Building video games is something all gamers have dreamed of at some point in their lives. From making adjustments to your favorite titles to creating something completely from scratch, the draw from this world is immense. It can also be quite intimidating to outsiders, however, especially on the coding front.
So we've come up with this article to help you understand what coding games means, what it implies, and how you can take part. Whether you're interested in it as a new hobby, or are looking at coding games as a career, this page will give you an indication of where to start.
One of the best things about coding is its flexibility. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or your level of expertise in the computer world, there’s something out there for everyone. That said, there are some learning strategies and systems that are better for beginners than others. Rather than jumping in the deep end, you’ll want to ease yourself in and create a solid foundation.
Consider how to code if you’re 12 years old. In this case, you probably won’t have learned some of the algebraic coding skills required in school yet. You can still get a head start by memorizing the different coding systems and functions.
Newcomers can also check out one of the games that teaches them to code. These can ease you into coding games without being alienated by big blocks of text. Top names here include CodeCombat (which we cover below), alongside entries like CodinGame, Codewars, CodeMonkey, and Robocode. They might not win awards for name originality, but their usefulness is beyond question.
Coding games is about more than developing lines of code, it's about following a path that you're passionate about. Sometimes this can mean focusing entirely on a subsection of one type of gaming, like working on artificial intelligence or physics simulations. For others, coding games might mean you working on the entire game yourself, which requires a much broader understanding of code and system interactions.
Let’s look at what the four types of code are. These are separated into paradigms, or styles, with each being better suited to different tasks. They include imperative or procedural, logical, functional, and object-oriented.
Depending on what coding games means to you, you could focus on just one of these types of code, or learn several to different degrees. Most coders will have a specialization according to their personality, wants, and skills. Don’t be afraid to experiment, as the best fit for you might not be immediately obvious.
That said, some types of code will be necessities when looking at certain systems. If you want to build website games, for example, then learning HTML5 code will be a must. Outside of this, the language C++ tends to be the go-to that every coder should understand on a basic level.
Now that you know what you’re in for, it’s time to look at the different tools, websites, and software that can help beginners take their first steps. These only scratch the surface of what's out there, so if one seems close to what you want but a little off, then search around, and you could find something that's a perfect fit for your needs.
The first small step in programming can seem like a giant leap if you start on the wrong foot. Instead of beginning by following any online tutorial, turn to the direct expertise of those already working within the industry.
GameDev Academy can offer a great overview of what coding means for beginners, and all its different components. Even better, their website offers some free trial courses. If you want to break the ice on specific gaming systems like browser titles, it’s a great place to begin when coding games.
Python is one of the most powerful object-oriented coding systems out there, but are there any Python learning games? Well, as you might have guessed with CodeCombat, there is. This platform offers free trials to explore and build Python and see guided code come to life.
To start building code from nothing, you'll need a program to help you out. Visual Studio is one of the best around for coding games and practically anything else that uses C++, C#, Java, Python, and more. Even better, it's a free piece of software from Microsoft, so download Visual Studio, and you'll have a platform for programming games at all levels of expertise.
Generative AI has been a revelation in the last couple of years, but it’s better in some areas than others. Coding games happens to be one of the places where AI succeeds, especially when it comes to finding bugs. It’s not a good idea to use ChatGPT to write code entirely, but if you enter your code and ask why you’re getting a specific error, it can be fantastic at pointing out areas of investigation. A very useful tool, and one that’s only growing more powerful.
A key part of coding games is programming tools that streamline the creation process. The Unreal Engine is one of the best overall tools in the modern market and is the most popularly used game engine of all time. There are good reasons Unreal is used in many of the biggest games, and its user-friendliness and power play big parts in this equation. Its blueprint visual programming system is a godsend for new programmers, and its effectiveness can't be overlooked.
When you’re working on your first game, odds are you’ll be starting simple. A great way to see where you stand in coding games is to check your project against others released on Steam. Steam has some notoriously open standards for gaming developers, and by looking at other newcomer efforts, you can check out reviews to see where they failed, and where you might apply that knowledge to your projects.
Coding games is like any other form of art – there's no such thing as perfection. Coding is an eternal journey to build skills, test yourself, and explore new horizons. To help along the way, it can be best to immerse yourself in the gaming environment, and Discord channels are a great place to start. In order to help yourself, and eventually aid others, Discord can’t be overlooked as a useful tool.
With all this in mind, your path on the road to coding games is ready to begin. Just remember that there is no coder out there who doesn't struggle with setbacks and bugs and that taking some time off can be a great way to refresh your approach. It might be a journey of a thousand miles, but begin with a single step, and you'll be surprised at how fast you can cover ground.