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GradsInGames

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A member registered Jan 16, 2017 · View creator page →

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(Edited 1 time)

Sumo Digital Rising Star 2018

Programming Project Submission Guide

All finished projects are required to be published on the itch.io platform and submitted to the Sumo Digital Rising Star 2018 game jam by 28th January 2018 at 11:59 PM GMT

Creating & publishing your project page

We advise that you set up a draft of your project page ahead of the deadline. To create your game project page, go to your itch.io Dashboard and select the ‘Upload New Project’ option.

Complete the submission form, in line with itch.io’s Quality Guidelines

  • Set Title to the name of your game
    • This should be the actual name you've chosen for your game, rather than a general project title or description of the project.
    • A good game title does not need to include any reference to Search For A Star, Sumo Digital Rising Star or your own name.
  • Set Classification to ‘game’.
  • Set Kind of project to ‘Downloadable’.
  • For Release State, choose an option that best describes your project, even if ‘prototype’ or ‘in development’.
  • Set pricing to ‘Disable all payments’ - You can change this once all projects have been marked by the judges if you wish.
  • Upload your compiled release build as a single zip file.
    • It should be possible for a user to download, unzip and then immediately run your game.
  • Upload any supporting documentation as a separate PDF file alongside your game file. This should be used for :
    • Your intro explaining what you want to create for the project
    • Discussion of your ideas and any concept research
    • An outline of your design plan
    • A list of any external tools or 3rd party assets used in your project
    • Any dev diary or production notes (especially if you've written about problems encountered / solved )
    • A short reflective summary, saying how you think you did & what you might change
  • Complete the Description text field with information about your game. Include information on the following :
    • An overview of what your game is
    • Your game controls
    • Any accessibility features / limitations.
    • Any recommendations for playing (e.g. controllers, local multiplayer)
  • For Genre, Tags, Custom Noun, Community, complete to your own preferences.
  • Include a cover image & screenshots. Include a gameplay video or trailer if possible. Gameplay gifs are great.
  • When your project is complete, set ‘Visibility & Access Settings’ to ‘Public’.
    • To optionally prevent your project showing up in public listings, tick the box for ‘Unlisted in search & browse’.

When you're ready to submit your game

Go to the Sumo Digital Rising Star 2018 page and press the ‘Submit your jam’ button

Select your finished game and press ‘Submit’.

  • Fill in your name
  • Link to your Bitbucket source code & grant user access to 'GradsInGames'
    • You may be contacted in order to allow additional users access, depending on assessment requirements.

You may create, update & make changes to your project page at any point, but you will not be able to upload any changes during the assessment period (29th January 2018 - 28th February 2018).

If you have any issues with the submission process or want to clarify anything, let me know either here, at dan@gradsingames.com or ask on the Grads In Games Discord : https://discord.gg/7ppfTnT

Please note that there is no ‘fail’ or ‘disqualification’ criteria. Do what you can & submit what you are able to. Even unfinished pieces and works in progress can be valuable.

(Edited 2 times)

Search For A Star 2018

Programming Project Submission Guide

All finished projects are required to be published on the itch.io platform and submitted to the Search For A Star 2018 game jam by 28th January 2018 at 11:59 PM GMT

Creating & publishing your project page

We advise that you set up a draft of your project page ahead of the deadline.
To create your game project page, go to your itch.io Dashboard and select the ‘Upload New Project’ option.

Complete the submission form, in line with itch.io’s Quality Guidelines

  • Set Title to the name of your game
    • This should be the actual name you've chosen for your game, rather than a general project title or description of the project.
    • A good game title does not need to include any reference to Search For A Star or your own name.
  • Set Classification to ‘game’.
  • Set Kind of project to ‘Downloadable’.
  • For Release State, choose an option that best describes your project, even if ‘prototype’ or ‘in development’.
  • Set pricing to ‘Disable all payments’ - You can change this once all projects have been marked by the judges if you wish.
  • Upload your compiled release build as a single zip file.
    • It should be possible for a user to download, unzip and then immediately run your game.
  • Upload any supporting documentation as a separate PDF file alongside your game file. This should be used for :
    • Your intro explaining what you want to create for the project
    • Discussion of your ideas and any concept research
    • An outline of your design plan
    • A list of any external tools or 3rd party assets used in your project
    • Any dev diary or production notes (especially if you've written about problems encountered / solved )
    • A short reflective summary, saying how you think you did & what you might change
  • Complete the Description text field with information about your game. Include information on the following :
    • An overview of what your game is
    • Your game controls
    • Any accessibility features / limitations.
    • Any recommendations for playing (e.g. controllers, local multiplayer)
  • For Genre, Tags, Custom Noun, Community, complete to your own preferences.
  • Include a cover image & screenshots. Include a gameplay video or trailer if possible. Gameplay gifs are great.
  • When your project is complete, set ‘Visibility & Access Settings’ to ‘Public’.
    • To optionally prevent your project showing up in public listings, tick the box for ‘Unlisted in search & browse’.

