Programming has blossomed over the past few years, giving rise to many languages and platforms. Budding and experienced developers alike can choose to work on mobile, online and service-based games. They can also design single-player experiences for both console and PC.
Of all the languages available, which are the best?
The staple language for game development, C++, was created by Bjarne Stroustrup from Bell Labs in 1980. Learning this language will open up many opportunities in and outside the game development world.
C++ is an object-oriented language, meaning it uses internal structures or blocks – called classes and objects – to break up the complete code. It has a steep learning curve, especially for those with no prior experience. However, thanks to its rampant use, the effort is worth the reward.
Some of the most popular games made with C++ include “Counter-Strike,” “Warcraft III” and “World of Warcraft.”
Note: thanks to increased efficiency with modern languages and development platforms – like Unity – C++ is starting to phase out, though it still plays a critical role. C# is an excellent alternative if you want something more versatile.
UnrealScript is the native scripting language for the Unreal Engine, a popular game-development engine. Many big games used the engine, including “Batman Arkham City,” “Bioshock,” “Devil May Cry” and more. It’s relatively easy to learn. Plus, universal support allows companies to repackage and release games across multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, SteamOS, Android and PSVR.
This language offers built-in features that make the average developer’s job more manageable. Elements like switches, timers and object-oriented roots allow experienced developers to dive in and newbies to learn the ropes.
Like Unreal, Unity is a development engine commonly used for creating games. It has become popular primarily for its universal support across multiple platforms. Developers can easily release their games on console, PC, mobile and more.
One of the best things about Unity is that you can find hundreds of resources and guides on working with it. Those who have no prior experience with programming languages may find it more accessible.
Games made with Unity include “Ori and the Blind Forest,” “Wasteland 2,” “Cuphead,” and “Hearthstone and Cities: Skylines.”
Java uses the same object-oriented principles as C++ but tends to work with a broader range of systems. The Java Virtual Machine (JVM) compiles and runs Java code, which is compatible with nearly every system on the market. It’s the mainstay for Android games and application and open-source development.
Though it’s been around since 2005 and is a little older than TypeScript, Haxe is starting to get the recognition it deserves. Developers used this language to make high-profile games like “Dead Cells,” “Northgard,” “Papers Please,” and “Evoland.”
The Heaps.io game engine comes from the creator of the Haxe language and is worth using after you’re familiar with the language.
Alternative Programming Languages for Game Development
While this list includes the most popular languages in use, there are tons more available. It’s always helpful to know alternatives, such as:
- HTML 5
Learn about the variety of free tools you can use to ease the development process. Look for a code editor that supports several languages, including Notepad++, Crimson Editor and jEdit.
Remember, the gaming industry is continually evolving, along with the existence of programming languages. It’s a good idea for developers to stretch their legs and try new opportunities.