We recently hosted two CRYENGINE workshops in conjunction with SAE Institute Leipzig and SAE Institute Hannover, two leading universities that specialize in courses designed for students who want to work in the creative media industries. The aim was for newcomers to CRYENGINE to be able to create a game in just two days. It’s just the start of our plans to take CRYENGINE learning on the on the road, at home in Germany and abroad, as part of our initiative to expand our education offering across all platforms. We caught up with Head of Games Programming Department Marcel-Andre Hille from SAE Institute and CRYENGINE Learning Manager Brian Dilg to find out about the course.
Hi Marcel! Could you tell our readers a little more about SAE’s aims around game development?
Well, our mission is to deliver an exciting and highly successful undergraduate degree portfolio to our current and prospective students. We focus on teaching the latest game programming algorithms as well as best practice project management techniques that have been used by industry leaders and independent developers alike throughout the history of game development. Furthermore we always strive for a curriculum that is based on actual scenarios the student might face during his or her future pursuits within the game industry.
Why was CRYENGINE a good partner for a workshop?
CRYENGINE was pretty much the perfect partner when it comes to delivering high quality content to students or any curious minds about game development in general. They know all aspects of developing thoroughly designed and well conceived products, since their engine has been around for years and has always been top notch regarding performance, workflow, and unrivaled visual effects.
How was the workshop received by the students?
Our students and staff just loved the workshop taught by Brian Dilg and Collin Bradford. CRYENGINE's Flow Graph is the perfect tool for students who are totally new to game development. This visual scripting tool makes it nearly possible to stay completely focused on the pure logic of essential game mechanics, without being intimidated by complex or cumbersome code structures, which is great for students who have never been in touch with any kind of programming language before. The engine was well introduced by both workshop leaders which made it possible to actually develop a complete game prototype within two days by people that knew nothing about game development before hitting the course. Attendees gained a profound knowledge of the principles of game development and design as well any necessary steps to get to work with the engine. Furthermore they were inspired by Brian's fantastic teaching methods and his sound, inspiring character. You can hear from the students themselves:
“The workshop manages to teach you the workflow with CRYENGINE in such a way that it'll stick with you, so you can easily improve upon your new skills on your own.”-Simon Meyer, Workshop Attendee
“The two days were well planned, questions were answered fast, problems solved immediately and we even had enough time to get extended information about CRYENGINE. I would definitely recommend this workshop.”-Dennis Fleischer, Workshop Attendee
"Very powerful Engine! Working with Flowgraph feels very intuitive and satisfying. Documentation with programming language needs to be better though. Very interesting workshop with fun lecturers. Good first introduction if you want to work with the CryEngine!" -Kevin Clemens, Workshop Attendee
Hey Brian. Tell us more about these workshops! Why did we choose to partner with SAE Institute to kick off this new initiative?
SAE has long been very proactive about reaching out to us, and their game development programs have a large presence across Germany, so it was a logical place for us to rapidly deploy short courses. We are eager to provide courseware and support to game development programs at all schools who’d like to teach their students CRYENGINE.
How was the experience of running the workshops for the students?
It was fantastic! There is nothing more satisfying then empowering passionate game developers to do what they love to do, using a tool we love ourselves. Every time we run a class, it also gives us direct, sustained contact with users, and gives us ideas for improving both the product and the courses.
So in addition to getting fluent with the interface, students learned how to create, import, texture, manipulate and animate entities and cameras, to design materials, to sense and react to collisions, to use physics, to work with and modify Game SDK functionality, to track scoring and player death, to build a basic UI, to control the environment (sun, wind, waves, etc.), to export their finished game to a stand-alone, distributable executable, and most importantly, to script complete game mechanics using Flow Graph.
While there is a specific set of exercises to complete in a class, ultimately our job is to teach people how to fish – i.e., to show them game development best practices using the CRYENGINE tool set and encourage them to run with them. So it’s especially gratifying to walk around and see people really exploring, trying all sorts of tools that aren’t necessarily in the book, making things explode and move or behave in fun ways. Although game development is software development, we’re here to build fun experiences for people through creativity, original concepts, and great technology.
What’s the future of the course and learning offerings?
We’ll certainly be doing more. We’re starting with schools in Germany, close to home, but will be expanding our outreach internationally, not only by teaching classes ourselves, but also by training teachers how to use and teach CRYENGINE, and by providing courseware. After running our first course a few times and getting a sense of how long it takes to work through the material, we’re adding some additional material which we’re having a lot of fun developing – the kind of frosting on the game cake, if you will, like animated, exploding score targets, audio events – not absolute necessities, but polish that makes the game look and play at more gratifying level. And of course those features are also designed first and foremost to teach additional key concepts that designers will use on every game they ever build in CRYENGINE.
This is just the first of many complete courses, all of which will be made freely available on our web site as interactive web-based tutorials, downloadable courseware documents that you can do independently or which can be used by teachers within a class, and as a series of video tutorials for those who prefer learning that way. In the coming months, starting with GDC 2018, you’ll be seeing courses on every aspect of game development in CRYENGINE, including C++ and C# tutorials, as well as other announcements as part of our educational initiative.
As you can see, we have big plans to expand our learning offering in numerous ways, so keep an eye out for announcements of more workshops in future. We already host live webinars with experts from the studio and CRYENGINE Insider members are able access this content first and ask questions in real time. You can find out how you can join these webinars, and contribute directly to the evolution of the engine, by checking out our CRYENGINE membership options. Master Class tutorials which have been subsequently released to the community include an introduction to cinematic storytelling, an environment art pipeline video, an in-depth introduction to UI, and our introduction to audio tutorial.
You can check out all of these tutorials on the CRYENGINE YouTube channel, where you will also find more videos which will help you up your development game. As ever, we’re looking forward to your feedback and requests on the forums, Facebook, and Twitter. We also entertain a CRYENGINE Discord server as a joined community effort now, so if that's your game, just hop on!
- Your CRYENGINE Team