A Beginner's Guide to the World of VR Game Engines

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You want to create interactive virtual reality worlds? Getting your hands on a game engine is your first step! Let us help you through this journey :)

Game and VR engines are software designed particularly for developing immersive content. They help you build the framework of the game, thus reducing the time for development compared to building a game from scratch. Moreover, they allow you to pay more attention to other important aspects of game development, for instance, the character models, and interaction of objects.

Already having basic skills for programming and graphic designing, you can customize your VR worlds realistically with application programming interfaces (APIs) built in these programs that are easily integrated with VR platform-specific SDKs (software development kits)

To make it easier for you to choose between the plethora of game engines available, we have summarized details of two of the most popular ones around:

 

Image result for unity logoReleased by Unity Technologies at an Apple conference in 2005, Unity was originally created exclusively for Mac OS X. At present, it supports about 25 platforms, including iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch, Steam, VR/AR etc. All main VR devices and file formats used by different 3D building applications (Cinema4D, 3D Max, and Maya) are also supported. 

Unity has been used to create a great variety of games since its creation. Though new developers might feel overwhelmed due to its complexity, the Unity Learn tutorials make it more than convenient for beginners like you to get comfortable with all the features quicker than you expect. It also guides you every step of the way by letting you know where you went wrong while using C#, its object oriented programming language. This game engine is therefore highly popular among mobile gamers and developers due to an easy user interface and accompanying functionality tools.

 

 

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Developed by Tim Sweeney and Epic Games in 1998, this VR engine has played its part in various genres of games over the last twenty years. If you already possess some knowledge about C++, you can start with Unreal right away. It does, however, require more programming experience than C# or Javascript. On the other hand, Unreal facilitates its users through Blueprints Visual Scripting, the alternative scripting method. This makes it easy for programmers to work together with designers using the same range of tools. You can even operate without coding by using blueprint.

 

For a summary of the above-mentioned and other important features, you may go through the table below:

VR Game Engines

Features

Unity

Unreal

Programming Language

C#

C++

Cross-platform

Yes

Yes

VR devices supported

All main VR devices

All main VR devices

Orientation

2D, 3D

3D

Execution of graphics

Powerful graphical engine (consistent FPS across hundreds of devices)

Better graphical capabilities than most competitors

Quality

High quality content

High quality dynamic lighting to create a more realistic experience

Community

Free access to the huge community-based asset store which includes 3D objects, textures, and audio files that are plug and play and have already been paid for

Strong, supportive community with regular activity and discussion every hour

Pricing

Free of cost until your earnings from the software jump above $100k a year. No royalties paid to Unity

Free to use until you earn $3k every four months, after which you are required to pay 5 percent of your revenue as royalty to Unreal

 

In conclusion, Unity allows you to release on platforms that other engines don’t support. Thus, it is worth learning this complex game engine, especially for small companies targeting numerous platforms. In contrast, Unreal is perceived to be a better alternative if you are already an experienced developer and need a  graphically intensive performance. Unity has gained popularity among mobile game developers while its counterpart is popular for PC and console games. So, as you have probably figured out by now, the decision to use either of these two amazing VR engines depends on your skills, goals and vision for your virtual world. We hope you make the right choice and have a great gaming experience!