When comparing LÖVE vs Unreal Engine 4, the Slant community recommends LÖVE for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” LÖVE is ranked 2nd while Unreal Engine 4 is ranked 16th. The most important reason people chose LÖVE is:
Lua is an embeddable scripting language designed to be lightweight, fast yet powerful. It is used in major titles such as Civilization as well as a lot of indie games. Lua is very popular because it provides "meta language" features. You can implement object-oriented structures, or pure procedural functions, etc. It has a very simple C interface, and gives the engine developer a lot of flexibility in the language itself. Artists tend to love Lua too because it's very approachable, with plain and forgiving syntax. Lua is free open-source software, distributed under a very liberal license (the well-known MIT license).
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Uses the fantastic Lua for scripting
Lua is an embeddable scripting language designed to be lightweight, fast yet powerful. It is used in major titles such as Civilization as well as a lot of indie games.
Lua is very popular because it provides "meta language" features. You can implement object-oriented structures, or pure procedural functions, etc. It has a very simple C interface, and gives the engine developer a lot of flexibility in the language itself.
Artists tend to love Lua too because it's very approachable, with plain and forgiving syntax.
Lua is free open-source software, distributed under a very liberal license (the well-known MIT license).
Pro Active and very friendly community
The LÖVE forums are extremely helpful. With people checking the forums every day, it won't take long to receive answer to your questions on the Support board, receive feedback on games you post in the Projects board, as well as have a chat about the LÖVE engine while learning tricks to use in the very active General board.
If you need an immediate answer though, or just want to chat, there is a very active and helpful IRC channel.
Supports Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android and iOS.
Pro Great for prototyping
You can learn the basics very quickly and start making simple games in no time, even if you have no previous Lua knowledge. If you're a little experienced with LÖVE, you can prototype a 2D game with it in no time.
Pro Open source and free
The LÖVE engine is licensed under The zlib/libpng License (which is very short and human readable) which allows you to use the source code and even modify it as long as you do not claim that the original source code is yours.
You can obtain the code at this bitbucket repository and even help fix bugs and participate in the development of LÖVE.
Pro Easy to understand and use
Lua2D handles loading the resources, reading input, playing sounds and displaying stuff on the screen. Only the logic is left for the developer to write. It also removes the overhead of having to use and learn a GUI game editor. All you need is a knowledge of Lua and your favourite text editor or IDE.
Pro Very good documentation
The LÖVE wiki provides full documentation of its easy to use Modules, which are conveniently located on the side bar of the wiki. It only takes seconds to find the module for love.keyboard, which provided a list of all functions along with arguments and examples where the function could be used.
Pro Many examples and libraries with source code
There are plenty of open source examples of games or components built by the community that are ready to use or learn from.
Pro Can develop within Android
It is possible to develop games directly on a tablet or cellphone with the Android system by using the experimental Android branch.
Pro Very good for education
That is a great tool for teaching novice programmers. Creating a game on LÖVE, you have to think about developing, not about the syntax of the language.
Pro Cute name
So much love.
Pro C++ and Lua one of the best languages for gamedev
Because all professionals in gamedev use C++, and Lua the fastest scripting lang.
Pro Free development license, including source code
The engine, including full access to source code, is licensed to developers for 5% royalty on resulting revenue if it exceeds $3000 per quarter.
Pro Dynamic global illumination with voxel cone tracing decreases the computational power needed
Voxel cone tracing is a similar algorithm to ray tracing, but uses thick rays instead of pixel thin rays to be able vastly decrease the amount of computational power needed.
Pro A visual scripting system for non-coders enables quick prototyping
Blueprints are authoring tools designed for non programmers so designers and other team members can help tweak and prototype. UE4's Blueprint scripts resemble flowcharts where each box represents a function or value, with connections between them representing program flow. This provides a better at-a-glance indication of game logic than a simple list of events, and makes complex behaviors easier to accomplish and games a lot faster to prototype.
Pro Developers have full control of the engine and source code
UE4 gives full access to the C++ source code allowing editing and upgrading anything in the system.
Pro Lots of resources to learn from
Epic provides multiple official video tutorials, lots of free example projects and content, an extensive wiki and regular streams showing how to use latest features.
Pro Powerful material/shader system
Allows a texture/material artist or VFX artist to create amazing effects from the ground up.
