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Zak Parrish is a senior developer at Epic Games and he helps teams realise the full potential of the Unreal tool set – the game engine behind Fortnite – and how they can use it to accomplish virtually any project. It was once a major challenge to get into designing games – but that has all changed: it’s never been easier to get into games design.
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Okay so uh first off hi. A little bit about me before we get started. Started.
So my name is zack parrish. I work for epic games. And my job epic is actually to go around to studios.
Who are using the unreal engine. Which is the technology that actually powers fortnight and i help other companies other game studios make their video games. Which is actually what brings me to the uk today.
So i wanted to drop by and talk to you all about the potential. If you’re interested in maybe. Getting into the games industry yourselves.
You’ve all played a video game. Yeah. Everybody play video game.
At least once some of you maybe earlier today. Some of you may be right. Now who would like to maybe make game someday so the good news.
Is it has never been easier to get into video games than it is right now the tools you need to make them are free to you there they’re easily accessible. There’s tons of training online.
It’s never been like this before i’m unfortunately i hate to admit. I’m actually kind of old and when i first started getting into this it wasn’t like this it was actually very hard to get into games. You’d have to find some very expensive school way out the middle of nowhere.
Which would probably require you to fly to a whole different country and sign a whole lot of paperwork and pay a whole lot of money so that when you got done you’d be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. And it’s not really like that way anymore you can learn this stuff right now. If you wanted to you could probably go home and make a game tonight so to kind of give you a little bit of grounding on where things are so i’m gonna start off by showing a quick video of the game.
You might have heard of cz6 trailer music so cool hopefully one or two of you have played a round or two a fortnight. I’m horrible at that game. If i see you online.
I’m very easy to kill so uh real quick who in the room has played fortnight on a pc. Okay just a lot of your own console. If you’re on a computer.
This is the fortnight launcher you’ve probably seen it once or twice. But did you know that right at the top of it there’s a tab for the unreal engine right next door. You can click on this and this is actually the exact same system we use to make fortnight.
We give you the whole thing for free. It includes the entire source code. It includes a ton of training materials there are entire projects that you can download to get started.
Like i said you could you could go home and make a game tonight. If you wanted to and we’ll do a quick thing here in a few minutes.
We’ll actually build a couple of little video game pieces just for the fun of it so this is what it looks like it’s just a 3d environment tool. And it allows you to build out worlds to build out game logic. But there’s so much more to it than games.
It like why would anybody want to do this the first thing. And i think my my point might be a little out of order right because they sound like oh. The games industry is expanding of course.
It is the games industry makes its very successful right now makes a lot of money more and more people are playing games every day. If they’re you’re finding them in on mobile phones all over the place i have a switch i carry it with me wherever i go games are everywhere. But more importantly.
It’s just a fun career. I go to work and i basically have fun until they kick me out because they have to clean the building and then i go back the next day. It’s a lot of fun to make games.
It’s very it’s it’s competitive. It’s very stressful it can be a lot of hard work at times. But you have to have fun to make games that are fun now the neat thing about it.
Though is that it’s a lot more than just games. This is a small selection of other companies that are using the unreal engine to do their business and you might recognize a few things. There’s like bmw and other one like portia should be on there tesla’s on there all these big names in the automotive and aerospace industry.
That are using real time graphics literally the unreal engine this video game engine that powers fortnight is being used to visualize and show the world in ways that it hasn’t been before so now you can get a job in architecture or you can get a job. Designing cars or spaceships.
And do it all using video game technology. It’s a it’s a really bright future. And it’s very fun to get into so how do you actually go through the motions.
How do you learn about this well the unreal engine launcher that i just showed you which you can download from unreal engine comm has got a huge selection of example content that you can download really high end stuff that you can dig through see how we did it their corresponding videos online. That you can watch that’ll teach you how to do them yourselves we have a deep robust documentation system at doc’s unreal engine comm it’s basically the help file which i know nobody wants to read it. But it is pretty cool and it’s very helpful oh we have deep forums actually have a vast community of other people who want to make games.
Who are actually there to help you and they’re very helpful they will they’ll talk you through how to get how to build whatever. It is you want to build and recently. We actually opened our own online learning classroom at academy unreal engine comm this is totally free you can go there and you can go through structured classes to teach you how to make video games or to do high end visualization for architecture or industrial design.
And nothing like that has ever really been available before now you’re such a lucky generation. There’s also some udemy classes. If you want to check those out they cost a little bit of money.
But they’re they’re really not much in the grand scheme of things back when i was learning this that would have been like five or six hundred i’m sorry pounds. I’m american so just some kind of closing points in most cities. There are some game dev communities.
And there are several around here as well there’s also online communities you can get to get in touch with to start developing some friends and some texts and maybe make games with them or learn from them there are game jams that you can join like the global game jam. Which takes place every year where people from all over the world get together and make their own games. And there are dozens of universities across the uk to teach game development.
So you don’t even really have to go far from home to learn about all this so i got the power point stuff out of the way quick because i’m terrible at powerpoint and i usually think it’s kind of boring. So what i want to do now is jump over to the unreal engine up i think i’ve to put it on a different monitor hang on i’m gonna see if i can do this.
