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Best Programming Language for Games: 15 Game Programming Languages Reviewed

With games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Fornite making millions of dollars in revenue each week, it’s no surprise the game industry has become the poster child of modern technological advancement. Game programming falls under the category of systems programming, a type of programming paradigm used for creating standalone applications, like computer games! So, how do companies like Rockstar and Capcom develop such modernized games? What is the best programming language for games?

Best 15 Game Programming Languages Reviewed

If you’re a new programmer searching the answer to such questions, you’re in the right place. Here, at Ubuntupit, our dedicated team of veteran developers has curated this guide outlining the best game design programming language for you to know. Stay with us throughout this guide to learn all nitty-gritty details concerning the best programming language for games. Continue Reading to Find out More About the Best Game Programming Languages

1. C++

It should not come as surprising seeing C++ as the best programming language for games in almost every guide you read. The pioneer of modern game programming languages, C++ adds the concept of Object Oriented programming(OOP) onto its predecessor C. The ability to control very low-level system components has contributed a very fast running time for C++ programs, a much-needed element in game programming.

C++ programming languageMost high-end games that you play today depends on C++ codes in one way or the other. Popular gaming consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation both utilize this game programming language heavily. C++ is the must-know language if you anticipate yourself developing futuristic games.

2. C#

One of the best video game programming languages, a thorough knowledge of C# is elemental to every game programmer out there. It’s often the first preference to many developers to learn C# over other game programming languages due to the high-level of convenience it offers. The Microsoft-borne language supports the infamous Unity3D, one of the best game engines currently used in industry.

C# programming languageC# gives developers the ability to build games of any type, for any architecture without any extra hassles. The language is also far easier to learn than C++. So, C# is one of the best programming languages for games you’d want to learn.

3. Java

Java takes a prominent role in the industry and is one of the best programming languages for games, and for good reasons. It uses the same OOP principle utilized by C++ but offers a broader range of systems to play for. Java codes typically run on the Java Virtual Machine(JVM) and translate into generic bytecodes, that can be executed on any system.

Java-Programming-LanguageSo, Java is one of those few game programming languages that gives developers the ability to develop games for any given system. It’s also one of the primary language used for developing Android games, thanks to an increasing number of open source third-party modules like LWJGL.

4. Python

One of the most straightforward yet most versatile programming languages you can get your hands on today is Python. However, do not misinterpret its seemingly easy syntax and semantics inappropriate as a game programming language. Python offers full-fledged OOP(Object Oriented Programming) techniques to developers, just like C++ and Java.

Python Programming Language

The Pygame framework, based on this popular language is increasing in momentum every day, thanks to its ability to let developers prototype their games insanely faster. Python is gaining its share of glory as one of the best video game programming languages for games, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt you to learn it right now.

5. Lua

A lightweight and multi-platform scripting language, Lua is continuing to gain momentum in the game industry. It has risen as one of the best programming languages for games thanks to its simple language structure and syntax.

Lua - best programming language for gamesA vast number of modern game engines utilize Lua as their primary game design programming language, which includes but not limited to CryEngine, Corona SDK, and Gideros Mobile. If you’re a hard gamer like me, chances are you’ve already played games built on CryEngine. It’s the engine used by the famous German company Crytek and has produced games like Farcry and Enemy Front.

6. Objective C

This is the best programming language for games on the iOS platform. Objective C blends the syntax of Smalltalk and C together and offers convenient solutions for building iOS games. It also comes with the ability to program in an Object Oriented approach, much required for faster rendering time.

Objective CIt powers game engines like Core3D, Cocos2D and enables C developers to develop their games in an OOP style. Although not suitable for the most futuristic games, Objective C is a pretty viable choice if you want to get your hands dirty with an easy-to-grasp game design programming language.

7. JavaScript

Although it was not meant for developing large-scale games, JavaScript is turning the convention as days passes. It’s one of the most-used languages of the web and integrates pretty easily with any web applications. As we continue to progress more and more towards a web-based industry, online games are becoming much familiar every day.

JavaScriptJavaScript is definitely the best video game programming language for games when it comes to building interactive online games. The ability to integrate JavaScript codes easily with conventional web technologies like HTML and CSS are also contributing rapidly to an increasing number of cross-platform mobile games.

