

    # Term::Animation will not call initscr for you if
    # you pass it a window

    $win = newwin(5,10,8,7);

    $anim = Term::Animation->new($win);

Everything else would be identical to the previous example.



  $anim = Term::Animation->new();
  $anim = Term::Animation->new($curses_window);

The constructor. Optionally takes an existing curses window to draw in.


        shape         => $shape,
        position      => [ 1, 2, 3 ],
        callback_args => [ 1, 0, 0 ]

Creates a new Term::Animation::Entity object and adds it to the animation. This is identical to:

  my $entity = Term::Animation::Entity->new(...);

See Term::Animation::Entity/PARAMETERS and Term::Animation::Entity/new in Term::Animation::Entity for details on calling this method.


  $name = $anim->color_name( $color );

Returns the full name of a color, given either a full name or a single character abbreviation.


  $id = $anim->color_id( $color );

Returns the single character abbreviation for a color, given either a full name or abbreviation.


  my $is_valid = $anim->is_valid_color($color_name);

Returns true if the supplied string is a valid color name (’blue’) or a valid color id (’b’).


  my $state = $anim->color();

Enable or disable ANSI color. This MUST be called immediately after creating the animation object if you want color, because the Curses start_color call must be made immediately. You can then turn color on and off whenever you want.


  $anim->background( $color );

Change the background color. The default background color is black. You can only have one background color for the entire Curses window that the animation is running in.



Perform a single animation cycle. Runs all of the callbacks, does collision detection, and updates the display.


  $tracking_framerate = $anim->track_framerate();

Get or set the flag that indicates whether the module should keep track of the animation framerate. This is enabled by default.


  $frames_per_second = $anim->framerate();

Returns the approximate number of frames being displayed per second, as indicated by calls to the animate method.


  my ($width, $height, $assumed_size) = $anim->screen_size();

Returns the width and height of the screen. The third value returned is a boolean indicating whether or not the default screen size was used, because the size could not be determined.



Call this if you suspect the terminal size has changed (eg. if you get a SIGWINCH signal). Call remove_all_entities after this if you want to recreate your animation from scratch.


  $anim->add_entity( $entity1, $entity2, $entity3 );

Add one or more animation entities to the animation.


  $anim->del_entity( $entity_name );
  $anim->del_entity( $entity_ref );

Removes an entity from the animation. Accepts either an entity name or a reference to the entity itself.



Removes every animation object. This is useful if you need to start the animation over (eg. after a screen resize)


  $number_of_entities = $anim->entity_count();

Returns the number of entities in the animation.


  $entity_list = $anim->get_entities();

Returns a reference to a list of all entities in the animation.


  $entity_list = $anim->get_entities_of_type( $type );

Returns a reference to a list of all entities in the animation that have the given type.


  my $is_living = $anim->is_living( $entity );

Return 1 if the entity name or reference is in the animation and is not scheduled for deletion. Returns 0 otherwise.


  $entity_ref = $anim->entity( $entity_name );

If the animation contains an entity with the given name, the Term::Animation::Entity object associated with the name is returned. Otherwise, undef is returned.


  $width = $anim->width();

Returns the width of the screen


  $height = $anim->height();

Returns the height of the screen


  $size = $anim->size();

Returns the number of characters in the curses window (width * height)



Clear everything from the screen, and redraw what should be there. This should be called after update_term_size, or if the user indicates that the screen should be redrawn to get rid of artifacts.


  # gen_path (x,y,z, x,y,z, [ frame_pattern ], [ steps ])

  $anim->gen_path( $x1, $y1, $z1, $x2, $y2, $z2, [ 1, 2, 0, 2 ], longest );

Given beginning and end points, this will return a path for the entity to follow that can be given to the default callback routine, move_entity. The first set of x,y,z coordinates are the point the entity will begin at, the second set is the point the entity will end at.

