Dev City -- Fuller, North Carolina

Dear Tim, I love you! Marry me, okay… if not that, let’s settle on founding a new city!?

All kidding aside, this is a long post. But one that I think many creators and game designers can identify with. So here is my story.

As a kid I always wanted to make games, when other kids would say they wanted to be an Astronaut or fire fighter I said I wanted to make video games. I remember combining my love for loony toons with Super Mario and imagining Mario being flattened into a pancake and floating up, like Wile E Coyote, after being stomped by a Thwomp… at five years old.

So from an early start, I was focused on what I wanted to do: make games. But in going to do it I have only been met with hurdles. Making a game is hard enough, but the extra challenges of simple life navigation add into the difficulties.

In 2009 I graduated with my degree in electronic media, I immediately joined an indie team volunteering my work in the UDK (pre UE3) and we ended up placing 3rd places in a level design contest, yay! But as I was living in south Florida this is around 2010, there was no real market for game designers and after being laughed out of the room for asking for a 40k salary at a middle-wear company I left south Florida for the bigger market of Los Angeles. I figured I could pursue both games and films VFX and animation there as there is an overlap in the skill sets.

After 5 years of working in games media with a few of the early gaming MCN’s I decided to start developing again when Oculus came out. I had gotten a DK1 and a DK 2 and was developing in unreal around 2015. I had actually purchased UE4 the last month before you decided to give it away. This really blew my mind.

Here I am spending money on software… Adobe suite, maya, plus plenty of plug ins. But you guys make an awesome piece of software and give it away. It was amazing… it’s like finally some one get’s how hard it is to make a game under normal conditions… imagine how hard it is when you are not being paid to do it and are bootstrapping or loss leading! It is very difficult and any help in a reduction of up front costs is a god send!

So I started to make my VR game in 2015, but I was making the game with a controller in mind, as at the point touch controllers didn’t exist. But then touch came out and VR was not the same with just a controller. So I went back to the drawing board. Also, at this time the Unreal market place was not really all that populated. There was some content but not like it is now, and certainly this was before Quixel.

So I spent a lot of time making trees and foliage assets for my world which are now kinda redundant with other content. Anyway, all this is to say that you are racing, and timing other releases, yet things are constantly changing from a tech perspective so you need to keep up with the industry.

All of this is normal, this is normal development. So then add in on top of that needing to keep up a freelance job and freelance clients, as well as just living in Los Angeles. In 2017 an art residency I was living in shut down, and I was left on short notice to find a place to live. I found a house next to a Hospital, but a year later the hospital shut down and has filled with gangs, drugs and prostitution. Literally feet from where I am writing this. This scenario has gone on for nearly 2 years with little action from the city, and little penalty to the property owner. I am 100% a housing rights activists and look for housing fairness, however we must ensure basic needs like pluming is functional or feces quickly becomes a public safety issue in normal times and a tipple threat during a pandemic. Yes this is gross…

All this to say is that in 2020 merely living has it’s challenges, so living and making a game is extremely challenging.

But that brings me to the big idea. What if we founded a new city in Western North Carolina in the the Blue-ridge mountains. What if we could make a new municipal design that could not only be a boon to gamers, and game creators, but could be a new model for municipalities moving forward.

What if we could have design a central city district that can support independent creators and small team as well as facilities for larger teams needing a safe destination for crunch time?

There is plenty of reasons why Unreal and the Unreal eco-system needs a central location for a physical Studio, and in the post covid world, this could also be a destination for film production. By looking at these production issue from the municipal level, we could factor in additional stability through the means to raise revenues through local taxes, municipal bonds, local city center ownership income, in order to ensure things like positive policing and green power grids.

After being super impressed with how you are dealing with Apple’s shenanigans and hearing you talk about the Blue Ridge Mountains on NPR. As some one who has been going to Asheville every summer since my youth, the protection and long term health of the geography is also an important personal goal, so setting up a municipal structure to protect nature is central to my design as well.

I think with leadership and creativity, Unreal is uniquely positioned to have a large say in the future of the American Municipal structure. And come up with a way to balance local municipal needs with the global economics of an Internet enabled media production center.

My thoughts are that you keep it with in an hour drive to Asheville and more like 30 to 40 minutes is better. I think Black Mountain region is good choice for it’s history as well as location.

The basic business play is that of sub division development with the investing entity managing of the central plaza and creating sounding subdivisions for purchase as well as rental income in central plaza. And overall it’s good in general for Epic games in that creating a stable place for creators to make games would increase the amount of finished games getting to the market.

