Epic Games announces the first round of academic and educational recipients of Unreal Dev Grants, a $5 million program Epic launched earlier this year to provide no-strings-attached funding to developers of promising early-stage projects. Today 10 contributors are being awarded more than $75,000 for their exemplary work on Unreal Engine learning resources.
Each of the hand-selected winners have a proven track record of building educational content for Unreal Engine 4 and are actively developing new material from which the community at large will benefit.
"The talented educators and developers recognized today are receiving the first Unreal Dev Grants for education thanks to their tireless contributions to the UE4 community," said Luis Cataldi, education evangelist at Epic Games. "I've personally seen the fruits of their efforts and generosity of spirit make significant differences for those seeking to master our tools and technology. We are excited to recognize these leaders for helping to bring up the next generation of UE4 developers."
Today’s Unreal Dev Grant recipients are as follows:
Kyle Ackerman, University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts: With the top game design program in the country, according to Princeton Review rankings, Kyle is working with numerous educators at USC Cinematic Arts to expand the university’s Unreal Engine curriculum.
James Butcher, Staffordshire University: Not only is James responsible for driving the partnership behind the Epic Games Centre at Staffordshire University, he is a prominent Unreal Engine educational leader across Europe. When he’s not busy helping others, he contributes to the development of games, online training and books.
Christina Lee, Academy of Interactive Entertainment: Christina and her colleagues at AIE are working to publish key elements of their secondary education curriculum for Unreal Engine development to free online learning portals.
Dr. Cynthia Marcello, State University of New York, Sullivan: Cynthia has developed SUNY Sullivan’s UE4 quest-based learning curriculum, which she presented at SIGGRAPH 2015 with Epic. Her completed QBL for UE4 curriculum will be hosted and freely available on unrealengine.com.
Rama: One of the earliest UE4 advocates, Rama has been helping to empower the UE4 Community since the earliest days of UE4 with additional Blueprint nodes via his Victory BP Library plugin. This C++ based library makes over 100 nodes available to developers for use with Blueprints. Rama is also collaborating on UE4 books.
Marcos Romero: Marcos authors the Romero Blueprints blog and is building additional learning resources for Blueprint, UE4’s visual scripting tool.
Tesla Dev: Tesla (note: unrelated to the awesome electric car company) was the first trainer to take up teaching Unreal Engine 4 as a full-time career, a move propelled by his popular YouTube channel featuring high-quality UE4 tutorials. Tesla is also collaborating on UE4 books.
“I’m honored to receive a grant from the Epic team,” said James Butcher, senior lecturer at Staffordshire University and coordinator of their Epic Games Centre program. “It is fantastic to be recognized by Epic for my efforts in Unreal Engine 4, and for being a steward of the community.”
“This grant empowers me to continue teaching others how to successfully implement their vision using the engine, and publish materials to help guide an even wider audience,” said Dr. Cynthia Marcello, professor at SUNY Sullivan. “I’m thrilled for the opportunity to continue working alongside Epic and expand our UE4-based curriculum.”
"I would like to thank Epic not only for this grant but also for the entirety of Unreal Engine 4,” adds Rama, one of UE4’s earliest supporters. “Unreal has become a central part of my life, and I have fun helping others learn it every day!"
Epic Games launched the $5 million Unreal Dev Grants program in February 2015 to support inspiring projects built in and around Unreal Engine 4. Recipients may use the money as desired, with no obligation to Epic. To date, Epic has awarded more than $450,000 to UE4 developers of all sizes and backgrounds to fund games across many platforms, as well as VR experiences, visualizations, film and learning materials.
Developed by Epic Games, the Unreal Engine brings high-fidelity experiences to PC, console, mobile, the Web and VR. Unreal Engine accelerates the creation of games, applications, visualizations and cinematic content. Download Unreal Engine for free at unrealengine.com, and follow @UnrealEngine for updates.