March 3, 2016

Come Together with Epic Games at GDC 2016

By Dana Cowley

The Game Developers Conference is upon us, and we’re looking forward to seeing those of you who can make it to the annual pilgrimage to San Francisco.

Wondering how you can be a part of what we have in store for #GDC16? Great! Let’s get right to it. TLDR, there are dozens of talks which we’re excited to contribute to or influence in some way. A ton are listed below. 

The most newsworthy hour will be our “State of Unreal: Epic Games Opening Session” happening on Wednesday, March 16, at 9:30am PT in Moscone West 3001 and livestreamed to

UPDATE: We've published our recap of everything new that happened at GDC 2016 starting with our opening session. Check it out, and keep an eye on our GDC 2016 playlist for even more useful videos.


Before we dive into details around all of the learning content, we’re honored to announce what you’ll be able to enjoy at the Unreal Engine booth at Moscone South 1024

Please help us welcome these amazing developers into the Unreal family. Stop by and say hello, and play these games we love from teams large and small:

3 Kingdom Blade from Action Square (Android)
ABZÛ from Giant Squid and 505 Games (PS4)
ARK: Survival Evolved from Studio Wildcard (Xbox One)
Astroneer from System Era (PC)
Bears Can't Drift!? from Strangely Named Studio (PS4)
GRIP from Caged Element (PC)
Obduction from Cyan (PC)
ProtoStar from Epic Games and Samsung (Android)
Rocket League from Psyonix (Xbox One)
Street Fighter V from Capcom (PS4)
Unreal Tournament by Epic Games (PC)

FUN FACT: Obduction and Astroneer will be publicly playable for the first time ever, and we're honored to make this showing possible for Cyan and System Era Works, respectively. We’ve been fanning out over these two games and can’t wait to get them into your hands.

Have questions about Unreal Engine 4? Come on by!

Epic's senior developers and support staff will be on hand to provide Unreal Editor demonstrations, give talks in our open theater (featuring a new talk every 30 minutes!) and converse openly on the show floor. 

Our team and a handful of outstanding community members will be happy to show you around.

What about VR, you say?

UPDATE: Announcing the GDC VR Lounge!

We have curated a range of outstanding VR experiences for you to try at the show this year. On the third floor of Moscone West, next to our friends at Indie MEGABOOTH and Train Jam, you'll find the first-ever GDC VR Lounge.

Swing by and check out leading-edge virtual reality experiences that inspire and entertain. Open all week, the GDC VR Lounge gives you the opportunity to go hands-on (and headsets-on) with a selection of the best VR content made for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and Gear VR.

Hats off to the amazing Unreal Engine teams under our roof here:

