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Which Is Better? Unity vs Unreal Engine for Android Game Development

Apr 24, 2020

Discover what game engine provides a more favorable game-building environment: graphics quality, tools, and optimization options are all considered.

If you want to become an Android developer, your first question is what Android game development software to choose? Browsing the Internet, you’ll find out the most popular game engines are Unity and Unreal Engine. But Unity vs Unreal is a hotly debated topic, comparable with iOS vs Android or Xbox vs PlayStation. They are both capable of producing AAA games but at the same time used for different purposes. Your choice should be defined by the nature of your project, i.e. budget, game platform, dimensions (2D or 3D), etc. Hence, your aim must be well-defined before selecting the game engine for your project. Here we are going to tell you which game engine is better and in which case you should go for either of them.

Unity is a fully cross-platform, free for personal use, and easy-to-learn game engine. It perfectly suits developing mobile games. Unity was launched in 2005, and for this long time, it has collected a vast variety of tools and features that allow developers to build their games in any manner and at a reasonable price.

Unreal Engine developed by Epic Games is popular as well. It was released in 1998 and called after the game the engine was developed for, ‘Unreal’. Its store includes a pretty big library of quality assets and scripts that are however less diverse but well-priced in comparison with Unity’s. One drawback of Unity is that everything seems a bit hacked together like standard tools that start throwing errors in the console even though you have not even touched it yet. But it is not typical for Unreal which, for the most part, seems to work straight out of the box.

If you are a beginner in game development, or your game’s revenue or funding does not exceed $100K per year, Unity would be completely free for you. Otherwise you have to subscribe for the Pro version and pay $125 per month. Unreal Engine is completely free by default, but if your project’s revenue exceeds 3000$, you will have to pay 5% royalty. But it is not what you have to worry about while learning.

Unity is using C# programming language, which is easier to use and learn, whereas Unreal is using C++, which is more powerful but also brings about its complexity and sensitivity to mistakes.

Fortunately, Unreal Engine 4 provides another simple way of scripting, namely their visual-scripting language called Blueprint. This node-based representation of programming entities to drag-and-drop and connect allows newcomers to dive into programming really quickly without any single line of code and handles all memory management and other difficulties you might face if you write code with clean C++.

On the other hand, Unity also offers its Asset Store where you can find almost any model or sprite to use, pre-written scripts, as well as visual scripting addons for Unity, for example Playmaker.

Unity has been present on the market for a long time and its community has grown really huge. Unreal Engine, by contrast, became free in 2015, and prior to this time it was paid and barely known to the wide audience. The presence of the big community makes it much easier to get help when you run into trouble as well as allows you to benefit from a vast number of third-party tools and tutorials. To date, Unreal Engine’s community is growing rapidly and likely to surpass the number of Unity supporters.

When it comes to mobile game development, Unity is definitely more of a mixed bag than Unreal as it provides a wider variety of tools. Many cool 2D as well as 3D games were developed with Unity, such as Cuphead, Hollow Knight, Inside, etc. and Hearthstone, Call of Duty Mobile, etc.

Man playing mobile video game on smartphone
Compared to Unity, Epic does not do 2D and lacks this kind of support. For this reason, if you want to do a 2D or 2.5D game with massive amounts of streaming assets and little to no loading, you probably should pick Unreal. It provides easy-to-use source code and memory management optimization you will need in order to make the game work correctly on mobile. If not, it will add an unnecessary level of complexity.

If you want to develop 2D games only, you should consider GameMaker as your game engine as it is not heavyweight and does not impose too strict requirements by default.

While Unity is fully cross-platform and flexible, Unreal Engine 4 is focused on PC and console. Many famous AAA games with beautiful graphics for big platforms were released in past years, such as Ark: Survival Evolved, Conan Exiles, Darksiders III, Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and many others. Since Unreal uses C++, it provides more process control and optimization abilities. Therefore, it allows for better graphics quality while handling all the memory and rendering controls, whereas Unity is better for small indie and medium projects that do not suffer from performance issues. C++ code compiles down to machine code and improves overall performance as well as memory allocation all of which the programmer can handle in a more optimal way in comparison with what they face in automatic garbage collection in C#.

The above concerns also touch upon desktop-oriented games. In this case, Unity allows developers to achieve quality graphics on mobile using simpler tools and in a shorter time. Just have a look at Call of Duty Mobile, which is a Unity product.

Anyway, big mobile games, especially MMORPGs are slowly moving to Unreal Engine 4: Fortnite Mobile, PUBG Mobile, Tera: Classic, Blade & Soul Revolution, Injustice 2, as Unreal Engine works with clean C++, provides more performance but somewhat adds complexity at the same time.

But still if your project is not that big as the listed ones, Unity might be a better choice, asit provides more flexibility and allows building a small or medium-sized game with high optimization. This is why Unity is much faster and simpler to deal with.

Let’s sum up. It really comes down to your preference and the specific game you are planning to make. Unity is a smart option for newcomers. The community formed around it along with all its tutorials, forums, and assets could help your dive into programming much easier. It is also a better choice if you want to make a game faster and simpler. However, if you have some experience in programming and prefer quality graphics as much as possible, Unreal Engine 4 is your choice.

There is still no consensus on which engine is best for developing mobile games on Android because both Unity and Unreal have beneficial options. If you want to know how to choose the right strategy in developing your mobile game, email to Computools’s expert on info@computools.com.

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