The engine preference is considered to be a task of great importance. And the opposition of two dominant gaming platforms is growing: Unity
, which became famous for its adaptation to VR
, and Unreal – the famous one, that became the genesis for the iconic Deus Ex, BioShock, and Dishonored game production the last years are confronting. So, Unity or Unreal 4 – making the better choice?
Unity 5 vs Unreal 4
are the battle of the variants of great popularity in today's life . Although both are celebrated enough, it depends mainly on what you are seeking for each of them will be simply the best for a certain case. Those who are looking for an interface friendly to the user or developer, or maybe the programming language has a higher priority – in any circumstances, let’s comprehend the differences. Then your decision of which one will fit your needs will be truly clear enough.
For those who are just beginning to understand how to make a game engine, we propose an objective analysis of the differences between Unity 5 and UE 4 – the latest mods of gaming platforms, in use just now.
Our first area of comparison - UI-editors to create levels that are the same looking in construction. Both have special browsers of content for project files such as scripts or assets. Main objects you can drag to the scene area and thus you will add them to its hierarchy.
Positions in the editor for scenes are modified with the help of the toolkit for moving, rotating, scaling - in both engines it is quite resembling. All properties of objects used in Unity vs unreal engine are displayed in the Inspector, and in UE4 they are containing in the section called “Details”. You can compare the features of Unity Prefabs with Blueprints also.
Concurring Unreal vs Unity, that's time to talk about meshes. In both engines there are static meshes – they can be operated easily in space. Other ones are skeletal meshes – geometric details attached to the skeleton’s bones. You can use them for character animation. Just use Blender or Maya apps to create them the necessary way.
You can also import the animation examples for such skeleton meshes. In Unity, they are attached in a form of animation clips, and in UE4 it’s animation sequence – the synonymous thing to the animation examples. In the first movement they are controlled by animation controllers, and in the second on the same principle animated Blueprints act.
There are state machines defining transitions from one state of the asset to another in both of them. In UE4, the system is called Persona, and in Unity, it is called Mecanim. It is also possible to use the skeletal meshes of one skeleton to another, but in Unity, it is mainly used to animate humanoids.
Both engines are not suitable for professional character animation - it is better to use programs like Maya, and import the result as FBX files.
For coding issues, UE4 uses the C ++ language
, which not everyone likes due to the complexity and duration of compilation. UE4 has Blueprints, with which you can achieve almost the same results as C ++.
Unity 5 supports C # and UnityScript. The API and its concept are very familiar to those from UE4. When using a managed language, the programmer is not required to use pointers, compiling is fast. Unity has no scripting system for visual effects, and to take something like this, the developer has to buy third-party add-ons like Playmaker.
For 2D development, Unity has great tools — the sprite creator, the sprite editor, and the sprite packer. UE4 also supports sprites in Paper 2d, but solutions from Unity are more powerful, in addition, the latter has a separate physics engine for 2d objects.
Post-processing is built into UE4. You can apply a bloom effect, toning, and anti-aliasing to the scene, both globally and to its individual parts (using the Post Process Volume component).
Unity has a post-processing stack you can simply download from the special asset store. The system is not so flexible as the UE4 is - effects are applied only with the stack or scripts to the camera.
Both engines are powerful, but in the war of the Unreal Engine
4 vs Unity 5 - UE4 is more flexible. At the same time, it is preferable to choose Unity 5 to create a 2D game, but an expensive open-world 3D project
should be implemented on UE4.
Speaking In Simple Language for Consumption
Unreal Engine or Unity? Each of them has its strengths. Unity is suitable for beginners and fresh steps, while Unreal is suitable for pros, so if you are seeking how to make a game in Unity those facts will be important to know.
The UE feature set is better suited for 3D projects, while Unity has a huge track record on mobile devices. When comparing Unreal VS Unity for VR, then providing it’s a mobile game you are wanting, or you have a VR game but the budget is a bit, choose Unity. Making an expensive console game with an experienced development team – use the UE 4 forces.
