From a career that spans AAA to indie dev, Alan Noon is a cross-discipline game industry veteran, having shipped a number of titles across a wide variety of hardware platforms including coin op arcade games, consoles, PC, mobile, VR, MR, as well as slot machines. As a Lead Evangelist for Epic Games, he leads the adoption and outreach efforts spanning the Americas
As part of Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #1, Noon will be giving a talk on the Unreal ecosystem and how it enables creators.
We caught up with Noon ahead of the event to chat about the next generation of games and how the industry has changed since he started.
PocketGamer.biz: Tell us a bit about Epic Games.
Founded in 1991, Epic Games is the creator of Fortnite, Unreal, Gears of War, Shadow Complex, and the Infinity Blade series of games. Epic's Unreal Engine technology brings high-fidelity, interactive experiences to PC, console, mobile, AR, VR and the Web. Unreal Engine is freely available at unrealengine.com.
What does your role entail?
As Lead Evangelist, I oversee Unreal Engine's adoption and usage strategy across the Americas. Day to day, our team is engaging with developers both online and in person, (pre-coronavirus, obviously,) creating inspirational content, and delivering our message in the form of presentations, demos, and workshops.
Our audience are the indie devs, hobbyists, and smaller studios which we support by offering guidance and making the person to person and business to business connections that those developers need.
Why did you want to work in the games industry?
I have always loved and been fascinated by video games. I knew I wanted to make them from a very young age. To me they are the ultimate form of entertainment and expression; a perfect marriage of art and technology.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into it?
Start creating, now. All of the tools and educational materials you need to get started in gamedev are available right now, for free.
What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?
Though the industry is looking forward to the new round of tech, there's still a lot of life left in the machines we currently have. Historically, as each generation begins to wind down, we start seeing some of the best games per platform, as developers have learned how to squeeze out every ounce of performance.
There are so many good games from the last year, and stretching back further still, that I still have yet to play.
What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?
Again, as we're on the cusp of the next generation, things are really going to heat up in the coming weeks and months. Each generational advance is always terrifically exciting.
It is an opportunity for a new round of challengers to take the crown, whether it's at the platform level, or if we're discussing developers of a particular game genre.
Even early on, we start to see who will maintain dominance, who will stumble, and who will rise.
How has the games industry changed since you first started?
"How has it stayed the same" is probably an easier question to answer!
Gamedev practices are constantly evolving and reinventing themselves with each subsequent advance in technology and with each new channel of distribution.
Probably the biggest change that strikes me has been with respect to the amount of free knowledge and access to gamedev tools.
It used to be that if you wanted to make a video game of professional grade quality, you had to gain employment at one of the major studios where you were working on proprietary hardware and tools, learning on the job. It was virtually impossible to do at home on your own.
Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?
As this is my first online substitute for what would have been a physical event, I am looking forward to seeing how this all shakes out. It's a new world for all of us.
PG Connects Digital #1 is the best of our Pocket Gamer Connects conference in an online form, with an entire week of talks, meetings, and pitch events taking place from April 6th to the 10th. You can register for the online event here.