  • Chronos from Gunfire Games - Chronos is an atmospheric RPG for Oculus by a fantastically pedigreed team that chronicles one young hero’s lifelong quest to save their homeland from a great evil. As the character ages, they become a more seasoned warrior, learning from mistakes and exploration of the labyrinth.  
  • EVEREST VR from Sólfar Studios and RVX - Climb the world’s highest and most majestic mountain in one of the most visually impressive and immersive recreations of a real world destination. One of Wired’s top three picks for the arrival of consumer VR in 2016 and named Best VR Experience at CES by The Verge, sample the worldwide premiere of the iconic ascent of Mount Everest’s Hillary Step on Vive.
  • Gary the Gull from Limitless Ltd & Motional - Just another day on the beach with your tasty lunch - and a talking seagull. One of the first interactive characters in VR, Gary responds to your gestures, gaze, and distance, just as he would in real life. GDC is Gary's world premiere, showing on PlayStation VR. Gary the Gull is directed by Mark Walsh (former Pixar writer-director), produced by Motional, and built with the Limitless VR Creative Environment. Stop by and say hello -- Gary would love to meet you!
  • Giant from Milica Zec and Winslow Turner Porter III - An emotional, critically acclaimed VR film revealed at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, showing on Oculus. Drawing on director and co-creator Milica Zec’s personal experiences as a child in war-torn Serbia, Giant transports the viewer into the life of a family struggling to survive in an active war zone.
  • Gunjack from CCP Games – Prepare to strap into your turret, power up your guns, and defend your mining rig in the top-selling game on the Samsung Gear. Gunjack is an action-packed arcade shooter built from the ground up for virtual reality. Immerse yourself in a visually stunning sci-fi world of danger and destruction
  • Invasion! from Baobab Studios -  An enchanting animated film crafted by the director of Madagascar ushering in a new era of VR experiences. Experience this tale of aliens trying to take over the planet, but being thwarted by the Earth's meekest and most adorable creatures -- and you are one of them. Be the underdog in Oculus or Gear VR at GDC!  Get in now for a sneak peak before its public debut at Tribeca.
  • Paranormal Activity VR from VRWERX - Paranormal Activity VR is the first-person horror survival game based on Paramount Pictures’ massively popular Paranormal Activity film franchise. Showing on Vive, this experience commands long lines, and we can get you into the first playable demo for the full game that’s shipping this summer!
  • Raw Data from Survios - Raw Data is a first-person, action-combat game optimized for whole-body Active VR gameplay. This demo is a co-op multiplayer experience with in-game avatars, interactive weapons, dynamic defenses and swaths of challenging enemies.  Referred to by TechCrunch as “perhaps the most advanced first person shooter in VR."
  • The Rose and I from Penrose Studios - a beautiful story about loneliness, friendship, love, and loss. Come meet a lonely Rose living in the unlikeliest of places, and join her as she transports you to a brand new universe. Penrose will also offer extremely limited viewings of its preview teaser of Allumette, the story of a young orphan girl who lives in a fantastical city in the clouds. Both experiences are currently showing on Rift and Vive.
  • The Walk VR Experience from Create VR - The Creative Arts Award-winning experience based on Sony Pictures’ The Walk lets you relive the death-defying stunt featured in the movie by walking a tightrope between New York’s World Trade Center buildings circa 1974.
  • Thunderbird from Innervision VR - This awesome first-person adventure game is designed and created by a team of two - a father and son - showing on Vive. Thunderbird VR takes players on a fantastical journey. Winner of “Best VR Experience” at the recent Vision Summit.


GDC VR Lounge demos will be open:

  • Monday, March 14 to Thursday, March 17 from 10:00am to 6:00pm
  • Friday, March 18 from 10:00am to 3:00pm


Journalists, please contact for press appointments.


Now, onto the GDC sessions. Please note that all times listed below are PST (GMT -8).


VRDC begins! 

Epic’s Jay Hosfelt returns:

Animation Bootcamp: Tricks of the Trade
4:40-5:10pm in Moscone North 132
Amy Drobeck, Senior Animator, 5th Cell Media
Jean-Denis Haas, Lead Animator, ILM
Billy Harper, Animation Director, Sucker Punch
Jay Hosfelt, Lead Animator, Epic Games
Simon Unger, Lead Animator, Phoenix Labs
Alex M. Lehmann, Art Director, Riot Games

AI Summit begins!

AI for Generated Worlds
4:40-5:10pm in Moscone North 134
Damian Isla, Co-Founder & Tech, The Molasses Flood
John Abercrombie, Emperor, Epic Games
(editor’s note: John, is that really your title? ;)


GDC 2016 Unreal Engine Education Summit
8:30-11:30am at the Intercontinental Hotel
Eventbrite registration is open!
Audience: Educators and Instructors

Epic’s Jim Brown holds his annual workshop:

Level Design Workshop: The Illusion of Choice
2:10-2:40pm in Moscone North 130
Jim Brown, Senior Designer, Epic Games

Epic’s big session at VRDC:

Going Off the Rails: The Making of "Bullet Train"
10-11am in Moscone West 2006
Nick Donaldson, Senior Designer, Epic Games
Nick Whiting, Technical Director & Lead VR Engineer, Epic Games

A few more talks from Epic and Unreal friends:

