How to pause a game?

The simplest way to pause a game, is to deactivate all instances, except for the main controller object (which handles pausing & unpausing).

Let’s say we want to pause/unpause the game when the player presses Escape. For that, we would:

  • Deactivate instances to pause the game
  • Activate instances to resume the game
/// Step event of your controller object
/// 'pause' is a variable initialized at false

if (keyboard_check_pressed(vk_escape)) {
    pause = !pause; // Flip pause boolean (true to false, and vice-versa)

    // Paused
    if (pause) {
        instance_deactivate_all(true); // <-- Argument set to 'true', so that the controller instance is not disabled
    // Resume
    else {

If you implement this, you will notice that you can’t see any instances when you pause the game, because they’re all deactivated.

To know how to display a snapshot of the game while it is paused, take a look at this page: