How to pick a game engine: Unity vs. Unreal

game developer

If you’re playing a modern videogame, seriously, like just about any game you can think of, then it’s very likely made in either Unity or Unreal. These are both game engines, and if you don’t know what that is, you will in the next twenty seconds. A game engine is a piece of software that people use to build games. Game engines have a lot of game mechanics already built in which means you don’t have to build an engine yourself to cover things like movement, animation, lighting, etc.

While there are dozens of game engines out there  two have become the defacto standard. I am not a game developer, I’ve never built a game, I’ve never taken a game development class. That being said, I’ve always thought it would be fun to build a game so I set out on a research project to investigate which game engine would be the best to learn.

I choose Unity, but it wasn’t an easy choice and did require quite a bit of research. I found there really isn’t a great article out there about how to decide between the two. Most articles I found were just long reviews of both usually ending with little indication as to why you’d choose one over the other. So I kept digging, and I think I’ve come up with three questions that can help anyone narrow down the selection process.

So if you’re thinking of dipping your toes in the game dev world, here are three questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you want to build mobile games? choose Unity, period
  2. Do you want to build a game without writing any code? in that case choose Unreal
  3. Do you want to build your own models or use an asset to to buy pre-built ones? if you’re modeling yourself, you could go with either Unity or Unreal, if you don’t want to do the modeling, Unity does have a much deeper asset store so will probably be the better choice

Maybe this oversimplifies things a bit but at the end of the day, if you answer these three questions you’ll probably find yourself in one of two buckets:

Bucket 1: One engine would offer an advantage to you over the other based on your needs

Bucket 2: It doesn’t matter, you can use either engine and be happy as a clam.

Oh and once you do pick an engine, I highly recommend checking out the tutorials over at PluralSight. Now I’d love to hear from any of my readers that have experience with either Unity or Unreal. How did you pick which engine to use? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton