Following the 2016 successful launch of Lineage II: Revolution in its native South Korea, Netmarble Games released a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) version to the global market in May of 2017. It earned $176,000,000 (USD) the first month.
If you ask the players, Revolution owes its phenomenal success to its photoreal 3D imagery, smooth gameplay, and intense VR experience. If you ask Netmarble, they will credit the game’s earnings to the world’s most successful game engine — Unreal Engine 4.
Unreal Engine 4 s not just a game engine, it is a complete suit of game development tools for creating cutting-edge photoreal 3D VR games.
If you intend to hire a Unreal game developer, knowing the right questions to ask can mean the difference between a game that sells and a game that sinks. In this article, we will look at 7 questions that will help you make the right hiring decision.
How Experienced are You in Unreal Game Development?
While Unreal was developed as a game engine for first-person shooter games, it has evolved into the most successful game engine in the world. Even so, not all Unreal engine developers are game developers. The power and versatility of Unreal also makes it a popular development platform for automotive and architectural visualizations, high-fidelity simulations, VR projects, Hollywood-quality film productions, and numerous other non-gaming applications.
For your Unreal game development project, you want to be sure that the developer you hire has sufficient experience in Unreal game development. It is alright if they use the platform for development of non-gaming applications, also, but gaming should be their core competency.
Ask About Game Genres
It is not enough to know that the developer is a game developer. They must develop the type of game you wish to build. If your project calls for a VR 3D MMO game, you might not want to hire a developer whose specialty is educational game development.
All good game developers are gamers at heart. Ask the prospect what kind of games they like to play, and — more importantly — what kind of games they have developed. Any game programmer you hire for your project should have a portfolio of similar products.
Are You Developing in Unreal 4.16?
The May 2017 release of Unreal version 4.16 includes a wealth of powerful new features that can enhance the gameplay experience. Among the new features that Epic Games has added include the following:
- new rendering and animation features
- performance improvements that make games play more smoothly on mobile and console platforms
- a Volumetric Fog feature that renders more-realistic smoke and fog effects
- new dynamic lightweight rigid body and low level cloth simulation tools
- multiple improvements to the animation system
- doubling of Garbage Collection speed
- improved UMG widget creation and UI rendering speeds
- streamlined VR Mode tools
- support for Nintendo Switch, including full UE4 source code for approved developers
- default DirectX 12 renderer for Xbox One
In all, Unreal 4.16 includes 160 improvements that streamline development and enhance the gameplay experience. If you want your game to benefit from the new features, the developer you hire must know how to use them. Don’t expect your developer to have completed projects using the just-released feature set, but you should expect them to be incorporating the new features into new projects.
Do You Work Alone or With a Team?
Regardless of the type of project you need to outsource , there is one question you should always ask: Do you work alone or with a team?
Although there are many unreal engine developers for hire who provide excellent services to the gaming industry, there are some considerations you should be aware of before hiring a lone developer.
- First, does the developer possess all of the various skills necessary for creating commercially-viable games? Very few do. Even with powerful development tools such as the Unreal platform, development of cutting-edge VR games involves a multitude of disciplines, including creation of user stories, graphics design, C++ or C# coding, testing, deployment strategies, and more.
- What process does the programmer follow for creating the product? While it is difficult for individual programmers to follow a strict guideline from project start to finish, most software development teams adhere to the principles set forth by Agile. Agile offers numerous benefits for both developer and the client, and leads to greater efficiency, transparency, and flexibility that are possible only with a development team.
- What happens if the freelancer gets sick or has an emergency? Usually, there is no backup plan and projects are severely impacted.
An Alternative to Hiring Freelance Developers
Even though your game may not have an AAA budget, you can still enjoy the benefits of an Agile-based development team. By careful selection of an outsource development company, you can avoid the perils of placing your project in the hands of just one person. And you can have a professionally-developed product at an affordable price.
What Platforms Do You Support?
Gamers increasingly expect the games they play to be cross-platform compatible. Not everyone has the same device and gamers like to turn their friends on to the same games they enjoy. Furthermore, some games play better on certain devices because they exploit the platform-specific features those devices offer. For these reasons, the Unreal Engine 4 supports a huge number of platforms, including the following:
- Windows PC
- PlayStation 4
- Xbox One
- Mac OS X
- Android VR
- HTC Vive
- Oculus Rift
- PlayStation VR
- Google VR/Daydream
- Samsung Gear VR
This is significant because it enables you to deploy your game to any device or combination of devices you may choose. If your game is to be a commercial success, your developer must not be limited to developing for just one or two platforms, as many are. They must be capable of targeting all the platforms you pick with equal competency,
What Kind of Experience Do You Have in VR?
Not only does Unreal allow game creators to produce VR games of incredible quality, but the editor, itself, can run in VR Mode with a WYSIWYG interface. In order for your developer to fully utilize the Unreal platform, or to create a commercial-quality game, they must be comfortable working in a VR environment.
Ask your prospective developer to explain their experience working with virtual reality. If such experience is limited, move on. You can not expect the game developer to satisfy a VR-savvy game audience without, first, being a VR developer.
How Experienced Are You in C++?
Knowledge of C++ may not be crucial for unreal engine development, but it can certainly be helpful. The Unreal engine is written in C++, so knowing code can help Unreal engine developers tweak their applications—especially commercial-level games. Code knowledge is so important in Unreal engine development that Epic provides the full source code for UE4.
Many applications require C++ code outside of the Unreal platform, so hiring a developer who is C++ fluent can have big payoffs in the final product.
What is Your Experience in Mobile?
The mobile game market is projected to reach $108.9-billion in 2017. With market earnings that exceed the GDP of many small countries, it’s fair to assume mobile gaming is a wise investment.
Making sure that you get your share of that market begins with hiring a developer who knows the landscape. Not all game programmers are proficient at mobile development, but the one you hire had better be.
Inquire of your prospective game developer about what experience they have in developing mobile applications. Can they demonstrate expertise in writing mobile games and in deploying them? Is their experience limited to one or two platforms? And most important, do they have mobile games in their portfolio that have actually shown a profit for the owner?
Today, we should not need to ask about mobile competency, but you would be surprised how many developers are lacking in this vital area.
How AppReal-VR Can Help?
The future of cutting-edge mobile gaming belongs to visionaries who not only know what the gaming market wants, but how to deliver it. UE4 VR development is a part of the strategy for anyone serious about penetrating the mobile VR market.
AppReal-VR are Unreal engine experts. We specialize in offshore development of mobile gaming and VR applications. With six R&D labs across Western Europe, we have the resources to take your mobile game from concept to market and beyond. Our development teams follow the Agile process, ensuring maximum transparency and flexibility for your project.
Why not contact us today for a no-cost consultation?