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Unreal University? Epic stuff in the heart of London!

Old folk always twitter on about the things they don’t teach you in school. With a games industry flowing with customers, the next generation of games will need to be even more amazing. But who’s going to program them? Epic has the answer with an express tutorial course.

Just after 6pm on a cool July evening, a massive truck rocks up outside the De Vere West One Conference Centre on Portland Place, in the heart of Central London – bang opposite the BBC building.

Warm welcome awaits the next generation of pro-class gamer developers at Unreal University

Once security has been established, the truck opens up to reveal over 100, top end Core i7 gaming systems – complete with the latest in mouse, keyboard and TFT technology. All of this hardware is accompanied by an elite team of system engineers from Multiplay. But why have they turned up here, in the heart of London?

Never, in the field of game development education, have so many Core i7 PCs been set up by so few engineers in such a short time

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Making games is a lot like making pizza. The fundamentals might appear similar, but the end result can vary enormously.

Ponder this: If you planned to make an epic pizza, would you start 2 days earlier with your own secret recipe for the dough – or would buy a base you can trust and focus your attention on the construction of the colours and flavours?

The question facing a lot of serious game developers is very similar. Should you start with a huge investment in creating unique game/physics/graphics engine technology – or does it make more sense to start with tried and trusted engines – and focus your attention on creating the game play and graphics?

Thinking about running 100 top-spec PCs off a standard socket? Think again. This is the domain of the serious professional installer.

According to the folks at Epic, the award-winning Unreal Engine is known for its cutting-edge graphics, best-of-breed toolset and scalability across platforms.That sounds like just the sort of thing any budding game developer is going to need.

Embodied by the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), there’s no doubting the maturity of the environment and its myriad array of its advanced mobile features, multi-core processor support, optimizations for iOS, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and massive world support.

Not sure top-spec Thermaltake Challenger keyboards are necessary for programming games - but Multiplay is taking no chances

Serious people in the development community also rate the product highly. For example, Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 is the five-time winner of and Hall of Fame inductee for Game Developer magazine’s Best Engine Front Line Award. Unreal Engine 3 has also held the Develop Industry Excellence Award in its category for the past three years. Impressive stuff. It’s also enabled many a young gamer to blow the heads off their best friends’ in-game characters in Unreal Tournament. Kudos.

In short, Unreal Engine 3 is designed to accelerate developers’ productivity for computer and video games, mobile games and applications, training simulations, 3D visualizations, digital films and animated television shows. If you’re still wanting more technical details – then click here.

So that brings us to Unreal University, which is an academic initiative funded by Epic Games to offer professional, hands-on guidance to those interested in using its award-winning Unreal Engine 3 (UE3) technology, including the UDK.

Lucky attendees will discover amazing stuff, including how to :-

  • Create a driving game for iOS
  • Become a digital movie director with UDK
  • Create a cool level for a game inside an hour

The impressive thing is that all of this, and more, will be learned in a day.

The technology being deployed includes 100 Intel Core i7 systems with the latest in DX11 graphics accelerators – all of which was supplied, installed and certified ‘ready to rock’ by Multiplay in less than 4 hours.

Empty room to complete 100 system install in under 4 hours?  That’s got to be a record of some kind!

Words of Unreal Wisdom will be projected onto these screens all day long

Lucky attendees will end the day with a head full of useful game-development knowledge and a firm understanding of how they can choose an engine off the shelf, focus on the actual gameplay and graphics, to create commercially successful hits.

In the old days, students would suck up to the teacher with apples. Now, seems only the finest unreal candy will do

We’ve been told that the massive hall that was empty at 6pm last night, will again be empty before today is out. Impressive stuff from the specialists at Multiplay. You can see these guys in action on a much larger scale at i43 at the end of August – where they will perform a similar trick with a cast of thousands.

Now THAT's what we call a lot of name badges

KitGuru says: Very smart move from Epic – well executed by Multiplay. We are seriously jealous of the lucky sods who get to spend the day discovering Unreal Secrets!

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