Strategic Wargames in UE4?

Hello folks!

I’m an apprentice C/C++ programmer training under a mentor who has developed operational-scale historical war games. As an example of the sort of game I’m talking about: A Let’s Play of John Tiller’s Panzer Campaigns-Kursk 43

As you can see, a very DIFFERENT type of game from the typical UE game. However, there is a continuum between say, a John Tiller game (or any of its genre) and a game like say “Squad”]( an online multiplayer tactical squad game.

Another game in an even more interesting “middle point” on the continuum between a Tiller map-based strategy game and a “typical” UE4 game would be the Silent Hunter series, with SH4+Wolves of the Pacific perhaps being the best example:



I’m starting this thread to get a discussion going about three major questions:

(1) Apart from the game Squad (developed in UE4 and referred to above) are there other operational-scale war games that have been or are being developed in UE4? What sorts of opportunities and constraints in terms of built in or for purchase assets would UE4 confer for this type of game?

(2) What constraints would folks imagine might occur for developing a historical operational-scale war game in UE4?

My mentor has some skepticism that an engine like Unreal would be suitable for a massive operational-scale historical war game. I’ve tried to explain to him that the source code is in C++ and that the source code is COMPLETELY transparent, so effectively anything we can do in our antiquated C-Frankenstein engine could necessarily also be done in Unreal (or as an extension to Unreal).

To quote him on the question “what are your doubts/concerns about building an operational level war game in Unreal Engine?”:

Keep in mind that a strategic war game will include thousands of data structures representing tens of thousands of individual entities (perhaps even close to 100k in some cases)–ranging from troop formations, ships, leaders/pilots, devices, air groups, geographic locations, computer-opponent scripts, etc.–each of which may have up to 100 elements. Being new to programming in general and game development in particular, I’m not clear on how this compares to a game like say “Squad” or one like Silent Hunter."

(3) One of the apparently beneficial considerations for developing operational- or grand-scale historical wargames in UE4 would be “poor mans 3D graphics” to bring the incredible detail of an operational scale war game a bit more “to life.” I dont’ envision 3D terrains/actors on the order of scale and detail as those depicted in Squad; but perhaps on the order of those in games like the Total War series?

Being new to game development, some of my questions may be a bit innocent, so please indulge me.

if you want to make an RTS with UE4 do not expect to control more than a few hundred units. especially if they are skeletal meshes. in case of a turn based game the load is less…

For a game of the scale you are doing, I would say you may need to do a lot of things in ‘out of the ordinary’ ways. From my experience working on large-scale projects, I have had to build things “custom”, these ranging from network replication, to having thousands of characters exist in the world, as eluded to by Sivan. With this in mind, I do not believe for one second that you cannot build a game of this scale in UE4, but as with any engine, the way in which certain things were designed may not have been for use on this scale.

With any of my larger projects, I find where the overhead is before even thinking about designing whichever mechanic, and I have been fortunate enough to find (And work around) any major flaws.