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Open Letter to Epic [Mobile Development]

Hi.

Firstly i want to say this. I like UE4. UE4 is empowering me to do do many things. And thank you for the engine and the general direction it has taken.
Now. To the point.

Personally i am a bit concerned after having watched the GDC talk on the open landscape demo.
The lead developer stated that in the 4.8 release focus is on bringing new rendering capabilities to the engine.

This is good. However it does concern me that Epic has stated on numerous occasions that 4.8 is / was focused on mobile improvements. From Package size issues, performance woes, more / better ad support / facebook api exposed in blueprints, twitter etc.

As a mobile developer i have been patiently waiting for numerous months for the small quirks to be addressed. Things that can make a massive difference in the feasibility of creating mobile games using the engine.
So why do i say i am concerned about the direction this is going?
I am getting the impression that Epic is focusing more on pumping as many features as possible into the engine, in order to attract more people. As opposed to making sure what is currently in the engine works 100%.

From a developer perspective i can understand the reasoning. Because i myself am guilty of this. I worked on 4 mobile games, and instead of polishing them off and then releasing them as i finish one game… i decided to do all 4, and after they are done, polish and publish them all at once. Unfortunately this only lead to a massive delay in publishing as you then discover a bunch of small little issues previously missed.

Where as if i actually just finished one at a time, i would have now been finished. I would assume that building an engine as complex as UE4; this holds even more weight as is evident with some things being fixed which in turns break other elements.

Those are my concerns. I was a bit spiritually broken after having heard the lead state what he did. Making me lose faith that we can expect mobile improvements any time soon.
Anyway. See this as a need to vent a little.
But seeing mobile improvements is something we have been asking for, for a significant amount of time. Then again. Looking at other threads… everyone is asking for everything and you simply cannot keep everyone happy.

Cheers

Its really android thats the issue due to the massive range of devices, IOS support is far better than android, Ive published one game on googleplay with 4.6, have almost completed another to publishing point in 4.7 but im pretty sure that in 4.7 when you try to do a shipping build it spits an error that its not supported till 4.8(thats what another user posted anyway, ill test myself soon) sounds like you may have built a shipping build in 4.7?, development works fine in 4.7 though but with 4.7.3 there is a huge fps drop and I mean huge its like slowmotion on a project that ran at 25-30 fps before, Im planning on the worst case scenario that good support won’t happen until K1s or better are standard mobile GPUs, i was initally hopeful when i saw the extra android options in 4.7 though but 4.6 with a simple game seems to be the only way forward for me though

Im keen to hear if you did get anything onto googleplay with 4.7 though

Also liked your game ideas simple but effective, its not easy to make games that run well on android with ue4 but you did a great job especially liked the shark truck one

Hi.

Yes. With 4.7.3
Your game must be manually packaged using command lines. Resigned manually. And it must be below 50mb as UE4 currently does not support the automatic handling of split OBB and APK files.
I took me countless hours… not really. I can count. It took 17 hours to strip bits n pieces of information to get all the information together to get through all the hoops in order to publish. If you have any questions how i went about this feel free to PM me and i will gladly assist where possible.

Which is why the statement made during GDC concerns me so. Because 4.8 was meant to be the silver bullet, or at least enable us to be able to publish to mobile again. This will include but is not limited to OBB auto download support.

And no… simpler games isnt the option.
I vote we fly to their offices and go sit at the door with these

35a889ccb21ed1ebb3f2078cfd9f2f2e391a2cec.jpeg

Thanks thats great info to have about 4.7.3, ill stick with 4.6 for now as the process is pretty easy to do a shipping build with a keystore file, i got good results in 4.6 with tadp 3.04, better than with 2.08, in 4.7 development ive tried 4.01r and 3.04 but 2.08 works the best in 4.7…4.01r is only for tegra devices though I think, but as I said before it doesnt seem to matter what version of tadp i use in 4.7.3 the framerate is unusable, but overall 4.7 is more taxing on my system in genral and this seems to reflect in packaged windows builds ive done in 4.7 as well, so thats probably where the issue stems from

Just to stoke the fires a little bit here, from a perspective of someone who is not interested in mobile development, I have been waiting since 4.2 for some improvements to the World Composition tool, such as being able to handle massive navmeshes, animation improvements, foliage improvements, etc. So you say your waiting on mobile improvements and you don’t like the direction Epic may be travelling in, I am the complete opposite, and would prefer them to focus on open world. Now this wouldn’t just be my opinion and the same goes for you, there are plenty of people waiting on both sides of the fence. Epic’s development team is made up of more than a couple of people so they can distribute the load. Just because at GDC all you heard about was improvements to Open World, does not mean there are plenty of mobile fixes planned and in fact ready for 4.8 at all.

