Tag Archives: python

Recreate Gradius’ rock-spewing volcanoes | Wireframe #52

Post Syndicated from Ryan Lambie original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/recreate-gradius-volcanoes-wireframe-52/

Code an homage to Konami’s classic shoot-’em-up, Gradius. Mark Vanstone has the code in the new edition of Wireframe magazine, available now.

Released by Konami in 1985, Gradius – also known as Nemesis outside Japan – brought a new breed of power-up system to arcades. One of the keys to its success was the way the player could customise their Vic Viper fighter craft by gathering capsules, which could then be ‘spent’ on weapons, speed-ups, and shields from a bar at the bottom of the screen.

Gradius screenshot
The Gradius volcanoes spew rocks at the player just before the end-of-level boss ship arrives.

Flying rocks

A seminal side-scrolling shooter, Gradius was particularly striking thanks to the variety of its levels: a wide range of hazards were thrown at the player, including waves of aliens, natural phenomena, and boss ships with engine cores that had to be destroyed in order to progress. One of the first stage’s biggest obstacles was a pair of volcanoes that spewed deadly rocks into the air: the rocks could be shot for extra points or just avoided to get through to the next section. In this month’s Source Code, we’re going to have a look at how to recreate the volcano-style flying rock obstacle from the game.

Our sample uses Pygame Zero and the randint function from the random module to provide the variations of trajectory that we need our rocks to have. We’ll need an actor created for our spaceship and a list to hold our rock Actors. We can also make a bullet Actor so we can make the ship fire lasers and shoot the rocks. We build up the scene in layers in our draw() function with a star-speckled background, then our rocks, followed by the foreground of volcanoes, and finally the spaceship and bullets.

Dodge and shoot the rocks in our homage to the classic Gradius.

Get the ship moving

In the update() function, we need to handle moving the ship around with the cursor keys. We can use a limit() function to make sure it doesn’t go off the screen, and the SPACE bar to trigger the bullet to be fired. After that, we need to update our rocks. At the start of the game our list of rocks will be empty, so we’ll get a random number generated, and if the number is 1, we make a new rock and add it to the list. If we have more than 100 rocks in our list, some of them will have moved off the screen, so we may as well reuse them instead of making more new rocks. During each update cycle, we’ll need to run through our list of rocks and update their position. When we make a rock, we give it a speed and direction, then when it’s updated, we move the rock upwards by its speed and then reduce the speed by 0.2. This will make it fly into the air, slow down, and then fall to the ground. 

Collision detection

From this code, we can make rocks appear just behind both of the volcanoes, and they’ll fly in a random direction upwards at a random speed. We can increase or decrease the number of rocks flying about by changing the random numbers that spawn them. We should be able to fly in and out of the rocks, but we could add some collision detection to check whether the rocks hit the ship – we may also want to destroy the ship if it’s hit by a rock. In our sample, we have an alternative, ‘shielded’ state to indicate that a collision has occurred. We can also check for collisions with the bullets: if a collision’s detected, we can make the rock and the bullet disappear by moving them off-screen, at which point they’re ready to be reused.

That’s about it for this month’s sample, but there are many more elements from the original game that you could add yourself: extra weapons, more enemies, or even an area boss.

Here’s Mark’s volcanic code. To get it working on your system, you’ll need to install Pygame Zero. And to download the full code and assets, head here.

Get your copy of Wireframe issue 52

You can read more features like this one in Wireframe issue 52, available directly from Raspberry Pi Press — we deliver worldwide.

Wireframe issue 52's cover

And if you’d like a handy digital version of the magazine, you can also download issue 52 for free in PDF format.

The post Recreate Gradius’ rock-spewing volcanoes | Wireframe #52 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Hosting Hugging Face models on AWS Lambda for serverless inference

Post Syndicated from Chris Munns original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/hosting-hugging-face-models-on-aws-lambda/

This post written by Eddie Pick, AWS Senior Solutions Architect – Startups and Scott Perry, AWS Senior Specialist Solutions Architect – AI/ML

Hugging Face Transformers is a popular open-source project that provides pre-trained, natural language processing (NLP) models for a wide variety of use cases. Customers with minimal machine learning experience can use pre-trained models to enhance their applications quickly using NLP. This includes tasks such as text classification, language translation, summarization, and question answering – to name a few.

First introduced in 2017, the Transformer is a modern neural network architecture that has quickly become the most popular type of machine learning model applied to NLP tasks. It outperforms previous techniques based on convolutional neural networks (CNNs) or recurrent neural networks (RNNs). The Transformer also offers significant improvements in computational efficiency. Notably, Transformers are more conducive to parallel computation. This means that Transformer-based models can be trained more quickly, and on larger datasets than their predecessors.

The computational efficiency of Transformers provides the opportunity to experiment and improve on the original architecture. Over the past few years, the industry has seen the introduction of larger and more powerful Transformer models. For example, BERT was first published in 2018 and was able to get better benchmark scores on 11 natural language processing tasks using between 110M-340M neural network parameters. In 2019, the T5 model using 11B parameters achieved better results on benchmarks such as summarization, question answering, and text classification. More recently, the GPT-3 model was introduced in 2020 with 175B parameters and in 2021 the Switch Transformers are scaling to over 1T parameters.

One consequence of this trend toward larger and more powerful models is an increased barrier to entry. As the number of model parameters increases, as does the computational infrastructure that is necessary to train such a model. This is where the open-source Hugging Face Transformers project helps.

Hugging Face Transformers provides over 30 pretrained Transformer-based models available via a straightforward Python package. Additionally, there are over 10,000 community-developed models available for download from Hugging Face. This allows users to use modern Transformer models within their applications without requiring model training from scratch.

The Hugging Face Transformers project directly addresses challenges associated with training modern Transformer-based models. Many customers want a zero administration ML inference solution that allows Hugging Face Transformers models to be hosted in AWS easily. This post introduces a low touch, cost effective, and scalable mechanism for hosting Hugging Face models for real-time inference using AWS Lambda.

Overview

Our solution consists of an AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK) script that automatically provisions container image-based Lambda functions that perform ML inference using pre-trained Hugging Face models. This solution also includes Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) storage that is attached to the Lambda functions to cache the pre-trained models and reduce inference latency.Solution architecture

In this architectural diagram:

  1. Serverless inference is achieved by using Lambda functions that are based on container image
  2. The container image is stored in an Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR) repository within your account
  3. Pre-trained models are automatically downloaded from Hugging Face the first time the function is invoked
  4. Pre-trained models are cached within Amazon Elastic File System storage in order to improve inference latency

The solution includes Python scripts for two common NLP use cases:

  • Sentiment analysis: Identifying if a sentence indicates positive or negative sentiment. It uses a fine-tuned model on sst2, which is a GLUE task.
  • Summarization: Summarizing a body of text into a shorter, representative text. It uses a Bart model that was fine-tuned on the CNN / Daily Mail dataset.

For simplicity, both of these use cases are implemented using Hugging Face pipelines.

Prerequisites

The following is required to run this example:

Deploying the example application

  1. Clone the project to your development environment:
    git clone https://github.com/aws-samples/zero-administration-inference-with-aws-lambda-for-hugging-face.git
  2. Install the required dependencies:
    pip install -r requirements.txt
  3. Bootstrap the CDK. This command provisions the initial resources needed by the CDK to perform deployments:
    cdk bootstrap
  4. This command deploys the CDK application to its environment. During the deployment, the toolkit outputs progress indications:
    $ cdk deploy

Testing the application

After deployment, navigate to the AWS Management Console to find and test the Lambda functions. There is one for sentiment analysis and one for summarization.

To test:

  1. Enter “Lambda” in the search bar of the AWS Management Console:Console Search
  2. Filter the functions by entering “ServerlessHuggingFace”:Filtering functions
  3. Select the ServerlessHuggingFaceStack-sentimentXXXXX function:Select function
  4. In the Test event, enter the following snippet and then choose Test:Test function
{
   "text": "I'm so happy I could cry!"
}

The first invocation takes approximately one minute to complete. The initial Lambda function environment must be allocated and the pre-trained model must be downloaded from Hugging Face. Subsequent invocations are faster, as the Lambda function is already prepared and the pre-trained model is cached in EFS.Function test results

The JSON response shows the result of the sentiment analysis:

{
  "statusCode": 200,
  "body": {
    "label": "POSITIVE",
    "score": 0.9997532367706299
  }
}

Understanding the code structure

The code is organized using the following structure:

├── inference
│ ├── Dockerfile
│ ├── sentiment.py
│ └── summarization.py
├── app.py
└── ...

The inference directory contains:

  • The Dockerfile used to build a custom image to be able to run PyTorch Hugging Face inference using Lambda functions
  • The Python scripts that perform the actual ML inference

The sentiment.py script shows how to use a Hugging Face Transformers model:

import json
from transformers import pipeline

nlp = pipeline("sentiment-analysis")

def handler(event, context):
    response = {
        "statusCode": 200,
        "body": nlp(event['text'])[0]
    }
    return response

For each Python script in the inference directory, the CDK generates a Lambda function backed by a container image and a Python inference script.

CDK script

The CDK script is named app.py in the solution’s repository. The beginning of the script creates a virtual private cloud (VPC).

vpc = ec2.Vpc(self, 'Vpc', max_azs=2)

Next, it creates the EFS file system and an access point in EFS for the cached models:

        fs = efs.FileSystem(self, 'FileSystem',
                            vpc=vpc,
                            removal_policy=cdk.RemovalPolicy.DESTROY)
        access_point = fs.add_access_point('MLAccessPoint',
                                           create_acl=efs.Acl(
                                               owner_gid='1001', owner_uid='1001', permissions='750'),
                                           path="/export/models",
                                           posix_user=efs.PosixUser(gid="1001", uid="1001"))>

It iterates through the Python files in the inference directory:

docker_folder = os.path.dirname(os.path.realpath(__file__)) + "/inference"
pathlist = Path(docker_folder).rglob('*.py')
for path in pathlist:

And then creates the Lambda function that serves the inference requests:

            base = os.path.basename(path)
            filename = os.path.splitext(base)[0]
            # Lambda Function from docker image
            function = lambda_.DockerImageFunction(
                self, filename,
                code=lambda_.DockerImageCode.from_image_asset(docker_folder,
                                                              cmd=[
                                                                  filename+".handler"]
                                                              ),
                memory_size=8096,
                timeout=cdk.Duration.seconds(600),
                vpc=vpc,
                filesystem=lambda_.FileSystem.from_efs_access_point(
                    access_point, '/mnt/hf_models_cache'),
                environment={
                    "TRANSFORMERS_CACHE": "/mnt/hf_models_cache"},
            )

Adding a translator

Optionally, you can add more models by adding Python scripts in the inference directory. For example, add the following code in a file called translate-en2fr.py:

import json
from transformers 
import pipeline

en_fr_translator = pipeline('translation_en_to_fr')

def handler(event, context):
    response = {
        "statusCode": 200,
        "body": en_fr_translator(event['text'])[0]
    }
    return response

Then run:

$ cdk synth
$ cdk deploy

This creates a new endpoint to perform English to French translation.

