Video game programmers create and edit the codes on which video games run. You can use different applications to program games, ranging from Adobe Flash and Java to more complex programming languages such as C++, C# and Python. Which path you take to learn video game programming will depend on whether you plan to become a full-time game programmer for a gaming company, or only want to independently program a few games from home.
1. Take a video game programming course at a video design institute if you are serious about a career as a video game programmer. Many schools offer online courses, including DeVry University, UAT Online Game Degree, Distance Education and the Game Institute.
2. Teach yourself the basic concepts of programming if you don’t have the resources to take a course. Opt initially for a programming language that is easy to grasp. DarkBASIC is a language generally recommended for beginner programmers, as it contains a lot of tools to teach you basic programming. The website Game Creators provides links to hundreds of DarkBASIC tutorials you can follow during your study of the language. Another recommended programming suite is Blitz Tools.
3. Familiarize yourself with one of the commercially available game engines, such as Unreal, Source, Crysis or Radiant. These engines come with the purchase of games, and allow you to create your own maps, levels and characters. Online documentation and even video tutorials are freely available to guide you.
As of August 2010, the Unreal game engine is used most by video game companies, and may benefit you the most. Check out 3D Buzz, a website that provides very helpful tutorials on the Unreal engine, as well as certain programming languages you’ll need for game programming.
4. Advance your programming skills to a more professional level if you so desire. Study a visual programming language. Microsoft Visual Basic can give you an introduction to programming for Windows operating systems.
5. Learn a serious programming language such as C++, which was the most widely used language in gaming as of August 2010. Read a handbook, such as the C++ Programmers Handbook, that will teach you program in this language. Refer to the 3D Buzz or Games++ websites for free tutorials and tips on implement C++ in video gaming.