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Unity Question for UE4 and Unity 4/5 experts, regarding capabilities

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A question I haven't quite settled for myself, which I've been thinking about for a future game idea I have:
How well suited are UE4 and Unity (obviously I'm talking about 5, but I know there hasn't been a much time to gain expertise with it) to highly procedural games? I'm talking about the kinds of games where almost everything is heavily procedurally-generated, or modified in real time from baseline assets, with unused procedural assets being frequently unloaded as well. Assume that all of these things are to be generated by a server application that is not running the client engine, and streamed to clients on demand. Examples of the sorts of things I'm talking about:

* Terrain meshes, generated on a server and streamed to the client in real time, possibly containing a combination of voxels and polygon meshes (including dynamic level of detail and so forth)
* Materials and textures, generated from scratch, and/or applied to a baseline with many parameters affecting output
* Creature models and animations (again, heavily modified procedurally from base assets)
* Sound effects to a degree
* Weather, lighting, etc.

Let's not worry about the feasibility of my idea, I'm just curious whether these engines would fight me if I attempted to do the above, or if their API designs are flexible enough for this kind of thing.

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Depends on how much you want.


Both engines can handle the concept quite fine.  Consider Temple Run 2 uses Unity, and quite a few clones of Tiny Wings have been implemented with Unity and UE4.


Both engines support the concept of a DLC bundle, a chunk of content you can download from the server, unpack, and use in the game.



The devil is in the details. It is not too difficult to procedurally choose one of several prebuilt Temple Run paths.  


It is not to difficult to procedurally generate some wavy lines for Tiny Wings to jump along.


With a bit of code you can procedurally build dungeons and mazes but they suffer from being self-similar.


By the time you start talking of expansive worlds you end up needing an enormous collection of content to use as source for your terrain generation engine if you want it to have any serious interest to your players.

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By the time you start talking of expansive worlds you end up needing an enormous collection of content to use as source for your terrain generation engine if you want it to have any serious interest to your players.

Those are architectural challenges I don't mind attacking; I'm mainly just trying to get a sense of whether the engines can handle constant, real time streaming of data (in some arbitrary format) and in particular whether the APIs provide enough flexibility that I can then be process and translate that data into live game content spanning multiple areas, including models, meshes, animations, materials, lighting, and so forth, in real time while the player is playing the game. Think No Man's Sky, though I am not talking about a clone or derivative of that game. Edited by axefrog

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Is it possible? Yes. It has been done before on both engines. Search for both 'terrain streaming' and 'level streaming' in the engine you prefer.

Perhaps a more useful question back to you: Do you have the skills or resources to get it done?

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Perhaps a more useful question back to you: Do you have the skills or resources to get it done?

I have the programming skills and experience (though not game-industry-specific), I also have the baseline math skills. Resources less so, though I'm expecting a change there in the next year or so, which may add additional capabilities. Fast/cheap/good, pick any two - I choose the latter two - this is a project I'm happy to spend years on, including developing core skills, and I've been doing that already. It's important to know my options though, hence the thread topic. Initially I only intend to build a proof of concept, and using that I may recruit others, or not. I'll take it as it comes. As I said, speed is not important, but if I'm going to spend a very long time on this, I want to be as educated as possible at the beginning, so I don't waste 18 months only to stop in frustration due to hitting the limitations of the path I chose. Edited by axefrog

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Both are pretty good engines .

As you want to spend a very long time I would recommend you to take this question to unity and unreal engine's  official forum and wait for the moderator to give you Explanation(how their engine fits your scenario) based on your Requirement. 


now you could make the choice based on the engine's content.

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Are you sure solutions don't already exist for what you are describing?  Take a look and see if there is anything available in their respective asset stores - I have to believe there is already some streaming support either in the engines or available for secondary purchase...

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I know it's a bit older, but it says that better native scene management and streaming are coming in an update to 5.
I can't speak too much about UE, but you could also look at some open world style games made with each engine for comparison.

Thanks for the link. For what it's worth, my latest blog post provides some context for where I'm going with this.

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