VR Production & Development: A Deep Dive Into Kite & Lightning’s Workflow
10-11am in Moscone West 2002
Ikrima Elhassan, Co-founder & Technical Director, Kite & Lightning 
Cory Strassburger, Co-founder & Creative Director, Kite & Lightning 

Making Compelling and Immersive Story at 90 FPS
1:20-1:50pm in Moscone West 2002
Maxwell Planck, Technical Director, Oculus Story Studio

Tales from the Trenches: AI Disaster Stories
1:20-1:50pm in Moscone North 134
Steve Rabin, Principal Lecturer, Digipen Institute of Technology
Rez Graham, Senior AI Programmer, Independent
John Abercrombie, "Emperor," Epic Games
Alex Champandard, Founder & CEO,
Tobias Karlsson, Principal Software Engineer, Microsoft
Troy Humphreys, Lead AI Programmer, Turtle Rock Studios

Creating a World for Companies and Brands
3:50-4:20 in Moscone West 2002
Tony Christopher, CEO & President, Landmark Entertainment Group

Is Vulkan a Game Changer?
4-5pm in Moscone West 3022
Joe Davis, Leading Developer Technology Engineer, Imagination Technologies
Tobias Hector, Software Design Engineer, Imagination Technologies
Niklas Smedberg, Senior Engineer, Epic Games
Bill Bilodeau, Developer Advocate, Google, Inc.
Dean Sekulic, Co-founder, Croteam

Rebel Rebel: Challenging the Rules of VR
4:40-5:10pm in Moscone West 2006
Adam Orth, Founder & Creative Director, Three One Zero


Jackpot! This is the Big Day. 

These sessions in the dedicated Unreal Engine theater will be listed on the GDC website and app scheduler soon, but you’re seeing it here first!

State of Unreal: Epic Games Opening Session
9:30-10:30am in Moscone West 3001
Livestreamed to

The Future of Virtual Reality: Luminary Panel Discussion
11am-12pm in Moscone West 3001
Livestreamed to

Building Paragon in Unreal Engine 4
12:30-1:30pm in Moscone West 3001
Livestreamed to

Digital Humans: Crossing the Uncanny Valley in Unreal Engine 4
2-3pm in Moscone West 3001
Livestreamed to

A Real-Time Rendered Future
3:30-4:30pm in Moscone West 3001
Livestreamed to

Game Developers Town Hall
5-6pm in Moscone West 3001
Livestreamed to

And, if the above isn’t enough to whet your appetite, there are even more Unreal talks on Wednesday:

Vulkan on Mobile Unreal Engine 4 Case Study
9:30-10:30am in Moscone West 3022
Marius Bjorge, Staff Engineer, ARM
Daniele Di Donato, Senior Software Engineer, ARM
Niklas Smedberg, Senior Engineer, Epic Games

Hitting Budget: Creating Highly Detailed Worlds with Unreal Engine 4 and Simplygon
11am-12pm in Moscone West 3007
Samuel Rantaeskola, Product Expert, Simplygon
Jurre De Baare, Framework Engineer, Epic Games

2016: A Pivotal Year for F2P on PlayStation
12:30-1:30pm in Moscone West 3022
Wes Phillips, Global Brand Manager, Epic Games
Sarah Thomson, Sr. Account Executive, F2P, Sony Computer Entertainment America
Erik Whiteford, Director of Marketing,
Todd Harris, COO, Hi-Rez Studios
Ivan Sulic, VP of Marketing, Digital Extremes
Laura Naviaux, Chief Publishing Officer, Daybreak Games

Making Light Work of Dynamic Large Worlds
2-3pm in Moscone West 3009
Dominic Matthews, Product Development Manager, Ninja Theory
Ivan Pedersen, Technical Artist, Geomerics


Introduction to Unreal
9:30am-12:30pm at the AMC Metreon
No GDC badge required - FREE!

