I am new to the Unreal Engine and am interested in giving it a try. However I have some questions about the engine concerning usability and ease of development as well as capabilities. Please excuse the newbieness, I have done a fair amount of research but may still ask questions already answered elsewhere in which case a pointer to answers would be appreciated.
I probably differ from most of the devs here in that I am don’t need many of the animation tools and other environmental tools that those developing a traditional FPS would need. What I do need is the ability to be able to manage a space environment with realistic dimensions, impressive effects and hundreds of users in a single area in combat. The game I am working on is a Massive Multiplayer game (over 200 players at once) in an array of systems. Those players can do battle in PvP fights. The physics I want to use are realistic. I am not looking to turn a space ship into an airplane as most space games do but rather model it on real space flight. I also want to deploy to console as well as Mac and Pc.
With unity the strategy for handling the scale was to have at least three cameras. The first one is “System Space” which contains the large celestial masses (stars, planets, moons) scaled down radically to make them fit in a level without running into floating point math. This camera a renders the skybox and from the point of view of the player the rest of the system. On top of that is layered local space which holds the immediate surroundings including what other ships are in the vicinity, missiles in the air, etc. The final camera renders the UI. In this configuration the player’s ship doesnt actualy move but rather everything else moves around them (its easier for handling scale) The question is, how easy is this to do in UE4 keeping in mind that I want to focus on my product, not re-inventing the wheel. I have no problem digging into C++ (though I must say Id Prefer C# as fewer things to go wrong) but I want to make sure that I am not programming things that I believe should be in the tool kit.
Second thing is related to the server side of my game. When the players enter a system to fight, i want them to connect to an authoritative server that will maintain all world state and communicate via buffered extrapolation and interpolation. This means I have to be able to run the physics on the server as well as the client. Can the UE4 Physics engine be used outside the main platform? Is there a way to run UE4 headless (no rendering pipeline) to act as the server? Are there tool sets available for the server side of a game with UE4?
Finally a business question. I am obviously hoping to make far more cash than the typical indie developer (though I am not at liberty to reveal who my company is at this time). However the 5%royalty scares me a bit. If the game does hit the big time I could be looking at hundreds of thousands of costs to the engine. Is it possible to negotiate a cap amount or reducing royalty rate? I would probably want something like that before I commit our resources too much to UE4. If the above questions can be answered I will try to prototype some basics in UE4 and compare my findings to our Unity Prototype.
P.S. I tried to post before but it wouldn’t let me? If this is moderated please remove this duplicate.