Rob Farthing, University of Portsmouth, BSc Computer Games Technology

Search For A Star round two – what are our students working on?

We’re now officially midway through Search For A Star and the 250 students who made it through to round 2 are hard at work coding their games and creating works of art.

While our students are at work, now is a good time to take a peek at what tasks they’ll be working on until March.

Code

All code students received a barebones 2D space simulator and are challenged to adapt and improve the game in any way that they wish. The programmers have full creative freedom, and can take the direction of the game in any way that they see fit, with some students choosing to completely change the game’s setting from Sci Fi to medieval.

Our programming students are marked on five separate criteria when judges inspect their games. Judges will examine the core features of gameplay and UI / UX when marking games, as well as considering the creativity and originality that went into the finished product put before them. On top of this, judges will be looking for any extra features that our students may have coded into their games for bonus points, such as multiplayer, high scores or tutorials.

Once the games themselves have been marked, judges will crack open submissions to get their technical savvy hands on the code. Our judges don’t miss a trick and will be looking for clean, efficient code, the student’s ability to understand the existing code and how the student tackled any issues they encountered.

Art

Our art students were asked to pick a specialism between character art, environmental art, animation or VFX. Both character and environmental artists were tasked with creating a model or assets in Unreal Engine 4 based off the provided concept art.

Those who picked VFX as their speciality were asked to create a projectile which ended in an impact aura. Students are encouraged to use whatever aura they wish, be it healing, damaging or even shielding.

Animators on the other hand, were given a rigged model and asked to create an idle pose and a powerful melee attack ready for use in Unreal Tournament.

As with our code, our art judges will be looking for a number of factors when marking submissions. First of all, judges will be looking to see if the work is both thematically and stylistically appropriate for the given brief, but will also be searching for signs of creativity and personality.

After apprising the visuals of the submissions, our judges will look at the technical side to the submissions and give marks for advanced techniques and knowledge of optimisation methods.

Finally, the judges will consider how the work is presented to them. Marks will be awarded for titles, captions and descriptions where necessary, as well as overall presentation.

 

Round two closes on the 2.3.17. We wish all our students the very best of luck and we’re incredibly excited to see what they come up with!

 

Joey Relton | 23 February 2017

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