Best Programming Languages for Game Development

Programming languages are computer languages that are used by programmers (developers) to communicate with computers. It is a set of instructions written in any specific language ( C, C++, Java, Python) to perform a specific task. From creating mages inside the gaming world to developing the process of gaming, everything requires a great deal of coding with various programming languages. Here are the top programming languages that are used by game developers. 

What Is Game Development?

Game development is the process of creating and programming every aspect of a video game. Video games are developed with the intention of being distributed to customers for entertainment purposes. Video game development is a complex process that requires skills outside of just programming, which includes knowledge of psychology, storytelling, and gameplay principles that will help developers create the perfect game.

Part of game development is video game design. This process decides the content of the game, the graphics and style of the game, and the rules of the game. In addition, game developers utilize these programming languages to provide a user-friendly interface and experience.

 Learn More: Game Development Roadmap 2022

Benefits Of Game Development 

While being a game designer often requires hard work, long hours, and plenty of creativity, there are also plenty of advantages.

After all, there’s a reason why the position of video game designer is one that most aspiring game developers dream of finding themselves in someday.

If you’re considering a career in game design, here are our favorite video game developer benefits.

1. You can follow your passion

If you enjoy playing video games, becoming a game designer can let you transform your pastime into a profession. As avid players themselves, game designers frequently have firsthand knowledge of what makes a game entertaining and engaging. When you are a dedicated gamer and work as a video game designer, you may utilize your knowledge to make the kinds of games that players like to play, which can advance your professional chances.

2. It allows you to express your creativity

As a creative industry, video game design and development can be appealing to those with high creativity levels. Designing a game allows you to apply your creative skills to the construction of an engrossing story or world for the game. You may also demonstrate your creativity in the mechanics that your game implements, creating additional elements or combining established mechanics in new ways to make a more interesting gaming experience.

3. Your work generates tangible results

Video game design is a field in which your work produces products you can see and interact with. Besides being able to play your game yourself, you can also experience how consumers and video game enthusiasts enjoy your product upon release. For some professionals, this can be an appealing opportunity, as it makes it easier to see the appreciable results of the work you have done.

4. There are multiple routes of entry

The video game industry is huge, with projects ranging from independent games made by lone creators in their own time to multimillion dollar titles manufactured by major studios. A variety of routes into game creation are produced by this diversity of possibility. Before looking for work with a video game studio, you can decide to work independently or learn to code formally in addition to pursuing a degree from a college or university.

5. You can work independently

Video game design is a field that provides opportunities for those who don’t enjoy working in structured or corporate settings. Although independent video game development may require financial sacrifices during the development process, independent games can reach critical and popular success. This allows an individual or small team with a goal in mind to design and produce a game based on their unique vision.

6. Part-time work is available

The ability to work part-time while keeping a full-time career is another area where independent game creation might benefit an aspiring video game designer. For instance, an independent video game designer might work on their creations on the weekends or in the evenings. This enables you to continue earning a consistent salary from your day job while following your love for video game design.

What is the best programming language for game development?

Game developers use several programming languages, sometimes more than one at a time. The right language depends on the project, what features you need the language to have, and your experience level as a programmer. 

1. C++

Over 24% of developers in the gaming sector employ the well-liked programming language C++. It serves as an object-oriented programming language that gives users direct access to hardware and graphics processes. Popular gaming engines support this language because it allows creators to rewrite high-level code and large platforms.

C++ is a popular choice among developers because it uses internal structures that make it easier to organize code into reusable blocks. This language has been used in Windows games and big consoles, as well as popular games like Starcraft, Counterstrike, Master of Orion III, and Football Pro. 

How do game developers use C++?

C++ is the most popular language for creating game engines—the development environments where game programmers create and host their interactive worlds. Game engines provide the technology for every aspect of a game, from graphics, physics, and sound to the behavior of AI-powered game bots.

Developing your own engine is the best way to gain complete creative freedom and control over your game. If you decide to go this route, you’ll absolutely need to know C++; it is the industry standard, and you will need its versatility and high-performance capability.

