10 best programming languages for game development

The gaming industry is one of the vibrant and hot domains right now and you are going to love every single movement you will spend in designing a game.

And once the product is done you will enjoy playing more. Now whatever new game idea comes to your mind, you can change it into reality very easily.

But we still need the right ideas to be able to do this. Similarly, you will get hundreds of programming languages ​​from the Internet, but you only have to select and learn those languages ​​which are suitable for perfect game development.

So if you are looking to get into the game design and development industry but unsure of where to start then this list of 10 best programming languages for game development.

You will get a full idea of how to get started, which language to learn, and which programming language will help you in which way.

This will bring you a good idea to create and select the best tool for the job

Things to share

The best part of the game development is that when you design something or you design an algorithm mostly it’s unpredictable.

So it’s something involved with a lot of randomization and that’s why the player who is designing the game actually enjoys it even more.

However, I have seen hundreds of students carry some misconceptions about game development.

Some teenagers want to design a game just because they spend many hours of the day playing PUBG or Call Of Duty type games.

The bad thing with that if you’re going to be spending a lot of time in just playing the game eventually you will never be able to get started in the game design and game development.

So the very first thing that you need to do is reduce the time you spend playing these games and utilize that time in learning what you want to develop.

Before getting prepared to learn about game development you have to first identify what kind of game you will be building like there is a domain of 2d games and there is a domain of 3d games.

But again this is no compulsion for you at all so decide whether you want to go in the 2d games or the 3d games.

For the 2d games, of course, it’s moreover a mobile-oriented and it’s pretty easy to get hype in that kind of game

For example the flappy bird which was having a pretty easy design and it got popular.

Now if you want to get started with the 3d games there is a whole plethora of engines getting out there.

3d game design is a completely different animal it has a lot of things like graphics, the UI design, the movement controls, the monitor mapping, the event mapping, sounds physics and a lot of things is there

There are two main types of programming for game development that you should pay attention to- what is known as system programming and web programming.

System programming

System programming means programming for a stand-alone application.

The stand-alone application is any software application that does not come bundled with extra software, nor does it require anything else to run. e.g. B. A video game that is playing on your computer.

The two most common languages ​​for game developers to learn are C ++ and Java, although other languages ​​are popular (such as C # for Unity).

Web programming

Web programming languages are used to develop applications or games that can be run on a browser through a web interface.

Many web languages like HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, etc are combined to work together to create the kind of experience gamers expect (although some programmers will specialize in only one or the other).

Also Read – Best Games For Android

Now lets come to the main topic of the 10 best programming languages for game development.

1.Programming languages for High-end games development(Triple-A Games)

C ++

C++ Programming Language For Game Development

C ++ is always included in the best programming lists for video game development.

For many large game development companies, the C++ programming language is essential. 

It’s quite a difficult language to learn, but when used efficiently, the language gives a super-fast execution time, direct control over the graphics, and the hardware.

C++ is an old language that has a large community so if you run into problems there are thousands of C++ developers to ask for help for example on Stack Overflow.

You have the highest answer rate for C++ development and the interest in learning C++ still grows

C++developers are needed by large companies developing games and other applications.

C ++ is a reputable tool for learning, which is difficult to learn, but once you complete it, you can master any other language.

It is widely used to make games on PlayStation and Xbox and is one of the most common ones that you will come across to make games.

Pre-requisite knowledge

You don’t need any pre-requisite knowledge for C ++, but still many people recommend learning C before C ++, this would be a better option.

System requirements

C++ is a compiled language, so if a processor is able to compile them will use extra cycles which means you need heavy software. 

It’ll additionally require extra energy if the operating system is windows.

If you want to learn C++ and develop simple games only, then there are many softwares that will work even if your RAM is 512 MB or above.