You can optionally supply a list of frames to cycle through. The list will be repeated as many times as needed to finish the path. If no list of frames is supplied, only the first frame will be used.

You can also request the number of steps you would like for the entity to take to finish the path. The default is ’shortest’. Valid arguments are:
longest The longer of the X and Y distances
shortest The shorter of the X and Y distances
X,Y or Z The x, y or z distance
<number> Explicitly specify the number of steps to take



Run the Curses endwin function to get your terminal back to its normal mode. This is called automatically when the object is destroyed if the animation is running full screen (if you did not pass an existing Curses window to the constructor).


Callback routines for all entities are called each time animate is called. A default callback routine is supplied, move_entity, which is sufficient for most basic movement. If you want to create an entity that exhibits more complex behavior, you will have to write a custom callback routine for it.

Callback routines take two arguments, a reference to the Term::Animation::Entity object that it should act on, and a reference to the Term::Animation instance that called it. Any arguments required to tell the callback what to do with the object, or any state that needs to be maintained, should be put in the callback_args element of the object. callback_args is only referenced by the callback routine, and thus can contain any datastructure that you find useful.

Here is an example custom callback that will make an entity move randomly around the screen:

  sub random_movement {
      my ($entity, $anim) = @_;

      # get the current position of the entity
      my ($x, $y, $z) = $entity->position();

      # well use callback_args to store the last axis we moved in
      my $last_move = $entity->callback_args();

      # if we moved in x last time, move in y this time
      if($last_move eq x) {
          # move by -1, 0 or 1
          $y += int(rand(3)) - 1;
      } else {
          $x += int(rand(3)) - 1;

      # return the absolute x,y,z coordinates to move to
      return ($x, $y, $z);

The return value of your callback routine should be of the form:

    return ($x, $y, $z, $frame)

$x, $y and $z represent the X, Y and Z coordinates to which the object should move. $frame is the frame number that the object should display, if it has multiple frames of animation. Any values that are unspecified or undef will remain unchanged.

You can also call the default callback from within your callback, if you want it to handle movement for you. For example, if your callback is simply used to decide when an entity should die:

  sub wait_for_file {
      my ($entity, $anim) = @_;

      # kill this entity if a certain file shows up
      if(-e "/path/to/file") {

      # use the default callback to handle the actual movement
      return $entity->move_entity($anim);

If you use this, be aware that move_entity relies on callback_args, so you cannot use it to store your own arbitrary data.


ANSI color is available for terminals that support it. Only a single background color can be used for the window (it would look terrible in most cases otherwise anyway). Colors for entities are specified by using a ’mask’ that indicates the color for each character. For example, say we had a single frame of a bird:

  $bird = q#

  ---. .-. .---
       \ /
       " "

To indicate the colors you want to use for the bird, create a matching mask, with the first letter of each color in the appropriate position (except black, which is ’k’). Pass this mask as the color parameter.

  $mask = q#

       B B
       Y Y

When specifying a color, using uppercase indicates the color should be bold. So ’BLUE’ or ’B’ means bold blue, and ’blue’ or ’b’ means non-bold blue. ’Blue’ means you get an error message.

You can also provide a default color with the default_color parameter. This color will be used for any character that does not have an entry in the mask. If you want the entire entity to be a single color, you can just provide a default color with no mask.

The available colors are: red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow, black and white.

Here’s an example call to build_object for the bird above.

    $anim->new_entity (
              name              => "Bird",
              shape             => $bird,
              position          => [ 5, 8, 7 ],
              callback_args     => [ 1, 2, 0, 0 ],
              color             => $mask,
              default_color     => "BLUE"


Kirk Baucom, <>




Hey! <B>The above document had some coding errors, which are explained below:B>
Around line 179: alternative text ’Term::Animation::Entity/PARAMETERS’ contains non-escaped | or /

alternative text ’Term::Animation::Entity/new’ contains non-escaped | or /

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perl v5.20.3 TERM::ANIMATION (3) 2011-03-29

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