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Making games is much easier nowadays than it was ten years ago. There are many convenient development tools that allow you to start creating games even for a person who has never done this before. Such development tools are called game engines or constructors.
Game engine provides all the basic tools for developing a game of almost any quality, but has a high threshold of entry and almost always requires programming knowledge. Examples of popular game engines: Unreal Engine, Unity, CryEngine.
Game constructor differs in that all the game logic can be developed literally by clicking on buttons and dragging ready-made elements, programming in constructors is used to a minimum or not used at all. As a rule, the functionality of game designers lags far behind game engines, but this does not mean that you cannot make a good game on them. Examples of game constructors: Game Maker Studio, Scirra Construct.
In general, the topic of engines and constructors is worthy of a separate article, but here we will still talk about choosing a suitable programming language. If you are not sure that you need such difficulties, then I recommend that you still look towards game designers.
For those who are ready for difficulties, I can only say one thing: let’s go!
C ++ programming language
This programming language is one of the oldest languages used in the development of computer games. It is quite difficult for a beginner to master, since it requires some understanding of the operation of a computer, RAM, and was simply developed so long ago that the ways of writing code in it are already somewhat outdated.
C ++is used in most of the old engines, but modern trends lead to simplification of development, which means that C ++ is used less and less. You can find this language in various interpretations in such game engines as Unreal Engine or Source (Half-Life 2). Allows you to develop games for any operating systems and platforms, except for browser games.
Due to the difficulty of mastering and decreasing popularity, I do not recommend it for learning as a first language.
C # programming language
C # is a Microsoft development, and it appeared relatively recently. However, due to good developer support and rapid development, it becomes more and more popular every day.
This language is much easier to learn than C ++, it is clearer and more logical for a beginner. C ++ began to be used in game engines later, but over time it is supported by more and more game engines. Examples of such engines: Unity, Godot, XNA, MonoGame and others. Thanks to the engines, using C # it is now possible to develop a game for almost any operating system (Windows, Mac OS, Linux) and devices (computers, phones and tablets, even smart watches). It is also possible to develop browser-based Web games.
Due to the obvious advantages of this language, it is one of the recommended languages for learning for game development.
Java programming language
This language is also quite old, but it is still supported and developed by the developers.
Java not very difficult to learn, in general it is quite similar to C #, since Microsoft explicitly used Java as an example when developing C #, and therefore may also be of interest to a novice developer. However, at the moment, the really large game engines that support Java simply do not exist, and those that do exist are in themselves difficult to learn. An example of such engines: jMonkey Engine, LibGDX.
In general, if you want to learn a good, moderately complex language, and at the same time do not like Microsoft and Windows, then Java may be your choice.
Not to be confused with Java!
This programming language will be of interest primarily to those who want to develop browser-based Web-games, since this language is most often used in the development of sites and Web-applications.
It is not easy in the ocean of information to find a guide that explains the basics of programming well, avoiding you to jump from one language to another without understanding what you are doing
Delphi / Pascal programming language
These languages are almost identical to each other, and they are especially united by one thing: they are morally outdated. Their peculiarity is that they are often studied in schools and universities, so beginners often first encounter programming in Pascal, but do not rush to make a choice.
Nowadays, you will hardly come across a game engine that uses one of these programming languages. However, Pascal itself is extremely easy to learn. Therefore, if programming in other languages is difficult for you, you can start with it.
I do not recommend it for game development.
Visual programming can be quite an interesting option – a completely different approach to developing games and programs.
The fact is that in visual programming, you practically don’t have to write code, your task is to drag the panels and connect the necessary items, building the game logic from bricks. It is somewhat similar to game constructors, but the functionality is almost identical to real programming. Allows you to create games of low to medium difficulty without any coding skills. The Unreal Engine uses a visual programming system called BluePrint, one of the most popular examples. There are also addons that allow you to use visual programming in the Unity game engine.
In general, visual programming is your choice if you don’t want to write code, but really want to create games. However, it is still worth noting that for the full use of visual programming, you still need a basic understanding of the logic of building programs and mathematics.
It is possible that over time, a large part of game development will move to the use of visual programming.
This article reviewed the main programming languages that are now most popular in game development or among novice developers.
And most importantly: start simple, it’s better to make a small but complete game than try to create a clone of World of Warcraft or GTA and fail completely in the first month.
Early in his software developer career, John Sonmez discovered that technical knowledge alone isn’t enough to break through to the next income level – developers need “soft skills” like the ability to learn new technologies just in time, communicate clearly with management and consulting clients, negotiate a fair hourly rate, and unite teammates and coworkers in working toward a common goal.