But if you want to develop a powerful game, then you need Powerful software like Visual Studio. System requirement for these types of software are:-

  • RAM- 4GB minimum, 8 GB recommended
  • Processor- 1.8 GHz or faster processor. Quad-core or better recommended
  • Microsoft OS- Windows 7/8/10 (32- or 64-bit)
  • HDD/SDD- Minimum of 800MB up to 210 GB of available space, depending on features installed
  • Minimum screen resolution- 1280 x 800

*Note– System requirements may vary from software to software. Mentioned system requirements are of Visual Studios IDE developed by Microsoft

Games developed using C++

  • Counter-Strike
  • World of Warcraft
  • King Quest
  • Master of Orion III
  • Warcraft III
  • Football Pro
  • Doom III Engine
    Invictus

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • Similar to other languages
  • Large Community and wide support
  • Powerful
  • Speed
  • Compatibility with C
  • Portability or platform independence
Cons
  • Complex
  • Security Issue
  • Little memory management:
  • Complicated
  • Absence of Garbage Collector

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Also Read – Quad-Core vs Dual Core For Gaming PC

C #

C# Programming Language

C # is a programming language obviously that is developed by Microsoft.

It runs on the.net framework and for a very long time, the.net framework could only be run on Windows machines.

It is comparatively easier to learn than C ++, so it would be better to learn C# first. It is the most recommended programming languages for game development

However, in terms of flexibility and compatibility, this programming language has a lower rank than the previous one, but some engines, such as Unity, Wave engine, etc allow smooth programming in it. 

C # can be used to create games virtually on any platform, including iOS, Android, PlayStation, Xbox, and Windows.

Pre-requisite knowledge

Before learning C#, you need to learn object-oriented analysis and design, algorithm, computing concepts such as statement, expression, operand, operator, etc, pseudocode, data structures, and some functional language concepts as well. It will help you to learn C# faster.

System Requirement

As I mentioned before, if you want to develop powerful games, you need powerful software like Visual Studio but to develop simple games, the minimum system requirement to learn C# are as follow:-

  • Processor: Minimum Pentium II-450Mhz (Pentium III-650Mhz recommended).
  • Operating System: Windows 2000 (Server or Professional), Windows XP, or Windows NT 4.0 Server.
  • Memory: 96 MB (128 MB recommended) for Windows 2000 Professional, 192MB (256 MB recommended) for Windows 2000 server.
  • Hard drive: 500MB free on the drive where the OS is installed (usually C:\) and 2.5 Gigs free on the installation drive (where VS.NET will be installed).

Games developed using C#

  • Cuphead
  • Monument Valley 2
  • Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-Ality
  • Inside
  • Hollow Knight
  • Arizona Sunshine
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Hearthstone
  • Cities: Skylines

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • High performance
  • Integration with Windows
  • Easier to learn and read code than C++
  • Garbage collector
  • Compiled Language
  • Easy to make multiple threads
  • Fully integrated with the .NET library
Cons
  • Uses more memory than C++
  • Doesn’t compile as fast as C++
  • Loses any cross-platform capabilities because of the integration with .NET.
  • Less efficient in execution than C/++
  • No multiple inheritance

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JAVA

Java Programming Language For Game Development

Java is a language that is used in every programming area and on all platforms. If you are a beginner and this is your first programming language, Java is still a great choice.

Prior to market presence, Java was almost a priority language for the development of small video games (that are not made by large companies).

It uses the OOP function and C ++ has many similarities with it, which means that both can be learned in parallel.

I must say you should understand the JAVA basics properly as it is the most demanding best programming language to make games

The Java virtual machine translates Java code into bytecode that runs on almost any system.

This makes it extremely versatile and popular with video game developers.

Due to the availability of open-source modules, Java is widely used to create 2D and 3D games on many platforms, but especially on Android.

Some popular frameworks such as LibGDX and JMonkeyEngine.

Unlike C ++, the problem that exists with Java is that it runs inside a virtual machine, resulting in a performance loss while playing games.

Java is one of the few game programming languages ​​that allow developers to use any system to develop games.

It is one of the primary language used to develop Android games in big enterprises and plenty of techs companies around the world

Actually, you can directly learn Java with none prior knowledge of other programming languages.

However, if you know C or other object-oriented programming languages like C++, then it will be very easy for you to grasp things quickly.

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Pre-requisite knowledge

However, the syntax in Java is much like the syntax of the C programming language, due to this fact, Knowing in C language helps to get hold of Java shortly. Even PHP, Python, JavaScript, and Node.js developers can learn Java Programming Language.

System Requirement

To write and operate Java programs, you have to get good IDE and JDK

IDE is the Integrated Development Environment that allows programmers to write their codes. Also, it will help you to know what you are coding. Additionally, it can help you avoid some errors.

