Epic Games, an American video game and software development company, made a series of announcements, earlier this week. These include:
- Epic Game’s CEO, Tim Sweeney to offer $100 million in grants to game developers
- Stunning RTX-powered Ray-Tracing Demo named Troll
- Epic’s free Online Services launch for game developers
Epic MegaGrants: $100 million funds to Game Developers
Tim Sweeney, CEO, Epic Games Inc, announced earlier this week that he will be offering $100 million in grants to game developers to boost the growth of the gaming industry. Sweeney made the announcement during a presentation on Wednesday at the Game Developers Conference (GDC). GDC is the world’s largest professional game industry event that ended yesterday in San Francisco.
Epic Games also created a $5 million fund for grants that have been disbursed over the last three years. Now Epic Games is off to build a new fund called Epic MegaGrants. These are “no-strings-attached” grants, meaning that they don’t consist of any contracts requiring game developers to do anything for Epic. All that game developers need to do is apply for the grants, create an innovative project, and if the Epic’s judges find it worthy, they’ll offer them the funds.
“There are no commercial hooks back to Epic. You don’t have to commit to any deliverables. This is our way of sharing Fortnite’s unbelievable success with as many developers as we can”, said Sweeney.
Troll: a Ray Tracing Unreal Engine 4 Demo
Another eye-grabbing moment at GDC this year was a “visually stunning” ray tracing demo revealed by Goodbye Kansas and Deep Forest Films called “Troll”. Troll was rendered in real time using Unreal Engine 4.22 ray tracing and camera effects. And powered by a NVIDIA’s single GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card. Troll is visually inspired by Swedish painter and illustrator John Bauer, whose illustrations are famous for Swedish folklore and fairy tales anthology known as ‘Among Gnomes and Trolls’.
“Ray tracing is more than just reflections — it’s about all the subtle lighting interactions needed to create a natural, beautiful image. Ray tracing adds these subtle lighting effects throughout the scene, making everything look more real and natural,” said Nick Penwarden, Director of Engineering for Unreal Engine at Epic Games.
NVIDIA team states in a blog post that Epic Games has been working to integrate RTX-accelerated ray tracing into its popular Unreal Engine 4. In fact, Unreal Engine 4.22 will have the support for new Microsoft DXR API for real-time ray tracing.
Epic’s free online services launch for game developers
Epic Games also announced the launch of free tools and services, part of the Epic Online Services, which was announced in December 2018. The SDK is available via the new developer portal for immediate download and use. SDK currently supports Windows, Mac, and Linux. Moreover, the SDK, as a part of the release, provides support for two free services, namely, game analytics and player ticketing.
Game analytics help developers understand player behavior. It features DAU (Daily active users), MAU (Monthly active users), retention, new player counts, game launch counts, online user count, and more. The ticketing system connects players directly with developers and allows them to report bugs or other problems.
These two services will continue to evolve along with the rest of Epic Online Services (EOS) to offer infrastructure and tools required by the developers to launch, operate, and scale the high-quality online games. Epic games will also be offering additional free services throughout 2019, including player data storage, player reports, leaderboards & stats, player identity, player inventory, matchmaking etc.
“We are committed to developing EOS with features that can be used with any engine, any store and that can support any major platform…these services will allow developers to deliver cross-platform gameplay experiences that enable players to enjoy games no matter what platform they play on”, states the Epic Games team.