I recently needed to detect agents within a certain-field of view and came across this question in gamedev stack exchange. To learn how it works, I followed the first answer's guidance and decided to make a program that demonstrates how a "a field of view like collision detection" is done. But throughout the process, I struggled a lot with how to structure the program. Here is the code.

#include "olcPixelGameEngine.h"

#define PI 3.14159f
#define MAX(a, b) a > b ? a : b
#define MIN(a, b) a > b ? b : a

struct Point

    Point(olc::vf2d _position, float _directionAngle, float _rotationAngle) :
        position(_position), directionAngle(_directionAngle), rotationAngle(_rotationAngle)
    olc::vf2d position = { 0.0f, 0.0f };
    float directionAngle = 0.0f;
    float rotationAngle = 0.0f;
    bool withinSensoryRange = false;
    olc::Pixel color;

struct Triangle

    Triangle(olc::vf2d _p1, olc::vf2d _p2, olc::vf2d _p3) :
        p1(_p1), p2(_p2), p3(_p3)

    olc::vf2d p1 = { 0.0f,   -7.0f };
    olc::vf2d p2 = { -5.0f,   5.0f };
    olc::vf2d p3 = { 5.0f,    5.0f };

    Triangle TranslateAndRotate(const float rotationAngle, olc::vf2d offset)
        Triangle tri;
        tri.p1.x = cosf(rotationAngle) * p1.x - sinf(rotationAngle) * p1.y + offset.x;
        tri.p1.y = sinf(rotationAngle) * p1.x + cosf(rotationAngle) * p1.y + offset.y;
        tri.p2.x = cosf(rotationAngle) * p2.x - sinf(rotationAngle) * p2.y + offset.x;
        tri.p2.y = sinf(rotationAngle) * p2.x + cosf(rotationAngle) * p2.y + offset.y;
        tri.p3.x = cosf(rotationAngle) * p3.x - sinf(rotationAngle) * p3.y + offset.x;
        tri.p3.y = sinf(rotationAngle) * p3.x + cosf(rotationAngle) * p3.y + offset.y;
        return tri;

class PlayGround : public olc::PixelGameEngine


        sAppName = "PlayGround";


    bool debug = true;


    Triangle agent1;
    float rotationAngle1 = 0.0f;
    float sensoryRadius1 = 50.0f;
    float fov1 = PI;
    float agent1Speed = 120.0f;
    float directionPointDistance1 = 60.0f;
    olc::vf2d position1 = { 300.0f, 150.0f };


    olc::Pixel offWhite = olc::Pixel(200, 200, 200);


    float pointsSpeed = 10.0f;
    int nPoints = 1000;
    std::vector<std::unique_ptr<Point>> points;


    float GetDistance(float x1, float y1, float x2, float y2)
        return sqrtf((x2 - x1) * (x2 - x1) + (y2 - y1) * (y2 - y1));

    float DirectionAngle(float rotationAngle)
        return rotationAngle - (PI / 2.0f);


    bool OnUserCreate() override
        for (int i = 0; i < nPoints; i++)
            //4 random floats between 0 and 1 for initializing x, y and rotation angle and direction angle for point
            float rx = static_cast <float> (rand()) / static_cast <float> (RAND_MAX);
            float ry = static_cast <float> (rand()) / static_cast <float> (RAND_MAX);
            float rra = static_cast <float> (rand()) / static_cast <float> (RAND_MAX);
            float rda = static_cast <float> (rand()) / static_cast <float> (RAND_MAX);
            std::unique_ptr<Point> point = std::make_unique<Point>(olc::vf2d(rx * 600, ry * 300), rda * (PI * 2), rra * (PI * 2));

        return true;