To install any IDE you need following system requirements. There are many IDEs but two famous IDEs are-Netbeans IDE and Eclipse IDE

Netbeans IDE

  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional/Windows 8/Windows 8.1: Processor: Intel Core i5 or equivalent. Memory: 2 GB (32-bit), 4 GB (64-bit) …
  • Ubuntu 15.04: Processor: Intel Core i5 or equivalent. Memory: 2 GB (32-bit), 4 GB (64-bit) …
  • OS X 10.10 Intel: Processor: Dual-Core Intel. Memory: 4 GB

Eclipse IDE

  • OS: Microsoft Windows 7 (32- and 64-bit)
  • CPU: Intel Pentium III, 700MHz.
  • RAM: OS minimum + 256 MB.
  • Java Version: Java SE 7 Update 11
  • Disk Space: 200 MB.

JDK is Java Development Kit is a software development environment used for developing Java applications and applets.

Principally It helps you write and execute your Java code. It is the soul of Java without which it could not exist. Here are the minimum requirements for JDK. You can also see the details in this site

  • Minimum a Pentium 2 266 MHz processor.
  • 272MB Disk space
  • 128 MB Memory space

Games developed using JAVA

  • Asphalt 3: Street Rules
  • Asphalt: Urban GT 2
  • Avalon: The Legend Lives
  • Biniax.
  • Fast & Furious 6 (video game)
  • The Fast and the Furious (2004 video game)
  • FIFA 10
  • FIFA 11
  • Bomb Jack.
  • BotFighters.
  • NBC Sports Figure Skating

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • Simple
  • Object-Oriented
  • Platform-Independent
  • Multithreaded
  • High-level language with simple syntax
  • Platform-independency
  • Automatic memory management
  • Stability and massive community
Cons
  • Poor performance
  • Paid commercial license
  • Requires significant memory space
  • Single-paradigm language
  • Simple look i.e, the look is not native

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Python

Python programming language for game development

Python is the world’s fastest-growing and most popular programming language.

If you are a programmer or you are interested in it then you must have heard about Python.

It is not only popular among software engineers, but also among accountants, networking engineers, Game Developers, data analysts, hackers, scientists, mathematicians, and even children.

Python is very beginner-friendly and you can learn Python even if it is your first programming language

People from different industries use Python for a variety of tasks, such as artificial intelligence, game development, data analysis and visualization, automation, machine learning, and more.

It is very time efficient as it already has a large library.

So you don’t need too much coding to use like Java, all you need is logical thinking.

Blender(3D modeling software) and some other software uses Python as a scripting language

Named after the snake genus Python, it is another powerful programming language for Game Development.

Python provides developers with full-OOP (object-oriented programming) technology just like Java and C++ and has proven to be a flexible language used in many games.

The main advantage of using Python is that it provides the Pygame Framework that provides developers with the ability to prototype their games quickly and easily.

Just like Pygame, it has many similar frameworks that are mainly focused on Game Development.

Pre-requisite knowledge

As I said above, C / C ++ is the fundamental programming language for all other programming languages.

So, even if you know how to operate a computer, software installation, and some basics of C or C++ programming, You can learn it without any struggle

System Requirement

  • Processors: Intel Atom® processor or Intel® Core™ i3 processor
  • Single Core 1.0 GHz, 64Mb Graphics
  • Disk space: 1 GB
  • Operating systems: Windows* 7 or later, macOS, and Linux
  • Python* versions: 2.7.X, 3.6.X

Games developed using Python

  • Civilization IV
  • World of Tanks
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Online
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines
  • Battlefield 2
  • Toontown Online
  • EVE Online
  • Mount & Blade
  • Freedom Force
  • Vega Strike
  • Unity of Command (video game)
  • The Sims 4
  • Bridge Commander
  • The Temple of Elemental Evil
Pros
  • Versatile, Straightforward to Use
  • Quick to Develop
  • Readable codes
  • Object-Oriented
  • Less Coding
  • Powerful Programming
Cons
  • Weak in Mobile Computing and Browsers
  • lot of design restrictions
  • Threading Issues

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Lua

Lua Programming Language for Game Development

Lua is a Brazilian scripting language designed to be small, fast, and portable.

Its interpreter is built to have a small footprint which means it can run on any device with a standard C compiler.

The language also has mechanisms that allow you to extend it with libraries from other languages and vice versa.

