Game development has proven to be a rock-solid industry over the last few decades. Pursuing a career in game development is a great way to break into the tech industry and positions in the field are accompanied by generally high salaries. The Python programming language is one of the best and most versatile tools for game development.
In this article, you are going to learn how to use Python for game development. First of all, you need to understand what Python means and what it is primarily used for in the tech industry. You will also find out how long it takes to learn Python. Finally, the article contains a detailed list of actionable tips for learning game development with Python on the right game engine.
What Is Python?
Python is a general-purpose, high-level programming language designed for object oriented programming. Python is one of the easiest programming languages to learn because of its logical and clear source codes. Python codes are similar to the English language and it is structured to easily scale projects.
As one of the most versatile programming languages in the tech industry, Python can be used for a wide range of applications. This includes game development, data science, website development, web application development, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. It is also favored by statisticians and researchers across industries.
What Is Python Used for in Game Development?
Python is most commonly used for rapid prototyping during game development. However, it is also used to add backend functionalities and scripts. For 3D games, Python can be used to develop animated graphics and images as well as player variables and an overall fun experience. Programmers primarily use a Python technology called Pygame.
Pygame is a PySDL-based computer program used for writing video games. It contains a host of resources including modules, sound libraries, and graphics used for cross-platform game development. Programmers need to install Pygame on their computers to gain access to its resources and create applications.
How Long Will It Take to Learn Python for Game Development?
It takes about five to 10 weeks to learn Python. During this time, you can master the basics, such as converting a string to an integer. However, learning how to use Python for game development might require more time depending on your level of programming experience. You’ll need to become familiar with loops like the event loop and the simple loop. You’ll also need to learn to create code blocks specific to the type of game you’re making.
Universities that provide software engineering programs may offer Python game development courses, but these programs can last for two to four years. So, if you’re looking for the quickest way to learn Python for game development, you should consider enrolling in a coding bootcamp. Gaming bootcamps run for about three to six months and sometimes last for up to a year.
Why Should You Learn Python for Game Development?
Python isn’t the only programming language that you can use for game development. It does, however, tend to be a pretty simple language to learn. Understanding the facts we’ve listed below will help you decide if learning Python is a good career move. Below is our list of the most common reasons for learning Python for game development.
Resources and Community Support
The Python community is one of the largest in the tech industry with thousands of active members. Whether you are new to programming or not, you will benefit from this community. There are forums available for communicating with other more experienced Python developers and getting regular updates and tutorials on Python’s best practices.
Scalability and Versatility
Python was designed to withstand small and large-scale projects alike. This explains why companies like Dropbox, YouTube, Quora, Reddit, and Pinterest use Python. The scalability is primarily due to features like dynamic binding, built-in data structures, and dynamic typing.
Using Python as a glued scripting language allows you to integrate new features into an existing game or app without compromising functionality. Python is a dynamic, programmer-friendly language that can be used for almost anything. It can be used on any type of operating system, including those on Windows, Mac, or Android devices.
According to ZipRecruiter, Python game developers earn an average of $100,839 yearly. This boils down to about $48 hourly and $1,939 weekly. ZipRecruiter reports salaries as high as $173,500 per year. This far exceeds the national average for all occupations in the US.
If you have a game in mind and choose to take the entrepreneurship path and launch your own 3D game with a unique game concept, there will be no limit to how much you can earn. Eventually, investors will begin to contribute money to help you gain more scalability and visibility.
How Can I Learn Python for Game Development?
Coding bootcamps, online courses, and books are some of the most popular options for learning how to develop a simple game. All these options come with unique benefits and drawbacks as you will see on the list below.
Coding bootcamps are fast-paced courses that offer job-specific skills to students. You’ll have the option of attending a bootcamp that specifically offers Python game development directly or attending a general Python bootcamp.
Some great bootcamps offering Python for game development courses are the Tech Academy, Holberton School, and 42 School. These are all highly-rated bootcamps that offer career services to assist students in finding jobs post-graduation. They are also relatively more affordable than traditional universities.
