IF it’s good enough for gears of war…
You may have seen the very fancy reveal of Unreal Engine 5 the other day and if not click that link, because the demo they showed off looks glorious. I have played on my amazing new PC and it actually looks insane. As a huge fan of Unreal Engine 4 there is of course no question that we would eventually move to Unreal Engine 5 when it is properly released in 2022. But what if we moved earlier? Would that make sense? Absolutely not. But are we going to do it anyway? You clearly already know the answer to that question.
First things first, none of our currently released games will be converted to Unreal Engine 5 or anything bonkers like that. They will all be staying on 4.26 and eventually an upgrade to 4.27 might in order but that is it. What I have been thinking about are the new games. The prototypes I mentioned in a blog post a few months back. Should they switch development to Unreal Engine 5 ala The Coalition? Surely moving development to an unfinished engine that will no doubt change a whole lot before it releases, makes no sense? Surely I can just release something sooner and in a more stable state if I stick with Unreal Engine 4?
Well, yes. They are good points. The problem is the speed at which dev work is being done right now. It is, in a word, slow. Partly due to medium levels of motivation, mostly due to the fact I have started a new job and it is taking up a lot of my brainpower. This is why I feel like switching to UE5 actually might make sense, I am currently developing the new projects at a slow pace and this means that I can develop them alongside UE5 and release them at some point next year. Now that does also mean we won’t be releasing anything new this year but given we are almost halfway through it that was probably on the cards already.
The other thing UE5 has done is give me a huge boost of motivation, so much so that I started rebuilding The Nightwatchman (which was barely anything, to begin with) in UE5 and have actually made great progress just getting a level together. This is how I see myself working, getting the basic building blocks in place over the next few months before spending the rest of the year polishing and refining things ahead of the proper UE5 release. Also, it would just be cool to have a game all ready to go when Epic finally unleashes it.
Then there is of course the fact that I still have work to do on the existing games. None are perfect yet, they need tidying up or new features adding before I will be happy. The remainder of 2021 and early 2022 are then starting to take shape. Spend my time polishing and finally actually finishing the existing games, all in Unreal Engine 4. Alongside this, slowly develop new projects (The Nightwatchman and Danger Tank specifically) in Unreal Engine 5 and have them either done or very close to being done for when the engine actually releases in 2022.
Of course, there is a risk in this. Upgrades to the early access version of UE5 might break some of my work. I could have to totally redo things. But I see this all as part of the learning experience with UE5, plus I hope that sort of thing will be kept to a minimum as my games are relatively simple. But we shall see how it all goes. Already I have changed my process with creating and modifying meshes as the Mesh Tool I rely on is not compatible with UE5 so I am using Blender a lot more, which has actually been great. The ‘Send to Unreal’ plugin still works and I have actually really grown to like that workflow.
With The Nightwatchman I have started over from scratch, but what about Danger Tank? Well, rather than start from scratch I have gone through the incredibly simple process of simply upgrading the project to Unreal Engine 5. Honestly, it probably took me 15 minutes including rebuilding it to ensure everything was running smoothly and the proof can be seen below with Danger Tank in the UE5 editor. It runs exactly the same as before, with no errors at all and so all further development will now take place in UE5.
Last year was supposed to be the one where all the games were finished off. But then Covid happened. This year was also supposed to be that but a new job and horrible lack of motivation have stifled that so far. This plan I feel will be the final stab at it, those old games will get no further major upgrades from January 1st, 2022 and so I need to get cracking and get them sorted. But also while building cool new games as I am never not going to be doing that.
So yeah, TLDR; moving development of the new projects to Unreal Engine 5 because I can and the current suite of games will be getting a final round of updates over the next few months. Lovely stuff.