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Is it even worth it for aspiring Indies?

Disclaimer: Brace yourselves! Incoming paragraphs of negative thought vibes.

Please let me begin by saying I mean zero disrespect to UE4 and to this wonderful community here. With that said, is it even worth it as an aspiring indie dev to use UE4?

Let me explain my situation. I have been using Unity for the last 3 years on and off, I’ve never put out a game under my name but I have contracted for 7-9 unity games of various sizes for clients in that time, in the meantime trying to play around and figure out a game I can get behind to start creating seriously in Unity. My goal of course is to make a little money ($15-50k profit, I would call a major success) but more importantly I want to put something out there that will impressive game studios (indie or AAA) enough to get me into the building.

Having moved to UE4 for my first contract job building the UI for a simulator game around 10 months ago, I decided to ditch Unity and go all in with UE4 as the engine to build my first game. 8 months later and although I know much more about Unreal than I did when I started, just going over all the subsystems and architecture of the engine is a MAJOR depressing ordeal. With Unity there is so much abstraction and prototyping is so much easier, so is iterating, so is showcasing. There is sooo much more to learn in UE4 that I don’t even know if it’s worth it or not for me anymore. Even the contract jobs available for UE4 is like 1/4th of that for Unity.

Yes I understand the pros of Unreal over Unity, but how many indie games have actually shipped using UE4? And how many were successes? With Unity there are games like Clustertruck that are so unique and fun that 1-2 gifs was all that was needed to display the awesomeness of that game. I remember seeing gifs of that game when it was in prototype phase and then 8 months later it ships and it continues being updated in a timely fashion with new content.

I’m not comparing my aspiring game to that, I know that game went viral. My point is that does anyone really believe a game like Clustertruck could have been made in UE4 and that quickly? I don’t mean can it technically be built in UE4. The answer to that question is obviously, yes. I mean does anyone believe an indie dev that is trying to create their game of choice seriously, would create a game like Clustertruck using UE4?

It seems to me that most indie devs who choose UE4 end up becoming way, way too ambitious with their product simply because they are using such a powerful beast, so much so that a game as simple and arcade-y as Clustertruck would never be made simply due to the time it takes to even learn UE4 to make it.

Even viewing the traillers for games made with Unity and UE4 shows a contrast in the themes. With Unity its bang-bang right to the action with UE4 indies it’s like a movie trailer, slow wind up, impressive but time consuming art, invested stories or narratives that most customers wont care for and very little action. Not to mention the RTS/MMO/RPG ambitious games being made in UE4. It’s almost as if UE4 breeds a more complex game out of you which of course requires more work from you.

I’m still in the prototype phase and its soo hard to put ideas on screen in a timely fashion. I’m drowning with different systems that I have to pivot to and spend weeks on, then when I get back to prototyping I find out it isnt fun and then so on and so on…

I just hope finishing and shipping an indie game on UE4 will be weighted as more impressive when it comes to applying to game dev jobs at a studio, if not all this time was a waste and I should have just stayed with Unity.

/end rant

**TLDR:

  • Too much to learn with UE4;
  • Slow to prototype;
  • Too complex;
  • When was the last UE4 indie release that was successful?
  • It seems people aren’t shipping as often with UE4 as with Unity for obvious reasons. On indiedb/WIP forum here/ship dates are routinely TBD, etc…**

I would ask, why does it matter?

Hi
If you compare unity to ue, im not sure but unity is free for use since 2005 but ue4 2015?
Ue4 have smaller community but imo fast-growing, i think it will be ± balamced in t years…
As ue4 complexity, i dont know because i used unity only for 20 minutes, but ue4 BP scripting system is awesome, i made playable game entirely with BPs including multiplayer…
I also think ue4 will be more user friendly in near future; if epic hire 100+ more ppl for engine+tuts+docs etc… but it needs a little time.
Imo whats one of the best advantages ue4 over unity is that Epic developing games by themselves but unity no(?). You can see huge engine improvements after released game, for example paragon…
Sorry for wall of text without any good info, but i wish u GL with ue4, i think this engine is worth of time.

It’s all Steve Jobs’ fault, always.

Astroneer developers are indie and switched from Unity to UE4, and had a very successful early access launch. If you just want a counter example.

Hey, I’ve been making personal hobby projects in Unity (C#) since 2009 (and learning gamedev & 3D along the way), in 2014 I’ve switched to UE4 + Blueprints. After a few years in UE I must say that prototyping (and making game systems in general) in Blueprints is faster than in Unity, at least for me. Do you use Blueprints? If so, what kind of obstacles do you encounter?

For your other concerns, it’s worth noting that UE4 is still young, compared to Unity.

Got any demo videos showing Multiplayer in action?
Encounter any Multiplayer glitches by just using BP?

Well to put things in perspective, I feel UE4 is harder than its predecessor UDK by a factor.
Plus, is the incremental improvement to visuals worth it? It depends on your chosen game!

