With so many submissions for round two of Search For A Star & Sumo Digital Rising Star now in, it’s time to take a look at our illustrious panel of round two judges. These guys and girls know the industry like the back of their hand and know from first hand experience how to break into the industry. They’ll be playtesting our students’ games before cracking them open to get their hands on the code, while examining every aspect of artwork with a keen eye.
We’d like to thank every one of our judges for volunteering their time and effort to aiding our competition and helping the next generation of game developers grow!
Sumo Digital is a world-class, award winning game development studio. Founded in 2003, the studio has grown from its original 15 members, to over 300 across Sheffield, Nottingham and India. Most recently, Sumo have been working on Snake Pass, a physics based puzzle platform game.
A sponsor of our Sumo Digital Rising Star competition for students not in their final year, Sumo are a highly valued partner. We look forward to welcoming Technical Directors Craig Wright & Sean Davies, Senior Designers Kelvin Moore, Derek Littlewood & Richard Achkerki, Art Director Ian Deary, Senior Artists Martin Kirkley & Chris Pollitt and Artist Tauras Koreiva as judges for round two of our competition. Their collective experience across all fields is a more than welcome addition to our group of judges.
Furious Bee – Lizi Attwood
Lizi Attwood has been a core part of Search For A Star from the start. With a strong background across multiple commercial titles, Lizi is a highly valued member of the Search For A Star team. Having worked on console, PC and mobile games, in areas as diverse as gameplay, networking, physics and graphics, Lizi has a wealth of industry knowledge. Question setting, designing the round two code project and judging are just a few of the areas where Lizi gets involved.
Based in Farnborough and founded in 2006, nDreams quickly established themselves as the leading publisher in Playstation Home and as a developer of several major alternate reality games. In 2013 however, they got their hands on the Oculus Rift, and there was no turning back. Today, nDreams are the largest UK software developer to be solely focused on creating virtual reality entertainment content and have created multiple games and experiences for all the leading platforms.
Edge Case Games – Greg Booker
Supporting partner Edge Case Games are the masterminds behind works like Strike Suit Zero, a dog-fighting, space combat game. In their own words, they have their heads so far in the clouds, all they can see is stars!
Greg Booker has over 20 years in the industry as a programmer and has been involved with the competition for a number of years. Now the Principal Engineer at Edge Case games, he is currently working on their new title Fractured Space – a team-based, capital ship, space combat game at the forefront of its genre. Greg will utilise his extensive industry experience as a programmer to crack open our students’ games and examine the code.
Gaasworks – Jason Fielder
Now the CEO & Co-Founder of Gaasworks, entrepreneurial Jason is the former CTO of Exient. As a result, he has first-hand experience in growing a new studio into something capable of producing hugely successful games. Jason brings his range of knowledge, and keen eye for talent to the judging table for round two and three of the competition.
Playground Games is an independent development studio and valued Grads In Games partner. Established in 2010 by some of the most experienced and talented developers in the UK industry, they aim to make genre-defining video games for a global audience, such as the award-winning Forza Horizon series.
We’re happy to welcome Lead Engineers Paul Penson & Tom Perry, Associate Art Manager Kelvin Janson and lead Technical Animator Harry Gladwin Geoghegan, to the round two judge’s panel. Collectively, the Playground team have over 45 years experience between them and will cover all areas from gameplay, art and animation.
Boss Alien – Thad Frogley & Dan Rossati
Founded in 2011 and based in Brighton, Boss Alien is an award-winning, global game development studio. Boss Alien makes games for a variety of devices, including IOS, Android and Windows, which have held the number one slot in the free and top-grossing charts all over the world, with over 70 million players worldwide.
We’re happy to welcome back Technical Director, with over 20 years’ experience, Thad Frogley as well as Art Director Dan Rossati to the judging panel. Their collect experience in the fields of programming and art make Thad and Dan valued members of the Search For A Star team!
Cloud Imperium Games – Mike Snowdon
Mike Snowdon’s CV spans big studio names such as Silicon Dreams to Travellers Tales, and his current position as Visual Effects Director at Cloud Imperium Games, where he works on their highly anticipated game Star Citizen, which broke funding records on Kickstarter platforms. Mike’s experience creating games art and VFX makes him a great addition to the judging panel.
Allegorithmic – Marion Marchive, Pierre Bosset & Arthur Walter
Allegorithmic develops the Substance suite, a reference for 3D texturing which has become industry standard software in games development. A vast majority of AAA game studios utilize Substance, which has been used to create games including Watch Dogs 2, Forza Horizon 3, Uncharted 4 and Call of Duty Black Ops III. We’re excited to welcome Management Assistant Marion Marchive, Marketing Assistant Pierre Bosset, and Graphic Designer Arthur Walter to our judging team!
