Unreal Engine is broken, why do people use it and like it?

Because people got lured in by the UE4’s fame. The engine has a lot of features but half of them are broken. Epic constantly bring new features and lure you back, last time I was attracted by the free Megascans assets because I thought I could fill my levels easier. But of course every time I get disappointed, this time it turned out that megascans mostly have nature and medievil assets and don’t seem to expand their library in other directions
Also the engine likes freezing for no reason and has lots of bugs

Overe the years I learnt to be patient with the engine and be more specific and careful. However I have always wished that Epic would pause adding new features and simply iron out bugs and half completed features for a year.

The engine has its fame because it’s the best engine on the market. I mean really what else is there? Unity is good for beginners or asset flips but blueprints and no royalties on the first million dollars have eaten into its strengths, and it’s playing catch up when it comes to rendering. There really aren’t even any other contenders.

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I disagree here. UE feels more like a tool for artists where you can just drag and drop things in scene and enjoy. Unity seems like a
good gamedev tool to me. It doesn’t have tons of features and glistering and shining graphics out of box, but it has a solid foundation for any kind of project. And I’m convinced that components system is far more superior that blueprints. As for graphics, it’s just not true - good out of box isn’t equal to better
With this said, UE seems like an only option for big games because of Unity’s performance problems and inability to properly protect your game

It is not just throw assets here and there… and people start using it. The big company (like Disney) is using it for their production film… and they would not have picked it before thorough evaluations.

So what if Disney is using it? They are using it for backdrops created to project on large led screens, the little time they used it for a character was a basic looking robot and for that they had to mod the sh*t out of the engine and then do some serious comping in Nuke to make it NOT look like an in engine render. The rest is just prototyping and playing around, no serious movie will every use a realtime engine in the forseable future unless they are aiming for quantity over quality. I don’t know how many times I have to correct people who now see Arnold and Vray and Renderman as “things of the past”.

Anyway that was not my point, my point is that any game engine should not be measured by how much it is used in film productions. Movie VFX and video game engines or VFX are very very much entirely two different things.

Especially when an engine is supposed to be geared for performance and stability running realtime applications such as video games.

In movies they do not run it realtime they bake it out, and they do so running multiple GPUs on a hardcore rig. And if they are running it realtime it is always geared to run one thing in realtime over and over again the absolute same way without any interaction or additional random elements as factors. This is why they they have no problem importing millions of unoptimized meshes and pressing a button. If it crashes mid way no problem repeat that export.

Can you afford one crash inside a game?

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Two things I like about Unity:

1 - It is not bloated at startup - you add as you go and as you need.

2 - Better overall anti-aliasing with more options to choose from and all work as expected.

They are running real time… this shows you didn’t understand the pipeline. It is no longer off line rendering.

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@Syed sorry, read carefully, I mentioned both realtime and offline above and I pointed out the reasons and how and why it can’t be compared to offline renderers or compared one to one with the egnine being used in realtime applications such as games or simply state that its a good realtime engine becuase it is used in film.

UE4 is a good engine but not for the reasons and the way its being compared and stated.

Also I think I can assure you that am well positioned in this matter to talk about the pipeline and subject :). I suppose you will just have to take my word for it.

To say again, having it run “realtime” with the purposes of outputting to a final edit to be used in film production is absolutely not the same “realtime” as video game production. There is a massive difference here.

Example: take a thousand individual feathers on a bird or hair strands, they can run realtime on a beast rig and ILM has done this before they even have example scenes out there, but no one in their right mind is going to place individual hairstrands on characters in a game anytime soon.

This is why you can’t compare the two together. Not to mention the dozens of heavy Alembic files, completely unoptimized meshes and scenes and a hundred things I can point to. They can all run realtime maybe, but they can not be used the same way in a video game production.

finally its not realtime always, this highly depends on the scene, many are baked out exported others are created for realtime in camera effects James cameron style.

Having worked with both I have to disagree with you there. Unity’s strength was that it was easy to learn. When the indie development scene was dominated by Torque, and engines like UE and Crysis were hundreds of thousands of dollars, UE came in and made it easy, and popularized the asset store. It was cross-platform. A big improvement over Torque. It became popular.

The problem for Unity now is that UE, despite your argument to the contrary, has a superior renderer. It has superior tech. I don’t really see the argument at all for Unity there. Both engines have their strengths but overall if you want cutting edge graphics as a professional dev you are going to pick Unreal Engine over Unity.

