Samstag, 8. September 2012

IMHO: Why is nearly nobody using Unigine - comments by me

Why is nearly nobody (currently 24 projects listed: Showcase and more to come) using the Unigine engine?
It has nice visuals as demonstrated by Unigines benchmarks and it runs on most platforms. There are some games that show that the engine can compete with others. But what about the editor and tools and documentation? You can find some screenshots and a few videos but then there is the end of knowledge.

Looking at other engines during some comments on Phoronix in the end the question turns and becomes:
Why should somebody use the Ungine engine?

Here are now the two comments I made at Phoronix:

Posted by sgtGarcia:
That's why:
1. Unity - free version ( not to comparable to full version but something to test with )
2. CryEngine - full version for testing & non-commercial use
3. Unreal Engine - If I'm not mistaken - full version for testing & non-commercial use
I can download each of them, test them, check work pipeline, etc.

Unigine - I see that there is website where You can request Evaluation Kit
but I think they will give it only to companies not single developers & people who want to learn ( but who knows ).

How I see it:
- hobbyist/amateur have small/zero interest in Unigine, that comes from lack of a free for non-commercial SDK;
- indie small interest in Unigine comes from lack of free SDK and/or lack of documentation/tutorials & probably licensing/pricing;
- small companies - could probably target Unigine but they already have well documented, used in at least class A+ games to choose from ( CryEngine, Unity, UDK );
- big companies avoid Unigine - because most of them already got big, massive engine.

So they are closing they own door from developers that's already on the market & from future developers that cannot access SDK & learn it.

Comment by me:
You say it.

Just to add my experience:

1. Unity free version is a bit pain in the ass if you want to make something better but for lots of small things it's enough. And you can sell it:
" Can we sell games and make money with the free version of Unity?
Yes! You certainly can-- and without royalties nor paying any revenue share! If your game is a commercial success, we hope you'll upgrade to Unity Pro! :)"
There are lots of people using it and the documentation is good. So if you need help you nearly always find something.

2. CryEngine - full version for non-commercial use. And if you are Indie you can sell it for cheap:
"We’ll offer a royalty-only license model for Independent Developers, where Crytek require only 20% of the developer’s revenues from the commercial launch of their game."

The visuals are awesome – but from what I heard from some people trying to use it was a real pain if you want to do something else then what is there. There is not a big community and the documentation is not so great. But hey, you get awesome visuals for free.

3. Unreal Engine - you get nearly everything of the real version and can use it for non-commercial use. And selling is also not a problem:
"He would need to purchase our $99 license and then pay us royalties of 25% of his earnings after the first $50,000 he makes."

A big community and a big documentation. There is everything you need.

4. Unigine -
" UNIGINE SDK is available on a per-case basis (an average deal is about 30,000 USD per project). "
"Please take into account that we provide Evaluation Kit only to companies working on commercial projects."
I also wrote them some mails and got answers: No evalKit, no free license, not even for student projects, nothing.
There isn't even an SDK for OilRush (their game) which might have worked like UDK or such.
Some Indies won a license some time ago but nothing has shown up yet. Instead some are simply throwing it away with good reason:]

So to sum up:
For nearly everything you can use UDK.
If you need it simple and have less expactations use Unity.
If you wanna clone Crysis with more awesome visuals use CryEngine.
If you are on Linux you can choose from lots of other engines:
Blender Game Engine is getting better. Crystal Space had a nice new release lately. Ogre3D with some extensions. iodoom3/idTech4 with some dhewm3 and glsl.
With SourceEngine comming to Linux I guess they also release there SourceSDK for Linux.

Why would you choose Unigine?
Probably when you have lots of money and tried lots of engines that all sucked for you.

On my university game designers and computer scientists are having classes in Unity and UDK and are makeing games of lots of semesters with them.
From the beginning they are trained to use at least one of those two engines.
On new projects they always want to stick with the engine they already know.

PS: If you really want to do something with Unigine Engine
you can find really old GPL versions from Unigine engine on here:

Posted by chelobaka:
Why Unigine is so unpopular in game developer circles when its creators claim its superiority and low price? Something is wrong when devs choose Unity for Linux support when this support only in a state of baking.

 Comment by me:
Easy answer:
You get a free light version of Unity3D with which you can do like everything, even sell games. The Pro version costs about $1500 per developer.
Unigine costs around $30000 per project.
So you would need 30000/1500 = 20 developer to compensate this price.
An Indie studio doesn't have so many developer.
Even those bigger studios crowedfunding on kickstarter and those alike are not 20 devs.

Not to mention that you can do more then one project with one Unity3D Pro license.

Also not to mention the also freely available documentation and lots of tutorials and snippets for Unity3D while there is just some hidden intern stuff for Unigine.

The Linux part in Unity3D that now everyone is praising and willing to put out for there games is just a marketing gag.
The export for different platforms in Unity3D is really simple. Now that Unity3D gets Linux output (which is not that hard to provide considering the technologies it's build on, like Mono, C#, JS, OpenGL) every little studio can easily put out their games on Linux.
If those Linux support wouldn't be in, they probably still would have used Unity3D but no hype on the Linux people would have been.

The Unity3D Editor still doesn't run native or in Wine on Linux. And there is nothing said about it being able to do so with version 4. So devs will need to do stuff on Windows or Mac. They don't care about Linux else they would have taken another engine (a lot listed here: If I care about Linux I would run it and then I also would like to dev on it. So I choose my tools according to my platform. Those people don't.

So: Why choosing Unigine?
Little studios don't have the money and won't get crow-knowledge as with Unity3D and UDK.
Studios which care about Linux already are using different engines like HPL by Frictional Games or DarkPlaces and id Tech 4 by Kot-In-Action.
Bigger studios are using less Unity3D and more UDK because of e.g. features. There is also CryEngine for free.
And the next step are inHouse engines which are used by even bigger studios.

One big question:
Why should someone use Unigine?