Interviews// Epic's VP, Mark Rein, Part 1

Posted 9 Jul 2010 17:21 by
Mark Rein, VP of Epic Games, loves videogames. You'd hope so, since he's at the top of one of the biggest developers in the games industry, but I mean he really loves video games. He's passionate about the industry like very few people I've met. As we sit down he's pushing an iPod touch into my hands before I've even had chance to reach for my recorder.

What's in front of me is a tech demo of Unreal Engine on iPhone. It's showing a first-person crossbow game, complete with on-screen 'analogue sticks' or the option to swipe across the screen in a mousey fashion. It does, I have to say, look crisp and lovely ? better than anything I've seen on the DS or even PSP. Before I know it I'm looking at the same thing on iPad, then Android.

Later, he will make a call to Ninja Theory CEO Jez San in Monte Carlo because I mention that I haven't seen the iPhone 4's Face Time video calling yet. (This is a man who seems to have more touch screen devices than he has digits to touch them with). The message here is ? Mark Rein is almost unstoppably enthusiastic about games, about his company, about technology and about pretty much everything that comes with them.

Dungeon Defense (built with UDK)
Dungeon Defense (built with UDK)
Epic, of course, is the company behind Unreal Tournament, Gears of War, Bulletstorm and, of course, the Unreal Engine. We'll get to all that, along with Kinect, Move and 3D, but first, since Rein has just shown me some medieval shootery on several portable devices...

SPOnG: Are a lot of people using Unreal Engine for iPhone, then?

Mark Rein: Not yet.

SPOnG: So, is mobile gaming looking like a big part of your engine business in the future?

Planet Storm (built with UDK)
Planet Storm (built with UDK)
Mark Rein: Who knows? For now it's some really cool technology, and we'll ship some great games and people will make cool stuff with it and we'll see what our licensees do.

I guess maybe the proper answer is that I suspect it will be. Because, when you see the performance of these things doubling every year, like for instance that's a third generation iPod Touch, which is the same as an iPhone 3GS, this is an iPhone 4 - double the performance. So, as an example, if Apple keeps doubling the performance every year, after they double it a couple of times this will be as powerful as an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.

Prometheus (built with UDK)
Prometheus (built with UDK)
SPOnG: Is there a danger that if they go that fast the development community won't be able to keep up?

Mark Rein: None whatsoever. That's why you have tools like Unreal Engine 3. We'll keep up for you.
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