Because the world of video games continues to grow, so does the necessity for talented programmers. Game development is a fancy process that requires the usage of specific programming languages to create the code that makes games function.
In this text, we’ll take a take a look at the most effective programming languages for game development, and discuss the differing types of games that might be developed using each language.
- What Is Gaming Development?
- About Game Engines
- The Best Programming Languages for Game Development
- Which Programming Language Should a Beginner Start with for Game Development?
- Best Programming Language for Easy Games
- Best Programming Languages for Complicated Games
What Is Gaming Development?
Gaming development is the strategy of designing, creating, and coding a game. This process might be done in various ways depending on the style of game and the scale of the event team.
There are lots of various kinds of games:
- text based, 2D, 3D, and real-time
- single-player and multiplayer
- focused on the graphic design, the story line, or the gameplay mechanics
… But you surely know all of that, so let’s see the right way to actually develop games!
About Game Engines
We’ll be mentioning game engines rather a lot throughout this text, so let’s say that a game engine is a software development environment designed for people to construct video games. It provides a framework for game developers to work in, and might be used to create each 2D and 3D games.
There are too many to list all of them, but listed below are a few of the ones we’ll mention:
|Amazon Lumberyard||Star Citizen, Squadron 42, Recent World||Proprietary||C++, Lua (scripting)||Native support for Amazon Web Services, which makes it easy to deploy games online|
|Buildbox||Color Switch and The Line Zen||Proprietary||C++||Specifically for 2D games|
|Clickteam Fusion||Five Nights at Freddy’s, The Escapists, Baba Is You||Proprietary|
|CryEngine||Crysis, Far Cry, Kingdom Come: Deliverance||Proprietary||C++|
|Construct||Delivery Quest, Hypnospace Outlaw||Proprietary||C++|
|Defold||Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Farm Heroes Saga||Free||Lua|
|GameMaker Studio||Spelunky, Hotline Miami, Undertale||Proprietary||GML|
|Godot||Cruelty Squad, Hardcoded, Kingdoms of the Dump, Commander Keen in Keen Dreams||Free||C++|
|LibGDX||Ingress, Slay the Spire||Free||Java|
|LÖVE||Mari0, Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne, Move or Die||Free||C++, Lua (scripting)|
|RPG Maker||Alpha Kimori, Ao Oni, Aveyond series, Corpse Party, Everlasting Eden, Laxius Force, One Night Trilogy, Super Columbine Massacre RPG!, To the Moon, Yume Nikki||Proprietary||It that might be used to create role-playing games (RPGs)|
|Source||Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Team Fortress||Proprietary||C++, Lua (scripting)|
|Unity||Pokémon Go, Cuphead, Monument Valley||Proprietary||C++||Popular engine|
|Unreal Engine||Fortnite, Gears of War, Borderlands||Proprietary||C++||Popular engine, relatively easy to start with, due to its Blueprint visual scripting system|
You may as well take a look at 11 tools to get you began making video games, by D. M. Moore on The Verge.
The Best Programming Languages for Game Development
These languages are all popular decisions for game development, and every has its own strengths and weaknesses. Let’s take an in depth take a look at each language.
C++ is a great programming language for game development since it’s fast and efficient. Game developers use C++ to create high-performance games, and it also has loads of debugging tools, which is vital for game development.
Other languages, similar to Python, are designed for readability and ease. This makes Python a superb alternative for prototyping game ideas, but it surely wouldn’t be suitable for developing a final product.
As a compiled language, C++ is converted into machine code before it’s run on a pc. This makes C++ programs run faster than interpreted languages similar to Python. C++ also offers a wide range of programming paradigms, similar to object-oriented and data-driven programming.
A lot of the preferred game engines support C++, which suggests that there are a selection of tools and libraries that developers can use to create their games.
Popular game engines using C++:
- Unreal Engine
- Amazon Lumberyard
Cons of C++ basically:
- it’s difficult to learn
- it’s a memory-managed language
- it’s not cross-platform
Java is a flexible and powerful programming language that’s widely utilized in many alternative industries. It will possibly even be a great alternative for game development, since it has lots of the C++ strengths, plus it runs on a wide range of platforms.
