We’re looking for the games industry’s next generation of leading programmers.

Search For A Star has helped to showcase some of the best student programmers in the games industry, including several who are now leading their own teams or even running their own studios.

Our aim with Search for a Star has always been to help you make the leap from student programmer to professional games developer. We want to highlight your skills to the industry and help keep the UK at the forefront of innovation in games development.

The programming challenge is split up into three stages, with the first two being open to all entrants.

  • C++ Programming Test
  • 6 Week Games Development Project using C++ in UE5
  • Industry Panel Interview

C++ HackerRank Test

Our panel of industry programming experts have been hard at work creating a C++ HackerRank test so that you can show off your remarkable coding skills. You’ll be presented with a set of questions which reflect the code challenges and problems you would expect to be faced with in the games industry. It’s not an easy test though and will really challenge your knowledge!

C++ Development Project

Infiltration by Scott Leatherbarrow
Buckinghamshire New University
Search For A Star Finalist
Infiltration by Scott Leatherbarrow
Buckinghamshire New University
2019 Search For A Star Finalist

Develop your very own game over 6 weeks! Starting from a prototype Unreal Engine 5 project and building upon its C++ codebase, you’ll be asked to develop it into a fully featured and publishable game that can really highlight your technical ability.

A team of devs from across the industry will playtest your games, while our panel of expert programmers will review your code. Not only will you be marked on your game, it’s enjoyability and design, but how technically accomplished and efficient your coding is.

Panel Interview

After reviewing the results from the previous two stages, the highest achieving students will be invited to take part in an exclusive panel interview with leading industry professionals. Styled after a studio hiring interview, they’ll want to know all about you, your technical knowledge and career motivations.

After the interviews, an overall winner from each challenge tier will be decided and will receive a number of prizes donated from industry alongside the most coveted interview for a job (for Search for a Star winners) or internship (for Sumo Digital Rising Star winners).

How do you decide who reaches the final interview stage?

The benchmark for reaching the final stage is decided by the combined scores from the test and project stages. In previous years this has been based on a balanced split across the following:

  • C++ Programming Test
  • Dev Project Playtest Review
  • Dev Project C++ Code Assessment

Previous Programming Entries

Want to see what some students created for their development projects? Take a look below!

Nick Pearson Search For A Star Games Programming
Escape the CIA by Nick Pearson
University of Bristol
SFAS Winner
Goop by Maria Camenzuli, Search For A Star Games Programming Finalist
Goop by Maria Camenzuli
Abertay University
SFAS Finalist

Kibble Cats by Camilla Ødegaard
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences
SFAS One To Watch

Seagold Unlimited by Max Duffy
University of Central Lancashire
SFAS Entrant

Race Your Friends by Tahar Meijs
Breda University of Applied Sciences
Rising Star Winner

Ballware by Juan Luis Morales Jimenez
Abertay Univeristy
Rising Star One To Watch