The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – One of the most creative minds in the videogame industry who happens to call the Triangle “home” will receive a very prestigious and well deserved honor today in Las Vegas.

Tim Sweeney, founder of Cary-based Epic Games.

As the developer of megahit franchises “Gears of War” and “Unreal Tournament” and developer of the Unreal game engine, Epic is celebrating its 20th birthday.

Coincidentally, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences is inducting Sweeney into its Hall of Fame at the annual Design Innovate Communicate Entertain (or DICE) Summit.

‘This year the AIAS is proud to induct Tim Sweeney of Epic Games into the AIAS Hall of Fame,” the AIAS said.

“Tim is well respected throughout the industry for his technological innovations, advancing many of today’s highly successful PC, console and mobile games. Tim’s development of the Unreal Engine and award-winning franchises such as the “Gears of War” and “Unreal Tournament” series have been catalysts in the evolution of gaming and have pushed the boundaries of what game developers can create and implement in today’s top titles.”

Sweeney, who serves as Epic’s technical director, also will be delivering a lecture about what he sees as the “Technology and Gaming in the Next 20 Years.”

Over the past two decades, Sweeney, creative director Cliff Blesinski and a host of other people have turned Epic into one of the videogame industry’s most important and trend-setting epicenters of development. The Unreal engine is used across all game development platforms and by companies around the world.

Over the past two years, Epic moved into its last real uncarted frontier – the Apple iOS system – and has rolled out two very successful, profitable games (Infinity Blade) for Apple mobile devices such as the iPad.

The Skinny asked Epic for an advance copy of Sweeney’s speech, given that his comments are likely to carry a lot of weight in the industry. Unfortunately, we were told, he will be speaking from notes.

However, Sweeney’s address will be streamed live at GameSpot.

Also at the DICE show, Epic is nominated for several awards.

The best of all, however, is the induction of Sweeney – an honor quite well deserved as Epic’s incredible record of success makes quite clear.

Here’s a tip of the hat to Tim Sweeney.

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