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Why do we use scripts in development?

I just starting learning iOS game development. I plan to make games using the cocos2d framework. While reading game dev related articles, blogs, books.. I've noticed scripting languages (such as Lua) are often used in game development. I'm wondering if it's worth taking the time to learn a scripting language. What's the role, usefulness of a scripting language in writing a game?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Why the down vote? I don't find this a bad question. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2566
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Would it be useful" - well it depends on the kind of game. Also this answer is fundamentally identical to gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/2913/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetrad
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 14:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WTP Thanks! Those who down-vote should state their reason, to be more constructive. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – m.Alin
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 14:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tetrad I haven't decided yet what kind of game I will develop. As for the other question, you're right, seems identical, but I didn't find it in my search. My bad. \$\endgroup\$
    – m.Alin
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 14:21

1 Answer 1


Scripting is generally used in bigger projects to allow non-programmers to easily add content to the game. This can be new quests, interfaces, gameplay for levels, etc.

A scripting language in itself shouldn't be difficult for a programmer to learn, what will take time is the integration into your game framework.

Whether it's worth it or not is really your descision; if you want to easily add content to your game it could be a good idea to use scripting, it's also a good thing to know how these things work.

On the other hand for a smaller project, it's probably not worth it.

The big problem is that scripts generally take a lot of execution time if interpreted at game-time; for an iOS game this could be a bad idea if your game is going to be complex.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Scripts could be compiled to byte code (and thus optimized) which can make interpretation much faster. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2566
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 13:35

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