In a nutshell: Epic Games is making a push to teach new game developers Unreal Engine. They have listed five courses that you can take for a chance to win some Unreal-tagged swag. The push comes on the heels of competitor Unity’s announcement that it'd be investing in a social impact fund.

If you are like me, and many others this winter, you are stuck at home thinking of picking up a new hobby. Knowing this, Epic Games just announced a competition to teach people some basic game development skills with the promise of some sweet Unreal Engine swag to 25 lucky contestants.

The contest is simple: you take five listed courses on their online learning portal, which compared to many digital art and game dev companies is actually quite comprehensive, and then share your badge of completion and a couple hashtags (#LearnUnreal and #Contest) to social media with a blurb about your experience on the course. Sharing pro tips with other learners is also encouraged.

The entry deadline is Dec 13, 2020, just before midnight ET. The winners get some Unreal-tagged merch like a backpack, metal water bottle and a wireless mouse.

Epic Games often opens awards and competitions to indie game devs that use Unreal in unique, imaginative or impactful ways. Those might be alienating to new users, however, so this contest is targeted at someone who may have never coded, tried 3D, or just wants to make a switch into creating interactive content.

This push to learn Epic’s popular engine comes on the heels of competitor Unity’s announcement that it would be setting aside $83.6 million from its recent IPO for a Unity Social Impact fund. Some of this fund will be used to recruit as many as 80,000 new creators into game development through the Unity engine. This seems like a massive number, and it is, but for context, it would be in addition to the 115,000 new Unity jobs created per year on average.

The listed courses for Epic Games’ contest are:

  • Build a Detective’s Office Game Environment
  • Converting Blueprint to C++
  • Creating Photoreal Cinematics with Quixel
  • Ambient and Procedural Sound Design
  • Dynamic Audio

After a quick scan, they appear to be between 45 minutes and 3 hours, and there are three weeks left to enter. If you’re keen to give game dev a go and you’ve got some spare time, perhaps now is the time to try.