WPF C# Tutorial – Hit Testing with Multiple Rectangle Objects

This tutorial will show you how to make a WPF application that can detect hit test with multiple objects. This tutorial will be slightly similar to the platform drop down game but, in this case, we will only move one of the rectangles around the screen and use gravity to drop it between other rectangles on the screen. This small app will be made in Visual Studio 2019 using the WPF format. You can follow along with any other visual studio version that supports WPF.


  • Create a rectangle drop-down app in WPF and C# in Visual Studio 2019
  • Adding keyboard events in WPF
  • Adding timer and timer events in WPF
  • Animating Rectangle with key down and key up event
  • Creating for each loop and checking hit test with other rectangles
  • Using Rect class to determine if the objects are colliding
  • Moving player object left and right within the Canvas boundary
  • Identify which platform player lands on and show names of the objects colliding

Video Tutorial –


Written Tutorial –

Create a new WPF App under C# in Visual Studio.

Name the project MultipleHitTestExample, you can select where you save the project and click CREATE.

This is the default view of the WPF and the window below is the XML code. We can see the outlook of the app in the WPF part but we have to add the codes in the XML part of the code where you will be able to add buttons, labels, pictures and more.

This is the default XML code. We are going to make some changes to it first.

Notice there is a <GRID> </GRID> code in the XML. The kind of app we want to make we need to use <CANVAS> </CANVAS>. Grid allows you to make apps that are responsive and scale able however it’s not great with animation so we need to CANVAS that does animation pretty well.

Delete the GRID from the code and add the following –

Lets go over the XML code first –

Title=”MainWindow” Height=”600″ Width=”525″ FocusManager.FocusedElement=”{Binding ElementName=MyCanvas}“>

First inside the title put the code above, this code will focus right on the Canvas when the app is loaded, this part of code will allow the program to respond key down and key up event.

<Canvas Name=”MyCanvas” KeyDown=”Canvas_KeyDown” KeyUp=”Canvas_KeyUp” Focusable=”True” Margin=”0,0,0.4,-59.6″ HorizontalAlignment=”Right” Width=”518″ >

This is the open canvas code, inside this tag we have several options included such as key down and key up events, whether this canvas is focusable when its loaded, margin, horizontal alignment and width.

<Label FontSize=”16″ Canvas.Left=”20″>Landed on:</Label>

<Label Name=”infoTxt” FontSize=”16″ Canvas.Left=”113″>???</Label>

These two lines of code above will add two labels to the screen. We will use them to see which platform the player character lands on.

<Rectangle Name=”rec1″ Width=”50″ Height=”50″ Margin=”0″ Canvas.Left=”307″ Canvas.Top=”51″ Fill=”Blue” />

This is the first rectangle; inside the tag we are giving this rectangle some properties. We need to give it a name and, in this case, its rec1. We give its width and height of 50, when we declare a number inside of this it calculates in pixels so this rectangle will be 50 pixels wide and 50 pixels high. We are leaving the margin to 0. We can set it to where we want it so in this case, we want this rectangle to be 307 pixels from the left and 51 pixels from the top.

<Rectangle Name=”platform1″ Width=”337″ Height=”50″ Margin=”0″ Canvas.Left=”143″ Canvas.Top=”144″ Tag=”platform” Fill=”Brown”/>

<Rectangle Name=”platform2″ Width=”337″ Height=”50″ Margin=”0″ Canvas.Left=”20″ Canvas.Top=”283″ Tag=”platform” Fill=”Orange”/>

<Rectangle Name=”platform3″ Width=”337″ Height=”50″ Margin=”0″ Canvas.Left=”143″ Canvas.Top=”463″ Tag=”platform” Fill=”Red”/>

Above the are 3 platforms for this app. I you look inside these tags you will notice they all have similar properties inside the rectangle tag. Each of them has their own names, height, width and location. We also have a TAG property in them, this is important because we will use this to detect the collision between these and the rec1.


Lastly we end the canvas as we will not need to add anything else to it. Now lets get to the coding.

Adding Events

Right click on the Canvas_KeyDown and you will see the option Go to Definition. By clicking on this option Visual Studio will add the event got us. Nice right.

Right click and then click on Go to Definition.

Visual studio will open the C# script file that’s linked to this app and then add the Canvas_KeyDown event.

Now right click on the Canvas_KeyUp and Click on Go to definition.

As you can see both of the events are added to the code now.

On top of screen, under the line using System.Windows.Shapes; we need to add the line

using System.Windows.Threading;

By default, WPF forms app will not include the timer, but we can add it ourselves to use it in this app. We need the timer to use as the main engine for the app since there will be objects moving and colliding with each other we need a timer to keep track of all of these activities. By adding this line we will have access to the timer properties.

Now before the public MainWindow() line we need to add our global variables, these variables can be accessed from any function in this program this is why we call it GLOBAL.

int speed = 10; this is an integer variable which holds the number 10 inside of it. It will help us move the character.

int dropSpeed = 10; another integer which holds 10, this integer will be used to simulate gravity for this app.

bool goLeft, goRight; this is a short-handed way to declare variables. Both go left and right are Boolean type variables they only have two options, it can either be true or false. By default, it will be set to false when we declare it unless we set to true. Both of these variables will be used in the key down and up function to help us move the character left and right.

Inside the MainWindow() function we will declare the timer and initialize it. We are adding the following lines to this function, this is the function that runs first when the app will load so we want to initialize the timer when the app loads so the activities and instruction will be ready soon as its loaded on the screen.

