Train2Game News Unreal Engine 4 available

Unreal Engine 4At the 2014 Game Developers Conference, Epic Games opened Unreal Engine 4 to the world, releasing all of its leading-edge tools, features and complete C++ source code to the development community through a new subscription model. Developers can sign up for UE4 for PC, Mac, iOS and Android by paying $19 per month, plus 5% of gross revenue resulting from any commercial products built using UE4.

“This is our complete engine, with everything Epic provides to leading game developers, priced accessibly for teams of all sizes, budgets and aspirations,” said Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games.

With the release of UE4, Epic is moving to a community-centric model built around forums, a Wiki and AnswerHub Q&A, with GitHub hosting the complete C++ source so developers can utilize its robust collaboration functionality for experimentation and sharing.

“This is smart. It’s an enlightened way for developers to create great games and easily bring them to Steam,” said Gabe Newell of Valve.

“Now is a great time to be an independent developer,” said Sweeney. “There are amazing platforms and distribution opportunities available, and with this release we hope the Unreal Engine can help developers build cool new things.”

– Unreal Engine 4 engine and game code are developed in C++, using Microsoft Visual Studio (a free version is available), and Apple’s Xcode.

– Unreal Engine 4 provides a rich suite of tools for content developers including the Blueprint visual scripting system, giving designers and artists unprecedented power to construct gameplay logic without programming; a visual material editor; the Persona animation system; and Matinee timeline-based machinima and cinematics system.

– In addition to the new subscription model, Unreal Engine 4 can be licensed via custom-negotiated terms, for companies that wish to form a closer support relationship with Epic, or to reduce or eliminate the 5% royalty in exchange for up-front payment.

Visit www.unrealengine.com for access to Unreal Engine 4.

You can check out the power of Unreal Engine 4 in the video below

Train2Game News Gabe Newell on Source Engine 2

Valve's Gabe NewellGabe Newell has commented on the progress of Source Engine 2 during a recent Reddit AMA, saying the company is building the tools with user-generated content in mind.

Newell fielded questions from the general public today regarding the future of Valve, his favourite games and what the company has in store for Source Engine 2.

Answering to the latter, Newell said the industry’s move towards user-generated content has influenced the development process.

“The biggest improvements will be in increasing productivity of content creation,” he wrote.

“That focus is driven by the importance we see UGC having going forward. A professional developer at Valve will put up with a lot of pain that won’t work if users themselves have to create content.”

While Newell didn’t comment on Half-Life 3, he did address Valve’s attitude towards developing new IP, indicating that core game systems take precedence over everything.

“An IP is really a tool for a development team more than anything else,” he said. “The key is to have clarity around what is uniquely of value in what you are trying to do and not waste your effort on things that don’t directly contribute to that.”

On the topic of e-sports, their popularity on PC and micro-transaction funding models, Newell said he wants to facillitate an easier connection between consumers and content creators.

“We still think we have a long way to go to get to the point where all of the different people that are contributing value to competitive play get everything out of it that they should,” he wrote. “[It] feels like we are making pretty good progress though.

“Giving the consumers of content a direct relationship with the creators of content is something we think about a lot. That is what drove our thinking about how the community could be more involved in the tournaments that mattered to them.”

Steam, the PC platform Valve founded and operate, has over 65 million users, the company announced earlier this year.

A line of thirteen different Steam Machines, all boasting different hardware specs, was unveiled at CES 2014.

Newell also revealed during the AMA that his most played game is DOTA 2, while his favourite non-Valve game of all time is Mario 64.

Source: CVG

Train2Game News: Valve to stop Greenlight

GreenlightValve hopes to render Steam Greenlight defunct by gradually eroding the blockades between small developers and Steam publishing.

Steam Greenlight launched in August 2012, designed as a system to enable small developers to attain Steam publishing rights via community voting.

Greenlight allows users to vote on game projects and concepts posted by indie developers that they would like to see published on Steam. The highest voted software is then considered by Valve for a global Steam release.

But reports from Valve’s Steam Dev Days event on Wednesday quote Valve boss Gabe Newell as saying the firm is looking to make the voting system ‘go away’. Newell’s revelation was Tweeted by various attending developers, including Hot Blooded Games CFO and Marketing director Dave Oshry.

“Our goal is to make Greenlight go away,” Oshry quoted Newell as saying. “Not because it’s not useful, but because we’re evolving.”

Newell reportedly spoke of breaking down the barriers between developers and Steam publishing, potentially opening up the platform to more indie developers and their games, perhaps in similar ways to Apple’s iTunes App Store.

Greenlight suffered a troubled launch, being initially plagued with spam posts containing fake projects and ‘jokes’, or requests for titles such as the Origin-only Battlefield 3 or ‘Half-Life 3’.

Valve announced on Wednesday that Steam has grown to 75 million registered users, up 15 percent in the three months since its October announcement of 65 million users.

