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Is Unreal Engine 4 easier than Unity for mobile game development by an artist programmer?

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#1 meisterwerk   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 06:50 AM

I am a 3d artist (modeler/rigger/animator) and I am foraying into mobile gaming as it's really difficult to find just 3D projects in my country (EU) these days. I am comfortable with with basic programming (syntax, scripting, object orientated programming) since I was into programming a few years back. Programming language is not a barrier so whether its C#, C++, python, etc, all are fine. However, I think of myself as more of an artist and only an amateur programmer. I will be programming the harder aspects of my game by following advanced tutorials on those specific topics (purchases from sites like DigitalTutors, etc) and asking questions on boards like this.

My mobile game will be have lots of character animation, some nice artwork and more artistic things than a usual game as these are the things I excel at. Think of art heavy games like Monument Valley, Leo's Fortune, etc. So which engine is easier for an "artist programmer" to get the game developed quickly and this as little code as possible?

(other engine recommendations are welcome too).



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#2 Gian-Reto   Members   -  Reputation: 756

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 07:26 AM

Hard to say for me, as I am both a programmer by profession and only have a longtime expierience with Unity and some other engine, but not Unreal (yet).

 

From MY expierience, you will hardly find any engine with a better editor than Unity. Some might come close or match it (the unreal editor looks pretty neat from what I have seen), but really, when it comes to the editor, Unity is as easy as it will get, as long as we talk "fully blown editor with all bells and whistles".

 

Programming in Unity to me was also always pretty easy to get into, but as said, as a professional programmer I might have a different opinion about "easy" than you.

Depending on wheter you want to really dive into programming/scripting, you might be interested in the visual scripting tool that UE4 has built into the editor, or the one you can get for Unity from the Asset Store, "playmaker".

Just be aware that no visual scripting tool can ever be used to full extent without basic programming knowledge. If you don't know what a loop is or a variable, visual scripting will not make it easier. At best it will hide the syntax of the underlying language... which, to be honest, is rather the easy part to learn for me.

 

Now, one path you can take is to download "templates" or tutorial projects, which will contain a lot of premade scripts, and basically just skin this project with your own graphics. As long as your gameplay is pretty run-of-the-mill, that might get you pretty far already.

 

 

One thing to be aware of: some highend features of Unity are hidden behind the paywall of the Pro Version. We are talking 1500$ for the pro version, and another 1500$ per mobile platform.

Because of that, unity might already be out of the game for you, if you need both the best graphics options and mobile builds.

 

Unreal 4 is much more modest here, a one time payment of 20$ will give you the engine, AFAIK with mobile build capabilities. Just beware that Unreal will claim royalities beyond the first 50k you make (5%), while Unity does not.


Edited by Gian-Reto, 29 August 2014 - 07:26 AM.


#3 meisterwerk   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 08:00 AM

thx for the help. Really do appreciate it.

 

I can do basic programming. Even object orientated, but that was mostly python and some basic scripts. I picked up on C# and c++ syntax fast but syntax is just the beginning as we know. guess price point is the barrier now. 



#4 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7111

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 08:14 AM

When it comes to the 'as little code as possible' requirement then UE4 has the blue print system which will let you hook up game logic without having to write a line of code; just drop nodes into the blue print, hook 'em up with lines and away you go.

There will be a learning curve on them of course but that might do just what you need.

#5 meisterwerk   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 08:40 AM

yes, i think even though majority of people use unity for mobile , I am going to use unreal. Mainly cos of the price point. I have also looked into blueprint. I dont mind the learning curve. Just wish that unreal had more plugins and marketplace like unity. nevertheless, i will make my own assets so that wont be a problem. But just would have liked the freedom nonetheless. But moneytalks and 5% from a successful game is better than 5k upfront.

 

What an amazing and helpful forum this is. I was looking for a place to stay online and i think i just found it!!



#6 meisterwerk   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 08:41 AM

Also, i know unreals youtube channel has great tuts but anyone know of any mobile-game-development-specific tuts series for unreal? Just want to speed up my learning curve.



#7 0sok   Members   -  Reputation: 158

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 09:26 PM

Just wish that unreal had more plugins and marketplace like unity. nevertheless, i will make my own assets so that wont be a problem. But just would have liked the freedom nonetheless.

