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An Inexperienced Guide to using Functional Programming in Games

For a while now I've been looking for someone to help us understand how functional programming can be applied to game development as I suspect that it may have an important role to play in the future.

So when I heard Nick from the functional programming meetup talking about a hobby game he developed in Haskell I pounced and he very kindly agreed to give us a talk.

The Talk

Functional Programming has broken (back) out of the ivory tower, and languages and libraries are increasingly using features from the paradigm. Recently, several libraries for game programming in Haskell have emerged, allowing us to play with game ideas in the strictest of FP environments. Come along for a brief introduction to functional programming and how it can be applied to games.

Flying Sheep Battles is a simple 2-player, physics-based game written in Haskell over a weekend. We'll use it as a case study to explore how games can be programmed using pure functional programming.


Nick is a jack-of-all-trades developer at Oomph (an iPad publishing company) and spends most of his time working in Objective-C, Scala and Haskell. While having never worked in the game industry, he spent his formative years working on Half-life and Tribes 2 game mods with people who became actual Game Developers, and so feels experienced by proximity to authority.

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