Epic co-founder Tim Sweeney will receive Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 GDC Awards

Sweeney has overseen the development of several foundational franchises and technology suites.


Tim Sweeney, co-founder of Epic Games and chief architect of the inaugural Unreal engine, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's GDC Awards ceremony.

The ceremony will take place on March 1 at 6:30 p.m. Pacific at the San Francisco Moscone Center, the backdrop of the Game Developers Conference.

Like many pioneers who got their start during the 1990s, Sweeney co-founded Epic MegaGames along with Mark Rein as a shareware publisher. His first product was ZZT, a game made from text characters that gained enough notoriety to be featured as the subject of a book published by Boss Fight Books.

As Epic MegaGames grew, the company produced other hits such as Jazz the Jackrabbit and eventually changed its name to Epic Pulling double duty as founder and CEO, Sweeney took point on building a new game engine called the Unreal engine. UE was first used in 1998's Unreal but quickly became the foundation for iterations embraced by other games from BioShock and Batman: Arkham Asylum to Assassin's Creed and, of course, Epic's own games such as Gears of War and Unreal Tournament.

Sweeney and Epic' engineers refined Unreal engine over time, leading to four iterations and extensibility made possible by UnrealScript, a successor to the language Sweeney used to write ZZT.

"The engine is now being adapted by non-game development teams across the automotive, aviation, architecture, VR/AR, complex data visualization and film sectors," per a press release sent to Shacknews.

Other awards will be presented at this year's GDC Awards, including recognition for categories such as Best Audio, Best Design, and Game of the Year. The awards will be streamed on GDC's official Twitch channel

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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