Yes we have changed engines many times to get where we are today. We get asked often why did we switch from Unity3d and Unreal then back from Unreal to Unity3d. So I thought I would take a little time and go over the reasoning for the switch.
What game engines did we try before Unity3d and Unreal?
When we first started all the game engines you had to pay to use. This was way before Unity3d and Unreal allowed you to use their game engine free. We found an open source MMO game engine Multiverse. It was a huge pain to set up and even to use. But it was free and being the very first game engine we didn’t know better. It was only after we got fed up that we decided that it was time to look into the paid options.
At the time Torque was the cheapest out there, unity3d looked like a toy and unreal was way out of our price range. So we decided to go with Torque 3d. We managed to get it up and working with a client server setup without to much issue, and it was not long before we started hitting the limits of the engine. The huge issue came right after renewing our license for a huge fee. It wasn’t even a week after we paid the game engine became open source and all the features that we paid for became free to use. We tried calling, emailing, and even posting about this. We would of been happy with any kind of reply back, a sorry about your bad luck. Needless to say we stopped using Torque and moved on.
The time we migrated Unity3d just started a free license level for developers. When we first started using unity we couldn’t believe how much simpler it was to use. Overall despite the reason that we had to change it was for the best. At the time we were trying to make Tectuma a web based MMORPG and were using uLink to do the network calls. It was about this time that Chrome decided remove all plugins. Other browsers followed suit after that and the unity3d web browsers followed suit. That is about the time that unreal went free to use and also had HTML5 support.
Our first impressions of unreal was WOW look at how cool it makes our game look. I can’t say it wasn’t a wonderful experience because it was. It was only when we got further down our work flow we started having issues. We had one file that no matter what we did when the file was open and saved it would cause the editor to crash. Deleting the file and making a blank one didn’t even help. After it crashed the editor you could open the editor backup and everything would work just fine till the next time you open that file. This wouldn’t be a big deal but it became a pain fast. The other issue we had was placing prefabs in a nested setup started causing real issues. So we decided to head back to Unity3d.
Back to unity3d.
The entire reason we were trying to do a HTML base MMORPG was to make it easy for people to play with no install. About the time we found out about spatialos.improbable.io. This is where we are today.
I like both unity3d and unreal but it comes down to the right tool for the project that you are working on. For us it turns out unity3d is the best fit. I don’t regret changing game engines so much because we have learned so much along the way. It has shaped how Tectuma will work and also gave us good insight on what we can and can’t do. Sure if we would of stuck with one engine we may or may not be further down the road or maybe we would of run into a brick wall and couldn’t progress. In any case what we gained was far more than what set us back.