How to Code Games in C++ – Best Tutorials

C++ game development is a robust field that requires not only a love for games but also an in-depth understanding of the technicalities involved in coding. With C++ being a high-performing language preferred by many for game programming, it is paramount to closely understand the best techniques and practices through quality learning resources. Fortunately, this task is not as daunting as it seems, with numerous comprehensive tutorials at your disposal.

In this extensive guide, we unleash the world of game programming and delve into the best tutorials you can follow to enhance your C++ game development knowledge. From basic game structures to intricate gameplay programming, these tutorials will provide you with a surefire path to success in the ever-growing gaming industry.

A noteworthy mention among the resources is Zenva’s C++ Programming Academy, designed for beginners and is a valuable tool for comprehensive learning. It takes you on a step-by-step journey through C++ game development, setting your foundation firm in this coding journey.

 What is C++?

C++ is recognized as one of the most potent and versatile general-purpose programming languages in the technology field. It is renowned for its high flexibility and efficiency, qualities that are particularly crucial when it comes to game development. The language’s roots in C infuse it with a robust capability that allows programmers to develop dazzling, interactive games on various platforms. With C++ game development, programmers have the versatility and power needed to build a rich game universe that offers smooth, exciting, and immersive experiences.

If you are an aspiring game developer seeking to foray into the fascinating realm of C++ game development, this article will serve as an invaluable guide. Here, we delve into why C++ has been so widely adopted by game developers, and how its unique capabilities set it apart from other programming languages. We’ll also present an extensive set of tools and frameworks that can expedite the game development process and enhance your coding proficiency in C++.

Moreover, this article aims to equip you with a curated list of top-notch educational resources from Zenva and other esteemed institutions, designed to hone your skills for C++ game development. Hence, stay tuned as we traverse through the intriguing world of game programming with C++.

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Why Use C++ for Games

There are several reasons why C++ is a popular choice for developing video games, including:

  • High performance: C++ is designed for speed and efficiency, making it perfect for games where performance is crucial.
  • Low-level control: With C++, developers can manage memory usage more precisely than with other programming languages, providing more control over system resources.
  • Platform versatility: C++ is a portable language that can be used to develop games for various platforms and operating systems.
  • Industry-standard: Many successful game developers and companies use C++ for their titles, ensuring strong community support and ongoing development.

While there is a lot more to consider about why C++ game development is so popular, these factors are some of the reasons that C++ is fantastic (and why, despite it’s age, it continues to rank year after year as one of the best programming languages overall).

Why Use C++ Over Other Programming Languages for Games

Every game engine and programming language has its strengths and weaknesses, but C++ offers some key benefits that make it an ideal choice for game development:

  • Performance and efficiency: C++ is known for its ability to produce games with high levels of performance and stability, meaning less lag and smoother gameplay for players.
  • Wider industry adoption: A significant portion of the game industry uses and supports C++, making it a valuable skill to learn and master.
  • Better control over hardware resources: C++ offers low-level control, allowing programmers to optimize their code for specific device capabilities and minimize system strain for users.

C++ game development is a wide field, though, so keep in mind these benefits vary based on other tools. What we mean is that most modern games aren’t coded from scratch with C++. Instead, C++ game development generally involves game engines and frameworks – which we’ll talk about below.

Examples of Games Made with C++

Let’s take a deeper look into the horizon of C++ game development and draw inspiration from some popular games that have harnessed the power of C++. These games are not just incredible for their gameplay and graphics, but they provide valuable lessons in effectively using C++ for game development.

  • Doom: As a pioneer in the first-person shooter genre, Doom not only was a commercial success, but it also set new standards for 3D graphics in gaming. The developers used C++ to efficiently handle the complex computations required for its groundbreaking graphics.
  • The Elder Scrolls: This popular RPG series, with its vast, open-world gameplay, were programmed in C++. The flexibility of C++ was leveraged to design the intricate realms and compelling storylines of the games.
  • Final Fantasy: As one of the most successful RPG franchises, Final Fantasy employed C++ for its game logic and graphical rendering. Their use of C++ made it possible to create the complex and interactive storylines that are a staple of these games.
  • Unreal Tournament: Known for its fast-paced, competitive action, Unreal Tournament showcases how C++ can be used to create high-performance network code for multiplayer games.
  • Mass Effect: This iconic series, renowned for its narrative depth and character development, was built using C++. The developers used the language’s object-oriented features to manage the complexity of the game’s story and choice system.
  • Red Dead Redemption: Rockstar’s critically acclaimed title was written in C++. This language allowed the team to create a vast, realistic open-world western environment, filled with dynamic characters and events.
  • Street Fighter: The beloved fighting game franchise uses C++ to handle its physics and real-time combat mechanics. This demonstrates the performance benefits C++ offers for fast-paced, action-packed games.

Each of these examples illustrates different strengths of C++ game development and they showcase the potential of the language in creating complex, fast, graphical, and highly interactive games. Studying these examples can provide valuable lessons to aspiring game developers on how to effectively utilize C++ in their own projects.

