Continuing our year-on-year growth, we’ve smashed all previous records once again for Search For A Star entries, with over 1200 student registrations for the 2021 challenges!
In a difficult year for everyone across both education and events, it’s been both inspiring and reassuring to see such large student engagement with our activities over the past few months. Our Get In The Game careers talks also reached record numbers (we spoke to 4500 games students 😲), and that wave of enthusiasm from students to learn and improve has filtered through to our Search For A Star gamedev challenges.
Now in their 11th year, the Search For A Star challenges provide a unique opportunity for students to produce work to games studio guidelines, and get professional feedback on their projects to help learn and improve their skills. With the direct support and involvement of several leading games studios, taking part in SFAS has consistently been proven as a way of increasing the employability and career prospects for graduates and interns within the games industry.
Search For A Star & d3t Rising Star
Search For A Star and d3t Rising Star are our annual series of gamedev challenges across games programming, environment art, character art, animation and VFX. The Search For A Star tier is for students graduating this year, with the Rising Star tier for uni students graduating in 2022 or later, and for college level students.
Students are given a studio project brief, then create and publish a portfolio-ready project over the course of a few weeks. Artists are tasked with creating game-ready assets for either a character or environment project, programmers develop a short game working from a prototype codebase, with animators and VFX artists each creating a game-ready sequence.
Projects are assessed across February by a team of professional game developers from across our studio partners and the wider games industry, with a small group of finalists then selected for the final stage in March – an exclusive interview with a panel of industry leaders.
If you’re an experienced games industry professional and would be interested in joining this year’s assessment team, then we’d love to hear from you! Find out more here.
All of this is made possible with the direct support of our studio partners, who are involved in every step of the process from creating the challenges and briefs, through to the assessments, feedback and final interviews.
A huge thanks to our partners for Search For A Star 2021; d3t, Sumo Digital, nDreams, Frontier Developments, NaturalMotion Games, DPS Games, Deep Silver Dambuster Studios, Airship Images, Firesprite, Red Kite Games, Tonic Games Group, Steel City Interactive & Furious Bee.
2021 Registration Data
For 2021, our registration data shows that despite the higher volume, the overall splits between tier and category follow a consistent pattern to previous years. More than half of all students are taking part in the 3D art categories, creating environments, props or characters for their project pieces. Around a third are games programmers, who will be developing and publishing a playable game, and the remaining 9% are taking part in either the animation or VFX categories.
In the split between the Search For A Star and d3t Rising Star tiers, over half of all entrants are graduating this year either from a degree or Masters course. That’s over 600 final-year students who will be able to use the challenge to create a portfolio piece to studio guidelines & get professional feedback, improving their chances of graduating straight into a games studio role this summer!
2021 University Data
In yet more record-breaking numbers, our final leaderboard of university entries has seen Staffordshire University become the first university in 11 years to smash past 100 entrants, coming in with a total of 128!
We’ve also seen hugely impressive numbers from several universities that we’re very familiar with seeing great results from, including Falmouth University, University of Huddersfield, Howest Digital Arts and Entertainment, University of Central Lancashire and Abertay University. We’re also very happy to welcome many new universities this year, including a massive new entry in the top ten from FutureGames in Stockholm.
In total, we’ve received 1244 student signups from 134 universities, colleges and education centres worldwide.
Students are now busy creating their gamedev projects across games programming, 3D art, animation and VFX. From the end of January these projects will be going out to our assessment team of industry professionals, who will review the work and provide valuable feedback to all those who have taken part.
As ever, we’re all very much looking forward to seeing the projects created this year, and are very excited to see who we’ll be announcing as the winners in April!