When you're ready to submit your game

Go to the Search For A Star 2018 page and press the ‘Submit your jam’ button

Select your finished game and press ‘Submit’.

  • Fill in your name
  • Link to your Bitbucket source code & grant user access to 'GradsInGames'
    • You may be contacted in order to allow additional users access, depending on assessment requirements.

You may create, update & make changes to your project page at any point, but you will not be able to upload any changes during the assessment period (29th January 2018 - 28th February 2018).

If you have any issues with the submission process or want to clarify anything, let me know either here, at dan@gradsingames.com or ask on the Grads In Games Discord : https://discord.gg/7ppfTnT

Please note that there is no ‘fail’ or ‘disqualification’ criteria. Do what you can & submit what you are able to. Even unfinished pieces and works in progress can be valuable.

(Edited 1 time)

Search For A Star & Sumo Digital Rising Star 2018

Environment Art Submission Guide

 

All finished projects are required to be published on the itch.io platform and submitted to the Search For A Star 3D Environment Art Challenge 2018 by 28th January 2018 at 11:59 PM GMT

 You must join the SFAS Environment Art page to take part : https://itch.io/jam/search-for-a-star-environment-art-2018

 We advise that you set up a draft of your project page ahead of the deadline. To create your art project page, go to your itch.io Dashboard and select the ‘Upload New Project’ option.

 Complete the submission form, in line with itch.io’s Quality Guidelines 

  • Set Title to the name of your asset pack
    • This should be an actual name you've chosen, rather than a general project title or description of the project.
    • A good title does not need to include any reference to Search For A Star, Rising Star or your own name.


  • Set Classification to ‘game assets’.
  • Set Kind of project to ‘Downloadable’.
  • For Release State, choose an option that best describes your project, even if ‘prototype’ or ‘in development’.
  • Set pricing to ‘Disable all payments’ - You can change this once all projects have been marked by the judges, if you wish. 
  • Upload your project files as a zip file, exported from UE4 (Package project > Zip)
    • Your project file should contain your full final scene.
    • If your final scene is too large to upload, instead upload your four key assets as separate files.
  • Upload a separate project PDF containing your intro, pre-production work, summation and any additional production documentation.  
  • Include the following on your project page:
    • A cover image
    • Your scene & key asset beauty shots as the screenshots
    • Sketchfab render(s) of your key assets (either as embedded or linked)
    • (optional) Video content of your scene & assets. 
  • The ‘Description’ text box should contain a copy of your written intro & final written summation from your documentation, as well as your embeds/links to the Sketchfab renders. It may contain further documentation if you choose.  
  • When your project is complete, set ‘Visibility & Access Settings’ to ‘Public’.
    • To prevent your project showing up in public listings, choose the option for ‘Unlisted in search & browse’.

 

To submit your project, return to the Search For A Star 2018 page and press the ‘Submit your jam’ button

 Select your finished project, fill in your name and challenge tier details and press ‘Submit’.

 If you have any issues with the submission process or want to clarify anything, let me know either at dan@gradsingames.com or ask on the Grads In Games Discord : https://discord.gg/7ppfTnT

Please note that there is no ‘fail’ or ‘disqualification’ criteria. Do what you can & submit what you are able to. Even unfinished pieces and works in progress can be valuable.

(Edited 2 times)

Search For A Star & Sumo Digital Rising Star 2018

Character Art Submission Guide

 

All finished projects are required to be published on the itch.io platform and submitted to the Search For A Star 3D Character Art Challenge 2018 by 28th January 2018 at 11:59 PM GMT

 You must join the SFAS Character Art page to take part : https://itch.io/jam/search-for-a-star-3d-character-art-challenge-2018

 We advise that you set up a draft of your project page ahead of the deadline. To create your art project page, go to your itch.io Dashboard and select the ‘Upload New Project’ option.

 Complete the submission form, in line with itch.io’s Quality Guidelines 

  • Set Title to the name of your asset pack
    • This should be a name or description for your character, rather than a general project title or description of the project.
    • A good title does not need to include any reference to Search For A Star, Rising Star or your own name.


  • Set Classification to ‘game assets’.
  • Set Kind of project to ‘Downloadable’.
  • For Release State, choose an option that best describes your project, even if ‘prototype’ or ‘in development’.
  • Set pricing to ‘Disable all payments’ - You can change this once all projects have been marked by the judges, if you wish. 
  • Upload your project files as a zip file, exported from UE4 (Package project > Zip)


    • Your project file should contain your final project model, either posed or unposed.
  • Upload a separate project PDF containing your intro, pre-production work, summation and any additional production documentation.  
  • Include the following on your project page:
    • A cover image
    • Your four posed key screens as the screenshots
    • Sketchfab render(s) of your character model (either as embedded or linked)
    • (optional) Video content of your model. 
  • The ‘Description’ text box should contain a copy of your written intro & final written summation from your documentation, as well as your embeds/links to the Sketchfab renders. It may contain further documentation if you choose.  
  • When your project is complete, set ‘Visibility & Access Settings’ to ‘Public’.
    • To prevent your project showing up in public listings, choose the option for ‘Unlisted in search & browse’.

