Currently a player can only shoot once. The camera will follow the flying penguin, but won't scroll back to the catapult when the attempt is completed. We will change that in this chapter. The rules will be the following: If a penguin leaves the left or right bound of the level, or if it moves at very slow speed, we will trigger the next attempt to start.

We will have to check if any of these conditions become true on a regular basis - we can use Cocos2D's update method to do so.

Implementing the update method

Before we actually implement the update method - add a constant to Gameplay.m that defines the minimum speed which we will use to check if a penguin is slow enough for the round to end:

static const float MIN_SPEED = 5.f;

The value '5' works good for our physics setting. If you have changed the physics properties of your objects you might want to experiment a little with this value.

Now we can implement the update method. This method is automatically called by Cocos2D every frame.

- (void)update:(CCTime)delta
    // if speed is below minimum speed, assume this attempt is over
    if (ccpLength(_currentPenguin.physicsBody.velocity) < MIN_SPEED){
        [self nextAttempt];

    int xMin = _currentPenguin.boundingBox.origin.x;

    if (xMin < self.boundingBox.origin.x) {
        [self nextAttempt];

    int xMax = xMin + _currentPenguin.boundingBox.size.width;

    if (xMax > (self.boundingBox.origin.x + self.boundingBox.size.width)) {
        [self nextAttempt];

While this may look a little complicated at first, what actually is going on is only a tiny bit of math. We check whether the speed is below our defined limit. Therefore we use the ccpLength function that calculates the square length of our velocity (basically the x- and y-component of the speed combined). Further we check if the penguin has exited the level through the left or right boundary. If anything of this happens, we call the nextAttempt method and return immediately (to avoid that nextAttempt is called multiple times).

Implementing the nextAttempt method

The most important thing we need to do in the nextAttempt method is scrolling back to the catapult. However, since we already are running an action to follow the penguin, we need to stop this action before we start another scrolling action (otherwise Cocos2D would understandably be confused about these two conflicting instructions).

Cocos2D provides a method called stopAction: that can be called on any CCNode. However we need a reference (a variable) for the action we want to stop. So as a first step create a new member variable:

@implementation Gameplay {

    CCAction *_followPenguin;

Then modify the code in releaseCatapult to assign the scrolling action to this newly created variable:

    // follow the flying penguin
    _followPenguin = [CCActionFollow actionWithTarget:_currentPenguin worldBoundary:self.boundingBox];
    [_contentNode runAction:_followPenguin];

Now we are ready to implement the nextAttempt method! Add this method to Gameplay.m:

- (void)nextAttempt {
    _currentPenguin = nil;
    [_contentNode stopAction:_followPenguin];

    CCActionMoveTo *actionMoveTo = [CCActionMoveTo actionWithDuration:1.f position:ccp(0, 0)];
    [_contentNode runAction:actionMoveTo];

First we reset the reference to the _currentPenguin, because once an attempt is completed we consider none of the penguins as current one. Then we stop the scrolling action in the second line. Finally we create a new action to scroll back to the catapult.

Just one more optimization

You may already have realized that there is one potential problem with the current solution. Assuming the player pulls back the catapult very slow a next attempt can be triggered before the penguin even launched.

To avoid this happening we will add a flag to the Penguin that stores if it has been launched already or not.

Open Penguin.h and add this property:

@property (nonatomic, assign) BOOL launched;

To access this new property from Gameplay.m we will need to import the Penguin header by adding this line to the top of the file:

#import "Penguin.h"

And change the member variable _currentPenguin to be of type Penguin instead of CCNode

Penguin *_currentPenguin;

Now you will also have to change the line in touchBegan, where the penguin is loaded:

_currentPenguin = (Penguin*)[CCBReader load:@"Penguin"];

You have to change this, because CCBReader only returns CCNodes, so if you know that the "Penguin" file actually contains an object of type Penguin you have to add a cast as shown in the line above.

Now that we have access to the launched property of the penguin, we can add a check to the update method, so that everything is only executed if the penguin has already launched:

- (void)update:(CCTime)delta
    if (_currentPenguin.launched) {
    ... // <- all previous content of this method belongs inside of this if-statement

Now all the checks will only be performed after firing the penguin.

As a final step we actually need to set the launched flag to TRUE, once a penguin is fired. Therefore add this line to the releaseCatapult method:

_currentPenguin.launched = TRUE;

With this important optimization our next attempt mechanism is completed for now! You just have improved the game quite a bit. Run your game and confirm that everything works as expected.

You are ready to move on to the next chapter where you will learn how you can make this game iPad compatible!


If you have feedback on this tutorial or find any mistakes, please open issues on the GitHub Repository or comment below.

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