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August 4, 2017

Should I Learn Unreal or Unity for VR Development?

Mark Metry Founder VU Dream

Mark Metry, Founder of VU Dream

Understanding that most games are just state engines, updating player input and screen output each tick (or frame).
It’s the same pattern for micro and macro events. Then perhaps learn some trigonometry (quaternions) and how to transform objects in 3D space. Though you can easily build something in either engine as long as you can manage states.
Unreal seems more beginner friendly. Unreal has blueprints which are awesome for non-coders. Unity has massively better support.
Unity vs Unreal
I have to say that if you are new to programming then UE4 is a pleasure to use. While UE4‘s blueprints are awesome for non-programmers, the documentation for anything C++ is severely lacking. Unity relies on basic knowledge of C#, but has much better documentation. If you are extremely unfamiliar with programming, or very intimately familiar with C++, UE4 is the way to go. Otherwise, Unity is likely a better option.
UE4 came out after and UDK’s Oculus implementation was behind Unity at the time unfortunately. Unity Pro trials were given out for a number of dk1 developers. Some were using Unity before VR and Unity had a bigger community plus the asset store.
And some facts and explanations …
Now Unity (with VR) is free until your company makes $100,000 in a year, then you start paying for license (unless that has changed) and UE4 has a royalty bearing license where you pay 5% of certain gross revenue over $3,000 per quarter per game/experience. Some like Unity‘s cost better.
– Novica Gijevski, Owner at MotivaNova
It really doesn’t matter which one. They both will work fine, they both support VR.
I like Unity, but I’m also used to Unity as I mostly end up using it for my projects. I’ve used some versions of the Unreal Engine. In my opinion, use the best tool for the job … but no one can really make the decision for you. Everyone here can give you advice and say use this over that or do it this way instead of that way, but ultimately you need to be comfortable with the tool you are using. If you are comfortable with the tool then everything is possible.
It depends on if you planing to target for Mobile VR or PC/Console VR.
  • For me if Mobile VR: You should go with Unity.
  • For me if PC? Console VR: You should go with Unity or Unreal.
Arnaud Baernhoft  said it right, ” A good way to know what’s best for you rather than what’s best for VR development is to try them both, and also look at examples of work made in Unreal and Unity. You’ll get a better understanding of what is different, how they render, how feel and look. You can tell the difference between and Unreal game and a Unity one. “
In my personal opinion, both engines were pretty easy to start ramping up in. Ultimately, I chose Unity 5 as the starting point for a project. Unity was easier and faster for me to build a VR experience, which is what I needed. This isn’t to say Unreal Engine 4 can’t, I simply chose the tool I could see myself building quickly with.
Eventually, I will transition to UE4 because I believe in the long run it will offer the best tools for creating the highest quality experiences, if I’m planing for more bigger PC/Console project, currently i’m working on mobile VR.
– Harshal B Kolambe, Game Developer & Tech Evangelist: Developing Cross Platform Mobile Games
Unity vs Unreal
It’s more a matter of religion. It is like Oculus Rift vs Vive or Android vs iOS: both are great products, one is better than the other for certain features and worse for others.
Unity is easier, has a bigger community, a fantastic marketplace. Prototyping in Unity is super fast.
Unreal Engine offers better graphical output, it is more powerful, imports graphical assets better and has a more advantageous licensing model (basically, it’s free + some revenue share if your game succeeds).
You can give a try to both and then decide.
From my experience, if you want to do something more realistic in VR, UE4 is better, due to its better graphics. “A cube done in Unreal is the best cube you’ve ever seen” is a sentence that everyone has told me.
If you want to learn VR and learn it fast, maybe Unity is better.
– Antony Vitillo, VR/AR developer, startupper, blogger at The Ghost Howls


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