Building up Brains Eden

We speak to the organisers behind the popular games festival about how they hope to kickstart more development careers than ever in 2016
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One of the UK’s biggest student games festivals will return this summer, and the team behind it is keen to ensure this year’s iteration is the best yet.

Brains Eden is held every June at Anglia Ruskin University in the thriving development hub of Cambridge and invites students from around the world to take part in a weekend-long game jam.

Over the years, the festival has expanded beyond the central game jam to include seminars and presentations that will help students learn more about improving their chances of securing a career in the games industry. 

Understandably, it has become a key date in the calendar for anyone with dreams of becoming a games developer. 

“Now in its eighth year, Brains Eden provides a unique opportunity for upcoming talent to meet and learn directly from industry,” the university’s Deborah Hayden tells Develop.

“It combines a fun-filled games jam, with career clinics and workshops. Students are able to enjoy themselves, show off what they can do and potentially launch their career with the offer of a job contract – there is nothing else like it.”

This year, we're increasing the students’ face-to-face time with industry professionals, ensuring that they are getting the most out of the festival.

This year, Brains Eden has a new venue in the form of ARU’s state-of the-art computing and technology centre Compass House.

“The University has invested more than £3.5million in the new facilities, which include recording studio suites, development labs, digital systems design labs, video labs and AV labs,” says Hayden.

“Also, in the pipeline for the 2016 event is increasing the students’ face-to-face time with industry professionals, ensuring that they are getting the most out of the festival.”

The industry professionals Hayden refers to hail for the multitude of studios and tools firms that offer support, guidance, mentorship and prizes to Brains Eden. Regular supporters include PlayStation, Unity, Guerilla Cambridge, Jagex and ARM.

The organisers are hoping to have the largest network of supporters and sponsors behind Brains Eden since the event began – and there are still plenty of opportunities for developers to get involved.

Each year the standard of games produced is higher and higher. We can't wait to see what comes out of Brains Eden 2016.

“We have bespoke sponsorship packages that are tailored for each organisation’s brand and recruitment needs,” says Hayden. “As well as meeting business objectives, sponsors are given the opportunity to speak at the event, be present throughout the weekend to help mentor the students and take part in the career clinics offering advice on how to get into industry.”

Any studios interested in taking part can find out more by contacting

Brains Eden 2016 kicks off on Friday, June 24th and runs through to Monday, June 27th. Registrations are now open at – and the organisers are keen for the most ambitious and talented students to show off their creativity.

“Each year the standard of games produced is higher and higher,” Hayden concludes. “Watching the students creatively attack the theme to produce innovative game ideas, and then having just 48 hours to complete their games creates a buzz of excitement throughout the weekend.

“We can’t wait to see what comes out of Brains Eden 2016.”


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Feature: Brains Eden

Develop was honoured to be a judge at this year’s Brains Eden gamea festival. Sean Cleaver talks us through the finale of the festival and what it was like to judge such a closely contested competition