PC vs Console vs Mobile Game Development

Hi there.
What are the main differences/peculiarities in game development for PC / console / mobile? Is it mainly coding or are there also concerns with things like modeling, rigging, animation, texturing/painting, UE4 dynamics, lighting, particles, level design, etc? Can you, for example, safely develop for PC and then " easily adapt" for consoles and mobile or is it, by far, much more complex than that? Is asset reusability friendly?
Since this is something that should obviously be taken in consideration early in development, I’d like to hear your thoughs on this subject.
Thank you.


Primarily it comes down to the capabilities of the underlying platforms … for instance, mobile platforms have some challenges (or limitations) when it comes to Materials.

Materials for Mobile Platforms

I think however you would be pretty safe making your game on PC first … then branching your code and modifying it for Mobile and maybe doing it the same for Console. We are planning to go this route if our game proves to actually generate a player base … but we haven’t done it yet, so I can’t really be of more assistance then saying: Yes there are considerations to take in to account but you probably won’t be able to get a silver bullet that covers all bases from the start.

One major difference is developing for consoles requires special licenses, the regular version of UE4 does not include packaging for XBONE or PS4. You are free to package for any other platform though.

In short, hardware.
A mobile phone is infinitely weaker than a current gen console, and consoles are considered “snapshots” in technology.
They are not scalable. A PC specs can be scaled up to meet the game, something consoles and phones can’t do.

You want to keep the processing and materials and textures light to have high performance on mobile and console devices. I knew the methods when in Unity, but am unsure about UE4.

I would say develop for Mobile first, that way you can go to console and PC with no problems. Trying to downsize from high specs PC to mobile would be a nightmare, since you would have to redo almost everything.

When programming for mobile, look into object pooling(of actors) instead of instantiating(spawning) actors.

I see that materials/textures are the main concern, not so much for the poly count, right?


Poly count is always important, no matter the platform.

Since coding and art isn’t my thing I want to answer this in a different way: They’re completely different markets that require (often) completely different designs!

Beyond the obvious “Don’t make turn based strategy for Console, don’t make games that require controllers for PC” kind of rules, the game you are planning on making may simply have a better market for one device or another. I’d start by worrying about that and letting the market factors dictate what you need to know or learn… because there’s no point in releasing a game best suited for mobile on a console first :slight_smile:

Never heard of those rules.
I’d stick with

mobile: no on screen buttons!! They are horrible.
PC: make whatever you want
console: pretty much the same as before, with less graphics.

Objection!! Infinity Blade is awesome on mobile and it has touch buttons. However, yes, for most games on screen buttons are bad.

I see.
Still, what really worries me is the reusability of the models and such.


What do you mean?

The 3d model assets mostly - props, characters, environment foliage, terrain, etc… having to remodel everything into “lower” poly versions doesn’t cheer me up. :slight_smile:


Have you seen Infinity Blade 3? It’s the most impressive looking mobile game to date.

Actually I haven’t :stuck_out_tongue: (feeling embarrassed)… Are the models PC worthy?


Take a look:

Well I do notice the “lower” polys overall - the characters faces gave it away as well as the environments. It’s the texturing… it’s gorgeous. :slight_smile:


Well that runs on the iPad 3 and was made in UE3. If you were to make a similar game in UE4 it would look better and run better as well as you could target it for the iPad Air 2 and high end smartphones.

Oh @KindaKreator - I am not saying they’re written in some book, just that your sales will simply be better for certain types of games elsewhere. Nothing prevents you from making a PC game that requires a controller, but I guarantee you’ll lose sales compared to whatever that game is for console, simply because not all PC gamer players have controllers (in fact, a huge chunk still don’t). Strategy games just historically underperform other genres on console, while still being a strong genre on PC. Has to do with the markets of these. It was just two examples of many general rules of thumb as to what games are best where (nothing prevents you from making games that don’t fit this trend). IE: Did you know that a WW2 strategy game set in the Eastern Front will outsell a PC game set in the Western Front (or N. Africa) by a huge factor, all other things being equal? Just an example of biases customers have :slight_smile: It doesn’t mean you can’t make a successful West front game, it just means on average you’re better off starting in the East.

(I used to be the marketing guy for one of the large war strategy game publishers… so my example is speaking to that experience)

Anyway, that’s an aside to the overall topic!

Very useful. Thanx!


No pro developer would make a PC game with controller support only.:smiley:
A good developer gives their customers options.

RTS are the exception, they have too many buttons.
I usually play action, fighting and shooting. Those