The Gamer’s Brain, Part 2: UX of Onboarding and Player Engagement
10-11am in Moscone West 2006
Celia Hodent, Director of User Experience, Epic Games

Forging The River in "The Flame in The Flood"
10:00-11:00am in Moscone West 2002
Damien Isla, Co-founder, The Molasses Flood

Production: Working at the Heart of the Team
11:30am-12:30pm in Moscone North 132
Grant Shonkwiler, Producer, Epic Games
Greg Stone, Sr. Producer, Backflip Studios
Matt Charles, Sr. Producer, Gearbox
Michelle Ducker, Producer, Media Molecule

Rendering Faster and Better with NVIDIA GameWorks VR in UE4
12:45-1:45pm in Moscone West 3014
Cem Cebenoyan, Director of Engineering, Game Engines and Core Tech, NVIDIA

Surrounded by 800lb Gorillas! Standing Up to the Competition
12:45-1:45pm in Moscone West 2009
Cliff Bleszinski, CEO, Boss Key Productions
Arjan Brussee, COO, Boss Key Productions
Tramell Isaac, Art Director, Boss Key Productions
Rohan Rivas, Studio Communications Manager, Boss Key Productions

Building Obduction: Cyan’s Custom UE4 Art Tools
3:00-3:30pm in Moscone West 2001
Eric Anderson, Art Director, Cyan, Inc.

In the Trenches: Optimizing UE4 for Intel
5:30-6:30pm in Moscone West 2000
Niklas Smedberg, Senior Engineer, Epic Games
Jeff Rous, Graphics Software Engineer, Intel

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on Android - AAA Porting with NVIDIA CodeWorks
5:30-6:30pm in Moscone West 3014
Daniel Horowitz, Engineering Manager, Developer Tools Mobile, NVIDIA
Paul Hodgson, Sr. Developer Technology Engineer, NVIDIA
Jeffrey Kiel, Sr. SW Engineering Manager, Graphics Developer Tools, NVIDIA


Introduction to Unreal
9:30am-12:30pm at the AMC Metreon
No GDC badge required - FREE!

Killer Portfolio or Portfolio Killer: Part 1
11:45am-12:45pm in Moscone North 130
Greg Foertsch, Senior Art Director, Firaxis Games
Alison Kelly, Consultant, Alison Kelly Consulting
Wyeth Johnson, Lead Technical Artist, Epic Games
Shawn Robertson, Art Director, Irrational Games
Nicholas (Sparth) Bouvier, Art Director, 343 Industries
Steve Scott, Senior FX Art Lead, Bungie

Magical Realism: The Art of Creating Everest in Your Living Room with VR
12:15-1:15pm in Moscone West 3014
Kjartan Pierre Emilsson, CEO and Co-founder, Sólfar Studios

How We Introduced UX into Epic Games’ Production Pipeline
1:30-2:30pm in Moscone West 3001
Celia Hodent, Director of User Experience, Epic Games
Heather Chandler, Sr. Producer, Epic Games

Killer Portfolio or Portfolio Killer: Part 2
1:30-5pm in Moscone North 132
Greg Foertsch, Senior Art Director, Firaxis Games
Darren Bacon, Lead Concept Artist, 343 Industries
Marie-Michelle Pepin, Character Artist, Freelance
Chris Sulzbach, Lead Character Artist, Firaxis Games
Gavin Goulden, Lead Character Artist, Insomniac Games
Steve Scott, Senior FX Art Lead, Bungie
Nicholas "Sparth" Bouvier, Art Director, 343 Industries
Shawn Robertson, Art Director, Irrational Games
Wyeth Johnson, Lead Technical Artist, Epic Games
Alison Kelly, Consultant, Alison Kelly Consulting
David Johnson, Lead Visual Effects Artist, Infinity Ward


Massive thanks to our partner NVIDIA who are powering our PC and VR experiences at the booth. They're overwhelmingly supportive, as always.
NVIDIA is awesome!

That’s it for now! Stay tuned for updates right here and for the many announcements at GDC.

If you’re on Twitter, you can get all the latest updates by following @UnrealEngine.