Oh. This is gonna be so creepy. I’m using i’m using this on a computer.
This really far away all right so this is the unreal editor right so we have a little environment. This is actually a test project that comes with the engine that you can launch at any time. And build and all this is is a little first person shooter template.
So i can jump in and i can run around and i can shoot tennis balls at things and knock them over now that’s quick it’s easy. It was really easy to make this it was just like a couple of clicks. And what i want to do is show you how you can use the engine to very quickly and easily make edits to this to rebuild it kind of in your own image.
So let’s take a look at how this works so here at the bottom of the screen. Oh. My i’m gonna try to do it over my shoulder.
This might actually work so here we are looking at the different parts. That make this game up and one of the most important things inside of all of unreal engine are these things called blueprints and a blueprint is essentially a piece of video game logic. That has been defined with nodes and connections.
I’ll show it to you well i got to drag this over from the other window. So hang on i need i need liking music. When i do this like dude.
I’m sorry has terrible music. I’m sorry all right careful perfect all right so.
Here is what a blueprint looks like under the hood. It’s really just a series of boxes and wires. But it defines video game logic.
Without the need to have to go in and write a whole bunch of programming. Which is great for people like me cuz. I’m not a programmer at all and terrible at that it scares me.
And i don’t want to do it. But this this is like programming with lego brick. You could build an entire game in fact we did build entire games out of this now.
I don’t know how many of you are into vr. But a couple of years back epic released a game called robo recall for the oculus anybody. Hear that okay a couple of people that’s cool so that game was built entirely in this system.
We didn’t even really use programmers that much a bunch of visual people and some designers and artists all got together and built all of the logic. Just like this and we can actually take a look at what this is doing so. What we’re looking at is the graph that defines the tennis balls that were shooting into the world and here.
We’ve got you probably can’t read it from back. There. I’ll read it to you and do my best so we have this event called hit so when we hit something what are we doing we’re doing a quick test.
And saying is it simulating physics. If so apply an impulse at it which means push it around that’s really all this is doing and if we play the game one more time get my mouse over on the screen.
So if we play when i shoot notice when i hit physics objects things that actually are stimulating. I can push them around so most of my code. My script is actually working so let’s let’s modify this let’s make it a little more interesting.
What sorry i’m not used to using a monitor that’s across the room okay so what we’ll do is first off let’s make it so that as the ball. So let’s make the ball explode things that explode are usually more fun than things that don’t explode. So what we’ll do is let’s set up a quick timer.
What i’ll start off by creating an event called begin play begin play is kind of a special timed moment essentially this says the moment this projectile enters the world something’s gonna happen. And what are we gonna do well let’s mate let’s give it a little bit of like a delay. Let’s make it wait for a moment.
So i’ll just right click. And i’ll type delay there we go and we’ll create a delay node and we’ll just plug this in and just like this technically we’re programming right. Now so let’s give it a.
Duration let’s say. 15. Seconds and what do we want it wanted to do after a 15 seconds.
Well let’s spawn. An explosion so type spawn and we will spawn an emitter at a given location. Now.
I already have an explosion in mind here. So let me just look up the effect that i want because it’s big and it’s pretty and it was already made for me cool so all we’re saying is we’re going to the.
Moment we enter the world we’ll wait 15. Seconds. And then we’ll spawn an explosion.
But it wants a little bit of information. It says hey where do you want that explosion to take place. No problem.
All we need to know is where our little grenade or a little tennis ball is so over here. And my components here is the sphere that actually defines my my little projectile that is the ball that makes my tennis ball. We’ll get a reference to it and we’ll say hey what is your location and we’ll get its world location.
We’ll plug it into the location point cool. That’s just going to spawn an explosion at the location of the ball after with a second and a half and the last thing. We’ll do is we’ll say hey cool.
Now you’ve spawned an explosion. You shouldn’t exist. Anymore.
So we’ll right click. And say destroy so literally telling this little tennis ball to no longer exist so unless. I’ve done something horrible.
This should just work just go back over to our level. If i can find my mouse cursor.
Which is over on the other screen ah. So we can play this right inside. The editor.
And now. Oh oh oh there we go. This is my laptop.
Thank you come on bam. So now instead of just a little cutesy tennis ball in fact. It’s flying around a little too quick.
I’m gonna slow it down real fast just so we have a cooler example. It’s a little easier to see so let’s go back over to our tennis ball. And here is his projectile data.
So this literally controls how fast. He flies around in the scene. I’ll grab his initial speed.
And we’ll just pull this down to something like fifteen hundred so that’s pretty easy and let’s try this again by the way. This is literally. What my day is like at work.
Let’s just make things blow up there you go. It’s just like that in a couple of minutes with just a couple of mouse clicks knowing just a few tools i was able to put something together very quickly and easily and just have fun with it and that’s really the heart of game development is that you can take something that is already very technical and make it fun and make it easy and you can do a lot of things with it you can go into gaming. You can go into aerospace into architecture.
You have a lot of opportunities in front of you thank you all very much for having me. And i’ll see you around applause. .
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