Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Game engine review roundup

Unreal Engine 4. Very good high-end support, integrated vertex-painter, great for making 3D shooty games in huge landscapes. But it's very heavy and assumes you're making a 3D shooty game in a huge landscape, and it feels very bloated if you're not. 7/10.

Unity 4. Good medium-weight engine, with very few game genre assumptions. But that flexibility turns into tedium when you have to re-implement NPC AI / basic movement / damage systems / camera controls / etc. for the hundredth time. Very bad stock controller and GUI support. 7/10.

CryEngine 3. Very good high-end support that assumes you're making a 3D shooty drivey game in a huge landscape surrounded by water. Fantastic foliage and rock placement tools that are useless when that's not what your game's about. 7/10.

Source 1. The 2000-era engine that has aged the best, with its smart bets on image-based rendering and lightmapping. Physics feel tuned so well that Titanfall used the engine pretty much for that. However, has a horribly bad 3D asset pipeline that forces artists to learn an obscure "Quake C" syntax from the early 90s in order to import art -- which, in a 3D engine, is totally inexcusable. 7/10.

Twine. Best-in-class text support, exports seamlessly to all platforms, very little technical friction and learning curve. Very diverse and helpful user community. But text markup scheme feels patched-together and inconsistent, requires users to learn Javascript (?!) for more advanced features. No built-in 3D or multiplayer support. 7/10.