From Zero to a Game: Technical Problems and Character Designing


When doing any coding, bugs and mistakes are to be expected. In fact, when I code something for the first time, the chance of failure is around 90%. Much too often, I overlook some small detail or make some small typo.

When creating games with the C++ programming language, I came across one of the most frustrating errors in my programming experience thus far: memory leaks. A memory leak is a type of error which is related to a failure in managing computer memory correctly. Sometimes, the memory leaks I get are very mysterious, and I may spend hours trying to find the source of the bug, only to have the error somehow magically sort itself out. There are also times when running my game in different operating systems nets different results, such as when my game got a memory leak error in Ubuntu but was perfectly functional on my OSX laptop. One of the most frustrating memory leaks are the ones where a simple “cout” statement magically fixes the bug, even though “cout” only serves to show text; it is one of the most absurd and annoying bugs I’ve come across thus far.

This is an example of a memory leak. If there are hundreds of lines running across your screen like this, it probably isn’t a good sign.

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Character Design

After working on the technical aspects of the game for a while, I also started delving into the creative side, starting with character design. When first thinking of characters, I tried to envision what kind of characters that I would want my game to have in battle. I concluded that I wanted a defensive character, supportive character, and an aggressive character which gives a balanced set of characters in terms of both personality as well as battle roles. All the characters below are robots and are supposed to be allies to the protagonist. I haven’t thought of names for them yet, but nonetheless, here are the sketches.

Here is the defensive character who uses slow and outdated technology. A speaking functionality wasn’t built into the machine and was only added later so it isn’t fluent. When it does communicate, it… speaks… like … this.

Here is the supportive character. It is made to be a pacifist and is full of apparent emotions (whether they are real emotions or not). It’s small and mobile, but it’ll run out of battery fast.

This is one of the aggressive characters, and is the most outdated robot yet. It is clearly battered from age, and the very fact that it is a humanoid robot indicates that this robot was made long ago (humanoid robots are considered taboo in my world). This robot will malfunction and require repair, often in the most inconvenient of times.

This is another aggressive character, and contrasting with the previous character, it is very modern. This spider-like robot is adept at fighting, but is fragile.  Its thought processes are very sophisticated and logical, but has no semblance of empathy whatsoever.

Tune in next time for more game design!