Top Programming Languages for Game Development
Looking into becoming a game developer? We are not surprised.
Game development is a huge and fast-growing industry. It’s expected to get to the impressive $200 Billion by 2023. An average game developer makes over $110 000 a year today. We can only imagine what the average salary will be in a year. Besides, game development is one of those fun industries where a programmer can be more of a creator and a little bit a kid.
Starting a career in game development can be tough, though. Especially if you have no idea what skills you need and which programming languages you should learn.
In this post, we will list the top programming languages for game development and where you can learn them. We hope this article becomes a starting point in your brilliant career.
How to choose a language for game development
The modern game development process consists of several stages: concept, initial design, and production. The coding language is usually chosen after the initial design is complete.
The choice of the language largely depends on the game engine you are going to use. And this choice depends on the platform your game will be played on (console, PC, mobile, browser), whether it will be 2D or 3D, and the extent of the game’s interactivity. Besides, not all games are programmed exclusively with one language. Many of the games you play daily are written in several languages.
Let’s get to the chase and see which languages you should pay attention to.
Java is a very versatile language. It runs on everything, from microwaves to complex enterprise applications. This versatility and the huge choice of open-source resources make Java a go-to language for a lot of game developers, especially in the indie games industry.
Besides, Java is easy to learn, write in, debug, and compile. So it is naturally very popular among beginners.
Games written in Java include Mission Impossible III, Minecraft, and FIFA 11.
There are great online resources where you can learn Java. For example, on CodeGym you Learn Java by practice. There are over 1200 practical exercises with instant validation at your service. Besides, there’s a dedicated game development section where you can learn the language and practice your skills by developing your own version of one of the popular games.
Gaming hits like Cookie Clicker and Gods Will Be Watching are built with HTML5.
HTML5 is one of those programming languages that are easier to learn. Plus, the number of online courses, communities, and practical exercises, both free and premium, is truly impressive. Here’s a course on game development with HTML5 you can start with.
С++ is one of the most used programming languages among game designers. It might seem surprising, the language is rather hard to master after all. But its high abstraction level and the level of control it provides made it indispensable for complex game development.
Some of the biggest hits in the console and Windows games like Counterstrike, Football Pro, and StarCraft are written in C++.
Learning C++ on your own is harder than most of the languages in this list. Not because of the lack of courses, but because it is so complex. Some of the best C++ online courses can be found on Pluralsight. We can definitely recommend them.
Python is not as widely applied in game development as Java and C++. But it provides a plethora of tools to streamline the development process, so more and more game developers gravitate towards it. There’s even a special library called PyGame, which is easy to use in prototyping and is frequently used by game developers.
Some popular games built with Python include Battlefield 2, Disney’s Toontown Online, and Eve Online.
Python is one of those beginner-friendly languages that are fun to learn online. Here’s a great list of Python game development tutorials you can start with.
C# is a flexible and scalable solution, so it is rather popular in game development. Besides, it’s easier than C++. There’s a special C# framework for creating games for Windows and Xbox called XNA. And there’s an extremely popular C# game engine called Unity, which allows for creating games for various other platforms like iOS, Android, and PlayStation. Unity is also often referred to as the perfect choice for multiplayer 3D games, as well as for AR and VR applications.
Among the most popular games created with C# are Pokemon Go and Super Mario Run.
Learning C# is a bit harder than Java, but there is a big choice of good study resources like C-sharpCorner aimed to help beginners learn this programming language faster.
Other programming languages used in game development
While the six programming languages described above are the most common ones in game development, there are other languages applied in the industry as well. Learning one or two of them might get you a bit of competitive advantage in the job market.
Introduced by Google relatively recently (in 2007), Golang has quickly become a favorite for a lot of developers worldwide. Its flexibility, scalability, and robustness are among the most favored features. But its open-source nature and the support of multiple operating systems make Golang an excellent choice for mobile games development.
Lua is a lightweight, high-level, multi-platform programming language. But what interests us the most about it is the range of game engines created with Lua as their primary language: Gideros mobile, Corona SDK, and CryEngine are among the most popular ones. Learning Lua will give you an advantage if the company of your dreams develops games on one of these engines.
Well, that’s it on the top programming languages for game development. Whichever language you choose to learn first, remember – the more you practice your skills, the better you become. So study, practice, collaborate with other developers, have fun, and the career of your dreams will come along as you enjoy the ride.