 

To submit your project, return to the Search For A Star 2018 page and press the ‘Submit your jam’ button

 Select your finished project, fill in your name and challenge tier details and press ‘Submit’.

 If you have any issues with the submission process or want to clarify anything, let me know either at dan@gradsingames.com or ask on the Grads In Games Discord : https://discord.gg/7ppfTnT

Please note that there is no ‘fail’ or ‘disqualification’ criteria. Do what you can & submit what you are able to. Even unfinished pieces and works in progress can be valuable.

(Edited 2 times)

Search For A Star & Sumo Digital Rising Star 2018

VFX Submission Guide

 

All finished projects are required to be published on the itch.io platform and submitted to the Search For A Star VFX Challenge 2018 by 28th January 2018 at 11:59 PM GMT

 You must join the SFAS VFX page to take part : https://itch.io/jam/games-vfx-challenge

 We advise that you set up a draft of your project page ahead of the deadline. To create your art project page, go to your itch.io Dashboard and select the ‘Upload New Project’ option.

 Complete the submission form, in line with itch.io’s Quality Guidelines 

  • Set Classification to ‘game assets’.
  • Set Kind of project to ‘Downloadable’.
  • For Release State, choose an option that best describes your project, even if ‘prototype’ or ‘in development’.
  • Set pricing to ‘Disable all payments’ - You can change this once all projects have been marked by the judges, if you wish. 
  • Upload your project files as a single zip file, exported from UE4 (Package project > Zip)
  • Upload a separate project PDF containing your intro, pre-production work, summation and any additional production documentation.  
  • Include the following on your project page:
    • A cover image
    • Your key screens as the screenshots
    • Video content of your full sequence 
  • The ‘Description’ text box should contain a copy of your written intro & final written summation from your documentation. It may contain further documentation if you choose.  
  • When your project is complete, set ‘Visibility & Access Settings’ to ‘Public’.
    • To prevent your project showing up in public listings, choose the option for ‘Unlisted in search & browse’.

 

To submit your project, return to the Search For A Star 2018 page and press the ‘Submit your jam’ button

 Select your finished project, fill in your name and challenge tier details and press ‘Submit’.

 If you have any issues with the submission process or want to clarify anything, let me know either at dan@gradsingames.com or ask on the Grads In Games Discord : https://discord.gg/7ppfTnT

Please note that there is no ‘fail’ or ‘disqualification’ criteria. Do what you can & submit what you are able to. Even unfinished pieces and works in progress can be valuable.

(Edited 2 times)

Search For A Star & Sumo Digital Rising Star 2018

Game Animation Submission Guide

 

All finished projects are required to be published on the itch.io platform and submitted to the Search For A Star 3D Game Animation Challenge 2018 by 28th January 2018 at 11:59 PM GMT

 You must join the SFAS Animation page to take part : https://itch.io/jam/3d-game-animation-challenge-2018

 We advise that you set up a draft of your project page ahead of the deadline.
To create your art project page, go to your itch.io Dashboard and select the ‘Upload New Project’ option.

 Complete the submission form, in line with itch.io’s Quality Guidelines 

  • Set Classification to ‘game assets’.
  • Set Kind of project to ‘Downloadable’.
  • For Release State, choose an option that best describes your project, even if ‘prototype’ or ‘in development’.
  • Set pricing to ‘Disable all payments’ - You can change this once all projects have been marked by the judges, if you wish. 
  • Upload your full sequence as a zip containing your .fbx project file.
  • Alternatively, If using UE4, upload your project files as a single zip file, exported from UE4 (Package project > Zip)
  • Upload a separate project PDF containing your intro, pre-production work, summation and any additional production documentation.  
  • Include the following on your project page:
    • A cover image
    • Your key screens as the screenshots
    • Sketchfab renders of your animations (either as embedded or linked)
    • Video content of your full sequence 
  • The ‘Description’ text box should contain a copy of your written intro & final written summation from your documentation, as well as your embeds/links to the Sketchfab sequences. It may contain further documentation if you choose.  
  • When your project is complete, set ‘Visibility & Access Settings’ to ‘Public’.
    • To prevent your project showing up in public listings, choose the option for ‘Unlisted in search & browse’.

 

To submit your project, return to the Search For A Star 2018 page and press the ‘Submit your jam’ button

 Select your finished project, fill in your name and challenge tier details and press ‘Submit’.

