Game engine for beginners – Unreal Engine 4

Jumping into the world of game development is an exciting decision. But the very first questions that strike our mind are , “Which game engine to choose?”, “Which is best game engine for beginners?” . Here, I am going to recommend Unreal Engine 4, as it was my first game engine with which I entered into the world of game development. Before discussing about Unreal Engine 4, first of all lets shed some light over what is a game engine and why do we need one.

What is a game engine and why you need one?

A game engine is a tool designed for game developers to help them make games for different platforms like PC, Mobile , Consoles. Game engines are very helpful for small team of indie game developers or small studios who can build games easily without any need to understand the complex structure of how things are working in the background. They save you plenty of work and time which you would have to spent in absence of game engines. Because of game engines , you can concentrate all your time and energy into making games without worrying about tons of tasks a game engine is performing for you.

Unreal Engine 4 Game Engine for beginners

Unreal Engine 4 is one of the game engines avaialble in market which you can use to build games of your interest. Using Unreal Engine 4 you can create 2D mobile games , PC games , Console based games and games supporting Virtual Reality. UE 4 is an open source game engine , developed by EPIC games .  Unreal Engine was first showcased in 1998 and was primarily developed for First Person Shooter genre of games. But with many version releases down the line, the current version Unreal Engine 4 has evolved to be used successfully in variety of other game genres like RPGs, MMORPGS, Stealth .

Unreal Engine 4 is only one of the many  game engines available in market. Its main competitors are UNITY 5, CRY ENGINE.

What situations is best to use Unreal Engine 4?

  • If you are looking for prototyping a game and building a working prototype of a game as soon as possible then Unreal Engine 4 is the best bet. UE 4 provides a feature called Blueprints which is node based visual scripting. You can see your logics flow in the nodes. You can implement ideas at very high speed as blueprints allow you to write logics with great user interaction.
  • When it comes to graphic capabilities, Unreal Engine 4 have advantages over its competitors. If you want to create next-gen level graphics, Unreal Engine 4 have the edge over other engines.
  • If you are planning for designing 3d walk throughs and architectural visualizations projects, using blueprints in Unreal Engine 4 will help you building them without writing any single piece of code.
  • If you are a developer who loves open source projects and  who would like to make changes into engine as per your requirements, then Unreal Engine 4 is for you. UE 4 is an open source project developed by Epic games, and you can fork its repository on github.

So, ease of prototyping using blueprints, high end graphics, open source, are some of the advantages that Unreal Engine 4 have over its competitors.

Cons of Unreal Engine 

  • When it comes to mobile games, Unreal Engine 4 lacks in some areas compared to UNITY. Unity is more consistent across different platforms and supports wider range of mobile devices. Unreal Engine 4 project size is generally very big, when compared to games in other engines.
  • Also there is a limit to the functionalities that you can implement using Blueprints in UE 4. You may need to switch to C++ for which learning curve is steep.
  • UE 4 community is new and smaller compared to UNITY.

Learning Resources

When searching for game engine for beginners in game development, you can go with any engine. Focus on learning different underlying concepts of game development which are same for every engine. If you are from non-programming background, Unreal Engine 4 have the edge over others because it provide Blueprint feature which is easy to learn and understand. Once you are comfortable with your first game engine, try other game engines too and conclude by yourself that which game engine is best for your requirements.

Happy game development !
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