Game Programming—Making Video Games Come Alive


Video games – they’re a fascinating form of technology that will never go away; they will only become more graphic, more dimensional and more sophisticated.    It’s the ‘behind-the-scenes’ logic and numbers, however, that bring the special effects together in perfect harmony.  The game programmers are the ‘unsung heroes’, if you will, who truly bring video games to life.  They manipulate the ‘brain’ of the computer and instruct it and guide it in every direction, possible.

Game Programmers At The Controls:

Any type of technology that utilizes anything computerized—whether it be smartphones or video games or  military drones–depends on a highly-specialized language that it relys on to guide its every step.  It doesn’t matter if an email is being opened or if a phone App is being used to translate a language or if a dragon is spewing fire on a video game screen, all this would come to a screeching halt without computer programmers.  It’s their job to write instructions in such a way that can be understood by a computer’s ‘brain’.

Game programming is a specialized type of coding that caters to the language that is specific to video games and it is extremely detailed and complex.  Professionals in this field are expected to write programs that execute 2D and 3D graphics to the screen with absolute precision, stream music and sound effects, utilize user input as well as other operations, all at more than 60 frames per second.  Additionally, if multiplayer games are to be played over a network, the game programmer is also required to write network code as well as take network security into account.

Programming Languages:

Programming languages for video games are matter-of-fact, realistic and humanly-understandable.  Let’s take a peek at few languages that game programmers utilize:

1:  DarkBASIC:   With DarkBASIC, 3D objects can move around a screen and interact with other game objects and take live responses from the player’s input.  DarkBASIC is called ‘The Gaming Language’.

2:  Delphi:  Delphi is very capable of game development since it has a real compiler that amasses and links objects into Executable Binary Files.

3:  QBasic:  QBasic can accomplish powerful and fascinating visual effects.

4:  Squirrel:  Squirrel is a language that is intended to be a powerful scripting tool that accommodates the size, memory bandwidth and real-time requirements of applications, such as video games.

5:  Python:  Python has become a favorite with game programming, and is used extensively with commercial games such as ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean Online’.  Python can cut months or even years off of game development since programmers can write a program up to 10 times faster when using Python compared to using C code.

6:  Javascript:  Javascript is becoming increasingly embraced as a game-programming language due to its impressive power; and almost every computer has at least one javascript interpreter on it.

7:  Lua:  Lua is a prominent language in many video games such as ‘World Of Warcraft’.   Lua allows players to script things such as custom game modes, weapons, etc.

8:  Actionscript:  Actionscript is the scripting used in Adobe Flash and with Flash it is very simple to create a full game in a relatively short amount of time.  Due to the nature of Flash, a game programmer can directly interact and draw graphics and animation.  This has a big plus-side because it permits the programmer to bypass a significant amount of preliminary code he would have to write in other languages.

Game programming is one of the most difficult, challenging, exciting and lucrative forms of  programming.  But if you have the talent and passion required, go for it!  Chances are, it could become the love of your life!

Having taught elementary school for a couple decades, I would have never anticipated that my writing would lean toward technology so often. – Karen, Iowa.

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