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 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: 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 News: Autodesk release Maya LT for Indie developers

AutodeskAutodesk has unveiled a new tool specifically targeted at indie developers. The 3D modelling and animation toolset is designed for developers working on mobile, PC and web, and can be integrated with game engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine.

Maya LT includes a number of features such as enabling the creation of 3D assets of any size, with the ability to export FBX files containing up to 25,000 polygons per object.

The tech’s animation tools include a skeleton generation and inverse kinematics with Autodesk HumanIK, as well as viewport previews so developers can view assets as they would appear in-game. Other features also include lighting and texture baking, with developers able to use global illumination tool to create “realistic” lighting effects.

Autodesk’s latest tool will cost $795 per perpetual licence as oppose to the license for Maya which is almost $4,000. Short-term licenses are also available on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

“We see indie game developers as a key part of the industry, driving innovative new production techniques and gameplay,” said Autodesk Media & Entertainment VP Chris Bradshaw.

“The market is fiercely competitive, and Maya LT can provide indie developers and small studios with a powerful, yet simplified workflow for designing and animating remarkable 3D characters, environments and props – at a price that fits within even the most modest budget. It’s a practical solution that closely matches the needs of the mobile game development production cycle and helps developers rise above the noise and really shine.”

Train2Game News: Fable Legends announced

Fable LegendsAt Gamescom this week, Lionhead Studios have announced Fable Legends as an exclusive for the Xbox One.

Fable Legends unites the classic gameplay that players have come to love from the series with all of the next-generation capabilities of Xbox One. For the first time, grab your friends and go on adventures – up to four Heroes can cooperatively discover the quests and stories of Albion. Or, play the villain where you can mastermind the game in real time. “Fable Legends” takes advantage of the graphical processing power of Xbox One, and when coupled with Unreal Engine 4, delivers a rich and beautiful world.

You can play the game single player, with a party of three heroic AI companions that follow your lead through stories and adventures. Or you can play cooperatively with up to three friends and discover the game’s quests and content together.

Play whatever style you want, when you want. After all, you’re the Hero. And just what kind of Hero you choose to play is up to you. “Fable Legends” takes you back to a time when Albion is teeming with Heroes, so there’s bound to be one for you. Fearless warriors. Cunning tricksters. Masters of Will. Paragons of virtue. Heartless mercenaries. Intoxicated brawlers. Chicken chasers. They’re all here, and many more besides. You’ll be able to customize your abilities, alter your appearance, and advance your Hero by earning experience and finding new armour, weapons, and treasures.

Fable has always presented opportunities for mischief and villainy, and in “Fable Legends” Lionhead are going to offer a way to play the bad guy as never before.

The Villain player takes control of the many creatures, minions, traps, and environmental hazards that Heroes must overcome. Villain play combines elements of strategic decision making and tactical control. When those pitiful Heroes enter an area, you’ll choose which minions are sent into battle and where to place these creatures to maximize their effectiveness. Once the fight begins, you issue the orders for your creatures to execute: telling them where to go, which Hero to attack, and what abilities to use to ensure your evil plans come to fruition.

The game sounds like a fun different take on the Fable universe and it is the first confirmed game to be using Unreal 4.

Train2Game News: Top 3 Game Engines

UDKAcross the past week Train2Game held a poll to see which is your favourite game engine. These are the results!

In descending order the Third most popular games engine for Train2Game Students is the CryEngine 3.  It was originally developed by German studio, Crytek, as a technology demo for Nvidia and, when the company saw its potential, it was turned into a game. That first game developed using the engine was the first Far Cry.

The CryEngine 3 Free SDK, originally called Sandbox Editor, is the current version of the level editor used to create levels for the CryEngine line of game engines by Crytek. Tools are also provided within the software to facilitate scripting, animation, and object creation. It has been included with various Crytek games and is used extensively for modding purposes. The editing style is that of the sandbox concept, with the emphasis on large terrains and a free style of mission programming. The editor can also construct indoor settings.

Recently the engine has been used to create games such as Crysis 3, Monster Hunter Online and Ryse which will be released on the Xbox One.

Second in the poll was the Unity engine. Unity (also called Unity3D) is a cross-platform game engine with a built-in IDE developed by Unity Technologies. Unity is primarily used to create mobile and web games, but can also deploy games to consoles or the PC. The game engine was developed in C/C++, and is able to support code written in C#, JavaScript or Boo. It grew from an OS X supported game development tool in 2005 to the multi-platform game engine that it is today.

The Unity Engine is simple to use and as of this month free to publish to mobiles. It is clear why it is popular among Train2Game Students.

The Unity Engine has been used to create popular mobile games such as Bad Piggies, Slender: The Arrival and it was used to port Temple Run 2 to Android devices.

Finally the number one games engine according to Train2Game students is Epic’s Unreal Engine. Although primarily developed for first-person shooters, it has been successfully used in a variety of other genres, including stealth, MMORPGs and other RPGs. With its code written in C++, the Unreal Engine features a high degree of portability and is a tool used by many game developers today. It was first developed in 1998 for Unreal.

