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Hey friends! Welcome back to episode two of our Design Patterns series! In this episode, we'll continue our journey of building the greatest command-line RPG game ever! To do that, we'll apply not one, not two, but five new design patterns.

We'll learn three new behavioral patterns: Command, Chain of Responsibility, and State. These patterns help organize code into separate classes that can then interact with each other.

We'll also learn about the Factory pattern, which is a creational pattern. This type of pattern is all about helping instantiate objects, just like the builder pattern in episode one. And, as a bonus, we'll cover one of my favorites - the NullObject pattern.

For more information about design patterns types, check out the first chapter of episode one.

Reminder About Design Patterns

Before we dive in, let's recap what design patterns are and what we've covered so far.

In a nutshell, design patterns are battle-tested solutions to software design problems. When you encounter a problem, you can look at the design patterns catalog and find the ideal pattern for your use case. And remember, you can always modify the pattern in a way that will best fit your application.

In episode one, we covered five design patterns: Strategy, Builder, Observer, PubSub, and Decorator. We're still using those patterns in our game, but you don't need to understand them to follow this tutorial.

Project Setup

Okay, let's do this! I highly recommend that you download the course code from this page and code along with me. The code base has changed quite a bit since episode one, so if you're using the code from that tutorial, make sure to download this new version. After you unzip it, you'll find a start/ directory with the same code you see here. The file has all of the setup details you'll need.

This one is as easy as it gets. Run

composer install

and, to play the game, run:

php bin/console app:game:play

We have a few characters to choose from. I'll be a fighter. And... sweet! We won! There were four rounds of fighting, we did 79 points of damage, received 0, and earned 30 XP points! Nice. And up here, you can see how the fight developed. This is exciting!

So... how does this work? Open GameCommand.php. This is a Symfony command that sets things up, initializes this global $printer object, which is very convenient for printing information wherever we need it, and then it asks us which character we want to be.

116 lines | src/Command/GameCommand.php
// ... lines 1 - 14
class GameCommand extends Command
// ... lines 18 - 24
protected function execute(InputInterface $input, OutputInterface $output): int
$io = new SymfonyStyle($input, $output);
// Static field so we can print messages from anywhere
GameApplication::$printer = new MessagePrinter($io);
$io->section('Welcome to the game where warriors fight against each other for honor and glory... and 🍕!');
$characters = $this->game->getCharactersList();
$playerChoice = $io->choice('Select your character', $characters);
$playerCharacter = $this->game->createCharacter($playerChoice);
return Command::SUCCESS;
// ... lines 46 - 114

Below, it starts the battle by calling play()on the GameApplication property, prints the results, and allows us to keep playing.

116 lines | src/Command/GameCommand.php
// ... lines 1 - 46
private function play(Character $player): void
GameApplication::$printer->writeln(sprintf('Alright %s! It\'s time to fight!',
// ... lines 52 - 54
do {
// ... lines 56 - 65
$aiCharacter = $this->game->createAiCharacter();
// ... lines 67 - 72
$this->game->play($player, $aiCharacter, $fightResultSet);
// ... lines 74 - 80
$this->printResult($fightResultSet, $player);
// ... lines 82 - 86
$answer = GameApplication::$printer->choice('Want to keep playing?', [
1 => 'Fight!',
2 => 'Exit Game',
} while ($answer === 'Fight!');
// ... lines 93 - 116

So, this isn't super fancy. All the heavy lifting happens in the play() method of GameApplication. If you hold "CMD" + "B" to go to the definition, we can see that this method takes two character objects - the player, which is us, and the AI - and it makes them attack each other until one of them wins.

206 lines | src/GameApplication.php
// ... lines 1 - 9
class GameApplication
// ... lines 12 - 23
public function play(Character $player, Character $ai, FightResultSet $fightResultSet): void
while (true) {
// ... lines 27 - 32
// Player's turn
$playerDamage = $player->attack();
// ... lines 35 - 39
$damageDealt = $ai->receiveAttack($playerDamage);
// ... lines 41 - 46
if ($this->didPlayerDie($ai)) {
$this->endBattle($fightResultSet, $player, $ai);
// ... lines 51 - 72
// ... lines 75 - 204

If we explore this class a bit more, we'll find a few places where we've already applied some design patterns. If you search for the createCharacter() method, you can see how we used the Builder pattern to create and configure character objects.

206 lines | src/GameApplication.php
// ... lines 1 - 121
public function createCharacter(string $character, int $extraBaseDamage = 0, int $extraHealth = 0, int $level = 1): Character
return match (strtolower($character)) {
'fighter' => $this->characterBuilder
->setMaxHealth(60 + $extraHealth)
->setBaseDamage(12 + $extraBaseDamage)
'archer' => $this->characterBuilder
->setMaxHealth(50 + $extraHealth)
->setBaseDamage(10 + $extraBaseDamage)
// ... lines 140 - 157
// ... lines 160 - 206

And, way down here, we're using the Observer pattern, adding or removing observers, and notifying them after the fight is finished.

206 lines | src/GameApplication.php
// ... lines 1 - 9
class GameApplication
// ... lines 12 - 182
public function subscribe(GameObserverInterface $observer): void
if (!in_array($observer, $this->observers, true)) {
$this->observers[] = $observer;
public function unsubscribe(GameObserverInterface $observer): void
$key = array_search($observer, $this->observers, true);
if ($key !== false) {
private function notify(FightResultSet $fightResultSet): void
foreach ($this->observers as $observer) {

All right! It's time to learn about the Command pattern and make our game more interactive. That's next.