Everything Procedural Conference 2024

Picture of a stage showing a screen reading EPC2024. Conference attendees sit in chairs in front of the stage.
EPC Main Stage

Despite it happening an hour or so from where I live, I didn’t learn about EPC until some new friends from SideFX clued me in at GDC. Last week I headed over to Breda along with a couple of my Mythica colleagues, fellow tech artist Max and our Director of Community, Sam, for a week of procedural learning. So lets have a look at how it was and what it's all about.

About EPC

The conference happens yearly at the Breda University of Applied Sciences. The first three days of the week are full day masterclass workshops with beginner, intermediate, and advanced tracks. Thursday and Friday are the actual conference portion of the week. This consists of several talks each day in a really cool space - a chapel that’s been repurposed into an auditorium.

You can buy tickets for the conference alone or a masterclass and the conference. A light lunch and coffee breaks are included each day as well. You can find more practical information as well as links to YouTube playlists from past conferences on the official website here: https://www.everythingprocedural.com/

The Masterclasses

I was fortunate to be able to attend the advanced masterclass. There was a good variety of lecture on various techniques in both Houdini and Unreal. Everything from building road networks, to writing your own Houdini nodes in C++. It’s intense though. Especially when it has been many years since you’ve spent multiple full days doing classroom learning. By the third day, I was definitely feeling the fatigue.

Each level of the masterclasses takes place a separate classroom. On the third day, Max and I made the decision to pop over and check out the intermediate class. It's not readily apparent, but it's intended that you can change between the levels/classrooms. Though this was not really communicated, after speaking with the organizers I learned they expected that folks could move between levels to the workshops that they found the most interesting.

There are a couple practical concerns they should account for if they plan to accommodate people changing classrooms. Firstly, there wasn't really a schedule posted for what was going on, so you weren't able to see what's going on and plan your days very well. Secondly, for some of the workshops you needed to attend earlier portions in order to follow along with later portions. These are both easily solvable though.

Overall though, no matter your level, there was something new to learn each day. In my opinion this is a really nice opportunity to build your skills and get exposure to things you might not necessarily work with on a daily basis.

The Conference

Due to prior commitments, I was unfortunately only able to attend the first day of talks. As I mentioned before, everyone moves into a larger space where they have a stage and screens set up. There were presentations on a variety of topics in the procedural and tech art space. The ones I was able to stay for were all pretty incredible. They seemed to run in blocks of three 30 minute talks separated by either coffee or lunch breaks.

There was a schedule shown on one of the TVs outside the auditorium space. But that was the only place I saw any kind of schedule about what talks happen when. I do regret not being able to stay and see the student showcase on Friday. The quality of the work I saw from the students in the hallways as well as in the masterclasses was quite good.

My only advice for this portion of the week is try to get into the auditorium early. The chairs in the front two thirds of the space are SO MUCH more comfortable than the folding chairs in the back. My back was really grumpy after an hour in those seats.

The Location

Breda is an absolutely lovely little Dutch City. Despite living in the Netherlands for more than six years, I had never visited it before. We had some really great meals (highly recommend the Breda Food Hall) and just an overall enjoyable time there.

The University was also a pretty stellar location. Because of it's programs in game technology and especially technical art it's an ideal host for the conference. Though, if this conference keeps gaining popularity, I can see it easily outgrowing the space they have there. At times it already felt like it had, as the spaces they used for lunch and coffee breaks were already a bit too crowded, especially during the conference days. So just a warning to watch out for this if you tend to get claustrophobic, or like me, have bad anxiety when in crowded spaces.

Was it Awesome?

In a word, absolutely. The conference is small enough that you get the chance to meet and build relationships with a lot of your peers. You get to hang out with some of the most talented tech art folks in the world. If you have questions about Houdini or the SideFX Labs projects, you can directly as some of the folks working on those things. I can wholeheartedly recommend a visit to EPC and plan on returning again next year.