UE4 Just went FREE!

  • Tiger Hat

    So, just as you guys have started to get in bed with Unity, UE4 just got Unreal. :D


    They just went free, (this was from their previous $19/month). They still do 5% gross royalties, however you get full c++ source and powerful tools. They also have a system for 2D as well as in the latest release, HTML5 export support (not that that matters so much anymore).

    Anyway, something to consider because Unity is still $1500 per seat for pro + another $1500 per seat per export platform (ios, android, etc). Even the $19/mo wasn’t a huge barrier, however Unity does offer “standard” version for free.

    It’ll be interesting to see if Unity will still be considered (as it sort of is now) the “defacto” indie game dev engine.

  • Patron

    For those that only care about 2D mobile games, Corona SDK went free too :

  • LDG

    Very interesting! The 5% is still pretty expensive, though. If we had made AWL using Unreal, 5% of sales after Steam’s cut would still be more that a Unity Pro license for both Matt and me.

    I don’t think Unity’s monthly pricing scheme is that great either. $75/month and you must subscribe in year increments. It’d only take 20 months before the $1,500 upfront license became a better deal.

  • Patron

    @geoffb 5% is pricey, but you left out a very important detail in your quick assessment:

    • How much time would you have saved if you used Unreal?

    If Unreal saves you 20% on development time, then that 5% may be cheap. You might have a better game in the end too.

  • LDG

    @dannagle said:

    If Unreal saves you 20% on development time, then that 5% may be cheap. You might have a better game in the end too.

    That’s true. There’s probably a decent productivity gain vs our custom tools, but I wonder what the difference between Unreal and Unity would be? There’s a pretty large cost gap there.

    In general, a percentage based royalty is going to be the least ideal scenario for developers in the long run. We already have to give Valve a large percentage of sales; I don’t want to give away any more slices of pie! Especially if there are cheaper alternatives with similar productivity.

  • Patron

    @geoffb said:

    Especially if there are cheaper alternatives with similar productivity.

    And there is the problem. I have no idea. Which tool solves your problem easier? Did you dismiss Unreal outright because of the $20/mo before? Unreal might actually be friendlier to 2D since that is your goal.

    I think it might be worth a day investigating before you get too deep in Unity… or just stick with your Unity investigation. In Lostcast 101, @richtaur said (paraphrasing), “Just pick an engine and make a game!”

  • LDG

    I hadn’t dismissed Unreal outright previously. In a perfect world I’d spend at least a week trying it out. I’ve been really enjoying Unity, which isn’t to say there aren’t other great options. But I do find myself struggling on whether to try out some other stuff or dig deeper and push towards making/releasing games.

    I think that Unreal would need to be much more productive than Unity for the 5% royalty to be acceptable.

  • LDG

    Wow I heard about this so late! Travel for just a day or two and you’re way behind…! Interesting to see UE fast-following Unity – recently they announced C# support, too.

    Really though it comes down to the price tag. That’s 5% of GROSS, even. That might be something like 3x more expensive just for a moderately successful game like AWL, and it would increase with the success of the game. For example if AWL sold 10x as much, the cost of the engine balloons up to 30x as much as Unity would cost. Could kinda put a wind sail on our financial stability.

    Still, awesome to see more game dev tools becoming even more accessible!

  • Patron


    Since you are a fan of small Macbooks, this tidbit might interest you. I installed Unreal at home just to play with it. I got their platformer demo to compile and run on my iPad with little fuss.

    However… launching the editor it had a pop-up saying at least a quad-core is recommended. I agree with that statement. My Macbook was grinding the entire time and fans blazing while my editor was open. I have a pretty recent 13’’ Macbook though it isn’t heavily spec’d.

    You may end up sticking with Unity just for performance reasons.

  • On My 2012 Macbook Air the Unreal editor runs at about 0.5 fps.
    So, yes: you’d need a desktop class machine: at least quad core and 8GB RAM.

  • Patron

    You know guys… This is great and all, but…


    P.S: Looks like Unreal actually has a Linux version, but it isn’t just a matter of downloading a .deb package, you know.

  • Tiger Hat

    5% gross is pretty bad, tho one other thing is that it’s after the first 3K

    “When you ship a game or application, you pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter.”

    So for indies it can still be pretty high, tho once you hit the phase where your game is pulling in less it gets better. I imagine that Epic is doing this because they used to charge like 50-100K per title back in the day to AAA studios.

    It’s all pretty much Tiger-hattery until you do it and find out I suppose. For example, had you built AWL using Unreal (or Unity for that matter) you’d have more distribution options than Steam and perhaps the added revenue would outweigh the long term cost.

    One thing that is highly likely is that (prolly with either Unity or Unreal) the performance issues would be almost gone. (not the dev machine ones)

    I haven’t played with the Unreal Engine myself since making mods for Unreal Tournament 2004, so I’m playing around with it now and it’s pretty friggin awesome. They’ve made even the C++ “easy”. We’ll see as I go deeper how far into the weeds I get. Plus they’ve got a whole “Visual Scripting” system that is supposed to enable game designers to easily wire up all the C++ classes.

    One thing is that their marketplace isn’t nearly as full of stuff as Unity’s tho I guess they just recently opened it. That and the stuff that is on there is “high quality” which pretty much means “super high poly and expensive”. I suppose they’ll add more down the line, and of course you can just buy stuff from Unity’s asset store and use it in Unreal (well except scripting assets).

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