If you are an aspiring game developer, then you must make a few important decisions. You must choose one of the several available Game Engines. A Game Engine is a software designed to make games. You can make games like Tetris to more advanced games like GTA V. There are several game engines released to the public, powerful ones, that can help you create your game. But the question is, which one do you choose? Today, we try to help resolve your dilemma.
The most popular game engines are Unity, Unreal Engine 4, and CryEngine. These three are extremely powerful engines and have their respective strengths. To choose one, you must first decide what type of project you plan on making. Is it a mobile game? Is it a first-person-shooter?
Then comes the licensing fee. You didn’t think everything is going to be free of cost, did you? The game engines are almost entirely free to download and install, but they have licensing fees, royalties, or both that you must pay.
What are the top 4 game engines?
1 – Unity 3D
With the rise of mobile gaming, Unity is the most popular one among the developers. Unity offers a lot of features and has a relatively easy to grasp interface. Its cross-platform integration is so good, developers only need to code the project once. And Unity will help you export it to iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry, making it a great platform to create mobile games. Even though it has the capabilities of exporting console games, developers need to gain access to the console SDKs, and new developers are highly unlikely to get that.
This game engine has a huge community of people ready to help and also an asset store where you will get possibly all 3D models, but for a price. Unity supports a lot of file formats from major 3D applications like 3ds Max, Maya, Blender and more. However, the inbuilt modeling capabilities of Unity are very limited unlike the UE4 and learning how to use a 3rd party 3D application becomes necessary.
There are a few different licensing schemes for Unity. At the time of writing this post, two versions of Unity 5 are available, the personal edition and the professional edition.
The personal edition comes free of cost, and it’s royalty free. However, it has its limitations. The professional edition will set you back by 75 dollars every month, or you have an option to buy it for 1500 dollars.
You can compare both the versions and download them over here.
Unity is usually associated with mobile games, but with the release of Unity 5, it’s evident that they are in the race for the best next-gen engine along with UE4 and CryEngine.
2 – Source 2
Earlier this year at the GDC 2015, Valve had some pretty big announcements. To the developers’ community, one that mattered the most was the announcement of the official release of the next-gen Source engine, the Source 2. For those of you who don’t know, Valve had a lot of success with amazing games like Counter-Strike and Half-life 2, so it is like winning a lottery when Valve says you can develop games using their more enhanced engine.
During the press conference Valve’s Jay Stelly said, “We will be making Source 2 available for free to content developers. This combined with recent announcements by Epic and Unity will help continue the PCs dominance as the premier content authoring platform. With Source 2, our focus is increasing creator productivity. Given how important user-generated content is becoming, Source 2 is designed not for just the professional developer, but enabling gamers themselves to participate in the creation and development of their favorite games”.
The facts as of now are that the game engine will not only be for professional use, but also for gamers who would like to participate in making their own games.
The Source 2 will be free to download so this brings them up to the mark with Epic and Unity, business is getting real for Valve.
The only query is how does Valve define content developers, and if anyone can be qualified for that designation.
3 – Unreal Engine 4
Unreal Engine 4 is the brand new engine released by Epic Games, and it is the successor to UDK. Epic completely revamped their new engine, so if you were used to UDK, you would still have to go through a learning curve with UE4.
UE4 has amazing graphical abilities, it can render highly graphic games, and it also got a new particle system which can handle up to a million particles in one scene at a time. Mouth watering for an artist.
One of the most notable change was that UnrealScript would not be continued as a scripting language in UE4, it has been replaced with C++ and Kismet has been replaced with a new Blueprint system. This new and more improved Blueprint system helps level designers to create scripts using a visual interface.
Another problem with UE4 is that if you want to make games for a previous gen console, then you won’t be able to do that. As of now, it can export games to iOS, Android, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac.
Unreal Engine 4 recently switched from $19/month with a 5% royalty whenever you ship your title, to completely free with no subscription fee. This obviously makes it extremely accessible to anyone who wants to begin making games. Of course, the 5% royalty still applies, but with a pricing structure like that it really opens up a lot of doors for aspiring game developers! You are required to pay a 5% royalty if you earn $3,000 per quarter per game or more.
Start beginning your Unreal journey by downloading it from here.
4 – CryENGINE
CryENGINE was first introduced by Crytek in the first Far Cry game. Its graphical abilities surpass those of Unity but are on par with Unreal.
This engine is designed to make games for consoles.
While it is an extremely powerful engine, it is an advanced software and can be hard to grasp if you don’t have any earlier game engine experience. The learning curve is a bit too steep. And if you have just started developing games, then you must avoid it until you get enough experience.
The pricing scheme of this engine is a bit odd compared to UE4 and Unity.
You get all the features of this engine for just $9.90 per month with no royalty fee. Depending on the size of your team, not paying royalties can be a huge benefit.
Get CryENGINE here.
So which game engine should you choose?
All these game engines are packed with power, and whichever you choose, we can guarantee you will be satisfied. With Unity, you can develop mobile and 2D games. With UE4 and CryEngine you can develop highly graphic console games. Though developing mobile games with them would be overkill. As for Source 2, we will have to wait and find out.
- Read here about the award-winning mobile apps made in Unity. List of all Unity games.
- Apart from the Batman trilogy of games, there have been more amazing games made on the Unreal Engine 4, read about some of their games here.
- You’d be surprised to know that CE4 has developed more than just Far Cry. List of CryEngine games.
There are many game engines out there at your disposal. Try out a few of them and see what fits in your fingers, perfectly. We wish you the best of luck in developing your game.