Because it’s so small you can actually embed it inside projects that are based in other languages such as C-# or Ruby but you can still end up using Lua in those projects.

In 2003, a survey conducted by GameDev.net showed Lua as the most popular scripting programming language for game development.

Lua is probably most known for making games with the love 2d game engine. I

n general, a lot of triple-A games titles have been made in Lua including, Roblox, Warcraft, AngryBirds, and civilization.

There’s a lot of support for this with projects such as Aloha and I said before Lua prides itself on portability which means any system with a standard C compiler can run it.

This means that Lua can run on Windows, Mac, Linux all sorts of mobile platforms, and even like IBM frameworks.

This also means that Lua can be used for mobile games and there are a few platforms stuff like this such as the corona engine and love 2d can even be used on mobile.

Pre-requisite knowledge

Again I would say, you don’t need to have any prerequisite knowledge. But it is beneficial to have little bit basics of programming language like C, C++, JAVA, Python, etc

System Requirement

System requirements are very basic. It can be learned with minimum and system PC requirements.

You can read this complete guide on installation and other guides to start programming in LUA

Games developed using Lua

  • Crysis
  • Roblox
  • Star Wars: Battlefront
  • Dark Souls
  • Far Cry
  • Dota 2
Pros
  • Fast learning curve
  • Open-source
  • Good for game scripting
  • Supported in most game engines
  • Quick to code
  • Easy to embed in C programs
Cons
  • Don”t have of built-in performance for Lua
  • It could use a better garbage collector

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Swift

Swift Programming Language

If Apple applications are your thing, then Swift is the language for you. 

It is reliable, fast, relatively easy to learn, and is of multipurpose use.

Swift is one of the new programming languages for game development which was appeared on June 2, 2014, by Apple.

This brand new language developed by Apple mainly focus on IOS app development.

To improve Swift as a programming language, it took language concepts from Objective-C, Rust, Haskell, Ruby, Python, C #, CLU, and many others.

Well, Swift was built to support most everything you can do in objective-c today plus many of the great features from other modern languages.

Swift also does away with a lot of the boilerplate syntax that Objective C has.

So you’ll be writing fewer brackets parenthesis and semicolons, this means less code and faster development time.

Swift has overtaken Objective-C language in terms of use and popularity even in its short time on the market

Swift programmers can use Apple’s SceneKit and SpriteKit when it comes to developing ideas but are limited to using Apple’s brand hardware.

The most prominent engines used with Swift are OpenGL and Box2D.

Games developed using Swift

  • Angry Birds
  • Color Switch
  • Crossy Road
  • Flappy
  • 2048

Minimum System Requirement for Windows OS

  • Memory: 1 GB
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce 510
  • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.00GHz
  • Swift File Size: 700 MB
  • OS: Windows XP
Pros
  • Rapid development process
  • Improved safety and performance
  • Cross-device Support
  • Automatic memory management
Cons
  • The language is quite young
  • Swift community is smaller as compared to other languages
  • Lack of support for earlier iOS versions

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2.Programming languages for Web-based game development  (HTML5, Javascript, CSS3)

HTML5,  CSS3, and Javascript are the languages used in the web to give a page structure and visual display elements, respectively.

It is estimated that Javascript is used on 95% of all websites. Hence, JavaScript is one of the most popular languages ​​for developing video games. 

Naturally, it works well with HTML and CSS and is very suitable for online games.

The best part of creating games using Web Languages is games can run within any web browser, regardless of the operating system.

Javascript , HTML5 and CSS3

Programming languages for Web based game development

JavaScript is one of the most popular and widely-used programming languages for game development in the world right now.

It is growing faster than any other programming language. Javascript is gaining strength and if your decision is then a game that works on the internet in a simple way, javascript is option number 1.

Javascript is not only limited to web development but it can be used for iOS and Android applications & desktop applications.

In fact, a complete creation of web-based games with just Javascript is not possible so along with JS you also need HTLM5 or other web programming languages.

HTML5 is probably the most trendy globally-accepted standard for internet web page content.

Additionally, Javascript working on an HTML5 web page is the best combination for interactive mobile game development

HTML5 has lots of new APIs and some amazing graphics capabilities, it works hand in hand with JavaScript and CSS to create a wide range of online video games.