Now we can argue about C++ vs. C#, that’s a whole different issue, but blueprints made Unreal easy to use for new developers. And that took away one of Unity’s largest advantages previously.

Right now the only real advantage I can see to choose Unity is the asset store. If you are an indie building a game quickly the Unity Asset store still has more things available than the UE store, though that gap has been closing.

Beyond that, UE is free unless you make over a million dollars (which most indie games won’t). It includes a ton of freebies to make your life easier, both on the permanently free marketplace, to things like Quixel or Metahumans. I just can’t see much of an argument for Unity other than the asset store.


I have a feeling that you used Unity many years ago and hasn’t checked it since then. In this case you should look into it again, a lot has changes

I can’t see the point of your argument here. It has been proven many times that both engines are on the same level in terms of graphics. In some cases UE4 looks slightly better, in some cases it’s the opposite. The argument that UE has a better overall renderer is just wrong, you can achieve almost identical results in both.
I assume you were talking about UE being better out of box, in this case it’s completely true

I think C# vs blueprints is entirely subjective. C# is more understandable for me. And it’s true that BPs are easier for artists and non-programmers, but it can’t be considered UE’s advantage

As for asset stores, they’re completely different. Marketplace has significantly higher prices (and significantly less free assets) and better quality assets, which are made for polishing projects. Asset store has a ton of cheap and free assets of various quality for quick prototyping

How is it an UE’s advantage? Both engines are free, the only difference is that in Unity you can’t change splash screen in free version. They will only force you to buy Plus plan (~400/month) if your company makes more than 200k/year

I am in agreement with you except for your last point.

UE4 blows Unity out of the water when it comes to availability and pricing/royalties.

UE4’s one million dolalr policy simply destroyed Unity’s model or any other model for that matter to have ever existed on this scale, I don’t think anyone can top this easily. Furthermore there is that additional less fee if your game makes it to the UE store.

in addition to the above Unity had us blinded with their dark UI not being available for free users (they changed this idiotic policy only recently) but too late. I’m not asking for things to simply be free ofocurse, but Epic could afford this and has the right long term business model planned, while Unity does not. I feel Unity made worng choices from the start with their business model especially when the winds of change where right there in their faces. They should’ve acted faster.

Again though I can’t say any medium size company would be able to afford the one million dollar policy. This was a brilliant move from Epic and they know it.

Warning: post is long.:sweat_smile:

All of this is true. Unity is very capable of pulling of unreal engine level graphics (i.e. photorealism) (a good example being GTFO). The reason you see much more photorealistic games made with UE4 than unity is because the people who use unity apparently aren’t aiming for photorealism in the first place. Unity has many photorealistic demos, but the level of photorealism in those demos is rarely even seen in the works of their users. It seems that unity users focus more on aesthetics than photorealism. So the Unity vs UE4 graphics comparison is more a comparison of popularity than capability.

And there lies the big difference. Unreal has much more out-of-the-box features than unity, and since unreal engine is completely free (including source code access), there are zero features you have to pay for. With unity, in order to match the feature set of unreal, you have to pay for those missing features through either a unity license or the asset store.

There is a unity store asset that makes the game window fullscreen (because unity doesn’t allow that, whereas UE4 does): Fullscreen Editor | Utilities Tools | Unity Asset Store. It costs $20! However, the problem isn’t so much the price, but rather the fact that you have to pay for a feature that is both expected & free in other game engines. The asset store is filled with this kind of stuff, like Bolt, which used to be a paid asset, but is now being implemented in unity itself because they realized there’s a demand for this type of thing. Once again, many of the features you get completely free in unreal engine you have to pay for in unity.

Also, don’t forget UE4 offers the entire quixel megascans library completely for free, which makes it even more enticing to artists. To use quixel megascans in unity, you have to pay.

Blueprints are precisely one of unreal engine’s advantages (and any feature of any program that other programs don’t have is an advantage of that program). Before blueprints (& kismet), in order to script any game logic, you had to write code. This was a problem especially for artists, as they would have to learn how to write code in order to program simple game logic. Introduce visual scripting, and now scripting something becomes a simple visual graph, which allows artist to script their own game logic without needing to write code or get the help of a programmer. In addition to that, it allows anyone to quickly prototype content without having to write a single line code (hence why it’s called “blueprints”).