 If you have any issues with the submission process or want to clarify anything, let me know either at dan@gradsingames.com or ask on the Grads In Games Discord : https://discord.gg/7ppfTnT

Please note that there is no ‘fail’ or ‘disqualification’ criteria.
Do what you can & submit what you are able to. Even unfinished pieces and works in progress can be valuable.

There's no strict limit as it would vary depending on the style you're aiming for.  As you say, as long as it's reasonable for a game environment it should be fine.

The pre-production & concept development section is the area that the assessors typically have concerns about when it comes to marking the final projects. In general, a studio project will expect a lot more in this area than students tend to provide in their portfolio.

Based on the assessment criteria, I've written out a guide to improving your scores in this important first section.

You don't have to cover everything here, but if you manage to then you're operating at a higher level than the majority of students that apply for games industry jobs. 

PROTIP You can come back to add detail to any section later on. Ideas don't always work in the same linear way that documentation demands.

Written intro

Explain what you're illustrating with your VFX sequence and why you've chosen to do so. What type of effect is this? Where would it be used in a game setting? Is there something that appeals to you about creating a sequence like this. Talk about any style and tone considerations and how you can represent that in the sequence. Explain what the stages of your effect sequence is. Write some detail on any direct inspiration or influence that led to your decisions.

Influences

This is your visual intro - use it to illustrate your decision making process in the written intro

Include short annotations/captions on images explaining relevance / why this is an influence on you

It doesn't necessarily have to be direct link to VFX or the final concept, but should be broadly linkable to the overall theme/style

e.g. You're fascinated by snow and ice weather effects and have decided to create an effect sequence with that in mind. Your visual influences might be entirely based on your own personal and favourite interpretations, such as :

  • Blizzard weather effects in Skyrim
  • A VFX breakdown video from Game of Thrones
  • The Sub-Zero goal explosion from Rocket League 
  • The Scrat sequence from Ice Age 2
  • Playing as Tusk  in DOTA 2

*Written intro & visual influences don't have to be separate sections*

Mood board(s)

This is where you begin refining your influences into a visual guide. Bring in as much as you can to show the styles, feelings, visual cues, themes, etc. you want to associate with the type of effect you want to create. Use the board to help the viewer understand the creative direction you're taking, bringing in the key influences that you want to develop further.

Group linked sections for clarity & annotate where appropriate; what links the items in a group? Use clear choices that are relatable to your intro and influences. Colours, shapes, layout and composition matter - create a visual journey that goes beyond an ideas scrapbook.

Curated References

Provide references and resrouces for relevant key art and VFX studies that can be incorporated into your concept development. e.g.

  • Style and aesthetic studies
  • Material and particle studies
  • Clothing and fabric studies
  • Structure and composition study
  • Supporting props or objects
  • Existing VFX studies
  • Existing game VFX studies

Concept design

This is a development of the work done in the referencing and mood board sections, bringing it together to create a coherent idea for a full sequence, refining the elements of what you have into a working plan. Mix in elements from your referencing and boards to show how your sequence comes together, showing your own personal influence in its creation. 

This is where narrative comes in heavily as well, solidifying the tone and style associated with the effect. What's the purpose behind this sequence - who or what's caused this?  why does it exist? 

  • This narrative should be used to form part of your written intro.

Composition exploration

Layout sketch(es) for your movements, working from your concept. Include composition thoughts/notes including:

  • Visual balance
  • Spatial balance (lateral and vertical)
  • Camera positions, focal points & framing

Storyboarding

This is your initial storyboard for your effect sequence, combining the work done in your concept design & composition exploration sections. This should give a clear visual idea of each stage of your effect as well as the full sequence. This storyboard will act as your reference for all subsequent production work.

At this point, it should be possible for someone to go through all of the above and, without ever seeing your effects sequence, have a pretty accurate visual idea of what your final piece is intended to look and feel like.

The pre-production & concept development section is the area that the assessors typically have concerns about when it comes to marking the final projects. In general, a studio project will expect a lot more in this area than students tend to provide in their portfolio.

Based on the assessment criteria, I've written out a guide to improving your scores in this important first section.

You don't have to cover everything here, but if you manage to then you're operating at a higher level than the majority of students that apply for games industry jobs. 

PROTIP You can come back to add detail to any section later on. Ideas don't always work in the same linear way that documentation demands.

Written intro

Explain what you're illustrating with your animation sequence and why you've chosen to do so. What type of character is this? Is there something that appeals to you about animating a sequence like this. Talk about the style and tone of the character and how you can represent that in their movement. Explain what your animation sequence is. Write some detail on any direct inspiration or influence that led to your decisions.

