Unity vs Unreal: which engine to choose

Software Engineer Ingrid Guerrero goes through the pros and cons of both technologies and the main aspects you should take into account when choosing the right engine for your project.

  



When developing a videogame one of the most important steps is deciding which graphic engine will be the best fit for your project. It’s a tough decision, there are a lot of aspects to consider, and a wrong choice can lead to a waste of time and resources.

 


The two most popular options in this field are Unity and Unreal Engine. Both engines are capable of producing high-quality graphics and are packed with an extensive toolbox, including a terrain editor, physics simulation, advanced lighting, animation, VR support, and much more.

 


In this article, software engineer Ingrid Guerrero shares her opinions on the pros and cons of each engine and the key elements you have to consider when deciding for one of them.

 


Unity: powering small dev teams

 


 

Unity was founded in 2004 with a clear goal: making game development accessible for everyone and not only for big companies.

 

Intuitive and easy to learn, with a great community and tons of tutorials and courses to be found online, Unity is the go-to choice for small development teams.

 

Pros

 

1. Unity has excellent cross-platform integration that allows devs to deploy their game across all major mobile, desktop, VR devices, and consoles.

 

2. It has a low learning curve and a massive amount of documentation and tutorials.

 

3. Unity uses C# as scripting language, which is a relatively fast and straightforward programming language to learn compared to others like Java, Swift, or Objective-C. 

 

4. This engine is ideal for creating mobile games. It has an intuitive, user-friendly interface, and it allows you to quickly test your game in different screen sizes.

 

5. Its vast asset store gives game developers access to a diverse catalog of models, sounds, and libraries, as well as a reliable monetization infrastructure.

 

6. Unity has a large, active community. This means when less experienced developers have questions, there are many specialists out there to help them.

 

7. Given the size of Unity’s community, it’s easier for companies to find qualified developers to hire.

 

8. Unity has a completely free version, and you won’t have to pay any royalties when your game starts making money.

 

Cons

 

1. Graphics-wise, Unity is more limited than its direct competitor, Unreal Engine.

 

2. Unity only gives away their source code under specific conditions, and you’ll have to pay for it.

 

3. Unreal has a smaller asset store because they have a rigorous asset submitting policy. 

 

4. Rendering is considerably slow in Unity. This makes the act of processing high-quality graphics tedious and time-consuming.


 

Unreal Engine: pushing graphics to the limit

 

 

Released in 1998 by Epic Games, Unreal is largely known for its presence in the AAA gaming industry.

 


It offers a powerhouse of a game engine, pushing graphics to the highest level while maintaining efficiency. Packed with a vast collection of features and tools, Unreal seems to set no boundaries for creativity.

 

Pros

 

1. Unreal is an excellent option for big-budget, AAA games that aim to achieve the ultimate quality.

 

2. It’s open-source. This means devs can see the source code at all times, allowing them to deeply understand how the engine works.

 

3. Unreal’s visual scripting and blueprints allow game developers to build prototypes without writing a single line of code. 

 

4. Unreal has an outstanding dynamic lighting system on top of its high-quality graphic capabilities, which makes it a solid choice for building last generation games.

 

5. Rendering technology is one of the most significant benefits of this engine. Post-processing is really fast, and there’s support for many different features.

 

6. Unreal stands out in terms of performance as it uses fewer memory and resources than other engines.

 

7. It has better access to visual debugging, allowing dev teams to control the whole process and monitor how much time is spent on a particular element.

 

Cons

 

1. Once a game starts making money, Unreal demands dev teams to pay royalties.

2. Unreal is written in C++, which is a harder programming language to learn and master.

3. Unreal has a smaller asset store because they have a rigorous asset submitting policy. 

4. There aren’t so many Unreal experts because the engine is usually chosen by very specialized teams.

 

Conclusion

Picking the right engine will have a significant impact on the costs and time you need to spend in building your game, making the project affordable or not. That’s why when choosing a graphics engine, it is essential to consider all the advantages each option has to offer.

 


That being said, both Unity and Unreal offer great possibilities, and you can create great things with them. Whichever you choose, always follow your developers’ advice while keeping in mind the needs and goals of your business.