Make the character move

To make the character move, we have to tell Gamma to change the horizontal and/or vertical state of the character when a particular key is pressed. For this tutorial, we’ll make it so:

  • pressing left arrow makes the character go left
  • pressing right arrow makes the character go right
  • pressing spacebar makes the character jump


First we need to know the corresponding number for these buttons. If we look this list of keycodes we can see that the left arrow is 37, right arrow is 39, and spacebar is 32.

Functions to move the character

Next we need to know which functions must be called to change the state of the character. After telling the character that it is moving right, the game loop then causes the character to be moved at a constant rate.

We will call move and jump to change the state of the character. To go left, we need to call move with LEFT as an argument. Going right is the same, except using RIGHT as the argument. Jumping just requires calling jump. Both of these functions (move and jump) also require the key press event object as an argument.

We use register to register a function to a particular key press. This function will be called with the keyboard event, which is used to differentiate between pressing and releasing a key.

gma.keyHandler.register(37, function (keyEvent) {
    manager.character.move(gma.constants.LEFT, keyEvent);

gma.keyHandler.register(39, function (keyEvent) {
    manager.character.move(gma.constants.RIGHT, keyEvent);

gma.keyHandler.register(32, manager.character.jump);

Key binding is provided by gma.keyHandler, so gma/events is required in the dependency list.


This example can be simplified by using currying. Currying a function with arguments returns a function that calls the original function with the arguments provided. For example, the following function (f1 and f2) are equivalent; to create f2, the move function is curried with the first of it's argument (direction) to create a function with the keyboard event as the only argument:

f1 = function (keyEvent) {
    manager.character.move(gma.constants.LEFT, keyEvent);
f2 = manager.character.move.curry(gma.constants.LEFT);

Therefore the keybinding example can be simplified to:

gma.keyHandler.register(37, manager.character.move.curry(gma.constants.LEFT);
gma.keyHandler.register(39, manager.character.move.curry(gma.constants.RIGHT);
gma.keyHandler.register(32, manager.character.jump);

End result

    function(gma) {
        var manager = gma.manager({
            width : 600,
            height : 500
        manager.character = gma.character({
            left     : 0,
            bottom   : 0,
            width    : 3,
            height   : 6,
            depth    : 3

        var myLevel = {
            spawn : {
                main : [15, 24]
            entities : [
                {top:0, left:0, width:30, height:3},
                {top:0, left:36, width:30, height:3}

        gma.keyHandler.register(37, manager.character.move.curry(gma.constants.LEFT));
        gma.keyHandler.register(39, manager.character.move.curry(gma.constants.RIGHT));
        gma.keyHandler.register(32, manager.character.jump);


What's next?

In the next section we will create some enemies.

Fork me on GitHub