Train2Game News Epic Studio opening in Guildford

Epic GamesEpic Games announced today the formation of Epic Games UK, which sets up longtime collaborator and trusted partner Pitbull Studio as a fully integrated team driving Unreal Engine 4 development in the region.

“Pitbull has been essential in helping us develop the best tools and technology for building the next generation of games,” said Tim Sweeney, Epic’s founder and CEO. “They’ve been invested in UE4’s evolution since its early beginnings, and their dedication is unflinching.”

To date Pitbull’s staff have been primarily concentrated in Sunderland, with offices in Guildford and Leamington Spa. James Golding, Epic’s lead programmer who has been with the company for 12 years, recently relocated from Epic’s headquarters in Cary, NC to Guildford to expand that location’s footprint and headcount.

Mike Gamble, European territory manager, has been running Epic’s engine licensing efforts across all of Europe from the UK since 2011. “Setting up a bespoke Epic presence here and fully utilizing the Pitbull team as part of that enables us to support Unreal Engine 4 developers across Europe on an entirely new level,” he said.

“Becoming Epic Games UK was the next logical step in our relationship with Epic,” said Robert Troughton, general manager. “We’re looking forward to expanding our amazing team here in the UK.”

Working alongside Epic Games on Unreal Engine 4, Pitbull’s programmers and artists have helped develop a wide variety of the engine’s features, including rendering, audio, physics, visual scripting, UI, documentation tools, platform support, localization tools and much more. As a contributor to Epic’s games over the years, along with their exhaustive work on Unreal Engine 4, Pitbull has become an indispensable Unreal Engine resource for Europe.

Epic is currently seeking exceptional talent to fill roles such as animation programmer, developer relations engineer, developer relations technical artist, engine community manager, engine programmer, support engineer and tools programmer.

For more information, please visit www.unrealengine.com and www.epicgames.com/careers.

Train2Game News Train2Game launch new online radio channel

Train2GameA new radio channel created by Train2Game is best described as: Inspirational, Informative and Advisory. Train2Game Radio brings you voices from both the Games Industry and it Students.

The new radio station has been created to guide those already on the course and tell others more about the company. The channel hosts material created by the Train2Game team but also other programmes featuring Train2Game from commercial and public radio.

It features radio programmes from many renowned individuals and organisations, shows include: City and Guilds say Train2Game are doing it PROPERLY, CNS Group coaching Train2Game Students LIVE, JuiceFM Mike Gamble from Epic on Train2Game, Microsoft’s Andy McCartney Future of Gaming and shows from the BBC.

Hear more at the newly launched channel at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/train2game-radio

You can view the programmes in the file below

Train2Game News Unreal 4 Dev Day

Epic GamesEpic has announced a date for new ground floor developers to attend a dev day for Unreal 4 at Staffordshire University

Following the successful release of Unreal Engine 4 to the world, Epic Games has announced a new free-to-attend hands-on dev day for ground floor developers on Thursday 17th April 2014.

Unreal Developer Day, which will take place at the recently opened Epic Games Centre at Staffordshire University in Stafford, is open to anyone with an active UE4 subscription.

Registration is now open at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/unreal-developer-day-thursday-17th-april-tickets-11168446123 and is available on a first come first served basis. Epic’s engineering, design and support team members will provide insight into the latest tools and technologies, as well as a look into the future of the new UE4 ecosystem.

Announced at GDC on March 19th, the new Unreal Engine 4 subscription service gives members access to the full engine, tools and C++ source code. More details can be found at http://epicgames.com/news/epic-games-releases-unreal-engine-4-for-all/

“This is a great opportunity for those just starting out with UE4 to learn more and get invaluable hands-on advice from the UE4 team. It’s going to be a very productive day, and should be a big boost for those who are able to attend,” commented Mike Gamble, European Territory Manager.

If any Train2Game students are eligible to attend it could be an excellent learning possibility for you.

Train2Game News: Rodeo working on UE4 Games Workshop title

Rodeo GamesRodeo Games has licensed Epic Games’ leading edge Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) technology for an unannounced project.