Cleaning up

After you are finished experimenting with this project, run “cdk destroy” to remove all of the associated infrastructure.

Conclusion

This post shows how to perform ML inference for pre-trained Hugging Face models by using Lambda functions. To avoid repeatedly downloading the pre-trained models, this solution uses an EFS-based approach to model caching. This helps to achieve low-latency, near real-time inference. The solution is provided as infrastructure as code using Python and the AWS CDK.

We hope this blog post allows you to prototype quickly and include modern NLP techniques in your own products.

Introducing new self-paced courses to improve Java and Python code quality with Amazon CodeGuru

Post Syndicated from Rafael Ramos original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/devops/new-self-paced-courses-to-improve-java-and-python-code-quality-with-amazon-codeguru/

Amazon CodeGuru icon

During the software development lifecycle, organizations have adopted peer code reviews as a common practice to keep improving code quality and prevent bugs from reaching applications in production. Developers traditionally perform those code reviews manually, which causes bottlenecks and blocks releases while waiting for the peer review. Besides impacting the teams’ agility, it’s a challenge to maintain a high bar for code reviews during the development workflow. This is especially challenging for less experienced developers, who have more difficulties identifying defects, such as thread concurrency and resource leaks.

With Amazon CodeGuru Reviewer, developers have an automated code review tool that catches critical issues, security vulnerabilities, and hard-to-find bugs during application development. CodeGuru Reviewer is powered by pre-trained machine learning (ML) models and uses millions of code reviews on thousands of open-source and Amazon repositories. It also provides recommendations on how to fix issues to improve code quality and reduces the time it takes to fix bugs before they reach customer-facing applications. Java and Python developers can simply add Amazon CodeGuru to their existing development pipeline and save time and reduce the cost and burden of bad code.

If you’re new to writing code or an experienced developer looking to automate code reviews, we’re excited to announce two new courses on CodeGuru Reviewer. These courses, developed by the AWS Training and Certification team, consist of guided walkthroughs, gaming elements, knowledge checks, and a final course assessment.

About the course

During these courses, you learn how to use CodeGuru Reviewer to automatically scan your code base, identify hard-to-find bugs and vulnerabilities, and get recommendations for fixing the bugs and security issues. The course covers CodeGuru Reviewer’s main features, provides a peek into how CodeGuru finds code anomalies, describes how its ML models were built, and explains how to understand and apply its prescriptive guidance and recommendations. Besides helping on improving the code quality, those recommendations are useful for new developers to learn coding best practices, such as refactor duplicated code, correct implementation of concurrency constructs, and how to avoid resource leaks.

The CodeGuru courses are designed to be completed within a 2-week time frame. The courses comprise 60 minutes of videos, which include 15 main lectures. Four of the lectures are specific to Java, and four focus on Python. The courses also include exercises and assessments at the end of each week, to provide you with in-depth, hands-on practice in a lab environment.

Week 1

During the first week, you learn the basics of CodeGuru Reviewer, including how you can benefit from ML and automated reasoning to perform static code analysis and identify critical defects from coding best practices. You also learn what kind of actionable recommendations CodeGuru Reviewer provides, such as refactoring, resource leak, potential race conditions, deadlocks, and security analysis. In addition, the course covers how to integrate this tool on your development workflow, such as your CI/CD pipeline.

Topics include:

  • What is Amazon CodeGuru?
  • How CodeGuru Reviewer is trained to provide intelligent recommendations
  • CodeGuru Reviewer recommendation categories
  • How to integrate CodeGuru Reviewer into your workflow

Week 2

Throughout the second week, you have the chance to explore CodeGuru Reviewer in more depth. With Java and Python code snippets, you have a more hands-on experience and dive into each recommendation category. You use these examples to learn how CodeGuru Reviewer looks for duplicated lines of code to suggest refactoring opportunities, how it detects code maintainability issues, and how it prevents resource leaks and concurrency bugs.

Topics include (for both Java and Python):

  • Common coding best practices
  • Resource leak prevention
  • Security analysis

Get started

Developed at the source, this new digital course empowers you to learn about CodeGuru from the experts at AWS whenever, wherever you want. Advance your skills and knowledge to build your future in the AWS Cloud. Enroll today:

Rafael Ramos

Rafael Ramos

Rafael is a Solutions Architect at AWS, where he helps ISVs on their journey to the cloud. He spent over 13 years working as a software developer, and is passionate about DevOps and serverless. Outside of work, he enjoys playing tabletop RPG, cooking and running marathons.

Integrate GitHub monorepo with AWS CodePipeline to run project-specific CI/CD pipelines

Post Syndicated from Vivek Kumar original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/devops/integrate-github-monorepo-with-aws-codepipeline-to-run-project-specific-ci-cd-pipelines/

AWS CodePipeline is a continuous delivery service that enables you to model, visualize, and automate the steps required to release your software. With CodePipeline, you model the full release process for building your code, deploying to pre-production environments, testing your application, and releasing it to production. CodePipeline then builds, tests, and deploys your application according to the defined workflow either in manual mode or automatically every time a code change occurs. A lot of organizations use GitHub as their source code repository. Some organizations choose to embed multiple applications or services in a single GitHub repository separated by folders. This method of organizing your source code in a repository is called a monorepo.

This post demonstrates how to customize GitHub events that invoke a monorepo service-specific pipeline by reading the GitHub event payload using AWS Lambda.

 

Solution overview

With the default setup in CodePipeline, a release pipeline is invoked whenever a change in the source code repository is detected. When using GitHub as the source for a pipeline, CodePipeline uses a webhook to detect changes in a remote branch and starts the pipeline. When using a monorepo style project with GitHub, it doesn’t matter which folder in the repository you change the code, CodePipeline gets an event at the repository level. If you have a continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline for each of the applications and services in a repository, all pipelines detect the change in any of the folders every time. The following diagram illustrates this scenario.

 

GitHub monorepo folder structure

 

This post demonstrates how to customize GitHub events that invoke a monorepo service-specific pipeline by reading the GitHub event payload using Lambda. This solution has the following benefits:

  • Add customizations to start pipelines based on external factors – You can use custom code to evaluate whether a pipeline should be triggered. This allows for further customization beyond polling a source repository or relying on a push event. For example, you can create custom logic to automatically reschedule deployments on holidays to the next available workday.
  • Have multiple pipelines with a single source – You can trigger selected pipelines when multiple pipelines are listening to a single GitHub repository. This lets you group small and highly related but independently shipped artifacts such as small microservices without creating thousands of GitHub repos.
  • Avoid reacting to unimportant files – You can avoid triggering a pipeline when changing files that don’t affect the application functionality (such as documentation, readme, PDF, and .gitignore files).

In this post, we’re not debating the advantages or disadvantages of a monorepo versus a single repo, or when to create monorepos or single repos for each application or project.

 

Sample architecture

This post focuses on controlling running pipelines in CodePipeline. CodePipeline can have multiple stages like test, approval, and deploy. Our sample architecture considers a simple pipeline with two stages: source and build.

 

Github monorepo - CodePipeline Sample Architecture

This solution is made up of following parts:

  • An Amazon API Gateway endpoint (3) is backed by a Lambda function (5) to receive and authenticate GitHub webhook push events (2)
  • The same function evaluates incoming GitHub push events and starts the pipeline on a match
  • An Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) bucket (4) stores the CodePipeline-specific configuration files
  • The pipeline contains a build stage with AWS CodeBuild

 

Normally, after you create a CI/CD pipeline, it automatically triggers a pipeline to release the latest version of your source code. From then on, every time you make a change in your source code, the pipeline is triggered. You can also manually run the last revision through a pipeline by choosing Release change on the CodePipeline console. This architecture uses the manual mode to run the pipeline. GitHub push events and branch changes are evaluated by the Lambda function to avoid commits that change unimportant files from starting the pipeline.

 

Creating an API Gateway endpoint

We need a single API Gateway endpoint backed by a Lambda function with the responsibility of authenticating and validating incoming requests from GitHub. You can authenticate requests using HMAC security or GitHub Apps. API Gateway only needs one POST method to consume GitHub push events, as shown in the following screenshot.

 

Creating an API Gateway endpoint

 

Creating the Lambda function

This Lambda function is responsible for authenticating and evaluating the GitHub events. As part of the evaluation process, the function can parse through the GitHub events payload, determine which files are changed, added, or deleted, and perform the appropriate action:

  • Start a single pipeline, depending on which folder is changed in GitHub
  • Start multiple pipelines
  • Ignore the changes if non-relevant files are changed

You can store the project configuration details in Amazon S3. Lambda can read this configuration to decide what needs to be done when a particular folder is matched from a GitHub event. The following code is an example configuration:

{

    "GitHubRepo": "SampleRepo",

    "GitHubBranch": "main",

    "ChangeMatchExpressions": "ProjectA/.*",

    "IgnoreFiles": "*.pdf;*.md",

    "CodePipelineName": "ProjectA - CodePipeline"

}

For more complex use cases, you can store the configuration file in Amazon DynamoDB.

The following is the sample Lambda function code in Python 3.7 using Boto3:

def lambda_handler(event, context):

    import json
    modifiedFiles = event["commits"][0]["modified"]
    #full path
    for filePath in modifiedFiles:
        # Extract folder name
        folderName = (filePath[:filePath.find("/")])
        break

    #start the pipeline
    if len(folderName)>0:
        # Codepipeline name is foldername-job. 
        # We can read the configuration from S3 as well. 
        returnCode = start_code_pipeline(folderName + '-job')

    return {
        'statusCode': 200,
        'body': json.dumps('Modified project in repo:' + folderName)
    }
    

def start_code_pipeline(pipelineName):
    client = codepipeline_client()
    response = client.start_pipeline_execution(name=pipelineName)
    return True

cpclient = None
def codepipeline_client():
    import boto3
    global cpclient
    if not cpclient:
        cpclient = boto3.client('codepipeline')
    return cpclient
   

Creating a GitHub webhook

GitHub provides webhooks to allow external services to be notified on certain events. For this use case, we create a webhook for a push event. This generates a POST request to the URL (API Gateway URL) specified for any files committed and pushed to the repository. The following screenshot shows our webhook configuration.