Influences

This is your visual intro - use it to illustrate your decision making process in the written intro

Include short annotations/captions on images explaining relevance / why this is an influence on you

It doesn't necessarily have to be direct link to final concept, but should be broadly linkable to the overall theme/style

e.g. You really enjoy working with highly athletic characters with dexterous, fluid movements & want to create an animated movement sequence with this in mind. Your visual influences might be entirely based on your own personal and favourite interpretations, such as :

  • A 2D animated fight scene in Aeon Flux
  • An Olympic gold medal-winning gymnastics sequence
  • D.Va's 'Eject' highlight intro from Overwatch 
  • A Rooftop parkour sequence from Assassins Creed
  • The lobby scene in The Matrix

*Written intro & visual influences don't have to be separate sections*

Mood board(s)

This is where you begin refining your influences into a visual guide. Bring in as much as you can to show the styles, feelings, visual cues, themes, etc. you want to associate with the type of movement you want to create. Use the board to help the viewer understand the creative direction you're taking, bringing in the key influences that you want to develop further.

Group linked sections for clarity & annotate where appropriate; what links the items in a group? Use clear choices that are relatable to your intro and influences Colours, shapes, layout and composition matter - create a visual journey that goes beyond an ideas scrapbook.

Curated References

Provide reference to relevant key art and animation studies that can be incorporated into your concept development. e.g.

  • Style and aesthetic studies
  • Anatomical movement studies
  • [Creature / animal movement studies]
  • Clothing and fabric studies
  • Structure and composition study
  • Existing animation studies
  • Existing game animation studies


Concept design

This is a development of the work done in the referencing and mood board sections, bringing it together to create a coherent idea for a full movement sequence, refining the elements of what you have into a working plan. Mix in elements from your referencing and boards to show how your sequence comes together, showing your own personal influence in its creation. 

This is where narrative comes in heavily as well, solidifying the tone and style of the character movement. What's the purpose behind this sequence - who is this? what are they doing? why are they doing it? 

  • This narrative should be used to form part of your written intro.

Composition exploration

Layout sketch(es) for your movements, working from your concept. Include composition thoughts/notes including:

  • Weight balance
  • Visual balance
  • Spatial balance (lateral and vertical)
  • Camera positions, focal points & framing

Storyboarding

This is your initial storyboard for your animation sequence, combining the work done in your concept design & composition exploration sections. This should give a clear visual idea of each stage of your animation as well as the full sequence. This storyboard will act as the basis for your animatic.

At this point, it should be possible for someone to go through all of the above and, without ever seeing your animated sequence, have a pretty accurate visual idea of what your final piece is intended to look and feel like.

(Edited 1 time)

The pre-production & concept development section is the area that the assessors typically have concerns about when it comes to marking the final projects. In general, a studio project will expect a lot more in this area than students tend to provide in their portfolio.

Based on the assessment criteria, I've written out a full guide to improving your scores in this important first section.

You don't have to cover everything here, but if you manage to then you're operating at a higher level than the majority of students that apply for games industry jobs. 

PROTIP You can come back to add detail to any section later on. Ideas don't always work in the same linear way that documentation demands.

Written intro

Explain who (or what) you're creating and why you've chosen to do so. What's their backstory? What appeals to you about creating a character like this. Talk about the style and tone of your character and the theme and setting of the world they live in. Mention the four poses that you intend to present your character in. Write some detail on any direct inspiration or influence that led to your decisions.

Influences

This is your visual intro - use it to illustrate your decision making process in the written intro

Include short annotations/captions on images explaining relevance / why this is an influence on you

It doesn't necessarily have to be direct link to final concept, but should be broadly linkable to the overall theme/style

e.g. You have a fascination with the neon-tinged, rain-soaked worlds of dystopian sci-fi, & have written that you want to create a character that represents these themes. Your visual influences might be entirely based on your own personal and favourite interpretations, such as :

  • The book cover of the first edition of Neuromancer
  • Keanu Reeves in both The Matrix & Johnny Mnemonic
  • Panoramic stills from Ghost In The Shell & Akira 
  • A still from the opening scenes of Blade Runner
  • Screens of character models in Deus Ex

*Written intro & visual influences don't have to be separate sections*

Mood board(s)

This is where you begin refining your influences into a visual guide. Bring in as much as you can to show the styles, feelings, visual cues, themes, colours etc. you want to associate with when creating your character. Use the board to help the viewer understand the creative direction you're taking, bringing in the key influences that you want to develop further.

Group linked sections for clarity & annotate where appropriate; what links the items in a group? Use clear choices that are relatable to your intro and influences Colours, shapes, layout and composition matter - create a visual journey that goes beyond an ideas scrapbook.

References

Usable key art studies, relevant to your theme/setting that can be incorporated into your concept development. e.g.

