Game Development With React - Beginner’s Guide

Bernard Bado
April 10, 2022
Game Development With React - Beginner’s Guide
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It's no mystery that developers like to play games. Games are fun, they are relaxing, and they also improve a lot of your cognitive senses.

Because video games have such huge popularity, there is no mystery that a lot of developers are interested in creating them. Lately, we've seen a lot of questions popping up about game development in React. And that's exactly why we wrote this article.

If you want to develop video games, but don't know where to start, this article is just for you. Because in this article, we'll answer the most common questions about game development in React. We'll show some examples of games created in React. And lastly, we'll show the best game engines for creating web games.

We have a lot to cover, so without any further ado. Let's get right into it.

Can You Use React for Game Development?

React is a popular library for building user interfaces. Developers love it, and each day, the demand to learn it increases. On top of that, people started to wonder if it's possible to create web games using React.

Can you use React to make games?

Yes, it's absolutely possible to create games with React. However, React is not suitable to create complex games because it lacks game engine capabilities.

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If you only want to create a simple game, like tic tac toe, you can easily do that with React. But to create advanced games with rich graphics, you should opt to use other solutions.

There are many examples of simple games created in React. Our favorite is the React version of the rock paper scissors game (demonstrated in the video below).

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The full source code of this game is available on GitHub repository.

If the example above is not enough, and you'd like to see more, opt out for the link below.

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This webpage showcases a list of games created using React JS.

As we could see, it's possible to create games in React. And if it's something that interests you, you should definitely try it. But there is also another question that needs to be asked. Is React a good choice for creating games?

Is React Good for Game Development?

React is a popular choice for creating websites because of its simplicity and performance. The library is making use of Virtual DOM to perform fast updates to the UI when users make some actions. In a way, this makes it a good choice to create games.

Is React a good choice to create games?

React is a good library to pick for creating simple browser-based games, like tic tac toe, rock paper scissors, or any simple card game. However, it's not suitable for creating more complex games.

Earlier, we provided a list of games created using React. And while they were good games, they all shared a similar characteristic. They were simple games.

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If you want to create advanced games with beautiful graphics and sound effects, you should choose a proper framework for creating games.

If you're not sure about the frameworks for creating games, don't worry, we've got that covered in the next section.

In this section, we'll take a look at popular frameworks for creating web games.

Unity

If you want to be serious about game development, Unity is the No.1 choice.

Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies, first announced and released in June 2005. The engine has since been gradually extended to support a variety of desktop, mobile, console, and virtual reality platforms. (source: Wikipedia)

Phaser

If you want to create simple 2D games, Phaser is always a good option.

Phaser is a 2D game framework used for making HTML5 games for desktop and mobile. It is free software developed by Photon Storm. Phaser uses both a Canvas and WebGL renderer internally and can automatically swap between them based on browser support. (source: Wikipedia)

libGDX

Another popular framework is libGDX, written in JAVA.

libGDX is a cross-platform Java game development framework based on OpenGL (ES) that works on Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, your browser, and iOS. (source: libGDX)

Godot

Last on our list, but definitely not the worst is Godot.

Godot provides a huge set of common tools, so you can just focus on making your game without reinventing the wheel. Godot is completely free and open-source under the very permissive MIT license. No strings attached, no royalties, nothing. Your game is yours, down to the last line of engine code. (source: Godot)

Concluding Thoughts

React is a powerful tool for building fast and interactive user interfaces. And for this reason, developers might be wondering if it's possible to create games with it. And as we learned in this article, it is!

In this article, we showcased examples of games built with React. We answered some of the most common questions that are being asked when it comes to game development with React. And lastly, we suggested popular frameworks for creating web-based games.

With this information in mind, you should know if it's good to use React for the game you're trying to create.

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