The third and current generation of the Unreal Engine (UE3) is designed for DirectX (versions 9-11 for Windows and Xbox 360), as well as systems using OpenGL, including the PlayStation 3, OS X, iOS, Android, Stage 3D for Adobe Flash Player 11, JavaScript/WebGL, PlayStation Vita and Wii U. Its renderer supports many advanced techniques including HDRR, per-pixel lighting, and dynamic shadows. It also builds on the tools available in previous versions.

In October 2011, the engine was ported to support Adobe Flash Player 11 through the Stage 3D hardware-accelerated APIs. Epic has used this version of the engine for their in-house games. Aggressive licensing of this iteration has garnered a great deal of support from many prominent licensees. Epic has announced that Unreal Engine 3 runs on both Windows 8 and Windows RT.

The engine is free to download and has a small charge of $99 to publish from, as long as you don’t make over $50,000 after which Epic will start to take a percentage.

The Unreal engine has been used in countless games including The Batman Arkham Games, BioShock Infinite, The Borderlands games, Dishonored, The Gears of War series and countless others.

It is quite clear why the Unreal Engine is the most popular engine among Train2Game Students.

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio talks to Jonny Robinson

You can listen to the interview at

http://audioboo.fm/boos/1030916-train2game-student-talks-to-mark-kingdon-on-t2g-student-radio

or read the transcript below:

 

Hello, I am here with Jonny Robinson from Milton Keynes, how you doing Jonny?

I’m doing very well thanks how is yourself?

I’m very good thank you, Could you tell me what course you’re on?

I’m on the Games designer course.

What is the most dramatic or exciting thing you have done in your life?

Winning the Gadget Show, that was quite cool, the Make Something Unreal Live 2012. Pretty exciting times with Epic!

What is your reason for getting in to the gaming industry and how will the gaming industry, change your life?

I wanted to get in the gaming industry when I was very young, it’s one of those things that I explain a lot to my friends that when I was young I used to put the gaming industry on a pedestal. You know you kind of worship it, you want it so bad but then you realise, I don’t know if I can do that so you kind of dismiss it for years. I then saw this course advertised in the news paper and I thought, you know what – I’ll give it a shot, it’s an online course I can do it in my own spare time and when I actually did the course I felt a lot more confident in myself. I felt I should share my experience with people so I did a lot of Train2Game promoting for the design course because it helped me a lot with my confidence and so really I would say it is one of the best decisions I have ever made so far.

After you earn your Train2Game diploma, what would be your greatest ambition in the industry?

Obviously get a full time job. I am also working with my team, the Commando Kiwi team, on a new project. I’ll chuck that out there as well, it’s the first time I’ve mentioned it. We are going to put something up on our Facebook very soon. We made a game for the Gadget Show which was “The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain” on the iOS and now we are taking a further step into the industry with the Unreal Engine, as that’s what we won at the Gadget Show. I can’t really say to much but we are on the fronts of making this new game.

What platform is the game going to be on?

At the moment we are going to stick to our current market and go with iOS but there has been hints with the team for Steam as well.

What genre is it going to be?

That’s stuff I am keeping reserved, I will let you know the scoop when I am ready to release the information.

What is your story, what are the past experiences that have shaped your life to who you are today?

Being where I am at the right time I suppose and just keep on striving for success, keep your head up and just keep going. I wouldn’t say anything has altered me, I would just say it’s the path I have been led on, you know, by destiny or whatever you want to call it but so far, if it is so called destiny, it has led me down a fine route, I have met some really interesting people.

I also know you have a blog to help fledgling designers get in to the industry, what inspired you to start that?

I have been doing video diaries for a long time and I know there are a lot of blogs out there like Gamasutra, they make some really incredible articles. I realised that there are not many from a student point of view that’s actually been in the industry and tasted that addiction as I like to call it. You know once your in the industry you kind of feel like an over whelming sense of adrenaline and I just feel like if I need to keep blurting my mind out there to people saying you need to get in this industry, it’s amazing! I’m doing whatever I can as it’s not programming or art its more design and it is a very niche market. I can guarantee you, you ask any designer and you say, what does it mean to be a game designer? What skill sets do you have? Every designer will tell you something completely different and that’s what I am trying to get across in my blogs. You have to be really open minded to be a designer and really blend your key skills to the actual studio themselves.

That leads me quite nicely on to my last point, what advice would you give to someone looking to get in to the games industry?

First of all, attend Game Jams, that’s the first one. I know Train2Game just did one with Microsoft and I attended one last year that was with Epic. The second I would recommend is trying to talk to people in the community, go on the Train2Game Forums and just generally create games. No one ever says in the industry who have you worked for, they say what experience have you got?

If people want to read more about it, where can people find your blog?

My website is www.ironcore1.wordpress,com

Thank you very much Jonny and keep us updated on all things Commando Kiwi

No problem, thank you very much for your time Mark, Ta-ra!

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up

Five months since its release, Minecraft on the Xbox 360 is still selling 27,000 units daily. That’s an estimated 4 million copies sold, further solidifying the games legacy.

