What Code Languages Do Video Game Developers Need to Know?

Video Game DeveloperIf you’re wondering about the code languages video game developers need to know, you’re probably eager to start working on games right away. The truth is that you can design and develop video games with basic knowledge of just a few languages while using visual design frameworks to program 3-D graphics and animation. Most major programming languages have game development libraries, so you can get started with the language you’re most comfortable programming in.

Choosing a Programming Framework

The most popular languages for game design are C++, Java, Python and Objective C, and the coding framework you choose depends on the platform you’re developing for. Desktop games are typically coded in C++ although Python is also sometimes used. Mobile games are written in Java or Objective C, depending on the operating system of the phone for which you’re designing the game. Android apps are written in Java, and iPhone apps are written in Objective C. However, both of these mobile platforms use an OpenGL ES framework for 3-D graphics and animation, according to Khronos Group.

If you’re designing mobile 3-D games, you can code them manually by typing the Java code in Android Studio or the Objective C code in Apple Xcode. Alternatively, you can buy a license for a visual game development framework such as Unity3D or Unreal. These graphical integrated development environments allow you to visually import 3-D graphics into a game world and program event handlers and animations using the scripting language of your choice. The most common scripting language is JavaScript although you may also use Python with some frameworks.

Behind the scenes, these frameworks are based on OpenGL ES, so the automatically generated code they produce performs similarly to manually coded games that use the OpenGL framework. The big advantage of using a graphical IDE is that the game you create can be compiled for all the major platforms, including Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. To deploy apps for all these platforms requires a separate license for every version, but the extra cost quickly pays for itself through the enormous time savings.

The OpenGL 3-D Graphics Rendering Pipeline

If you have a small team developing an independent game, you can reach three or four times as many people instantaneously by compiling a cross-platform version with OpenGL. This open-source 3-D graphics library is available for all platforms, and it’s what you would use to develop games for desktop computers while making system calls with C++.

OpenGL code is executed on the graphics card, so native code is required to make calls from the processor in order to control the 3-D rendering. The framework uses the client-server design pattern, storing 3-D assets such as vertex arrays in video RAM for super-fast access. The basic idea is the same for PC, Mac and mobile devices, but the 3-D capabilities depend on the amount of video processing power available on the system. Android and iOS devices are becoming more powerful every year, and most new games are created using OpenGL as part of some type of framework.

Related Resource: JavaScript

Video game design is one of the most popular career choices in recent years, and the market for new games is only going to get bigger. If you have that rare skill set that combines logic, storytelling and visual creativity, you may want to learn more about the code languages video game developers need to know.