Currently the UE4 marketplace only has products from EPIC. They have just began opening it for early submissions. It will have a similar marketplace to unity in due time. Engine is very young in the public realm. 



#8 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 20331

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 01:27 AM

In addition to all the other good stuff above, "easiest for me?" and "best for me?" style of questions are really not that useful.

 

They are available free. Download both.  Try them out. Decide for yourself. Remove one of them when you've decided, or leave it on if you want.

 

You may decide that one color scheme makes things easier on your eyes, or that the engine layout is easier for you, or that some other factor makes one of them particularly better or worse for your specific needs.

 

From a technical standpoint, both engines are very powerful and capable of developing prototype-style work very quickly. In both product polishing the work up to commercial standards is a lot more effort than getting your first level somewhat playable.


Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#9 meisterwerk   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 05:00 AM

i get what your are saying. But I needed more advise than just interface-feel-related advise. For example, even after settling on unreal, I am looking through unreal forums and there are a lot of complaints regarding how slow it is on android, ios even after optimization. And that people are moving back to unity. I am stuck in a hard place now as I cant afford unity and free version wont work for android/ios deployment, and Unreal seems to cant handle anything other than tappy bird game for mobile. My game is going to be something like a 3d side-scroller with a ton of animations and I think Unreal may not be up to it yet. Really dont know what to do now.



#10 Antrix   Members   -  Reputation: 106

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 05:01 PM

You can use the free version of unity to release on the Android and iOS platforms. You are just limited on some aspects. My suggestion would be if Unreal is not powerful enough on mobile then use unity. Since graphics are limited on the free version and you are likely to produce stunning graphics then get something started. If you can do something really good in the short time Unity has a 30 day trial of pro that you can put in the advanced stuff. Then after you have something to show, do a kickstarter campaign and try to get the money for the pro versions.



#11 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 20331

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 11:13 PM

I cant afford unity and free version wont work for android/ios deployment

Unity Basic includes support for Android and iOS. (You still need a mac for iOS thanks to Apple's rules, but that isn't Unity's fault.)
 
There are very few features that are restricted in Unity Basic (the free version) for most hobby game development. There is a bit of eye candy like some advanced water shaders and self-shadowing, there are a few features that you might find useful like dynamically-modified pathfinding (e.g. pathfinding that takes into account moving platforms or fallen trees) and a few similar items.  Even then, there are people on the Unity Store that have written those chunks of functionality if you don't want to pay for the engine.
 
 
 

I am looking through unreal forums and there are a lot of complaints

Unreal can also handle quite a few games, such as the Infinity Blade series. Yes you are limited a bit in the free version in what you can do, but again, as a hobby developer, it is unlikely you are going to push the harder limits of the system. People online like to complain about a lot of things even when it has no merit. Even if their complaints have merit, consider that they paid $0 for it, and that lots of people are able to use the $0 system to build a lot of good hobby games. If you want to do something you can't do with the $0 system, spend the small amount of money to get the more advanced version.
 
 
Looking over your posts, I think the issue is a lack of understanding on your part, or getting stuck with "analysis paralysis".
 
BOTH engines are quite capable of building advanced software and games, even on mobile devices.
 
BOTH engines are free for mobile development, until you reach the point where you are making enough money every year that you could afford to employ one or two people. Then you need to pay for it. After you start earning that much ($100,000 for Unity, $50,000 for Unreal) you need to start paying them. Before you are raking in money you don't need to pay them anything.
 
Download both, try them both out, decide what you enjoy best. Do not buy either version yet. As a hobby developer you could likely develop and release ten or twenty hobby games before you ever come close to the mandatory price points.


Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#12 Gian-Reto   Members   -  Reputation: 756

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 04:28 AM

i get what your are saying. But I needed more advise than just interface-feel-related advise. For example, even after settling on unreal, I am looking through unreal forums and there are a lot of complaints regarding how slow it is on android, ios even after optimization. And that people are moving back to unity. I am stuck in a hard place now as I cant afford unity and free version wont work for android/ios deployment, and Unreal seems to cant handle anything other than tappy bird game for mobile. My game is going to be something like a 3d side-scroller with a ton of animations and I think Unreal may not be up to it yet. Really dont know what to do now.

 

Unreal.... might not... be up to it? Wat?

Do you know how wrong that sounds? If UE4 is not up to it, you most probably will not find any engine that is. You could say the same about Unity.