We can also use JavaScript for Unity 3D. With the scope that HTML5 can now appear with more 2D and 3D graphics libraries, JavaScript takes a relevant role for video game development, especially if we are interested in making our games easier to run on online websites and smartphones.

Html5 support like new elements, new attributes ,fullcss3 support, video and audio 2d, 3dgraphics local storage, local SQL databases in web applications.

So the ability to support audio and video is also new in html5 making it easier for developers to add video and audio using the tags video and audio 

CSS3 is the next generation of cascading stylesheets and much more expands the ability to control the presentation of your site.

HTML5 and CSS3 actually make a lot of sense because the two work together to produce the final rendered page.

JavaScript file is responsible for the templating and the dynamic elements respectively and in the same position CSS is responsible for one thing and that is style.

So how does CSS actually govern the style well it does that by making sure how elements look like on a certain web page example their colors the font that is in there.

It also helps in the positioning of elements and it also does a little bit of animation for the game

Pre-requisites for learning HTML, CSS AND JAVASCRIPT

One doesn’t need any pre-requisite knowledge for web programming or web game development.

But out of these 3 Web languages you first need to learn HTML and CSS and then JavaScript.

It is so because JavaScript runs behind the scenes and interacts with HTML and CSS to make screen changes.

This sequence of learning will help you to progress gently and will enhance learning the broad role of each language in the web ecosystem.

So learn in this sequence HTML > CSS > JavaScript

Requirements for starting

Before start learning these web programming languages you are required to install an IDE(Integrated development environment) software into your computer. 

This software provides comprehensive facilities to computer programmers for writing the programming languages. It may include toolbar, text editor, output viewer, etc.

There are many IDEs avaialble on the internet, and few wellknown tools are

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Programs and tools to create video games

Programs and tools to create video games

Now we already know the most popular and used programming languages ​​in game development, however, You may be wondering what software or what tool do we need?

Depending on our knowledge, skills, and the type of project that we are going to build, we can choose some tools or other.

For example, if we are thinking about making a 3D game, then we should choose a powerful engine, such as Cranvine, Unity, or Unreal Engine.

RPGMaker,  for example, is one of the most popular tools for creating all kinds of RPG games for PC, mobiles and even consoles. 

GameMaker, on the other hand, is a much more complete and professional tool to also create all kinds of games, not just RPGs, but of any kind. This tool is more complete, and complicated than RPGMaker.

Cocos 2D  is another C ++ based graphics engine for creating all kinds of games. It is not as complete and powerful as the first engines, but it does surpass RPGMaker and GameMaker. In terms of difficulty of use, it is somewhere in between.

Of course, game development is not based solely on programming. We must also have all kinds of audiovisual resources that allow us to shape the game. 

For this, it is necessary to resort to software such as  Audacity,  for audio recording,  GIMP  or Photoshop, for 2D photographic retouching, and  Blender  for 3D design and modeling

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Conclusion

There is nothing like “the best programming language for game development” because the use of any language can vary according to the demand of the game.

However, with the options on this list, you can definitely get a start and learn slowly.

So to produce the next great success in the game development field, choose the most appropriate tool for your project, and develop creative energy in your imagination.

Also Read – Best Money Making Apps to earn you real money

FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions)

  • Which is the best programming language for 3d game development

    I should say the C ++ is the “most efficient” programming language used for development of 3D games

  • Does game development require coding?

    Yes, Programming knowledge will be required after you know what you want to make. Unreal uses Blueprint and Unity uses C#. If you know programming languages properly C# properly to make a decent prototype, your good to go for more advanced aspects.
    A game requires both Game engines and Programming languages. Game Engines offers tools and features for rendering 2D/3D graphics, collision detection, physics, audio playback, networking, streaming, memory management, and creation of game levels.
    On the other hand programming languages like C++ helps to create the actual game itself: the game mechanics, controls, and systems for scoring, progression, combat, inventory, economics and so on

  • Is Python good for developing games

    Simply learning Python won’t help you at all, because Python is scripting Language and its performance may not be as good as old languages such as C #, C ++. Python is a wonderful selection for the fast prototyping of video games. However, there is a restriction with efficiency. Though it’s pretty easy to code in Python and understand the game logic, the speed may be very poor. Begin practicing on C ++ and C # on Unreal / Unity and then move to python.

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