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Programming Games

Switching Game Engines Halfway Through Development 127

An anonymous reader writes: Third-party game engines are wonderful creations, allowing developers to skip a lengthy and complicated part of the development process and spend more time on content creation. But each engine has its own strengths and weaknesses, and they may not be apparent at the beginning of a project. If you realize halfway through that your game doesn't work well on the engine you picked, what do you do? Jeff LaMarche describes how he and his team made the difficult decision to throw out all their work with Unity and start over with Unreal. He describes some technical limitations, like Unity's 32-bit nature, and some economic ones, like needing to pay $500 per person for effective version control. He notes that Unreal Engine 4 has its problems, too, but the biggest reason to switch was this: "Our team just wasn't finding it easy to collaborate. We weren't gelling as a cohesive team and we often felt like the tools were working against us."
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Switching Game Engines Halfway Through Development

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  • Unity is 64 bit now (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Friday August 15, 2014 @07:18PM (#47682153) Homepage Journal

    Kerbal Space Program (a bleeding edge physics sandbox game built in Unity that includes orbital space travel) had unofficial 64 bit support back in... February '14? And now has official 64-bit support.
    $500/developer is pretty cheap, did you buy the developers $250 Chromebook "workstations", too?
    Anonymous poster slamming Unity and praising Unreal 4 right after the Unreal team announces huge cuts due to lack of engine uptake, and Unity flying high right now reeks of ad-placement.

  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @05:23AM (#47683687) Journal

    Prey and Duke Nukem Forever fall into the exact same category. Games which were pitched as "we will make the content on somebody else's engine", but which felt they had to play catch-up on engine tech.

    When id released Quake 2, they caused an absolute cataclysm for many developers. In terms of looks, it was way ahead of the Quake 1 engine, particularly for people with new-fangled 3d video cards. Lots of people were out there making games on the Quake 1 engine, with contracts that gave them cheap access to the Quake 2 engine once available. The assumption had always been that porting from one to the other would be easy.

    It wasn't.

    So several studios, including those making Daikatana, Prey, Half-Life and Duke Nukem Forever had a choice between putting out a game on the old engine or restarting a lot of their work from scratch on the new one.

    The ones who went for the latter option ended up in engine hell. Only Valve came through it reasonably well. They took a hit on Half-Life's release date, but basically hacked around the Quake 1 engine to replicate some Q2 features and to make the (highly successful) bastardisation that became known as the Half-Life engine.

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