    bool OnUserUpdate(float elapsedTime) override


        if (GetKey(olc::UP).bHeld)
            position1.x += cosf(DirectionAngle(rotationAngle1)) * elapsedTime * agent1Speed;
            position1.y += sinf(DirectionAngle(rotationAngle1)) * elapsedTime * agent1Speed;
        if (GetKey(olc::RIGHT).bHeld)
            rotationAngle1 += 3.0f * elapsedTime;
        if (GetKey(olc::LEFT).bHeld)
            rotationAngle1 -= 3.0f * elapsedTime;
        if (GetKey(olc::Q).bHeld)
            fov1 -= 3.0f * elapsedTime;
        if (GetKey(olc::W).bHeld)
            fov1 += 3.0f * elapsedTime;
        if (GetKey(olc::A).bHeld)
            sensoryRadius1 -= 50.0f * elapsedTime;
        if (GetKey(olc::S).bHeld)
            sensoryRadius1 += 50.0f * elapsedTime;
        if (GetKey(olc::D).bPressed)
            debug = !debug;

        fov1 = MAX(MIN(fov1, PI), 0);
        sensoryRadius1 = MAX(MIN(sensoryRadius1, 200), 0);


        Triangle transformedAgent1 = agent1.TranslateAndRotate(rotationAngle1, position1);

        //points that connects to the triangle to show the directiom vector
        olc::vf2d direction1;
        direction1.x = (cosf(DirectionAngle(rotationAngle1)) * directionPointDistance1) + position1.x;
        direction1.y = (sinf(DirectionAngle(rotationAngle1)) * directionPointDistance1) + position1.y;

        //these are the two field of view points one at angle + fov and other at angle - fov
        olc::vf2d fovPoints11;
        olc::vf2d fovPoints12;

        //calculating position based on the position of triangle, fov and the sensory range
        fovPoints11.x = (cosf(DirectionAngle(rotationAngle1 + fov1)) * sensoryRadius1) + position1.x;
        fovPoints11.y = (sinf(DirectionAngle(rotationAngle1 + fov1)) * sensoryRadius1) + position1.y;

        fovPoints12.x = (cosf(DirectionAngle(rotationAngle1 - fov1)) * sensoryRadius1) + position1.x;
        fovPoints12.y = (sinf(DirectionAngle(rotationAngle1 - fov1)) * sensoryRadius1) + position1.y;


        //within the sensory radius
        for (auto& point : points)
            float distance = GetDistance(point->position.x, point->position.y, position1.x, position1.y);
            if (distance < sensoryRadius1)
                point->withinSensoryRange = true;
                point->color = olc::BLACK;
                point->withinSensoryRange = false;

        //within the field of view
        for (auto& point : points)
            if (point->withinSensoryRange)
                olc::vf2d normalizedForwardVector = (direction1 - position1).norm();
                olc::vf2d normalizedPointCentreVector = (point->position - position1).norm();

                float dot = normalizedPointCentreVector.dot(normalizedForwardVector);

                if (dot >= cosf(fov1))
                    debug ? point->color = olc::RED : point->color = olc::WHITE;
                    debug ? point->color = olc::GREEN : point->color = olc::BLACK;


        Clear(olc::Pixel(52, 55, 54));

        if (debug)
            //draw control instructions
            DrawString(2, 40, "This is a toy program made to demonstrate how collision\ndetection within "
                "a field of view works. Black flies represent the\npoints that are comletely out "
                "of range. In debug mode,\nGreen ones represent the ones that are within the sensory\nraidus. The "
                "ones in the sensory radius are tested to\nsee if they are in the field of view, and "
                "if they\nare,they appear red.\n\nWhen debug mode is off, white flies\nrepresent the flies that can "
                "be seen", offWhite);

            DrawString(2, 10,
                "Press up, right and left keys for movement.\n"
                "Press w to increase FOV and q to reduce it.\n"
                "Press s to increase sensory range and a to decrease it.", offWhite);

        DrawString(2, 290, "Press d to toggle text and geometric debug data.", olc::Pixel(200, 250, 200));

        //display info 
        std::ostringstream fovValue;
        fovValue << "FOV: " << round(fov1 * 2.0f * (180 / PI)) << " degrees";
        DrawString(440, 280, fovValue.str(), offWhite);

        std::ostringstream sensoryRangeValue;
        sensoryRangeValue << "Sensory Range: " << round(sensoryRadius1);
        DrawString(440, 265, sensoryRangeValue.str(), offWhite);

