Unity3d vs Unreal Engine 4

Not so long ago we had a hard time choosing which engine to use, Unity3d or Unreal Engine 4 (UE4). So, I’ve decided to write a small article about that. Here briefly describe pros and cons of each engine, and also share the arguments that affected our final choice.

While many game development studios use their own game engines, there is also a huge market of indie developers, and even the major studios in need of the game engine, which would help to create a game with best graphics and performance as fast as possible. Unity3d and Unreal Engine 4 are the most popular game engines available today. But you’re probably asking yourself: “Which game engine should I use?”. Well, both of them are great game engines and your choice will depend on what you’d like to do. Perhaps you prefer a simple user-friendly interface, or a programming language is a main thing for you.

Anyhow, regardless of circumstances, I’ll try to make a comparison and identify strong and weak points of each engine. After that you may resolve Unity3d vs. Unreal Engine dispute at least for your current project and choose an engine that will work best for you.

What kind of games are you going to create?

Unity3D or Unreal Engine 4

The first question you should ask yourself: how are you going to use this engine and what kind of game do you want to create? Are you going to create 2d arcade or 3d first-person shooter? Or, maybe, it's going to be a 2d-3d hybrid? Perhaps, you want to start with a small game and develop a simple puzzle with basic physics, or you prefer to run your game in a web browser or on mobile platforms? Or on gaming console? By the way, how are you going to get money from your game? By introducing in-game purchasing, advertising, or just by selling a full version of your game?

Answers can help you determine which software, Unreal Engine or Unity, to use. Both engines can handle any of these tasks, but depending on what you do, one of them can be much more useful and optimal than another.

If you want to create mobile games, Unity is the perfect solution. Just look at the dominance of Unity among mobile game developers, as well as at a large number of available plug-ins that allow to use the native capabilities of mobile platforms. Don't forget about advertisements, domestic purchases, analytics, game centers, and so on. All that stuff can be integrated into the game within a few minutes. If your goal is the development of 2d games, Unity will also be an excellent choice. While lately Unreal Engine 4 has been doing its best to attract developers of mobile applications, promising even greater opportunities for making 2d games.

Maybe, you’re going to create 3d games. Unity also proves to be a very powerful tool for it. Although its graphic capabilities are not as good as those of Unreal Engine 4.

Since our team specializes in the development of 2d mobile games, we vote for Unity.

Programming

Unreal Engine 4 uses C++. Unity3d uses mainly C# or JavaScript. I must say, we prefer C# more because earlier we’ve developed games on LibGDX engine with Java support. Switching from Java to C #is not as painful as to C++. It’s really up to you which is better in terms of programming languages. Some people thinks that C++ is outdated, other can literally pray for it. If you prefer any of these languages, the choice of engine for you is quite obvious.

Unity3D or Unreal Engine 4

But Unreal Engine 4 proposes solution for people who are afraid of the high C++ barrier. Meet Blueprint, a visual script editor. Technically, you don’t need to write a single line of code. This is very convenient for creating fast prototypes, and you can even create complete games with its help. Well, if you are not a master of programming, Unreal Engine 4 will be an excellent option for you. By the way, Unity has a similar solution. In Unity Asset Store, you can purchase an extension for Playmaker editor, which also allows you to develop prototypes of games without writing code.

Asset Store

Both Unreal Engine 4 and Unity3d have their asset stores. There you can get ready-to-go 3d models of characters and environments, textures, and even such things as sounds and particle systems. However, Unity3d clearly comes out on top regarding a number of assets in its store. It has everything, from animation and GUI generators to extensions for AI control and ORK Framework for creating RPGs. There’s everything you need to create a game. Just pay and enjoy :)

Unity3D or Unreal Engine 4

Cost

Unreal Engine 4 and Unity3d are conditionally free. The full version of Unreal Engine 4 will be free for you while revenue from games is less than $3,000 per quarter; if more, you’ll have to share 5% of your income.

Such things are more complicated with Unity3d. If your business revenues are less than $100,000 a year, you can use a free version, but it is incomplete. Although the free version is enough for writing a full game, it lacks some important features, such as replacement of the standard splash screen or creating Asset Bundle. For professional version of Unity3d you’ll need to pay $1,500 once, or purchase a subscription for $75 per month. If you develop mobile games, your expenses do not end there. You’ll have to pay $1,500 ($75 per month) for iOS and Android license. Such peculiarity of Unity3d upsets us a little bit.

Unity3D or Unreal Engine 4

Unlike Unity3d, Unreal Engine 4 has another big plus for programmers — an open code. Despite everything we finally chose Unity3d. And we did not regret it a bit. The main arguments that have guided us are convenience and quickness of development for mobile platforms, as well as C# as a main programming language. That is not to say that we won’t be creating a game with Unreal Engine 4 at some time in the future but for now we stick to Unity.

Wonder about mobile dame development costs? Check out our new article on how much would it cost to develop a game like Pokémon GO!

About author

Android Developer
Anton used to work in studio game dev team and currently he is developing apps for Android. He is meticulous, enjoys implementing solutions that speed up the development and improve code quality. Uses Java, DataBinding, Retrofit 2.0 and Realm.

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