Creating a GitHub webhook2

Conclusion

In our sample architecture, two pipelines monitor the same GitHub source code repository. A Lambda function decides which pipeline to run based on the GitHub events. The same function can have logic to ignore unimportant files, for example any readme or PDF files.

Using API Gateway, Lambda, and Amazon S3 in combination serves as a general example to introduce custom logic to invoke pipelines. You can expand this solution for increasingly complex processing logic.

 

About the Author

Vivek Kumar

Vivek is a Solutions Architect at AWS based out of New York. He works with customers providing technical assistance and architectural guidance on various AWS services. He brings more than 23 years of experience in software engineering and architecture roles for various large-scale enterprises.

 

 

Gaurav-Sharma

Gaurav is a Solutions Architect at AWS. He works with digital native business customers providing architectural guidance on AWS services.

 

 

 

Nitin-Aggarwal

Nitin is a Solutions Architect at AWS. He works with digital native business customers providing architectural guidance on AWS services.

 

 

 

 

Swing into action with an homage to Pitfall! | Wireframe #48

Post Syndicated from Ryan Lambie original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/swing-into-action-with-an-homage-to-pitfall-wireframe-48/

Grab onto ropes and swing across chasms in our Python rendition of an Atari 2600 classic. Mark Vanstone has the code

Whether it was because of the design brilliance of the game itself or because Raiders of the Lost Ark had just hit the box office, Pitfall Harry became a popular character on the Atari 2600 in 1982.

His hazardous attempts to collect treasure struck a chord with eighties gamers, and saw Pitfall!, released by Activision, sell over four million copies. A sequel, Pitfall II: The Lost Caverns quickly followed the next year, and the game was ported to several other systems, even making its way to smartphones and tablets in the 21st century.

Pitfall

Designed by David Crane, Pitfall! was released for the Atari 2600 and published by Activision in 1982

The game itself is a quest to find 32 items of treasure within a 20-minute time limit. There are a variety of hazards for Pitfall Harry to navigate around and over, including rolling logs, animals, and holes in the ground. Some of these holes can be jumped over, but some are too wide and have a convenient rope swinging from a tree to aid our explorer in getting to the other side of the screen. Harry must jump towards the rope as it moves towards him and then hang on as it swings him over the pit, releasing his grip at the other end to land safely back on firm ground.

For this code sample, we’ll concentrate on the rope swinging (and catching) mechanic. Using Pygame Zero, we can get our basic display set up quickly. In this case, we can split the background into three layers: the background, including the back of the pathway and the tree trunks, the treetops, and the front of the pathway. With these layers we can have a rope swinging with its pivot point behind the leaves of the trees, and, if Harry gets a jump wrong, it will look like he falls down the hole in the ground. The order in which we draw these to the screen is background, rope, tree-tops, Harry, and finally the front of the pathway.

Now, let’s get our rope swinging. We can create an Actor and anchor it to the centre and top of its bounding box. If we rotate it by changing the angle property of the Actor, then it will rotate at the top of the Actor rather than the mid-point. We can make the rope swing between -45 degrees and 45 degrees by increments of 1, but if we do this, we get a rather robotic sort of movement. To fix this, we add an ‘easing’ value which we can calculate using a square root to make the rope slow down as it reaches the extremes of the swing.

Our homage to the classic Pitfall! Atari game. Can you add some rolling logs and other hazards?

Our Harry character will need to be able to run backwards and forwards, so we’ll need a few frames of animation. There are several ways of coding this, but for now, we can take the x coordinate and work out which frame to display as the x value changes. If we have four frames of running animation, then we would use the %4 operator and value on the x coordinate to give us animation frames of 0, 1, 2, and 3. We use these frames for running to the right, and if he’s running to the left, we just mirror the images. We can check to see if Harry is on the ground or over the pit, and if he needs to be falling downward, we add to his y coordinate. If he’s jumping (by pressing the SPACE bar), we reduce his y coordinate.

We now need to check if Harry has reached the rope, so after a collision, we check to see if he’s connected with it, and if he has, we mark him as attached and then move him with the end of the rope until the player presses the SPACE bar and he can jump off at the other side. If he’s swung far enough, he should land safely and not fall down the pit. If he falls, then the player can have another go by pressing the SPACE bar to reset Harry back to the start.

That should get Pitfall Harry over one particular obstacle, but the original game had several other challenges to tackle – we’ll leave you to add those for yourselves.

Pitfall Python code

Here’s Mark’s code for a Pitfall!-style platformer. To get it working on your system, you’ll need to  install Pygame Zero.  And to download the full code and assets, head here.

Get your copy of Wireframe issue 48

You can read more features like this one in Wireframe issue 48, available directly from Raspberry Pi Press — we deliver worldwide.
Wireframe issue 48
And if you’d like a handy digital version of the magazine, you can also download issue 48 for free in PDF format.
A banner with the words "Be a Pi Day donor today"

The post Swing into action with an homage to Pitfall! | Wireframe #48 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Creating serendipity with Python

Post Syndicated from John Graham-Cumming original https://blog.cloudflare.com/creating-serendipity-with-python/

Creating serendipity with Python

We’ve been experimenting with breaking up employees into random groups (of size 4) and setting up video hangouts between them. We’re doing this to replace the serendipitous meetings that sometimes occur around coffee machines, in lunch lines or while waiting for the printer. And also, we just want people to get to know each other.

Which lead to me writing some code. The core of which is divide n elements into groups of at least size g minimizing the size of each group. So, suppose an office has 15 employees in it then it would be divided into three groups of sizes 5, 5, 5; if an office had 16 employees it would be 4, 4, 4, 4; if it had 17 employees it would be 4, 4, 4, 5 and so on.

I initially wrote the following code (in Python):

    groups = [g] * (n//g)

    for e in range(0, n % g):
        groups[e % len(groups)] += 1

The first line creates n//g (// is integer division) entries of size g (for example, if g == 4 and n == 17 then groups == [4, 4, 4, 4]). The for loop deals with the ‘left over’ parts that don’t divide exactly into groups of size g. If g == 4 and n == 17 then there will be one left over element to add to one of the existing [4, 4, 4, 4] groups resulting in [5, 4, 4, 4].

The e % len(groups) is needed because it’s possible that there are more elements left over after dividing into equal sized groups than there are entries in groups. For example, if g == 4 and n == 11 then groups is initially set to [4, 4] with three left over elements that have to be distributed into just two entries in groups.

So, that code works and here’s the output for various sizes of n (and g == 4):

    4 [4]
    5 [5]
    6 [6]
    7 [7]
    8 [4, 4]
    9 [5, 4]
    10 [5, 5]
    11 [6, 5]
    12 [4, 4, 4]
    13 [5, 4, 4]
    14 [5, 5, 4]
    15 [5, 5, 5]
    16 [4, 4, 4, 4]
    17 [5, 4, 4, 4]

But the code irritated me because I felt there must be a simple formula to work out how many elements should be in each group. After noodling on this problem I decided to do something that’s often helpful… make the problem simple and naive, or, at least, the solution simple and naive, and so I wrote this code:

    groups = [0] * (n//g)

    for i in range(n):
        groups[i % len(groups)] += 1

This is a really simple implementation. I don’t like it because it loops n times but it helps visualize something. Imagine that g == 4 and n == 17. This loop ‘fills up’ each entry in groups like this (each square is an entry in groups and numbers in the squares are values of i for which that entry was incremented by the loop).

Creating serendipity with Python

So groups ends up being [5, 4, 4, 4].  What this helps see is that the number of times groups[i] is incremented depends on the number of times the for loop ‘loops around’ on the ith element. And that’s something that’s easy to calculate without looping.

So this means that the code is now simply:

    groups = [1+max(0,n-(i+1))//(n//g) for i in range(n//g)]

And to me that is more satisfying. n//g is the size of groups which makes the loop update each entry in groups once. Each entry is set to 1 + max(0, n-(i+1))//(n//g). You can think of this as follows:

1. The 1 is the first element to be dropped into each entry in groups.

2. max(0, n-(i+1)) is the number of elements left over once you’ve placed 1 in each of the elements of groups up to position i. It’s divided by n//g to work out how many times the process of sharing out elements (see the naive loop above) will loop around.

If #2 there isn’t clear, consider the image above and imagine we are computing groups[0] (n == 17 and g == 4). We place 1 in groups[0] leaving 16 elements to share out. If you naively shared them out you’d loop around four times and thus need to add 16/4 elements to groups[0]making it 5.

Move on to groups[1] and place a 1 in it. Now there are 15 elements to share out, that’s 15/4 (which is 3 in integer division) and so you place 4 in groups[1]. And so on…

And that solution pleases me most. It succinctly creates groups in one shot. Of course, I might have over thought this… and others might think the other solutions are clearer or more maintainable.

Coding on Raspberry Pi remotely with Visual Studio Code

Post Syndicated from Ashley Whittaker original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/coding-on-raspberry-pi-remotely-with-visual-studio-code/

Jim Bennett from Microsoft, who showed you all how to get Visual Studio Code up and running on Raspberry Pi last week, is back to explain how to use VS Code for remote development on a headless Raspberry Pi.

Like a lot of Raspberry Pi users, I like to run my Raspberry Pi as a ‘headless’ device to control various electronics – such as a busy light to let my family know I’m in meetings, or my IoT powered ugly sweater.

The upside of headless is that my Raspberry Pi can be anywhere, not tied to a monitor, keyboard and mouse. The downside is programming and debugging it – do you plug your Raspberry Pi into a monitor and run the full Raspberry Pi OS desktop, or do you use Raspberry Pi OS Lite and try to program and debug over SSH using the command line? Or is there a better way?

Remote development with VS Code to the rescue

There is a better way – using Visual Studio Code remote development! Visual Studio Code, or VS Code, is a free, open source, developer’s text editor with a whole swathe of extensions to support you coding in multiple languages, and provide tools to support your development. I practically live day to day in VS Code: whether I’m writing blog posts, documentation or Python code, or programming microcontrollers, it’s my work ‘home’. You can run VS Code on Windows, macOS, and of course on a Raspberry Pi.

One of the extensions that helps here is the Remote SSH extension, part of a pack of remote development extensions. This extension allows you to connect to a remote device over SSH, and run VS Code as if you were running on that remote device. You see the remote file system, the VS Code terminal runs on the remote device, and you access the remote device’s hardware. When you are debugging, the debug session runs on the remote device, but VS Code runs on the host machine.