There are hundreds of massive online open courses (MOOCs) available on platforms like Udemy, Udacity, and Coursera. These platforms offer several modules, courses, training, and classes for Python game development. These courses are usually affordable and you don’t need to meet any strict admissions requirements to enroll.
Books are not as interactive as online courses and bootcamps but they can still be used as powerful learning tools for Python in game development. One of the most popular books for this is Python Game Programming By Example by Alejandro Rodas de Paz and Joseph Howse. Pygame: From Novice to Professional by Will McGugan is also a great option.
Top Python for Game Development Libraries
Python libraries are software resources made up of functions and modules that aid the development process. With Python libraries, you don’t need a lot of programming skills because you don’t have to write lines of code from scratch. You can choose what you need and modify it to suit your needs. Veteran programmers use libraries to boost development speed.
There are thousands of Python libraries in the tech industry but not every library is useful for this subject. Below is a list of the top five Python libraries for game development.
Pygame is a popular cross-platform set of modules that was designed specifically for multimedia applications development. Python-Ogre is a Python binding software that improves game performance. Cocos2d is a Python-based software framework for the development of games and other graphical user interface-based interactive applications.
Pyglet is an excellent choice that provides an object oriented programming interface for use across platforms. Kivy is a great option for mobile application development across platforms in the gaming industry.
How to Learn Python for Game Development: A Step-by-Step Guide
There are specific steps you can take to become a professional Python developer, or at least learn Python. Followed closely, these steps will get you to where you need to be in no time. The primary steps for learning how to develop any game from scratch are listed below.
Start With the Basics of Python
The first step to learning Python for game development is learning the basics independently. You need to understand what Python is, how it works, and how it is different from other general-purpose programming languages. Find out about things like Python syntax, semantics, functions, frameworks, classes, and libraries.
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There are several resources available to Python developers so you need to learn about the most common ones and how they can be useful. Some great introductory courses for learning Python basics are Introduction to Python Programming by Udacity or Python for Everybody Specialization by Coursera.
Learn How Python Can be Used for Game Development
After you have obtained fundamental knowledge of Python, you need to learn the application of Python in game development. Pygame is one of the most popular frameworks for game development but it is not the only option available.
Some other reliable frameworks for game development are Python-Ogre, Cocos2d, Panda3D, Kivy, and Pyglet. Courses include “The Complete Python Game Development Course for 2021” and “Game Development in Python” by Udemy. Test your skills by making a basic game.
Consider Formal Education
Starting self-learning with things like introductory tutorials is a good idea if you have the dedication and discipline to learn on your own. However, a more ideal alternative to teaching yourself is getting a formal education. The education can come from Python bootcamps, game development bootcamps, or software engineering degree programs.
Formal education offers more structure than learning on your own. It is also easier to convince a prospective employer to give you a chance if you are educated formally and you have the credentials to prove it.
Start Personal Projects
Whether you learn Python for game development on your own or you attend a formal program, you need to practice with projects. Start with a simple 2D game and work your way up to more complex projects like adventure games. The more you practice, the more efficient you will be in game development using Python.
The games you develop should be added to your portfolio so that prospective clients or employers can use them to gauge your skills. It is important that you make your portfolio personalized and publicly accessible if you want to increase your reach.
Consider Pair Programming
Pair programming involves developing a program in the same workstation as another developer. This means you will not be solely responsible for creating the game. You can write the Python codes for the game while the other developer reviews it and recommends ways to improve it.
Pair programming is beneficial because it minimizes coding mistakes and boosts efficiency, especially when the second programmer is more experienced than you. It also prepares you to work in a collaborative environment, which is common in game development.
Start Learning Python for Game Development Today
There is a high demand for Python and game developers alike. When you learn Python for game development, you would be opening a door to multiple career opportunities. If ever you feel like trying something different from game development, you can quickly switch careers.
If you decide to stick with game development using Python, you will enjoy significant compensation benefits in the gaming industry.
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