Game State Management using Lua

  • Game State Management using Lua Fishcake

    I want to be able to (only) define game states using Lua script, but I'm not sure how I should do it. Here's what I have in mind currently:

    For each state, I will create a .lua file that contains a class (table) that has the same name as the file name. Each table must have a set of event handlers: onEnter (called when the state is entered), onUpdate (called every frame) and onExit (called when exiting the state). So if I want to have a MainMenuState, I will have a file called "MainMenuState.lua" which will contain something like this:

    MainMenuState = {}
    MainMenuState["onEnter"] = function()
    MainMenuState["onUpdate"] = function(elapsedTime)
    MainMenuState["onExit"] = function()

    Defined states will be exposed to the game engine via a singleton StateManager class. StateManager will have a function that registers a state under a unique name:

    void registerState(string stateName, string fileName);

    State registration will be done in script by placing the registration codes inside an init script that is called once after the game engine is initialized:

    --Register all the states needed by the game
    StateManager:registerState("SplashScreen", "SplashScreen.lua")
    StateManager:registerState("MainMenuState", "MainMenuState.lua")
    StateManager:registerState("InGameState", "InGameState.lua")
    -- etc etc

    StateManager will also keep track of which state is currently active and also handle state transitions:

    void changeState(string state);

  • It's not entirely clear what you're asking, but there's nothing inherently "wrong" with the way you are structuring your state machine. As long as it fits the task at hand, any implementation can be considered "correct".

    One change I would suggest making is to allow the states themselves to be instanced, so that you can store state in your instance. This can be as simple as:

    SplashScreen = {}
    local instance = setmetatable({}, SplashScreen)
    SplashScreen.createInstance = function(...)
        local instance = setmetatable({}, SplashScreen)
        instance.endTime = 5.0 -- set instance data
        return instance
    function SplashScreen:update(elapsedTime)
        if elapsedTime > self.endTime then -- use instance data

    Note that, due to the setmetatable call, instance tracks all of your state's functions; so your 'current state' is really just an instance ref in your StateManager:

    function StateManager:changeState(stateName, ...)
        local stateTable = --[[ get state from file ]]
        local instance = stateTable.createInstance(...)
        self.currentState = instance
    function StateManager:call(funcName, ...)
        local fn = self.currentState[funcName]
        fn(self.currentState, ...)

  • I preferred to use numbers with my state systems. It's not the best way but it works great for me.

    state = 1
    while true do
        if state==1 then
           if 1=1 then
        if state==2 then
            if 2=2 then

    works for me :)

c++ scripting state lua
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