Rodeo can so far reveal they are using UE4 to build a new turn-based strategy game based on one of Games Workshop’s many properties, which is set for a release on mobile platforms in Q2 2015. The UK-based independent developer is known for “Hunters: Episode 1” and “Hunters 2,” as well as “Warhammer Quest,” the successful mobile game that kicked off their ongoing partnership with Games Workshop.

Rodeo Games, a team of experienced industry professionals who previously shipped triple-A titles before coming together to develop games featuring best in class graphics for mobile platforms, is the first indie mobile studio to announce a UE4 license. Rodeo had previously been working with its own in-house ‘Taurus’ engine before switching to UE4.

“We’ve made it our mission to raise the bar on what players can expect to see in mobile visuals and gameplay,” commented Laurent Maguire, co-founder of Rodeo Games. “In short, we want to set a new standard, and working with Unreal Engine 4 we can achieve that more efficiently and with greater impact.”

“Rodeo Games is already a very impressive player within the dynamic mobile sector. We’re working closely with them to help them achieve their objectives in the months ahead,” remarked Mike Gamble, European territory manager at Epic Games. “As Rodeo will demonstrate, UE4 has so much to offer indie developers, and we look forward to helping many more teams compete in the marketplace.”

Train2Game Student Radio Featured Programmes

T2G RadioTrain2Game student radio has gone LIVE! This service will play all the best Train2Game interviews around on a loop so you never miss anything good.

The schedule for the interviews the service plays is as follows:

Phil Cross Audience Marketing Manager at Microsoft UK Mentors Train2Game Students: Phil answers questions from students and explains how Train2Game students can gain many areas of on-going support free from Microsoft.

On BBC Oxford Mike Gamble from Epic advises Parents: Mike shares how parents can help youngsters wanting a career in the gaming industry.

BBC Radio Derby talks to Train2Game Student Daniel Gent: An inspirational interview with Daniel who following a car accident is now Quadriplegic, Daniel says if he can do a Train2Game course anyone can.

On Juice FM Mike Gamble from Epic advises Parents: Mike gives further advice to parents and would be students.

Steve Lindsay from the Princes’ Trust: shares how Train2Game often mirrors the aims of the Princes’ Trust with young people.

Train2Game Student Amy Methven from Scotland: explains how she has already started working with a student studio group.

Train2Game Student Dan Rutter explains: how Train2Game has given him the skills to become a published games studio and start his own games company with his wife.

Train2game student Gareth Brook shares: how an ex-Army communication technician has now joined a games studio.

Train2Game Student Neil Gorman details:how he has already gained work from Microsoft and further his Train2Game course has inspired him to now take a Masters Degree in games. Neil said of the course and the Train2game academic team “it’s been great, it’s been fantastic”.

Ken Gains from City and Guilds shares: how Train2Game works with City and Guilds.

Tune in via Train2Game Student Radio or more information via www.train2game.com

Train2Game video: Make Something Unreal Live Mentors Panel

Train2Game hosted a mentors panel at Gadget Show Live which saw some of the industry veterans advising the Make Something Unreal Live teams, taking part in a 30 minute discussion.

The video, which you can now see here on The Train2Game Blog, features Epic Games’ Mike Gamble, the combined 50 years games industry experience of Pete Hickman and Tony Bickley, and CEO of AppCrowd Rick Alexander.

All four provide plenty of great advice to Train2Game students and you can watch what they have to say right here.

There’s more advice from figures including Peter Molyneux and Cliff Bleszinski, and an insight into what went on at Gadget Show Live in our Make Something Unreal Live documentary.

As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game news: Commando Kiwi win Make Something Unreal Live with Fighting Fantasy Warlock of Firetop Mountain game

Train2Game student team Commando Kiwi is the winner of Epic Games and Train2Game’s Make Something Unreal Live, an unprecedented game development competition that took place at the Gadget Show Live.

Four teams presented their new iOS games based on individual books in the “Fighting Fantasy” series to the franchise’s esteemed creators, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone OBE, and the duo determined that Commando Kiwi’s fresh twist on the third-person adventure genre makes the best use of the property and exhibits the most outstanding commercial potential.

The studio’s winnings include a full source Unreal Engine 3 license for iOS that may be applied to a future project as well as a holiday at the luxurious AquaCity water park and resort in Poprad, Slovakia.

All four iOS games were publicly debuted this week and are primed for release on the App Store in the coming weeks through a new publishing deal with AppyNation.

Teams competing in Make Something Unreal Live have been developing their games since winning the Train2Game and Epic Game Jam last November. Five months of development went into overdrive this week at the Gadget Show Live, where students presented projects twice daily to industry legends, implemented changes based on expert critiques at a rapid pace and submitted their near-final games for today’s judging.

By using the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), the free edition of Epic’s award-winning Unreal Engine 3 technology, all four teams, whose members are enrolled in Train2Game’s blended learning courses, are poised to publish their games on the App Store under standard UDK licensing terms. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Prince’s Trust.

“Commando Kiwi really captured the essence of ‘The Warlock of Firetop Mountain’ with great gameplay and visuals,” said “Fighting Fantasy” author and co-creator, Ian Livingstone.

“It’s remarkable what these student teams were able to produce working remotely for such a short period of time using UDK. Although only one of the teams has won this amazing prize, the experience students have gained is invaluable and I fully expect to see many of them working in the video games industry.

“We look forward to playing these games, and Steve and I are sure that Fighting Fantasy fans everywhere will really enjoy these new interactive experiences based on the books.” he added,

“I’m just dead proud of my team. They’ve worked really hard and this competition has changed our lives forever,” said Jonny Robinson, producer of Commando Kiwi and team captain for Make Something Unreal Live.

“The quality of the games produced for the Make Something Unreal Live competition at Gadget Show Live is a testament to the teaching that the students have received on Train2Game courses,” said Myra Smallman, course director, Train2Game.

“The competitive process that they have been through should give them a glimpse of what it’s like to work in a professional studio and the experience should go towards giving them the skills to gain employment in the games industry.”

Epic Games European Territory Manager and Make Something Unreal Live mentor Mike Gamble summed up the dramatic conclusion to the competition. “Priming the next generation of game developers benefits the industry as a whole. This competition may be over but the journey for four new studios has only begun.”

There’s more information on Make Something Unreal Live here on The Train2Game Blog, while we’ll keep you up to date on the future progress of Commando Kiwi.

As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game & Epic Game Jam interview: Epic’s European Territory Manager Mike Gamble

Train2Game & Epic Games gave Train2Game student teams the opportunity to win one of four places at The Gadget Show Live 2012 and compete for the chance to walk away with a fully licence Unreal Development Kit.  

Epic’s European Territory Manager Mike Gamble was one of the game jam judges, and the Train2Game blog managed to grab him for a chat. In this extensive interview, Gamble talks about Epic’s involvement with the Train2Game Game Jam, UDK, the future of the industry and much more.

Read it here, on Train2Game’s Scribd site,  or listen to it via Train2Game Radio. (Part 1, Part 2)

You can also read Mike’s blog about the Train2Game & Epic Game Jam over at Unreal Insider. Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

We’re here at the Train2Game & Epic Game Jam, can you tell us a bit about Epics involvement with the event?

We’ve been talking with Train2Game about using UDK in their curriculum, as a quite separate item talking about a game jam at The Gadget Show Live and so a natural point of choosing the teams was to be involved in the game jam here.

Tell us about the prize that’s up for grabs at Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show.

There’s a commercial Unreal iOS license up for grabs for the winning team, which essentially means it’s a source code license rather than binary which will allow the winning team to create a game for commercial distribution.

So why do Epic want to get involved with Train2Game and get UDK in the course?

In a purely non philanthropic manner, the more people that use UDK, the more people who are familiar with our tools, the better they are to go into the industry where our engine is pretty ubiquitous.