Photograph of Raspberry Pi 4
Raspberry Pi 4

For example – I can run VS Code on my MacBook Pro, and connect remotely to a Raspberry Pi 4 that is running headless. I can access the Raspberry Pi file system, run commands on a terminal connected to it, access whatever hardware my Raspberry Pi has, and debug on it.

Remote SSH needs a Raspberry Pi 3 or 4. It is not supported on older Raspberry Pis, or on Raspberry Pi Zero.

Set up remote development on Raspberry Pi

For remote development, your Raspberry Pi needs to be connected to your network either by ethernet or WiFi, and have SSH enabled. The Raspberry Pi documentation has a great article on setting up a headless Raspberry Pi if you don’t already know how to do this.

You also need to know either the IP address of the Raspberry Pi, or its hostname. If you don’t know how to do this, it is also covered in the Raspberry Pi documentation.

Connect to the Raspberry Pi from VS Code

Once the Raspberry Pi is set up, you can connect from VS Code on your Mac or PC.

First make sure you have VS Code installed. If not, you can install it from the VS Code downloads page.

From inside VS Code, you will need to install the Remote SSH extension. Select the Extensions tab from the sidebar menu, then search for Remote development. Select the Remote Development extension, and select the Install button.

Next you can connect to your Raspberry Pi. Launch the VS Code command palette using Ctrl+Shift+P on Linux or Windows, or Cmd+Shift+P on macOS. Search for and select Remote SSH: Connect current window to host (there’s also a connect to host option that will create a new window).

Enter the SSH connection details, using [email protected]. For the user, enter the Raspberry Pi username (the default is pi). For the host, enter the IP address of the Raspberry Pi, or the hostname. The hostname needs to end with .local, so if you are using the default hostname of raspberrypi, enter raspberrypi.local.

The .local syntax is supported on macOS and the latest versions of Windows or Linux. If it doesn’t work for you then you can install additional software locally to add support. On Linux, install Avahi using the command sudo apt-get install avahi-daemon. On Windows, install either Bonjour Print Services for Windows, or iTunes for Windows.

For example, to connect to my Raspberry Pi 400 with a hostname of pi-400 using the default pi user, I enter [email protected].

The first time you connect, it will validate the fingerprint to ensure you are connecting to the correct host. Select Continue from this dialog.

Enter your Raspberry Pi’s password when promoted. The default is raspberry, but you should have changed this (really, you should!).

VS Code will then install the relevant tools on the Raspberry Pi and configure the remote SSH connection.

Code!

You will now be all set up and ready to code on your Raspberry Pi. Start by opening a folder or cloning a git repository and away you go coding, debugging and deploying your applications.

In the remote session, not all extensions you have installed locally will be available remotely. Any extensions that change the behavior of VS Code as an application, such as themes or tools for managing cloud resources, will be available.

Things like language packs and other programming tools are not installed in the remote session, so you’ll need to re-install them. When you install these extensions, you’ll see the Install button has changed to Install in SSH:< hostname > to show it’s being installed remotely.

VS Code may seem daunting at first – it’s a powerful tool with a huge range of extensions. The good news is Microsoft has you covered with lots of hands-on, self-guided learning guides on how to use it with different languages and development tools, from using Git version control, to developing web applications. There’s even a guide to learning Python basics with Wonder Woman!

Jim with his arms folded wearing a dark t shirt
Jim Bennett

You remember Jim – his blog Expecting Someone Geekier is well good. You can find him on Twitter @jimbobbennett and on github.

The post Coding on Raspberry Pi remotely with Visual Studio Code appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Visual Studio Code comes to Raspberry Pi

Post Syndicated from Ashley Whittaker original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/visual-studio-code-comes-to-raspberry-pi/

Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code is an excellent C development environment, and now it’s an easy install on Raspberry Pi. Here’s Jim Bennett from Microsoft to show you all how to get VS Code up and running on our tiny computer. Take it away, Jim…

There are a few products in the tech sphere that get me really excited. One of them is Raspberry Pi (obviously), and the other is Visual Studio Code or VS Code. I always hoped that the two would come together one day — and now, to my great pleasure, they have!

VS Code is a free, open source developer text editor originally released for Windows, macOS and x64 Linux. Out of the box it supports generic text editing and git source code control, as well as full web development with JavaScript, TypeScript and Node.js, with debugging, intellisense and all the goodness you’d expect from a full-featured IDE. What makes it super powerful is extensions — bringing a huge range of programming languages, developer tools and other capabilities.

For example my VS Code setup includes a Python extension so I can code and debug in Python, a set of Microsoft Azure extensions so I can manage my cloud services, PlatformIO to allow me to program micro-controllers like Arduino boards coupled with a C++ extension to support coding in C and C++, and even some Docker support. Not a bad setup for a completely free developer tool.

Jim’s Raspberry Pi 400 running VS Code

I’ve been hoping for years VS Code would come to Raspberry Pi, and finally it’s here. As well as supporting Debian Linux on x64, there are now builds for ARM and ARM64 – both of which can run on Raspberry Pi OS (the ARM build on Raspberry Pi OS, the ARM64 on the beta of the 64-bit Raspberry Pi OS). And yes — I am writing this right now on a Raspberry Pi 400 running VS Code!

Why am I so excited about this?

Well, there are a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it brings an exceptional developer tool to Raspberry Pi. There are already some great editors, but nothing of the calibre of VS Code. I can take my $35 computer, plug it into a keyboard and mouse, connect a monitor and a TV and code in a wide range of languages from the same place.

I see kids learning Python at school using one tool, then learning web development in an after-school coding club with a different tool. They can now do both in the same application, reducing the cognitive load – they only have to learn one tool, one debugger, one setup. Combine this with the new Raspberry Pi 400 and you have an all-in-one solution to learning to code, reminiscent of my ZX Spectrum of decades ago, but so much more powerful.

The second reason is to me the most important — it allows kids to share the same development environment as their grown-ups. Imagine the joy of a 10-year-old coding Python using VS Code on their Raspberry Pi plugged into the family TV, then seeing their Mum working from home coding Python in exactly the same tool on her work laptop as part of her job as an AI engineer or data scientist. It also makes it easier when Mum has to inevitably help with unblocking the issues that always come up with learners.

As a young child it was mind-blowing when my Dad brought home a work PC so he could write reports and I could use it to write up my school work – I was using what Dad used at work, making me feel important. I see this with my seven-year-old daughter, seeing her excitement that I use Microsoft Teams for work, the same as she uses for her virtual schooling (she’s even offered to teach me how to use it if I get stuck). To be able to bring that unadulterated joy of using ‘grown-up tools’ to our young learners is priceless.

Installing VS Code

The great news is VS Code is now available as part of the Raspberry Pi OS apt packages. Launch the Raspberry Pi Terminal and run the following commands:

sudo apt update 
sudo apt install code -y

This will download and install VS Code. If you’ve got your hands on a Pico, then you may not even need to do this – VS Code is installed as part of the Pico setup from the Getting Started guide.

After installing VS Code, you can run it from the Programming folder in the Raspberry Pi menu.

Getting started with VS Code

VS Code may seem daunting at first – it’s a powerful tool with a huge range of extensions. The good news is Microsoft has you covered with lots of hands-on, self-guided learning guides on how to use it with different languages and development tools, from using Git version control, to developing web applications — there’s even a guide to learning Python basics with Wonder Woman.

Go grab it and happy coding!

Jim with his arms folded wearing a dark t shirt
There he is – that’s the real life Jim!

Brilliant Jim Bennett shares loads of Raspberry Pi builds and tutorials over on Expecting Someone Geekier and tweets @jimbobbennett. He also works in Developer Relations at Microsoft. You can learn pretty much everything there is to know about him on github.

The post Visual Studio Code comes to Raspberry Pi appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Code a Light Cycle arcade minigame | Wireframe #47

Post Syndicated from Ryan Lambie original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/code-a-light-cycle-arcade-minigame-wireframe-47/

Speed around an arena, avoiding walls and deadly trails in this Light Cycle minigame. Mark Vanstone has the code.

Battle against AI enemies in the original arcade classic.

At the beginning of the 1980s, Disney made plans for an entirely new kind of animated movie that used cutting-edge computer graphics. The resulting film was 1982’s TRON, and it inevitably sparked one of the earliest tie-in arcade machines.

The game featured several minigames, including one based on the Light Cycle section of the movie, where players speed around an arena on high-tech motorbikes, which leave a deadly trail of light in their wake. If competitors hit any walls or cross the path of any trails, then it’s game over.

Players progress through the twelve levels which were all named after programming languages. In the Light Cycle game, the players compete against AI players who drive yellow Light Cycles around the arena. As the levels progress, more AI Players are added.

The TRON game, distributed by Bally Midway, was well-received in arcades, and even won Electronic Games Magazine’s (presumably) coveted Coin-operated Game of the Year gong.

Although the arcade game wasn’t ported to home computers at the time, several similar games – and outright clones – emerged, such as the unsubtly named Light Cycle for the BBC Micro, Oric, and ZX Spectrum.

The Light Cycle minigame is essentially a variation on Snake, with the player leaving a trail behind them as they move around the screen. There are various ways to code this with Pygame Zero.

In this sample, we’ll focus on the movement of the player Light Cycle and creating the trails that are left behind as it moves around the screen. We could use line drawing functions for the trail behind the bike, or go for a system like Snake, where blocks are added to the trail as the player moves.

In this example, though, we’re going to use a two-dimensional list as a matrix of positions on the screen. This means that wherever the player moves on the screen, we can set the position as visited or check to see if it’s been visited before and, if so, trigger an end-game event.

Our homage to the TRON Light Cycle classic arcade game.

For the main draw() function, we first blit our background image which is the cross-hatched arena, then we iterate through our two-dimensional list of screen positions (each 10 pixels square) displaying a square anywhere the Cycle has been. The Cycle is then drawn and we can add a display of the score.

The update() function contains code to move the Cycle and check for collisions. We use a list of directions in degrees to control the angle the player is pointing, and another list of x and y increments for each direction. Each update we add x and y coordinates to the Cycle actor to move it in the direction that it’s pointing multiplied by our speed variable.

We have an on_key_down() function defined to handle changing the direction of the Cycle actor with the arrow keys. We need to wait a while before checking for collisions on the current position, as the Cycle won’t have moved away for several updates, so each screen position in the matrix is actually a counter of how many updates it’s been there for.

We can then test to see if 15 updates have happened before testing the square for collisions, which gives our Cycle enough time to clear the area. If we do detect a collision, then we can start the game-end sequence.