Valve’s Steam distribution service now sells software as well as games. The software is for games development. The products currently available on the store are ArtRage Studio Pro, CameraBag 2, GameMaker: Studio, 3D-Coat, 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 11 and of course, Source Film-maker.

Halo 4 won’t be getting Kinect controls, says 343 Industries’ Frank O’Connor. His opinion is that while the motion sensor has its uses when it comes to the UI, controlling a core game is not what it’s for. Kinect will be used for Halo Waypoint however, which can be launched from in the game.

Reportedly, Arkane studios’ Dishonored will take over twenty hours to complete playing stealthily with killing no one. A brutal play through, killing anyone in your path, will take between 12 to 14 hours but that’s without exploring every nook and cranny, and knowing the solution to everything beforehand. It should take more thorough or inexperienced players longer than that.

PlayStation Europe is offering a month long internship to who ever can make the best game on LittleBigPlanet for the PS Vita. The best submission, as voted by a PlayStation judging panel, will be rewarded with a month-long internship at Swedish studio Tarsier. Games will be judged on gameplay, originality, and commercial appeal. The winner will eventually help work on official DLC for the game. To register an interest, go here.

A new mod has been developed for Crysis. The mod, StarCry, sees many different hit sci-fi shows making their way into the new user made campaign for the game. Franchises such as Stargate SG1 and Star Wars are featured in the mod.

Chasing Aurora developer, Martin Pichlmair, says that Nintendo is working hard to make the Wii U eShop friendly and open for independent developers. This opens up a whole new market with a new innovative console to work with.

World of Tanks official site, Wargaming.net, say that registration numbers have passed the 40 million mark. Players have been pouring into servers to check out the big 8.0 update, which overhauled WoT’s visuals and added proper physics. World of Tanks is one of the biggest free to play games in the world.

Cliff Bleszinski has announced he is leaving Epic. After two decades with the company he is moving on to expand his career. Whilst with the company he was responsible for games such as Jazzy Jackrabbit and the highly acclaimed Gears Of War series.

Bad Piggies, the Angry Birds spin-off from Rovio, shot to the top spot on the US iTunes App Store within three hours of launch. The firm said the game was the fastest chart-topper in the company’s history. The game is the third from the Finnish studio this year to hit the top spot within it’s first day of release. The other titles were Amazing Alex and of course, Angry Birds Space.

Train2Game News: Train2Game student gets big chance

James Valaitis, a Train2Game student taking part in the Game Jam was rewarded with an apprenticeship at 22Cans following his hard work at The Gadget Show Live earlier this year.

James, 19, lives in Essex and has been a student on the developer course from Train2Game for just over 2 years. He has been involved in every Game Jam that Train2Game have hosted and his hard work is now paying off.

At last years Game Jam he was a part of Team Gandalf which went on to become Digital Mage. The team would go on to be one of the winning teams that year. Winning that Game Jam meant James and his team had 6 months to design and develop a game based on the Fighting Fantasy game books written by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson. The end goal was to display the games at The Gadget Show Live at the Birmingham NEC to several industry icons. It was here that James met Peter Molyneux, CEO of 22Cans.

James was the presenter for Digital Mage, as well as one of the developers. He would show the game to an audience and a games industry icon. Mr Molyneux was one of these icons. James did an incredible job of presenting to him and Mr Molyneux immediately saw his potential.

James said “Without Train2Game I would of never been in an opportunity where I got to meet so many legends at last years game jam.

“Going to the studio was an experience I’ll never forget and I think the best decision I have ever made is signing up for Train2Game.”

22Cans are soon to release there first product, the social experiment app, Curiosity – What’s in the cube?.

Good Luck to James in everything he does. I have no doubts that he will go very far indeed.

Train2Game News: Epic veterans form mobile studio BitMonster

Epic Games veterans including Gears of War gameplay designer Lee Perry have formed a new mobile studio and will release Unreal powered titles on iOS devices.

BitMonster studios have signed a long term agreement with Epic Games to use their tech to produce iPhone and iPad games. Their first game, Lili, is currently in the final stages of development as is described as an adventure game RPG hybrid.

“Epic has been extremely supportive of our new studio and in helping us build the game of our dreams,” said BitMonster president Lee Perry

“We set out to create an adventure that is appropriate for nearly anyone. As a designer, it’s exciting to see that the Unreal Engine 3 tools are better than ever, and they provide everything we need to achieve a gratifying and imaginative experience.” he added.

“BitMonster is set to deliver the triple-A production values that appeal to discerning players,” said head of North American licensing at Epic Games Joe Kreiner.

“Given this team’s crazy mix of passion, talent and chemistry, and with the latest Unreal Engine tools in their hands, BitMonster has a winning recipe for success.”

Watch the trailer for Lili from BitMonster below.

As regular readers will know, Train2Game student team Commando Kiwi are currently developing an iPhone and iPad game using Unreal Technology after winning Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show. Their game, based on Fighting Fantasy book The Warlock of Firetop Mountain will be released soon. There’s more about Make Something Unreal Live here on the Train2Game Blog.

Be sure to keep reading The Train2Game Blog for the latest from Epic Games and Unreal.

What are your thoughts on the Epic veterans forming mobile studio BitMonster?

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