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oakes / play-clj


A Clojure game library



A Clojure library that provides a wrapper for libGDX, allowing you to write 2D and 3D games that run on desktop OSes (Windows, OS X, and Linux) and mobile OSes (Android and iOS) with the same Clojure codebase. The mobile support is currently experimental, and may have poor performance or even fail to run on some devices.

Getting Started

There are several different ways to create a project:

  • Leiningen: lein new play-clj hello-world
  • Nightcode: Click "New Project", provide a name, and choose the "Game" option
  • Nightmod: Easiest option for beginners


The best thing about making a game in Clojure is that you can modify it in a REPL while it's running. By simply reloading a namespace, your code will be injected into the game, uninhibited by the restrictions posed by tools like HotSwap. Additionally, a REPL lets you read and modify the state of your game at runtime, so you can quickly experiment and diagnose problems.

Clojure also brings the benefits of functional programming. This is becoming a big topic of discussion in gamedev circles, including by John Carmack. Part of this is due to the prevalence of multi-core hardware, making concurrency more important. Additionally, there is a general difficulty of maintaining object-oriented game codebases as they grow, due to complicated class hierarchies and state mutations.


(ns game-test.core
  (:require [play-clj.core :refer :all]
            [play-clj.g2d :refer :all]))

; define a screen, where all the action takes place
(defscreen main-screen
  ; all the screen functions get a map called "screen" containing various
  ; important values, and a vector called "entities" for storing game objects

  ; the entities vector is immutable, so in order to update it you must simply
  ; return a new vector at the end of each screen function

  ; this function runs only once, when the screen is first shown
  (fn [screen entities]
    ; update the screen map to hold a tiled map renderer and a camera
    (update! screen
             :renderer (orthogonal-tiled-map "level1.tmx" (/ 1 8))
             :camera (orthographic))
    (let [; load a sprite sheet from your resources dir
          sheet (texture "tiles.png")
          ; split the sheet into 16x16 tiles
          ; (the texture! macro lets you call TextureRegion methods directly)
          tiles (texture! sheet :split 16 16)
          ; get the tile at row 6, col 0
          player-image (texture (aget tiles 6 0))
          ; add position and size to the player-image map so it can be drawn
          player-image (assoc player-image :x 0 :y 0 :width 2 :height 2)]
      ; return a new entities vector with player-image inside of it

  ; this function runs every time a frame must be drawn (about 60 times per sec)
  (fn [screen entities]
    ; make the screen completely black
    ; render the tiled map, draw the entities and return them
    (render! screen entities))

  ; this function runs when the screen dimensions change
  (fn [screen entities]
    ; make the camera 20 tiles high, while maintaining the aspect ratio
    (height! screen 20)
    ; you can return nil if you didn't change any entities

; define the game itself, and immediately hand off to the screen
(defgame game-test
  (fn [this]
    (set-screen! this main-screen)))


All files that originate from this project are dedicated to the public domain. I would love pull requests, and will assume that they are also dedicated to the public domain.