In unity, before Bolt became free, you’d either have to pay for Bolt, or learn c#, which is a clear disadvantage over UE4. This may actually be another reason why UE4 is used more art & graphics: the programming side is easier for artists.

Also, fun little note on visual programming vs written programming: when you are building an algorithm for a written programming language, you often use visuals (like a flowchart or a blueprint) to better understand what’s going on. :man_shrugging:

Unreal lists “Film & television” as a solution, and Unity lists “Film, animation and cinematics” as a solution, meaning both are “geared toward” film, as well. So doing comparisons relating to film is valid. Also, if you check both those pages out, you’ll notice unreal engine lists many Hollywood & other professional works it has been used in, whereas unity only lists two by *Disney* in a 47 second short film compilation video.

If you want to do actual real-world commercial usage for games, here’s a list of “notable” games made with unreal engine and with unity over their entire lifetime (which include both AAA & indie titles):

This is because Epic Gameseats their own dog food”, whereas unity doesn’t. Since Epic games has their own large source of income, unreal engine users can go much farther without paying anything than unity users can.

Actually, you have to buy a plus plan (or greater) at $100k. If your revenue or funding is less than $200K in the last 12 months, you are eligible for the plus plan, meaning once you surpass $200k, you are no longer eligible for plus and you are required to use Pro or Enterprise. Compare unity plans in USD.

Just to compare with unreal engine, since the royalties are applicable per title, you can make as much revenue as you want and not have to pay anything so long as none of your titles surpass $1M.
From FAQ:


But unfortunately Epic seem to choose the way of quantity over quality. The engine is very buggy and clearly needs patches and also lacks proper documentation. Despite this, Epic are just keep adding new features. From top of my head I remember:

  • I needed to add animated head bob to a character, so I tried using Camera Shake class. But I couldn’t find any tutorials or documentation and ended up doing it as how I would do it in Unity
  • Megascans doesn’t work well with UE, it mistreats texture maps on exporting decals and grunge, it imports model variants as LODs and combines them in one mesh
  • Blueprints don’t properly load on start in my project (they won’t function until you disconnect some node, compile, reconnect the node and compline again)
    And many other small bugs that sometimes make me want to rage quit

Ah, another Unity vs Unreal thread??? … I love the smell of napalm in the morning. :stuck_out_tongue: Two quick things. As a dev, Unreal / UDK tends to flatter you visually out of the box, with no big investment in separate 3rd-Party editor tools. So why not spend a day / month / year / decade with Unreal, and see what you can come up with versus Unity. Now if Unity has improved in this area, that would be interesting to hear, as I stopped working with it around late 4.x / early 5.x.

As regards Blueprints, they ARE a massive selling point to creative industries. They’re what Microsoft Office MACROS brought to the wider business community (as horrific an idea as that may sound to most devs). But BP is a major selling point of the engine and a 1 out of 10 in terms of difficulty. Not that Unity-C# and its magical methods is much harder. Its maybe a 3 out of 10. But Unreal C++ is a whole other conversation. I personally never bought into the 2014 Sweeney argument that every dev should learn UE4 C++. The fact Epic are now adding scripting and a fully-self contained environment hopefully (like UDK had), is welcome news for any dev who doesn’t need to mod the engine. Add UE5 doubles and planets from the community hopefully, and the most complete game engine comes to mind (once Epic fix all the outstanding bugs ofc). :wink:

The comparison I pointed out was judging a game engine’s integrity by saying simply that it is being “used” in large studios, when clearly it is not being used on a level that makes it valid for a comparison, furthermore it tarnishes the engine’s main and core functional video game part of the workflow, where it is entirely valid to point out that it has unfinished left over features and many many bugs.

So by dismissing that major part of the engine entirely or downplaying it because Disney has it somewhere in its RnD department with a few artists “playing around” with its tools during their free time to see what sticks is why I argued against it.

Anyway don’t want to drag this too long.

Wow you are still at it, despite being proven wrong.

The presence of big company is not small. although they are of course not everything. But it is not something to be ‘oh no big deal’… it is big deal no matter how matters are put.

Wow “proven wrong” is a big word to use, nobody proved anything around here. And lets not get pumpous or fanboyish or even childish, my arguments are valid here and I know a thing or two about it that gives me that re-assurance.