Designers also sometimes use C++ to program in pre-existing engines. Creating an engine from scratch is extremely time- and resource-intensive, but you can get nearly as much flexibility from a commercial engine if you can do some of your own programming. Many of today’s most popular engines use C++, including:

C++ lets you get more out of these engines and develop more customized higher-performing games.

Why is C++ used in games?

C++ is a popular video game programming language because it is fast, powerful, and flexible:

  • It’s a very fast language. Gamers expect high performance and minimal to no delay in a quality game. Unfortunately, video games are prone to high server load, which can lead to latency if the code converts too slowly. C++ converts quickly, even when multiple tasks run at the same time.
  • It works in close proximity to hardware. Video games rely on hardware for control functions. C++ operates closely to that hardware, so engines perform better with less chance of stalling.
  • It works cross-platform. C++ lets you release projects on multiple operating systems and gaming platforms.
  • It features high-performance tools. C++ has a rich set of open-source libraries that take some of the legwork out of coding. There are C++ libraries for many different aspects of game development, from graphics design to debugging.
  • It’s compatible with other game programming languages. C++ gives you the flexibility to incorporate languages like C# or JavaScript to improve particular aspects of a game, like graphics or audio.

2. Java

Another language of choice among game developers is Java because of its multipurpose and open-source material. It has been known for developing mobile and indie games, as well as being a beginner-friendly language for games. With Java, you are able to write multiple reusable system-agnostic codes.

Java also makes it simple to compile, debug, and write code. This popular option among game developers is renowned for its ongoing updates that compete with other more recent technology. JavaScript, which is frequently employed for web-based and browser-based gaming, has an influence on Java. Ferrari GT, Minecraft, and FIFA 11 are just a few of the games created using Java.

Why learn Java for game development?

Java is a popular language for mobile games and apps since it is user-friendly for beginners. With Java, you can start creating, running, and debugging code faster than with many other languages if you’re new to programming.

A Java game will most likely run on a virtual machine—a software-based computing system that functions separately from physical host computers. Virtual machines help make games and other software quicker and less costly to create, easier to distribute, and simpler to scale as they grow.

What are Java’s game development features?

Just because Java is beginner-friendly doesn’t mean it’s limited in what it can do. 

The programming language supports multithreading, a feature that lets two or more instruction sets run at the same time. Game developers often prefer to have separate threads for different types of tasks, such as graphics rendering and gameplay logic.

Java also offers socket programming, which powers two-way communications with servers. This makes it easier for developers to create multiplayer games without the need for additional tools. 

3. HTML5

Because it can create cross-browser apps and games, HTML5 is one of the top languages for game creation and is used by 56 percent of developers. Javascript can also be replaced with this language. Due to its superior gaming engine, HTML5 is chosen. ImpactJS, Phaser, Construct 2, Turbulence, and Booty5 are just a few of the game frameworks that have been instrumental in the creation of HTML5 games.

Another advantage of this flexible programming language is that games made with it can be accessed on smartphones, PCs, Smart TVs, and tablets. Some of the games made with HTML5 are The Kingdom of Loathing, Nothing to Hide, Gods Will Be Watching, Roll It, Cookie Clicker, and World Cup Penalty 2018.

4. JavaScript

When it comes to building interactive online games, JavaScript is a top option. It combines HTML and CSS, enabling cross-platform mobile game development. Due of its inability to offer animation and interactivity, this is typically used in conjunction with HTML5. Additionally, because JavaScript is an interpreted language, it requires less time to compile than other programming languages like Java.

Big companies like Google, Paypal, and Amazon use JavaScript, as it works perfectly with other programming languages. Developers use it in creating applications, and not just for mobile games. This high-level language was used to make Hangman, HexGI, Swoop, Polycraft, and Little Alchemy. 

How is JavaScript used in game development?

JavaScript is often used to program games for hosting in web browsers. Today, online games usually run using the core web technology HTML5, which packages JavaScript code together with markup languages HTML and CSS.

JavaScript-powered HTML5 games run in web browsers and on mobile platforms like iOS and Android. You can host these games directly on a website, so they’re easier to share than console games. They’re also easy to maintain, thanks to the built-in stability of the JavaScript language.

What game do engines use JavaScript?

