Rust Game Series - Part 12 - Game States


At the end of this part, I will have a small prototype. This prototype contains the general game state flow between Gameplay and Pause State. The gameplay state is rendering a grid and reacting to mouse clicks.


I like to keep the states of the game to be independent of each other. Therefore I am going to focus on the foundation of the state management system before adding actual gameplay functionality.

All states are managed as a stack. This allows states like the Pause screen to be used for multiple use-cases. Only the pause state needs to be removed from the stack to return to the previous state.

Game State Data Model

Each Game State has 2 lifetimes: Static and Frame



There is a single copy of static data for each GameState. And two copies of FrameData since I am using a double buffering scheme.

Static Data

Static data is created once and cannot be modified after. This stores information such as PSOs, textures, and other read-only data.

Frame Data

The frame data stores all dynamic information about the state. This includes information like player score, state of the game world, etc.

The update logic will get a read-only view of the previous frame state. It’s expected to read the last state frame as input and generate a new data into the output frame data.

For this game, I am trying not to in-place modify the game state. Let’s see how this goes :)

Game State API

The core of the API are two enums:

pub enum GameStateType {

enum GameStateData<'a> {

And the types being defined like this

struct GameplayState {
    static_data: GameplayStateStaticData,
    frame_data0: GameplayStateFrameData,
    frame_data1: GameplayStateFrameData,

I would have liked to store the GameplayStateFrameData as an array, but sadly Rust doesn’t allow borrowing of individual array entries in a natural way.

There are ways of doing it using iterators and/or slices. But for this use case, two variables will work just fine.

These GameStateData blocks are stored in a simple Vec to form a stack:

 let mut game_state_stack: Vec<GameStateData> = Vec::new();

The state transition are yet another enum, you see I love Rust enums :P This controls which state to switch and how that state switch should happen

pub enum GameStateTransitionState {

let mut next_game_state: GameStateTransitionState =

Game state transitions always happen at the beginning of a CPU frame, and the GameState update returns a value specifying if and how state transitions should be done.

match next_game_state {
    GameStateTransitionState::TransitionToNewState(x) => {
        match x {
            GameStateType::Gameplay => {

            GameStateType::Pause => {

        // make sure to reset the state
        next_game_state = GameStateTransitionState::Unchanged;

    GameStateTransitionState::ReturnToPreviousState => {
        // remove the top most state from the stack

        // close the game once all game states have been deleted
        if game_state_stack.len() == 0 {
            should_game_close = true;

        // make sure to reset the transition state
        next_game_state = GameStateTransitionState::Unchanged;

    GameStateTransitionState::Unchanged => { }

With this, we have the main transition logic in-place and only miss the logic to draw and update the game states.

Updating is done in reverse order, this allows higher-level states to block input from reaching lower levels. Each state atm returns if a state transition is required and if the input should be blocked from reaching lower levels.

for state in game_state_stack.iter_mut().rev() {
    let state_status = match state {
        GameStateData::Gameplay(game_state) => {
            let (prev_frame_params, frame_params) = if update_frame_number % 2 == 0 {
                (&game_state.frame_data0, &mut game_state.frame_data1)
            } else {
                (&game_state.frame_data1, &mut game_state.frame_data0)

            update_gameplay_state(prev_frame_params, frame_params, &messages, dt)

        GameStateData::Pause(game_state) => {
            let (prev_frame_params, frame_params) = if update_frame_number % 2 == 0 {
                (&game_state.frame_data0, &mut game_state.frame_data1)
            } else {
                (&game_state.frame_data1, &mut game_state.frame_data0)

            update_pause_state(prev_frame_params, frame_params, &messages, dt)

    if state_status.block_input {

    match state_status.transition_state {
        GameStateTransitionState::Unchanged => {}
        _ => match next_game_state {
            GameStateTransitionState::Unchanged => {
                next_game_state = state_status.transition_state;
            _ => {
                panic!("logic error, only one state transition per frame is allowed");

The drawing follows the same logic, but the drawing order is from back to front. This allows higher-level states, such as the pause state, to be drawn on top of the lower states.

Rendering Update

A few updates on the rendering side:

  • The PSO state has been extended to contain the blend state, this is required so that the pause state can draw a partially transparent overlay
  • The grid is using the same shader as before. Drawing a quad for each tile. Good enough for now
  • The Window API was updated so that the output size of the Window can be specified when creating the Window

Next Part

Time to focus a little on code structure again. With all this logic, we are back >600 lines of Rust code in a single file.

Time to split it into multiple modules across different files.

The code is available on GitHub