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Video Game Integrated Development Environment

When programming a video game, (or programming anything for that matter) you will be working with an Integrated Development Environment. An Integrated Development Environment, or "IDE" is a software suite of tools that enable a programmer to program anything from start to finish. An IDE includes a source code editor, a complier, as well as a debugger.

Video game integrated development environmentA source code editor is a text editor that has been streamlined for programming usage. Most source code editors will aid the programmer by offering bracket matching, syntax highlighting as well as autocomplete. While you can just use a text editor, for it to be considered a source code editor, it needs to have some of this added functionality.

A compiler is a program that converts your code from the programming language you were using (high-level programming language) into object code (low-level programming language). Basically a compiler converts your program into something a computer or hardware will run and understand.

A debugger is a program that allows coders to find bugs (errors) within their program and fix them. A debugger allows you to run and stop the your program at any point to hunt down errors more efficiently.

Common IDEs for Video Game Development

Microsoft Visual Studio: Microsoft Visual Studio is a very popular Integrated Development Environment for the major game studios and for video game design in general. Microsoft offers various flavors of this product including a cut down version called Microsoft Visual Studio Express that you can download and use for free to get your feet wet.

XNA Game Studio: XNA is gaining a lot of ground as an IDE for Microsoft only hardware such as PCs and the Xbox platform for Indie developers. While Microsoft Visual Studio is designed for a full spectrum of application development including games, XNA is exclusively designed for the development of video games.


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