Which Languages Do Game Developers Use?

November 18, 2022
By Avery
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We often hear about new games, and how they have been built using a new engine or the latest version of a certain engine. This usually sounds exciting and it can mean that the game is going in a new creative direction, or that new features will be available, or that gameplay will be revitalized, etc. However, we rarely discuss programming languages, which are doing a lot of the heavy lifting. Everything that an engine allows the game to do needs to be written or coded. So let’s talk about the most used programming languages used in game development.  


This is one of the most popular languages used in the majority of game engines. In other words, if you plan to be a game developer and do this seriously, you should start learning C#. It uses the XNA framework, which offers a lot of tools by Microsoft, and thus it is ideal for games that need to run on Xbox or Windows. This gives it the ability to distribute and run games on the majority of existing platforms.


This is probably one of the most difficult object-oriented coding languages to learn. However, it is often essential for game development, as it gives you control over graphical processes. Some of the most popular game engines heavily rely on C++ mainly because of its versatility in terms of control over different parameters. The performance of the game and memory management are both affected by the quality of C++ code. 


Whenever you loaded a game you must have seen a logo for an Unreal Engine at some point. This is one of the most used engines nowadays, and UnrealScript is a native scripting language for that engine. It also supports all of the major platforms like macOS, Android, PlayStation, Windows, and Linux. In other words,  you will need to learn UnrealScript if you are into modern gaming.


Many argue that Java is the best programming language because it uses identical object-oriented programming principles as C++. However, it also offers a wider range of systems that you can code for which makes it more versatile than C++. This means that Java allows you to develop games that are compatible across multiple platforms like mobile, PC, and consoles.


Another popular language is JavaScript, as it allows easy integration with web technologies like HTML and CSS. Thanks to JavaScript we have more cross-platform mobile games that we can play online. So, if you aim to start as a mobile developer this would be a good language to master first.  


Lua is becoming increasingly more popular among the game engines. Thanks to its simple structure and syntax it allows for a shorter development time, which is why the gaming industry is looking to rely more on Lua nowadays. It is one of the primary game design languages that offers multi-platform scripting.   


Python also offers an OOP approach, it’s easier to learn than some of the other entries and it’s once again quite versatile. It also offers a Pygame framework, which is something developers use to prototype their games very fast. 


HTML is very popular for web-based games, and since the majority of releases nowadays happen on mobile platforms, it’s quite useful. SQL is also popular for games that use servers in order to host online matches.