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This is a Haskell breakout game implemented using the Functional Reactive Programming library Yampa.

Haskanoid Video

The game has been created for educational purposes, but tries to feature a substantial amount of the complexity often found in real arcade games. In particular:
  • SDL 1.2 graphics and sound.

  • Multiple input devices (keyboard, mouse, Wiimote infrared, Kinect).

  • Differentiated subsystems for physics/collisions, input, rendering/multimedia, logic, etc.

A version of this game using SDL2 has been made available by Keera Studios for free on Google Play for Android. There is a bug that makes the app not close or save the game when you exit it. I know how to solve it, I just haven't found the time to push that change. Please, report other bugs of that Android app here. You can follow the progress of the port for Android on facebook and twitter.

Haskanoid on Android

We would like to call on Haskell programmers, game developers and anyone with an interest in Functional Reactive Programming and/or Game Programming to review the code, ask for clarification when the code is not clear enough, and help us improve the game, and the state of FRP/Yampa programming as well.

This game was used to present a Declarative Game Programming tutorial at PPDP 14 (see for details). Slides are linked from that website.


The game is available on hackage. All the media resources are included with the distribution (see LICENCE for redistribution terms). You can install it with*:

$ cabal update
$ cabal install haskanoid
$ $HOME/.cabal/bin/haskanoid

If you want to explore the code and possibly make changes, do the following:

$ cabal update
$ cabal unpack haskanoid            # or git clone
$ cd haskanoid-*                    # Game resources are here
$ cabal install
$ $HOME/.cabal/bin/haskanoid

To play it with the wiimote, you need to run the program with the special arguments +RTS -V0. See for an explanation.

*Additional notes:

  • Users of GHC 7.8 need to run additional steps. See issue #2 for instructions.

  • MacOSX users (or anyone without a wiimote) might want to disable wiimote and kinect support. You can do so with the cabal flags wiimote and kinect, by running cabal install --flags="-kinect -wiimote".

  • To use of the above installation instructions (with disabled wiimote and kinect support, see bullet point above) you need the following packages:

    On debian/ubuntu, you can install them with:

    $ sudo apt-get install ghc cabal-install
    $ sudo apt-get install libsdl1.2-dev libsdl-mixer1.2-dev libsdl-image1.2-dev libsdl-ttf2.0-dev
  • To enable wiimote and kinect support you also need the following packages:

    • CWiid (wiimote)
    • freenect (kinect)

    On debian/ubuntu, you can install them with, respectively:

    $ sudo apt-get install libcwiid-dev
    $ sudo apt-get install freenect


To try and make things as clear as possible, the code includes a much haddock documentation and comments as we could reasonably fit. You can compile those with:

$ cabal unpack haskanoid     ## Or git clone this-repo
$ cd haskanoid-*
$ cabal install --only-dependencies
$ cabal haddock --haddock-executables --haddock-internal

You may also want to add the flags -f-wiimote and -f-kinect to the cabal commands above to install without wiimote and kinect support.

Related projects


In the hands-on file you find ideas to improve haskanoid while focussing on (game) programming related areas that you might want to dive in deeper. The areas are: functional (reactive) programming, performance, human-computer interaction and input/output, and game design.


If you find this game attractive and would like to use it to teach functional programming or other subjects, we'd be very happy to know about it. We can provide extra material that you can show to students (videos, screenshots, etc.).