8. HTML5

Despite your struggle to believe, HTML5 has become one of the most common game programming languages for the web. A vast majority of mobile games that you play today utilizes this markup language. You can easily create a highly sophisticated web-based game blending HTML5 with JavaScript for interactivity and WebGL for graphical components.

HTML5 Programming LanguageHTML5 games are also increasing exponentially every day as developers don’t require complex theoretical knowledge of advanced data structure and algorithms. As things going pretty smoothly for HTML5, we can easily anticipate it to become one of the best programming languages for games shortly.

9. Papyrus

One of the newest game programming languages, Papyrus was developed by Bethesda Studios for use with their Creation Engine. It powers games like The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and Fallout 4. Papyrus is a scripting system that utilizes advanced programming techniques such as functions, objects, events, and variables.

papyrus_game programming languagesA Papyrus script usually revolves around events and calls pre-specified functions whenever a particular event is triggered. If you want to utilize the mighty Creation Engine for developing your next game, Papyrus could be one of the best choices for you.

10. Cg

Short for C for Graphics, Cg is a high-level shading language developed by famous GPU manufacturer Nvidia with collaboration from Microsoft. It’s based on the C programming language and shares many similar syntactical components. The language is now deprecated, meaning no additional updates will come.

However, you shouldn’t leave this language unexplored if you want to tackle complex problems associated with GPU programming. Cg has fueled many famous games such as Farcry, Hitman, Battlefield 2, and Doom 3. Sony used this language for developing different graphical components of the PS3.

11. UnrealScript

One of the revolutionary game programming languages of the past decade, UnrealScript is a native scripting language for the infamous Unreal engine. It supports all major gaming platforms like Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux, SteamOS, Android, and PlayStation VR.

The language combines complex features like OOP and multiple inheritances and fueled games like Arkham City, Fortnite, Bioshock, and Devil May Cry. If you want to develop your games on the popular Unreal Engine, learning this language is a must.

12. Squirrel

A high level, an imperative language with object-oriented programming abilities, Squirrel is another the latest game design programming language to learn in 2018. The language itself is influenced by C++ and Lua and aims at solving complex real-time problems that require high levels of bandwidth.

It tackles complicated problems like tail recursion and exception handling in a pragmatic way. The language has been used extensively in popular games like Left 4 Dead, Portal 2, and Counter Strike.

13. AMPL

Short for A Mathematical Programming Language, AMPL saw its inception as an algebraic modeling language in the Bell Laboratories during the early 90s. It aims at solving large-scale optimization and scheduling-type problems and gives developers the ability to program in numerous paradigms including linear, quadratic, nonlinear, and second-order cone programming.

AMPL is a cross-platform programming language that was influenced by C and AWK. Games like Wolfenstein and The Evil Within utilizes this language for solving numerous boundary problems.

14. Clipper

A powerful general-purpose programming language, Clipper was initially developed for solving database problems under the MS-DOS platform. It quickly gained traction for solving complex computational problems that include game programming. Clipper was used in building the first game engine to feature the MegaTexture technology and fueled games like Rage, and Wolfenstein.

15. ActionScript

The best programming language for games on the earlier flash-based systems like Blackberry, iPhone, and Adobe Air; ActionScript takes an object-oriented, imperative approach to game programming.

Macromedia delivered ActionScript based on JavaScript, and it was among one of the earliest implementations of out-of-the-box JavaScript supersets. It’s behind every other flash games you can remember from the time they were popular.

Concluding Words

As the gaming industry continues to boom faster and faster every day now; industries require expert developers with the profound expertise of the best game programming languages. If you want to break in this multi-billion dollar industry, make sure to equip yourself with a thorough knowledge of the best programming language for games.

Companies often tend to more conventional approaches when building games. Prior experience to older game programming languages will help you create something customized for your futuristic games. We encourage you to delve into this fantastic world of complex game development and wish you all the best for your future. Thanks for taking your valuable time staying with UbuntuPit.


  1. Why isn’t Haxe in here? It was used for huge games like Northgard, Dead Cells, Papers please. It certainly should be above Python and potentially above Java.


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