Unreal Engine vs Unity: Which One is Better?

Unreal Engine vs Unity: Which One is Better?

A game engine is a software framework used for developing video games without needing to start from scratch. Think of it as a pre-built foundation composed of scripts, a graphics engine, a physics engine, audio, default user input functions, and artificial intelligence. There are several game engines available and two of the most popular ones are Unreal Engine and Unity. Both served as platforms for some of the most popular video game titles for various platforms. However, because of their respective advantages and disadvantages, the two have also been compared.

Comparing Unreal Engine and Unity: Similarities and Differences

The Unreal Engine vs Unity discourse has centered on their specific use cases. Each has its strengths that make it ideal for a particular video gaming platform and video game genre. The two also have their respective drawbacks and limitations. Take note of the following similarities and differences between the two most popular game engines:

1. General Characteristics

Unreal Engine was developed by software and video game developer Epic Games and was first showcased in 1998 in the first-person shooter Unreal. It was promoted as an engine for first-person shooter games for personal computers but has since been used in different video game genres and has also found practical applications in filmmaking.

It was in 2005 when Unity was first announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference of Apple by Unity Technologies. It was initially intended as a game engine for video games for macOS but has also been extended to other desktop operating systems, mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android, video game consoles, and virtual reality.

2. Programming Language

One of the main differences between Unreal Engine and Unity is the programming language they support. Unreal Engine is written using C++ and users can program using the same language. It also has its own Blueprints Visual Scripting system. Unity is written in C++ and users can write programs using C# or use its drag-and-drop function.

Take note that C++ is a more complex and powerful language that provides its users more control over the inner workings of a software. This gives Unreal Engine a steeper learning curve. Unity is easier to learn because C# is considered a beginner-friendly programming language with a simpler syntax and clearer rules but is also less efficient.

3. Availability and Pricing

Both Unreal Engine and Unity are free to use. These two game engines are also distributed through digital downloads. The main difference is that the former follows a royalty-based model for commercial use in which it charges game developers a 5 percent royalty fee on gross revenue exceeding USD 1 million per product per quarter.

Unity has free and paid licensing options. The free license is for personal use and business organizations generating less than USD 200,000.00 each year. The paid license is a feature-rich version that uses a subscription model in which fees are collected from the revenues generated by specific game titles developed using this game engine.

4. Supported Platforms

These two game engines are cross-platform game development platforms available on Windows, macOS, and Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and Debian. However, when it comes to platforms for video games, Unreal Engine is a more popular game engine for developing games for personal computers, game consoles, and virtual reality systems.

Unity also supports PC and console platforms but is more popular in mobile platforms like iOS or iPadOS and Android mobile operating systems. Note that the complexity and flexibility of Unreal Engine make it suitable for developing high-quality video games while the simplicity of Unity makes it ideal for simpler mobile games.

5. Graphics and Performance

A critical part of the Unreal Engine vs Unity discussion and a main point of comparison is their respective capabilities for graphics and performance. Unreal Engine has become popular because of its superior three-dimensional graphics and visual effects. It has advanced features such as ray tracing, global illumination, and realistic physics.

Unity is more popular for two-dimensional graphics which are common in mobile games and indie games. It has also been used for high-quality three-dimensional games but with some limitations. The difference between Unreal Engine and Unity in terms of use cases stems from the main programming language that they support.

6. Support and Resources

These two game engines have large and active communities. Both have a wealth of online tutorials and other learning resources that can be accessed from forums and video-sharing platforms like YouTube. It is worth noting that Unity has a more active community because it is popular for small and independent game developers or game studios.

Unreal Engine still has a decent open-access community but high-quality support and resources tend to be more technical and in-depth. This game engine is also focused more on professional video game developers and large developers. Both game engines still maintain official learning resources and offer a dedicated customer support.

Takeaways from the Unreal Engine vs Unity Discussion

The Unreal Engine vs Unity discussion is not a heated debate. The difference between the two is straightforward. Developers who are aiming to develop three-dimensional or high-fidelity video games with stunning and more realistic graphics are better off choosing Unreal Engine. However, this choice comes with caveats, such as proficiency in C++ and overall skills in programming or scripting. Those who are pursuing an indie game project or are focusing on developing two-dimensional games for mobile or even personal computers might be better off with Unity because it is more beginner-friendly and is ideal for those with budget constraints.