The current design of the Piston game loop:

/// Returns the next game event.
fn next(&mut self) -> Option<GameEvent> {
    loop {
        match self.state {
            RenderState => {
                if self.game_window.should_close() { return None; }

                let start_render = time::precise_time_ns();
                self.last_frame = start_render;

                let (w, h) = self.game_window.get_size();
                if w != 0 && h != 0 {
                    // Swap buffers next time.
                    self.state = SwapBuffersState;
                    return Some(Render(RenderArgs {
                            // Extrapolate time forward to allow smooth motion.
                            ext_dt: (start_render - self.last_update) as f64 / billion as f64,
                            width: w,
                            height: h,

                self.state = UpdateLoopState;
            SwapBuffersState => {
                self.state = UpdateLoopState;
            UpdateLoopState => {
                let current_time = time::precise_time_ns();
                let next_frame = self.last_frame + self.dt_frame_in_ns;
                let next_update = self.last_update + self.dt_update_in_ns;
                let next_event = cmp::min(next_frame, next_update);
                if next_event > current_time {
                    sleep( Duration::nanoseconds((next_event - current_time) as i32) );
                } else if next_event == next_frame {
                    self.state = RenderState;
                } else {
                    self.state = HandleEventsState;
            HandleEventsState => {
                // Handle all events before updating.
                return match self.game_window.poll_event() {
                    None => {
                        self.state = UpdateState;
                        // Explicitly continue because otherwise the result
                        // of this match is immediately returned.
                    Some(x) => Some(Input(x)),
            UpdateState => {
                self.state = UpdateLoopState;
                self.last_update += self.dt_update_in_ns;
                return Some(Update(UpdateArgs{
                    dt: self.dt,

These 63 lines of code represent many hours of work from 3 people: bfops, gmorenz and bvssvni.

  • It is written as a state machine to be used as an Iterator. This makes it possible to use the game loop as an object in the code, that can be paused or continued at will, and be passed from one function to another. For example, you can have one function for each scene and load the assets you need as local variables.
  • It uses a loop to avoid recursive calls.
  • Updates are deterministic. This means if you are not using random numbers, the application will produce the same results for the same user input.
  • Updates are always progressed by a fixed time step. If updates or rendering takes too much time, it will try to “catch up” without sleeping.
  • Rendering is slipping. The loop schedules the next frame from the last time it was rendered. If rendering gets too slow, then it leads to a lower frame rate. This is because it makes no sense to render if the application state is not updated. For objects that move in a straight line, you can use the extrapolated time to generate smoother motion on rendering. This can also be used for non-linear motion if the frame rate is high enough.