  • Style and aesthetic studies
  • Anatomical studies
  • Texture and material studies
  • Clothing and fabric studies
  • Structure and composition study
  • Existing concept studies
  • Existing game asset studies


Concept design & development

This is a development of the work done in the referencing and mood board sections, bringing an idea for a full character to life, further refining the elements of what you have into a working concept design. This can be an original concept piece that you create yourself, or developed from an existing concept in your referencing if preferred.

Mix in elements from your referencing and boards to show how your character comes together, showing your own personal influence in its creation. If working from an existing concept, try to show how it relates to your research and how your own contributions tie it all together.

The actual presentation of the concept is up to you, and at least in part dictated by the style you've chosen to work in. You don't need to create a super-detailed matte painting if your creative vision & intent can be clearly seen from an arrangement of cutout photo references or a series of sketches.

What's the story behind your character? This is where narrative comes in heavily as well; who is this? what are they doing? why are they doing it? What's the significance of the poses? Show that this is a person, with a life that can exist beyond just being char_asset_08b_final_final.png

  • This narrative should tie into your written intro.

Composition exploration

Layout sketch(es) for your poses, working from your concept. Include composition thoughts/notes including:

  • Weight balance
  • Visual balance
  • Colour balance
  • Camera positions, focal points & framing

At this point, it should be possible for someone to go through all of the above and, without ever seeing your 3D character, have a pretty accurate visual idea of what your final piece is intended to look and feel like.

Initial blockout of your model

This is your initial 3D rough model. It only needs to be a simple blockout to show the basic arrangement and will act as a base for the start of your production phase.

(Edited 1 time)

The pre-production & concept development section is the area that the assessors typically have concerns about when it comes to marking the final projects. In general, a studio project will expect a lot more in this area than students tend to provide in their portfolio.

Based on the assessment criteria, I've written out a full guide to improving your scores in this important first section.

You don't have to cover everything here, but if you manage to then you're operating at a higher level than the majority of students that apply for games industry jobs. 

PROTIP
You can come back to add detail to any section later on. Ideas don't always work in the same linear way that documentation demands.

Written intro

Explain what you're creating and why you've chosen to create it. What appeals to you about creating that scene.
Talk about the style, theme and setting you want to use. Include the four core assets that are in the scene.
Write some detail on any direct inspiration or influence that led to your decisions.

Influences

This is your visual intro - use it to illustrate your decision making process in the written intro
Short annotations/captions on images explaining relevance / why this is an influence on you
It doesn't necessarily have to be direct link to final concept, but should be broadly linkable to the overall theme/style

e.g. You have a fascination in feudal & Edo period Japan & have written that you want to create an environment that explores this setting.
your visual influences might be entirely based on your personal favourite interpretations, such as :

  • A memorable traditional woodcut print
  • Photos of the models from your trip to the Edo-Tokyo museum
  • A sketch of a Jidaigeki set design
  • Anime stills of a particular scene from Princess Mononoke
  • Screens of your favourite environment feature in Shadow Tactics

*Written intro & visual influences don't have to be separate sections*

Mood board(s)

This is where you begin refining your influences into a visual guide. Bring in as much as you can to show the styles, feelings, visual cues, themes, colours etc. you want to associate with when creating your artwork. Use the board to help the viewer understand the creative direction you're taking, bringing in the key influences that you want to develop further.

Group linked sections for clarity & annotate where appropriate; what links the items in a group?
Use clear choices that are relatable to your intro and influences
Colours, shapes, layout and composition matter - create a visual journey that goes beyond an ideas scrapbook.

References

Usable key art studies, relevant to your theme/setting that can be incorporated into your concept development. e.g.

  • Style and aesthetic studies
  • Architechtural studies
  • Texture and material studies
  • Structure and composition study
  • Weather & other environmental aspects
  • Existing concept studies
  • Existing game asset studies

Concept design & development

This is a development of the work done in the referencing and mood board sections, bringing an idea for a full scene to life, further refining the elements of what you have into a working concept design. This can be an original concept piece that you create yourself, or developed from an existing concept in your referencing if preferred.

Mix in elements from your referencing and boards to show how the scene comes together, showing your own personal influence in its creation. If working from an existing concept, try to show how it relates to your research and how your own contributions tie it all together.

The actual presentation of the concept is up to you, and at least in part dictated by the style you've chosen to work in. You don't need to create a super-detailed matte painting if your creative vision & intent can be clearly seen from an arrangement of cutout photo references or a series of sketches.

What's the story behind your core assets?
This is where narrative comes in heavily as well; what is this? where is this? why is this?
Tell the story behind the scene. What's the significance of the centrepiece?

  • This narrative should tie into your written intro.

Composition exploration

Layout sketch(es) working from your concept, with composition thoughts/notes including:

  • Structural balance
  • Light sources
  • Colour balance
  • Camera positions, focal points & framing

At this point, it should be possible for someone to go through all of the above and, without ever seeing your 3D scene, have a pretty accurate visual idea of what your final piece is intended to look and feel like.

