This year saw over 1100 more students registering to take part in Search For A Star and Rising Star and what an achievement each and every individual made by getting a submission In. The dedication of our participants and the quality of their submissions is nothing short of incredible and the finalists & winners of our categories are truly carving a solid path into a highly successful career in the video game industry.
On Friday the 22nd of April we hosted our Finals Day: a celebration of every single entry but also a day that allowed our finalists to be interviewed by industry professionals. After these interviews, a winner was decided in each discipline and they received their awards at National Videogame Museum in the evening.
Below is a recap of all our finalists and Winners!
Games Programming 2022
In the Rising Star Category of Games Programming we had some fantastic finalist entries!
- Stuart Heath from Coventry University submitted Hibernating Hedgehogs a 3D take on the Minesweeper.
- Finian Graham from the University of Central Lancashire created a fun hybrid of Minesweeper and an FPS where your goal is to navigate the map, and destroy various evil cubes – this project was titled GR_D.
- Oil Sweeper was Daniel Filby’s project that made it to Finals Day. The Falmouth university student made a game in which you control a boat in an ocean segment with the sole purpose of collecting as much oil as you can. All while avoiding a thunderous storm.
- Neveen Sakr Ahmed from Futurrgames created Bombs Up, A remake of Minesweeper where the difficulty increases as the player progress!
However, it was Kian Bennet from the University of Portsmouth who took home the Rising Star Award on the day, presented by John Stopforth from our partners at Escape Technology.
Here’s what our Judges had to say about Kian’s Game Minecrawlers:
A strong C++ ability and a strong gamedev project was followed up with a confident interview. His previous experience shone through, and his recent placement at Rare has helped give Kian the skills and experience to take through to his future career.Games Programming Judges Consensus
Moving on now to the Search for a Star Category of Games Programming let’s take a look at our finalists:
- The University of Libson made it to the finals with Miguel Seabra’s the Legend of the Sweeper – A unique crossover of Zelda and Minesweeper.
- Alex Scapillati from the University of Central Lancashire gave us SnakeSweeper.io a combination of Snake.io and Minesweeper that creates a challenging, but fun game.
- Another entry from the University of Portsmouth was Naomi Wirén’s Battlesweeper a nautical themed strategy game that combines Minesweeper with Battleships/
- Kamil Sadowski gave us Death Around the Corner a take on Minesweeper that combines it with Pac-man
At the end of the day, it was James Wilson from The University of York who took home the Search for A Star Programming Award with his game: God and Curses, presented by Phil Owen from our partners at d3t.
A brilliant understanding of key principles, while also showing a great knowledge of what’s going on underneath the hood of programming.Games Programming Judges Consensus
Environment Art 2022
The Rising Star Environment Art category had a slew of strong entries, however below are our Finalists!
- Ziyi Yang from Solent University created Paradise Now! A post-apocalyptic city where survivors have learned to live in peace with others from different cultures.
- Oliver Britland from Falmouth University gave us an all-new rendition of the Lord of the Rng’s city of Rivendell
- Felix Hughes created a Bar Environment. The University of Hertfordshire student was inspired by Cyberpunk 2077 bringing this unique sci-fi setting.
- Another entry from the University of Hertfordshire was Diana Karakushyan’s Forgotten showcasing the ruins of an ancient temple that have long been forgotten throughout time.
Our winner for Rising Star was Michael Dolman with his project An Industrial Playground, presented by our art judge Dan McCabe from Cloud Imperium – see what our judges had to say about this University of South Wales student below!
Exceptional creative ability with extremely good interview skills. Showed a thorough and insightful technical breakdown which demonstrated a great understanding of the work.Environment Art Judges Consensus
The Search for Star entries were equally as impressive. However, our finalists were:
- Deevya Patel from the University of the Arts London (UAL) submitted After Dark, A small cosy ramen shop environment.
- Falmouth University had an impressive entry with Water Mill created by Chris Copeland and based on the theme ‘reflections’.
- Chloe Tong from Birmingham City University / GamerCamp created an environment called Simpler Days, a nostalgic look back at childhood.
- Filip-Alexandru Petreanu from De Montfort University submitted The Hidden Temple. A beautiful and unique take on the theme of Dreamscape.
Our Search for a Star winner was Anglia Ruskin University student Kristel Konstantinova, presented by our judge Lawrie Brennan from Aardvark Swift. The Chengdu Metro Station is a wonderful dystopian future setting and our judges had this to say:
Very strong, complete and consistent portfolio with al projects at a high industry standard throughout. Created work that was very true to the concept, following the plan through all the way to achieve her vision.Environment Art Judges Consensus
Character Art 2022
Starting off with our Rising Star Entries of 2022 let’s take a look at our finalists and winner:
- Joe Hughes from the University of Huddersfield gave us an amazing take on Miguel O’Hara from Spider-Man 2099
- Food Seller is a character that has over and now runs a mobile food business to support her elderly parents brought to us by Ibim Krukrubo from Staffordshire University
- Mihai Andru Sandu from Middlesex University had a beautiful entry in Juno, the librarian fencer which included a full backstory for the character.
- University of Huddersfield student Ethan Gangotra created Kenzo an assassin for a family ran gang in the world of Cyberpunk 2077!
Our Rising Star Winner was Maxine Lugg from the University of Hertfordshire with her entry Witch Hunter, presented by our art judge Erika Lochs from Airship. Inspired by a great concept and the theme of ‘New Faith’ our judges had this to say:
Well presented with a good technical knowledge, demonstrating a full set of technical and artistic skills, complemented by great character deisgn and strong workflow.Character Art Judges Consensus
Now our Search for Star entries of 2022 – let’s take a look at our finalists and winner:
- Veronica Campolina from the University of the Creative Arts Presented The High Priestess
- Migle Ignotaite from the University of Huddersfield created Apostasy inspired by a world where a millennium has passed and humans have evolved to cybernetic advancements, slowly pushing away from beliefs.
- Colin Daniel from the University of the Creative Arts created Queequeg, an underwater sea monster.
- Caoimhe McEntee from Glasgow Caledonian created the University created Deep Sea Mermaid, the design is inspired by a classic mermaid with a twist that was heavily influenced by the bioluminescent creatures that live in the deep
However, our winner for A Star Character Art is Ryan Kelly from Anglia Ruskin University who created Colonel Sanders, Knight of the Rotisserie Table, with the award presented by our art judge Calvin Williams from Bulkhead Interactive. Below is what the Judges thought!
Well presented with good character storytelling, and a very well organised and structured approach. Great sculpting technique and consideration throughout for silhouette and use of gradients. Wanted to create a fun colourful character that everyone would love, and very much achieved this!Character Art Judges Consensus
Games Animation 2022
Our Animation Category was full of creativity and below are just a few of the amazing examples we had
- Ghoul the Inhuman is a fantastic design by Ruben Fernandez from Glasgow Caledonian University
- Joshua Prasser from the University of Huddersfield made a piece called Creating Game Ready Animations With the use of motion Capture.
- Ella Grunberger took some inspiration from Pokemon to create Bulbasaur’s Vine Whip. She attends Escape Studios / Pearson College.
- Alvin Oblitey from Staffordshire University created Fighting Game Ultra Move
In the end our judges decided that a project titled Paladin Piper deserved to take home the award, created by Cai Jones from De Montfort University, presented by our animation judge Matt Palmer from d3t..
A great attitute, taking on a challenge to push their ability and producing an engaging sequence that felt game-ready and polished. Very brave to to take on a project using software they’ve never used, but it paid off and Cai would be a great asset to any studio.Games Animation Judges Consensus
Games VFX 2022
VFX was another category where a lot of the entries were incredibly strong take a look below at our finalists:
- Grzegorz Szargot from Sheffield Hallam University created Icy Tide
- Michael Falconefrom Abertay University Created Photon Surge
- Jack Anderson from Escape Studios / Pearson College created The Abyss Down Below
Love Bomb by Auguste Lubickaite ended up being the project our judges assigned the winning award, presented by our art judge Lee Taylor from Sumo Digital! A fantastic project from this University of Portsmouth Student.
Very art driven with a full understanding of the technical side, showing a natural understanding of animation principles and the technical process for game-ready VFX.Games VFX Judges Consensus
Our Judges 2022
We could do any of this without our amazing judges so below we want to say a huge thank you to them and the amazing work they put in!
- Margaret Smith – Aardvark Swift – Recruitment Team Lead
- Calvin Williams – Bulkhead -Associate Art Director
- Paul Walker – Aardvark Swift – Senior Recruitment Consultant
- Ali Glenn – Bulkhead -=Principle character Artist
- Erika Lochs – Airship – Character Artist
- Lawrie Brennan – Aardvark Swift – Recruiter
- Eva Lynch – d3t – UI Artist
- Daniel Sonley – DS Dambuster – Senior Environment Artist
- Dave Moss – Aardvark Swift – Team Lead
- Dan McCabe – Cloud Imperium – Prop Artist
- Jason Ord – DS Dambuster – Environment Artist
- Liam Hollinshead – Aardvark Swift – Recruiter
- Jordan Langley – Aardvark Swift – Recruitment Consultant
- Matt Palmer – d3t – Lead Animator
- Connor Green – Aardvark Swift – Recruitment Consultant
- Lee Taylor – Sumo Digital – Senior VFX Artist
- John Stopforth – Escape Technology – Head of Education
- Joe Sutcliffe – Aardvark Swift – Recruitment Consultant
- Scott Bevin – d3t – Programming Lead
- Ash Bennett – Sumo Digital -Technical Director
- Shani Owen – Aardvark Swift – Recruiter
- Craig Wright – Sumo Digital – Technical Director