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  • Epic Games challenges VR devs to make sense of big data

    by 
    Timothy J. Seppala
    Timothy J. Seppala
    05.20.2015

    We've seen a handful of neat ways to visualize big data and make it useful, and the folks behind Unreal Engine, Epic Games, think virtual reality is the next step for that. Currently a half-dozen international teams are taking part in the Big Data VR Challenge, and hope their expertise with games and VR will help 'em "find new ways to manipulate and interrogate" the massive amounts of info generated by science studies. As of now, projects include putting together a digital edition of one of medical history's largest collections of patient consultations (some 80,000 participants) from the 16th and 17th century and a cohort study of kids born between 1991 and 1992.

  • Epic issues Fortnite alpha invites

    by 
    Alexander Sliwinski
    Alexander Sliwinski
    12.02.2014

    Fortnite, Epic Games' co-op tower defense game, has just sent out its first wave of alpha invites. If you signed up at Fortnite.com, check your email and spam filters. "The emails either say 'You've Been Selected!' or 'You're Invited' depending on whether it's a friend invite or they've been selected by us," an Epic Games representative tells Joystiq. The company is currently pulling a random selection of folks who've signed up for the game over the past couple of years.

  • WoW Archivist: Epics

    by 
    Bree Royce
    Bree Royce
    11.23.2014

    WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on November 21st and is included here by permission. Leveling through Draenor has been a blast, but as I am a player from classic WoW, a few things have struck me as incredibly strange. Triple-digit numbers in the guild panel. Sending NPCs to do quests on my behalf. And most of all, getting epic armor and weapons from solo leveling quests. Many players in classic WoW (and not just raiders) opposed making epics more available to players. They called Blizzard's evolving attitude a slippery slope. "What's next," they argued, "epics for doing solo quests?" They never actually imagined that would happen. In 2005 it would have been unthinkable. Eight years later, here we are. But it's all been by design -- an evolving design with many steps along the way. Let's look at how we got here, one random drop at a time.

  • The new Unreal Engine will bring eerily realistic skin to your games

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    10.06.2014

    It hasn't been hard to produce realistic-looking skin in computer-generated movies, but it's much harder to do that in the context of a game running live on your console or PC. That trip to the uncanny valley is going to be much easier in the near future, though, thanks to the impending arrival of Unreal Engine 4.5. The gaming framework adds subsurface light scattering effects that give digital skin a more natural look. Instead of the harsh visuals you normally get (see the pale, excessively-shadowed face at left), you'll see softer, decidedly fleshier surfaces (middle and right). The scattering should also help out with leaves, candle wax and other materials that are rarely drawn well in your favorite action games.

  • The Stomping Land is switching to Unreal Engine 4

    by 
    Justin Olivetti
    Justin Olivetti
    08.06.2014

    Dino-delay or evolutionary upgrade? The situation might be both for The Stomping Land, which has been on the down low while its developer works to bring it to a new game engine after the old engine lost studio support. "It has been quiet in The Stomping Land community but that is certainly not the case behind the scenes!" Developer Alex "Jig" Fundora told Kotaku. "The game is being moved to Unreal Engine 4 to take advantage of technical and creative opportunities, and while the game was so early in development, I didn't want to keep working for years with a game engine (UDK) that had officially lost support by Epic. The move has put a bit of more work on my plate, but the already discovered opportunities using UE4 are exciting, and I'm confident fans will be satisfied with the long-run decision." The dinosaur-themed survival sandbox went into early access this past May 30th.

  • Pitbull cocoons to emerge as Epic Games UK

    by 
    Alexander Sliwinski
    Alexander Sliwinski
    08.05.2014

    Epic Games has officially converted Pitbull Studio into Epic Games UK, which will continue to help with development of the Unreal Engine 4. Epic's veteran lead programmer James Golding recently relocated from Epic's headquarters in North Carolina to Guildford to expand the studio. "Pitbull has been essential in helping us develop the best tools and technology for building the next generation of games," said Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. "They've been invested in UE4's evolution since its early beginnings, and their dedication is unflinching."