Which Is The Purpose You Have
Firstly ask yourself a question – what’s your purpose for using the chosen platform and what do you want to produce as a final result in common and in details? Is it a two-dimensioned platformer or a three-dimension FPS you are keen on? Or is it a mix of 2d and 3d probably? Maybe you will start with your first simple mind cracker with basic geometry and physics? Or you are interested in browser games for desktop or mobile gadgets? Maybe, game consoles? Make a question to yourself about what’s your plan to make money on your project? That could be some kind of purchases for home, ads, or just the prepaid game?
Answering these questions is a necessity to be sure which platform you have to use. Any of them can cope with mostly every of the underlined tasks, but the exact knowledge of what you are doing will help you to make the choice that brings you the brilliant result in the future.
Mobile Apps And Games
Unity seems to be the best for tablets’ apps. And that’s the confirmation by the prevalence of Unity on the global market of mobile games. Ads, internal payment system, analytics, etc. – all this you can plug into the product you are working at in minutes. Unity will also be your variant to choose for two-dimension projects because it has great opportunities for creating 2d games. Although UE 4 is recently trying to lure the project managers of mobile apps, proposing not less, even great abilities for 2d games.
Unity at the same time is a real blaster for 3d game creation. Even if you confirm that graphically it is far from the level that the UE 4. If necessary, use next-gen graphics the best solution would be Unreal Engine 4.
2D and 3D mobile games
Generally, Unity is a go-to engine for mobile games
. The engine is the most popular among mobile developers, which resulted in a rich ecosystem. You’ll have access to many free and paid development plugins, ready-to-use templates for enabling analytics, in-game purchases, registration, ads. What’s more, graphics is not Unity’s strongest suit. However, for 2D games, you’ll hardly feel any difference between Unity and UnrealEngine. For 3D game development, Unreal Engine 4 offers better graphics quality, but Unity is catching up with updates in the latest releases.
How About A Code
UE 4 is based on the C ++ programming language. Unity3d has the choice between the C # and JS
one. Agree, the transition to C # from Java is not so painful as to C ++
. What’s the appropriate one between those codes - really comes down to personal preferences. One can claim the C ++ archaic, while others pray for it.
UE 4 that’s a solution for those who don’t want the high threshold for C ++ entry. This is Blueprint. You don't need to write a big amount of code. Just use the prototype-making fast ability, so you have even an opportunity to develop the entire game with Blueprint means. So if you don’t have much experience in coding to acclaim yourself a real pro, UE 4 will be fully your choice. But don’t forget - in Unity, there is a similar tip. Just make a purchase in Unity Asset Store - and buy an editor extension Playmaker, which also has the merits of developing prototypes with no coding lines at all.
There’s no reason to talk a lot about the paid stores – you can buy the suitable variants of already accomplished solutions called assets in both engines.
If you are a beginner in game development, you might want to find shortcuts, rather than learning pretty complicated C++ and C#. Unreal Engine offers an easy way out. The engine offers Blueprint - a visual scripting editor. You don’t need to write code - all functionality is developed with an intuitive interface. Unity has a similar solution, but it’s not as elaborate. To lower the entry barrier to Unity, users can buy Playmaker - a visual interface for building 2D and 3D games.
Engine for developers vs visual artists
The choice of a game engine also depends on what team will be mostly working on the project. Some games are heavy on development tasks, whereas graphically-oriented projects prioritize the preferences of visual artists.
If you are a developer, you’ll likely enjoy working with Unity more - it’s simple, logical, offers a rich ecosystem, and the interface isn’t overly cluttered. For visual artists, the Unreal engine for mobile development is an obvious winner - the graphics, offered by the engine, are simply of another league.
However, now both engines are focused on becoming more universal. Unity, the engine initially created for simple mobile development projects, is now focused on increasing the quality of interfaces and adding pro visualizing features. Unreal, on the other hand, head towards simplicity. For now, the difference between the two engines in visual quality versus development efficiency is still too obvious, though.
is a long ride. You never know what additional functionality can come in handy so it’s best to choose an engine with a rich ecosystem. Whenever you want to expand your game’s features and interface, you should be able to install plugins and add-ons. This is where an Asset Store comes in.
