Aardvark Swift offers the latest info from its annual talent competition

Search For A Star converges as students complete game development stage

Search For A Star is currently in the midst of the exciting and all-important judging period for Round Two: a game development and publishing project with Unity and Microsoft.

Our Round Two qualifiers have spent the past two weeks working with a very basic, partially-constructed game prototype, developing it into a functional, efficient and playable game which they’ve published to the Windows 8.1 Phone Store.

All games are peer-reviewed by an expansive group of leading programmers and industry professionals, including our partners from Microsoft, Sumo Digital, Boss Alien and Exient as well as invited assessors from across the games industry.

Our team marks each project as a published product, based on code improvements made to the prototype, how UI/UX elements have been implemented, the development of new features and the overall gameplay.

Round Two of the competition has always been a key part of the overarching Grads In Games drive to increase graduate employability. Graduates with their own polished, published game in their portfolio can have a big impact with employers, removing a lot of doubt about lack of experience from studios looking to hire.

Since 2013, Oxford’s Exient have been a core contributor in the Search For A Star competitions. Having hired two past Search for A Star winners – Nadeem Alam and James Mintram – Exient are very familiar with the high skill levels of the talented programmers that take part each year.

Jason Fielder, CTO of Exient, has been involved in the competition for the past two years, and will be reprising his infamous role as one of the toughest interviewers on the final panel in this year’s competition.

“A CV and an interview can only reveal so much,” says Jason. “I love Search For A Star because I can see an individual’s talent, passion and commitment first-hand.”

With a notable catalogue of original games and licensed titles since 2001, Exient’s recent releases have focussed on their work with Angry Birds. Leading the development of both Angry Birds Go! and Angry Birds Transformers, Exient has delivered massive hits played by hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

With their involvement in the Search For A Star competition, and the Grads In Games initiative as a whole, Exient are keen to help bring the next generation of games developers closer to achieving their dreams. 

“I’ve always tried to get involved in anything like this, encouraging the next wave of people coming into the games industry.” said Neil Holmes, one of Exient’s student mentors at last year’s Search For A Star Finals Day.

All games produced in this year’s competition will be published to the Windows 8.1 Phone Store and will be publically listed on the Grads In Games site from next week for everyone to try on our their Windows Phones.

Round Two results and the 2015 Search For A Star & Sumo Digital Rising Star Finalists will be announced on March 31st.

Grads In Games can be found at www.GradsInGames.com , with an ever-increasing host of resources alongside information on the Search For A Star competition and the Get In The Game tour.

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