Pre-West Interview: Morgan Mullaney

Talk: Well I wouldn't want to make a dysfunctional game

Morgan Mullaney's talk at Clojure/West is about writing games using Lisp and functional programming.


I agree with the talk description; Lisp in games has a long and storied history. The biggest success I know of is Crash Bandicoot, which used a Lisp that allowed the game to get closer to the hardware. There's a nice series of articles about the creation of Crash Bandicoot. The creators wrote their own version of Lisp. Part 9 of the series has a nice, detailed description of the language. There's also an article I like about writing games in a functional style. John Carmack (of id Software fame) has also been talking about Lisp and Haskell recently.

About Morgan Mullaney

Homepage - GitHub - Twitter

This interview was graciously conducted by Nola Stowe. She's a programmer, the co-founder of DevChix, and a prolific teacher. She recently ran ClojureBridge Austin. Please shout out to her and say thanks!


Morgan Mullaney is the next interview participant. She is giving a talk at Clojure/West about why clojure is good for programming games. The background to her talk is available, if you like.

Interview with Morgan Mullaney

Nola: How long ago did you learn Clojure?

Morgan: Learning a language is more a drawn-out process with lots of stops and starts than a discrete event, but I first wrote a 'hello world' in Clojure in 2011 and I've been using it "professionally" for about 2 years

Nola: What recommendations do you have for someone learning clojure?


  • Read Kyle's Clojure from the Ground Up, which is unique in that it captures the elegance and beauty of functional programming while being totally approachable to people who haven't programmed before, or who have only used imperative/OO languages.
  • Explore with small, discrete, hackable projects. Twitter bots are a great choice because it's quick to get one working, and there are so many neat things you can do with them. Don't believe me? Look at how neat this is.

Nola: Have you made games in other languages besides Clojure? If so, which languages?

Morgan: I've poked around with game making in Python, Common Lisp, and Twine, but nothing terribly serious in any of those.

Nola: What is your favorite computer game(s) to play?

Morgan: Gosh what a broad question. It's impossible to pick favorites, but I keep picking up FTL and Starbound over and over. One that really stands out in recent memory is Porpentine's "With Those We Love Alive" which is just moving. If you haven't already, definitely go check it out.

Nola: If Clojure was a food, what would it be?

Morgan: Hummus, with some coffee beans mixed into it. Nothing against coffee, but what is it doing in here?

Nola: Thanks for the interview. It was very informative.