Bull in a china shop – Behind the scenes in Android

DSC00032Here are the details about how I constructed the “Bull in a china shop” demo. For this demo I used Box2D physics engine and AndEngine to make the demo. I decided to use sprites for the china shop and picked up images of glasses, wine glasses, bottles etc from www.openclipart.org.

Be extremely careful when creating the TextureRegion using BitmapTextureAtlas. If you don’t get the co-ordinates right the display can be weird.

Here are 2 clips of Bull in a China Shop demo
1.Bull in a china shop in Moon’s gravity
2.Bull in a china shop in Earth’s gravity
The code for this can be cloned  from Github from Bulldozed

Here is a snippet of this

this.mBitmapTextureAtlas = new BitmapTextureAtlas(this.getTextureManager(), 556, 246, TextureOptions.BILINEAR);
this.mTumblerTextureRegion = BitmapTextureAtlasTextureRegionFactory.createFromAsset(this.mBitmapTextureAtlas, this, "tumblr.png", 0, 0);
this.mBottleTextureRegion = BitmapTextureAtlasTextureRegionFactory.createFromAsset(this.mBitmapTextureAtlas, this, "bottle.png",20, 29);
this.mGlassTextureRegion = BitmapTextureAtlasTextureRegionFactory.createFromAsset(this.mBitmapTextureAtlas, this, "glass.png",36, 69);
this.mVaseTextureRegion = BitmapTextureAtlasTextureRegionFactory.createFromAsset(this.mBitmapTextureAtlas, this, "vase.png",56, 89);

This is very important to get right otherwise you are setting yourself for a lot of grief.

Superficially the demo looks real easy. It appears that creating a pyramid stack should be a breeze as long as you get the coordinates right. Wrong! Building a pyramid using Box2D with the effect of gravity can be a real challenge as I found out. I would build two stacks and the stack would become unstable and collapse.

Anyway here are the findings

  1. Each row is not placed directly over the object below. I leave a gap of 2 px between them The reason is the object below exerts a force ‘F’ upward. The object above exerts a force ‘mg” below and the physics engine tries to resolve this difference in forces and causes instability in the structure. So the key is a to leave a small gap in between
  2. Now that there is a gap between 2 rows the coefficient of restitution ‘e’ is made 0. Even a value as small as 0.1f can make the objects jitter and cause instability.
  3. The friction between the platform and the objects or the objects themselves is made maximum equal to 1.0f to prevent sliding of the objects.

// Add tumblers
for(int i=0; i < 21; i++) {
tumbler = new Sprite(80 + i * 25, 450, this.mTumblerTextureRegion, this.getVertexBufferObjectManager());
FIXTURE_DEF = PhysicsFactory.createFixtureDef(1f, 0.0f, 1f);
tumblerBody = PhysicsFactory.createBoxBody(this.mPhysicsWorld, tumbler, BodyType.DynamicBody, FIXTURE_DEF);
this.mPhysicsWorld.registerPhysicsConnector(new PhysicsConnector(tumbler, tumblerBody, true, true));

// Add glasses
for(int i=0; i < 14; i++) {
glass = new Sprite(130 + i * 25, 428, this.mGlassTextureRegion, this.getVertexBufferObjectManager());
FIXTURE_DEF = PhysicsFactory.createFixtureDef(1f, 0.0f, 1f);
glassBody = PhysicsFactory.createBoxBody(this.mPhysicsWorld, glass, BodyType.DynamicBody, FIXTURE_DEF);
this.mPhysicsWorld.registerPhysicsConnector(new PhysicsConnector(glass, glassBody, true, true));

Hopefully if you get everything right you should have a stable structure. I had to do this through trial and error before I got it finally right. Whew!

Once you get a stable structure with the proper sprites in place most of the problem is solved. For the last part I add a bull sprite and set it off at a velocity from the point of touch.

bull = new Sprite(pX, pY, this.mBullTextureRegion, this.getVertexBufferObjectManager());
FIXTURE_DEF = PhysicsFactory.createFixtureDef(25f, 0.0f, 1f);
bullBody = PhysicsFactory.createBoxBody(this.mPhysicsWorld, bull, BodyType.DynamicBody, FIXTURE_DEF);
if(pX > 360)


Note: Since the sprites are not regular shapes I had to use a box shape. So the collisions are not pixel perfect.
Make sure you set up your project properly in Eclipse. The important settings are
Project->Properties->Java Compiler: Check the “Enable project specific setting” and also set compiler compliance level to 1.6
Finally click Project->Properties->Android: Under Library click ‘Add’ and add AndEngine and AndEnginePhysicsBox2DExtension
and you are good to go.

