CARY, NC — This year’s Make Something Unreal Live, run by Epic Games, Inc., reaches its climax at Gadget Show Live this week.
The competition invites the most talented videogame developers amongst Europe's students to create games using Epic's Unreal Development Kit toolset. Of the 21 teams that originally entered the competition six months ago, four now remain to contest the final showdown over the next few days.
The four finalist teams must work to complete their games on the show floor, starting Tuesday April 2, and finishing on the last day of the show, Sunday, April 7. Twice a day, each team must present progress on the game so far to the judging panel, to a selection of handpicked industry gurus and to visitors to the show. The industry gurus include Peter Molyneux, Sports Interactive's Miles Jacobson, Jon Hare of Sensible Soccer fame, and former DMA and RealTime Worlds founder Dave Jones.
All the games in the competition have been created according to the theme "Mendelian inheritance: genetics and genomics," which was set for Make Something Unreal Live 2013 by the Wellcome Trust, which has also supported the contest and provided scientific mentors to the teams.
Mendell's Farm: Selective livestock breading. Static Games.
Beings: A puzzle game for younger players. Team Summit.
Polymorph: Exploration in a doomed landscape. Kairos Games.
Epigenesis: A fast-paced ball game. Dead Shark Triplepunch.
The finalists are:
Static Games, from Bournemouth University, seven students who take the player on a tour of "Mendel's Farm." In its day, Mendel's Farm was a thriving and popular business, which bred the best livestock and grew the best plants. However, over time the farm has deteriorated and Mendel is struggling to manage the farm by himself, and the player's task is to restore it to its former glory.
Team Summit, from University of Abertay, with four members and a puzzle platform game, "Beings", aimed at younger players. The central character in "Beings" is a mythical creature facing a series of challenges such as fire, ice, or snow. These obstacles can be overcome through selective breeding with a creature with the right genes - fire-retardant skin, for example.
Kairos Games,which comes from Staffordshire University and numbers nine students. Its title "Polymorph" is a third-person platform game in which a brave amorphous character and its ever-changing offspring evolve and adapt to take on the world around them, taking key evolutionary traits from other species.
Finally,Dead Shark Triplepunch
is a team of 10 students from the Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden. Its game, "Epigenesis," is a fast-paced ball game played on rooftops with gravity cannons and supportive plants that spread across the playfield.
The teams will be judged by a panel which comprises Mike Gamble, European Territory Manager at Epic Games; Dr. Jo Twist, Chair of UKIE; Phil Wright, Head of Content Management at NVIDIA; Iain Dodgeon, Broadcast and Games Manager at the Wellcome Trust; and Matt Hill, Deputy Editor of T3 magazine.
Visitors to the show will also get a chance to have their say by voting for their favorite games of the four, using forms available on Epic Games' stand at the show.
On the final day of the exhibition, the overall winning team will be announced and awarded with a commercial Unreal Engine 4 license for PC digital distribution.
"The stage is set for an exciting and closely fought climax to this year's competition," says Mike Gamble. "We've seen incredibly high-quality work already in the competition and it will be fascinating to see how these four games develop further over the course of the show.
"The students have all demonstrated an astonishing commitment to the contest and we at Epic are very proud of what they have managed to achieve with the Unreal Development Kit so far."
Iain Dodgeon from the Wellcome Trust, and also a member of the judging panel, said, "The finalists all promise to produce entertaining and compelling games, so choosing one winner will be a challenge. An important factor will be to see how the teams have integrated the science behind the theme, into the gameplay. Best of luck to all the teams in this crucial last stage of the competition!"