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C# or C++ for Game Development?

September 2, 2021

For beginners, C# and C++ seem familiar in the beginning. However, in reality, they are distinct programming languages targeting various fields.

This article compares C# and C++ in terms of syntax (which is more friendly), performance (which is more performance-oriented), game development (real vs Unreal Engine) to enable the programmer to settle on a language that he/she is more comfortable with.

Table of contents

Defining

C++ could be a general-purpose language and an extension to C programing language. C++ enhanced C in terms of objects and their behavior while maintaining the code speed and general efficiency.

Due its complex syntactic rules, numerous conventions, error-prone memory management, and non-intuitive features, C++ can be difficult for beginners to learn.

C# (C-sharp) is a general-purpose programming language that is primarily intended for use with the .NET framework.

It is extensively used by developers in the creation of Windows desktop applications, web applications, and games.

C#, on the other hand, is problem-oriented, which means that its code is simple to read and understand; even for beginners.

C# is also a statically-typed language, which means that the code is double-checked for faults before being included into the application. However, some features are not checked; for instance, the dynamic keywords.

Syntax rules

The comparison of C# and C++ is simple to work out. For beginners, C# structure and conventions may appear simpler to know compared to C++.

Let’s take a look at the differences between the syntax rules of both languages:

  • C++ has header files while C# does not have them.
  • C# does not have global functions as in C++. Instead, it uses static classes to serve that function.
  • C++ supports multiple inheritance while C# only supports single inheritance.
  • Pointers are not employed in C#. Instead C# uses references within the unsafe code.

Main differences

Since C# is less complicated to master and use compared to C++, it is becoming a popular choice for programmers all over.

However, when developers need to have more control over their projects, they incorporate C++.

The points below show how different the two languages are:

  1. C++ is compiled to machine code using special compiling programs, while C# has become native code using CLR (Common Language Runtime).
  2. Memory Management is easier in C# than in C++ since it offers automatic pickup; which manages memory location. For example, once you define objects, CLR allocates memory for the objects from the heap.
  3. Garbage collection implies that C# automatically makes extra space from unused objects. C++ does not offer such a feature and you have got to perform all memory allocation management manually.
  4. C++ allows multiple inheritance, while C# does not. Multiple inheritance implies that a category is capable of inheriting from several classes which might be confusing and too complicated. To avoid ambiguity, C# creators decided to avoid it.
  5. When comparing the speed, C++ proves to be faster than C#. So, for games that depend upon quick performance, C++ is chosen. However, there are ways of optimizing C# code to boost its performance.

Despite the very fact that C# is compatible with all major operating systems, it is the widely employed in the Windows environment.

C++ on the other hand has no preferred working environment.

Game development

From the previous points and explanations, we have seen that C++ has better hardware control on the PC or server.

Therefore, it is usually a more suitable preference for game development. However, this doesn’t exclude C# from the choices.

Game engines allow you to form games without having to stress about physics and animations.

This allows developers with average programming skills to produce equally good games.

Note that scripting in game engines is different from regular programming.

Real engine

C# and unity game engines are the best tools that beginners start with. Unity is a real game engine that enables you to produce scripts for interactive content in games.

Every content in unity starts with a game object which gets components to perform certain actions.

You’ll note that once you combine C# and Unity, you will be ready to add additional attributes and make them unique by writing scripts rather than using inbuilt features.

However, beginners cash in the prevailing components resulting to similarity in Unity-based games.

Unreal engine

The ability to distribute across various platforms play an enormous role when choosing between C++ or C# for game development.

C++ is less complicated to distribute, but beginners must not choose this language for the primary game development attempt.

Programmers with better skills often choose Unreal engine to develop their games, which is a group of tools with improved capabilities and features.

These tools tend to produce better gaming applications compared to unity and C#.

By using C++ within the Unreal Engine, developers add the most structure of the gameplay system, and designers enhance it.

Performance

We have previously discussed the differences between the two languages and have basically seen that C++ is better in speed and overall performance.

There is no specific reason to explain why C++ is better in terms of optimized performance compared to C#, though it is practically/functionally proven.

We will compare C# and C++ in terms of performance to work out why one language is slower than the other, and why the slower speed must not discourage you from using it.

C# has an additional execution step called Just-In-Time(JIT) compilation. This is a form of dynamic compilation and optimization but is not as advanced as the that of C++.

Experts view differences in performance as small and always exaggerated.

The speed factor is not always the biggest priority. For instance, if a developer can achieve his goals much faster in C#, then there is no need of spending time trying to learn C++ principles.

Picking the right choice

With C++ and Unreal engine, you would possibly take longer trying to urge your code to figure. However, games developed in C++ tend to figure faster and are more polished.

Compared to C# and Unity, C++ and Unreal Engine isn’t beginner-friendly, meaning that developers need more advanced skills to use it.

It is enough for beginners to play around the Unity environment, but if you want a more powerful engine, choose C++ and Unreal Engine.

Conclusion

C# and C++ game development decisions depend on your programming skill level and determination.

New developers should start with a more friendly environment for game creation i.e. C# with unity, and attain Unreal Engine with C++ as their skills improve.


Peer Review Contributions by: Monica Masae