Aardvark Swift offers the latest updates on its annual Search for a Star competition

The Rising Stars of games development

With the second round of the 2015 Search For A Star competitions underway, the University of Birmingham has forged ahead with a total of eleven students passing the first round.

A total of 38 final year students have made it through to the second round of Search For A Star, and 35 first- and second-year students are through for the Sumo Digital Rising Star.

Some of the games projects are in the final stages of development and looking very promising. We’ll be taking an in-depth look at the published games next month, but for now it looks like we’re going to have a wonderfully inspired selection of released games by the end of the project.

Since starting the Search For A Star competition for graduate students in 2011, there has been a notable increase in the amount of first and second year students wanting to get involved. To make the competition more accessible to these students, we created the Rising Star division with chances at studio internships as the grand prize.

Running alongside the core Search For A Star competition, Rising Star has only a couple of differences – the Rising Star entrants are judged among their own peer group, and the first round test is marginally less demanding. All other aspects are identical, from the game development project to the final interview.

For the first time since the competition began, Rising Star has had a comparable level of entries to the core Search For A Star competition. This continued growth of Rising Star has shown the enthusiasm and willingness of students and academic institutions to favour more active involvement as early as possible, taking every opportunity they can to integrate with the games industry process.

New to the competition this year is South Yorkshire studio Sumo Digital. Based in Sheffield, Sumo is one of the largest independent games studios in the country, and have had recent success with the BAFTA nominated LittleBigPlanet 3 for Sony.

The 2015 Rising Star competition is running in collaboration with Sumo Digital and the winner is guaranteed an interview with Sumo for one of their exclusive internship opportunities.

Sumo proactively hires a selective group of interns each year, both nationally and from the local Sheffield Hallam University. Interns gain invaluable hands-on experience working on major projects as integral members of the development team and come away with a comprehensive understanding of professional game development.

Sumo invests a lot of energy into ensuring that interns have the chance to shine, with the opportunity often resulting in full-time work at the studio once the intern period has passed.

Founded in 2003 from the vestiges of the renowned Gremlin Interactive, Sumo Digital has spent the last 12 years working with high profile clients developing a range of popular cross-platform games. Going from strength to strength, recent years have seen the studio increasing their visibility with a string of successful triple-A titles and system defining games, including lead development on the LittleBigPlanet franchise for Sony.

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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