The forums have permanently moved to This forum will be kept around in read-only mode for archival purposes. To learn how to continue using your existing account on the new forums, check out this thread.

Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Aiming and hitting a moving target

  1. #1

    Aiming and hitting a moving target

    Yeah. I know this has probably been asked before, but I couldn't find it using the forum's search function so I am gonna ask.

    I am working on building a Tower Defense game. Right now I have enemies that move along a path. The ability to add towers that shoot at the targets, a monetary system, lives, and levels. I am programming this in AS3 and before anyone points it out thinking its a mistake. I define _root as a variable in each of my classes (old habits die hard, so I find a way to use them ) you just wont see this because there is no point in posting the entire class for my question.

    The problem I have come across is that my code for how the tower shoots at the target is inaccurate. The tower shoots at the targets current location, which means that the target is gone by the time the bullet gets there.

    The algorithm I am using is this: (I am using the PHP block because the code block is lame. But this IS action script.. rest in piece [as] tag)
    PHP Code:
    //this is the code that calculates how far the turret should rotate, and it creates the bullet
    //enTarget is the target the turret is shooting at
    this.rotation Math.atan2((enTarget.y-y), enTarget.x-x)/Math.PI*180 90;;
    loaded){ //if the turret is able to shoot
    loaded false//then make it unable to do it for a bit
    var newBullet:Bullet = new Bullet(); //create a bullet
            //set the bullet's coordinates
    newBullet.maxSpeed bulletSpeed;
    //set the bullet's target and damage
    newBullet.damage damage;
    _root.addChild(newBullet); //add it to the stage

    //the following code calculates the angle the bullet needs to travel
    //it sets the xSpeed and ySpeed separately
    //target is the target its being shot at
    var yDist:Number = (target.this.y); //how far the bullet is from the enemy (x)
    var xDist:Number = (target.this.x); //how far it is from the enemy (y)
    var angle:Number Math.atan2(yDist,xDist); //the angle that it must move
    ySpeed Math.sin(angle) * maxSpeed//movent is multiplied by maxSpeed
    xSpeed Math.cos(angle) * maxSpeed
    the problem as already stated.. is that this causes the turret to shoot where the target currently is. I can't figure out how to get it to anticipate the targets movements. There is a variable defined for the speed of the bullet because I know I will need that.

    I have been scouring the internet for an answer, but the only thing i have found so far was this:
    Note: he is talking with point A as the turret and point B as the target
    (posted on stackoverflow in answer to a similar question)
    First rotate the axes so that AB is vertical (by doing a rotation)

    Now, split the velocity vector of B into the x and y components (say Bx and By). You can use this to calculate the x and y components of the vector you need to shoot at.
    B --> Bx
    A ---> Vx
    You need Vx = Bx and Sqrt(Vx*Vx + Vy*Vy) = Velocity of Ammo.

    This should give you the vector you need in the new system. Transform back to old system and you are done (by doing a rotation in the other direction).

    I'm new to physics and trigonometry. In fact I am teaching myself... so I understand almost nothing of what he said.

    So my question is:

    Can someone help me understand what this guy meant? Or help me figure out the proper equation to use to shoot a target by anticipating its movement?

    Last edited by birdwing; April 14th, 2010 at 02:46 AM.

    Twitter / The Human Conditions

    biznuge: "that doesn't grammatical sense..."

  2. #2
    icio's Avatar
    looks better in lowercase
    I think I have a solution to this. Let me think on it a little more and try it out. PM me sometime if I forget, lol.
    "60% of the time it works... every time." -- Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana.

  3. #3
    I make half sense
    I can vaguely remember a tutorial about this somewhere but I'll taking a stab at this...the target usually moves at a set speed horizontally or vertically and stops at corners or objects in the way. Likewise turrets tend to have set ranges. Hit rate tends to be 100%, with "miss" calculated by random score between max and min damage. So basically all you need to do is fool the 60fps eye that you are shooting at the target.

