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GDC Spotlight Interviews: Unreal, Autodesk and Unity

| JANUARY 2017

In This Issue:

  • Unreal - In this interview, Unreal’s Tim Sweeney talks about the future of using virtual reality to make games, and what the company’s big plans are for GDC 2017.
  • Autodesk - In this interview, Autodesk’s Wesley Adams gets GDC attendees ready for Autodesk’s first developer day to help them get ready to build great experiences for VR.
  • Unity - In this interview, Unity's JC Cimetiere explains what developers can expect from Unity's developer day, and offers tips on networking and engine-hunting for the aspiring indie dev.

Clive Downie
Tim Sweeney

In this interview, Unreal’s Tim Sweeney talks about the future of using virtual reality to make games, and what the company’s big plans are for GDC 2017.

Q: What we can expect from Epic at GDC 2017?

At GDC 2017 we'll show folks even more ways to use Unreal Engine technology. The most newsworthy hour will be our “State of Unreal: Epic Games Opening Session” happening on Wednesday, March 1, at 9:30am PT in Moscone West 3001 and livestreamed to

Last year, developers learned how to build their VR projects in VR using Unreal, and we released the VR Editor at GDC. We also introduced real-time cinematography through a collaboration with Ninja Theory, in which a human-driven performance based on their game Hellblade was captured live in real time and cut into a movie using Sequencer, the engine’s built-in cinematic and storytelling tool.

Plenty of Unreal Engine games across PC, console, mobile and VR were playable at the show, and a number of folks outside of games, such as NASA, Nickelodeon, Disney and McLaren, discussed how they're using the engine for training, animated entertainment, live attractions and visualization. At this year’s GDC, you’ll be able to see how this has laid groundwork that is changing how people experience learning and entertainment.

Following our opening presentation, we will host sessions in Moscone West 3001 throughout the day on March 1 to go deeper on the latest advancements.

Our booth will be located once again in Moscone South 1024 where you’ll find lots of learning content and demos of great new projects for PC, console, VR and mobile.

Q: One of my favorite tools I’ve seen Unreal put out in the last year has been the VR Editor from early 2016 - what do you feel the future of tools like this is in the industry, and can they open doors for designers without traditional programming backgrounds?

Artists and designers with no programming knowledge can be productive with the VR Editor. Our designers on Robo Recall have been using it in production, and over the past year we’ve been bringing more functionality of the Unreal Editor into VR mode.

For example, the VR Editor now ships with mesh and foliage painting, a handy transform gizmo, and a number pad. You can also build content in VR and go straight to playing your game in VR without removing the headset, which speeds up iteration time. It’s a workflow that feels natural.

Q: While Unreal Engine has been a big part of Epic’s 2016, can you talk about what’s next for the company from a game development perspective, and what we can expect from games like Paragon, etc?

Paragon launched in Early Access at GDC 2017. Players in the community have given us lots of feedback which has helped us evolve the game, and it is now in Open Beta for PS4 and PC. As with all of our internal projects, we continue to bring features we're building for Paragon to the UE4 development community.

Q: What do you think developers should keep in mind if they wind up engine-shopping at this year’s GDC?

Anyone can get started with Unreal Engine for free by downloading it at Our developers will be on the GDC floor at our booth, South 1024, to chat with folks who want to see tools and demos. We’ll be there talk through questions and listen to feedback. We're here to help. See you in San Francisco!

Wesley Adams
Marketing Support Representative

In this interview, Autodesk’s Wesley Adams gets GDC attendees ready for Autodesk’s first developer day to help them get ready to build great experiences for VR.

Q: Can you introduce yourself, as well as what developers can expect from Autodesk during the 2017 GDC Dev Day?

I’m Wesley Adams, and I’m on the Games Team at Autodesk.
GDC 2017 will mark Autodesk’s very first Developer Day and we’re excited to share our vision and strategy in games and in VR. Dev Day will give developers and artists alike the opportunity to learn from our internal research team as well as some of our most forward-thinking customers who will dive into their experiences developing for VR, discussing everything from motion controls to storytelling to non-games VR projects.

