July 25, 2016

The Unreal Side of Develop 2016 in Brighton

By Dana Cowley

We’ve returned with loads of stories from from Develop:Brighton, an important annual conference and expo for the UK games industry. The Develop Awards, which run alongside the event, honor those who are achieving success and driving the industry forward. We were pleased to be a part of it all. Here are a few things that happened.

At Develop:Brighton everyone from industry legends to indie developers gathered to share their thoughts on where games are going, how to get a leg up on the competition and of course, the big pitfalls to avoid whether you’re making a simple puzzler or a fully featured VR experience. 

The conference saw record attendance this year with more than 2,000 delegates at the seaside show over the course of three days. Check out Develop’s YouTube channel for video highlights and interviews with notable speakers. 

Our own Jess Hider gave the talk “Beyond Unreal Engine: How Epic empowers developers through more than just technology” to provide guidance on how the studio helps individuals and teams become more successful through the power of the community, co-marketing, Unreal Dev Grants, custom licenses and more.

Joining Epic at the expo were an assortment of Unreal teams, such as Cardboard Sword who presented their beautifully detailed 2D game, The Siege and the Sandfox

Sumo Digital collected feedback on the creative and amusing Snake Pass, a product of the studio’s first internal game jam, built with UE4. Check out the new making-of trailer below.

We caught up with Sumo's analyst and designer, David Dino, just before the expo closed. "Sumo Digital had a great experience demoing Snake Pass in the Unreal Engine booth at Develop," he said." The laid back nature of the booth with its lounge area filled with bean bags and refreshments let people view our work at their own pace. This allowed for more personal attention from me when demoing Snake Pass to all expo-goers. It was fantastic to be part of a group showing innovative, fun and creative games displaying the amazing versatility of Unreal Engine 4.

Meanwhile, Mad Head Games showed off their brand new game KingeWitch for the very first time on the Unreal Engine stand, pictured below.

The Farm 51 showcased the Chernobyl VR Project which gives the very first virtual tour of the Chernobyl and Pripyat nuclear disaster area. Available now on the Oculus Store, and coming soon to the HTC Vive via Steam, a portion of proceeds are going to Chernobyl survivors.

R8 Games put showgoers behind the wheel of their slick anti-gravity racer Formula Fusion, available now in early access on Steam.

Pixel Blimp rounded out the offering of games on show with Jump Stars, their competitive party game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

To top off a nice showing at the expo and conference, Unreal Engine 4 was awarded the Develop Industry Excellence Award for Best Engine. This was incredibly exciting and humbling as we have immeasurable respect for our peers who serve on the panel of judges and vote for the Develop Awards every year.

Our founder and CEO Tim Sweeney had this to say: “The Develop Awards have a dear place in our hearts at Epic, having swept the tools accolades with Unreal Engine 3 from 2008 through 2013. Now in 2016, it's great to be back as Best Engine with Unreal Engine 4. We're grateful to all of the amazing developers, from indie to triple-A, who have chosen our technology to power their games, and have made it look so good!”

The award for Best Engine comes as UE4 momentum continues to swell. Since going free, the Unreal community has seen massive growth, with more than 2 million developers using the engine. In addition, more than 80 Unreal-powered games at E3 2016 were on full display last month, showcasing the engine’s scalability and flexibility across genres and platforms, proving that truly any project can be built with UE4.