Unity vs Unreal comparison: Choose the best engine for you

Game engines — the tool, framework, software created to simplify game development. In modern productions, it is unimaginable to create a game without them. Game engines provide physics, input, rendering, scripting, collision detection, AI, and more with no need to code them. They are fundamentals of creating any advanced rendering related application.

  • Unity,
  • Unreal Engine,
  • Godot,
  • CryEngine,
  • Amazon Lumberyard,
  • and others.

Unity

Founded in 2004 to make game development accessible for everyone and not only for big companies, Unity has done exactly that and even more. Thanks to its very intuitive design, C# based Coding language Unity is the first choice for most indie game developers. It offers a great community, a huge asset store and tons of tutorials and courses to be found online. Since its conception Unity has evolved into an engine that allows users to create games in 2D, 3D as well as virtual reality. It supports up to 28 development platforms. Outside of game development, it is used by other industries like film, automotive, architecture, engineering, construction.

Unreal Engine

Unreal Engine had its first release in 1998 and was created by Epic Games. It debuted with the super hit “Unreal Tournament” which was the market-leading product when published. The strongest point of this engine since its release was groundbreaking graphics and its presence in the top AAA gaming culture. This C++ based engine is to this day a powerhouse among game engines in pushing graphics to the highest level while maintaining high efficiency. Unfortunately using it isn’t easy. Lately, Epic Games have focused on lowering entry-level use of this engine by simplifying the interface and introducing Blueprints (visual coding system).

Unity vs Unreal: comparison

Visual

Both of these engines can produce stunning levels of graphics. However Unreal Engine is considered to be better. Unreal is packed with tools, presets that work right out of the box and have no need to be tweaked. For example — volumetric lights, post-process, lens flares are built in the engine and represent a high level. The biggest edge in graphics for Unreal makes the lightning system. Thanks to it all, unreal engine products look very realistic. But make no mistake, Unity can provide truly great results. Unity is constantly working on improving the visual level of the engine. It’s the latest release of High definition render pipeline (known as HDRP) is very impressive. With enough knowledge, you can achieve a similar level of detail as in Unreal Engine. You can see a visual comparison in the video below:

Versatility

Having an engine that caters to a wide range of game types is important. As a game developer, you might want to create products in different types of perspective (2D, 3D, AR, VR). Or maybe you want to create products for multiple platforms? These are very important factors. Luckily both Unity and Unreal are suited for that. But at the same time, both of them have some advantages in different game types. Let’s have a look at which engine would be suited for which type:

  • 2D — Both engines can provide good quality in these areas but Unity has a much larger focus and tool-set.
  • 3D — Both engines have great 3D capabilities but as I wrote in the paragraph before Unreal is better at graphical fidelity.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) — Both engines can do AR projects but Unity has more experience and a bigger tool-set.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) — Unity excels in VR as the plugins are very versatile and integrate into the overall XR infrastructure.
  • Multiplayer — Both engines can do multiplayer but Unreal is the only one with integrated support for it. Unity requires 3rd party tools support.
  • Mobile and multiplatform — Unity is considered the best mobile platform and supports most development platforms at once.

Learning curve and easy of use

Learning development is not an easy task. No matter which game engine you choose. There is a lot of information you need to know. But there are differences between accessibility and ease of using them.

Industry Presence

If you look at what the professionals use you will find that both Unity and Unreal are widely used in the game industry but many different ways.

  • Visualize molecular data, thus, to speed up the development of new drugs at C4X Discovery Company:
  • VR presentation of top-flight business class service at Air Canada.
  • Audi’s training program developed to improve logistic, service, and production workflow: Audi VR Training.
  • Proffesional skills training program:
  • VR game, Starship Survivor:

Prices

Another difference between these engines is the pricing model.

  • In the case of Unity, there are 3 subscription versions to choose from. The first version is personal and comes with all core features and is completely free. You are allowed to use this subscription if your annual revenue is lower than $100k. Additionally, every product must have a “Made in Unity” splash screen before the application starts. Next is a plus subscription that is for users with less than USD 200k in annual revenue and costs $40 per month. This subscription allows for a custom splash screen and comes with a 20% discount in the asset store. Additionally, users can use performance crash reporting. Last is pro. This version has no annual revenue limit. It cost $150 per month.
  • Unreal Engine uses a bit of a different approach. All features of the Unreal engine are available for free but you owe them 5% of your total revenue when you ship your game forever (expect on the first $3000 per game calendar, you get to keep 100% of that).

Summary

In this article, I compared many aspects of the differences between Unreal Engine and Unity. But let’s get back to the question I asked at the start of the article. Which game engine is better? My answer will be the same — it depends. Both of these engines are top-notch and both of them have areas where they shine more than opponents.

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Immersive technology developers: Interactive & Intelligent 3D Solutions