The firm also revealed significant changes planned for the Steam Controller, which will reportedly lose its central touch screen and gain traditional face buttons, and its plan to bring music, TV and movies to SteamOS before its final public launch.

Source: CVG

Train2Game News: Steam reaches new milestone

SteamSteam has had an incredible year this year with their Valve digital distribution service with a rise of 30% of users.

Sixty five million users are now on Steam marking a new milestone for the company. This number has been reached with thanks to 2013 seein the introduction of Family Sharing, Steam Trading Cards, Early Access and the introduction of Linux support.

Steam also passed it’s 10th birthday this year with many more in sight thanks to the announcements of the company’s movement into gaming hardware with the 2014 launch of various Steam Machines, its new operating system SteamOS, and a Steam Controller featuring dual trackpads and haptic feedback.

“The main goal of Steam has always been to increase the quality of the user’s experience by reducing the distance between content creators and their audience,” Valve boss Gabe Newell explained.

“As the platform grows, our job is to adapt to the changing needs of both the development and user communities. In the coming year, we plan to make perhaps our most significant collaborations with both communities through the Steam Dev Days and the Steam Machines beta.”

I imagine that Valve and Steam will continue to go from strength to strength through their eleventh year and on wards.

Train2Game News: 2013 BAFTA Video Game Awards

BAFTAThe video game BAFTAs were held earlier this week and Train2Game has the results for you. It was an excellent night for PlayStation exclusive, Journey, in particular.

The list of winners is as follows:

Audio Achievement – Journey

  • Steve Johnson, Austin Wintory, Keith Leary

Best Action Game 2013 – Far Cry 3

  • Dan Hay, Patrick Plourde, Patrik Methe

Best Game – Dishonored

  • Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks

British Game – The Room

  • Fireproof Games/Fireproof Games

Debut Game – The Unfinished Swan

  • Ian Dallas, Nathan Gary
  • Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Family – LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

  • Jon Burton, Jonathan Smith, John Hodskinson
  • TT Games/Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment

Game Design – Journey

  • That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Game Innovation – The Unfinished Swan

  • Ian Dallas, Nathan Gary
  • Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Mobile & Handheld – The Walking Dead

  • Dan Connors, Kevin Bruner, Kevin Boyle
  • Telltale Games/Telltale

Online (Browser) – SongPop

  • Olivier Michon, Thibaut Crenn, Daouna Jeong
  • FreshPlanet/FreshPlanet

Online-Multiplayer – Journey

  • That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Original Music – Journey

  • Austin Wintory, Keith Leary, Mony Mudd
  • That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Performer – Danny Wallace

  • (The Narrator) Thomas Was Alone

Sports/Fitness – New Star Soccer

  • Simon Read
  • New Star Games/New Star Games

Story – The Walking Dead

  • Telltale Games/Telltale

Strategy – XCOM: Enemy Unknown

  • Firaxis/2K Games

BAFTA Ones to Watch Award in association with Dare to Be Digital

  • Starcrossed
  • Kimi Sulopuisto, Vili Viitaniemi, Minttu Meriläinen, Petri Liuska, Andrew MacLean

 

At the end of the event Valve CEO and BAFTA Fellowship winner, Gabe Newell, come to the stage with a standing ovation and said “On behalf of everyone at Valve, and all of the gamers who have gone with us on this adventure over the last few years – thank you very much,”

If you want to watch the event you can do so here: http://www.bafta.org/games/awards/watch-live,3664,BA.html

Train2Game News: J.J Abrams and Gabe Newell could collaborate

Valve logoValve CEO, Gabe Newell and top film director, J.J Abrams hit the stage at the DICE summit in Las Vegas and announced they had been talking about working together.

After a back-and-forth about player agency and storytelling, Newell revealed that the duo had been “recapitulating a series of conversations going on,” and that they’re now ready to “do more than talk”: Newell suggested “either a Portal movie or a Half-Life movie,” and Abrams said he’d like to make a game with Valve.

Valve are one of the top games developers with games such as Half Life and Portal under their belts which have incredible game play mechanics that make them fan favourites.

J.J Abrams on the other hand is one of the best directors at the moment, responsible for the reboot of the Star Trek films and is taking the helm on the new Star Wars films. Abrams has also worked on TV Series such as Lost and Fringe.

The two men working together could bring forth incredible games with the mechanics of Valve and storytelling of Abrams. In addition, in my opinion, there would be no man better to direct a Portal or Half Life movie than Mr Abrams.

In 2010, Newell said that if Valve were to make a Half-Life movie, it wouldn’t hand over control to any Hollywood studio, saying:

“There was a whole bunch of meetings with people from Hollywood. Directors down there wanted to make a Half-Life movie and stuff, so they’d bring in a writer or some talent agency would bring in writers, and they would pitch us on their story. And their stories were just so bad. I mean, brutally, the worst. Not understanding what made the game a good game, or what made the property an interesting thing for people to be a fan of.

“That’s when we started saying ‘Wow, the best thing we could ever do is to just not do this as a movie, or we’d have to make it ourselves.’”