Red Kite Games
Based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, Red Kite Games is a video game development studio that consists of a highly experienced team of developers from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds. In the past, they have worked on well-known IPs such as God of War and Call of Duty. We’re excited to be working with Creative Director David Roberts, and Technical Director Andrew Greensmith, as judges for the second round of Search For A Star.
Splash Damage – Henry Tofts & Ben Cottage
Based in London, Splash Damage is an independently-owned developer which devotes itself to AAA multiplayer experiences. The studio has worked on such well known titles such as Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition and Batman: Arkham Origins.
We’re excited to have Assistant Level Designer Henry Tofts, and Environmental Artist Ben Cottage, provide their industry expertise as judges for round two of our code and art competitions.
Stellar Entertainment Software – Paul Ross
Paul Ross has a rich history within the games industry, including working on the BAFTA winning Burnout 3 Takedown. Paul has now recently founded his own studio, Stellar Entertainment Software, which provides a number of services to the games industry. Their most recent work involved porting over the successful iOS and Steam game, Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker to both PS4 and Xbox One. With his background in the industry, and experience setting up a studio, Paul makes a fantastic judge who’ll be reviewing our coding students’ submissions.
Creative Assembly – David Rolfe
With over eight years industry experience, David now works as a VFX artist for Creative Assembly, where he currently works on Halo Wars 2. David’s experience specialising in VFX makes him a crucial judge for our art competition, especially in our new VFX specialism.
Toxic – Connor Stanley
Toxic Games, established in 2010, is a UK-based games developer founded by former classmates. Starting as a student project in 2009, the team obtained investment for their game Q.U.B.E from the Indie Fund. Five years on and Toxic have released a director’s cut, and brought the game to PS3, PS4, Xbox One Wii U and mobile platforms. We’re happy to welcome game artist Connor Stanley to our judging team!
Autodesk – Lee Montgomery
Lee has over 17 years in the industry having worked as an animator for studios such as Rockstar. Today he works as a Senior Technical support specialist for Autodesk, where he works on industry standard software including 3ds Max and Maya. Lee’s technical abilities and experience make him a fantastic judge for our art panel, and we’re excited to welcome him to the team.
REWIND – Solomon Rogers & Chloe Price
Rewind is a creative agency and digital production studio based in London. Using their specialist skills in 360 degree VR, they create unforgettable experiential events. With a strong background in VR, including his work as a senior lecturer in VR, Digital Animation & VFX, acting as BAFTA VR Advisory Group Executive, and most recently founding REWIND, Solomon Rogers is a welcomed addition to our professional judging team.
Joining Soloman is REWIND Marketing Assistant Chloe Price. With her background in 3D animation, Chloe offers a fresh perspective when reviewing our students’ art submissions.
As the Programme Manager for Creative & Digital Industries at Doncaster College and University Centre, John is passionate about education. With a background in creating art for games with studios such as Sumo Digital, John is an ideal judge for our student competition.
Antchi – Antony Ward
Anthony Ward is the author of a number of art and animation books, including 3D Modeling in Silo (2010), and boasts over two decades of experience in digital media. While contracting out his skills for big name studios such as Sumo Digital, Antony also tutors so that others can improve their art and animation skills. With a diverse skillset and a taste for education, Antony is a model judge for Search For A Star.
Spirit AI – Iliana Pavlova
Previously working as a programmer for Codemasters, Liana started her own indie studio last year, Bits of Beards, where she works as the Creative Director on their first game, Public Toilet Deluxe. While also acting as a Software Consultant for Spirit AI, Liana is a valued member of our judging team who’ll open up our students’ games to examine their coding abilities.
Astro Manatee – Steve Sparkes
Astro Manatee was formed in Manchester for the debut year of the Tranzfuser competition. After winning the competition, the studio made of four recent graduates, went on to create their first game, Voltaic – a top-down multiplayer shooter.
Studio Programmer Steve Sparkes joins us as a gameplay judge for the second round of this year’s Search For A Star competition. His experience of building a studio at such an early stage of his career makes him a great addition to our judge’s panel.
Abby Roebuck – Freelance
The freelance work which Abby undertakes has given her the ability to work on numerous different projects. From humans to creatures, assets to environments, camera work to cinematics, Abby has done it all. Abby’s rich portfolio of work make her a fantastic, flexible art judge for this year’s Search For A Star competition.