Can you tell us a bit about the UDK engine which is available for free to anyone to use?

You can download it from www.UDK.com. It’s completely free, you only have to pay anything when you actually commercialise your output, at which point you’d pay us $99 and then a 25% royalty after you’ve collected $50,000. So basically, if you’ve built yourself a little app, a little game, or whatever really using the technology, on PC, or iOS or Mac, you can put it out there on Steam or the iTunes App Store and make a little bit of cash off it.

So it’s been quite successful for teams doing that then?

Yeah, it’s been very successful, we’ve had some cracking titles, quite surprisingly professional let’s say, and there’s some decent money to be made. But often what we find is a development team will start using UDK, and then by the time they’ve finished the project, they decide to swap over to a commercial UE3 license and we have a path for them to do that and some of them have been incredibly successful.

UDK Train2Game blog image

So what are the benefits for Train2Game students of taking parts in events like this, the Train2Game & Epic Game Jam?

Well I think it gives them a real crash course in UDK, it gives them a crash course in games development, it also gives them a crash course in teamwork among people they don’t know in teams selected for them, which was definitely useful for preparing them for going into the jobs market.  And ultimately the benefit for the winners is they go onto The Gadget Show Live and I think everyone who competes there, whether they win or not, stands a very good chance of getting into the industry in a professional manner.

At the time of recording we’re pre-judging, what will you be looking for in the winning games?

Obviously we’re not looking for finished, polished, Triple A sellable games, that would be ridiculous. We’re really looking at a number of criteria: adherence to the theme we’ve set, completeness of the game insofar as the limits to what they can do in this time. But something that’s small and polished and works is preferable to something that’s huge rambling and buggy. We’re looking for the professionalism of the teams, we’re looking for the quality of the games. There are about 6 or 7 parameters we’re scoring out of a hundred in total.

And for everyone involved it’s good that they have a finished product they can show potential employers?

Exactly! Perhaps the most important thing any student can do for themselves is build a portfolio of work. It’s all very well being qualified, but at the end of the day you have to differentiate yourself from every other qualified person, and if you’ve got a kick arse portfolio that’s really going to help.

A little bit about you now, tell us about your role at Epic.

I manage Europe, for Epic, on the technology and licensing front. That means I promote and sell Unreal Engine 3 licenses to developers big and small.

Earlier this year we saw Unreal’s ‘Samaritan’ tech demo, what was the thinking behind producing that? Does it show the future of the industry?

It shows a future. For us it was…well, we’ve called it our love letter to the hardware manufacturers. It shows what can be done with a level of hardware. It was built using PC Direct X 11 hardware that’s available off the shelf today, and it was us saying ‘Look, if you built this into the next generation of consoles, this is what we could do. Obviously we can’t say ‘You must do this,’, and the hardware manufacturers haven’t hold us what they’re doing, but it was for us to stimulate some thinking about what might be possible.

The Samaritan Train2Game blog image

And it goes against those that keep claiming that ‘PC gaming is dead’ when that tech is available on PC?

Yeah totally, PC gaming is not dead by an incredibly long chalk. You only have to look at the popularity of Steam, it’s different now, it isn’t not boxed products, but there’s a PC game for every single person, in a sense it’s  gone niche. You can get a PC game for a hardcore train guy, you can get a PC game for a hardcore RTS guy, there’s everything there, it’s just not available off the shelf, it’s available digitally.

So the PC is a good avenue for people, Train2Game students for example, to get a game out there.

Yes. On PC, Steam is a fantastic way of getting games out into the market and testing the waters. The iTunes App store is also fantastic. Anywhere where you don’t have to have a license from the hardware manufacturer and there’s a market base built is a great way to get your product out.

And how has iOS changed the industry in the last few years?

I think it has made everybody think twice about what a game is. From a development point of view, it’s meant that again there’s the opportunity for small developers to create some very interesting content and make some good money outside of the traditional publisher model, which is incredibly important for nurturing the growth of the industry.

How do you see that developing?