  • How much does Metal matter to iOS developers? A ton, apparently

    by 
    Mike Wehner
    Mike Wehner
    07.07.2014

    For anyone who hasn't dabbled in the rendering capabilities of Apple's iOS devices, the announcement of Metal -- the new API that Apple claims will offer greater power for games than ever before -- was cool, but that's about it. But for the team behind the hugely popular Unity game engine, the upcoming update is extremely exciting. Metal is designed to give developers much more control over the power used by the iOS devices that run their games. With less power needed to run the API, more resources can be devoted to making games run smoother and look better. As CVG reports, the change has impressed Unity's developers quite a bit. "Based on our testing so far, we have seen API+driver overhead vanish to just a few percent of CPU time," the team claims. "That is a tremendous improvement comparing to 15-40% of CPU time that it used to be before!" This comes on the heels of praise from Epic Games, creators of the vaunted Unreal Engine, who took the stage at WWDC 2014 to show off an impressive "Zen Garden" demo running on Unreal Engine 4 and Metal. With performance gains as high as 40%, Metal -- which is on the way in Apple's iOS 8 update -- is undoubtedly going to give marquee developers even more reason to devote time to Apple's platform.

  • Remember Unreal Tournament? Epic's making a new one and it's free

    by 
    Ben Gilbert
    Ben Gilbert
    05.08.2014

    Epic Games is known for a lot of things, the Gears of War game franchise and development tool Unreal Engine prime among them. But old-school game fans might know Epic Games for another classic franchise: Unreal Tournament. The long-dormant series is making its return starting today! Sort of. Epic announced this afternoon that the next Unreal Tournament game begins development starting today with "a small team of UT veterans" focused on development for Windows, Mac and Linux. The entire development is open source, which Epic characterizes as, "a collaboration between Epic, UT fans and UE4 developers." As that line infers, the game's being created using Unreal Engine 4. Best of all? When the game's ready to play, it will be free. As Epic puts it: "Not free to play, just free."

  • Epic working to bring Unreal Engine 4 to Windows Phone, Windows RT

    by 
    S. Prell
    S. Prell
    04.12.2014

    Windows Phone and Windows RT, the Microsoft operating systems for the company's smartphones and tablets respectively, could be getting a little more ... epic in the future. Epic Games co-founder and CEO Tim Sweeney told forum-goers that the company is working on implementing its Unreal Engine 4 on mobile Microsoft platforms. "We have been doing some work in this direction (implementing various levels of WinRT API support) and we want to have Windows Phone support eventually, but we're a very long way from having a ship-quality implementation," Sweeney wrote on the Epic forums. "Right now our mobile efforts are really focused on iOS and Android based on their huge market sizes. We have a lot of work to do on these platforms before expanding to other mobile platforms such as WP." In other words, while we might see Unreal Engine 4 support on Windows Phone and Windows RT in the future, for now it's still more likely to hear or read "coming soon to iOS and Android" than it is "coming soon to Windows Phone." [Image: Epic Games]

  • Unreal Engine 4 crammed into Amazon's Fire TV - it's possible

    by 
    Timothy J. Seppala
    Timothy J. Seppala
    04.10.2014

    Let's say you've paid your $19 want to see what kind of crazy shit Unreal Engine 4 is capable of. Let's also say you have a shiny new Amazon Fire TV sitting in the living room. With some patience and a little coding, you can totally run Epic's new software toolset on Bezos' $99 set-top box. Over on Gamasutra, a dev has listed step-by-step instructions for getting the engine up and running and, from the looks of it, it didn't take him a lot of extra work. This is likely due to Fire TV's Android-based architecture and the fact that Unreal 4 was basically designed to run on every platform under the sun. As the dev tells it, you can even plug in an Xbox 360 or PS4 controller to explore the demo area. Regardless of if we ever see Unreal-powered games on the streaming box or not, this proves that its gaming capabilities aren't as limited as one might think.