 

Now, if you are not convinced that the mobile builds of Unreal or Unity perform well enough, I guess you have no other choice than to write your own "engine"... or to put it better, write a very lean lightweight engine that just includes the parts you really need to make sure you get as little overhead as possible.

But be aware that both Unreal and Unity have been optimized by dozens of very good, professional engineers for years, so chances are even your best try will perform much worse than that.

 

 

I think what you really need to do now is pick one of both and start prototyping. There is really no point in continuing this discussion if you just make asumptions based on what you read on the forums. The vocal minority will always be very negative and harsh about something, that does not mean that there is not a big silent majority that is pretty happy with a product.

So unless you can show us a link of a particular discussion or even better, a critiscism by a real professional in a blog or something like that, something that will put some meat to your vague "it might not perform" suspicion, this discussion is totally pointless.

 

 

As I said before, as frob put it above, Unity is ONLY not free if you need the additional features of the pro version. You REALLY should try the free version to see if you miss anything.

The thing you might miss most additionally to the list put up by frob are the Image (Post-)Effects. Some highend graphical features like SSOA are realized in Unity with Image Effects, so without the Pro Version, you might miss out on that. As frob said, you might find solutions in the asset store, they might not be free though, or you might be able to come up with your own solution (you need to be pretty adept at coding at this point though), but again, both will consume more of your time.

 

Again, you should prototype and see if your particular game REALLY needs these features. SSAO can be very important for some games, where the lighting or scene setting makes the missing AO very noticable... for other settings (or for example non-realistic cell-shaded objects), AO might not even be desirable as it would brake the look, or it might just be not noticable enough to justify the price in FPS (image effects can be VERY performance intensitive).

 

 

 

Be aware of the following:

a) You need to start at some point. No more guessing, no more reading up reviews or opinions, make your own opinion on it.

b) You will need to invest a very big amount of hours into developing a highend 3D game, even with the help of the most competent engine

c) To get the best features out of any Engine or Framework, you WILL have to invest something: Either Time and Skill, or Money. There is no free lunch!


Edited by Gian-Reto, 01 September 2014 - 04:30 AM.


#13 Truerror   Members   -  Reputation: 366

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 04:34 AM

 

I cant afford unity and free version wont work for android/ios deployment

Unity Basic includes support for Android and iOS. (You still need a mac for iOS thanks to Apple's rules, but that isn't Unity's fault.)
 
There are very few features that are restricted in Unity Basic (the free version) for most hobby game development. There is a bit of eye candy like some advanced water shaders and self-shadowing, there are a few features that you might find useful like dynamically-modified pathfinding (e.g. pathfinding that takes into account moving platforms or fallen trees) and a few similar items.  Even then, there are people on the Unity Store that have written those chunks of functionality if you don't want to pay for the engine.
 
 
 

I am looking through unreal forums and there are a lot of complaints

Unreal can also handle quite a few games, such as the Infinity Blade series. Yes you are limited a bit in the free version in what you can do, but again, as a hobby developer, it is unlikely you are going to push the harder limits of the system. People online like to complain about a lot of things even when it has no merit. Even if their complaints have merit, consider that they paid $0 for it, and that lots of people are able to use the $0 system to build a lot of good hobby games. If you want to do something you can't do with the $0 system, spend the small amount of money to get the more advanced version.
 
 
Looking over your posts, I think the issue is a lack of understanding on your part, or getting stuck with "analysis paralysis".
 
BOTH engines are quite capable of building advanced software and games, even on mobile devices.
 
BOTH engines are free for mobile development, until you reach the point where you are making enough money every year that you could afford to employ one or two people. Then you need to pay for it. After you start earning that much ($100,000 for Unity, $50,000 for Unreal) you need to start paying them. Before you are raking in money you don't need to pay them anything.
 
Download both, try them both out, decide what you enjoy best. Do not buy either version yet. As a hobby developer you could likely develop and release ten or twenty hobby games before you ever come close to the mandatory price points.

 

 

I think he meant UE4, as opposed to UE3/UDK. It's not free, but cheap enough. USD20/month, and even if you cancel your subscription, you can still use it (you just won't get updates). Quite a deal, IMO.

