The games giant behind Fortnite Epic has made two purchases in the last few days.
The firm has bought Serbian startup 3Lateral, whose tools make it easier to design digital humans - something that is clearly of interest to a company in the games space. There is broader application here, such as animation for films and other media. Epic's big engine rival Unity has had its tech used in movies such as Ready Player One in the past, so it's possible the Unreal firm is hoping to develop its business outside of video games.
“Creating digital humans requires a deep understanding of every aspect of our appearance and motion, both of which portray our inner self and tell stories around us. We read all these visual cues with great precision as instinct to analyse an image of another human being is deeply embedded in our DNA,” 3Lateral founder and director Vladimir Mastilovic said.
“Observing, analyzing and reconstructing these mechanisms has always fascinated us at 3Lateral, and we are excited to have joined a like-minded team at Epic Games with such strong desire to solve this near impossible problem.”
Meanwhile, Epic has also purchased Agog Labs, the developer of SkookumScript for Unreal Engine 4. Announced via LinkedIn, the deal was inked in December.
The SkookumScript programming language and toolset allows developers to quickly build concepts for their projects.
"Here at Agog Labs our goal has always been to create authoring and development tools that allow people to focus on bringing their passionate imaginings to life," said Agog CEO Conan Reis.
"We melt our brains so you don't have to. Epic has the same goals and spark of mad science, which makes it easy to align our paths. We're honoured to become part of the Epic family."
Epic has also signed a partnership with mobile monetisation firm Appodeal. While Unreal 4 is available on all platforms, rival Unity is far more popular for making games on mobile devices so this could be a play to further develop the Fortnite firm's offering for smartphone titles.
“We’ve made great efforts to make the mobile ad market transparent and open to UE4 app developers,” Appodeal boss and founder Pavel Golubev said.
"We know that developers would rather spend their time doing what they do best — building games that conquer our minds. With this new upgrade, Appodeal simplifies ad monetization management, freeing up developers’ energy and time, and increasing ad revenue.”
No price tag has been put on any of these days, but Epic sure has cash to splash having landed a $1.25bn investment at the end of 2018.
The firm has also been hard at work building a storefront for PC games, with an Android marketplace coming at some point in 2019.