23. September 2017

SDL2_ttf for Android with TrueType font support

Common library for displaying a text in SDL2 application is SDL2_ttf. The library is a wrapper on FreeType library. It is necessary to add both libraries into a project.

Let’s start with FreeType dependency. Add build.gradle file. Just be aware that there will be many excluded files. The library itself is very huge, and only a fraction of functions is necessary for the application.

...
sources {
      main {
          jni {
              source {
                  srcDir "src"
                  exclude "autofit"
                  exclude "smooth/smooth.c"
...
                   // Including this file in build causes duplications, because it includes directly C files
                   exclude "truetype/truetype.c"
                   exclude "type1"
                   exclude "type42"
                   exclude "winfonts"
              }
          }
      }
}

Adding SDL2_ttf is similar to other libraries like SDL2_jpeg or SDL2_mixer.

SDL2_ttf and FreeType modules should be also registered at settings.gradle:

include ':freetype'
...
include ':SDL2_ttf'

The first step to displaying text on the screen is to initialize the library and load a font:

#include "SDL_ttf.h"
...    
if (TTF_Init() == -1) {
    SDL_LogError(SDL_LOG_CATEGORY_APPLICATION, "TTF_Init: %s\n", TTF_GetError());
    return 7;
}

The next step is to load a font. The file should be stored in app/src/main/assets.

TTF_Font *font = TTF_OpenFont("blazed.ttf", 32);
if (!font) {
    SDL_LogError(SDL_LOG_CATEGORY_APPLICATION,
                 "Unable to load font: %s\n", TTF_GetError());
    return 8;
}

The next step is to render a text:

SDL_Color textColor = { 255, 240, 0, 255 };
SDL_Surface* solid = TTF_RenderText_Solid(font, "SDL2 Android Example", textColor);

SDL_Texture* solidTexture = SDL_CreateTextureFromSurface(renderer, solid);
SDL_RenderCopy(renderer, solidTexture, NULL, &dstrect);
SDL_FreeSurface(solid);

Here is the result:

You can find the source code at GitHub in sdl2-android-example repository. Further articles about SDL2 and Android are available under the tag SDL2.

20. September 2017

SDL2 Android application crash on device rotation

If SDL2 application should support rotation it is necessary to add the following line to AndroidManifest.xml activity:

android:configChanges="orientation"

The XML will look like this:

<activity
    android:name="rocks.georgik.sdlapp.MainActivity"
    android:label="@string/title_activity_main"
    android:configChanges="orientation">
    <intent-filter>
        <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />
    </intent-filter>
</activity>

The rotation of the application now works without problem:

Thanks to José Luis Pereira for the hint how to solve the issue.

The source code of the sample SDL2 application is stored at GitHub.

13. September 2017

SDL2_mixer for Android playing WAV file

In previous articles, we were talking about PNG and JPEG support in SDL2 for Android. Let’s add some sounds to our application.

The initial steps are same as in case of SDL2_image.

Register library in settings.gradle:

include ':SDL2_mixer'

The library should be stored in SDL2_mixer directory with build.gradle that written in style for a library.

Now update our C application.

First of all, it is necessary to initialize the library. Then it is possible to load the sound file.

    if (Mix_OpenAudio(22050, MIX_DEFAULT_FORMAT, 2, 4096) == -1 ) {
        SDL_LogError(SDL_LOG_CATEGORY_APPLICATION,
                     "Couldn't open mixer: %s", SDL_GetError());
        return 2;
    }
    Mix_Chunk *sample = Mix_LoadWAV("cuckoo.wav");
    if (sample == NULL) {
        SDL_LogError(SDL_LOG_CATEGORY_APPLICATION, 
                     "Unable to load wave file\n");
        return 3;
    }

The file WAV should be stored in app/src/main/assets. Just small reminder: this is just a virtual directory, and you won’t be able to access it from other application on Android.

Playing the sound is simple:

Mix_PlayChannel(-1, sample, 0);

The last important thing about SDL2_mixer is that you should close SDL2_mixer when exiting the main. Otherwise, when you relaunch SDLActivity, it won’t be able to play any sound.

Mix_CloseAudio();

You can find the source code at GitHub in sdl2-android-example repository. Further articles about SDL2 and android are available under the tag SDL2.

7. September 2017

Gradle Experimental Plugin Android error: Cannot invoke method dependencies()

After initial setup of SDL2 application for Android, I decided to add one activity before launching SDL. So I created the new MainActivity which should launch SDLActivity after a tap on the button.

This time Gradle Experimental Plugin gave me a very fancy error: Cannot invoke method dependencies() on null object.

As always the error message does not provide too many hints how to solve the issue.

Android Studio automatically just appended a dependency into the Gradle file during creation of new MainActivity. So the code in build.gradle looked like this:

tasks.whenTaskAdded { task ->
    if (task.name.contains('compile')) {
        task.dependsOn ':main:distributeLib'
    }
}dependencies {
    compile 'com.android.support.constraint:constraint-layout:+'
}

Little bit weird code for dependencies. The solution was just to add a new line.

tasks.whenTaskAdded { task ->
    if (task.name.contains('compile')) {
        task.dependsOn ':main:distributeLib'
    }
}

dependencies {
    compile 'com.android.support.constraint:constraint-layout:+'
}

The whole project is available at github.com/georgik/sdl2-android-example project.