 

 

i get what your are saying. But I needed more advise than just interface-feel-related advise. For example, even after settling on unreal, I am looking through unreal forums and there are a lot of complaints regarding how slow it is on android, ios even after optimization. And that people are moving back to unity. I am stuck in a hard place now as I cant afford unity and free version wont work for android/ios deployment, and Unreal seems to cant handle anything other than tappy bird game for mobile. My game is going to be something like a 3d side-scroller with a ton of animations and I think Unreal may not be up to it yet. Really dont know what to do now.

 

Unreal.... might not... be up to it? Wat?

Do you know how wrong that sounds? If UE4 is not up to it, you most probably will not find any engine that is. You could say the same about Unity.

 

 

Well, it is new, and there are many complaints in its forum about it performing poorly on Android. I've only tested it on PC (I don't have any Android device). On PC, it;s a very scalable engine. And quite versatile too.

 

i suspect mobile support will get better as the engine matures, but for now, Unity might be a better choice for mobile.



#14 Gian-Reto   Members   -  Reputation: 756

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 06:21 AM

 

i get what your are saying. But I needed more advise than just interface-feel-related advise. For example, even after settling on unreal, I am looking through unreal forums and there are a lot of complaints regarding how slow it is on android, ios even after optimization. And that people are moving back to unity. I am stuck in a hard place now as I cant afford unity and free version wont work for android/ios deployment, and Unreal seems to cant handle anything other than tappy bird game for mobile. My game is going to be something like a 3d side-scroller with a ton of animations and I think Unreal may not be up to it yet. Really dont know what to do now.

 

Unreal.... might not... be up to it? Wat?

Do you know how wrong that sounds? If UE4 is not up to it, you most probably will not find any engine that is. You could say the same about Unity.

 

 

Well, it is new, and there are many complaints in its forum about it performing poorly on Android. I've only tested it on PC (I don't have any Android device). On PC, it;s a very scalable engine. And quite versatile too.

 

i suspect mobile support will get better as the engine matures, but for now, Unity might be a better choice for mobile.

 

 

Ah, didn't knew about that.... but actually makes a lot of sense seeing how for most PC Engines adding Mobile support is all the rage currently, but still just an afterthought... something like "bring PC Power to the Smartphone! Unreal 4 for Android!!1!!!111!!! Wooooaaah!"....

 

I am not saying its a bad thing... I just faced the real downsides of this development in the engine world when the developer of the engine I used prior to Unity got bogged down with enabling mobile support for his engine that was PC exclusive in the beginning. Of course the devlopment of the PC version slowed down and then finally stalled, until I lost interest because of that (and the really hacky editor).

 

Big engines like Unity and Unreal might pull it off. Small ones should really pick a platform and stay there, or they won't excel on any of them.

 

 

Sorry, I went a little bit offtopic...

 

Android most probably is the harder of the big mobile platforms to achieve a good performance on, with all the different devices and Android versions floating around. So I would rather look at iOS for an early indication of what the engine might achieve on mobile devices.


Edited by Gian-Reto, 04 September 2014 - 06:22 AM.


#15 SkyFireZ   Members   -  Reputation: 152

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 10:09 AM

UE4''s performance on android and even iOS is somewhat lacking right now. But I believe its merely an issue with optimization. Do not forget that UE's forte is PC/console gaming so their first priority was to add maximum support for monster rendering power for PCs and consoles. 

Their latest update 4.4.0 has improved the performance for mobiles a little bit so pretty sure it will be improved in further updates.They also added a ton of new stuffs in their market place recently.

 

If you are looking for cheap/free alternatives I suggest you take a look at Adobe's actionscript/Flash stage 3D and Citrus Engine. I have no personal experience in 3d on stage3D platform but the examples look beautiful.  



#16 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 18530

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 10:58 AM

I will be programming the harder aspects of my game by following advanced tutorials on those specific topics (purchases from sites like DigitalTutors, etc) and asking questions on boards like this.

 

There are copious amounts of free tutorials; I personally wouldn't pay for online programming tutorials. <off-topic> Especially not (ugh) video programming tutorials. Programming, unlike 3D modelling (a predominantly visual medium, best taught through visuals), is best taught through text and diagrams - not through watching someone slowly explain it verbally. </off-topic>

 

And even if you are into video tutorials (to supplement, not replace, articles and text tutorials) there's plenty of free ones on YouTube. 


Edited by Servant of the Lord, 06 September 2014 - 11:06 AM.

It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.
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