2014 was my 15th anniversary of what I do, and was also my most intense year of the past 15 years. When I started doing this 15 years ago I had no idea it would lead to all of this. My future back then was bleak, then Unreal and levels happened. One and half decade later this is where I am at.
During 2014 I:
Visited 50+ game studios
Created 20 hours of UE4 tutorial videos
Contracted by 5 studios for UE development work
9 UE4 presentations to a combined audience of 1100+ people
Set up 4 official Unreal Engine Evenings
Sent (not received) 8845 emails
Ran our 6-10 people large Solus team, and secured funding for it
Created thousands of assets and scripts for Solus
Played a major role in the development of the new UE4 Alone In The Dark game
Worked with Grip Games and the students at Futuregames to create an hour long DLC to Unmechanical and get the game out on next gen consoles
Had 146 508 visitors to Hourences.com along with 662 653 pageviews, and 62 714 views on Youtube
Worked at the education Futuregames all year long and set up cooperation with companies like Microsoft and accomplishing an 80% student-hired rate straight after the internships.
What follows over the next few days (this is post one) is an overview of what I’ve done this year, and what I have done in those 15 years being a game developer.
While I have always been a very fast and dedicated worker, in particular during the last 4 years I feel I have really progressed huge steps forward in terms of time management and organization, and the ability to multi task and very rapidly switch back and forth between a wide range of completely different things. And all of the things I learned in the past couple of years have culminated in 2014.
I feel I have also fully mastered the art of focus. I worked non-stop 24/7 without having felt the feeling that I lost focus even once, or that it became too much and unpleasant to work. I took almost not a single break in the past 365 days (about 12 days all in all, weekends and things like Christmas included), nor did I feel I needed one. I love what I do.
This is me moving forward at full speed. One year worth of work:
I still work for the education Futuregames in Stockholm. I am responsible for the game design students and large parts of the education as a whole, as well as the internship process.
Taught the game design classes all year long.
Responsible for 80 students in one way or another.
Responsible for the internship process. Upon finishing their internships 80% of the students had secured a contract from their internship studio. 80% in general has a job within the industry upon completion of the education, which is also one of the highest success numbers in any field and any education in the whole of Sweden.
Set up 30′ish game studios visiting the school and presenting themselves, and set up a game project with Microsoft.
Taught the brand new students UE4 in just 5 days time, then had them create UE4 games in just 10 days time. This was the result:
I visited over 50 game studios during the course of this year for one reason or another. From small indie outfits to some of the world’s largest and most well known studios.
By far my coolest visit was the week I spent in the US at Epic Games HQ. It was an awesome experience to finally meet all those people I had known for years! Thanks again Epic!
I have worked for a number of game studios during the course of the year. Some small contracts, some big.
SpeedTree - Demo scene and helping to prepare for the public Unreal Engine 4 Speedtree launch.
Vivid Games – Short contract for visual touch up of Unreal Engine 3 title Real Boxing.
Tequila Works – Short contract providing some Unreal Engine 4 tech advice for the production of Rime.
Bitfry - Visual touch up work on an unannounced Unreal Engine 4 game.
Pure FPS – Worked on the new Unreal Engine 4 powered Alone In The Dark game, by Atari, for the majority of the year. Designed most of the initial level designs we started out from, set up large parts of the environment art style, the workflow and pipeline, and organized production on the level side.
The above is a section I was largely responsible for. Can’t show more/other screens right now.
The Solus Project – Tutorials
During the course of 2014 I produced 3 large commercial videos based on The Solus Project, along with hours worth of free content. I produced 20+ hours worth of UE4 tutorial content. The videos have done awesome, and definitely made it worth my time! Thanks everyone!
And to answer a question many may have: Will there be more videos? There will be a few free ones for sure during the course of 2015. As for commercial ones I am not sure yet. I would absolutely love to but as you can imagine my schedule is extreme. No promises at the moment.
Presentations and Speeches
I’ve visited a number of countries, conferences, and educations over the course of 2014 to present Unreal Engine 4.
First one was at The Swedish Game Awards in March, where I showed UE4 live on stage ahead of the GDC public release.
Following that I was at:
May – Nordic Games – Malmo Sweden
August – Swedish Unreal Evening – Stockholm Sweden
September – Dreamhack Hackathon – Stockholm Sweden
October – Intel Buzz Workshop – Stockholm Sweden
November – NHTV – Breda Holland
November – Control Conference – Utrecht Holland
November – Belgian Unreal Evening – Antwerp Belgium
December – The Game Assembly – Malmo Sweden
December – Danish Unreal Evening – Copenhagen Denmark
The Solus Project – the game
And then there is the game itself. Entirely my own game and vision, the spiritual successor to my 2010 Unreal Engine 3 game The Ball, The Solus Project is moving forward at a great pace lately. We now have about 4 hours worth of content pretty far along, and we got menus and all kinds of other overhead work in place as well. Six hours worth of game is our end target, in line with The Ball.
During 2014 I did following:
Lead our 6 to 10 people large team, being the producer/director of the project and ensuring everyone has stuff to do and everything moves forward.
I secured a 50 000 USD grant to develop the game from the Nordic Game program. Second time I applied for this, and second time it was granted. Out of 100+ other entries.
I am the sole FX artist on the project.
Did ~50% of the art, and 100% of the look and feel in the game.
Had a hand in all of the levels being made and environments being designed.
Did all sound work thus far (we just brought in someone for that now to relief me).
Did all of the menus, together with C++ support from Rama.
Did 99% of all Blueprint scripting and very large parts of the functionality of the game.
Did 100% of all the tech art, complex art assets, workflow things, asset pipeline and organization, etc.
I know it has been a long time since I have shown new Solus work, but I want to be sure that when I begin showing the game, it is ready. We are moving forward aiming for a summer 2015 release.
Here is a new screenshots however, while you await more new stuff!:
I had some of the students at Futuregames produced an hour long expansion to our Unreal Engine 3 game, and we are working together with Grip Games to get the game out on PS3, PS4, Xbox One. Release is set for Q1 2015. Around summer the free expansion level will also be released for PC.
These take quite a bit of time as we all know, so I am including this one in my year. I sent 8 845 emails during 2014. On top of all of the other work I have done this year. This amounts to 24 mails per day on average.
And then there is the exposure of this all.
1100+ people saw me live doing one of my UE4 presentations.
Hourences.com had 146 508 visitors during 2014
And 662 653 pageviews
62 714 views on Youtube.
And last but not least…
And in the midst of all of this my wife and I were blessed with the birth of Izabella De Jong, born October 17.
And that was my year. Each of the things above I accomplished working with that particular job/subject on a part time basis only.