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Diamond Partner Q&A: Epic's Nick Penwarden gives Unreal Engine devs a taste of what's in store for GDC!

If you're coming out to GDC 2020 in San Francisco, don't overlook your opportunity to check out the offerings from an array of sponsors who help fuel the games industry, including our Diamond Partners, whose support plays an integral role to the success of GDC.

To give you a better sense of what the expect from the show and Diamond Sponsor Epic Games we reached out to Nick Penwarden, director of engineering for Unreal Engine at Epic Games, for a quick chat about what Unreal devs can look forward to at GDC next month!

Would you please introduce yourself and what Epic is showing off at GDC?

Hi! I'm Nick Penwarden, VP of Engineering, and I run the Unreal Engine team. I've worked on Unreal for almost 9 years now, first as a graphics programmer and then managing the engineering team. I am especially excited about the technology we're going to show the world at GDC. I believe it's going to transform how we build games and bring about a generational leap in the level of visual quality that can be achieved. I don't want to ruin the surprise though, you'll have to join us at our State of Unreal opening session at 11 AM on Wednesday, March 18 to find out!

How has the Unreal Engine's use for TV shows like The Mandalorian turned around to help the game development community?

Working on productions like The Mandalorian has allowed us the opportunity to refine and improve our cinematic production tools. These cutting-edge projects push us to improve our rendering
techniques and push real-time rendering ever closer to photorealism. These advances cascade and benefit all creators, unlocking new ways to tell stories, craft experiences, and delight audiences.

What are some interesting new tools in Unreal Engine 4 you think developers should know about?

We recently released Unreal Engine 4.24, which introduces non-destructive terrain editing with landscape layers, new sky and atmospheric scattering features, and introduced free Quixel Megascans. Also in 4.24 is an early version of strand-based hair rendering and simulation that is higher quality than what has been possible in real-time previously.

We’ve also made strides in the performance and stability of Chaos, our new physics and destruction system, and Niagara VFX to get them ready for use in production, offering new levels of artistry and interactivity to the worlds we create.

What kinds of questions should developers come to the Unreal booth with?

I’d like developers to visit our booth to talk about the games they are working on, ask questions about how best to implement features, and chat about the features they’d love to see come to Unreal Engine in the future.

Register now for GDC 2020

GDC 2020 runs from Monday, March 16th through Friday, March 20th. This will be the 34th edition of GDC, and now that registration is officially open, you'll want to take a look at the (ever-expanding) session schedule and your GDC pass options -- register early to lock in the best price!

For more details on GDC 2020 visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via FacebookTwitter, or RSS.


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