Q: A lot of attendees are beginning to express an interest in VR development, what should they do to gear themselves up for learning about Autodesk’s VR support at GDC?

The Autodesk Developer Day is entirely focused on VR, and also a great opportunity to talk with the Autodesk games team on-site. We’re going to be sharing a lot of our advanced research projects in VR as well as have some of the most forward-thinking developers share what they’ve learned in VR. People can also come prepared with questions about how to build better production pipelines, and specific questions about some of our tools, like 3ds Max and Maya, since our team will be available to chat.

Q: What kind of talk subjects should attendees interested in Autodesk’s offerings at GDC be pursuing? Any specific track or roundtable they should be looking for?

Autodesk is all about designing tools and service that allow developers to build great games and VR experiences. Many game developers are thinking about VR as their next target platform, so they should look for any session covering real-world VR development experiences, like the Dev Day sessions we’ll be offering. The other interesting trend right now is learning to use games knowledge of tools and techniques in non-games industries, which are really starting to embrace the world building, story-telling, and realism that games have come to represent.

Q: What advice would you have on developers looking to share knowledge, or gain knowledge from their fellow Autodesk users during your dev day?

Be ready to mingle and bring questions for our team! The Autodesk team will be around all day to answer your questions and we want to hear about your experience working with our tools. VR is new territory for everyone – big tech companies included – and our team is available to share what we’ve learned in VR, games, film and design.

Jason Bay
JC Cimetiere
Sr. Director of Product Marketing

In this interview, Unity's JC Cimetiere explains what developers can expect from Unity's developer day, and offers tips on networking and engine-hunting for the aspiring indie dev.

Q: Can you introduce yourself, your position, and what attendees can expect from Unity’s dev day at GDC?

My name is JC Cimetiere, I’m the Sr. Director of Product Marketing at Unity Technologies. Unity’s dev day have always been about helping creators bring their visions to life. Unity’s product development teams provide deep insights on the latest features and discuss our roadmap. This year we’ll be discussing the evolution of Unity’s rendering pipeline, storytelling toolset, VR improvements and monetization. We also see it as a valuable time for artists, creators, and game developers to network and learn from each other.

Q: If developers are attending GDC to shop around for a new engine for their game, what questions should they be asking if they swing through Unity’s Dev Day?

What can Unity do for me? I think that’s a great place to start, because in reality, Unity is much much more than a game engine. You can see Unity as a platform that lets teams manage the lifecycle of their creations, enabling collaboration, helping to understand user behavior and optimize monetization. Yes, of course we’re still focused on offering an amazing engine, with a robust development environment supercharged with the Asset Store where you’ll find tons of models, plugins etc, to help jumpstart your game. And, our newest Connect service is not only a place for you to market your skills, but also match -- and be matched -- with projects in need of Unity skills. Unity isn’t just a game engine, it’s an ecosystem to empower your success.

Q: As game development expands, and the accessibility of development tools reaches beyond programmers, what can attendees who don’t fall into that programming category expect from Unity in terms of making the engine accessible for their work?

There are a host of creators from graphic designers to filmmakers that use Unity and many would not fall into the traditional developer camp. We’re doing quite a bit to service those audiences because they are an integral part of the creation process. The technical depth of our sessions during the dev day will vary but we will be covering tools and features beyond programmer. Stay tuned for the detailed agenda.

Q: Unity’s made an effort this year to link developers together on its own forums—what kind of advice for networking would you have during Unity’s GDC dev day?

While at the dev day, I always say take copious notes, capture slides/screen to help remind you of what you saw. And come see us at the booth to continue the conversation. Before you arrive, you should make sure and create your Unity Connect account. It’s a great way to get you name out there and network before, during, and after the event. It’s also a place you can send people to learn about you and what your interests and talents are. Last, talk to people: you never know who you’re going to meet, what they might teach you, or whether you’ve found the perfect partner to start your next game with. Have fun!




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