Both engines have asset stores where you can download free and paid 3D character designs, textures, landscapes, sounds, and functionality templates. If we compare the size and variety of add-ons, Unity3D definitely takes the lead. All you might ever need for game development is there - from animation to GUI elements. Sure, most of the elements are paid, but you have a great choice of options.
What About The Price?
Both variants are shareware. UE 4 is fully free for every user, in case you earned less than $ 3,000 per quarter with the game you’ve produced via the means of that engine, and if the income is higher, you will have to pay merely 5% of it to the engine owner company.
Unity is a more complex platform if talking about the price. If your company's income is under the level of $ 100,000 per year, you have the ability to take it for free, but it is not complete. The shortened variant is enough for developing a full-fledged game product, though some important instruments are lacking: such as replacing the standard splash screen or creating the Asset Bundle. Just spend $ 1,500 on a pro-adapted version of Unity3d or subscribe to it for $ 75 monthly. If you are developing mobile games, then your costs will be higher.
Unity 3d in spite of its complex payment system has another big plus for programmers - it's open source. This is convenient for those developers who are planning to attract the attention of enthusiasts who are ready to create plug-ins and add-ons for games on their own - and therefore make games much more interesting and diverse.
Future of both engines
Choosing a game engine is a long-term decision. It’s great to evaluate current functionality and characteristics, but you need to expand your perspective. It’s important to take a look at the direction of both Unity
and Unreal Engine’s releases to know where the companies are heading. After all, you are choosing the core element of your game that will be with your project for years. Taking time to research it properly is definitely a worthy investment.
Unity’s focus for future updates
Unity’s team has been really focused on integrating VR and AR platforms, supporting high-level visual platforms, and providing a realistic gaming experience. That’s actually what made the platform so popular lately – the number of available integration and add-ons for VR and AR development, provided by Unity, is simply unrivaled. As for now, Unity supports PlayStation VR, Magic Leap, ARCore, Nintendo Switch, Anki, and 25+ platforms.
So, the main goal of Unity is to be a leading cross-platform development engine that can switch between desktop, mobile device, tables, consoles, VR, and AR hardware. Additionally, the team is focused on improving the ease of mobile development and boosting graphics for smartphone gaming.
Unreal Engine’s focus for future updates
Unreal Engine, as always, focuses on graphics. Interface-wise, this engine is definitely the go-to choice. The best part is, the graphics quality of engine-produced content is constantly increasing. In one of the latest updates, the team used the Houdini plugin for realistic animation, simulation, procedural modeling, and smooth effects.
The number of Unreal Engine’s integrations isn’t as impressive as Unity’s. As for now, the platform supports Google Daydream, HoloLens 2, and others - overall 15 VR/AR platforms.
So, the main goal of the Unreal Engine is to keep its position as the most realistic game development engine while enabling integrations with VR and AR. The company is less focused on the simplicity of development, and oriented towards creating an immersive experience.
So, how to make a choice between Unreal Engine and Unity?
We went through the key aspects of Unity and Unreal Engine - it’s time to go through the main points. Take a look at the comparison table that highlights the key features of two engines for one more time.
|Mobile development, simple 2D and 3D projects
|Graphically-heavy games, mostly for desktop and tablets
|Simple and fast development
|A higher level of development complexity
|Blueprint for codeless development
|Playmaker for codeless development
|Preferred by developers
|Preferred by visual artists
|75 dollars per month for a one-OS subscription
|5% of the game’s profits
|The richest asset store on the market
|A rich ecosystem but not as developed as Unity’s
|Future of two engines
|Focused on VR and AR integrations
|Focused on a realistic interface
In this article, we analyzed the fundamental differences between Unity and Unreal. Which is better – choose by yourself.
Unity is a go-to tool for simple game development, whereas Unreal Engine is focused on the high-level interface. The functionality of the two engines is similar, although there are differences in certain processes. For instance, UE4 offers professional animation editing features whereas Unity offers a very limited range of settings - especially for human and humanoid characters. There’s a way out though - you can import animations from professional software, like Lender. Both engines have state machines that allow switching between assets and handling multiple projects. However, both engines compensate for lacking features with add-ons and integrations. So, when making a choice, don’t focus too much on individual focus, instead, pay attention to the direction of the engine’s development.