There are no details on Newell and Abrams’ project—be it game, film, or both—outside of the tease that they’re talking. They are talking and I am sure that can only mean good things.

Train2Game News: Valve gaming PC in the works

Valve LogoAfter some research Train2Game has found that Valve Software are working on their own proprietary hardware, optimised for gaming.

The recently released Steam Big Picture mode was a first step in this process. The next step is incorporating Linux and making all of that work towards developing a PC package of their own. That means a ready-made PC that comes with Steam and can be hooked up to your television set.

Gabe Newell has shed some more light on his company’s plans. Newell said “I think in general that most customers and most developers are going to find that the PC is a better environment for them because they won’t have to split the world into thinking about ‘why are my friends in the living room, why are my video sources in the living room different from everyone else?’ So in a sense we hopefully are going to unify those environments.

“Certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment. If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that’s what some people are really going to want for their living rooms.

“We’ll do it but we also think other people will as well.”

This last sentence indicates that Mr Newell believes this may be the next big move in the games industry. A move like this could truly revitalise living room gaming.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 14.11.12

Cliff Bleszinski, better known as CliffyB, has received a mysterious package in a hotel room he is currently staying at. The package contained a phone with a Ubisoft background and one phone number in it. CliffyB told his twitter fans that he would ring the number saying “I do have a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me an asset for people like you.”

What started off as a breeding ground for indie titles now seems to be the only form of submission to the digital distribution service, Steam. This is a bold move by Valve as it means not only the bedroom developers but also the big hitters will have to submit their game to Greenlight.

Halo 4 earned $220 million on the day it launched. This isn’t quite as much as Halo 3 or reach but it is still an impressive figure. Microsoft reckons its juggernaut franchise is on track to hit its $300 million global sales target within its first week, thrusting lifetime sales for the Halo franchise passed the $3.38 billion mark.

Of course the other big release lately is Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2. The game is Amazon’s most preordered game ever beating last year’s Modern Warfare 3. Amazon said it “shattered” the previous record. The company wouldn’t reveal any further details on the launch or preorders of Black Ops 2.

Valve president Gabe Newell has has revealed Valve is working on a next generation successor to the Source Engine. Newell also confirmed the Source 2 engine would be completely new, instead of just another update for nearly ten year-old tech. Source made its debut in Counter-Strike: Source and Half-Life 2 in 2004.

Mass Effect 4 will run on DICE’s Frostbite engine, the latest version of which was used in Battlefield 3. There also seems to be a lot of interest in being able to play as different alien races, similar to the style of Dragon Age:Origins.

Train2Game news: Gabe Newell praises advantages of fan feedback to developers

Fan feedback is one of the greatest assets available to game developers. That’s according to Valve co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell in an interview with Seven Day Cooldown.

“What I think is best for the industry is that games developers used to be very far away from their customers,” said Newell.

“Nowadays you can have a game developer talking to a customer while they’re playing a game and fix an issue, or improve the experience, and do that in a matter of hours, if not minutes.”

Game developers often use beta tests to get fan feedback ahead of full game releases.

The Valve co-founder said fan-feedback about video games provides better opportunities to make customers happy than it does feedback about films.

“Steven Spielberg is pretty much screwed. By the time he gets feedback on his movie, it’s too late. He’s done. Everything he could do to make customers happy, he’s lost that opportunity by the time he can get reactions from his customers.”

“The closer developers are to their customers, and the more the line blurs between both, that gives us a gigantic advantage over any other entertainment field.” Newell added.

Listen to the full Gabe Newell interview on the Seven Day Cooldown podcast.

Train2Game students can get some great advice from Gabe Newell about being successful by focusing on your customers here on The Train2Game Blog. You can also get a fantastic insight to life at Valve thanks to the recently published online employee handbook

Keep up to date with the latest news from Valve here on The Train2Game Blog..

What are your thoughts on Newell’s comments about fan feedback? Is getting more and more important in game development?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Develop]

Train2Game news: Valve employee handbook offers great insight into life at the company

Train2Game students can get a great insight into what life is like for those working at Valve Software, thanks to the publication of a guidebook for new employees.

Dubbed ‘A fearless adventure in knowing what to do when there’s no one there telling you what to do,’ the Valve employee guidebook offers advice on everything from settling into the company, to deciding what projects to work on in the company’s manageress structure  to how to move your desk.

The handbook ends with an amusing glossary of people in terms detailing how Valve co-founder Gabe Newell is “Of all the people at this company who aren’t your boss, Gabe is the MOST not your boss, if you know what we’re saying.”

The Valve employee handbook is a fascinating read, and you can see it for yourself right here.

Perhaps you can take a small step towards working at Valve by taking in Gabe Newell’s advice to aspiring game developers here on The Train2Game Blog.

Keep up to date with the latest news from Valve here.

What are your thoughts on the Valve employee handbook? Does it inspire you?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.