    Currently you are just calculating the path and firing, the target moves and you miss.

    You should be able to calculate the bullet time, t = distance using trig / bullet speed

    now you know the approx bullet time,

    so you need the lead distance, d = speed of target * bullet time

    you then recalculate the path with the lead distance added to the target coordinates

    this should then give an approximate lead target to shoot at, run the math again with new bullet time and it should hit

    changing direction is tricker, they tend to move, stop, then move, *shrugs* got half way there
    Last edited by randomagain; April 14th, 2010 at 12:06 PM.
    Click my sig.

  4. #4
    icio's Avatar
    looks better in lowercase
    Yep, I got it to work. I'll go and write up the explanation for you (with all the juicy mathematics for you to enjoy!)
    "60% of the time it works... every time." -- Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana.

  5. #5
    Why don't you do a discrete calculation rather than an analytic? Don't get me wrong, I think you should work through the analytical first. but in the end, both of them will probably be equally calculation intense, and if you try to shot at a human player, I personally would not try to shot at a linear assumption (if you ever played first person shooter over the internet, some play like they had a disease of some kind, or at least parkinson, still it works, and they successfully avoid being shot)

    If you pre-calculate the steps of the bullet and make the turret bullet behave like a 'heat seaking' missile, you can average the max min angle and shot somewhere in the middle of the positions of the 'heat seaking' missiles positions over time.

    If you get that to work, you can then pre-record the opponents movement as an assumption of future movement and use that motion for the pre-calculation with your missile, this means the turret has to 'observe' the opponent before it shots. (since you have a known path of the opponent, its not much to assume I guess?)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	aim.jpg 
Views:	235 
Size:	62.3 KB 
ID:	51903  
    Last edited by lnsiu; April 14th, 2010 at 03:45 PM.

  6. #6
    Is this question going to pop up every half year? There is a search function guys.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by icio View Post
    Yep, I got it to work. I'll go and write up the explanation for you (with all the juicy mathematics for you to enjoy!)
    I would be most appreciative. Thank you

    TOdorus.. i did search, but I couldn't find what I was looking for, or understand what I did find.

    Twitter / The Human Conditions

    biznuge: "that doesn't grammatical sense..."

  8. #8
    icio's Avatar
    looks better in lowercase
    Okay guys, here's what I've got:

     * Shoot at a target
     * @param	t	The target to be shot
     * @return		The bullet to be fired (or null if cannot hit)
    public function shoot(targ:Target, bulletSpeed:Number = BULLET_SPEED):Bullet
    	var dx:Number = targ.x - this.x;
    	var dy:Number = targ.y - this.y;
    	var a:Number = targ.vx * targ.vx + targ.vy * targ.vy - bulletSpeed * bulletSpeed;
    	var b:Number = 2 * (targ.vx * dx + targ.vy * dy);
    	var c:Number = dx * dx + dy * dy;
    	// Check we're not breaking into complex numbers
    	var q:Number = b * b - 4 * a * c;
    	if (q < 0) return null;
    	// The time that we will hit the target
    	var t:Number = ((a < 0 ? -1 : 1)*Math.sqrt(q) - b) / (2 * a);
    	// Aim for where the target will be after time t
    	dx += t * targ.vx;
    	dy += t * targ.vy;
    	var theta:Number = Math.atan2(dy, dx);
    	// Fire the bullet
    	var bullet:Bullet = new Bullet(); = targ;
    	bullet.hitPoint = new Point(targ.x + targ.vx * t, targ.y + targ.vy * t);
    	bullet.x = this.x;
    	bullet.y = this.y;
    	bullet.vx = bulletSpeed * Math.cos(theta);
    	bullet.vy = bulletSpeed * Math.sin(theta);
    	return bullet;
    which you can see in action on my website:

    I've detailed the derivation of my solution in the article and you can download the source code from the link on the page or from the attachment posted here.

