Gaming is a popular pastime, and it’s getting more popular with every passing year. Not only are there now thousands of expansive, engrossing titles available, there are now internationally-recognized gaming competitions where the biggest names in e-sports gather to play for multi-million dollar payouts.
If you love gaming, it’s worth considering games as a vehicle for learning to code. Many, many talented developers and engineers got their start tinkering with game source code or building their own games from scratch.
There’s no reason you can’t do so too.
Languages Used in Game Programming
If you dream of someday building games, you’re going to need to learn how to program. There are lots of languages you could start with, but the best one is probably C++.
C++, not to be confused with C, C#, or Objective-C, is a widely-used language that’s popular across many domains. C++ compiles quickly, has many 3rd-party libraries for accomplishing a number of common tasks, and enables programmers to handle lower-level tasks like memory management.
C++ is an intermediate language, meaning it sits somewhere between the low-level and high-level languages. This is important because applications like games tend to ask a lot of memory, processors, and graphics cards. Anyone programming a game is going to need to keep the constraints of the system in mind, and C++ let’s them work closely with hardware to accomplish this.
C# and Java are also great languages to learn if you’re an aspiring game developer.
Tools for Coding a Game
Just like web developers don’t spend that much time writing HTML because they’re using a framework like Ruby on Rails, a number of platforms exist which make game programmers more productive.
The biggest example is probably the Unreal graphics engine. It can be used by people with zero coding experience and by experienced coders looking to cut down on the amount of programming required to make a beautiful game.
With C# you can use Unity to create amazing iOS applications as well as compelling games. Some of the more popular indie games out there, as well as the Kerbal Space Program’s well-known flight simulator, were built with Unit.
Both Unreal and Unity either require a subscription or require you to pay for extra features. Not so with the Godot Engine, which is a free and open-source game engine for building 2D and 3D games.
How Long Does it Take to Learn to Code a Game?
Coding might be a great way to find a career you love, but that doesn’t change the fact that it takes a significant investment to master.
How quickly you learn to code games will depend on your background, your learning approach, and how much time you spend focusing on coding.
Coding represents a pretty unusual way of thinking, and there’s no way of learning how to do it without just spending hours writing and troubleshooting. You can cut down on the time requirements by choosing good materials, consistently working on projects that are just barely within your skill range, and finding people who can help you when you get stuck.
You could be churning out beautiful, high-quality games in no time!