Many ‘Teams’ shipping games using UE4 have been successful.
You can verify this using various searches and SteamSpy etc!
How many UE4 successful solo Indies? Hourences / Solus only… :stuck_out_tongue:

Its ‘eye of the beholder’ and all that here unfortunately. Why?
That game would only keep my attention for 0.2 secs or less. :slight_smile:

Quick turnaround games are probably far harder to pull off in UE4.
Its just more technical an engine, you acknowledged that above.

You do need to know more about making games in order to use UE4.
I don’t think that many Unity or UE4 devs would argue against that!

I agree, quite a few UE4 devs overfocus on ‘shinny’ trailers.
When core original gameplay is probably more important etc.
And you do see threads about style over substance on here.
But what can one do? Ignore those, make your own games!

There is a critical mass or a tipping point using Unreal products.
And eventually you will feel progress is being made, but its hard!

Oh you know it right, look at all those uncountable amazing definitely-not-asset-flip-all-over-the-place games that are popping up in a daily basis. :stuck_out_tongue:

Quality over quantity is what I always prefer.

UE4 is the best game engine. As far as is it worth it as an Indie. You need to be able to derive satisfaction and enjoyment from doing it, or it’s not worth it.

Indie games that don’t sell well can still be very valuable when either getting a job at a game company, or for your portfolio to help get contract work if you do that.

I guess it doesn’t, however I think I meant to ask, how much more work is it to create a successful indie game in Unreal compared to Unity. That question I think is relevant to any new indie devs who are deciding if they should invest a large amount of time learning UE4.

It depends on what you’re making. I think if you’re doing something very simple then Unity can sometimes be a better choice for your project. There’s still other reasons though to choose UE4, for example for me the lighting system and material editor are major reasons to use UE4.

Also, if you want to talk about recent UE4 indie successes, there’s Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds which uses UE4

It was developed by Korean developer Bluehole with a 40 person team, not at all indie.

Thanks did not know this and yes it does help even though I’m sure they have a large team behind them.

Success? Way too many unknowns there! :slight_smile: Also is this solo Indie or small team?
Overall, if you’re after a quick buck from a Game Jam idea etc, I’d say Unity too.
But if you’ve a real passion project or its ambitious (commercial or not) then UE4.

But aside, if you’ve got skills like modeling why not take part in the next game jam?
It’d answer questions you have because it all boils down to the specific game idea.

Everyone has a different opinion on what makes UE4 difficult / easy / rewarding etc.
The thing is, its not that clear what competency-level Blueprints are at versus C++.
Can you make your game only using BP, which would be a huge strategic advantage.
Or will you find out later you can’t, and the project is dogged with problems & delays!

What if Epic benchmarked the kinds of ‘vanilla’ games that can be made using 100% BP?
Both today and tomorrow, showing where BP is heading… It would take away ambiguity!
Whereas in Unity since you do everything in C# it brings a little more certainty / clarity.

Coming from Unity I loved scripting in C# so naturally I wanted to use C++ in Unreal. Still learning the Unreal API on top of all the other subsystems and hate blueprints with a passion. I don’t know if that’s normal or not.

Success? Way too many unknowns there! :slight_smile: Also is this solo Indie or small team?
Overall, if you’re after a quick buck from a Game Jam idea etc, I’d say Unity too.
But if you’ve a real passion project or its ambitious (commercial or not) then UE4.

But aside, if you’ve got skills like modeling why not take part in the next game jam?
It’d answer questions you have because it all boils down to the specific game idea.

Everyone has a different opinion on what makes UE4 difficult / easy / rewarding etc.
The thing is, its not that clear what competency-level Blueprints are at versus C++.
Can you make your game using only BP, which would be a huge strategic advantage.
Or will you find out later you can’t, and the project is dogged with problems & delays!

What if Epic benchmarked the kinds of ‘vanilla’ games that can be made using 100% BP?
Both today and tomorrow, showing where BP is heading… It would take away ambiguity!
Whereas in Unity, since you do everything in C# it brings a little more certainty / clarity.

Sorry if I sound like a whiner. I guess I mean to say given my situation is it worth it to continue learning UE4 at least to a moderate level enough to put out an indie game that can put my foot into the game industry or should I just spend that same time diving deeper into Unity and getting better there. I know there are way, way more garbage content from Unity, however there imo is also more small team successes there, just due to the fact that UE4 is newer and more complex to use.

Bluehole are creators of Tera Online; they have millions of players.

Commercial success isn’t even what I am after, although I am using that as a metric to judge success in terms of trying to get into a game studio. I don’t mean to say you need to sell many copies to have a decent game but I think anywhere from 1k+ copies sold is a success. I am not in it for a money grab. I know you are suppose to love it but being here almost 1 year in and very little to show for it and mountains still to learn is depressing.

I dislike blueprints with a passion, and so unfortunately I am having to learn Unreal C++ to add to the list of things I need to have a grasp on. I loved C# scripting in Unity.