LTU receives grant from high-profile video game developer for new tech lab

Epic Pinball. RollerCoaster Tycoon. Gears of War.

Though they may not be instantly recognizable as they are to some, the aforementioned titles are just a few of the influential games that video game developer Epic Games has made over the past couple of decades.

What will almost certainly be recognizable is Fortnite, the near ubiquitous title from the North Carolina-based Epic Games.

Video games are big business. And that might be one of the reasons Lawrence Technological University is excited to receive a $50,000 Epic MegaGrant from the company.

The grant will be used to establish the Epic Center for Unreal Technology on LTU’s Southfield campus.

“We are very excited by this Epic MegaGrant,” says Karl Daubmann, dean of the College of Architecture and Design. “It is the start of financial, intellectual, and industry investment in a transformative area that is the perfect blend of design, technology, and practice. The MegaGrant will position our program and students to have even greater impact in the world of design.”

LTU plans to use the MegaGrant to establish an authorized Unreal Engine training program for students and working professionals alike.

The Unreal Engine is an advanced real-time 3D tool used not only in video game development but also film and television, the automotive sector, architecture, and more.

The $50,000 grant will be used to build an Unreal laboratory with high performance computers. There will be dedicated virtual reality and augmented reality access to support core courses, recertification efforts, and summer camps.

LTU will also become an academic Epic partner.

Officials expect the program to begin being offered in spring 2021.

“Epic’s Unreal Engine has been growing in both the film and automotive industries,” says Marshall “Mars” Ashton, assistant professor in LTU’s Bachelor of Fine Art in Game Art program in the LTU College of Architecture and Design. “Movie and TV producers can create real-time environments where you can finally capture final pixels in-camera.”

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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