Code Talk: Examples of Kotlin Arrays in Video Game Programming


Kotlin, developed by JetBrains, is a modern programming language that runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It is known for its concise syntax and interoperability with Java, making it a popular choice among developers. Kotlin has been officially supported by Google for Android development since 2017, which significantly boosted its adoption.

Kotlin’s popularity in game development, particularly for Android platforms, is on the rise. Its efficiency and ease of use make it well-suited for mobile game development. Developers can leverage Kotlin to create engaging and high-performance games, taking advantage of its full support on Android and integration with existing Java-based Android libraries.

Basic Concepts of Arrays in Kotlin

Arrays in programming are fundamental data structures used to store multiple items of the same type together. This allows for efficient access to elements via indices, which is crucial for performance in many applications, including video games.

Syntax for Arrays in Kotlin

In Kotlin, arrays are created using the Array class, which provides a way to initialize, access, and modify fixed-size collections of elements. The syntax for declaring an array in Kotlin is straightforward:

This creates an array of integers. Kotlin also supports arrays of other data types and even mixed data types when specified explicitly​ (Kotlin)​.

Using Arrays in Kotlin for Game Development

Managing Game Elements with Arrays

Arrays are extremely useful in game development for managing game states, characters, inventory items, and more. They can be used to track player scores, store character stats, or manage items within a game’s inventory system.

Examples of Arrays in Game Programming

Let’s consider a simple example where an array is used to store high scores in a mobile game:


This array holds the top scores and can be accessed to display scores or update them as players achieve new highs. Another example could be managing player statistics in a role-playing game (RPG), where arrays help track various attributes like health, strength, and magic levels​.

These examples demonstrate how Kotlin arrays can be efficiently utilized in video game development to handle multiple data points simultaneously, providing both speed and organization crucial for game mechanics.

Advanced Array Operations

Multidimensional Arrays

Multidimensional arrays in Kotlin can be particularly useful for representing complex game elements such as grids or game maps. For example, a two-dimensional array can represent a game board or a map layout, where each cell holds information about the terrain or items located at that point:

This code creates a 5×5 grid filled with “Grass” and places a “Treasure” at position (2,3)​.

Array Manipulation

Manipulating arrays is essential for tasks like sorting leaderboards or reversing the direction of a character. Kotlin provides built-in functions to handle these operations efficiently:

This example sorts an array of scores in descending order, which is useful for leaderboards in games​.

Practical Game Example Using Kotlin Arrays

Managing a 2D Game Level

Consider a game where the player navigates through different rooms, each represented by an array element:


This array setup allows for quick updates and queries to the game state, showing positions of the player and the exit efficiently​.

Enhancing Game Functionality and Performance

Using arrays in this manner enhances the game’s performance as it allows for rapid access and modification of the game state without the need for complex data structures. The simplicity of arrays also makes the code more readable and easier to manage.

Best Practices and Performance Optimization

Optimizing Array Usage

When using arrays in game development, it’s crucial to:

  • Predefine the size of the array to avoid resizing, which can be costly.
  • Use primitive arrays (like IntArray and FloatArray) when possible, as they have a lower memory footprint and faster access times than arrays of boxed objects.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Common pitfalls include:

  • Accessing out-of-bounds indices can lead to crashes or unexpected behavior. Always check the length of an array before accessing it.
  • Overusing arrays for complex data structures might be better served by other types of collections depending on the use case, like List or Set, which offer more flexibility and built-in functions.

By following these best practices and being aware of common pitfalls, developers can ensure that their use of arrays contributes positively to the game’s performance and overall player experience.


Kotlin’s versatile array of capabilities make it an excellent choice for game developers looking to optimize and organize game elements effectively, from managing simple game states to complex game maps.


By leveraging Kotlin’s intuitive syntax and powerful array operations, developers can enhance both the performance and scalability of their game applications.

As the gaming industry continues to evolve, utilizing Kotlin for array management in game development will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in crafting engaging and efficient game experiences.