    Hope you enjoy it
    Attached Files Attached Files
    "60% of the time it works... every time." -- Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana.

  9. #9
    icio's Avatar
    looks better in lowercase
    I was just going to post that on the Stackoverflow question when I noticed the second answer posted there. Did you fail to spot it? It's exactly the same derivation and solution that I came up with.

    Edit: or perhaps you really were wanting to understand the given solution rather than understand how to do it. Sorry if that's the case.
    Last edited by icio; April 15th, 2010 at 08:34 AM.
    "60% of the time it works... every time." -- Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana.

  10. #10
    Yeah, I was just trying to understand the solution sorry if that wasn't clear.
    Thanks for all the help! I understand what I was doing wrong now

    I realize teaching myself this sttuff is going to be harder that I originally thought

    Twitter / The Human Conditions

    biznuge: "that doesn't grammatical sense..."

  11. #11
    we should have a 'turret' battle altogether :-)

    I enjoy reading icios solution, and I'm totally blown away by the amount of information he produced in short time. thank you!

    ...but if there ever will be a AI battle, ahem...
    I will beat him

  12. #12
    icio's Avatar
    looks better in lowercase
    Quote Originally Posted by lnsiu View Post
    ...but if there ever will be a AI battle, ahem...
    I will beat him

    off topic:


    "60% of the time it works... every time." -- Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana.

  13. #13
    It's a great solution.

    Just thought that sometimes in game, we don't really aim for such perfect calculations. This accuracy can actually make it look weird. Imagine:

    Monster ==>== Turret
    ................... X

    Assuming that X is where the monster and the missile will land with perfect calculation, you will actually see the turret firing towards X when the monster is actually on his direct west direction.

    One suggestion is to increase the speed of the missile, increase the size of the impact effects, and that should create a believable image that the bullet hit the monster. If you look at WC3 tower defense, fast monsters always outrun the point of impact.

    Not discrediting the solution, don't get me wrong.
    Visit my tutorial site at

    Fully step by step guided tutorials which teach you how to make a variety of games like Pong, Whack-A-Mole, Tower Defence, etc, in full AS3.0 Source codes/graphics provided to get you started in no time.

  14. #14
    icio's Avatar
    looks better in lowercase
    I'm pretty sure it doesn't do that. None of the solutions above take into the consideration the Monster changing direction. Any diagrams that make it look like that is the case are in fact illustrating the x- and y-components of their movement vector.
    "60% of the time it works... every time." -- Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by icio View Post

    off topic:


    HAHA, sure why not? I think it's a great idea to do AI battle
    PM me when its time...


    One alternative caclulation that doesnt involve trigonometry could be achived if we imagen the targets movement and the turrets bullet as expanding circles (and their radius are their respective trajectories).
    So what we want to know is when these radius meet each other. Their radius are proprotional, since their speed is constant.

    This radius relation can be expressed with the formula:
    R.1 = c x R.2

    The targets path is fixed and be written on the form:
    f(x) = y = (x + c)

    the targets 'radius' can be written with phytagoras theorem:
    (R.2)^2 = (f(x.1)-f(x.2))^2 + (x.1 -x.2)^2
    (x.1 = current position, x.2=unknown position)

    The turrets bullet radius can be written somewhat equally:
    (R.1)^2 = (x-j)^2+(y-k)^2
    (j=turrets x, k = turrets y)

    so to get a complete formula for when the bullet and the target intersect, we replace
    R.1 with c x R.2
    y with x + c
    (c x f(x.1)-f(x.2))^2 + (x.1 -x.2)^2 = (x-j)^2+((x + c)-k)^2

    giving a second degree equation to solve...
    Last edited by lnsiu; April 17th, 2010 at 06:27 AM. Reason: ...forgot a term

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Home About Meet the Moderators Advertise

 Link to Us


Copyright 1999 - 2012