Tricky one that. You could argue there’s been a gold rush and now it’s very difficult to set yourself apart.  I think these things will evolve, they’re(smartphones and tablet computers) going to get more and more powerful and there will be a point where it’s possible for you to essentially have, for all sense and purposes, have the power of a console on your tablet, plug that into your TV, play it with a remote. It kind of changes what a gaming device is and I think that’ll only continue to accelerate.

How did you get started in the games industry?

Well, in real life I’m a mechanical and production engineer, I worked in the Ministry of Defence for ten years and then I worked in the toy industry. Then in the mid 90s I decided to swap over to the video games industry which was at that point becoming slightly professional, and so I joined as a Producer, basically.

And what advice would you give to those looking to get into the industry?

You have to get qualified. I think the days of being able to wing it are gone. But like I said before, portfolio: it doesn’t matter if you’re a designer, programmer, musician, whatever it is you want to do in games, you need to build a portfolio of the stuff you have done yourself.

And UDK can help that with modding?

Totally, yes! Creating mods is a really, really great way of getting a great portfolio. It’s really hard to build a product from the ground up, but as an individual you can mod, and that’s a really good way of doing it.

Great, thanks for your time. 

Thank you.

For more information go to www.train2game.com

Train2Game & Epic Game Jam on Unreal Insider blog

Train2Game and Epic’s Game Jam was a huge success last weekend, and now Epic Games European Territory Manager Mike Gamble has posted about it on the Unreal Insider blog

Gamble’s post not only gives some great publicity to Train2Game, especially the winning game jam teams, but also offers some insider information about how difficult it was to judge the games made using UDK.

Read about the Train2Game & Epic Game Jam on the Unreal Insider blog here.

The Unreal Insider blog also promises to post future updates about the winning teams as they work their way towards Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show Live next year.

There’s still plenty of reaction to come from the TrainGame & Epic Game Jam, stay tuned to the Train2Game blog and Train2Game Audioboo for plenty of interviews, including one with Mike Gamble himself.

For more information, see the Train2Game & Epic Game Jam official website.

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game & Epic Game Jam winners “Over the moon”

Train2Game & Epic Game Jam winners will wake up today in the knowledge that they’ve secured a place at ‘Make Something Unreal Live’ at The Gadget Show Live and have the opportunity to walk away with an UDK iOS development kit

The winning teams were announced after a panel of judges including Epic Games Mike Gamble, and industry veteran Jon Hare saw every game developed by Train2Game students in the 48 hour period.

“This is a landmark for us.” said Train2Game student Nick Stones, Team B team leader. “Everyone who has participated in the Train2Game & Epic Game Jam, we can always say we have won a game jam and there’s nothing that can change that.”

“It’s such a fantastic opportunity and we’re definitely going to make every effort to make 100% of that. I’m over the moon at the moment. I came here, this is my first game jam, I didn’t know what to expect and it’s gone all in our favour.” he said immediately after winning the 48 hour event.

Train2Game student Craig Moore, team leader of team G also said that winning the Train2Game & Epic Game Jam and going onto The Gadget Show Live is a great reward for his team.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity, we couldn’t have asked for anything better. It’s such a hard thing to get into, but this should really help us get into careers” Moore added that he felt “A bit dumbstruck but absolutely over the moon!”

“Going to The Gadget Show Live is amazing, it’s a real win and I’m glad not for me, but the team, they’ve really earned it.” said Team A’s Jonny Robinson, after staying awake for almost the entire Train2Game & Epic Game Jam.

“I just love it when a plan comes together.” he added. “As crazy as that seems I’m over the moon”

“The Train2Game & Epic Game Jam has been fantastic, a little tiring, but fantastic.” said Train2Game course leader Tony Bickley.

“It’s been a very good event and I’m proud at what the Train2Game students have been able to achieve, and even more proud of their dedication and passion.”

The Train2Game & Epic Game Jam winners will take part in ‘Make Something Unreal Live’ in the Birmingham NEC at The Gadget Show Live in April next year.

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.