How to select programming languages for game development

game development

Video game creation requires a mix of creative and technical competencies. The latter implies knowledge of programming languages – whether it is ultra-flexible C++ or easy-to-use C# or other options. The great news is the variety of programming languages for gaming development out there. So, this post will navigate you to the top programming picks for the gaming sector, whose revenue surpassed  $365 billion in 2023. Video gaming is definitely a promising area for professional exploration, so we divided the post into several criteria outlining subsequent choice of programming languages. 

A. Performance 

Processing inputs, audio streaming, game graphics, physics simulation – all that and more has to be done simultaneously, which generally makes a game performance-intensive. Choosing unsuitable language may cause the failure of performance. If your game contains resource-intensive operations and interactions, it is worthwhile to consider low-level programming languages. Conversely, high-level languages are usually utilised for simpler games.

The benefits of C++  (+ посилання на технологии С++) include fast performance and direct hardware access. In addition, it provides game engineers with robust control over memory management. This programming language is the perfect fit for AAA games that emphasise performance. Some widely used game engines based on C++ are Unity, Unreal Engine, and CryEngine. 

If your goal is to create a mobile game or 2D indie game rather than deliver cutting-edge visuals, Python will benefit the development process by prompt proof-of-concept prototypes and simplicity in usage. Python operates faster compared to C++ and encompasses sufficient features for games with AI, basic gameplay and graphics. This programming language is under the hood of Panda3D and Pygame frameworks.

B. Game type

Programming languages correspond to your needs differently, depending on whether you aim to create networked gameplay MMO, retro pixel art platformer, action-packed FPS or something else. For instance, 2D games are usually created in JavaScript, while C# merits are utilised for 3D games. 

Not only does the benefit of C# include its versatility (the language allows you to build games for multiple platforms),  but it also enables the creation of an immersive real-time 3D game environment. For this purpose, C# is primarily used with the Unity game engine. The performance might be a bit slower when compared to C++, yet C# has a rapid prototyping capacity. 

Javascript combined with HTML5 and Canvas, simplifies the creation of particles, animations, and 2D sprites. This programming language will assist you in writing side-scrolling games or hit-pixel art. One of the most well-known frameworks on JavaSxript is Phaser.

C. Game Engines 

Again, simply because game engines do the heavy lifting in physics, graphics, audio, etc. In addition, a multitude of game engines are tied to particular languages. 

These are two of the most sought-after commercial engines based on C++ and C#, respectively. Both of them get you covered on the low level of work, so you can concentrate on gameplay code. For junior developers, C# would be a more comfortable 3D development option, while C++ possesses a steep learning curve. 

Custom engines foster the process of optimising engines in line with the game concept you want to build; however, applying existing engines is generally more effortless. For custom AAA engines, C++ is an expected and trustworthy choice. Whereas indie programmers develop a game with simpler engines in Python or JavaScript.

D. (Cross -)platform compatibility 

Certainly, cross-platform support is an overriding point of game development, as more players can be engaged in gaming space, whether it is console, mobile or PC. Which languages help optimise cross-platform game development?

Unity framework operates on a C# basis, and programmers need to write the code only once for multiple platforms. Thanks to Unity, the team targets Windows, Linus, Mac, and other mobile platforms more easily. 

Java is oftentimes used for Android games, and Swift provides programmers with all the latest iOS frameworks. Even though creating games for native platforms requires more time and competencies, it will eventually be rewarded by a stellar and tailor-made gaming experience. 

PNN Soft is a skilled partner for game development

With 20+ years of experience, our team never stops mastering programming languages suitable for various projects in gaming: epic 3D games or engaging 2D games for different devices. We also deliver API for game development, which assists in leveraging code blocks and enhancing the gaming experience. Additionally, APIs allow programs to adapt ready-made function sets of other games and thereby, optimise the development process.

If you need a reliable partner for game development, don’t hesitate to contact the PNN Soft team.