Judges impressed by students' output on genetics-themed games

Epic unveils Make Something Unreal Live shortlist

Epic Games has unveiled a shortlist of 12 teams for its Make Something Unreal Live 2013 competition.

This year, candidates for the European student game development competition submitted pitches on the theme ‘Mendelian Inheritance: genetics and genomics’.

The entries were scrutinised by a panel of judges from Epic Games, the Wellcome Trust and Fireteam CEO Stephen Gaffney.

The judges were looking for game plans that demonstrated an inspirational use of the competition theme, and which were ambitious while staying mindful of the contest deadlines and demands. Artwork with eye-catching visuals were commended.

“We were extremely pleased with the high quality of all the submissions this year, with entries coming from teams across Europe,” said Mike Gamble, European territory manager at Epic Games and a member of the judging panel.

“We were looking for pitches which used the Mendelian Inheritance theme to develop clever and original ideas which would also be realisable in the time available. Teams scored highly when they demonstrated that they were comfortable with the subject matter and could develop their idea into an engaging game.”

Dr Daniel Glaser, head of special projects at the Wellcome Trust, added: “We’re delighted to see such a display of imagination inspired by the theme. We look forward to seeing how those shortlisted evolve their concepts over the course of the competition.

“We want to inspire a new generation of games developers as part of our wider commitment to using games and gaming culture as a means of engaging people with science.”

The 12 shortlisted candidates will now use Epic’s Unreal Development Kit (UDK), the free edition of Unreal Engine 3 (UE3), to create new PC game demos based on their pitches, with the ultimate goal of winning a commercial Unreal Engine 4 licence for PC.

Here is the list of shortlisted teams:
• Dead Shark Triplepunch, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden: Loch Ness
• DN-ARK, Université Montpellier 3 Paul Valéry, France: DN-ARK
• Team Fat Totem, University of Abertay, Dundee: Fat Totem
• Frobot Studios, Staffordshire University: UGENE
• Legendary Muffin, Anglia Ruskin University: Regen
• Ludorum Studios, Staffordshire University: Psych
• Team Polymorph, Staffordshire University: Polymorph
• Stafford Uni Freshers, Staffordshire University: (untitled)
• Static Games, Bournemouth University: Mendel’s Farm
• Team Catalyst, Northumbria & Newcastle University: Phenotype
• Team Diploid, University of Abertay, Dundee: Team Diploid
• Team Summit, University Of Abertay, Dundee: Beings

Candidates were encouraged to treat this year’s theme creatively, considering concepts such as variation, mutation and other characteristics of the human genome. The teams will head to London at the beginning of December to present work-in-progress on their games to the judging panel. Four teams will then be selected to go through to the competition’s grand final at the Gadget Show Live exhibition in April 2013.

At the Gadget Show Live, finalists will work on their games live on the show floor in front of the MSUL judges and the public visitors to the show.

You can follow the progress of this year’s MSUL on its Facebook page.

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