04. Colliding Entities against TileShapeCollections


This walk-through shows how to perform collision between entities and TileShapeCollection  instances. The two most common types tile-based collisions are:

  1. Solid collision – collision which prevents a character from passing through a tile, such as solid walls in a maze
  2. True/false tests – used to perform additional logic when  collisions occur, such as dealing damage to a character when touching spikes

We’ll be looking at both types.

Creating an Entity

For this guide, we’ll create an entity to test our collision code. This entity will need to be collidable (implements ICollidable) and needs logic for movement in response to input.

To create a new entity:

  1. In Glue, select the Quick Actions tab
  2. Select Add Entity

  3. Enter the name Player
  4. Check the Circle checkbox to give the entity a circle collision object
  5. Verify that ICollidable is checked – this should happen automatically when Circle is checked
  6. Click OK

Notice the Include lists in all base level screens check box. We will leave this checked so that we have a list of players in our game screen. This is a good idea, even if your game will be single player.

The new entity should appear in the Entities folder in Glue.

Since the Player entity has its ImplementsICollidable set to true, any shape (Circle, Polygon, AxisAlignedRectangle) in the entity will be used in collision functions.

Adding Entity Movement

To make the entity move in response to keyboard input:

  1. Open the project in Visual Studio
  2. Open Player.cs

  3. Modify the CustomActivity  method as shown in the following code snippet:
    // You may need the following using statement at the top of the file:
    // using Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Input;
    private void CustomActivity()
        var keyboard = InputManager.Keyboard;
        // Normally this would be a Glue variable,
        // but we set it up here to move the tutorial
        // along.
        const float speed = 150;
            YVelocity = speed;
        else if(keyboard.KeyDown(Keys.Down))
            YVelocity = -speed;
            YVelocity = 0;
        if (keyboard.KeyDown(Keys.Right))
            XVelocity = speed;
        else if (keyboard.KeyDown(Keys.Left))
            XVelocity = -speed;
            XVelocity = 0;

Adding Player to GameScreen

Our entity is ready to go – we just need to add it to GameScreen. Note that we’re adding the Player to the GameScreen rather than Level1 because we want every level to have a player.

To add the entity to GameScreen, drag+drop the entity onto the screen:

The Player will now appear on the game screen in the PlayerList and can move with the arrow keys.

We can change the starting position of the player by changing the Player1 X and Y values in Glue.

  1. Select the Player1 in the GameScreen
  2. Click the Variables tab
  3. Change X to 200
  4. Change Y to -200

Now the player will appear near the center of the level.

Performing Solid Collision

Solid collision can be used to prevent an entity from passing through solid objects on a tile map. In this example we’ll be colliding the Player instance against tiles that we set up to have rectangle collision in the previous tutorial.

Collision in FlatRedBall is usually performed using CollisionRelationships. A CollisionRelationship is an object which defines what happens when two types of objects overlap (collide). In this case, we’ll be creating a CollisionRelationship between our PlayerList and SolidCollision.

To create a CollisionRelationship:

  1. Expand GameScreen Objects
  2. Drag+drop the PlayerList onto the SolidCollision object. This creates a new CollisionRelationship named PlayerListVsSolidCollision and automatically selects it.
  3. Change the Collision Physics to Move Collision

As shown in Glue, Move Collision prevents the objects from overlapping. If we run the game now, notice that the Player can no longer move through the walls.

Colliding Platformer Entities

This guide focuses on collision between an entity that has basic top-down movement logic. Tile maps are also often used in platformers, and the platformer plugin includes support for colliding against TileShapeCollections. For more information, see the Controlling a Platformer Entity page.


This guide shows how to work with TileShapeCollection  to perform solid collision (collision which prevents an entity from passing through the collision area) and non-solid collision (collision which is used to drive custom logic).

A typical game may include many TileShapeCollection  instances for different types of collision.

Although we didn’t cover it in this guide, the TileShapeCollection class uses axis-based partitioning for efficient collision. In most cases, even mobile platforms will be able to perform collision against TileShapeCollection  instances with tens of thousands of rectangles with very little impact on performance.

Developers interested in the details of this partitioning are encouraged to look at the TileShapeCollection  source code.