As a small part of my daily work, I want to give blogging actually a bit more focus than I did in the past. So I came up with the idea to write a series about my actual switch to unreal engine 4 and describe the reasons behind it.
Let me tell you something about the history. As some of you might know I already developed and published two games written libGDX: Timbertales and FlatFatCat. I started with the libGDX framework, because I am usually no fan of big bloated engines or toolkits and love to keep things simple. With libGDX I the choice to implement stuff I needed and could write everything by myself, if I wanted to. Most of the time I was actually very happy with libGDX. Meanwhile I am very experienced with it and most tasks are really easy to achieve. Of course there are some downsides. For example implementation of in app purchases using gdx-pay or deploying on iOS could sometimes be pain in the ass. Also the lack of community support is sometimes really nasty. But as I said for me it is a cool framework and I like to work with it.
Unfortunately times change and I definitely have to reach for an other audience within my next game. My gathered experience showed me, that I made the least revenue by now in the mobile market and with in app purchases. The reasons are too few players and the marketing to get more players is quite expensive. I can’t afford that type of marketing, which is needed to make a big hit on the mobile market.
So the strategy changed: I made more revenue with Timbertales on steam sales and Bundles. In addition to that I ported FlatFatCat also to steam, which will be released on steam at the 15th august 2017. With my next game I want to focus even more on steam and maybe enter the console market as well. This is the reason why I couldn’t stick to libGDX anymore, since libGDX doesn’t offer support for consoles in an easy way.
Which engine to use: Unreal Engine 4, Unity, Lumberyard?
With the end of libGDX I had to decide on which engine my future will be build. Important for me is: I have to make money with my games to survive and developing new games actually cost a lot of money. So I need to make a good choice for the future.
I decided against Lumberyard, because it is still in beta and the community is quite small. There are also very few games written on Lumberyard yet. I think it is a very cool engine and if I would develop games in my free time I would at least try it out, but in my actual situation it isn’t a good choice.
So the good old battle Unity vs UE4. I read a lot about both engines and there are so much topics about it. In fact both engines have a big community and both are well supported. They have two different pricing models. While Unity has a subscription model, UE4 takes a royalty fee of 5% if you earn more than 3000$/quarter.
I don’t know exactly why, but I always had a bad opinion against Unity and I dislike C#, if you could write C++ instead. So in the end my decision was to go with Unreal Engine 4. I can write C++, it offers a lot of support and I like the pricing model. I think if I earn money with my games, there is no reason for me not to support a really good engine!
First Steps with Unreal Engine 4
Lets get started: I started with Unreal Engine, created my account, downloaded the engine, installed the engine and started with some exercises from books I bought. The editor looks quite complex and everything is so different compared to writing libGDX. I have a really hard time to get started and get used to an engine approach. But nevertheless I know as a programmer starting is always the hardest part. It is also a step to create a 3D game instead of 2D as I did before. Another downside is my macbook pro 13 has a really hard time with the monster named unreal engine 4 😉 Building times a quite high and I had some crashes as well. A good reason for me to think about using Unreal Engine on my windows gaming PC.
I will try to keep you more informed about my first steps with UE4 this week and provide more details about the development process. Today I just started off the series “My way with Unreal Engine 4”. I hope you enjoy reading 🙂