Introducing Fuller, NC ! For Buckmiester and Black MTN college…

But we could change the name to Sweeny NC?…

Anyway, I’d love to start a discussion! If people are curious I have a lot more written but this is enough for now. I have a few property developers interested in the idea.

Biggest utopia project was Soviet Union, look how it ended.
I would rather have such city somewhere in Asia, maybe Korea. Tech and financial focus is shifting there.

+1 Asia…
There’s a definite shift to the east… But if you look at it from an individual worker POV its not without some big risks:

Hong Kong
Used to be a great city for expats. But its in a real precarious state now, and has to be a risky choice going forward.

Amazing place too but struggling atm, with the Govt there deliberately making it harder for foreign workers to remain.

Has huge socio-economic problems. Not as easy as the other cities above for expats to integrate (language barrier).

Language barrier, plus the country doesn’t have a great rep for being a practical or friendly place for foreign workers.

Popular with Digital-Nomads for its Climate + Cheap-Cost-Of-Living compared with some of the other choices above.


Overall, sorry, but gotta laugh at how the OP only considers the US though, as if its still the center of the universe. Its painfully obvious how America has been in real decline since the last crisis (see commentaries on US Kludgeocracy / US Fall of Rome). This article does the kind of self-examination / self-awareness that the US normally never does! Watching ‘For All Mankind’ at the moment. What a time to be alive that must have been. Who can deny how great America was back then? For anyone who hasn’t seen it, its an alternate US history exploring what if the US had lost the race to the moon… Would that have actually led to a golden era of space travel?

There has to be some irony in the fact, that the one person trying to revive the US space race right now is an immigrant, same as the engineer behind the original space program. And yet the US wants to ban immigrants… While America still has its heroes (Tim Sweeney for starters), there’s so many self-serving self-enriching rent-seeking elites that MAGA will only ever be a myth (more people are actually giving up US passports).:eek: But if Covid has shown us anything, its that countries don’t care about workers. So if your dream is to make games, its better to not show any allegiance to any country… Digital Nomads / FIRE enthusiasts have the right idea.:wink:

I would say that US and Europe slowly declining into 3rd world countries (or we are already there, just not realizing it yet).

Saw a WHO report recently which ranked healthcare / health-systems world-wide. It was interesting to see some first-world countries getting ranked equally with certain developing countries. Is that good news that they’re catching up, or bad news that we’re falling back. IDK… But many first-world countries lost a decade paying for the sins of banksters. That caused a reset in terms of healthcare / education / transport / infrastructure. :eek:

"Overall, sorry, but gotta laugh at how the OP only considers the US though, as if its still the center of the universe. Its painfully obvious how America has been in real decline since the last crisis (see commentaries on US Kludgeocracy / US Fall of Rome) "

That’s your assumption not mine, I think international would be great! It’s just obviously needed in the USA because of the decline you mentioned…
So yeah we actually agree.

I love the Brain Storming on the locations!

That’s actually what this is about. Being in the USA it is really hard to creat Market Place assets because most of the assets are made in other countries with different living expenses.

This means they can afford much lower rates and it under cuts the market. So you are absolutely right we need international level organization to help price creative work, and that what I think a bunch of these locations can do.

So I love the notion of it being International, that’s actually the goal. But I was just starting with the USA.


Great! :cool: That being so, any chance you’d change the thread title closer to the topic. Such as ‘Best CITY for Epic to open an office’? Fwiw I’d love to see Epic open more offices in Europe. How about Barcelona / Dublin / Milan maybe? And now that Brexit has finally happened, how about moving the whole Guildford office???! :stuck_out_tongue:

Interestingly, since writing that, things in Asia have gotten a lot more darker.:eek: Hong Kong has descended into full-on Orwellian / Kafkaesque surveillance, where you can have your neighbor taken away with just one anonymous phone-call. :mad: Singapore has gotten more draconian too. They’re now using Covid-App data for police-state surveillance (after promising that could never ever happen). You can also be arrested just for holding up a poster with a ‘smiley’, WTF? :frowning:

Meanwhile, Bali is deporting people for tweeting about how great the place is. Their only crime was the tweet went viral. :rolleyes: Then there’s the ongoing war threats from the ‘Reds’ to the north, dictating to the world that a nearby island that wants to be 100% independent isn’t permitted, and must never ever be recognized as a country!!! There’s always still Japan, as long as you can handle 100,000 earthquakes a year with nuke power stations built all along the fault-lines. :smiley: