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Step 3: Assign a Random Icon to Each Label

If the icons show up in the same cells every game, it's not very challenging. To avoid this, assign the icons randomly to the label controls on your form by using an AssignIconsToSquares() method.

To assign a random icon to each label

  1. Before adding the following code, consider how the method works. There's a new keyword: foreach in Visual C# and For Each in Visual Basic. (One of the lines is commented out on purpose, which is explained at the end of this procedure.)

    /// <summary> 
    /// Assign each icon from the list of icons to a random square 
    /// </summary> 
    private void AssignIconsToSquares()
    {
        // The TableLayoutPanel has 16 labels, 
        // and the icon list has 16 icons, 
        // so an icon is pulled at random from the list 
        // and added to each label 
        foreach (Control control in tableLayoutPanel1.Controls)
        {
            Label iconLabel = control as Label;
            if (iconLabel != null)
            {
                int randomNumber = random.Next(icons.Count);
                iconLabel.Text = icons[randomNumber];
                // iconLabel.ForeColor = iconLabel.BackColor;
                icons.RemoveAt(randomNumber);
            }
        }
    } 
    
  2. Add the AssignIconsToSquares() method as shown in the previous step. You can put it just below the code you added in Step 2: Add a Random Object and a List of Icons.

    As mentioned earlier, there's something new in your AssignIconsToSquares() method: a foreach loop in Visual C# and For Each in Visual Basic. You can use a For Each loop any time you want to do the same action multiple times. In this case, you want to execute the same statements for every label on your TableLayoutPanel, as explained by the following code. The first line creates a variable named control that stores each control one at a time while that control has the statements in the loop executed on it.

    foreach (Control control in tableLayoutPanel1.Controls)
    {
        // The statements you want to execute  
        // for each label go here 
        // The statements use iconLabel to access  
        // each label's properties and methods
    }
    
    Note Note

    The names "iconLabel" and "control" are used because they are descriptive. You can replace these names with any names, and the code will work exactly the same as long as you change the name in each statement inside the loop.

    The AssignIconsToSquares() method iterates through each label control in the TableLayoutPanel and executes the same statements for each of them. Those statements pull a random icon from the list that you added in Step 2: Add a Random Object and a List of Icons. (That's why you included two of each icon in the list, so there would be a pair of icons assigned to random label controls.)

    Look more closely at the code that runs inside the foreach or For Each loop. This code is reproduced here.

    Label iconLabel = control as Label;
    if (iconLabel != null)
    {
        int randomNumber = random.Next(icons.Count);
        iconLabel.Text = icons[randomNumber];
        // iconLabel.ForeColor = iconLabel.BackColor;
        icons.RemoveAt(randomNumber);
    }
    

    The first line converts the control variable to a label named iconLabel. The line after that is an if statement that checks to make sure the conversion worked. If the conversion does work, the statements in the if statement run. (As you may recall from the previous tutorials, the if statement is used to evaluate whatever condition you specify.) The first line in the if statement creates a variable named randomNumber that contains a random number that corresponds to one of the items in the icons list. To do this, it uses the Next method of the Random object that you created earlier. The Next method returns the random number. This line also uses the Count property of the icons list to determine the range from which to choose the random number. The next line assigns one of the icon list items to the Text property of the label. The commented-out line is explained later in this topic. Finally, the last line in the if statement removes from the list the icon that has been added to the form.

    Remember, if you're not sure about what some part of the code does, you can position the mouse pointer over a code element and review the resulting tooltip. You can also step through each line of code while the program is running by using the Visual Studio debugger. See How Do I: Step with The Debugger in Visual Studio? or Start, Break, Step, Run through Code, and Stop Debugging in Visual Studio for more information.

  3. To fill up the game board with icons, you need to call the AssignIconsToSquares() method as soon as the program starts. If you're using Visual C#, add a statement just below the call to the InitializeComponent() method in the Form1 constructor, so your form calls your new method to set itself up before it's shown. Constructors are called when you create a new object, such as a class or struct. See Constructors (C# Programming Guide) or Using Constructors and Destructors in Visual Basic for more information.

    public Form1()
    {
        InitializeComponent();
    
        AssignIconsToSquares();
    }
    

    For Visual Basic, add the AssignIconsToSquares() method call to the Form1_Load method so that the code looks like the following.

    Private Sub Form1_Load(sender As Object, e As EventArgs) Handles MyBase.Load
        AssignIconsToSquares()
    End Sub
    
  4. Save your program and run it. It should show a form with random icons assigned to each label.

  5. Close your program, and then run it again. Notice that different icons are assigned to each label, as shown in the following picture.

    Matching game with random icons

    Matching game with random icons

    The icons are visible now because you haven't hidden them. To hide them from the player, you can set each label's Forecolor property to the same color as its BackColor property.

    Tip Tip

    Another way to hide controls like labels is to set their Visible property to False.

  6. To hide the icons, stop the program and remove the comment marks for the commented line of code inside the For Each loop.

    iconLabel.ForeColor = iconLabel.BackColor;
    
  7. On the menu bar, choose the Save All button to save your program, and then run it. The icons seem to have disappeared—only a blue background appears. However, the icons are randomly assigned and are still there. Because the icons are the same color as the background, it hides them from the player. After all, it wouldn't be a very challenging game if the player could see all of the icons right away!

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