        //transform (wobble while moving forward) and draw all the points
        for (auto& point : points)
            point->rotationAngle += 0.05f;
            point->directionAngle -= 0.05f;
            point->position.x += cosf(point->directionAngle) * sinf(point->rotationAngle) * elapsedTime * pointsSpeed;
            point->position.y += sinf(point->directionAngle) * sinf(point->rotationAngle) * elapsedTime * pointsSpeed;

            if (point->rotationAngle > PI * 2)
                point->rotationAngle = 0;
            if (point->rotationAngle < 0)
                point->rotationAngle = PI * 2;
            if (point->directionAngle > PI * 2)
                point->directionAngle = 0;
            if (point->directionAngle < 0)
                point->directionAngle = PI * 2;

            if (point->position.x > 600)
                point->position.x = 0;
            if (point->position.x < 0)
                point->position.x = 600;
            if (point->position.y > 300)
                point->position.y = 0;
            if (point->position.y < 0)
                point->position.y = 300;

            Draw((int)point->position.x, (int)point->position.y, point->color);

        if (debug)
            //lines from centre of triangle to fov points
            DrawLine((int)position1.x, (int)position1.y, (int)fovPoints11.x, (int)fovPoints11.y, olc::RED);
            DrawLine((int)position1.x, (int)position1.y, (int)fovPoints12.x, (int)fovPoints12.y, olc::RED);
            //field of view points
            FillCircle((int)fovPoints11.x, (int)fovPoints11.y, 2, olc::RED);
            FillCircle((int)fovPoints12.x, (int)fovPoints12.y, 2, olc::RED);
            //color the points between the two fov points in red
            float tempAngle = DirectionAngle(rotationAngle1 + fov1);
            while (tempAngle > DirectionAngle(rotationAngle1 - fov1))
                for (int i = 0; i < 3; i++)
                    Draw((int)(cosf(tempAngle) * (sensoryRadius1 + i)) + position1.x,
                        (int)(sinf(tempAngle) * (sensoryRadius1 + i)) + position1.y, olc::RED);
                tempAngle -= 0.01f;
            //draw sensory radius
            DrawCircle((int)position1.x, (int)position1.y, sensoryRadius1, olc::GREEN);
            //the straingt line signifying direction
            DrawLine((int)position1.x, (int)position1.y, (int)direction1.x, (int)direction1.y, offWhite);
        //Draw the main triangle body
            (int)transformedAgent1.p1.x, (int)transformedAgent1.p1.y,
            (int)transformedAgent1.p2.x, (int)transformedAgent1.p2.y,
            (int)transformedAgent1.p3.x, (int)transformedAgent1.p3.y,

        return true;

int main()
    PlayGround playGround;
    if (playGround.Construct(600, 300, 2, 2))

I am sure its bad and tons of optimizations can be made, but for this particular question, I want to focus on how I could have structured it better. Thank you.

It is made using pixel game engine, so if you wish to test it out, it needs this. Its a single file library, so easy to set up.


Avoid using macros

Try to avoid macros where possible; usually a better solution is available. For constants, prefer using constexpr:

static constexpr float PI = 3.14159...f;

Instead of MIN and MAX, just use std::min() and std::max(). Or if you can use C++17, use std::clamp().

Constructors and member initialization

If you need to explicitly add a default constructor, prefer doing that using = default.