JavaScript game developers have access to JavaScript-specific and compatible engines, such as:

  • Three.Js
  • Famo.Us
  • Goo Engine
  • Allegro
  • Impact.Js

Because JavaScript is such a popular web development language, it has a diverse set of tools and frameworks, including the cross-platform graphics library WebGL and HTML5 game framework Phaser.

5. Python

Python is not as popular for video game development as other programming languages, but it’s used because it is developer-friendly, allowing these professionals to prototype games swiftly. Python is one of the object-oriented languages with simpler execution and syntax.

Additionally, Python features third-party built-in libraries that enable programmers to perform a variety of tasks without writing a lot of code. Python’s abundance of intelligible code makes it ideal for accelerating game development. The well-known games Eve Online, Frets on Fire, Battlefield 2, and Disney’s Toontown Online were all created using Python.

PyGame is a free Python library designed specifically for game creation. It’s easy to learn and features:

  • Readily available, easy-to-understand tutorials
  • Easy installers for Windows and macOS
  • Flexible, mix-and-match core modules
  • Simple code designed specifically for game scripting 

Learn More: Learn Python: Best Way to Learn Python in 2022 (Free and Paid Python Tutorials)

6. Lua

Lua may not rank among the popular programming languages in general, but it’s an ideal fit for game development. It’s the language behind popular games like Angry Birds and Age of Conan, and it powers engines like CryEngine, Gideros Mobile, and Corona SDK.

It’s an extremely lightweight language, meaning its small memory footprint doesn’t create drag. It also runs on virtual machines, so it’s fast and efficient.

You may easily incorporate Lua into many different applications because it is a highly embeddable language. That’s a critical element of game creation, which frequently uses several languages to achieve the desired result.

Love2D, a free game framework, is a great learning tool for beginner game developers—and it uses Lua! 

7. C#

C# (“C-sharp”) is a simpler, more accessible language than C++. It’s a high-level language, designed for humans to understand. Its syntax encourages code reusability, which makes it efficient, and its compilers reduce runtime errors by warning the programmer in advance.

What does C# do in video game development?

As a scripting language for video games, C# is in the lead. The game’s mechanics are laid down in scripting languages, which also direct the computer’s actions as the game advances. Using scripting, you may make it such that a player sees a certain image or message when their character picks up an object.

Where does C# show up in game development?

C# is the default language for Unity 3D, a popular game engine. Unity was the engine of choice for 61% of developers in 2021, making it the top engine of the year. It’s the powerhouse behind many popular mobile games, including Pokémon Go and Temple Run 2. Unity is also a popular game engine for VR games—90% of all Samsung Gear and 53% of Oculus Rift VR games use Unity. If you want to create games in Unity or for VR, C# should be in your toolbox.

C# is also a back-end language; in web-development contexts, developers use C# to communicate with the server rather than the user. When a player takes an action in a multiplayer game, C# tells the server how to interpret that action.

Many developers have used C# to create Xbox and other Microsoft games on the XNA Framework. Although Microsoft has retired XNA, C# remains compatible with its successor, MonoGame. It’s also the scripting language behind many Playstation console games.

Is Python or Java better for game development?

If you’re a complete coding beginner, Python is a great place to start. It’s readable for non-programmers, and PyGame makes it easy to start developing simple games. Learning Python also makes it easier to transition to Godot, an increasingly popular game engine.

That said, Python’s functionality is limited to video games. Java is more versatile and supports more advanced functionality for mobile games, without adding much difficulty. It’s still a very beginner-friendly language, and the learning curve is much smaller than the C-based languages (C# and C++). It’s worth trying out Java to see if it’s a good fit.

Is Python or C++ better for game development?

C++ is the clear winner here. It’s harder to learn than Python, but its potential in game development is unmatched.  

C++ is:

  • Much faster than Python, which is prone to lag when faced with the heavy server load of a video game.
  • Compatible with more engines and programming languages, so you can do more with your game.
  • Ideal for developing your own game engine, which expands your creative potential. 
  • Rich with gaming-specific libraries of all kinds, to give you more options.

The downside is C++’s steep learning curve, which can be a barrier for beginners. 

Why is Python not used in games?