I had no problems with ad support very easy with blueprints, Im only using admob though, I think some users want different providers, but with admob it works very well

I would say you’re right about that, the higher load 4.7 puts on existing devices is only going to get worse with 4.8, with android I think looking towards tegra k1 and higher phones is the only option, just hope to god the new devices are more unified than the current android collection

I agree there are a wide range of wishes and i also want large open worlds. The concern comes in that you have a feature that directly impacts revenue generation, that is not working.

Some of us have a very urgent dependency. Sitting on completed games that cannot be published due to the obb downloading issue.
Facebook and Twitter exposed in blueprints allows us to generate word of mouth… which in turn generates more revenue.

If you look in released projects. I released 4 games for mobile. 2 of which cannot be published on google play because obb downloading is not working.
Currently i have another 8 mobile titles in development.

And its a bit stressing not knowing if i will be able to publish due to the mentioned problems.

I only want bug UE-9829 fixed for now; nothing else.
I can’t move from 4.6.1 to 4.7 because of that bug…

And yeah, multiplatform engines are always like this, they have to prioritise the primary platform first; I believe (I may be very wrong) but I believe that most projects in development with UE4 are aiming PCs and Consoles still, very few are developing for Mobile because UE4 is having a hard time penetrating the Android/iOS developer communities. Thus they may be simply focusing where most UE4 projects are, I don’t know.

OT: Whats the logic in making lil mobile games that hardly anyone will play?

Not sure if trolling. But this should answer your question.

+1 for this.
i too was under the impression 4.8 was aimed at mobile improvements and to hear that they are planning to make the rendering even heavier is not good news.
waiting since ue4 went public for workable android performance, compatibility and package size.

off topic:
Errvald is cool, he has bought, downloaded and played all of my games, unfortunately they wern’t to his taste but i thank him anyway :slight_smile: (unless he is just a troll?)

Dishing out small, bad games in no time won’t give any profit back. Don’t we already have thousands of Unity games that have been uploaded on Google Play that just sit there?

I don’t mind anyone’s games, what bothered me is that you kept opening threads about how horrible UE4 is, then I looked at your games and was like ‘what?’ lol

Agreed. But the creators of angry birds started somewhere. Which is more than we can do without official OBB downloading support.
I don’t care much for 1000 bells and whistles when it comes to mobile.

What i do care about is having the ability to package a game that can be published when its larger than 50mb’s.
Surely… this is not an unreasonable request.

And do not get me wrong. Epic has thus far done a really good job in the mobile department. There has been a ton of improvements over the course of the past few months. But a few critical issues concerning packaging is still outstanding.

That’s the whole point though, I know EPIC tried to showcase a very simple 2d game (flappy bird), but that’s an overkill for such a game engine. If the size of the game is mostly engine code then you’re using the wrong engine.

How do you come to that conclusion?
Sure the engine footpring is big. But just add automatic handling of obb files and there is no issue.

I mean… how many people actually care that a game is 100mb in size? Hell… i cant recall the last time i downloaded a game that was not a few hundred mb is size.

This is about more than just games & mobile. If you are working on a HTML5 project then you don’t want your users wasting time downloading

Epic currently have some good cards in the Roadmap for mobile performance and dynamic lighting features that should be due in April.

However, they need to upgrade ‘Mobile Package Size’ from a ‘Wishlist/Backlog’ card to something being tackled in the near future. And as part of that, better cooking tools.

IMO EPIC should not focus on HTML5 and low-end mobiles. Like I said earlier UE4 would be an overkill for HTML5 games, unless it’s a Chrome packaged app where the app sits in your computer, but even then it’s a bit too much.

Leave html5 games for Three.js, Gooengine and the likes, their footprint is less than 1 mb.

There is alot of excess data being cooked and added to projects. This wastes development time, time for consumers to download and space on their end devices. It is possible to want to build a small project that isn’t 2D and does push 3D capabilities hard.

Yes well. Its up to Epic to decide which market they want to target. There is a lot of money to be made in the mobile space.