Grey box layout

This is your initial 3D layout of your scene, based directly on the layout in your concept. It only needs to be a simple blockout to show the arrangement of the scene and will act as a base for the start of your production phase.

1. Use of material presets. A question was raised in the Grads In Games Discord today that needs addressing, and I'll be updating the briefs this evening with the following.

Textures & Materials
It is presumed that you will be creating your own textures and materials for your model. In your documentation, show maps/meshes/etc. for anything you've created. If you've used any tool defaults/presets instead, please include general notes covering any used.

We'd presumed that you'd be sourcing and creating your own materials anyway so hadn't specified it as a condition in the brief. In retrospect, this may have been an incorrect assumption, particularly for those in Rising Star who may not have even looked at PBR in any detail yet. As the briefs are live and this could be a significant change for some people, it's unfair to make it a definitive rule and we'll allow use of preset materials if they're needed.

For those final year & Masters students doing Search For A Star, I'd still strongly recommend sourcing & creating your own. 

2. Last call for Stage 1 submissions. If you want to get feedback from our team of games professionals on a piece of your portfolio work, you need to submit it through your Stage 1 submission form by Thursday night, as I'll be processing the last of them from 9am on Friday morning.

As ever, good luck with everything & if you have any questions, need any help or something resent, let me know either through email, Discord, your project forums, Twitter or wherever else you can find me & I'll do my best to get it sorted for you.

Thanks!

1. Use of material presets. A question was raised in the Grads In Games Discord today that needs addressing, and I'll be updating the briefs this evening with the following.


Textures & Materials
It is presumed that you will be creating your own textures and materials for all core assets. In your documentation, show maps/meshes/etc. for anything you've created. If you've used any tool defaults/presets instead, please include general notes covering any used.

We'd presumed that you'd be sourcing and creating your own materials anyway so hadn't specified it as a condition in the brief. In retrospect, this may have been an incorrect assumption, particularly for those in Rising Star who may not have even looked at PBR in any detail yet. As the briefs are live and this could be a significant change for some people, it's unfair to make it a definitive rule and we'll allow use of preset materials if they're needed.

For those final year & Masters students doing Search For A Star, I'd still strongly recommend sourcing & creating your own. 

2. Last call for Stage 1 submissions. If you want to get feedback from our team of games professionals on a piece of your portfolio work, you need to submit it through your Stage 1 submission form by Thursday night, as I'll be processing the last of them from 9am on Friday morning.

As ever, good luck with everything & if you have any questions, need any help or something resent, let me know either through email, Discord, your project forums, Twitter or wherever else you can find me & I'll do my best to get it sorted for you.

Thanks!

This forum's going to be active for the next couple of months while the challenges are open, but will still be around even after submissions close, so lets get some intros going.

The games industry may be huge, but the dev community itself can feel surprisingly small. Between networking events, conferences, meetups and just moving around between studios, you'll meet a lot of the same people.

The people in here (and across all the challenges) are from universities across the UK and Europe, all studying and working in similar areas. You're all part of the same generation of the games industry & most of you are probably going to be bumping into each other in future. This time next year you could be working together, a few years on you could be recommending each other for new roles. Later down the line, you might even be running your own project & be looking for someone you know to join you on it...

Some simple intros to begin - who are you, where are you from & what made you decide to get into game art?

(We've also got a Grads In Games Discord for you here if you prefer, with all of the challenge groups together : https://discord.gg/7ppfTnT )

When is the project deadline?

All projects must be published into the itch.io jam group by January 28th 2018 at 11:59 PM

Is it ok to create project diaries & talk about my project with others?

You're welcome to maintain dev blogs, share updates & even livestream your creative process as much as you wish (give me a shout if you do). Just keep in mind that the projects are non-collaborative & individually assessed, so probably don't hand out all your source files.

You are also welcome to share ideas, talk about your approach to the project and discuss work-in-progress with others on the discussion board. Alternatively, if you want to keep your whole project private and work on it in secret until a spectacular reveal, that's fine too.

Do my project assets need to be made publicly available on itch?

To be assessed, you will need to set ‘Visibility & Access Settings’ to ‘Public’. 

If you want to hide the page from the rest of the itch community then you are welcome to also tick the box for ‘Unlisted in search & browse’. 

Please note that this doesn't hide your page entirely, and it will still be visible to other members of the game jam and also accessible through direct links. We will also be listing all the completed projects on Grads In Games.

It's not a requirement, but obviously we strongly encourage you to make your project publicly accessible. You've put a lot of work in and self-published a game project, so even if you don't think it's turned out great it's still worth showing what you've achieved.

Can you help me out with something else?

