Choosing the Best Language for Game Development: C or C++?

Estimated read time 3 min read

When it comes to game development, there are a few different programming languages to choose from. However, two of the most popular options are C and C++. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these two languages and explore their pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision about which one is best for your needs.

C: The Basics

C is a general-purpose programming language that was first introduced in the 1970s. It is known for its efficiency and speed, making it a popular choice for systems programming and other resource-intensive applications. Some of the key features of C include:

  • Low-level access to memory
  • Procedural programming model
  • Flexible syntax

C++: A step forward

C++ is an object-oriented programming language that was first introduced in the 1980s. It is a direct descendant of C and builds upon its features, while also adding new ones such as classes and objects. Some of the key features of C++ include:

  • Object-oriented programming model
  • Support for templates
  • Improved memory management

Which one to choose?

When deciding which language to use, it’s important to consider your specific needs and goals. If you need a fast, efficient language for systems programming or other resource-intensive applications, then C is likely the best choice. On the other hand, if you need an object-oriented language that can handle more complex tasks such as game development, then C++ may be the better option.

Real-life examples

One great example of a company that uses C for their game development needs is Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite and Unreal Engine. In an interview with Polygon, Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, said "We use C because it’s fast and efficient. We have a large team, so we need a language that can handle many cores and multiple threads."

Another example is Valve Corporation, the creators of Half-Life and Steam. In an interview with GDC Europe, Gabe Newell, CEO of Valve, said "We use C because it’s fast and efficient. We need to be able to run games on any hardware, and we can’t sacrifice performance for that."


  • Can I use both C and C++ in my game development project?
    Yes, it is possible to use both languages in a single project. Many game engines, such as Unreal Engine, support both C and C++.

  • Is C or C++ easier to learn?
    Both C and C++ can be challenging to learn, but C is generally considered to be more beginner-friendly due to its simpler syntax.

  • Are there any other programming languages I should consider for game development?
    There are many programming languages that can be used for game development, including Java, Python, and Rust. The choice of language will depend on your specific needs and goals.

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