Turning to a new game engine can be highly costly for your studio, Sproing warns.
The Austrian studio’s head of console Dietmar Houser warned GDC Europe attendees against dropping their chosen technology during his talk ‘Licence an engine or create your own?’.
He said that one of the crucial decisions behind selecting an engine is cost vs investment.
“This might sound like the same thing, but cost is money that is gone forever while investment is money spent to make more money,” he explained.
“Switching engines is what kills all of your investments. Your costs are gone, so whatever you pick as your strategy, make sure your stick to it for a while.”
He pointed to the well-documented troubles of Duke Nukem forever as a good example of the issues switching engines mid-development can cause, but added that it can still harm a studio if they switch engines between projects as it may require the team to be retrained.
Houser added that upgrading your chosen third-party engine – from Unreal Engine 3 to 4, for example – might not be as easy as it sounds, as it may involve rewriting game code and redoing assets.
Finally, he urged developers to pay close attention to the company that runs their chosen engine if they opt for a third-party solution. Renderware, for example, was widely used but when parent Canon decided to sell it to EA, updates for the engine stopped unless you were one of the publisher’s EA studio.
It was this incident that prompted Sproing to develop its own engine.