Sitting down for a chat with our Search For A Star Code winners

From left to right, Kyle Hobdey, Ian Goodall, and Alfred Norton

Search For A Star 2017 is now well and truly over for another year! We had a great time meeting all the students and studios involved and we hope to see you again next year. 


Before our Code winners, Kyle Hobdey from the University of Central Lancashire, and our Sumo Digital Rising Star Code winner, Alfred Norton from the University of York, went off to celebrate, we managed to snag them for a few minutes to ask them how they found the competition, what they’d say to next year’s students, and what they’re favourite games are!


How do you guys feel now that you’ve won?

K: I’m quite overwhelmed really, I didn’t expect to win if I’m honest. It was definitely a tough competition – one of the finalists is my best friend and I know what he’s capable of.


A: Surprised! I almost didn’t enter the competition because I didn’t think I’d even make it to the second round, let alone the finales.


How did you find the interview?

K: It was difficult. The questions were quite challenging, but they pushed me and that’s what I like. They varied their questions as well, I was asked all sorts from A.I. to physics to optimisation.


A: I was nervous before I went in but it went well. I was worried I’d stumbled over my words a few times, but apparently I made enough sense.


What has the whole process taught you?

K: What I like about the whole process is that the assignments you get given at university are done purely for grades – there’s not really much motivation behind doing much more on them. With Search For A Star there was. You get given a project and you’ve got to start it mostly from scratch and then bring it up to top quality standard.


Seeing a project like that from start to finish isn’t something we do at university, and it’s the thing I enjoyed and learnt from the most.


A: If you’re not sure about something, you may as well give it a go. I almost didn’t enter, but then I thought why not and got through the first round, and then the second, and then I won!


What would you say to students considering entering the competition next year?

K: I would definitely say do it, it’s actually something I regret not doing last year. I’ve learnt so much from by doing and it’s improved my confidence.


I didn’t think I would do this well, even just making it to the finals was such a big deal for me. So I would definitely recommend it to anyone, even if you don’t think you’d get far, just do it anyway!


A: If anyone is even slightly interested in game development I would definitely recommend they enter the competition. I would say this was probably a career-defining event for me, and I am delighted to have won.


What’s your favourite game?

K: Well, back when I was younger I used to play a lot of Metal Gear Solid. That was the first game where I was like “wow”, so that would be my all-time favourite.

Currently though, if I had to pick something I’m playing a lot at the moment, I’d say Rocket League. It reminds me a lot of tennis, which I played a lot when I was younger.


A: It depends a lot on my mood, but I think I’d say Dwarf Fortress. It’s one of those super games where it’s everything in one. It’s a bit like trying to read the Matrix at times, but it’s great.

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