saona

Development in video games

Coding as a motor

When we stop and analyze the game, what catches our attention first is the design of objects and characters and also the game-play, but how does all of that work? Thanks to the developers.

The users can only see the final product since they can’t actually see everything that is happening before the launch of the game, but if they saw the hard work that is behind every action they would be amazed.

Explaining it in an easy way, the developer’s job is to make the design ideas playable. The design team determines what needs to happen and the programming team makes it happen, integrating the art, generating the components and making it all fit perfectly so the player can control the character and have things updated according to all the events.

That means that when the player presses the jump button, we have to make the character jump and when he gets hit, his life is lowered.

As we can see, it’s actually very important that the developers know everything about the game-design because if not, maybe the actions they made possible wouldn’t be used and that would be a waste of time.

We also want to stand out the importance of fixing bugs. When making a video game and coding it, bugs are very frequent. Bugs are errors that lead to unexpected results, not fitting with the final result you wanted to achieve.

In our team, the main person in charge of all this is Adri├ín, our senior developer, so let’s chat with him to learn a bit more about the development behind the game.

Hey Adrian! Is it easy to bear in mind what the rest of the teams do, especially game-design, when you do all the coding? How do you manage to make everything fit in perfectly?

A: Hi! It is a complicated task, but luckily in the team the relationship between design and programming is very good. Thanks to the fact that we talk whenever there is any doubt and we try to keep the documentation updated, we are quite synchronized between us and also with the rest of the team, which allows us to have a much more relaxed mind and let the development flow.

Getting everything to fit perfectly is an iterative task in which things come up and change until we reach the desired result. From programming we usually say that Design is the source of all our problems and at the same time our reason to exist.

When it comes to bugs, what do you do to fix them? Do you follow some specific steps or do you just try again and again until you find out what is wrong and then you solve it?

A: When we detect a bug, the first thing to do is to find “the guilty one”. The game code is divided into a multitude of files that are responsible for small functionalities, such as the character jumping, a platform moving or an enemy attacking. Once we have located the script where the bug is occurring, we use a debugging tool and additional code to check what is happening and why. This is the most difficult process and it is not uncommon that it can take hours because many times you think you have found the problem, you fix it and it continues to malfunction. The important thing is not to give up (or opt for a temporary solution or design change).

As a curiosity, each programmer has a particular way of managing this frustration over the hours, in my case I usually express aloud to the program that I do not know what is wrong and as time goes by I sound more desperate, as if a baby would not stop crying and you run out of ideas.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start in the development world? Tell us the best and the worst thing about it.

A: My advice to someone who wants to get started is to figure out which of all the things to do on the programming team is the one you enjoy the most and specialize in it.

The best thing about the development world is the amount of fun things you can do, however, almost every day things get complicated and you need a high frustration tolerance.

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