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14 Best Programming Languages For Games Development

With games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Fortnite 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 Game Programming Languages


If you’re a new programmer searching for the answer to such questions, you’re in the right place. 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 the nitty-gritty details concerning the best programming language for games. Continue Reading to Find out More About the Best Game Programming Languages

1. C++


Seeing C++ as the best game programming language in almost every guide you read should not be surprising. The pioneer of modern game programming languages, C++, adds Object-Oriented Programming(OOP) to its predecessor C.

The ability to control very low-level system components has contributed to a fast running time for C++ programs, a much-needed element in game programming.

Most high-end games that you play today depend 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. It’s often the first preference of many developers to learn C# over other game programming languages due to the high level of convenience. The Microsoft-borne language supports the infamous Unity3D, one of the best game engines currently used in the industry.

C# allows developers to build games for any architecture without 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.

So, Java is one of those few game programming languages that allows developers to develop games for any given system. It’s also one of the primary languages 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 versatile programming languages you can get your hands on today is Python. However, do not misinterpret its seemingly easy syntax and semantics as inappropriate as a game programming language. Python offers developers full-fledged OOP (Object Oriented Programming) techniques like C++ and Java.

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 continues gaining 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.

Many modern game engines utilize Lua as their primary game design programming language, including 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 and offers convenient solutions for building iOS games. It also comes with the ability to program in an Object-Oriented approach, which is required for faster rendering time.

It powers game engines like Core3D and 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 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 pass. It’s one of the most-used languages on the web and integrates pretty easily with any web application.

As we progress more and more towards a web-based industry, online games are becoming familiar every day.

JavaScript is the best video game programming language for games for building interactive online games. Integrating JavaScript codes easily with conventional web technologies like HTML and CSS contributes rapidly to an increasing number of cross-platform mobile games.

8. 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.

A 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 to develop your next game, Papyrus could be one of your best choices.

9. Cg


Short for C for Graphics, Cg is a high-level shading language developed by famous GPU manufacturer Nvidia in collaboration with 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 to develop different graphical components of the PS3.

10. 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. Learning this language is necessary if you want to develop your games on the popular Unreal Engine.

11. Squirrel


A high-level, imperative language with object-oriented programming abilities, Squirrel was another of the latest game design programming languages to learn in 2018. C++ and Lua influence the language itself and aim to solve complex real-time problems requiring high bandwidth levels.

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

12. 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 to solve large-scale optimization and scheduling-type problems and allows developers 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 utilize this language to solve numerous boundary problems.

13. 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 to build the first game engine to feature MegaTexture technology and fuel games like Rage and Wolfenstein.

14. 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, among the earliest implementations of out-of-the-box JavaScript supersets. It’s behind every other flash game you can remember when they were popular.

Concluding Words


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

Companies often tend to more conventional approaches when building games. Prior experience with 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 to stay with us.

Mehedi Hasan
Mehedi Hasan
Mehedi Hasan is a passionate enthusiast for technology. He admires all things tech and loves to help others understand the fundamentals of Linux, servers, networking, and computer security in an understandable way without overwhelming beginners. His articles are carefully crafted with this goal in mind - making complex topics more accessible.

6 COMMENTS

  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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