I'm looking to make a mission based rts. It'll revolve around taking down an established regional power starting with a coup on board a main carrier. Fidelity wise Im aiming for star conflict / eve online levels. In terms of gameplay and scope there will be a fairly standard world map with total war style base development, there will also be battle maps for real time combat. the battle maps will involve a fairly standard rts setup, very homeworld-esque with a stretch goal of allowing the player to pilot 'elite' ships. Units will have special powers (a magic system essentially). Describing the scale is difficult but if you've played star conflict, then thats about the scale. Mind you I'm not looking to finish, only have the visuals and basic logic done, a tech demo.
Unity feels perfect when developing since there doesn't seem to be any preset game in mind within the engine. Aside from the render limitation when using free what really got me poking around was the particle engine. I spent a week or so building a prefab/script that spawns particles and allows me to dynamically adjust settings to make various kinds of weapons fire. Works well, could use some optimization but it allows for huge variety in the kinds of effects weapons effects quickly and easily. Then I duplicated it a few times and watched the framerate plummet. I can work around it by using a single emitter or maybe baking out the different effects (somehow). Other, better, solutions (gl class or line drawing) required full access, so I started looking around again.
Ignoring cost for engines (although that was a good analysis, kburkhart84) I can use unity and be limited in graphics which is my focus, or hack at UDK and take an extended development period. Anyway I'll probably ramble if I continue. Thanks again for any discussion or advice.