Game developer - Level Designer - Environment Artist - Author - Tutor - 15 Years of experience with Unreal Engine 1, 2, 3, 4
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For the next two weeks I will be streaming on a nearly daily basis. Feel free to join in and ask me any questions on how what I am doing and how I built things!

For the time being no voice, as I don’t want to be talking for 8 hours long every day, but I monitor the chat and might pick up voice chat soon.

I returned from an awesome two weeks in the US. It was an awesome experience to be at GDC, especially on behalf of Epic Games, and see from up close how much organization, work, and passion goes into running a show that big. I’ve met tons of people, some of them who I had been talking to for over a decade without having ever, and it was great to finally meet everyone face to face.

And also, thanks to a partnership with Tobii, I had The Solus Project in the main expo hall at GDC as well!





That aside, I recently wrapped up on the Futuregames UE4 projects with my students. These six projects were the outcome. This is UE4, done in just 4 weeks time, by just ~6 people a group, absolutely no programming (Blueprint only), and done by students who have only been studying since September. So in other words, this is how much you can accomplish with Unreal Engine 4 in a limited amount of time, and with little experience.








I have been spending the week at Epic HQ, but unfortunately managed to bring winter with me from Scandinavia :) Started snowing here after I arrived here.

I will be in San Francisco for GDC 2015 all week long on behalf of Epic Games. If you are at GDC, I’d love to meet up with you during the course of the week!

You can find me at or near the Unreal Engine booth most of the time, or alternatively reach out to me via email ( me@hourences.com) or Twitter.

Lastly, Epic Games is throwing a party Wednesday evening. Everyone is welcome!

I will be in Amsterdam next week Wednesday along with Andy Hess, and we will be hosting an official Unreal Engine meetup!

      On Wednesday evening, the 4th of February, Epic Games would like to invite you to the first official Dutch Unreal Engine mixer.

      Unreal Engine Evangelists Andy Hess and Sjoerd De Jong will be hosting a casual get-together at Heffer in the heart of Amsterdam.

      While enjoying free drinks, attendees will have the chance to check out Unreal Engine 4, chat with us, and meet fellow members of the community! We will also be giving a presentation about Unreal Engine 4.

      As a special treat, Epic Games is giving everybody who attends a complimentary 1 year subscription to UE4.

      When: Wednesday February 4, 17.00 until 19.00. The presentation will take place at 18.00.
      Where: Heffer Oudebrugsteeg 7, Amsterdam
      Price: Free!

Following up on my post of yesterday, and since “if it is worth doing, it is worth overdoing”, here is part 2.

I went through all the levels I have ever done in the Unreal Engine, and I added up all the actor/mesh/brush/light counts. I still have about 75% of all levels I ever made, and of the remaining 25% I still have a good idea of how complex they were. So I took the accurate numbers of 75% of my levels, and then extrapolated from those to get the estimated numbers for the remaining 25% based. I then added up 30% to the total to take into account all test levels, levels that were never released, done with others, and all work involved tweaking/polishing/redoing parts of levels.

The result is this – This is what 15 years of continuously using Unreal leads to.

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:


    Futuregames

    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:

  • Company Visits

    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!


    Client Work

    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!:


    Unmechanical

    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.


    Emails

    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.


    Public

    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.

    On Friday evening, the 12th of December, Epic Games, in cooperation with the IT University of Copenhagen, would like to invite you to Denmark’s first Unreal Evening!

    Unreal Engine Evangelist Sjoerd De Jong will tell you all about Unreal Engine 4, along with a talk from ITU student Michał Królikowski about how his start with UE4 has been!

    Afterwards there will be free drinks, an Unreal game jam from the students of ITU, and a chance to play some of the student projects, along with plenty of time to ask questions!

    https://www.unrealengine.com/what-is-unreal-engine-4

    When: December 12. 16.00 until 18.00 – ITU student project presentations, 18.00 until 20.00 – Unreal Engine 4 presentations.
    Where: IT University of Copenhagen, Auditorium 1, Rued Langgaards Vej 7, 2300 Copenhagen
    Price: Free!

    The evening will also be streamed live at Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/playitcph

    More info in the Danish thread on the Unreal Engine forums

    Lots and lots of things happening right now, and Solus is progressing awesomely as well. I am aiming to post a full recap towards the end of the year of everything I am up to right now, but in the mean time there is this:

    During the last week of November I’ll go on a Dutch and Belgian Unreal Engine tour on behalf of Epic Games, to promote Unreal Engine 4.

    On Tuesday, November 25 I’ll be at the Control Conference in Utrecht, The Netherlands, to give a presentation called “The Magic of Unreal Engine 4” where I’ll put Blueprint visual scripting and the UE4 Material Editor through their paces while creating a simple vehicle demo live onstage.

    On Friday, November 28 I’ll host a Belgian Unreal Engine Evening together with GRIN, the studio behind Woolfe. During the evening I’ll share my vehicle session for our Belgian enthusiasts, and there will be cool presentations from GRIN and Triangle Factory as well.

    This event takes place from 7-10pm at Designcenter De Winkelhaak, Lange Winkelhaakstraat 26, Antwerp, which is just two minutes from the central station. It’s free to attend, of course. We just ask you to RSVP by sending me an email with the subject “Belgian Unreal Engine Evening.”

    Thanks, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

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