We set the gamestate variable to 1, which then means the update() function uses that variable as a counter to run through the frames of animation for the Cycle’s explosion. Once it reaches the end of the sequence, the game stops.

We have a key press defined (the SPACE bar) in the on_key_down() function to call our init() function, which will not only set up variables when the game starts but sets things back to their starting state.

Here’s Mark’s code for a TRON-style Light Cycle minigame. To get it working on your system, you’ll need to install Pygame Zero. And to download the full code and assets, head here.

So that’s the fundamentals of the player Light Cycle movement and collision checking. To make it more like the original arcade game, why not try experimenting with the code and adding a few computer-controlled rivals?

Get your copy of Wireframe issue 47

You can read more features like this one in Wireframe issue 47, available directly from Raspberry Pi Press — we deliver worldwide.

And if you’d like a handy digital version of the magazine, you can also download issue 47 for free in PDF format.

The post Code a Light Cycle arcade minigame | Wireframe #47 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Code your own Pipe Mania puzzler | Wireframe #46

Post Syndicated from Ryan Lambie original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/code-your-own-pipe-mania-puzzler-wireframe-46/

Create a network of pipes before the water starts to flow in our re-creation of a classic puzzler. Jordi Santonja shows you how.

A screen grab of the game in motion
Pipe Mania’s design is so effective, it’s appeared in various guises elsewhere – even as a minigame in BioShock.

Pipe Mania, also called Pipe Dream in the US, is a puzzle game developed by The Assembly Line in 1989 for Amiga, Atari ST, and PC, and later ported to other platforms, including arcades. The player must place randomly generated sections of pipe onto a grid. When a counter reaches zero, water starts to flow and must reach the longest possible distance through the connected pipes.

Let’s look at how to recreate Pipe Dream in Python and Pygame Zero. The variable start is decremented at each frame. It begins with a value of 60*30, so it reaches zero after 30 seconds if our monitor runs at 60 frames per second. In that time, the player can place tiles on the grid to build a path. Every time the user clicks on the grid, the last tile from nextTiles is placed on the play area and a new random tile appears at the top of the next tiles. randint(2,8) computes a random value between 2 and 8.

Our Pipe Mania homage. Build a pipeline before the water escapes, and see if you can beat your own score.

grid and nextTiles are lists of tile values, from 0 to 8, and are copied to the screen in the draw function with the screen.blit operation. grid is a two-dimensional list, with sizes gridWidth=10 and gridHeight=7. Every pipe piece is placed in grid with a mouse click. This is managed with the Pygame functions on_mouse_move and on_mouse_down, where the variable pos contains the mouse position in the window. panelPosition defines the position of the top-left corner of the grid in the window. To get the grid cell, panelPosition is subtracted from pos, and the result is divided by tileSize with the integer division //. tileMouse stores the resulting cell element, but it is set to (-1,-1) when the mouse lies outside the grid.

The images folder contains the PNGs with the tile images, two for every tile: the graphical image and the path image. The tiles list contains the name of every tile, and adding to it _block or _path obtains the name of the file. The values stored in nextTiles and grid are the indexes of the elements in tiles.

wfmag46code
Here’s Jordi’s code for a Pipemania-style puzzler. To get it working on your system, you’ll need to install Pygame Zero. And to download the full code and assets, head here.

The image waterPath isn’t shown to the user, but it stores the paths that the water is going to follow. The first point of the water path is located in the starting tile, and it’s stored in currentPoint. update calls the function CheckNextPointDeleteCurrent, when the water starts flowing. That function finds the next point in the water path, erases it, and adds a new point to the waterFlow list. waterFlow is shown to the user in the draw function.

pointsToCheck contains a list of relative positions, offsets, that define a step of two pixels from currentPoint in every direction to find the next point. Why two pixels? To be able to define the ‘cross’ tile, where two lines cross each other. In a ‘cross’ tile the water flow must follow a straight line, and this is how the only points found are the next points in the same direction. When no next point is found, the game ends and the score is shown: the number of points in the water path, playState is set to 0, and no more updates are done.

Get your copy of Wireframe issue 46

You can read more features like this one in Wireframe issue 46, available directly from Raspberry Pi Press — we deliver worldwide.

wfcover

And if you’d like a handy digital version of the magazine, you can also download issue 46 for free in PDF format.

The post Code your own Pipe Mania puzzler | Wireframe #46 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

New for Amazon CodeGuru – Python Support, Security Detectors, and Memory Profiling

Post Syndicated from Danilo Poccia original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-for-amazon-codeguru-python-support-security-detectors-and-memory-profiling/

Amazon CodeGuru is a developer tool that helps you improve your code quality and has two main components:

  • CodeGuru Reviewer uses program analysis and machine learning to detect potential defects that are difficult to find in your code and offers suggestions for improvement.
  • CodeGuru Profiler collects runtime performance data from your live applications, and provides visualizations and recommendations to help you fine-tune your application performance.

Today, I am happy to announce three new features:

  • Python Support for CodeGuru Reviewer and Profiler (Preview) – You can now use CodeGuru to improve applications written in Python. Before this release, CodeGuru Reviewer could analyze Java code, and CodeGuru Profiler supported applications running on a Java virtual machine (JVM).
  • Security Detectors for CodeGuru Reviewer – A new set of detectors for CodeGuru Reviewer to identify security vulnerabilities and check for security best practices in your Java code.
  • Memory Profiling for CodeGuru Profiler – A new visualization of memory retention per object type over time. This makes it easier to find memory leaks and optimize how your application is using memory.

Let’s see these functionalities in more detail.

Python Support for CodeGuru Reviewer and Profiler (Preview)
Python Support for CodeGuru Reviewer is available in Preview and offers recommendations on how to improve the Python code of your applications in multiple categories such as concurrency, data structures and control flow, scientific/math operations, error handling, using the standard library, and of course AWS best practices.

You can now also use CodeGuru Profiler to collect runtime performance data from your Python applications and get visualizations to help you identify how code is running on the CPU and where time is consumed. In this way, you can detect the most expensive lines of code of your application. Focusing your tuning activities on those parts helps you reduce infrastructure cost and improve application performance.

Let’s see the CodeGuru Reviewer in action with some Python code. When I joined AWS eight years ago, one of the first projects I created was a Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE) interface to Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) called yas3fs (Yet Another S3-backed File System). It was inspired by the more popular s3fs-fuse project but rewritten from scratch to implement a distributed cache synchronized by Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) notifications (now, thanks to the many contributors, it’s using S3 event notifications). It was also a good excuse for me to learn more about Python programming and S3. It’s a personal project that at the time made available as open source. Today, if you need a shared file system, you can use Amazon Elastic File System (EFS).

In the CodeGuru console, I associate the yas3fs repository. You can associate repositories from GitHub, including GitHub Enterprise Cloud and GitHub Enterprise Server, Bitbucket, or AWS CodeCommit.

After that, I can get a code review from CodeGuru in two ways:

  • Automatically, when I create a pull request. This is a great way to use it as you and your team are working on a code base.
  • Manually, creating a repository analysis to get a code review for all the code in one branch. This is useful to start using GodeGuru with an existing code base.

Since I just associated the whole repository, I go for a full analysis and write down the branch name to review (apologies, I was still using master at the time, now I use main for new projects).

After a few minutes, the code review is completed, and there are 14 recommendations. Not bad, but I can definitely improve the code. Here’s a few of the recommendations I get. I was using exceptions and global variables too much at the time.

Security Detectors for CodeGuru Reviewer
The new CodeGuru Reviewer Security Detector uses automated reasoning to analyze all code paths and find potential security issues deep in your Java code, even ones that span multiple methods and files and that may involve multiple sequences of operations. To build this detector, we used learning and best practices from Amazon’s 20+ years of experience.

The Security Detector is also identifying security vulnerabilities in the top 10 Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) categories, such as weak hash encryption.

If the security detector discovers an issue, it offers a suggested remediation along with an explanation. In this way, it’s much easier to follow security best practices for AWS APIs, such as those for AWS Key Management Service (KMS) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), and for common Java cryptography and TLS/SSL libraries.

With help from the security detector, security engineers can focus on architectural and application-specific security best-practices, and code reviewers can focus their attention on other improvements.

Memory Profiling for CodeGuru Profiler
For applications running on a JVM, CodeGuru Profiler can now show the Heap Summary, a consolidated view of memory retention during a time frame, tracking both overall sizes and number of objects per object type (such as String, int, char[], and custom types). These metrics are presented in a timeline graph, so that you can easily spot trends and peaks of memory utilization per object type.

Here are a couple of scenarios where this can help:

Memory Leaks – A constantly growing memory utilization curve for one or more object types may indicate a leak (intended here as unnecessary retention of memory objects by the application), possibly leading to out-of-memory errors and application crashes.

Memory Optimizations – Having a breakdown of memory utilization per object type is a step beyond traditional memory utilization monitoring, based solely on JVM-level metrics like total heap usage. By knowing that an unexpectedly high amount of memory has been associated with a specific object type, you can focus your analysis and optimization efforts on the parts of your application that are responsible for allocating and referencing objects of that type.

For example, here is a graph showing how memory is used by a Java application over an interval of time. Apart from the total capacity available and the used space, I can see how memory is being used by some specific object types, such as byte[], java.lang.UUID, and the entries of a java.util.LinkedHashMap. The continuous growth over time of the memory retained by these object types is suspicious. There is probably a memory leak I have to investigate.

In the table just below, I have a longer list of object types allocating memory on the heap. The first three are selected and for that reason are shown in the graph above. Here, I can inspect other object types and select them to see their memory usage over time. It looks like the three I already selected are the ones with more risk of being affected by a memory leak.

Available Now
These new features are available today in all regions where Amazon CodeGuru is offered. For more information, please see the AWS Regional Services table.

There are no pricing changes for Python support, security detectors, and memory profiling. You pay for what you use without upfront fees or commitments.

Learn more about Amazon CodeGuru and start using these new features today to improve the code quality of your applications.  

Danilo

Recreate Tiger-Heli’s bomb mechanic | Wireframe #45

Post Syndicated from Ryan Lambie original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/recreate-tiger-helis-bomb-mechanic-wireframe-45/

Code an explosive homage to Toaplan’s classic blaster. Mark Vanstone has the details

Tiger-Heli was developed by Toaplan and published in Japan by Taito and by Romstar in North America.

Released in 1985, Tiger-Heli was one of the earliest games from Japanese developer Toaplan: a top-down shoot-’em-up that pitted a lone helicopter against relentless waves of enemy tanks and military installations. Toaplan would go on to refine and evolve the genre through the eighties and nineties with such titles as Truxton and Fire Shark, so Tiger-Heli served as a kind of blueprint for the studio’s legendary blasters.