More articles about SDL2 for Android are available under tag sdl2.

3. September 2017

Difference between libraries and main Android application based on SDL2 built by Gradle 4

Gradle Android Experimental Plugin works without problem with Android Studio and it is the recommended approach use it when starting a new project with NDK.

It’s very easy to get started, but there are some traps. Let’s explore common mistake when writing Gradle build script for Android with NDK.

In case of an application which is based on C libraries, the goal is clear. Build libraries and then link everything into the final project.

The tricky part is the definition of dependencies. The definition for the main and for libraries is different. If you use the same style of definition you may run into error like: Android Studio is not able to import the project, because of missing .so file.

Here is the definition which you can find in build.gradle for the main module:

model {
     repositories {
        libs(PrebuiltLibraries) {
            SDL2 {
                headers.srcDir "../SDL2/include"
                binaries.withType(SharedLibraryBinary) {
                    sharedLibraryFile = file("${gradle.libDistributionRoot}/SDL2/lib/${targetPlatform.getName()}/libSDL2.so")
                }
            }
            SDL2_image {
                headers.srcDir "../SDL2_image/include"
                binaries.withType(SharedLibraryBinary) {
                    sharedLibraryFile = file("${gradle.libDistributionRoot}/SDL2_image/lib/${targetPlatform.getName()}/libSDL2_image.so")
                }
            }

        }
    }

   android {
        compileSdkVersion = gradle.sdkVersion
        buildToolsVersion = '25.0.3'

        defaultConfig {
            minSdkVersion.apiLevel = 13
            versionCode = 1
            versionName = '1.0'
        }
        ndk {
            moduleName = 'main'
            cppFlags.addAll([
                    "-I" + file("../SDL2/include/").absolutePath,
                    "-I" + file("../SDL2_image/include/").absolutePath,
            ])
            CFlags.addAll([
                    "-I" + file("../SDL2/include/").absolutePath,
                    "-I" + file("../SDL2_image/include/").absolutePath,
            ])
            stl "stlport_static"
        }

        sources {
            main {
                jni {
                    dependencies {
                        library 'SDL2' linkage 'shared'
                        library 'SDL2_jpeg' linkage 'shared'
                        library 'SDL2_png' linkage 'shared'
                        library 'SDL2_image' linkage 'shared'
                    }
                    source {
                        srcDirs 'src/'
                    }
                }
            }
        }

    }
}

If you look close enough, you’ll see that the first part of the file contains a definition of PrebuiltLibraries. These libraries are referencing directly the .so file. In the section dependencies, you can find reference to the declared dependencies.

Gradle will just build the app and it will grab all referenced .so files and put them into a final application. That is correct for the main module. When you’re writing build files for libraries, you should take a different approach.

Here is an example of SDL2_image/build.gradle file:

apply plugin: 'com.android.model.native'

model {

    android {
        compileSdkVersion = gradle.sdkVersion
        buildToolsVersion = '25.0.3'

        defaultConfig {
            minSdkVersion.apiLevel = 13
            versionCode = 1
            versionName = '1.0'
        }
        ndk {
            moduleName = 'SDL2_image'
            ldLibs.addAll(["GLESv1_CM", "EGL", "GLESv2", "log", "android", "dl"])
            CFlags.addAll(["-DGL_GLEXT_PROTOTYPES"])
            CFlags.addAll(["-I" + file("include/").absolutePath,
                           "-DGL_GLEXT_PROTOTYPES",
                           "-DLOAD_JPG",
                           "-DLOAD_PNG",
                           "-DLOAD_XPM"
            ])
        }

        sources {
            main {
                jni {
                    dependencies {
                        project ':SDL2' linkage 'shared'
                        project ':SDL2_jpeg' linkage 'shared'
                        project ':SDL2_png' linkage 'shared'
                    }
                    exportedHeaders {
                        srcDir "../SDL2/include"
                        srcDir "../SDL2_jpeg/include"
                        srcDir "../SDL2_png/include"
                    }
                    source {
                        srcDir "src"

                    }
                }
            }
        }

    }
}

Here you can see that there is no definition of PrebuiltLibraries, but the sources contain dependencies on projects of other libraries. In addition to that, there is exportedHeaders declaration which will tell the compiler where to find .h files. That is because you do not need any reference to .so dependencies when building .so library. You need just headers.

The different is very small in the dependencies section. It can simplify your build process if you use it correctly.

Here is an example of an error that occurs when the .so file is missing and library is referencing the file:

project refresh failed Error:Exception thrown while executing model rule: 
NdkComponentModelPlugin.Rules#createNativeBuildModel(NativeBuildConfig, ModelMap<androidbinaryinternal>, ModelMap<ndkabioptions>, NdkHandler) > create...

You can fix either build files or you can build missing libraries one by one.

The correct version of build files is available in sdl2-android-example project.