A key aspect of our Search For A Star challenges is to help improve the links between the games industry and education. We work closely with leading studios to create the challenges, based directly on the skills and knowledge those studios are looking for when hiring graduate and junior developers.
By incorporating studio expectations & professional feedback into creating university-level game development challenges, students can gain a better understanding of just what to expect in a studio environment.
Over the ten years that we’ve been running Search For A Star, there’s always been some clear correlation between the top performing students and the quality of education that they’re receiving at university. The universities that have the best results are almost always the ones that we work with to improve links with the games industry, and providing courses, frameworks and workflows that are exactly what games studios are looking for.
We’ve had many exceptional students in Search For A Star and Sumo Digital Rising Star this year. Let’s take a look at the excellent universities that have helped them to develop their skills.
University of Central Lancashire
UCLan students have always been one of the best performing in the programming category, consistently reaching the finals and often going on to win. The university has always had a strong history of producing talented Computer Science graduates, and many of the top C++ programmers we’ve seen over the years have honed their abilities at UCLan.
This year, UCLan has earned an exceptional achievement, with their students winning both the Search For A Star & Sumo Digital Rising Star!
40 entrants across all categories, with 14 projects completed
Resulted in 2 winners, 3 finalists and 4 One To Watch students
Matthew Lowe – SFASX Games Programming Winner
Justyna Kwiatkowska – Rising Star Games Programming Winner
Zimu Zhang – Rising Star Games Programming Finalist
John Green – One To Watch, former Rising Star Winner
Sam Rudd – One To Watch, highest project score
Nathan Williams – One To Watch
Jack Parnell – One To Watch
Teesside University have long produced some excellent student artists across Search For A Star, and after receiving multiple One To Watch awards in previous years, have really stepped up for 2020.
With four finalists and winning both Search For A Star and Sumo Digital Rising Star in the Character Art category, Teesside have shown itself as an excellent place for student artists to improve their skills for industry.
30 entrants across all categories, with 10 projects completed
Resulted in 2 winners and 4 finalists across character art and vfx
Emily Harrison – SFASX Character Art Winner
Ashleigh Reilly – SFASX Character Art Finalist
Radomír Fifik – Rising Star Character Art Winner
Michael Jones – SFASX VFX Finalist
Easily one of the leading games development universities in Europe, students from Howest Digital Arts & Entertainment have been a firm fixture at the top of the Search For A Star results tables for many years.
This year is no exception, seeing Howest students winning two categories & earning One To Watch awards across multiple disciplines.
31 entrants across all categories, with 9 projects completed
Resulted in 2 winners and 3 One To Watch students
Milan De Laet – SFASX Environment Art Winner
Elie Van Ravels – Rising Star VFX Winner
Luna Wullaert – One To Watch
Sarah Druyts – One To Watch
Glen Bourgonjon – One To Watch
Relative newcomers to Search For A Star, we visited SAE Institute in London last year as part of our Get In The Game careers talks and met with many engaged students in a fantastic centre for games education.
It’s excellent to see one of their students make the journey through Search For A Star and win the Animation category! We look forward to seeing more great work from SAE students in the future!
19 entrants, resulting in 1 winner
Chris Woods – SFASX Games Animation Winner
University of Huddersfield
Another university with an exceptional history of Search For A Star finalists and winners, particularly across the arts categories, the University of Huddersfield is once again one of our leading educational institutions.
It’s no surprise to see such a good showing from Huddersfield students, and particularly great to see several students returning after previous achievements in Rising Star in previous years.
70 entrants across all categories, 11 projects completed
Resulted in 1 winner, 3 finalists and 7 One To Watch students
Reece Kuby – SFASX VFX Winner, Former Rising Star VFX Winner
Kiara De Angelis – Rising Star Character Art Finalist
Chris Rhodes – Rising Star Environment Art Finalist
Kial Oliver-Gibson – One To Watch, Former Rising Star Winner
Bradley Cullen – One To Watch
Dean Holland – One To Watch
Navjeet Bhogal – One To Watch
Wiktoria Pyszczuk- One To Watch
Joshua Norman- One To Watch
Joe Taylor- One To Watch
De Montfort University
Another university that’s very much stepped up this year, De Montfort University has made their mark with a range of excellent environment artists.
After visiting them with our Get In The Game careers talks, it became very clear that De Montfort produces many talented and enthusiastic artists ready to make their way into the games industry.
24 entrants, 7 projects completed
Resulted in 1 winner, 2 finalists and 2 One To Watch students
Dominic Brookes – Rising Star Environment Art Winner
Kiril Zangagolev – Rising Star Environment Art Finalist
Emer Crawford-Thomson – One To Watch
Alex Benge- One To Watch
Falmouth University may not have had many entrants, but achieved an excellent result from it! Having three finalists in SFASX Environment Art is a huge achievement, showing a real quality to the arts education at Falmouth.
15 entrants, 7 projects completed
Resulted in 3 finalists and 1 One To Watch student
Jay Hargreaves – SFASX Environment Art Finalist
Louis Sullivan – SFASX Environment Art Finalist
Madison Riley – SFASX Environment Art Finalist
William Jennett – One to Watch
University of Portsmouth
The University of Portsmouth has also achieved a fantastic result despite only a small number of entrants. With three finalists across multiple categories, it’s a great range of skills coming out of Portsmouth!
12 entrants, 4 projects completed
3 finalists across categories
Emily Bisset – SFASX Games Animation Finalist
Thomas Hutchinson – SFASX Games VFX Finalist
Kian Bennett – Rising Star Games Programming Finalist
University of Hertfordshire
The University of Hertfordshire has always had one of the best track records across the arts categories, and although this is one of the few years where they haven’t produced a winner, having three finalists in Games VFX is an excellent achievement in one of the most important disciplines that the games industry is looking for!
40 entrants, 11 projects completed
3 finalists and 1 One To Watch student
Sam Mayson – Rising Star Games VFX Finalist
Bruno Pires – Rising Star Games VFX Finalist
Andrew Zimmerman – Rising Star Games VFX Finalist
Kirstie Scarlett-Bruff – Games Animation One To Watch
Another university with excellent potential and many great students across the arts categories, Escape Studios has had an excellent showing this year with multiple finalists and One To Watch awards across multiple categories.
40 entrants, 15 projects completed
4 finalists and 3 One To Watch students
Palagamsan Sivapathasundaram – SFASX Games VFX Finalist
Tadas Sadauskas – Rising Star Character Art Finalist
Laura Higgins – Rising Star Games VFX Finalist
Maciej Osuch – SFASX Games Animation Finalist
Kyran Roe – One To Watch
Tyrone Harper – One To Watch
Harry Williams – One To Watch
One of the leading UK games educators, Staffordshire University has frequently been a fixture at the top of our Search For A Star universities. It’s been another excellent year for them, with multiple finalists and One To Watch awards, particularly across the arts categories.
82 entrants, 25 projects completed
3 finalists and 4 One To Watch students
Beccy Collins – SFASX Character Art Finalist
Luke Marchese – Rising Star Character Art Finalist
Sankalp Sharma – Rising Star Games Animation Finalist
Nathaniel Ayling – One To Watch
William Sheen – One To Watch
Joe Finn – One To Watch
David Taylor – One To Watch
Congratulations to all of the universities above! There have been some fantastic achievements this year, and the support to student development that these universities provide has definitely been a factor in so many of their students doing well across Search For A Star.