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.
- 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…**