HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
Moving on a Vector
Moving between two points is handy, but sometimes you don't have a point to move to, only
a point to start from. In cases like this, it can be very useful to create a vector as a means to
move your object.
A vector is a quantity in physics that has both magnitude and direction. For our purposes, the
magnitude will be the speed value of the moving object, and the direction will be an angle
value that the object will move upon.
The good news is that moving on a vector is very similar to moving between two points. In
canvasApp() , we first set our speed value (magnitude). This is the number of pixels the ob-
ject will move on every call to drawScreen() . We will set this to 5 . We will also set the start-
ing point ( p1 ) for the object to 20 , 20 :
var speed = 5 ;
var p1 = { x : 20 , y : 20 };
Now, we will set the angle value (direction) of movement for our object to 45 degrees. In
mathematics, a flat, straight line usually represents the 0 angle, which means a vector with an
angle of 45 degrees would be down and to the right on the canvas.
With our angle set, we now need to convert it to radians. Radians are a standard unit of angle
measurement, and most mathematical calculations require you to convert an angle into radi-
ans before you can use it.
So why not just use radians and forget degrees altogether? Because it is much easier to under-
stand movement in degrees when working with vectors and moving objects on a 2D surface.
While a circle has 360 degrees, it has just about 6 radians, which are calculated counterclock-
wise. This might make perfect sense to mathematicians, but to move objects on a computer
screen, angles are much easier. Therefore, we will work with angles, but we still need to con-
vert our 45-degree angle into radians. We do that with a standard formula: radians = angle
* Math.PI/ 180 . And in the code:
var angle = 45 ;
var radians = angle * Math . PI / 180 ;
Before we can discuss how we calculate the movement of our object along our vector, we
need to review a couple trigonometric concepts. These are cosine and sine , and both relate to
the arc created by our angle (now converted to radians ), if it was drawn outward from the
center of the circle.
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