Tiger-Heli featured a powerful secondary weapon, too: as well as a regular shot, the game’s attack helicopter could also drop a deadly bomb capable of destroying everything within its blast radius. The mechanic was one that first appeared as far back as Atari’s Defender in 1981, but Toaplan quickly made it its own, with variations on the bomb becoming one of the signatures in the studio’s later games.

For our Tiger-Heli-style Pygame Zero code, we’ll concentrate on the unique bomb aspect, but first, we need to get the basic scrolling background and helicopter on the screen. In a game like this, we’d normally make the background out of tiles that can be used to create a varied but continuous scrolling image. For this example, though, we’ll keep things simple and have one long image that we scroll down the screen and then display a copy above it. When the first image goes off the screen, we just reset the co-ordinates to display it above the second image copy. In this way, we can have an infinitely scrolling background.

Our Tiger-Heli homage in Python. Fly over the military targets, firing missiles and dropping bombs.

 

The helicopter can be set up as an Actor with just two frames for the movement of the rotors. This should look like it’s hovering above the ground, so we blit a shadow bitmap to the bottom right of the helicopter. We can set up keyboard events to move the Actor left, right, up, and down, making sure we don’t allow it to go off the screen.

Now we can go ahead and set up the bombs. We can predefine a list of bomb Actors but only display them while the bombs are active. We’ll trigger a bomb drop with the SPACE bar and set all the bombs to the co-ordinates of the helicopter. Then, frame by frame, we move each bomb outwards in different directions so that they spread out in a pattern. You could try adjusting the number of bombs or their pattern to see what effects can be achieved. When the bombs get to frame 30, we start changing the image so that we get a flashing, expanding circle for each bomb.

Here’s Mark’s code for a Tiger-Heli-style shooter. To get it working on your system, you’ll need to install Pygame Zero. And to download the full code and assets, head here.

It’s all very well having bombs to fire, but we could really do with something to drop them on, so let’s make some tank Actors waiting on the ground for us to destroy. We can move them with the scrolling background so that they look like they’re static on the ground. Then if one of our bombs has a collision detected with one of the tanks, we can set an animation going by cycling through a set of explosion frames, ending with the tank disappearing.

We can also add in some sound effects as the bombs are dropped, and explosion sounds if the tanks are hit. And with that, there you have it: the beginnings of a Tiger-Heli-style blaster.

Get your copy of Wireframe issue 45

You can read more features like this one in Wireframe issue 45, available directly from Raspberry Pi Press — we deliver worldwide.

And if you’d like a handy digital version of the magazine, you can also download issue 45 for free in PDF format.

Baldur’s Gate III: our cover star for Wireframe #45.

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The post Recreate Tiger-Heli’s bomb mechanic | Wireframe #45 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Raising code quality for Python applications using Amazon CodeGuru

Post Syndicated from Ran Fu original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/devops/raising-code-quality-for-python-applications-using-amazon-codeguru/

We are pleased to announce the launch of Python support for Amazon CodeGuru, a service for automated code reviews and application performance recommendations. CodeGuru is powered by program analysis and machine learning, and trained on best practices and hard-learned lessons across millions of code reviews and thousands of applications profiled on open-source projects and internally at Amazon.

Amazon CodeGuru has two services:

  • Amazon CodeGuru Reviewer – Helps you improve source code quality by detecting hard-to-find defects during application development and recommending how to remediate them.
  • Amazon CodeGuru Profiler – Helps you find the most expensive lines of code, helps reduce your infrastructure cost, and fine-tunes your application performance.

The launch of Python support extends CodeGuru beyond its original Java support. Python is a widely used language for various use cases, including web app development and DevOps. Python’s growth in data analysis and machine learning areas is driven by its rich frameworks and libraries. In this post, we discuss how to use CodeGuru Reviewer and Profiler to improve your code quality for Python applications.

CodeGuru Reviewer for Python

CodeGuru Reviewer now allows you to analyze your Python code through pull requests and full repository analysis. For more information, see Automating code reviews and application profiling with Amazon CodeGuru. We analyzed large code corpuses and Python documentation to source hard-to-find coding issues and trained our detectors to provide best practice recommendations. We expect such recommendations to benefit beginners as well as expert Python programmers.

CodeGuru Reviewer generates recommendations in the following categories:

  • AWS SDK APIs best practices
  • Data structures and control flow, including exception handling
  • Resource leaks
  • Secure coding practices to protect from potential shell injections

In the following sections, we provide real-world examples of bugs that can be detected in each of the categories:

AWS SDK API best practices

AWS has hundreds of services and thousands of APIs. Developers can now benefit from CodeGuru Reviewer recommendations related to AWS APIs. AWS recommendations in CodeGuru Reviewer cover a wide range of scenarios such as detecting outdated or deprecated APIs, warning about API misuse, authentication and exception scenarios, and efficient API alternatives.

Consider the pagination trait, implemented by over 1,000 APIs from more than 150 AWS services. The trait is commonly used when the response object is too large to return in a single response. To get the complete set of results, iterated calls to the API are required, until the last page is reached. If developers were not aware of this, they would write the code as the following (this example is patterned after actual code):

def sync_ddb_table(source_ddb, destination_ddb):
    response = source_ddb.scan(TableName=“table1”)
    for item in response['Items']:
        ...
        destination_ddb.put_item(TableName=“table2”, Item=item)
    …   

Here the scan API is used to read items from one Amazon DynamoDB table and the put_item API to save them to another DynamoDB table. The scan API implements the Pagination trait. However, the developer missed iterating on the results beyond the first scan, leading to only partial copying of data.

The following screenshot shows what CodeGuru Reviewer recommends:

The following screenshot shows CodeGuru Reviewer recommends on the need for pagination

The developer fixed the code based on this recommendation and added complete handling of paginated results by checking the LastEvaluatedKey value in the response object of the paginated API scan as follows:

def sync_ddb_table(source_ddb, destination_ddb):
    response = source_ddb.scan(TableName==“table1”)
    for item in response['Items']:
        ...
        destination_ddb.put_item(TableName=“table2”, Item=item)
    # Keeps scanning util LastEvaluatedKey is null
    while "LastEvaluatedKey" in response:
        response = source_ddb.scan(
            TableName="table1",
            ExclusiveStartKey=response["LastEvaluatedKey"]
        )
        for item in response['Items']:
            destination_ddb.put_item(TableName=“table2”, Item=item)
    …   

CodeGuru Reviewer recommendation is rich and offers multiple options for implementing Paginated scan. We can also initialize the ExclusiveStartKey value to None and iteratively update it based on the LastEvaluatedKey value obtained from the scan response object in a loop. This fix below conforms to the usage mentioned in the official documentation.

def sync_ddb_table(source_ddb, destination_ddb):
    table = source_ddb.Table(“table1”)
    scan_kwargs = {
                  …
    }
    done = False
    start_key = None
    while not done:
        if start_key:
            scan_kwargs['ExclusiveStartKey'] = start_key
        response = table.scan(**scan_kwargs)
        for item in response['Items']:
            destination_ddb.put_item(TableName=“table2”, Item=item)
        start_key = response.get('LastEvaluatedKey', None)
        done = start_key is None

Data structures and control flow

Python’s coding style is different from other languages. For code that does not conform to Python idioms, CodeGuru Reviewer provides a variety of suggestions for efficient and correct handling of data structures and control flow in the Python 3 standard library:

  • Using DefaultDict for compact handling of missing dictionary keys over using the setDefault() API or dealing with KeyError exception
  • Using a subprocess module over outdated APIs for subprocess handling
  • Detecting improper exception handling such as catching and passing generic exceptions that can hide latent issues.
  • Detecting simultaneous iteration and modification to loops that might lead to unexpected bugs because the iterator expression is only evaluated one time and does not account for subsequent index changes.

The following code is a specific example that can confuse novice developers.

def list_sns(region, creds, sns_topics=[]):
    sns = boto_session('sns', creds, region)
    response = sns.list_topics()
    for topic_arn in response["Topics"]:
        sns_topics.append(topic_arn["TopicArn"])
    return sns_topics
  
def process():
    ...
    for region, creds in jobs["auth_config"]:
        arns = list_sns(region, creds)
        ... 

The process() method iterates over different AWS Regions and collects Regional ARNs by calling the list_sns() method. The developer might expect that each call to list_sns() with a Region parameter returns only the corresponding Regional ARNs. However, the preceding code actually leaks the ARNs from prior calls to subsequent Regions. This happens due to an idiosyncrasy of Python relating to the use of mutable objects as default argument values. Python default value are created exactly one time, and if that object is mutated, subsequent references to the object refer to the mutated value instead of re-initialization.

The following screenshot shows what CodeGuru Reviewer recommends:

The following screenshot shows CodeGuru Reviewer recommends about initializing a value for mutable objects

The developer accepted the recommendation and issued the below fix.

def list_sns(region, creds, sns_topics=None):
    sns = boto_session('sns', creds, region)
    response = sns.list_topics()
    if sns_topics is None: 
        sns_topics = [] 
    for topic_arn in response["Topics"]:
        sns_topics.append(topic_arn["TopicArn"])
    return sns_topics

Resource leaks

A Pythonic practice for resource handling is using Context Managers. Our analysis shows that resource leaks are rampant in Python code where a developer may open external files or windows and forget to close them eventually. A resource leak can slow down or crash your system. Even if a resource is closed, using Context Managers is Pythonic. For example, CodeGuru Reviewer detects resource leaks in the following code:

def read_lines(file):
    lines = []
    f = open(file, ‘r’)
    for line in f:
        lines.append(line.strip(‘\n’).strip(‘\r\n’))
    return lines

The following screenshot shows that CodeGuru Reviewer recommends that the developer either use the ContextLib with statement or use a try-finally block to explicitly close a resource.

The following screenshot shows CodeGuru Reviewer recommend about fixing the potential resource leak

The developer accepted the recommendation and fixed the code as shown below.

def read_lines(file):
    lines = []
    with open(file, ‘r’) as f: 
        for line in f:
            lines.append(line.strip(‘\n’).strip(‘\r\n’))
    return lines

Secure coding practices

Python is often used for scripting. An integral part of such scripts is the use of subprocesses. As of this writing, CodeGuru Reviewer makes a limited, but important set of recommendations to make sure that your use of eval functions or subprocesses is secure from potential shell injections. It issues a warning if it detects that the command used in eval or subprocess scenarios might be influenced by external factors. For example, see the following code:

def execute(cmd):
    try:
        retcode = subprocess.call(cmd, shell=True)
        ...
    except OSError as e:
        ...