  • Epic seeks alpha testers for action-building game Fortnite

    by 
    Earnest Cavalli
    Earnest Cavalli
    04.08.2014

    Though Fortnite has been in relatively quiet development for years, Epic Games has apparently decided that now is the time to drag the game into the light of public scrutiny. To that end, the publisher has launched a website for the game and put out a call for testers. Those unfamiliar with Fortnite can think of it as a cross between Minecraft and the "Horde" gameplay type in Gears of War. The fundamental goal of Fortnite has players gathering resources and building defensible forts to keep out hordes of monsters. Once the attack inevitably comes, Fortnite more closely resembles a traditional third-person shooter, where players navigate their cobbled-together homes while gunning down invaders. Fortnite also offers online gameplay where multiple players have to work together to build and defend strongholds, as well as player-crafted weaponry. While Fortnite is still a ways off, the game's new website is seeking participants for an upcoming alpha test. If you'd like to join, visit the Fortnite site and fill out the standard registration form. [Image: Epic Games]

  • Wander the dark corridors of Caffeine in Unreal Engine 4 trailer

    by 
    Earnest Cavalli
    Earnest Cavalli
    04.01.2014

    Our last look at sci-fi survival horror epic Caffeine was rendered in the third incarnation of the Unreal Engine, but now developer Dylan Browne has kicked off an Indiegogo fundraising effort for the game and unveiled a new Unreal Engine 4 trailer to whet players' appetites. [Image: Dylan Browne]

  • Firefox stops being polite, starts getting Unreal Engine 4 in tech demo

    by 
    Mike Suszek
    Mike Suszek
    03.12.2014

    Mozilla offered up a new trailer this week that shows Unreal Engine 4 tech demos running in Firefox. The games shown are seemingly running without the use of plugins in the popular browser. The software company added Unreal Engine 3 support to the browser last June.

  • Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 adds Firefox support, isn't just for creating pretty demons

    by 
    Ben Gilbert
    Ben Gilbert
    03.12.2014

    Yes, Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 can be used to create large, dramatic demon gods, but that doesn't mean it's only used to create large, dramatic demon gods. It's also used to create sneaky thief demos! Oh, and as Mozilla demonstrates this morning with video of Unreal Engine 4 running from within Firefox, the engine can be used for much smaller-scale applications as well (such as the basic 2D platforming game seen in the video below the break). All this is to demonstrate that developers can use web clients (Firefox at least) to create games that are "almost indistinguishable from ones [you] might have had to wait to download and install" -- the demo is running without plugins at "near-native" speeds. Apparently Unreal Engine 3 support simply wasn't enough? We'll be sure to ask when Mozilla shows off UE4 in Firefox next week at the Game Developers Conference.

  • Report: Less than 1 percent of mobile gamers responsible for half of all in-app purchases

    by 
    Timothy J. Seppala
    Timothy J. Seppala
    02.27.2014

    With the runaway success of Candy Crush Saga, it's perfectly natural to wonder just how many people are dropping coin in freemium mobile games. One firm's answer, however, might surprise you. A very small number -- 0.15 percent, to be exact -- of total mobile payers contribute half of monthly in-game revenue, according to in-app marketing company Swrve. The outfit also says that over 60 percent of the money made within the first two weeks of a player's life is made on the first day. Meaning, if most people install a game and don't make any purchases almost immediately, they likely won't at all. The report comes from a limited sample, but designers hoping to build the next fragile confection-like phenomenon are probably studying it for secrets right now. We've embedded the provided infographic after the break should you want a peek at a whole lot of graphs for yourself.

  • Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War series

    by 
    Mike Suszek
    Mike Suszek
    01.27.2014

    Microsoft Studios has purchased the rights to the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games, Microsoft announced. The publisher will take over all existing and future games in the series, and will hand development of future games over to Vancouver, BC developer Black Tusk Studios. Formerly Microsoft Vancouver, Black Tusk was said to be working on a new AAA game for Xbox One as of June 2013. Rod Fergusson, former Director of Production at Epic Games on the Gears of War franchise, is joining Microsoft and will play a "key studio leadership role" at Black Tusk. The last time we heard from Fergusson he was launching a new studio for 2K in the Bay Area; it would appear that relationship didn't work out. Each entry in the four-game Gears of War series was published by Microsoft since its introduction in November 2006. The last Epic-developed game in the series was Gears of War: Judgment, which launched in March 2013.

  • Epic Games collaborating with university for Epic Games Centre

    by 
    Thomas Schulenberg
    Thomas Schulenberg
    01.25.2014

    Epic Games has formed a two-year partnership with Staffordshire University resulting in the Epic Games Centre, a "fully equipped" space for use by students in Staffordshire's game design courses. The agreement provides students "hardware, teaching time and access to software and key personnel" from Epic. The Epic Games Centre will also host Epic Developer Days, an event focused on assisting professional Unreal Engine users. "We have many great courses here at Staffs but this partnership will give our students a deeper understanding of how theory is put into practice and a greater understanding of the commercial complexities of the development process," said Staffordshire's Head of the Games Technology Group Dr. Bobbie Fletcher. Learning how to build games isn't exactly a cakewalk, but students looking to learn the Unreal engine might find it more manageable with an open communications line to its creators. Hopefully Staffordshire students gain unreal knowledge from the partnership and make some epic games to share with the world.

  • December Games with Gold freebies are Gears of War, Shoot Many Robots

    by 
    Sinan Kubba
    Sinan Kubba
    11.27.2013

    Microsoft's Games with Gold program closes out 2013 with muscly shooter Gears of War (nope, no numbers at the end of that) and co-op run-and-gunner Shoot Many Robots. That means Gold members on Xbox 360 can download Gears of War for free between the 1st and 15th of December, then they can disembark the Cole Train and start to Shoot Many Robots on December 16, which stays free until the end of the year. Microsoft plans to continue the Games with Gold program on Xbox 360 as an "ongoing benefit," and is extending it to the Xbox One in 2014 on a monthly basis.

  • Equip an Infinity Blade for free this week

    by 
    Sinan Kubba
    Sinan Kubba
    11.25.2013

    We may be up to Infinity Blade 3 now, but you can explore the first game in Chair's smash hit series for absolutely nothing. The official Infinity Blade account tweeted this morning the swipey iOS brawler is going for free on the App Store all this week. Infinity Blade is famous for being the first to bring Unreal Engine 3 to iOS, as well as doing Infinity sales, but it's also a great game. As our five-star review put it back in 2010: "You might find games that are a more perfect fit for the platform, but in terms of recreating a console-level experience on the iPhone, you simply will not do better than Infinity Blade."

  • Epic auctions 3 signed Lancers to aid Insomniac intern after hit-and-run

    by 
    Jessica Conditt
    Jessica Conditt
    11.18.2013

    Insomniac Games interning artist Ana Kessel recently lost her leg in a hit-and-run accident, and Epic Games has stepped up to help raise money for her medical bills. Epic is auctioning three signed replica Lancers from Gears of War on Ebay, with all proceeds going to Kessel's recovery fund. Epic has put up a replica original Lancer, a retro Lancer and a gold retro Lancer on Ebay, each signed. They'll be available for bidding through November 22. "All proceeds from this auction will be going to help with Ana Kessel's medical bills," the Lancer descriptions read. "She was an intern at Insomniac Games, a local video game company here in the triangle area, who was recently involved in a hit-and-run accident while on her scooter. She has been in the hospital since Monday, and had to have one of her legs amputated. Without having medical insurance, the financial burden will be immense, which is why I am auctioning off a few pieces of memorabilia from our video game."