Again this does not mean in any way that UE4 is sub par engine on the contrary it is not, it is a world leading enigne. Only don’t judge an engine which is primarily focused for the video game industry based on film industry standards.
We are not there yet. UE5 maybe just maybe will start this process to a limited extent and I can see how it might be used in backdrops and in other elements such as mattes and compositing specific things with Nanite driving those meshes on import without the need to optimise them and Lumen avoiding bakes and giving good enough GI to make it fast and workable out of the box.

But please lets stop the bullsh*t and start reading carefully.

Edit: Funny enough this reminds me of the argument that went on for so long on how UE4 UI was a bloated mess and needs to be more streamlined and more minimalistic, I wrote this almost 5 years ago and got bashed for it here, most everybody LOVED the UI in UE4 and told me strictly that I should not even bring up Unity’s UI as an example of minimalism. I wonder what they are saying now when the new UE5 UI is looking almost exactly the way we had wanted it to look 5 years ago and ironically closer to Unity’s UI.

How interesting.

I think the next thing will be making the mouse pan inverted as default to match every other 3d package out there. Maybe we’ll see that in UE6 :smile:

Edit02: It is not wrong to critisize anything to want to make it better, I want UE4 to be the best out there so that our lives in development can be more fluent, this is why we have these conversations.

because LICENSE

As a LONG TIME Unity developer, I have watched over the past few years as as Unreal Engine became more and more focused, cohesive and usable for the smaller teams and even individual.

I have also watched and felt the direct pain as Unity becomes more and more of a patchwork Frankenstein. The various incompatible render pipelines alone are just … ugh! Then, there are all the years and money I have spent on having to integrate third-party plugins, just to do fundamental things that SHOULD be in-engine already.

All the while, UE 4.x in particular just kept getting better and better, technologically AND with solid, well thought out and well integrated workflow improvements to make it more accessible for development at a smaller scale. The business model also kept getting more and more consistent and friendly, especially to smaller devs. How can you beat “free” for most uses and sub-million dollar revenues?

But there is always a resistance to devote significant time and energy to any technology (in my case, UE) when you have a flow of projects on your plate with your long-time technology of choice (in my case, that was Unity).

Along comes the UE5 Early Access to push me over the edge, to give UE a SERIOUS shot again.

Now the past couple of weeks, I have been beating up on the UE5 preview, including converting a bunch of 4.x projects, digging into workflow and tech improvements, testing builds and pipeline stuff, and more. I can only conclude that, for the most part, it just works. The ■■■■ thing does what Epic claims it does, and those are some BIG claims. I’m particularly impressed that the early access is so complete and suitable for some real-world testing of the whole package.

But in parallel, I have also been re-implementing one of my recent larger Unity projects in UE4.26.

My experience so far has been like a breath of fresh air. Even in just a few days, I’m seriously making some rapid progress on this implementation and I haven’t had to even THINK about a third-party fix for something because so far, literally every core feature that I had to Frankenstein into Unity is already there in the core UE4 feature set.

BTW, I have spent YEARS fighting with constantly shifting sands of Unity render pipelines and on-again/off-again lighting solutions, not to mention fighting with core lighting and post-processing just to get something that looks reasonable on the screen.

Unreal? It’s freaking crazy how almost effortless it is to get good visuals and playability. Maybe it’s the years of fighting Unity that have built up my look-dev and other muscles so much that UE seems almost easy, even having to re-learn everything.

Maybe it’s because Epic “eats their own dog food”. Regularly making AAA titles in-house with your own engine is a key component to insuring your constantly improving tech and workflows are “production ready”. Unity does not do this. They do tech demos. And it is REALLY starting to show.

So this is my breaking point. Given how much I am LOVING the workflows and features of UE5 (and to a large extent 4.26), given all the factors mentioned above and more, and given that the timing is good in that I don’t have any hard dependencies on Unity projects in my pipeline, it has taken only two weeks of renewed hands-on to decide that I’m basically done with Unity. In retrospect, the move is overdue.

Wayne Gretzky’s dad once told him, “Don’t skate to where the puck is. Skate to where the puck is going to be.”

The puck is going to be at a UE5 launch in early 2022, and I refuse to miss out on the even brighter future ahead by not skating toward it.