Video gaming is a huge market with worth in trillions. Each day, several game titles are released for mobiles, PCs, tablets, gaming consoles, and other platforms. It is a lucrative business model, which when executed right can earn you millions (or even billions) of dollars as well as a gigantic user community for your (product) video game.
There are several things that go into developing a video game. The most important tool for developing a video game is the gaming engine or game engine. It is a suite of tools that facilitates the creation of video games.
There are a galore of game engines available with different configurations to match video game development requirements for different platforms, but the duo that stands out among the group are Unity and Unreal Engine.
In this blog post, we will understand what a game engine is, compare Unreal Engine with Unity, and let you know which one to choose for developing your next video game.
A game engine is a tool or suite for building video games for different platforms. It comes with relevant libraries and support programs for doing so.
There are a galore of gaming engines available and although they have different architectures, the basic idea is the same. Game development is a long and intricate process with multiple stages, ranging from planning and pre-production to launch and promotion.
Unity is a popular game engine that has been the force behind several famous video games. Developed by Unity Technologies, the game engine was released at the 2005 WWDC as a Mac OS X game engine.
The popular indie PC game Norco that headlined video gaming in 2022 is developed using Unity. The game engine is among the leading options to develop AR and VR video games. It is loved by independent developers and hobbyists.
Although Unity is capable of developing video games for many platforms, it is the go-to option for mobile game development. That’s because of two reasons. For one, it is easier to develop 2D games with Unity and secondly, it eases the process of scaling down video games for running on low-end hardware.
Unreal Engine is a leading game engine that is developed by Epic Games. It made its debut with the 1998 FPS game Unreal. It has been the source of power behind several popular video games, including Dragon Quest XII: The Flames of Fate, Fortnite, and Tekken 7.
Unreal Engine receives much love from AAA game developers due to its advanced graphics capabilities and support for a multitude of gaming platforms. Both Unreal Engine and Unity allow developers to further expand their capabilities by means of plugins.
Both Unity and Unreal Engine are the foremost choices when it comes to video game development. Each one of them has a dedicated community and a long list of chart-topping video game titles under its belt.
However, there are certain scenarios where one is better than the other. To understand that, let’s compare the two on the basis of various parameters. So, let us begin:
Unreal Engine was launched in 1998 by Epic Games while Unity saw the light of day in 2005. Unity is developed by Unity Technologies.
Unlike Unreal Engine, which is a pseudo-open-source software since its source code is available as a reference for developers, Unity is a closed-source game development tool. Unity is developed using C# and C++. On the other hand, Unreal Engine is developed in C++ only.
Unity leverages C# for the main Unity editor and plugins. It also uses Bolt and Prefab, which are its proprietary programming languages.
Dissimilar to Unity, Unreal uses C++ as its primary programming language. It also uses its proprietary video scripting language Blueprint to build a video game. As Unity is developed in C#, the game engine makes it easy for beginners to get started with it.
Unreal comes with advanced graphics features. These are a material editor, global illumination, post-processing, physically-based rendering, and volumetric lights.
Unity has good graphics but they are not as advanced (and awesome) as Unreal. Moreover, the volumetric lights feature in Unity is available as an optional feature via a plugin.
Unity has three pricing plans:
In addition to these three plans, Unity Student Plan is also available. It makes Unity free for students enrolled at accredited educational institutions.
Unlike Unity, Unreal Engine has a simple no-tier pricing plan. It is free to use but for monetizing the games, the developer needs to pay 5% for video game titles that earn more than $1 million. The first $1 million, however, remains royalty-free.
Unity is intended for all three of the popular desktop operating systems, namely Linux, macOS, and Windows. The same holds true for Unreal. Although both game engines facilitate cross-platform integration, Unity offers more integrations than Unreal Engine.
Both platforms provide support for Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, PlayStation, SteamOS, Windows, and Xbox. While Unity allows game development for WebGL, Unreal facilitates HTML5 game development.
Unity enables developers to code a video game for Android TV, HoloLens, Nintendo Switch, Samsung Smart TV, Tizen, and Web Player.
6.2D vs 3D
One of the most important points to consider when choosing between Unreal Engine and Unity is the type of graphics that you require. Unity is the better choice for 2D game development as it has a simple UI and well-developed 2D tools.
Unreal Engine is developed for traditional graphics-laden first-person shooter games like Fortnite and Unreal Tournament. Therefore, you must go for Unreal Engine if you require a visually stunning 3D video game.
It depends. Both Unity and Unreal Engine are leading technologies used widely for developing hundreds of thousands of video games. However, there are certain scenarios where one is better than the other.
Choose Unreal when you need to:
Develop with Unity when:
Other than Unity and Unreal Engine, there are several game engines that can be used for developing a video game for different platforms. Let’s take a brief look at some of the best game engines so far:
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Video gaming, ever since its inception, hasn’t slowed down. Advancements in technologies like immersion, AI, and blockchain had further expanded its horizons.
Video gaming is a sprawling industry that offers numerous opportunities to businesses to develop a game that is loved by everyone. Both Unity and Unreal Engine are leading options to build a video game.
Underline all your requirements and objectives to pick the most suitable option between Unreal and Unity to get started. We hope that this Unity vs Unreal Engine blog will help you to make it easy to pick among the two leading video game development options.
Q 1. What is a game engine?
A gaming engine or game engine is a tool for developing video games. Different game engines allow developers to code video games for different platforms that include the PC, the web, gaming consoles, and mobile devices.
Q 2. What are the most popular game engines?
Autodesk Maya, BabylonJS, Blender, CryEngine, GameMaker, GoDot, Lumberyard, Panda3D, Unity, and Unreal Engine are some of the leading gaming engines.
Q 3. Which is better Unity or Unreal?
Both Unity and Unreal Engine are popular choices for game engines. Each one of them has some advantages (and limitations) over the other.
Q 4. How do you develop a video game?
You need to first think of a video game idea, including the plot, characters, and genre, and then choose a game engine to code and design the video game. Next, you need to decide the platforms that you are going to build your video game for.
Q 5. What is an indie video game?
An indie video game is a game that is developed by an independent developer or a small team of developers and published by a non-major game developer.
Q 6. Which is better for VR Unity or Unreal?
Unity is ideal for developing VR video games, especially for mobile. Although Unreal has added features to enhance the realism of 3D geometry and lighting in UE5, VR optimization is yet a long way to go.
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