Tools and Frameworks for Building Games with C++

To get started with C++ game development, you can use some popular tools and frameworks such as:

  • Visual Studio: A well-known IDE (integrated development environment) that supports C++ and provides essential debugging features.
  • Unreal Engine: A powerful 3D game engine designed for C++ game development. Using its blueprint system, developers can create game logic without extensive programming knowledge. Free to use with a royalty-based revenue model when shipping your game.
  • SFML: A simple, fast, multimedia library for building 2D games using C++. It offers an easy-to-understand graphics module for rendering, window management, and user input handling.
  • SDL: A cross-platform development library that allows developers to create games in C++ with support for input, graphics, audio, and more.

Now that you have a better understanding of why C++ is a popular choice for game development and the tools to get started, let’s dive into a handpicked selection of the best resources to help you master game development in C++.

Zenva’s C++ Programming Academy

At Zenva Academy, we offer a specialized C++ Programming Academy, a comprehensive platform to learn C++ game development from scratch. This course is custom-built to transform the coding novice into a proficient developer.

As the course progresses, you will acquire an understanding of all the aspects of the C++ language basics, object-oriented programming, and manipulating the flow of a program. You will also learn how to incorporate trendy game mechanics and use SFML to generate graphics and audio in C++. The best part? You can successfully design your first game in under four hours!

This C++ Programming Academy is apt for absolute beginners with no prior coding experience, ensuring they get a smooth entrance into the exciting world of game development.

Our C++ Programming Academy’s curriculum allows students to quickly and efficiently master C++ by constructing simple, engaging games like text-based RPGs, clicker games, and roguelike dungeon crawlers. Apart from providing an in-depth understanding of the C++ basics, the course also helps you amass the essential skills needed to undertake intricate projects.

With our academy, you will create an impressive portfolio of real C++ projects that demonstrate your proficiency and readiness for professional endeavors in C++ game development.

JetBrains C++ for Beginners: Build a 2D Arcade Game from Scratch

The JetBrains C++ for Beginners course is a free, beginner-friendly resource that teaches you how to build a 2D arcade game from scratch. The course is divided into five modules, covering topics such as:

  • Basic programming primitives
  • Manual memory management
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Standard library

By the end of the course, you will have developed a simple 2D arcade game with a graphical user interface, user input handling, and game object management. This is the perfect way to start your C++ game development journey and apply the skills you learn practically.

GameDev Academy: Free C++ Tutorials

GameDev Academy offers a variety of free C++ tutorials for beginners and those looking to improve their skills. Topics covered include:

If you’re just getting started with C++ game development, this collection is perfect to find great beginner tutorials and experience a wide variety of ways in which this versatile language can be used in order to build amazing, performant games.

Microsoft Game Development with C++ on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP)

Microsoft’s Game Development with C++ on the UWP article discusses game development using C++ on the Universal Windows Platform. UWP allows developers to create games for various Windows devices, including phones, PCs, and Xbox One. Benefits of developing games for Windows include:

  • Xbox Live
  • Cross-device multiplayer
  • A large gaming community

The Windows Dev Center provides documentation for game development on the UWP, making it an excellent resource for C++ game developers. Learn C++ by Creating a Simple Guessing Game

This article on provides a step-by-step guide to practicing C++ programming by creating a simple guessing game. The tutorial covers:

  • Setting up the C++ environment
  • Creating functions and implementing program logic
  • Building the code and playing the game

The article then encourages readers to continue learning by writing a useful utility in C++. While not as robust as other resources on this list, it does take you from beginner to practical application – which is a critical step in your C++ game development journey.

Zenva’s Unreal Game Development Mini-Degree

Would you like a segue into C++ game development? Try the Unreal Game Development Mini-Degree offered by Zenva. This course can act as an introduction to game development before jumping into the heavier aspects of C++. With visual scripting, you can build games, understand game mechanics, and design 3D environments without needing to code.

This Mini-Degree assists you in generating an impressive portfolio of games created with Unreal Engine, skills which are coveted not only in C++ game development but also across industries such as film, architecture, training, and simulation. The curriculum takes you through different levels from understanding the basics of Unreal 5 to engaging in more advanced topics like creating arcade games, FPS games, action RPGs, and strategy games.

The benefit of this approach is that it allows you to gain game development skills on a robust engine, offering a practical way of learning that translates effectively into C++ game development. Therefore, if you’re looking to pave a structured and comprehensive path to C++ game development, our Unreal Game Development Mini-Degree might be what you’re looking for!

Charting Your Journey in C++ Game Development

As we navigate the exciting landscape of C++ game development, it is clear that there exists a plethora of resources to foster learning and growth in this domain. Whether you’re commencing your coding journey or affirmed professional, the wealth of knowledge contained within these tutorials can be instrumental in shaping your coding prowess.

These resources not only provide guidance on how to code games in C++ but also the key fundamentals to understanding game development in general. Furthermore, remember, the true potency of these tutorials lies in their utilization – the real learning starts when you start coding yourself, facing and overcoming challenges along the way.

Be sure to investigate Zenva’s C++ Programming Academy, a comprehensive curriculum full of beginner-friendly content that can equip you with all you need to get started and progressively move up the hierarchy in the realm of C++ game development. The Academy offers courses spanning from the basics to advanced topics, ensuring all your development needs are met.

In conclusion, plunge into these interactive, valuable resources and propel your journey in C++ game development. The world of game creation awaits you!

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