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Demonstrate one way to render text-based line-drawings in Python with curses.
The main function here is add_box_char(), which provides a user-friendly
interface to render line-drawings, often referred to as "box-drawing," in a
Here are the box-drawing characters used, along with their direction sets;
the direction set is the key input to add_box_char():
─ 0x2500 {'right', 'left'}
┌ 0x250c {'right', 'down'}
┐ 0x2510 {'left', 'down'}
┬ 0x252c {'right', 'left', 'down'}
└ 0x2514 {'right', 'up'}
┘ 0x2518 {'left', 'up'}
┴ 0x2534 {'right', 'left', 'up'}
│ 0x2502 {'down', 'up'}
├ 0x251c {'right', 'down', 'up'}
┤ 0x2524 {'left', 'down', 'up'}
┼ 0x253c {'right', 'left', 'down', 'up'}
Useful links:
import curses
# These next two functions are not used here, but they demonstrate one way to
# start and end a curses session. Below I've opted to use the convenient
# curses.wrapper() idiom instead.
def start_curses():
stdscr = curses.initscr()
return stdscr
def end_curses(stdscr):
def add_box_char(stdscr, y, x, dirs, name_char=False):
""" Print a single box-drawing character at (x, y) based on the direction
set given in `dirs`, which is expected to have elements from
'up', 'down', 'left', 'right'. The `dirs` set cannot be a singleton.
I have mixed feelings about this code. It works. Yet it is not at all
beautiful. It seems no better than a lookup table. But I spent time
figuring out how to do this in relatively few lines, so I'm leaving it
if len(dirs) == 0:
# The characters |, -, and + are special-cased here.
if dirs == {'up', 'down'}:
chr_code = 0x2502
elif dirs == {'left', 'right'}:
chr_code = 0x2500
elif len(dirs) == 4:
chr_code = 0x253c
# All other cases are handled by the next block.
chr_code = 0x24d4 + 0x1c * len(dirs)
if 'left' in dirs:
chr_code += 0x04
if 'up' in dirs:
chr_code += 0x08
if len(dirs) > 2:
if 'right' not in dirs:
chr_code -= 0x10
if 'left' not in dirs:
chr_code -= 0x14
stdscr.addstr(y, x, chr(chr_code))
if name_char:
stdscr.addstr(y, x + 2, hex(chr_code))
def draw_grid(stdscr):
xmin, xmax = 64, 128
ymin, ymax = 8, 32
for x in range(xmin, xmax + 1):
for y in range(ymin, ymax + 1):
dirs = set()
if x % 4 == 0:
dirs |= {'up', 'down'}
if y % 2 == 0:
dirs |= {'left', 'right'}
if x == xmin:
dirs -= {'left'}
if y == ymin:
dirs -= {'up'}
if x == xmax:
dirs -= {'right'}
if y == ymax:
dirs -= {'down'}
add_box_char(stdscr, y, x, dirs)
def main(stdscr):
stdscr.addstr(1, 1, 'Press any key to quit.')
# Demonstrate how we can render a full grid to screen.
# This is a little test for add_box_char().
empty = set()
x = 5
y = 20
for a in [empty, {'up'}]:
for b in [empty, {'down'}]:
for c in [empty, {'left'}]:
for d in [empty, {'right'}]:
dirs = a.union(b).union(c).union(d)
if len(dirs) < 2:
stdscr.addstr(y, x + 9, str(dirs))
add_box_char(stdscr, y, x, dirs, name_char=True)
y += 2
key = stdscr.getkey() # This is how you can capture key info.
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tylerneylon commented May 17, 2020

This is what the script produces:

Screen Shot 2020-05-16 at 10 08 29 PM

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