This article is for game developers, focusing on comparison between two widely used Game Development Platforms, Unity and Unreal Engine 4 to develop video games. I have enlisted the points/feature which according to me are better in one or the other, during my projects.
Video Games in Unity 3D and Unity 2D
Ease of use and smaller Learning Curve:
Unity 3D and Unity 2D is really easy to use especially for beginners. It uses C# as it's base programming language, which is easy to learn especially for the beginners as compared to C++ or other proprietary programming languages. Unity Editor is very user friendly and offers an easy to organize folder structure. Getting up and running with scripting is very easy, with user friendly names for built-in functionality.
Excellent Assets Store:
Unity Asset Store is one of the best out there. It is rich in variety and options. You will find most of the assets needed for your game development at very reasonable price. Unity also offers a Starter Asset Bundle Package, which includes sample scenes, 3D models and much more, for free to start with. It contains all the main tools to get you up and running in no time.
Good Community Support and Excellent Documentation
Full Feature Version is Free:
Unity allows you to use full feature version free, until you make $100K of your game, which according to me is pretty good deal. You can also use all the other features and services like Unity Ads, Unity Analytics, and Unity Cloud Build built right in.
If you are using Mono as scripting platform I recommend caution, as it is outdated which lacks powerful new features of C# and .NET compatibility, which makes it harder to develop on Mac and Linux platforms. Antiquated garbage collection because of aforementioned Mono 2.6 can cause performance hitches and requires careful optimization.
Issue with Large Projects:
Merging scenes and/or prefabs is always a challenge in Unity. It will make your life living hell when working on larger project, where there are large number of assets to be managed. It's also very hard for multiple people to work on the same scene and/or prefab as Version Control is not one of the best.
Buggy Version Control:
Version control is clunky to use as meta files create multiple issues, such as deleted folders constantly coming back, missing or broken meta file cause references in scenes being lost. Meta files also introduce many problems when you move project or parts of your project around.
Video Games in Unreal Engine
Game Engine's Source Code:
This is one the biggest advantage of the Unreal Engine over Unity. Its entire source code is available to community thus making development of the game and game engine a lot faster and better. You can dig into the source to find how certain functions and features work at lower level and use them accordingly.
Unreal Engine have a great feature, called Blueprint. This feature allows you to develop your game without or minimal coding, in form of block diagrams, similar to Xcode Storyboard. This feature is for those who do not prefer programming or prefer to use as little programming as possible. You can also use combination of both blueprints and C++ (development language).
C++, best Programming Language:
I am a programmer myself, thus well aware of the power of C++. C++ is base language for most the major programming languages, thus gives you an advantage to be more flexible in game development than others Game Engines. Some readers might not agree with on this as it is not the easiest language to learn. But once you get used to it it will become very clear why this language is used.
Good for Large Projects:
Feature set on Unreal Engine is constructed on base structure of AAA Games. Its been around now for more than a decade, hence more structured and can handle larger projects with ease.
Lack of Plugins in Assets Store:
Unreal Assets Store has way less plugins than in Unity Assets Store. This can be due the reason that it is very easy to develop plugin on Unity than in UE4. Lack of plugins makes it harder for game developer to develop games as they might have to implement the very same feature from scratch on Unreal Engine, where as the similar feature can be obtained easily in Unity.
Large Learning Curve:
To have larger feature set is always a good thing in any piece of software. But this comes with price, larger learning curve. Adding use of C++ makes things even harder for developers, for those who do not have C/C++ background or are not comfortable with this language. But even if you have C/C++ background, working with Unreal Engine can be a head spinner.
Difficult Plugin Development;
Developing a plugin can very challenging on Unreal Engine. According to me first and one of the biggest drawbacks in plugin development is that you have to supply the source code with it. This is valid concern to lots of developers as they don't want to expose the source code of their application. Unreal Engine has a very slow build process that adds to difficulty of plugin development on Unreal Engine.
I would like say both of the game development platforms are most advance in there categories. Unity fits for fast development over shorter period of time, where as Unreal Engine is good for bigger games where you need more features and better flexibility. Unity will be best for beginners due to lesser learning curve and better documentation, where as Unreal Engine is good more advanced developers.
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