When initializing members to zero, you can do that very concisely using value initialization, which looks like this:

olc::vf2d position{};

Separate translation and rotation

Instead of having a TranslateAndRotate() function, consider splitting that up into a separate Translate() and Rotate(). This is more flexible, and it also removes an ambiguity: does your function translate first and then rotate, or the other way around? You can also greatly simplify these functions, especially when using a little helper to rotate single Points:

Triangle Translate(olc::vf2d offset)
    return {p1 + offset, p2 + offset, p3 + offset};

Triangle Rotate(float angle)
    static const auto rotate = [](olc::vf2d p, float angle) -> olc::vf2d {
        return {
            p.x * std::cos(angle) - p.y * std::sin(angle),
            p.x * std::sin(angle) + p.y * std::cos(angle)

    return {rotate(p1, angle), rotate(p2, angle), rotate(p3, angle)};

I used a lambda here, but you could also write that as a regular function. You can now use this as follows:

Triangle transformedAgent1 = agent1.Rotate(rotationAngle1).Translate(position1);

Avoid using smart pointers unnecessarily

There is no reason to use std::unique_ptr to store Points in a vector. Instead just write:

std::vector<Point> points;

When adding points to this class, you can write:

for (int i = 0; i < nPoints; i++)
    float rx = ...;
    float ry = ...;
    float rra = ...;
    float rrd = ...;
    points.emplace_back(olc::vf2d{rx * 600, ry * 600}, rda * PI * 2, rra * PI * 2);

Use proper random number generators

Since C++11 there are proper random number generator functions, there is no need to use the rather ugly rand().

Use std::

Teach yourself to use std:: consistently when using functions from the standard library, and avoid relying on using namespace std. Also note that using math functions from std:: has the benefit of automatically using the right overload. For example, instead of sinf(...), write std::sin(...), if the argument is a float it will pick the overload for floats. That's one less thing to worry about.

Be consistent using olc::vf2d

If you have a proper type for 2D vectors, you rarely have to pass coordinates in separate floats anymore. For example, GetDistance can be rewritten to:

float GetDistance(olc::vf2d p1, olc::vf2d p2)
    return std::hypot(p2.x - p1.x, p2.y - p1.y);

And use it like so in OnUserUpdate():

float distance = GetDistance(point.position, position1);

Avoid repetition

Avoid repeating yourself where possible, even if it's small things, like the ternaries in OnUserUpdate():

if (dot >= cosf(fov1))
    debug ? point.color = olc::RED : point.color = olc::WHITE;

This can be rewritten to:

if (dot >= std::cos(fov1))
    point.color = debug ? olc::RED : olc::WHITE;

Split the code into more functions

The function OnUserUpdate() is quite long. Consider splitting it up into multiple functions, so that OnUserUpdate() just gives you a high-level overview of what it is doing:

bool OnUserUpdate(float elapsedTime) override

    return true;

Each of these functions could be split into multiple parts as well if necessary, for example updating the state could look like:

void UpdateState(float elapsedTime)

And drawing could look like:

void DrawScreen()
    Clear({52, 55, 54});

    if (debug)


Wrapping values

If you wnat to clamp a variable between a low and high value, you can use the std::max+std::min() trick, or C++17's std::clamp(). However, you also have a few variables that you want to let wrap. You are doing this four times, so already you should have created a function to do this that will reduce code duplication.

Your code also checks if a value is larger than, say, PI * 2, and if so you reset it to zero. However, suppose the value was actually PI * 2 + 0.1, then ideally after wrapping the result should be 0.1, not 0. You could change your code to subtract PI * 2 until it is in range, but we can avoid if and while statement altogether by making use of std::floor, like so:

float wrap(float value, float max)
     value /= max;
     value -= std::floor(value); // value is now in the range [0, 1)
     value *= max;
     return value;

And with this you can write:

point.rotationAngle = wrap(point.rotationAngle, PI * 2);
point.directionAngle = wrap(point.directionAngle, PI * 2);
point.position.x = wrap(point.position.x, 600);
point.position.y = wrap(point.position.y, 300);
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hello, Thanks for the answer. You see the for loop below the comment //transform (wobble while moving forward) and draw all the points. I am doing all the transformations and drawings in the same loop. I was struggling with how to separate those two out. What would be your advice? \$\endgroup\$ – Apple_Banana May 9 at 11:40
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I would indeed separate the code. Make one function that updates the state, and another one that draw everything. I've updated the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – G. Sliepen May 9 at 14:59

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