Although Python is a powerful programming language, what it gains in usability, development time, and readability, it loses in speed. Python runs more slowly than other programming languages like C++, and it isn’t a conventional video game scripting language like C#. However, for newcomers, Python is one of the best starter programming languages—and game engines like Godot are basing their native scripts on Python to make it easier to program.

Is C# or C++ better as a game coding language?

If you want to create games from scratch, C++ is the way to go. It offers:

  • More control over hardware.
  • Customization options for rendering graphics.
  • Better memory management.

As an added bonus, learning C++ will give you an edge if you want to go further in software development.

If you want to script games using existing frameworks and engines, go with C#. You’ll get to:

  • Learn the basics faster and start coding games sooner.
  • Code within popular engines like Unity.
  • Receive error warnings if something’s wrong, so you learn quicker and see more success.

Which Programming Language Should I Learn First?

It is advisable that you grasp C++ first, even though you now understand that you are not limited to a particular language in order to create a superb game. This low-level language teaches you the principles and building blocks of object-oriented programming while simultaneously offering a high level of flexibility not seen in other well-known game programming languages.

C++ is recommended for optimizing performance, which is an essential factor in gameplay. The language has been used for decades and has allowed games to be created on platforms like Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, and Mac. With C++, it enables games to have high performance, which is key in game design.

How to Learn Game Development

If you want to be a game developer and join this lucrative industry, you must learn the best programming languages for game development as the first step. The gaming industry is booming and desirable, with the job outlook for game developers projected to grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030. However, there are four basic steps you should follow that will help you thrive in the industry, as it is a difficult road.

Learn Computer Programming

The first step of learning game development is earning a degree in computer programming. It will equip you with the necessary programming skills to launch a game development career. If you aren’t ready to commit to a four-year college degree program, you can also enroll in a game development Bootcamp or online course.

Choose a Known Game Engine

You should begin with a well-known game engine if you’re a beginner. You may use features like 2D graphics rendering, animation, collision, and animation thanks to well-known game engines. A Unity gaming engine is well-liked. There is a free version accessible, and it is simple to use.

Strengthen Your Skills

Strengthening your skills means enrolling yourself in courses or bootcamps. There are game development bootcamps that offer both convenience and flexibility. Attending bootcamps allows you to hone specific and necessary skills needed for the industry in a short amount of time. For example, bootcamps teach you 3D game graphics and game coding education.

Create a Basic Game

Now that you have the foundations of game development, it’s time to make a basic game to test your knowledge and skills. You don’t have to make a masterpiece or strive for perfection. The goal is to try and understand the basics. One of the easiest games to try and build is Tetris.

How to Learn Game Development: Top Resources

  • Online courses. Some websites offer courses, including sites like Coursera, edX, and Udemy. Some of the courses you’ll see there are Game Design and Development 1: 2D Shooter and 2D Game Development with libGDX.
  • Unity learn. This is an all-purpose game engine that game developer studios use. The platform provides learners with over 750 hours of on-demand and live learning resources.
  • gamedev.net. This website is dedicated to several news articles, tutorials, and forums. You’ll be able to share and collaborate on projects with others and receive advice and input from other professionals.
  • Brackeys YouTube tutorials. This YouTube channel is another great resource in learning game development, as it is focused on the video game creation process. The channel hosts tutorials directed at any skill level and offer informative insights.
  • Books. Books are also great ways for you to learn about game development. Try highly recommended books like Beginning C++ Through Game Programming by Michael Dawson and Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design by Scott Rogers.

Salary of game developer

According to the salary compilation website Payscale, video game designers made an average salary of ​$67,051​ in March 2022. The low end of the range sits at around ​$45,000​ depending on location. The high end goes up closer to ​$100,000​. These figures are not wildly different from other salaries in the video game industry. For example, animators averaged ​$66,300​ during the same year, according to Talent.com, and developers made anywhere between ​$52,000​ and ​$127,000​. These latter figures come from a study compiled by Game Designing, which looked at the state of the video game industry and the relative salaries of the people within it.

Conclusion

We have listed and described in this article some nice programming languages you can use to develop games either for the web or mobile phones.

We explained further by listing some of the games you could build with these languages. Study them carefully and choose the language you want for your next game development. 

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