Pong - Update 2

Following on from my last post I have made some minor tweaks to my pong game, and have addressed some of the issues that I picked up during the first phase of development, namely:

  • Made us of the requestAnimationFrame() method to handle calls to the update() and draw() methods.
  • Addressed issues with the collision detection to better match the relative position of the paddle and ball.
  • Did some minor refactoring of the game code.

The game seems to be running a lot smoother at the higher frame-rate, with only a few frames being dropped now and then. When profiling the JavaScript a typical update for a game frame takes less than 0.3 ms in total (well within the 16.666 ms threshold when running at 60 FPS).

Below is a nice little breakdown of the changes made.


I made us of requestAnimationFrame() to better handle the calling of the update() and draw() methods. To ensure that the position of the ball is predictable, I use the provided DOMHighResTimeStamp to calculate the delta time between frames, and use the time * velocity of the ball to work out it's new position on the canvas, something along the following lines.

var start = null;
var remainder = 0;
var timeSlice = 1000 / 60;

function step(timestamp) {
    // Handle updating start and calculating the delta
    if (!start) start = timestamp;
    var delta = (timestamp - start) + remainder;
    start = timestamp;

    // work out the number of times we need to call update
    var updateCallCount = delta / timeSlice | 0;
    remainder = delta - (timeSlice * updateCallCount);

    // Call update the required number of times
    for (var i = 0; i < updateCallCount; i++) {

    // Draw the current frame, and schedule a redraw


Admittedly for my second revision of the code I am not making use of the delta to move the ball, rather I am working out the number of times I need to call the update method and call it using a simple for(;;){ ... } loop. However, moving forward with the game code I will need to start making use of the delta value to calculate the actual position of the ball.

Fixing Collision Detection

As I mentioned in my last post, I was having issues when it came to detecting the collision between the ball and paddles (it was completely out when colliding with the top half of the paddle). I mentioned that I followed the tutorial verbatim, however it seems I somehow managed to omit some brackets when calculating the position of the paddles when calculating the collisions in the update() method.

After including the brackets in the correct places the games collision detection was working a lot better, but something still felt out of place. I decided to break up the majority of the collision detection into two helper methods updateBallOnLeftSide() and updateBallOnRightSide() and made adjustments in the detection logic to take into consideration that the y position of the paddle represents the middle of it and not the top of the paddle. This can be seen by the paddleModifier value being passed into the helper function below.

function updateBallOnRightSide(paddleModifier) {
    var paddleTop = paddle2Y - paddleModifier;
    var paddleBottom = paddle2Y + paddleModifier;

    // log collision ...

    if (ballY >= paddleTop && ballY <= paddleBottom) {
        ballSpeedX *= -1;
        var deltaY = (ballY - paddleTop) - paddleModifier;
        ballSpeedY = deltaY * 0.35;
    } else {
        player1Score += 1;

Now things are working much better with collision detection, the only problem left to address is calculating the collision from the outside of the ball (rather than it's center as I am currently doing). This should be addressed in the next update in this series.

Minor Code Refactoring

In addition to the two major changes above, I did a lot of code refactoring (and still have a lot to do) to help me identify and troubleshoot the issues with the collision detection, the most useful of them being the introduction of the logCollission() function and calling code.

if(logColissions) {
        "paddle": "left",
        "paddle-top": paddleTop,
        "paddle-bottom": paddleBottom,
        "ball-x": ballX,
        "ball-y": ballY

Which when run returns the following to the debug textarea.


This helps me to determine that the ball did indeed collide with the paddle (the center of it in this case), and made pinpointing the root cause of my collision detection issues much easier.

A live version of the game can be found here, and a fiddle version should you want to play around with it.

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