There are over 161 million digital gamers in the United States. The gaming industry has been booming, with an increase during pandemic lockdowns. The real challenge regarding video game development is to create games that everyone can enjoy while still considering interface and usability. For this reason, you need to know the most popular programming languages for games.
Game programmers earn $89,868 on average, per year. If the game market sounds attractive to you and you’re wondering how you can become a game developer, start with understanding the basics of the best programming languages for games. Whether you’re thinking of creating online games, video games, or mobile games, knowing the right language for game development is essential.
What Are Games?
Digital games are defined as any game played using an electronic device, whether stand-alone or online. This can be a multiplayer game or a single-player game. Popular games include Counter-Strike, PUBG: Battlegrounds, Dota 2, Apex Legends, and Rocket League. The most popular games played on mobile apps are PUBG Mobile, Garena Free Fire, Mobile Legends, Pokémon Go, and Subway Surfers.
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What Are Programming Languages?
A programming language is a set of grammatical rules and vocabulary used to instruct a computer or computing device to perform tasks. Programming languages include high-level languages like Java, Fortran, Cobol, C++, C, and Pascal. According to the TIOBE index, the most popular programming language is Python.
What Programming Languages Do Game Developers Use?
Programming languages have their pros and cons. Each has features that make the game better than others. Developers use programming languages that help provide direct control over graphical processes and hardware. Some prefer programming languages that are lightweight and multi-platform.
Best Programming Languages to Learn for Game Development
Which Programming Language Is Best for Game Development?
UnrealScript is an object oriented programming language used by Unreal Engine, which doesn’t need engine recompiling and supplies programmers with features designed for use in games. This language contributes to making event-based gameplay more accessible and efficient.
UnrealScript has native support for time network replication and state, suitable for game programming. Popular games supported by this powerful language are America’s Army, Advent Rising, Batman-Arkham Knight, and The Wheel Of Time.
Lua is a multi-platform language that is simpler but very compatible with other complex languages. This is the language of choice for a video game programmer. It is lightweight and straightforward. In addition, Lua has efficient in-memory usages. The syntax is also pretty simple.
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This programming language is an open-source license and is also faster than Python. Lua has limitations that don’t support inheritances and classes. Trending games made with Lua are Aquaria, Angry Birds, Age of Conan, and American Girl.
C# is a high-level language that is great for games because it’s known to be coherent. It is mostly used by smaller game studios and is one of the main coding languages seen in sought-after game engines. In 2000, Microsoft released C# as it was suitable for building games on Xbox and Windows.
This powerful programming language has allowed professional developers to build a wide range of games on different platforms such as PlayStation, Android, and iOs. Another advantage of using this cross-platform language is that it has a quicker development time and allows coders to code faster. It also has a huge library that’s filled with high-level functionality. Popular games made through this language are Pokémon Go and Super Mario Run.
Rust is another game design programming language used for game development. It is statically-typed and designed for safety and performance. This is an advantage for memory management and safe concurrency. The syntax of Rust is similar to C++.
Rust’s memory model makes it harder for it to commit usual mistakes. You can quickly see errors such as buffer overruns, dangling pointers, and other similar bugs. Games written in Rust are Veloren and Nox Futura.
One of the popular choices in languages for game development is SQL. It is used as a backend database to access accounts and other server activities. Another advantage of using SQL is that it has high speed and can immediately retrieve huge amounts of records.
SQL doesn’t require a significant amount of code in managing the database system. It is portable and can be used on laptops, desktops, and mobile phones. It is also considered an interactive language. It can communicate with the database and receive answers quickly.
Which Programming Language Should I Learn First?
The language you should learn first is C# because of its readability. It is very simple to understand, especially if you’re a beginner. It is also intuitive and logical, making it easy to grasp. This popular language also has many development tools that you can use to create better programs. It’s definitely one of the best programming languages for games
C# is known in the online game industry and tech world as a practical object oriented language. It can integrate with Unity engine, which is a popular game engine considered to be the best environment for mobile game development. Games developed through this programming language can be on major gaming platforms.
Is It Possible to Choose the ‘Wrong’ Programming Language?
Yes, it is possible to choose the wrong programming language in the video game industry. Especially if its features are unsuitable for the game you want to create. To avoid this, you have to know and be familiar with common game programming languages and video game design.
How to Learn Game Development
Learning game development in the online gaming industry can be challenging because you need to acquire new skills, especially if you don’t have experience. You’ll only get to understand basic and foundational concepts if you attend a bootcamp or finish a programming degree. Below are a few ways to help you start your career in game development.
Complete a Degree
There are tech-related courses that will help you become a game developer. These courses are in computer science or computer engineering. The advantage of finishing a degree is that it will equip you with the foundational and core concepts applicable to a developer.
Various step-by-step tutorials on the Internet will help you with real-world applications and projects. You can do these while you’re studying or after completing your degree. Some of the best video tutorials are available for free on YouTube.
Start Small Projects
Start working on projects to test your skills and slowly progress to advanced programming techniques. Practice the programming languages you’ve already learned by beginning with an easy game like Tetris. Join projects or an online community that will expose you to learning from other skilled professionals.
Improve your skills and learn new skills by attending a game development bootcamp. They are a great way to learn in a shorter period of time. Topics covered can range from rig models and scripts to game design. The main advantage of bootcamps is you can study in the comfort of home.
How to Learn Game Development: Top Resources
- Udemy. There are many classes and courses in Udemy that you can access. For example, it offers C# Basics for Beginners: Learn C# Fundamentals by Coding, and Complete C# Masterclass.
- Game Code School. This website offers Java, Kotlin, C#, and C++ tutorials. It also offers game projects like Android Studio, SFML, Kotlin, Unity, Unreal Engine, and Gamemaker Studio.
- Gamedev Reddit. Forums are a helpful way to connect to a community. In this online community forum, you can ask questions and help others while they are finishing projects.
- Lost Garden. This article talks about improving core gameplay and will help you improve your skill.
- Game Programming Patterns. This free online book includes sequencing patterns, behavioral patterns, and optimization patterns.
Ready to Break into Tech?
It’s interesting to learn the primary programming language for games. You are part of a community that entertains people and makes them happy. This industry requires professionals who are creative and think outside the box. If you are up for that challenge, you’re ready to break into tech.
You don’t have to learn all the languages immediately. Start with one of the most popular programming languages for games. Remember that many resources are available to help you start a project, including enrolling yourself in a bootcamp or finishing a degree to ensure that you have the basic foundations of game development.
Best Programming Languages for Games FAQ
C# is good for game development because it supports Unity, which is one of the best game engines available. C# also has many libraries and tools for game development, including the XNA framework that helps make game development faster.
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Both C++ and C# are used to develop games. C++ is a better choice for cross-platform purposes, while C# makes graphical interfaces easier. C++ also has improved hardware control on the PC and server.
PUBG is developed through a game engine called Unreal Engine 4. This platform is coded in C++.
Any programming language works with different 2D games, especially object oriented programming languages like Python, Java, C++, and Ruby.
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