Epic takes on Unity with Unreal 4

I used to think Unreal was obviously more capable, but lately not sure. Could you build something like the game Rust in Unreal? Massive maps with no loading time, servers with 150 players at once, etc?

Their faq talks about hot code reloading/compiling but in the coding video the instructor triggers a recompile from the editor and it goes for about 20 seconds. This is a lot different than Unity, even disregarding the orders of magnitude in skill level needed to write C++ code vs C#/javascript in Unity. I wonder how much you can do with the visual finite state machine programming tool.

Unity seems more creator focused and Unreal looks more developer/programmer focused. I don’t see either really displacing each other and the competition will benefit both.

19 is bigger than 0, which is what you pay for most of the time with Unity until you need to actually use the really fancy features. By that point you can evaluate Unity to it’s full extent and choose not to use it.

That’s a good question for the actual developers around here.

All I know is that Rust is supposed to be a great game, but it is widely known to perform poorly and the visuals aren’t great. Which pretty much describes every unity game. If Might and Magic X used unreal rather than unity it could have been ported to tablets, which seem like a natural home. But the performance just wasn’t there.

How does exporting to iOS / Android work in Unreal? Is it as simple and fast as Unity? (add touch events -> switch platform -> Build)

I was struck by this as well. Also it doesn’t come with a scripting language, and it doesn’t appear to have an asset store. Also, like the most impressive thing about Unity is the community surrounding it, and supporting it. This is totally a great step forward for Unreal, but I really don’t see it as a Unity-killer, at least not yet…

CryEngine jumps into the fray:

Game developer and publisher Crytek today announced the launch of its “Engine-as-a-Service” (EaaS) program, making its revolutionary CRYENGINE technology accessible to a vast new audience.
CRYENGINE gives users access to the same award-winning toolset that was used to create Crytek’s Ryse: Son of Rome, and equips them to develop outstanding games across all of today’s leading platforms.

As a first tier of its new program, Crytek has revealed that from May this year, indie developers will be able to use all of CRYENGINE’s cutting-edge features for a monthly subscription fee of 9,90 USD/EUR per user - royalty free. Those features include the recently announced addition of CRYENGINE features such as Physically Based Shading, Geometry Cache and Image Based Lighting - an upgrade already shown in action by Crytek at this year’s GDC conference in San Francisco.

More details about the game-changing opportunities on offer to developers as part of the program will be announced in the near future. The CRYENGINE free SDK will continue to be available under its current terms but developers wanting to take advantage of the new features of CRYENGINE will need to subscribe to the new EaaS-Program.

Crytek’s Director of Business Development , Carl Jones, said: "When we announced the new CRYENGINE this was our first step towards creating an engine as a service. We are happy to announce now that the latest update of CRYENGINE will soon be available to all developers on a subscription basis. We are really excited to make CRYENGINE available to hundreds of thousands of developers working with Crytek to make awesome games.”

The launch of the CRYENGINE as-a-service program expands Crytek’s online service portfolio, continuing on from their step into self-publishing with free-to-play online FPS, Warface.

Rust looks like crap but it’s more because it uses the same models everywhere. In terms of map size, number of dynamic objects on map, players, etc, it’s higher than any Unreal game I’ve seen though.

I don’t know… I’d rather make $5 million and pay Epic $250k than not make $5 million and not pay Epic. Not sure what Unity would cost me in this hypothetical, but if you make a high selling game thanks to Unreal, just pay them their due and roll around naked in the other 95%.

Except it’s gross revenue.

Anyone can ship a commercial product with UE4 by paying 5% of gross revenue resulting from sales to users.

That makes a big difference.

Video Features

Let’s not confuse the assets with the engine. Unreal games do tend to look much better than Unity games, but that’s mostly a factor of the budget. Unreal games tend to get budgets orders of magnitude bigger than Unity games. Things are changing, for sure, but it’s something to consider.

I agree Unreal is a much more capable engine than Unity, and that it seems cheaper right now, but for indies, you have to consider shared expertise+ease of use. I have no experience with Unreal, so it’s hard for me to evaluate the workflow, but from what I’ve read it seems an engine more suited to bigger teams with good, established pipelines. More power, but more moving parts and more places were things can go wrong.

The biggest cost of developing a game (especially given these new announcements) is no longer going to be the engine, but the team and its time. If using a more powerful engine is going to cost me months of development, its utility is marginal. Moreover, to get full advantages of the extra power of Unreal and Cryengine you need to have a very extensive design, with complex (and expensive) art assets. At the end of the day, people are going to use the easier engine that works for the project’s scope.

Of course, it depends how you define “indie”, but if you agree with the small team part of the definition (see other thread) this looks more like a move by Unreal and Crytek to get an audience they are quickly losing, if not they have already lost.

The other point of contention, for “small indies” is the level of expertise. Not that many people who can work for indie budgets/schedules are very proficient at Unreal or Cryengine, while you have an army of excellent Unity developers (and another army of questionable developers, for sure, given Unity’s popularity). In order to create a proficient team that can deliver fast and cheap enough for a small budget (if cost is such an issue) things are again quite not so clear.

Anyway, all I wanted to say is that this says less of the future of indie games (at least until everything becomes more clear and we can assess what choices developers really took) and more about Unreal and Crytek reacting to what probably are very numbers in the accountability (they lost the lower end of the spectrum really bad).


Unity 5 supports PowerVR’s realtime raytracing. I doubt many people will see the use of that, but cool non-the-less.

Crytek comes in at $10/user/month with no royalties? Race to the bottom is cool and all, but how do they expect to make money?

Maybe they don’t? They make the engine to run their games, presumably, with this $10/month being a bonus? (Though presumably all the support they offer costs money)

That’s okay. I feel like my point still stands. If UE4 is what allows you to make a game that brings in $5 million gross, I still feel it’s better to pay Epic its $250k, pay your taxes and expenses and roll around in the rest.

Like I said, I don’t know what other engines cost and if UE isn’t worth the price for you then skip it. But I see no reason not to give epic their cut off the top if that’s what it takes to get it done.

Even with minecraft where it should have multiple hundreds of millions in sales… If UE is what you needed to get there, pay epic their fifteen million off the top and enjoy the rest.

Good question… I wonder if it’s a play to get as many people as possible using it, and then add an asset store?

Maybe that’s where they see all of this going and are trying to get a headstart. Basically give away the engine, get as many people into the ecosystem as possible and make money from add-ons.

Thing is, cost for student to use Unreal on his own PC (and very few work only in the labs these days) is also 19 a month. Unity is…0. (Pro…isn’t really needed, for teaching)

That pushes me strongly towards recommending teaching Unity.

Wow, this is so awesome!!! If only this had been available when Squad was designing Kerbal Space Program, we wouldn’t be stuck with so much of the crap performance issues and memory busts we have. Unity was great at their price point, but they’ve needed competition with so much of it is such a mess. Being limited to 3.65 Gig of RAM for “everything” in Unity has been horrible. But without Unity, we would be 1000x poorer as gamers.

Just had a quick look at the initial videos on Blueprint’s scripting capacity.
My first reaction is that they just made Kismet look easy to use.

Oh dear.

(There might be better ways to do some of this stuff, but having to manually measure object movement distances? Complex track setups? Needing to say WHEN you declare a variable…all the stuff about having to know player location to use a simple volume trigger…10+ objects for what you can do with 3 in Kismet…having to dig into custom settings to make a trigger just react to the player…)

edit: The more I look into it the more I’m approaching “curl up and whimper”, as the true-visual-scripting nut I am.