Here are 2 clips of Bull in a China Shop demo

1.Bull in a china shop in Earth’s gravity

2.Bull in a china shop in Moon’s gravity

You can clone the project from Github from Bulldozed

Have fun …

Other cool simulations using AndEngine & Box2D
1. Simulating the domino effect using Box2D and AndEngine
2. The making of Total Control Android game
3. Simulating a Web Joint in Android
4. Modeling a Car in Android
5. A closer look at “Robot horse on a Trot! in Android”

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Simulating the domino effect in Android using Box2D and AndEngine

In this post I describe the steps to create a domino effect in Android. I have used Box 2D which is a physics game engine and AndEngine. The simulation is based on a demo in Java by Daniel Murphy in his site http://www.jbox2d.org/. There is a great tutorial on Box2D at http://www.iforce2d.net/b2dtut/introduction. Box2D is a really powerful 2D physics engine with collision detection, friction and restitution and all the good things of nature.

In this post I deal with some of the basic concepts of Box2D engine. At the most basic level is the ‘Body’. A body has linear,angular velocity,mass, location etc. It is then assigned a ‘shape’ which can be circle or polygon and finally we have assign the bodies to fixtures which carry properties of friction, restitution, density (density x area = mass), etc.

Finally all bodies are part of the ‘world’.
You can take a look at the domino effect in the video clip –  domino clip
The entire project can be cloned from GitHub at Dominoes

So for the domino effect I create floor,roof,left and right walls which are the shapes

//Create the floor

final VertexBufferObjectManager vertexBufferObjectManager = this.getVertexBufferObjectManager();

final Rectangle ground = new Rectangle(0, CAMERA_HEIGHT – 2, CAMERA_WIDTH, 2, vertexBufferObjectManager);

final Rectangle roof = new Rectangle(0, 0, CAMERA_WIDTH, 2, vertexBufferObjectManager);

final Rectangle left = new Rectangle(0, 0, 2, CAMERA_HEIGHT, vertexBufferObjectManager);

final Rectangle right = new Rectangle(CAMERA_WIDTH – 2, 0, 2, CAMERA_HEIGHT, vertexBufferObjectManager);

The body with the fixture is

final FixtureDef wallFixtureDef = PhysicsFactory.createFixtureDef(0, 0.5f, 0.5f);

PhysicsFactory.createBoxBody(this.mPhysicsWorld, ground, BodyType.StaticBody, wallFixtureDef);

PhysicsFactory.createBoxBody(this.mPhysicsWorld, roof, BodyType.StaticBody, wallFixtureDef);

PhysicsFactory.createBoxBody(this.mPhysicsWorld, left, BodyType.StaticBody, wallFixtureDef);

PhysicsFactory.createBoxBody(this.mPhysicsWorld, right, BodyType.StaticBody, wallFixtureDef);

Similarly I create 3 platforms on which I array vertical bricks.

The shape is created by creating a sprite.

platform1 = new Sprite(50, 100, this.mPlatformTextureRegion, this.getVertexBufferObjectManager());

The platform body is created as follows

platformBody1 = PhysicsFactory.createBoxBody(this.mPhysicsWorld, platform1, BodyType.StaticBody, FIXTURE_DEF);

The FIXTURE_DEF is the fixture which is defined as

privatestaticfinal FixtureDef FIXTURE_DEF = PhysicsFactory.createFixtureDef(50f, 0.1f, 0.5f);

where the parameters 50f,0.1f,0,5f correspond to density, coefficient of restitution and friction.

The platform is then added to the scene


I stack 37 vertical bricks on the platform

// Create 37 bricks

for(int i=0; i < 37; i++) {

brick = new Sprite(50 + i * 15, 50, this.mBrickTextureRegion, this.getVertexBufferObjectManager());

brickBody = PhysicsFactory.createBoxBody(this.mPhysicsWorld, brick, BodyType.DynamicBody, FIXTURE_DEF);

this.mPhysicsWorld.registerPhysicsConnector(new PhysicsConnector(brick, brickBody, true, true));




I tilt the first few bricks to create the domino effect as follows

float angle = brickBody.getAngle();

Log.d(“Angle”,“angle:”+ angle);

// Tilt first 4 bricks

if (i == 0 || i == 1 || i == 2 || i == 3 || i == 4) {



Note: The PIXEL_TO_METER_RATIO_DEFAULT which divides the units.

I tried to make the end of the domino effect in the 1st platform trigger the domino effect in the 2nd which would trigger in the 3rd. However I could not make it happen consistently. So I trigger the domino effect in each of the 3 platforms by tilting the first few bricks.

Anyway it was good fun.

You can take a look at the domino effect in the domino clip

The entire project can be cloned from Dominoes

Take a look at some cool simulations using AndEngine & Box2D
1. Bull in a china shop – Behind the scenes in android
2. Creating a blob in Android using  Box2D physics Engine & AndEngine
3. The making of Total Control Android game
4. Simulating an Edge Shape in Android
5. Simulating a Web Joint in Android
6. Modeling a Car in Android
7. Fun simulation of a Chain in Android
8. “Is it animal? Is it an insect?” in Android
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