Epic has announced that it's to reveal the latest Unreal Engine 3 features and updates at a press conference at GDC next week.
Also announced, were some panels and presentations being held, featuring different executives and developers within the firm.
The new features will be demonstrated alongside free advanced training sessions for existing users, and showcase the most recent upgrades; its ever-expanding toolset, and demonstrate a procedural artist-driven tool for constructing buildings used in the development of city-based games; a spline-based tool for rapid creation of continuous branching objects such as roads, sidewalks, tentacles, roots, vines, cabling, and railway tracks; and a mesh painting tool enabling artists to customize the appearance of every object in a game.
The presentation will showcase a new outdoor foliage demo that highlights new engine features, tools, lighting, shadowing and procedural animation. Attendees will also be able to view the demo in stereoscopic 3D and preview Unreal Engine 3 running on iPhone/iPod Touch.
This year, Epic Games China will also be demoing Atlas Technology, Unreal Engine 3's purpose built development and technology solution for MMOGs.
Licensees of the Unreal Engine will also be able to take advantage of free training sessions on topics including game optimization, content and programming tips, rendering, animation, physics and visuals, as well as workflows for the Unreal Editor, level design and tools at GDC.
Key members of Epic’s development team will contribute to the following GDC speaker sessions:
- Rod Fergusson will present the discussion “So You Want to be a Great Producer” during the “Producer Boot Camp” session being held on Wednesday. This presentation will discuss key aspects of the production discipline from both an external and internal perspective, describe common production pitfalls, and how the role of Producer has become even more critical to success.
- “Bringing UE3 to Apple's iPhone Platform” will be presented by Josh Adams on Tuesday. The session will cover the methods Epic used to bring a large-scale game engine over to a mobile device in only a few months and discuss how the iPhone stacks up as a game platform, how to target it for their own games, and how to avoid certain pitfalls.
- Jim Brown will present as part of “Level Design in a Day: Best Practices from the Best in the Business, ” a day-long tutorial where attendees will gain deep insights from some of the most experienced level designers in the industry. The session will take place on Wednesday.
- “Building Blocks: Artist Driven Procedural Buildings” will be presented by James Golding on Thursday. Attendees will learn new ways of thinking about buildings, novel ideas for creating them in games and how to implement their own system using these ideas, or incorporate them into their own pipeline while avoiding some of the challenges.
- Dan Schoenblum will present “Zero to Millions: Building an XLSP for Gears of War 2” on Friday. Attendees will walk away with knowledge about the technologies used as well as what went right and wrong during the development of the system.
- “Prototyping Based Design: A Better, Faster Way to Design Your Game” will be presented by Lee Perry on Friday. Attendees will learn new ways of thinking about the role of a designer, rethinking who on their teams can be more involved in the direct production of gameplay design, and walk away with ideas for their own projects that would benefit from such production methods.
- Michael Capps will moderate the panel “Agile: No Silver Bullet,” which will discuss the good and the bad of agile development, answer audience questions directly and help diagnose how and why Agile projects went wrong, and methods teams and companies can use to get their processes back on track. The panel will take place on Friday.
- “Designing Shadow Complex” will be presented by Donald Mustard on Saturday. The session will discuss the approach to designing the hit XBLA game and key insights unique to downloadable console titles, ideas on how to embrace the “limitations” of the platform and use them to streamline game design, prototype, and boil a feature set down to its core essence of “fun.”
- Tim Johnson will participate in the panel “Rising to the Top: How to Land a Triple-A Job” on Saturday. Attendees will gain a firmer grasp on the importance of networking, who to contact when exploring career opportunities, and how to succeed in the interview process – including how to negotiate the best compensation package possible.