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Unreal Engine vs three.js: What are the differences?

Introduction:

1. Performance: The most notable difference between Unreal Engine and three.js is their performance. Unreal Engine is known for its high performance, especially in rendering graphics and handling complex game physics, making it a preferred choice for creating high-end, visually stunning games. On the other hand, three.js, being a JavaScript library, may lag behind Unreal Engine in terms of performance due to the limitations of web technologies.

2. Ease of Use: Unreal Engine provides a more comprehensive and user-friendly integrated development environment (IDE) compared to three.js. This IDE offers a range of tools, such as a visual scripting system (Blueprints), material editor, and animation tools, that simplifies the game development process. In contrast, three.js primarily focuses on providing a lightweight and minimalistic library for creating 3D graphics on the web, which may require a higher level of expertise to work with compared to Unreal Engine.

3. Platform Compatibility: Unreal Engine supports a wide range of platforms, including PC, consoles, and mobile devices, allowing developers to create games for various devices easily. three.js, being a web-based library, is limited to browsers that support WebGL, potentially restricting the platforms on which the created content can be accessed, particularly on older browsers or devices that do not support WebGL.

4. Licensing: Unreal Engine follows a different licensing model compared to three.js. Unreal Engine requires developers to pay royalties based on the revenue generated from the games created using the engine. In contrast, three.js is an open-source library released under the MIT license, allowing developers to use it freely without any licensing fees or revenue-sharing obligations.

5. Community and Support: Unreal Engine has a large and active community of developers, providing access to various resources, tutorials, and forums for assistance in game development. In comparison, while three.js also has a dedicated community, it may not be as extensive or well-established as Unreal Engine's community, which could impact the availability of support and resources for developers using the library.

6. Environment and Ecosystem: Unreal Engine offers a robust ecosystem that includes a marketplace for assets, plugins, and templates, allowing developers to enhance their projects with ready-made resources. On the other hand, three.js may require developers to rely more on custom coding and external tools for additional functionalities, as it does not have a centralized marketplace or ecosystem like Unreal Engine.

In Summary, Unreal Engine stands out for its high performance, comprehensive IDE, and wide platform compatibility, while three.js is favored for its open-source nature, simplicity, and accessibility for web-based 3D graphics.

Decisions about three.js and Unreal Engine
norlin
Software Engineer / Game Developer at Norlin Games · | 7 upvotes · 87K views

When I started to learn game development, I've tried to use Unity multiple times because it's the most popular option. But never get it worked because of the clunky UI which is very hard to understand for a new user. After some time, I've decided to try UE4 despite there was a lot of rumors that it's "heavy" or requires an AAA team. And suddenly it clicked, everything works as I expecting, UI is clear and much more powerfull, no need to build custom tools to work on the game itself. Blueprints are very helpful for beginners, C++ has a lot of "syntax-sugar" - macroses, a lot of convenient in-engine types for everything. Later while working with Unreal, I've realized it has very consistent roadmap with constant improvements and adding new features. At the same time, each major version update is painless so you can upgrade your project during development to get new features. UE4 is free to use with the full list of features and you only have to pay royalty after getting your first $1 million from the project (and that's just the default case, you can always discuss custom license with an upfront fee, if you want to).

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Arthur Osipyan
Software Engineer at Value Industry · | 2 upvotes · 84.4K views

I chose Unity over Unreal Engine because Unity has a more user friendly UI for beginners looking to learn game development. Additionally, as someone who uses a lot of online resources to learn new languages and tools, I found a lot of tutorials covering game development with Unity as the core engine. This doesn't mean Unreal is not a great choice for game development, I just personally found learning game development much smoother with the amount of resources available with Unity.

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Pros of three.js
Pros of Unreal Engine
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    • 10
      C++
    • 6
      Blueprints
    • 5
      PBR
    • 4
      Suitable for any projects
    • 4
      Source Available
    • 3
      Convenient and modern UI
    • 1
      Most Popular Game engine

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    Cons of three.js
    Cons of Unreal Engine
      Be the first to leave a con
      • 6
        Heavy
      • 1
        A lot of "heaviness" myths around

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      - No public GitHub repository available -

      What is three.js?

      It is a cross-browser JavaScript library and Application Programming Interface used to create and display animated 3D computer graphics in a web browser.

      What is Unreal Engine?

      It is a game engine that helps you make games. It is made up of several components that work together to drive the game. Its massive system of tools and editors allows you to organize your assets and manipulate them to create the gameplay for your game.

      Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

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      What companies use Unreal Engine?
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      What tools integrate with three.js?
      What tools integrate with Unreal Engine?

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      What are some alternatives to three.js and Unreal Engine?
      WebGL
      It is integrated completely into all the web standards of the browser allowing GPU accelerated usage of physics and image processing and effects as part of the web page canvas. Its elements can be mixed with other HTML elements.
      BabylonJS
      A complete JavaScript framework for building 3D games with HTML5, WebGL, WebVR and Web Audio.
      Unity
      Unity is the ultimate game development platform. Use Unity to build high-quality 3D and 2D games, deploy them across mobile, desktop, VR/AR, consoles or the Web, and connect with loyal and enthusiastic players and customers.
      D3.js
      It is a JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data. Emphasises on web standards gives you the full capabilities of modern browsers without tying yourself to a proprietary framework.
      PlayCanvas
      It is an open-source 3D game engine/interactive 3D application engine alongside a proprietary cloud-hosted creation platform that allows for simultaneous editing from multiple computers via a browser-based interface.
      See all alternatives