Is Python Good for Game Development?


Game development is a process of developing video games from concept to finished product by programming the conceptualized idea. Game development is a wonderful field of Computer Science to start your career.

Games can be built using many languages like Python, Java, Lua, C#, Javascript, etc. In recent years, the usage of Python for game development has grown amidst this huge competition among the other languages.

In this article, we will understand why to prefer Python for game development. If chosen, what modules are used in Python, the issues faced with Python, and the alternatives to Python for game development.

Let’s dive right in.

Why Prefer Python for Game Development?

First, we need to understand that Python is an easy-to-code and simple language. Python has user-friendly syntax and does not need to code a lot. This gives coders the leverage to quickly see the output of their games and deliver the work much quicker.

Not all games require high computational powers. Most games released today have simple interfaces and not much complexity in the logic. It becomes unnecessary to reach out to other languages for simple game projects as they can be completed quickly, and the game speed doesn’t vary when compared to the same game built using other languages.

Python is a very good choice for prototyping. The logic of the game is independent of the programming language we choose to build the game. So we can check the logic of large-scale games by building prototypes using Python.

We can also check if the idea of the game itself is working as a whole or not. This saves a lot of time for coders in case the logic/idea doesn’t work.

Python takes less time to learn and understand. If you are a beginner at coding, Python can be a perfect choice to learn. You need not spend a lot of time learning the syntax. Instead, you can spend time grasping the gaming logic. Python is also a cross-platform language that allows us to develop in Windows, Linux, Mac, etc.

Game Development Modules of Python

One of the important reasons to choose Python that I left to mention is the modules and community available to help you out in your game development journey.

Coding from scratch can be time taking and tiresome. That’s why some computer programmers developed different modules to speed up the coding process.

In recent years, some successful Python modules used by a large community came into the limelight. These include modules like Pygame, Panda3D, PyOpenGL, Arcade, Kivy, Ren’py, etc. Let us learn about some of these modules.

Pygame is one of the commonly used Python modules in game development. Pygame has the potential to build fully-fledged complex games to an extent. This module is constantly improving with the latest updates and has a huge community to support you.

These games can work in any operating system and can be installed in Microsoft or macOS. One of the features that differentiate Pygame from other modules is the ability to access multicore processors. This was made possible as the backend of the module was designed using C and Assembly language. This increases the running and retrieval speed.

Panda3D is an open-source 3D rendering framework. This module is a little faster than other 3D rendering modules as its backend is built using C++. You can learn 3D rendering easily using the module, but Panda3D doesn’t seem to be a good choice for professional carriers.

Arcade is an easy-to-learn module for developing 2D video games. If you are an absolute beginner in game development, you can start from Arcade. Other modules include PyOpenGL, Kivy, Ren’py, etc.

It is completely your choice to choose the module you want to learn depending on factors like whether you want to learn 2D or 3D game development, the time availability to learn a new module, etc.

Disadvantages of Using Python for Game Development

One important thing that everyone needs to understand is that Python is a language built for coding performance and not computational performance. This means coders prefer Python to code faster and should not consider the computational efficiency of the code. This becomes a huge issue while dealing with real-time game developments.

Everyone wants to build complex games with close-to-reality graphics. This becomes difficult if you use Python. Python will be extremely slow when compared to languages like C++, C#, or Java.

One of the fastest-moving fields in game development is online gaming on websites. Python is not the best choice for building games for websites. It is really difficult to navigate through servers, connect with multiple clients, and have parallel processing happen.

Games are memory-intensive programs. They take a large amount of memory to store data and large space in RAM while running. In Python, memory allocation is not fixed. Python is a high-level language making the hardware far from the code compared to low-level languages. Due to the dynamic data types and hardware distance, the gameplay will be heavily affected.

Best Programming Languages for Game Development

With the above issues of Python, programmers often prefer the languages below. Each language serves its purpose.

1. C++

C++ is a low-level language making the program run faster. C++ engines provide environments to host and design these games. Designing the physics and behavior for the game is easy in C++. Some famous game engines in C++ are Unreal Engine, Godot, Lumberyard, etc.

2. C#

C# is the language used in Unity3D, a popular framework for game development. Unity provides us with developing 3D rendered games much better than Panda3D. We can also design Virtual Reality games using C#. C# is also the main language to build games for Xbox, PlayStation, etc.

3. Java

One of the famous features of Java is multithreading. This is helpful in designing multiplayer games as multiple commands from different users can be queued at the same time.

The availability of socket programming in Java helps programmers to design online multiplayer games connecting to servers and clients efficiently. Java is also used for developing Android games using Android SDK. Kotlin is a language similar to Java, which is also used to build Android games.

4. Javascript

Javascript is the language preferred for online game development. Any game hosted in a web browser cannot ignore Javascript as it adds the interactivity feature to websites in general.

The language is stable, so any game developed using Javascript is easy to maintain. Game engines are available for Javascript, also making it easier to code. The engines are Three.Js, Framo.Us, Goo Engine, Allegro, Impact.Js, etc.

Final Thoughts

There are many more languages like Lua, Dart, Ruby, Golang, etc. Angry Birds was built on Lua. GTA was built on C++. Android games are built on Kotlin or Java. Swift is used for building iOS games.

Game developers use many languages and sometimes use more than one language for game development. The right programming language for game development depends on the project, features needed in the game, and experience level as a programmer.

Understand your use case and choose the language wisely. All the best for your future coding endeavors, happy coding!

Ashwin Joy

I'm the face behind Pythonista Planet. I learned my first programming language back in 2015. Ever since then, I've been learning programming and immersing myself in technology. On this site, I share everything that I've learned about computer programming.

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