Choosing the Right Programming Language or Game Engine for Your Game
What Determines the Tools
As a game developer, one of the most important decisions you'll make before even starting your game is choosing the right programming language and game engine to use. They determine the tools and features you have at your disposal, as well as the overall performance and capabilities of your game. However there are so many options out there and they all look pretty capable, especially now that everything has caught up to speed in 2023. So which one should you pick? In this article, we'll check out some of these options and see what best fits the development needs of your project.
Which one to pick?
Here are the three options we will explore ranging from super basic to a fully featured Super Engine.
The most basic is just to create the game in a specific programming language by writing all the code. You can use libraries and frameworks but the general idea is that you're starting from scratch. Some popular languages for this are C++, C#, and Python. Using a programming language allows you to have a high level of control and customization over your game, as you are writing the code from scratch.
Second up is creating a game engine for creating the game. By building a software platform that provides the necessary tools and features for the game you can make it easy to create it exactly how you imagine it. This can be a complex and time-consuming process, as it involves designing and implementing the core systems that are necessary for creating any game, such as a rendering engine, a physics engine, and an input system. Creating a game engine requires a deep understanding of computer science concepts and programming languages.
Where using a programming language is the simplest, picking a game engine is the easiest. Simply select one of the battle-tested and pre-made game engines that are out there. Some of the popular ones are Godot, Unity, Unreal Engine, and GameMaker. When picking a game engine, consider the type of game you want to create, the platforms you want to target, and the level of complexity you're comfortable with. Using a game engine can be a faster and easier way to develop a game, as it provides you with all the tools and features plus extra. However, it is the least customizable option and may not offer as much control as creating your own game engine or using a programming language.
Let's begin by diving into the most basic way of creating a game: with just a programming language.
Choosing a Programming Language.
There are 8945 (https://hopl.info/) programming languages to choose from, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. We'll be talking about C++, C#, Go, Rust, TypeScript, Lua, and Python; solid choices in the game development industry. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right programming language for your game:
Consider your goals.
What kind of game are you looking to make? Different programming languages are better suited to different types of games. For example, if you want to create fast-paced, action-packed games, a language like C++ might be a good choice. C++ is known for its performance and low-level access to hardware, which can be useful for creating demanding games. On the other hand, if you want to create more casual, puzzle-based games, a language like Python might be a better fit. Python is known for its simplicity and ease of use, making it a good choice for beginners or for prototyping ideas quickly.
Look for versatility.
It's important to choose a programming language that is versatile enough to handle a wide range of tasks. This will allow you to be more productive and efficient as you work on your game. For example, C# is a popular choice for game development due to its versatility. It can be used to create a wide range of games, from 2D mobile games to complex 3D PC games. Additionally, C# has a large and active community, which means you'll have access to a wealth of resources and support as you work on your game.
Focus on speed.
Game development often requires fast processing speeds, so it's important to choose a programming language that can keep up. C++ is generally considered one of the fastest languages, but there are other options like Rust and Go that can also be good choices. Rust is a relatively new programming language that has gained popularity in the game development community due to its speed and safety features. Go is another fast language that is known for its simplicity and concurrency support, which can be useful for creating multiplayer games.
Making a game engine.
In a competitive market like the game industry, it can be mission-critical to stand out from the rest by offering something unique or better. The best way to do this is by creating your own game engine as it plays a major role in determining the look and feel of your game. You'll have full control over every aspect of your game, limited only by your programming language, device, and knowledge.
You'll need to have a strong understanding of computer science and programming. It's a complex and time-consuming process, so it's important to be prepared to face challenges. For context, it takes about 1000 lines of code to create a triangle with Vulkan, meanwhile, you can create a pong clone using TypeScript, HTML, and 200 lines of spaghetti code easily. That being said, creating your own game engine can be a rewarding experience and can give you a greater understanding of how games are made.
Here are some of the general benefits of creating your own game engine:
By creating your own game engine, you have complete control over the tools and features that are included. This can allow you to create a game engine tailored to your needs and goals.
Creating a game engine can be a challenging and educational experience that allows you to deepen your understanding of game development and computer science concepts.
However, there are also potential drawbacks to creating a game engine. It can be a complex and time-consuming process that requires a deep understanding of computer science and programming. Additionally, creating a game engine may not be necessary for all game development projects, and using a pre-made game engine may be a faster and more efficient choice.
Choosing a game engine.
If you decide that creating your own game engine isn't the right path, there are many pre-made game engines available for free. Some popular options include Godot, Unity, Unreal Engine, and GameMaker. The important thing here is to consider the type of game you want to create, the platforms you want to target, and the level of complexity you're comfortable with. Unity, for example, is a popular choice for creating 2D and 3D games for a wide range of platforms, including mobile, desktop, and consoles. It offers a user-friendly interface and a wealth of resources and support for developers. Alternatively, Unreal Engine is a more powerful engine geared towards creating high-quality, visually stunning games. It is primarily used for creating 3D games, but you can also make 2D games. GameMaker is the simplest of the bunch of engines that focus on 2D games. It's particularly popular with beginners.
Here's a short list of potential benefits gained by using a game engine:
Ease of use: Game engines often have a user-friendly interface and a set of pre-built tools and features that make it easier for developers to create games. This can be particularly helpful for beginners or anyone looking to prototype ideas quickly.
Speed: Game engines can often provide a faster development process, as they provide a ready-made set of tools and features that can save time and effort compared to building everything from scratch using a programming language.
Cross-platform support: Many game engines support multiple platforms, allowing developers to easily create games once and have them play on different devices.
Community and resources: Game engines often have a large and active community of developers, which can provide valuable support, resources, and guidance as you work on your game.
That being said, there are also potential drawbacks to using a game engine. Some game engines may be less customizable and with less control over which programming language you can use. If you are creating highly specialized or demanding games that require low-level access to hardware, using a programming language or creating a game engine may be a better choice.
Creating the Game
Once you've chosen a programming language or game engine, the next step is to create the game itself. It's time for all the research to pay off. Here are some tips to help get you started.
The post is getting too long to get into detail about this here. If you want more tips, check out 'Creating a Game using Vite, BabylonJS, and TypeScript Part One: A Basic Scene with Objects, a Light, and a Camera' for how to get started.
Being Versatile, Fast, and Ready to Learn
No matter which programming language or game engine you choose, it's important to be versatile, fast, and ready to learn. Game development is a constantly evolving field, and it's important to stay up-to-date with new technologies and techniques. By being versatile and open to learning new things, you'll be able to adapt to new challenges and opportunities as they arise. Additionally, it's important to choose a language or engine that allows you to be fast and efficient in your development process. By focusing on speed, you'll be able to get your game to market faster and keep up with the demands of the industry.
Ultimately, the right programming language or the game engine will depend on your specific needs and goals. By considering these factors and doing your research, you'll be able to select tools that allow you to be versatile, fast, and productive while creating great games. Don't be afraid to try different combinations to see which works best for you.
It's also worth noting: while choosing the right programming language and game engine for your game are important, remember that they are just tools. Your skills and creativity as a developer are what carry the success of your game. So don't get too caught up in the technicalities of choosing the "perfect" language or engine. Instead, focus on honing your skills, experimenting with different approaches, and most importantly, having fun. With dedication, determination, and a love for game development, you'll be well on your way to creating AAA titles.