The following screenshot shows the CodeGuru Reviewer recommendation:

The following screenshot shows CodeGuru Reviewer recommends about potential shell injection vulnerability

The developer accepted this recommendation and made the following fix.

def execute(cmd):
    try:
        retcode = subprocess.call(shlex.quote(cmd), shell=True)
        ...
    except OSError as e:
        ...

As shown in the preceding recommendations, not only are the code issues detected, but a detailed recommendation is also provided on how to fix the issues, along with a link to the Python official documentation. You can provide feedback on recommendations in the CodeGuru Reviewer console or by commenting on the code in a pull request. This feedback helps improve the performance of Reviewer so that the recommendations you see get better over time.

Now let’s take a look at CodeGuru Profiler.

CodeGuru Profiler for Python

Amazon CodeGuru Profiler analyzes your application’s performance characteristics and provides interactive visualizations to show you where your application spends its time. These visualizations a. k. a. flame graphs are a powerful tool to help you troubleshoot which code methods have high latency or are over utilizing your CPU.

Thanks to the new Python agent, you can now use CodeGuru Profiler on your Python applications to investigate performance issues.

The following list summarizes the supported versions as of this writing.

  • AWS Lambda functions: Python3.8, Python3.7, Python3.6
  • Other environments: Python3.9, Python3.8, Python3.7, Python3.6

Onboarding your Python application

For this post, let’s assume you have a Python application running on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) hosts that you want to profile. To onboard your Python application, complete the following steps:

1. Create a new profiling group in CodeGuru Profiler console called ProfilingGroupForMyApplication. Give access to your Amazon EC2 execution role to submit to this profiling group. See the documentation for details about how to create a Profiling Group.

2. Install the codeguru_profiler_agent module:

pip3 install codeguru_profiler_agent

3. Start the profiler in your application.

An easy way to profile your application is to start your script through the codeguru_profiler_agent module. If you have an app.py script, use the following code:

python -m codeguru_profiler_agent -p ProfilingGroupForMyApplication app.py

Alternatively, you can start the agent manually inside the code. This must be done only one time, preferably in your startup code:

from codeguru_profiler_agent import Profiler

if __name__ == "__main__":
     Profiler(profiling_group_name='ProfilingGroupForMyApplication')
     start_application()    # your code in there....

Onboarding your Python Lambda function

Onboarding for an AWS Lambda function is quite similar.

  1. Create a profiling group called ProfilingGroupForMyLambdaFunction, this time we select “Lambda” for the compute platform. Give access to your Lambda function role to submit to this profiling group. See the documentation for details about how to create a Profiling Group.
  2. Include the codeguru_profiler_agent module in your Lambda function code.
  3. Add the with_lambda_profiler decorator to your handler function:
from codeguru_profiler_agent import with_lambda_profiler

@with_lambda_profiler(profiling_group_name='ProfilingGroupForMyLambdaFunction')
def handler_function(event, context):
      # Your code here

Alternatively, you can profile an existing Lambda function without updating the source code by adding a layer and changing the configuration. For more information, see Profiling your applications that run on AWS Lambda.

Profiling a Lambda function helps you see what is slowing down your code so you can reduce the duration, which reduces the cost and improves latency. You need to have continuous traffic on your function in order to produce a usable profile.

Viewing your profile

After running your profile for some time, you can view it on the CodeGuru console.

Screenshot of Flame graph visualization by CodeGuru Profiler

Each frame in the flame graph shows how much that function contributes to latency. In this example, an outbound call that crosses the network is taking most of the duration in the Lambda function, caching its result would improve the latency.

For more information, see Investigating performance issues with Amazon CodeGuru Profiler.

Supportability for CodeGuru Profiler is documented here.

If you don’t have an application to try CodeGuru Profiler on, you can use the demo application in the following GitHub repo.

Conclusion

This post introduced how to leverage CodeGuru Reviewer to identify hard-to-find code defects in various issue categories and how to onboard your Python applications or Lambda function in CodeGuru Profiler for CPU profiling. Combining both services can help you improve code quality for Python applications. CodeGuru is now available for you to try. For more pricing information, please see Amazon CodeGuru pricing.

 

About the Authors

Neela Sawant is a Senior Applied Scientist in the Amazon CodeGuru team. Her background is building AI-powered solutions to customer problems in a variety of domains such as software, multimedia, and retail. When she isn’t working, you’ll find her exploring the world anew with her toddler and hacking away at AI for social good.

 

 

Pierre Marieu is a Software Development Engineer in the Amazon CodeGuru Profiler team in London. He loves building tools that help the day-to-day life of other software engineers. Previously, he worked at Amadeus IT, building software for the travel industry.

 

 

 

Ran Fu is a Senior Product Manager in the Amazon CodeGuru team. He has a deep customer empathy, and love exploring who are the customers, what are their needs, and why those needs matter. Besides work, you may find him snowboarding in Keystone or Vail, Colorado.

 

Code your own Artillery-style tank game | Wireframe #44

Post Syndicated from Ian Dransfield original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/code-your-own-artillery-style-tank-game-wireframe-44/

Fire artillery shells to blow up the enemy with Mark Vanstone’s take on a classic two-player artillery game

Artillery Duel was an early example of the genre, and appeared on such systems as the Bally Astrocade and Commodore 64 (pictured).

To pick just one artillery game is difficult since it’s a genre in its own right. Artillery simulations and games have been around for almost as long as computers, and most commonly see two players take turns to adjust the trajectory of their tank’s turret and fire a projectile at their opponent. The earliest versions for microcomputers appeared in the mid-seventies, and the genre continued to develop; increasingly complex scenarios appeared involving historical settings or, as we saw from the mid-90s on, even offbeat ideas like battles between factions of worms.

To code the basics of an artillery game, we’ll need two tanks with turrets, a landscape, and some code to work out who shot what, in which direction, and where said shot landed. Let’s start with the landscape. If we create a landscape in two parts – a backdrop and foreground – we can make the foreground destructible so that when a missile explodes it damages part of the landscape. This is a common effect used in artillery games, and sometimes makes the gameplay more complicated as the battle progresses. In our example, we have a grass foreground overlaid on a mountain scene. We then need a cannon for each player. In this case, we’ve used a two-part image, one for the base and one for the turret, which means the latter can be rotated using the up and down keys.

Our homage to the artillery game genre. Fire away at your opponent, and hope they don’t hit back first.

For this code example, we can use the Python dictionary to store several bits of data about the game objects, including the Actor objects. This makes the data handling tidy and is quite similar to the way that JSON is used in JavaScript. We can use this method for the two cannons, the projectile, and an explosion object. As this is a two-player game, we’ll alternate between the two guns, allowing the arrow keys to change the angle of the cannon. When the SPACE bar is pressed, we call the firing sequence, which places the projectile at the same position as the gun firing it. We then move the missile through the air, reducing the speed as it goes and allowing the effects of gravity to pull it towards the ground.

We can work out whether the bullet has hit anything with two checks. The first is to do a pixel check with the foreground. If this comes back as not transparent, then it has hit the ground, and we can start an explosion. To create a hole in the foreground, we can write transparent pixels randomly around the point of contact and then set off an explosion animation. If we test for a collision with a gun, we may find that the bullet has hit the other player and after blowing up the tank, the game ends. If the impact only hit the landscape, though, we can switch control over to the other player and let them have a go.

So that’s your basic artillery game. But rest assured there are plenty of things to add – for example, wind direction, power of the shot, variable damage depending on proximity, or making the tanks fall into holes left by the explosions. You could even change the guns into little wiggly creatures and make your own homage to Worms.

Here’s Mark’s code for an artillery-style tank game. To get it working on your system, you’ll need to install Pygame Zero. And to download the full code and assets, head here.

Get your copy of Wireframe issue 44

You can read more features like this one in Wireframe issue 44, available directly from Raspberry Pi Press — we deliver worldwide.

And if you’d like a handy digital version of the magazine, you can also download issue 44 for free in PDF format.

Wireframe #44, bringing the past and future of Worms to the fore.

Make sure to follow Wireframe on Twitter and Facebook for updates and exclusive offers and giveaways. Subscribe on the Wireframe website to save up to 72% compared to newsstand pricing!

The post Code your own Artillery-style tank game | Wireframe #44 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

New book: Create Graphical User Interfaces with Python

Post Syndicated from Ashley Whittaker original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/create-graphical-user-interfaces-with-python/

Laura Sach and Martin O’Hanlon, who are both Learning Managers at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, have written a brand-new book to help you to get more out of your Python projects.

Cover of the book Create Graphical User Interfaces with Python

In Create Graphical User Interfaces with Python, Laura and Martin show you how to add buttons, boxes, pictures, colours, and more to your Python programs using the guizero library, which is easy to use and accessible for all, no matter your Python skills.

This new 156-page book is suitable for everyone — from beginners to experienced Python programmers — who wants to explore graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

Meet the authors

Screenshot of a Digital Making at Home live stream session
That’s Martin in the blue T-shirt with our Digital Making at Home live stream hosts Matt and Christina

You might have met Martin recently on one of our weekly Digital Making at Home live streams for young people, were he was a guest for an ‘ooey-GUI’ code-along session. He talked about his background and what it’s like creating projects and learning resources on a day-to-day basis.

Laura is also pretty cool! Here she is showing you how to solder your Raspberry Pi header pins:

Hi Laura!

Martin and Laura are also tonnes of fun on Twitter. You can find Martin as @martinohanlon, and Laura goes by @codeboom.

10 fun projects

In Create Graphical User Interfaces with Python, you’ll find ten fun Python projects to create with guizero, including a painting program, an emoji match game, and a stop-motion animation creator.

A double-page from the book Create Graphical User Interfaces with Python
A peek inside Laura’s and Martin’s new book

You will also learn:

  • How to create fun Python games and programs
  • How to code your own graphical user interfaces using windows, text boxes, buttons, images, and more
  • What event-based programming is
  • What good (and bad) user interface design is
A double-page from the book Create Graphical User Interfaces with Python
Ain’t it pretty?

Where can I get it?

You can buy Create Graphical User Interfaces with Python now from the Raspberry Pi Press online store, or the Raspberry Pi store in Cambridge, UK.

And if you don’t need the lovely new book, with its new-book smell, in your hands in real life, you can download a PDF version for free, courtesy of The MagPi magazine.

