Game Engine Decisions

Myself and my team are in a bit of a tough spot at the moment, we’re trying to choose a game engine and have only managed to narrow it down to two so far. As I’m sure most of you have figured out, it’s Unreal Engine and CryEngine. I have posted this in both forums, to get a general feel from the community and TRUE feedback on both engines.

We know that both engine have pros and cons, most of our team are from AAA backgrounds. We also know that a engine is only as strong as the team who are using it.

The general feel of Unreal seems to be very beginner friendly, with blueprints and things like that. CryEngine, not so much. This is not our concern, as I have stated this isn’t our first rodeo. All the threads and feedback I can find on comparing these two engines are based on UE 4.0, not 4.5.

Please try to put your bias of the engine to a side, and give us honest answers. Where does Unreal Engine/CryEngine fall your opinion? How does it perform in multilayer? How does it perform visually?

No bias here promise, the only thing I can think of is speed. No waiting for shader compile times, no lightmass to wait for and it runs much better on lower spec machines and looks as good if not better in some instances (dependant on what you’re doing) (Outdoor / TOD system as one example). Our older dev machines ran on Radeon 6950’s scenes were as big if not bigger and it ran 80+ FPS, with a boat load of foliage and that ocean!.. Oh my that ocean looks beautiful. With UE4 it’s a constant battle not to sink frame rates into the ground on much better hardware.

Apart from that, no source code, support is nowhere as good as UE4 I encountered some engine breaking bugs nobody could help and that was then end of it, art pipeline import still lacking. Far harder to use, less tutorials and documentation, far better tools in UE4 like world composition and UE4 is rapidly developed. Plus some other developers I worked with submitted there project for licensing and got no response, which wasted months of dev. Blueprints in UE4 are awesome, coding in general is far easier even for beginners… I could go on and on.!

As for multiplayer, another studio I talked to released an MMO in Unity and are switching to UE4 so I can ask them how it goes… We only do single player games.

I don’t really care what engine I use, just what gets the job done easiest and most efficient. Personally I’d go for UE4 hands down every time…

Thank you for your honesty. We had also noticed majority of the things that you mentioned, and to be truthful with you, those are big things that are difficult to look over. I could understand if they where small little things, but performance and speed are not things to be ‘played’ with.

From what I can see so far, the documentation has been improved since I last used the engine. But then again, so has Unreals. I have to agree with you on the support front, but as I had stated our development team is as solid as a rock and I think 3-4 of them have worked with CryEngine before even. You no longer have to submit your project for licensing from what I’ve just read. I agree that blueprints are awesome, but again, development team have worked on AAA titles so really no need to worry about it been beginner friendly.

Yes, I’m also speaking with another studio about multiplater, but there game is currently only on internal testing so no real hard data that we can use.

I’m the same honestly, both engines have great features, I just don’t want to get the game 70% complete then notice that something is lacking because we chose the wrong engine.


I have been working with Cryengine for years and working with UE4 from beta and I would boil the whole decision into following:

  • if your game has general direction similar to Crytek games (Crysis, Ryse) and you are after the the best possible graphics, Cryengine could be ok (you can achieve similar graphics in UE, it just seems you get it a bit easier and faster out of the box with CE)
  • if you want as much flexibility as possible and don’t mind the resulting complexity of the tools go for UE (mind you the complexity is not too much to deal with)
  • no matter how much folks and mods on Crytek boards are trying to convince you, Cryengine is still less general purpose then UE and still feels like the engine development and the features are primarily driven by the needs of Crytek’s own games
  • if you want to be sure about not hitting some obstacles in the engine, you are much safer with UE because of the source access (getting cryegine source will be very, very expensive)
  • support, i wouldn’t underestimate that even with having pros in the team and this is miles ahead with UE compared to Cryengine

Even shorter version which will look completely biased - it’s hard to find any really good reason to go with Cryengine because for every edge it has over UE, UE has 2 edges over Cryengine :slight_smile: and you get that source which is really hard to compete with and is your definitive answer to most of the worries about “noticing something lacking” late in development.

As for the shader compile times, that’s one of the side effects of the flexibility of the engine. You could make a few shaders, similar to Cryengine, and then only use the material instances which would limit the shader compile times in general.
I would think of Lightmass as an option for static lighting because you can quite well switch to realtime only lighting and the tools for that are getting better with every engine release.

I think the killer for me is that CryEngine has hidden licensing costs on top of their subscription fee; you will probably need to license the audio solution they integrated or otherwise integrate your own.

What kills CryEngine for me is I like stylized games, and my experience with CryEngine is it’s only really good at realistic games. Now, I still use other engines (like CryEngine and Unity) but only if they’re more suited to my project than Unreal is.

I’d imagine the answer will depend a lot on specifics of your game and your team. There’s obviously certain things that CryEngine is trying to optimize for. I tend to feel that UE4 is really strong and less biased towards one specific style.

Few things I’d consider: UE4’s rendering pipeline is fantastic, but there are a few edge cases where you may spend more time trying to get your look right if it doesn’t lend itself to the deferred rendering pipeline. I’d argue that it’s still tremendously flexible, but again, depends on the specific edge case.

If your game will require a lot of scripting for player interactions in the level, Unreal’s blueprint system kicks serious butt. You can test and prototype stuff really quickly with blueprints, and your coders can expose custom functionality to your level artists so they have artist control via blueprint.

Third, Epic really does a good job maintaining a great relationship with the community. They communicate early and often. They are transparent and responsive. There’s also a general sense that they aren’t gonna screw around with you. Because of the business model, your successes is their successes, so it’s in their best interest to help you ship your game as efficiently as possible.

Something else to be aware of is that the engine is under VERY active development. Stuff is being fixed and improved very often which is great. It does mean that you need to do your homework when moving to newer versions of the engine and when figuring out how to approach various things in your game it’s a good idea to read up on it because odds are, there are things on the roadmap that will be helpful to be aware of as you engineer your game. For instance, there’s some great features coming that will help with menuing, so I decided to hold off on doing too much with those in my game till that hits the engine.

For me cryengine is not for indies because there are not enough indie games released with cryengine. I heard a lot of indie game stories that fail on cryengine and move to another engine. As long as you do something really similar to crytek games its ok, but otherwise i would recommend you with ue4 with more support and more feature on every version. And looking by crytek’s bad financial state, nobody can guarantee they will support their engine until you finish your game.