Pro Spectacular lighting visuals
Pro Active community
Forums have many active and friendly members that are quick to respond and help out. Even staff is very active on forums.
Pro Cross-platform editor and export
This engine exports for a big range of platforms including Linux. The editor can be run on Windows, MacOS, and Linux (Early Access).
Pro Fast compilation for quick iteration
Recompiling an entire game to test a small change takes up a lot of time. UE4 quickly compiles in seconds instead of minutes improving iteration time by an order of magnitude.
Pro Quick release-cycle
New feature releases can be commonly expected about once a month.
Pro AAA Ready
This is ready to make the next AAA game.
Pro Professional feature set for all aspects of game development
Almost everything a game developer wants has a deep and sophisticated tool waiting for them in UE4. No external plugins are needed to make powerful materials, FX, terrain, cinematics, gameplay logic, AI, animation graphs, post process effects, lighting etc.
Pro Realistic graphics
Pro Proven track record
Pro No coding experience needed
Con Not very powerful
The engine has very few modules and only the really required one, you'll have to do almost everything from scratch.
Con The community seems juvenile
For example, some of the library include names such as HUMP, LUBE, AnAL.
Con Documentation is very dry and technical
The site has plenty of tutorials, true, but they all read very technical, and explain very little. This might be too much for beginners, even for coding purposes, because of the fact that the specifics aren't explained well enough to learn effectively. The docs can be found frustrating to understand even the basics, such as tables or the like, because of how poorly they are explained, and how few examples are given before expecting you to be able to use them.
Con Absolutely no GUI (no graphical interface)
This has no graphical interface at all, you have to know how to read script in order to know what you're looking at. After you've written the script for everything, you compile it to see the result. It's a very poor way to create a game, given how even most professional tools out there give you a GUI to work with and debug on the go. The lack of a GUI slows down the work by ten-fold, and it's just an inefficient use of your time.
Con Very high build size
A blank project will build in to a minimum of 200 MB.
Compared to other engines, UE4 seems to perform various actions considerably slower. Actions like starting the engine, opening the editor, opening a project, rebuilding shaders, updating references, calculating lightmaps, saving projects, etc take long enough to get irritating and end up wasting precious development time.
Con Extremely long build times
Making a full rebuild, including engine can take a good 30minutes. If you plan to use Unreal professionally, you better get some licenses for Incredibuild as well.
Con No drawcall batching, performance is very bad on mobile
There's no dynamic batching support to minimize drawcalls. There's InstancedStaticmesh concept in UE4, but it's 3d only, functionally limited and requires hardware support which rules out most mobile devices.
Con Royalty based
5% of profits will go to Unreal after $3000 earned in a quarter.
Con Poor documentation
Most of the "documentation" for code is actually just automatically generated from the source. If you're interested in knowing how things are supposed to work, you must either go to their answers site or pay for UDN.
Often their examples won't even compile, since they were written for now outdated versions.
Con Hard engine for beginners
This engine not easy for beginners
Con Steep learning curve
Especially when compared to its primary competitor, Unity.
Con C++ - oriented development cycle: slow turn-around times
The Unreal Editor is the main place to do stuff (of course), so if someone wants to do a lot of C++ stuff, the compilation and linking turn-around times can be painful. Still they probably are quite fast in comparison to the provided featureset.. Still ,they are far from optimal.
Con C# not natively supported
UE4 does not support C# natively, but this can be achieved through MonoUE, although it requires using the MonoUE fork instead of UE itself.
Con They spend more time adding features than fixing existing ones
Con Poor quality assurance on their releases
After each release they almost immediately release a hotfix. And another one. And another one.
Con Extremely poorly designed
The code is a mess.
Everything is connected, a single Actor is 1500 bytes, because it contains a million things that Epic once needed in a game.
Inheritance for AActor: AActor > UObject > UObjectBaseUtility > UObjectBase
Con Tutorials do not go in-depth enough
The blueprint tutorial just teaches how to turn on a light when you press f.
Con Difficult for mac users
If you're installing it on mac, you simply download epic games launcher and watch it download nothing endlessly.
Con Terrible physics
Con Bad support
The epic games team only assists with billing and account issues, not bugs.
Con Frequent crashes
Often the editor crashes interrupting your work.