The post New book: Create Graphical User Interfaces with Python appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Code a Rally-X-style mini-map | Wireframe #43

Post Syndicated from Ryan Lambie original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/code-a-rally-x-style-mini-map-wireframe-43/

Race around using a mini-map for navigation, just like the arcade classic, Rally-X. Mark Vanstone has the code

In Namco’s original arcade game, the red cars chased the player relentlessly around each level. Note the handy mini-map on the right.

The original Rally-X arcade game blasted onto the market in 1980, at the same time as Pac‑Man and Defender. This was the first year that developer Namco had exported its games outside Japan thanks to the deal it struck with Midway, an American game distributor. The aim of Rally-X is to race a car around a maze, avoiding enemy cars while collecting yellow flags – all before your fuel runs out.

The aspect of Rally-X that we’ll cover here is the mini-map. As the car moves around the maze, its position can be seen relative to the flags on the right of the screen. The main view of the maze only shows a section of the whole map, and scrolls as the car moves, whereas the mini-map shows the whole size of the map but without any of the maze walls – just dots where the car and flags are (and in the original, the enemy cars). In our example, the mini-map is five times smaller than the main map, so it’s easy to work out the calculation to translate large map co‑ordinates to mini-map co-ordinates.

To set up our Rally-X homage in Pygame Zero, we can stick with the default screen size of 800×600. If we use 200 pixels for the side panel, that leaves us with a 600×600 play area. Our player’s car will be drawn in the centre of this area at the co-ordinates 300,300. We can use the in-built rotation of the Actor object by setting the angle property of the car. The maze scrolls depending on which direction the car is pointing, and this can be done by having a lookup table in the form of a dictionary list (directionMap) where we define x and y increments for each angle the car can travel. When the cursor keys are pressed, the car stays central and the map moves.

A screenshot of our Rally-X homage running in Pygame Zero

Roam the maze and collect those flags in our Python homage to Rally-X.

To detect the car hitting a wall, we can use a collision map. This isn’t a particularly memory-efficient way of doing it, but it’s easy to code. We just use a bitmap the same size as the main map which has all the roads as black and all the walls as white. With this map, we can detect if there’s a wall in the direction in which the car’s moving by testing the pixels directly in front of it. If a wall is detected, we rotate the car rather than moving it. If we draw the side panel after the main map, we’ll then be able to see the full layout of the screen with the map scrolling as the car navigates through the maze.

We can add flags as a list of Actor objects. We could make these random, but for the sake of simplicity, our sample code has them defined in a list of x and y co-ordinates. We need to move the flags with the map, so in each update(), we loop through the list and add the same increments to the x and y co‑ordinates as the main map. If the car collides with any flags, we just take them off the list of items to draw by adding a collected variable. Having put all of this in place, we can draw the mini-map, which will show the car and the flags. All we need to do is divide the object co-ordinates by five and add an x and y offset so that the objects appear in the right place on the mini-map.

And those are the basics of Rally-X! All it needs now is a fuel gauge, some enemy cars, and obstacles – but we’ll leave those for you to sort out…

Here’s Mark’s code for a Rally-X-style driving game with mini-map. To get it running on your system, you’ll need to install Pygame Zero. And to download the full code and assets, head here.

Get your copy of Wireframe issue 43

You can read more features like this one in Wireframe issue 43, available directly from Raspberry Pi Press — we deliver worldwide.

And if you’d like a handy digital version of the magazine, you can also download issue 43 for free in PDF format.

Wireframe #43, with the gorgeous Sea of Stars on the cover.

Make sure to follow Wireframe on Twitter and Facebook for updates and exclusive offers and giveaways. Subscribe on the Wireframe website to save up to 49% compared to newsstand pricing!

 

 

 

The post Code a Rally-X-style mini-map | Wireframe #43 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Global sunrise/sunset Raspberry Pi art installation

Post Syndicated from Ashley Whittaker original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/global-sunrise-sunset-raspberry-pi-art-installation/

24h Sunrise/Sunset is a digital art installation that displays a live sunset and sunrise happening somewhere in the world with the use of CCTV.

Image by fotoswiss.com

Artist Dries Depoorter wanted to prove that “CCTV cameras can show something beautiful”, and turned to Raspberry Pi to power this global project.

Image by fotoswiss.com

Harnessing CCTV

The arresting visuals are beamed to viewers using two Raspberry Pi 3B+ computers and an Arduino Nano Every that stream internet protocol (IP) cameras with the use of command line media player OMXPlayer.

Dual Raspberry Pi power

The two Raspberry Pis communicate with each other using the MQTT protocol — a standard messaging protocol for the Internet of Things (IoT) that’s ideal for connecting remote devices with a small code footprint and minimal network bandwidth.

One of the Raspberry Pis checks at which location in the world a sunrise or sunset is happening and streams the closest CCTV camera.

The insides of the sleek display screen…

Beam me out, Scotty

The big screens are connected with the I2C protocol to the Arduino, and the Arduino is connected serial with the second Raspberry Pi. Dries also made a custom printed circuit board (PCB) so the build looks cleaner.

All that hardware is powered by an industrial power supply, just because Dries liked the style of it.

Software

Everything is written in Python 3, and Dries harnessed the Python 3 libraries BeautifulSoup, Sun, Geopy, and Pytz to calculate sunrise and sunset times at specific locations. Google Firebase databases in the cloud help with admin by way of saving timestamps and the IP addresses of the cameras.

Hardware

The artist stood infront of the two large display screens
Image of the artist with his work by fotoswiss.com

And, lastly, Dries requested a shoutout for his favourite local Raspberry Pi shop Gotron in Ghent.

The post Global sunrise/sunset Raspberry Pi art installation appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

What the blink is my IP address?

Post Syndicated from Ashley Whittaker original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/what-the-blink-is-my-ip-address/

Picture the scene: you have a Raspberry Pi configured to run on your network, you power it up headless (without a monitor), and now you need to know which IP address it was assigned.

Matthias came up with this solution, which makes your Raspberry Pi blink its IP address, because he used a Raspberry Pi Zero W headless for most of his projects and got bored with having to look it up with his DHCP server or hunt for it by pinging different IP addresses.

How does it work?

A script runs when you start your Raspberry Pi and indicates which IP address is assigned to it by blinking it out on the device’s LED. The script comprises about 100 lines of Python, and you can get it on GitHub.

A screen running Python
Easy peasy GitHub breezy

The power/status LED on the edge of the Raspberry Pi blinks numbers in a Roman numeral-like scheme. You can tell which number it’s blinking based on the length of the blink and the gaps between each blink, rather than, for example, having to count nine blinks for a number nine.

Blinking in Roman numerals

Short, fast blinks represent the numbers one to four, depending on how many short, fast blinks you see. A gap between short, fast blinks means the LED is about to blink the next digit of the IP address, and a longer blink represents the number five. So reading the combination of short and long blinks will give you your device’s IP address.

You can see this in action at this exact point in the video. You’ll see the LED blink fast once, then leave a gap, blink fast once again, then leave a gap, then blink fast twice. That means the device’s IP address ends in 112.

What are octets?

Luckily, you usually only need to know the last three numbers of the IP address (the last octet), as the previous octets will almost always be the same for all other computers on the LAN.

The script blinks out the last octet ten times, to give you plenty of chances to read it. Then it returns the LED to its default functionality.

Which LED on which Raspberry Pi?

On a Raspberry Pi Zero W, the script uses the green status/power LED, and on other Raspberry Pis it uses the green LED next to the red power LED.

The green LED blinking the IP address (the red power LED is slightly hidden by Matthias’ thumb)

Once you get the hang of the Morse code-like blinking style, this is a really nice quick solution to find your device’s IP address and get on with your project.

The post What the blink is my IP address? appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Recreate Q*bert’s cube-hopping action | Wireframe #42

Post Syndicated from Ryan Lambie original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/recreate-qberts-cube-hopping-action-wireframe-42/

Code the mechanics of an eighties arcade hit in Python and Pygame Zero. Mark Vanstone shows you how

Players must change the colour of every cube to complete the level.

Late in 1982, a funny little orange character with a big nose landed in arcades. The titular Q*bert’s task was to jump around a network of cubes arranged in a pyramid formation, changing the colours of each as they went. Once the cubes were all the same colour, it was on to the next level; to make things more interesting, there were enemies like Coily the snake, and objects which helped Q*bert: some froze enemies in their tracks, while floating discs provided a lift back to the top of the stage.

Q*bert was designed by Warren Davis and Jeff Lee at the American company Gottlieb, and soon became such a smash hit that, the following year, it was already being ported to most of the home computer platforms available at the time. New versions and remakes continued to appear for years afterwards, with a mobile phone version appearing in 2003. Q*bert was by far Gottlieb’s most popular game, and after several changes in company ownership, the firm is now part of Sony’s catalogue – Q*bert’s main character even made its way into the 2015 film, Pixels.

Q*bert uses isometric-style graphics to draw a pseudo-3D display – something we can easily replicate in Pygame Zero by using a single cube graphic with which we make a pyramid of Actor objects. Starting with seven cubes on the bottom row, we can create a simple double loop to create the pile of cubes. Our Q*bert character will be another Actor object which we’ll position at the top of the pile to start. The game screen can then be displayed in the draw() function by looping through our 28 cube Actors and then drawing Q*bert.

Our homage to Q*bert. Try not to fall into the terrifying void.

We need to detect player input, and for this we use the built-in keyboard object and check the cursor keys in our update() function. We need to make Q*bert move from cube to cube so we can move the Actor 32 pixels on the x-axis and 48 pixels on the y-axis. If we do this in steps of 2 for x and 3 for y, we will have Q*bert on the next cube in 16 steps. We can also change his image to point in the right direction depending on the key pressed in our jump() function. If we use this linear movement in our move() function, we’ll see the Actor go in a straight line to the next block. To add a bit of bounce to Q*bert’s movement, we add or subtract (depending on the direction) the values in the bounce[] list. This will make a bit more of a curved movement to the animation.

Now that we have our long-nosed friend jumping around, we need to check where he’s landing. We can loop through the cube positions and check whether Q*bert is over each one. If he is, then we change the image of the cube to one with a yellow top. If we don’t detect a cube under Q*bert, then the critter’s jumped off the pyramid, and the game’s over. We can then do a quick loop through all the cube Actors, and if they’ve all been changed, then the player has completed the level. So those are the basic mechanics of jumping around on a pyramid of cubes. We just need some snakes and other baddies to annoy Q*bert – but we’ll leave those for you to add. Good luck!

Here’s Mark’s code for a Q*bert-style, cube-hopping platform game. To get it running on your system, you’ll need to install Pygame Zero. And to download the full code and assets, head here.

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