We interview an expert in Virtual Reality and Hardcore Gamer Yuriy Polezhayev
Tristan: Today we invite Yuriy Polezhayev to discuss with us the age old question of: Should I use unity or unreal engine to develop my new gaming experience in?
Yuriy works for MediaLab in Kyiv as a Senior Full-stack WEB Developer on various games and VR projects. In fact, we first met and collaborated on the product concept for Extended Reality game called ‘Genie in a Headset’. On this particular project, he has been instrumental in providing independent consultancy on the Technology stack and creative direction.
We’ll touch on a range of topics including:
- How to choose a game engine; Unity3d vs Unreal
- Unreal vs unity for VR
- Pros and cons of unity and unreal engine
- Popular games made with Unity
- Popular games made with Unreal Engine
- Unity game engine cost
Tristan: Yuriy, can you give us a brief overview of these engines and examples of some famous games made with unity and famous games made with unreal engine?
Yuriy: To begin with I don’t have a lot of hands-on experience with Unreal 3 and 4, but I have been involved into projects where we had to develop a multiscreen for Unreal 4 – a feature not native to the Unreal engine, needless to say, we were only partially successful.
What we found is that Unreal Engine is really complicated and it has much higher entry barrier in terms of skill required.
I also have experience trying to compile a remote team of the Unreal engine developers for British clients and we failed to find enough developers here in Kyiv. They are really hard to recruit as they can’t be found on Djinni, they don’t reply to Headhunter job posts etc.
In terms of visuals, Unreal is much more graphically powerful than Unity. Unity supports a lot of stuff but in the end, the product won’t be as visually impactful as Unreal.
Unity vs Unreal for VR
Unity supports a huge number of different platforms whereas Unreal is only compatible with 3: Windows, MacOS, Android. Unreal supports HTC Vive out of the box, not sure about the Oculus Rift, because we’ve only worked on HTC Vive project with the Unreal engine. Unity supports all of the above platforms and many, many more.
Popular games made with Unity
Tristan: What would be the most famous products, developed with each of these engines?
Yuriy: Difficult to say, but obviously, everybody knows PokemonGo and it was developed with Unity. Right now there are also:
- Escape from Tarkov, which is still on the stage of beta testing, but has already raised a lot of interest among gamers, it is supported by Twitch and is available for pre-order.
- Wasteland 2 has also been developed on Unity engine. The developers managed to gather up to $3 mln on Kickstarter. Another legendary game, Fallout was initially inspired by Wasteland.
Best games made with Unreal engine
Unreal engine is typically used by bigger brands and studios as it is suitably optimised for certain kinds of game development and offers a wide range of special effects.
Unreal Tournament, XCom series, Bioshock series are some of the well known games developed on Unreal engine.
Tristan: Can you describe more explicitly your experience with Unity?
Yuriy: My experience with Unity started with my personal projects and startups I’d say. I’ve created a bunch of games for iOS with Unity. My focus was on programming, animation and sound design.
In addition to this, I worked as the CTO of Outsoft, where we had a whole AR/VR department. Our choice for the purposes of AR/VR development was to go with Unity as it is more versatile and flexible, and supports a wide range of platforms.
Furthermore, we were engaged with GIAH International and their self development VR project. We were to create a prototype of this VR app which allows people to visualise their goals. The project is still under development.
Tristan: Yes, GIAH International is in the process of raising some extra funding, but essentially, there has been a lot of progress on a product development side, particularly with regards to creating a clear product vision and business model as the intention of the project is to help people to visualise how their future might look like. We are effectively creating a vision board for the personal development industry but as an immersive, 3D experience.
Disclaimer: I am helping the founder Jackie Carroll as her consultant Product Manager and Commercialisation Advisor.
Pros and cons of Unity
The important thing we found with Unity is the vast range of assets already available in the Unity Store, which you can put together like lego to create some complicated environments quite quickly and cost-effectively by leveraging what people have already built in the past.
Yuriy: That’s truly one of the biggest advantages of the Unity engine as with all tools available you can save a lot of development time.
One of the biggest advantages of the Unity engine is a vast range of assets already available in the Unity Store.Click to tweet
Tristan: We talked about the fact there are not so many engineers with expertise in Unreal and there are many more Unity 3D developers. It is also worth mentioning that Ukraine tends to be viewed upon as a quite cost-effective geography for development and that follows the fact that Ukraine can be seen as Unity market. One of the reasons why there are more Unity 3D developers might be because it is not a market of highly expensive developers. Ukrainians are known for their development skills but it is not a top of the market in terms of cost. If you are trying to be cost effective with your project then go with Unity 3D rather than Unreal it is usually a more attractive option for doing early prototypes.
Yuriy: Yes, as I have mentioned before one of the main reasons why there are more of Unity 3D developers is that this engine is really easy to start working with. Unreal is written in C++ and it is more sophisticated in terms of architecture.
Developers, who have experience with Unreal engine are really valuable on the market. I personally know a couple of guys, who started to learn the Unreal engine and they managed to get job offers very quickly from the companies, working with Unreal engine.
Tristan: What skills do you look for when recruiting software developers for Unity3D and Unreal engines and which programming languages are most relevant?
Yuriy: If you want to launch a project successfully the first skill you should look for is commitment/integrity. If someone leaves in the middle of the project it is usually hard to find a replacement. On the top of that, it is a common for a newly hired developer to want to redo everything.
It is also worth mentioning that creating games is not simple at all. It usually takes years to excel in game development. You need at least 2 years experience, to know what you are doing.
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Tristan: When would you favour Unreal engine over the Unity3D?
Yuriy: If you are creating a shooter or RPG based on the Star Wars universe or something similar, you’d better go with Unreal as it much more powerful. Unreal’s policy allows to share source code if you need to modify something in the engine. With Unreal it is not likely you’d face a situation that the engine cannot achieve a certain performance or the visual quality. However, this is quite possible with Unity3D as it does a lot of things efficiently but some are just not possible with Unity3D.
On the other hand, distribution is quite a bit easier on Unity3D as it supports many more platforms. Also if you are short on budget – go with Unity. However, in terms of graphics Unreal is far ahead.
Tristan: Is there anything you can recycle from Unity3D to Unreal or they are completely different in every way?
Yuriy: I’d say almost nothing. If you are going to do your MVP or prototype on Unity because it allows developing within shorter time frames by using assets from the asset store on Unity, it won’t be transferable because it is very specific to Unity. Still, you can recycle the 3D models, graphics, sounds, animation. However, the logic and interaction can’t be recycled.
Tristan: If the product vision changes or evolves which engine is easier in terms of making adjustments?
Yuriy: Well, for the flexibility it is important to plan the project appropriately before actually starting the development itself. For this reason, it doesn’t matter a lot which engine you go with. The maintenance will most likely cost you more with Unreal, because of the developers’ hourly rate. Still, Unity will not save you if you haven’t planned everything ahead.
Tristan: Thanks for your time and insights Yuriy, I look forward to catching up again soon.
Yuriy is a Senior Full-stack WEB Developer and is responsible for the internal product technical and infrastructure support. He is getting a complex, multi user, high load system ready for the European end-user market.