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After 25 years in the games business, Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards on Wednesday night.

John Carmack, another peer of Sweeney’s in graphics wizardry, handed the award to Sweeney at the event at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

The award recognized the work that Epic and Sweeney did in not only in launching games like Unreal Tournament and Gears of War but also the enabling technology of the industry, such as the Unreal Engine development tool that has led to a generation of blockbuster games.

“You get a lifetime achievement award for making a lot of great games, or for developing important technologies, or for building a great company that has an impact on the entire industry,” Carmack said. “Now, clearly, Tim Sweeney has done all of the above, so this is a really easy call to make here.”

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The moment was interesting because Carmack’s former company, id Software (Doom and Quake), was considered an archrival to Sweeney’s. But Carmack, who is now at Oculus, said Sweeney’s work was that of a peer.

Earlier in the day, Sweeney hosted Epic’s GDC press event, where he introduced new technologies such as a car video technology that could reskin a vehicle with a realistic computer animation in real time. Part of the driving force of Sweeney’s career has been to make games more realistic.

Sweeney has also stepped into leadership positions, as he was the main voice in the past year fighting against Microsoft’s perceived attempt to close the open PC platform.

“Recently you might have heard me speak up about the dangers of platforms closing down and the walled gardens getting ever increasingly higher walls,” he said. “I think we should all be unafraid to say what we think about these things and fight the good fight together so that all developers in the future have the same opportunities that I had back when I started Epic Games in 1991.”

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