LTU receives Epic MegaGrant to establish new design lab for gaming, training, simulation

Release Date: October 13, 2020
Unreal Engine.jpg

The home page of Epic Games' Unreal Engine shows how the software is used for more than gaming -- in this case, an architectural rendering


Lawrence Technological University has recieved a $50,000 Epic MegaGrant from Epic Games Inc., which will be used to establish the Epic Center for Unreal Technology on the LTU campus.

Using the MegaGrant, LTU plans to establish an authorized Unreal Engine training program for both students and working professionals, as well as become an Epic academic partner. The infrastructure plans are to develop an Unreal laboratory with student access to high performance computers with dedicated virtual reality and augmented reality access to support core courses, recertification, and summer camps.

“Epic’s Unreal Engine has been growing in both the film and automotive industries,” said 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.” Ashton said the technology is also increasingly used by the auto industry, both in its marketing materials and for in-vehicle displays.

Ashton said the intent is to make LTU “a hot spot in the Midwest for Unreal Engine talent.” The university’s game design program is now working with Jose Gonzalez-Belmonte, a lecturer in the LTU Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, on the curriculum for the certificate. The current plan is to begin offering the program in the spring of 2021.

Epic MegaGrants is a $100 million program, designed to service and assist game developers, enterprise professionals, media and entertainment creators, students, educators, and tool developers doing outstanding work with Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community.

“We are very excited by this Epic MegaGrant,” said 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.”

Added Philip Plowright, chair of LTU’s Art and Design Department: “The Epic MegaGrant helps position the Game Design program to engage current needs of that industry and student knowledge, but also allows us to extend the knowledge into associated programs such as transportation design, industrial design, interiors, and architecture. We are very excited to collaborate with Epic, both locally and internationally, to push the technology through interdisciplinary collaborations.”

“We are thrilled to support Lawrence Technological University and the broader education community on their mission to develop programs and initiatives that will prepare new generations of creators for the opportunities ahead,” said Heiko Wenczel, head of Epic’s Detroit lab.

Learn more about LTU’s game art and design programs 

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

About Unreal Engine

Epic Games’ Unreal Engine is the world’s most open and advanced real-time 3D tool. Creators across games, film, television, architecture, automotive and transportation, advertising, live events, and training and simulation choose Unreal to deliver cutting-edge content, interactive experiences, and immersive virtual worlds. Follow @UnrealEngine and download Unreal for free at unrealengine.com

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