Debugger v3.16 – Programming For All!

By Square Enix Collective . May 24, 2014 . 2:01pm

This developer blog is part of an ongoing series of posts organized by Square Enix and Siliconera to help bring exposure to indie developers on The Collective, a crowdfunding platform founded and managed by Square Enix.


Debugger 3.16

By Michael Schaefer

Debugger v3.16 webpage



What is Debugger 3.16?


Debugger 3.16 is a puzzle platformer where the player helps a small debug function to find and delete all errors (bugs) in the scripts of its developer, Mr. Schaefer.


How does it work?


The unique element in the game is that the player have to write his own scripts to overcome all puzzles. Here’s a small example: You can destroy many of the bugs by simply shooting them to bits, but sometimes there’re special bugs which are protected by a big shell.


In such situations you have to “hack” their source code and manipulate them. You could for example try to move them in a deadly trap by changing their X/Y coordinates or try to rotate them to get under the shell – but there will be many ways to solve puzzles, involving different code functions.


So why make a game with educational elements?


It can be pretty hard to get people excited about backing a game as soon as you add the tag “education” to it. The assumption people make is that in order to make something that helps you learn, you have to sacrifice the fun.


But I see gamers talk about wishing they could learn the basics of programming the whole time, so I thought about trying to help give people a starting point—but one that sits within a game this is actually fun cause it’s created by a gamer and not by a teacher.


I myself grew up with an Mega Drive & SNES as “older brothers”, so I was still young when I decided that making games was something for me. But it’s hard – I had some nice ideas but it was a long process. Here in Germany, where I live, there are only really two ways to learn game programming:


1) You can pay to study at an academy—public schools here don’t teach game programming—but this is expensive.


2) You buy a big book, learn everything by yourself and ask many people in different forums in your free time.


So what if there were a third way, to learn while playing? With Debugger 3.16, I want to create a tool where you can learn scripting in a fun and entertaining way. We’ll see if this is an idea that is shared by the community, so I look forward to hearing feedback.


What scripting language is used in the game?


The script language used in the game is “lite-C”, a lightweight version of C/C++. But unlike C++, it’s extremely easy to learn and a great way to get introduced into ‘real’ programming. Anything that’s scary to a beginner, like memory and pointer handling, is automatically managed in lite-C.


Get more info here:

Debugger 3.16 Steam page

Read more stories about & & on Siliconera.

  • This actually sounds like a good idea. It reminds me a bit of Number Munchers. XD

  • JohnNiles

    Work: The Game

    • Work Time Fun: The Sequel! Now with 100% more Practical use!

  • Michael Kelehan

    Looks cool. Definitely worth a Greenlight vote.

  • brian

    “The Collective”
    That really sounds like a name of a shady organization.
    As for the idea, it seems great, though I thought in pretty much all countries the way to learn programming was college or just using a book.

    • Sure, but it all undeniably boils down to Practice, rather than Theory. After all, not even college will cover everything that’s to come in the future. The Code Languages are diversive and variative. Even though most are based on the “C” family.

      Plus, there’s also this site, which even a 13 year old can go in and start practicing it:

      • darke

        Honestly the availability of unity3d and similar products, along with random people on youtube making ‘how to make game X’ videos on youtube will produce more new programmers than this game will.

        Minecraft and clones are generally the fun part of programming: the creation bit. Debugging is the scut work of programming; often mentally hard but it rarely feels productive or rewarding (aka, not fun).

        • JohnNiles

          Nailed it right there. Debugging is the flip side of programming, the rage quit moment, the boss battle.

          I always poke fun at these learn-to-program games, but thinking about it made me realize that the people who really need this training are the non-technicals who work with developers.

          • And there are loads of those in any group of developers. To me, programming is just something that needs to be learned before college. Part of High School Math classes, if anything. We have reached a point where software making skills can be developed at an earlier age than any of us couldn’t have possibly imagine before. This 15 year old friend that I know of has learned coding for Javascript, HTML, CSS and some C#, which he used for making some add-on stuff (and a Game Engine; still incomplete, though) for a Forum system, which may not sound impressive to some, but he did it for fun.

  • Ereek

    This is actually a really neat idea.

  • Oh, that’s neato! I want to learn how to program.

  • I do wonder how many will take up this challenge.

  • FivePointedTheStar

    Awesome. I’ll buy this for sure if it hits Steam.

  • Anesia Hunter

    i’m actually looking forward to this.

  • Venus in Furs.

    Pretty cool idea. I would support this in a heartbeat.

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