DispatherTimer dispatcherTime = new DispatcherTimer(); this line is accessing the timer class from the Threading we added earlier. This line tells the app that we need this timer in this app so allows us to make a new instance of the class.

dispatcherTime.Tick += dispatcherTimer_Tick; this line is telling the program that the main timer will have this dispatcherTime_Tick event to run with each tick. So, each time the timer goes from 1 to 2 to 3 it will run this event. This event will hold most of the logic for this app.

dispatcherTimer.Interval = TimeSpan.FromMilliseconds(20); to make this app more fluent we need to make the timer tick faster, this line is telling the app we want to run the event linked to this timer every 20 milliseconds, so when we move the character it doesn’t look too choppy it looks better.

dispatcherTimer.Start(); this line will start the timer when then main app loads.

You will notice that the dispatcherTimer_Tick line will be red. This is ok for now because the program is looking for this event in the background and we haven’t created it just yet. Once we create it, the red line will go away.

Under the Canvas_KeyUp event you can now type the following event. Make sure you type it in before the last two curly brackets because it needs to be within the same class as the other function.

Type the function as it is above. This function is linked to the timer, so with every tick it run. Once you have typed this up the redline, we discussed earlier it will go away now.

Time to type up some instruction for all of the functions we added for this app so far.

Canvas Key Down Event –

In this function we have two if statements inside of it, it will check for the right and left key presses. We are checking IF e.Key == Key.Left meaning if the app event catches the left key then we will change goLeft Boolean to true. We are doing the same for the right key.

Canvas Key Up Event –

This event will trigger when we release the keys on the keyboard. Its similar to the key down event except we are changing the goLeft and goRight Booleans back to false. The idea behind this is we want the player to move left and right only when the keys are press and stop when the keys are released.

Dispatcher Timer Tick Event –

This event will control all of the aspects of this app, it may be slightly lengthy but go through the lines and comments are presented in the code in Green text so its easier to understand.

// this line below will control the player drop speed

This is the first line in the code, this line is setting the TOP or Y axis of the rectangle. The way this line works is in WPF, we cannot simply call rec1.LEFT or rec1.TOP as we do in windows form application. Since we are using CANVAS in WPF we need to evoke the Canvas class to make this object move in the scene. If we were to simply move rec1 to a selected location we can do this Canvas.SetTop(rec1, 200); This will move the REC1 rectangle to 200 pixels from the left of the scene. We want to move this rectangle dynamically we need to first get the Y axis of the rectangle and then add the drop speed to it, this is way we are first using the Canvas.SetTop linking the rec1 to it, then we are using Canvas.GetTop and accessing the current Y axis of rec1 and finally adding drop speed integer to it.

This line is the for each loop. For each loop are used to identify objects that are inside of the app. In this loop we are looking for Rectangle objects in this app. In this code above we are creating a variable called X this will contain all of the rectangles from this canvas, this way we can access each of them from the app and it will make it easier to check for collisions and give further instructions. The foreach loop starts and ends with its own curly brackets. Make sure you add them first before typing the code inside of it.

We are starting a new if statement here, if the platform ID contains the word platform then we can run the instructions from inside.

When we find the platform icons in the Canvas we will first give it a black order around it, so its more visually identifiable and it shows us the loop is working.

I think the comments explain these lines very well, but there are few more things we need to mention here. First Rectangles as an object in C# doesn’t have any interests with function to see if its overlapping any other rectangle in the canvas, so we are going with the Rect class instead. First we made a Rect player = new Rect(); <- this line is going to create a new instance of the Rect class called player then we are sending some information in the new player rect. With each Rect object we can send the width, height, X position and Y position of the object. This is perfect for us because we can link it directly with our rect1 object. So, inside the brackets we are giving it Canvas.GetLeft(rec1), Canvas.GetTop(rec1), rec1.Width, rec1.Height);

If you look at the platforms Rect we created right under the player one, its slightly different because we are sending the x values such as height, width, x and y with it. This is because the loop we are running is saving all of the platform information inside X variable so we can access all of the data from one instead of writing more lines of code. Neat right.

Now we can check if they are colliding at any point. We are going to do this by using a IF statement. Take a look below.

In this if statement we are checking IF PLAYER Rect intersects with platform Rect then

We change the drop speed integer value to 0, so player does fall down any more.

This line above is setting the player above the platforms, so we can set the top of the player object rect1 by getting the top position of X (platform) and deducting the height of the player object. So, this will make it look like the player object has landed on the platform and is sitting right on top of it.

This line will show which platform we have landed on. If we have landed on a platform then it will show the name on the Canvas.

IF none of the above has happened then we can simply keep the player object falling until it hits something.

In the if statement above, we are checking if the player has dropped below the actual height of the window, if so, we will set the rect1 back to top so it looks like its dropping from the top. By setting the Y value to – 50 it will drop back from top of the screen.

This if statement will move the player character towards left of the screen however we don’t want the player to disappear from left of the screen so we want to make sure the player is at least 15 pixels away from the left then we can move it towards the left, if player isn’t 15 pixels then it will simply stop there. Player object will only move when its position is more than 15 pixels from the left else it will stop.

In the if statement above we are checking the right movement of the player object, IF go right Boolean is true and player object’s left position + player width + 10 is less than applications windows total width then we can move the character towards right of the screen, otherwise it will stop.

Now hit that green play (debug) button to see how it runs.

You should be able to able land on the platforms and it will show the platform name on the screen along with moving left and right, also when we drop of the platform it should bring the player character back to top of the screen.

Full C# Source Code –

Double check the code if you haven’t already, any errors can be tracked with this source code and make sure the spelling for the objects are correct. Hopefully you had fun with this and will see you on the next one.

Comment on this tutorial and let us know how you got on -