Epic takes a look at the teams that gave it their all at the MSUL 2013 development contest

Unreal Diaries: Make Something Unreal Live 2013

[This feature was published in the April edition of Develop magazine, which is available through your browser and on iPad.]

The Unreal Development Kit, the free edition of Unreal Engine 3, continues to help aspiring games developers channel their creativity and accelerate their professional careers.

Four finalist games in the latest Make Something Unreal Live competition have been built around the theme ‘Mendelian inheritance: genetics and genomics,’ which was set by global charitable foundation the Wellcome Trust. These distinct projects are known as Beings, Epigenesis, Mendel’s Farm and Polymorph.

Over the course of six months, student teams collaborated with Wellcome Trust scientists along with mentors from Climax Studios, Lucid Games, Ninja Theory and Splash Damage – all of whom played a pivotal role in establishing a premium quality bar and high production values, which teams are confident will enable them to deploy their PC games for commercial release.

“Taking part in Make Something Unreal Live 2013 has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences in my life,” said Kairos Games’ Kurtis Richards. “We’ve faced a great deal of trials and tribulations along the way but they have only brought us closer together as a team. We’ve sharpened and honed our skills and massively improved our workflow.”

“The most important thing we learned was how important external playtesting is. This was the first thing Splash Damage told us to do after our initial meeting,” commented Tobias Johansson of Dead Shark Triplepunch, creator of Epigenesis.

“Working towards making a game that is entertaining and viable in today’s market has been a challenge in itself, but a rewarding one. We now feel that we have the experience we need to set foot in the industry and start making games that players around the world will enjoy. We would not have gotten the chance to learn all of these things if it wasn’t for MSUL.”

Static Games’ Ryan Pinfield added: “We have had a taste of what it’s like to be an indie developer, and it has been both a tough and extremely rewarding experience. We have all learned so much throughout the competition, and our own skills such as programming and modelling have improved enormously. Our mentors have also been fantastic and really helped us improve Mendel’s Farm.”

“MSUL was the opportunity to demonstrate our passion for game creation. Facing this challenge among a four-person team full of diverse skills and cultures was an amazing experience,” remarked Clément Marcou of Beings creator Team Summit.

“Composed of two skilled Indian coders, a French artist recently converted to production management and an aspiring game designer newly arrived from Italy after three years of medicine, the team was sure to propose a unique project. Epic gave us the chance to bring it to life along an intense but interesting journey, exposing us to the professional side of the industry. It’s been the perfect chance to gain experience and stand out from the crowd.”

Richards concluded of his team’s commitment to making Polymorph, “Thanks to this competition my dream of running a successful indie company is quickly becoming a reality.”

Experts within their respective fields who contributed in an advisory capacity to Make Something Unreal Live 2013 include Marsh Davies, Iain Dodgeon, Mike Gamble, Jon Hare, Matt Hill, Miles Jacobson, Dave Jones, Peter Molyneux, Simon Munk, Tom Reding, Clive Robert, Ella Romanos, Dr Jo Twist, Anton Westbergh, Phil Wright and Kostas Zarifis.

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