Unity 3D killers?

So there’s plenty of hype being pushed around the interwebs of which engine or framework is best to help build the next best app/game for the iPhone. Point blank, Unity 3D is the best! Now if your one of those l33t developers out there who belittles developers that are using frameworks & engines instead of getting dirty with Objective-C, I say screw you and get off your fake high horse. Although Objective-C isn’t all that complicated, it’s not nearly that easy either, especially when it comes to developing games for the iPhone. Also as a second note, plenty of gaming companies use gaming engines for one of the simple facts that it wouldn’t be cost efficient to reinvent the wheel when it’s staring right back at you. So as an Indie developer trying to compete with big companies, these gaming engines may be worth it. It’s an investment. So if your game is crappy, it doesn’t matter what engine you used, it’s still going to be crappy. However if you have a solid idea(s) and plan to invest the time needed, it’ll eventually pay itself off.

With all that said let me get back to my point, here are some of the top ‘Indie friendly’ game engines out there; Unity 3D vs Shiva vs Torque. Now my first initial thought will of course be that Unity 3D is the best, as previously stated, however this is a very biased statement. Not because I’m on the developmental team, but because I’m now invested into it { don’t forget to download Feed Meh!! }, so it better be the best for good while. Nevertheless, after actually reviewing the other competition out there I’m sure you’ll be agreeing alongside with me too.

Below are a few pro’s & con’s for each engine:

Unity 3D

http://unity3d.com/unity/features/iphone-publishing

iphone-feature

Pros:

  • Feature Packed!
  • Full support for native Objective C (for whatever reason if you needed/wanted it)
  • 3 scripting language options: JavaScript, C#, and a dialect of Python called Boo
  • Scripts are compiled to native ARM assembler code during build
  • I already have a license

Cons:

  • Price! Indie+ iPhone: $600 |  Pro + iPhone: $3,000
  • Forced splash screens for Indie licenses
  • No 2d platform

Thoughts: The price and the forced splash screen almost insticivly makes me want to say no, however when you dig deeper you’ll see a solid engine that’s only getting better & better. In addition, it’s more approachable, and has an easier learning curve because of the 3 separate language options they allow you to use.


Shiva

http://www.stonetrip.com/

shiva-editor

Pros:

  • iPhone publishing for FREE!
  • Price; Indie: $250 |  Pro: $720
  • No forced splash screens

Cons:

  • Works on Mac OS under parallels
  • Lua scripting language, which (most likely) wont be used anywhere else
  • Language is interpreted
  • small(er) userbase and still a bit rough around the edges

Thoughts: Shiva isn’t even available for the mac yet. So although its really enticing with its price, it’s not really meant for the iPhone. You’ll pay for it with the longer development time unless you buy or already own both a PC & mac, to switch back-and-forth.


Torque

http://www.garagegames.com/products/consoles

torque-2d-iphone

tge-iphone

Pros:

  • Both 2D & 3D platform
  • Developer store; buy source code and/or game assets
  • Feature Packed!

Cons:

  • Price! Indie 3D: $900 Indie 2D: $1,000 | Pro 3D: $2,750/ $4,750 Pro 2D: $2,750/ $3,500
  • Individual prices for 3D & 2D engines
  • TorqueScript is a C++ like scripting language

Thoughts: 1st the price is just outrageous. It seems as it it just keeps on climbing. 2nd, although Torque does have plenty of features, it’s not really a ‘pro’ for me simply because it’s written using a language similar to C++ which doesn’t make for smooth learning curve.


Conclusion

So there you have it, the Top 3 iPhone gaming engines compared to each other. You can make up your own mind, and every situation is different, but I’d still have to say that Unity 3D is still above the rest. If your already knee deep with C++ & or Objective C, and you don’t mind loosing $900-$4,740 ( I say loosing because, as any investment is made there is always that chance of not breaking even, and loosing your investment ) then Torque may be for you. It has plenty of features, and a pretty solid community. However if your not familiar or fluent with an Object Oriented Language already, and maybe you know a few scripting languages and you want to develop something for the iPhone but Shiva‘s low price is calling to you, I say don’t do it yet. If your targeting the iPhone, why would you develop on a PC? And if your crazy enough to run it through an emulator, than you have every right to lose your investment. Nothing against them, the upgrades are looking great as I’ve been following them since I started researching for an engine to use before I bought into Unity 3D ; but it’s still a bit too rough. With all that said, go check out Unity’s demo & I’m sure you’ll love it. Oh, and did I mention that I made a game using Unity 3D, Feed Meh!! Ah, I did actually. Silly me.

Let me know what you think? Love Unity too? Hate it? Think Shiva is going to tear the market right open? Let me know and sound-off.

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