As a platform-independent language — due to the Java virtual machine (JVM) — Java games might be run on any operating system, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. This makes Java one other popular alternative for developing mobile games, as it might be run on iOS devices and Android. Java is, in actual fact, the language to develop native apps with Android Studio.
While some game engines support Java, it’s not as fast as C++, which is usually a drawback for some sorts of games.
Game engines using Java:
- Java 3D
Cons of Java basically:
- not as easy to learn
- it might be slow, particularly in legacy devices
- it’s not as widely used as C++
While HTML and CSS aren’t programming languages strictly speaking, they might be essential technologies for game development. HTML is used to create the structure of a game, while CSS is used to style the sport.
- not as fast as other languages
- not as widely used for games
- limited to the browser
C# was created by Microsoft. It has lots of the same benefits as C++, and it’s a very sensible choice for developing 2D and 3D games.
One advantage of C# over C++ is that it’s easier to learn. C# can also be a cross-platform language, which suggests that games developed with C# might be run on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
The mixing between C# and Visual Studio (also created by Microsoft) is superb, and so are the debugging and testing tools.
Popular game engines using C#:
- Unreal Engine
Cons of C# basically:
- not as widely used
- limited to the Microsoft ecosystem
Lua is a light-weight scripting language that’s utilized in many alternative industries, including game development. It’s easy to learn and use, and it’s also fast (which is an unusual combo!).
Lua is usually used for developing game logic, and it might be embedded into other programming languages. This makes it a great alternative for developing games with complex mechanics.
While some game engines support Lua, it’s not as widely used as other languages, but it surely’s still an excellent alternative for making 2D games.
Popular game engines using Lua:
Cons of Lua basically:
- not as widely used
- limited to the sport development industry
Which Programming Language Should a Beginner Start with for Game Development?
Lua, in fact! As we’ve already mentioned, Lua is a light-weight programming language that’s easy to learn and use. So it’s something of a no brainer that, should you’re recent to programming, Lua gives you a great foundation on which to construct more complex games.
Moreover, Lua has been utilized in plenty of popular games, so there are many resources on the market to show you how to start. On top of that, it’s a language that you would be able to later use for scripting on many game engines while coding more complex projects on C++!
Python as a Game Development Language
Although we didn’t get to say it, Python is yet one more language that’s popular amongst beginner developers. Identical to Lua, it’s very easy to learn; and in contrast to Lua, it’s a general-purpose language that may open doors beyond the sport development industry, similar to data science and artificial intelligence.
It’s not quite as lightweight as Lua, but it surely’s still a great option for beginners who wish to develop easy games. And apart from being a scripting language supported by many engines (Delta3D, Godot, Source), it also has a totally fledged game engines itself, similar to Pygame, Ren’Py, and Kivy.
Take a look at The Python Apprentice book by Austin Bingham and Robert Smallshire to learn more.
Best Programming Language for Easy Games
If you need to develop an easy game, similar to a 2D platformer or a puzzle game, you should utilize any programming language that you just are comfortable with.
Take a look at the Construct Your Own Wordle For Numbers: Numble article by Olivia Gibson, and even the book Construct a Rock Paper Scissors Game from Scratch with React, by Madars Biss.
Best Programming Languages for Complicated Games
Now, if you need to develop a 3D first-person shooter or an open-world RPG, you’ll need to make use of a more powerful programming language.
C++ might be your most suitable option for developing complicated games. It’s a low-level language, which suggests it gives the programmer more control over the sport’s inner workings. This might be each good and bad: good, because you might have more control over how the sport runs; but bad, because it might be tougher to jot down code in C++, and tougher to debug.
Java is one other sensible choice for developing complicated games. It’s a high-level language, which suggests it’s easier to jot down code in Java than in C++; but it surely also means you might have less control over the sport’s inner workings.
With recent technologies and platforms emerging every few years, the landscape of game development is continuously changing. In consequence, the programming languages used to develop games should change as well.
For those who’re recent to programming, we recommend starting with Lua or Python. These languages are easy to learn and use, they usually’ll provide you with a great foundation on which to construct more complex games.
If you need to develop a more complicated game, you’ll need to make use of a more powerful programming language. C++, C# and even Java might be the most effective alternative for developing complicated games.
C++ particularly, as a low-level language, will give the programmer more control over the sport’s inner workings … but in fact, on the expense of more coding and debugging time. 😅