Sure. There's a few ways you can go about it; you can either pop a new topic into the support forum, join an existing discussion there if someone else has a similar issue, or if you'd prefer you can email dan@gradsingames.com

I've broken everything, have no idea what I'm doing, it's all gone wrong, I haven't got time and I'm giving up!

Talk to me about it. Don't panic, there's always something that can be done & we'll do what we can to help get you back on track.

(Edited 1 time)

Search For A Star & Sumo Digital Rising Star 2018

Games VFX | Stage 2 Brief

Core Brief

Create a game-ready VFX action sequence appropriate for a contemporary AAA game, presented in Unreal Engine 4. All stylistic, thematic and aesthetic considerations are at the artist's discretion. The full development process must be evidenced, from pre-production, production, post-production to final presentation.

Objective

The goal of this piece of work is to demonstrate your ability as an artist to conceive, develop, create and present an innovative and creative effects sequence. The process that leads to the result is as key as the final composition itself, the creativity and motivation of the final piece should be evident from the foundation work.  

Fixed Conditions

The scene must contain a chained Area-of-Effect sequence typical of VFX in games environments. The final sequence must be presented both as individual sections and as a complete chained sequence, beginning and ending in the passive state. The sequence should take place within a 30x30x30m area.

Effects sequence must include:

  • One passive/idle state

  • One ‘powering up’ state

  • One ‘release’ state

  • One ‘impact’ state

Thematic and Stylistic Suggestions

The theme and tone should act as strong motivators toward your choice of response, render style, execution and your personal strength, as it’s your artistic judgment in these areas that will be on show.

The choice of theme and complexity of the sequence are at the your discretion, but to help here are some examples to encourage a range of creative interpretations around the brief:

  • A basic group healing effect (self-targeted)

    • Idle; [generating object] encircled with an ethereal glow

    • Charging; slow pulse as if a heartbeat

    • Release; an outward cascade of light

    • Impact; crash to sparks as they hit [secondary object(s)] or fade out with distance

  • A fantasy-styled elemental attack (ground-targeted)

    • Idle; [generating object] dripping with water

    • Charging; gathers a growing pool beneath them.

    • Release; In a sudden shift, the water is raised high into the air above & arcs back down

    • Impact; The liquid hits [secondary object] with a mighty splash.

  • A high-tech, proximity activated charge-station, (linear-targeted).

    • Idle; [generating object] with gentle pulsing lights & a rotating hologramatic sign

    • Charging; rapidly spinning holo-sign and increase in lights activity

    • Release; A beam emission of light and data to [nearby object(s)]

    • Impact; a pulse wave passes over [nearby object(s)]

  • A raging storm cloud with arcing lightning bolts (auto-targeting)

    • Idle; [generating object] floating above surface, pulsing with inner lights

    • Charging; electrified aura, sparking and crackling with potential

    • Release; discharge of directional lightning bolts towards nearest [target object]

    • Impact; electrified aura on [target object] & loop back to Release state.

Concept & Design

The pre-production phase is there to help solidify a vision and decide the motivating factors for the visual effect being produced. Whilst reviewing the final piece, the journey, influences and creative choices along the way will be taken into account.  

Evidence of reference gathering, moodboards, collation or collage of specific designs, concepts or reference points will need to be produced and presented.

Whether the use of photo reference, concept art or existing game materials is more relevant when consolidating your design, depends on the creative direction you choose, so long as the vision and compositional elements can be clearly communicated.

Storyboarding should give a feel for the structure & timing before starting production, acting as a template for your initial sequence. This could take the form of simple sketches right through to beautifully painted concept art, but the key is for the frames & annotations to be clear and solve as many pre-production questions as possible.

The pre-production phase is an integral part in both outlining and defining your objectives, as well as giving a reference point for your artistic and creative progression throughout the project.

We cannot understate the importance of good research, development, planning and documentation.

Presentation of materials

The final piece will need to be presented alongside all the preliminary pre-production works, the layout and composition of all pieces should be well considered and clearly communicate your creative intentions.

Often strong VFX work can be mis-represented when not demonstrated or composed effectively. Your ability to show good judgment when focusing your 3D creation effort and techniques towards specifically composed areas will be taken into account. Be sure to know the framing of your scene to maximize your efforts and the impact of your final render(s).

Do consider the format and framing ratio of both your final renders as well as the preliminary works. Explore and consider your dimensions and relative composition and layouts.

Development Process / Assessment Milestones

 

 

 

 

 

 

MS1

Pre-Production

Written intro, outline the tone and artistic motivations

 

 

MS2

Curated references, mood board, influences

 

 

MS3

Concept design, Compositional exploration

 

 

MS4

Storyboarding

 

 

MS5

Production

Sequence preparation, modelling of any required guide object(s)

 

 

MS6

Initial sequence blocking & base layout

 

 

MS7

Reviews & revisions of initial sequence, add to detailing & aesthetics

 

 

MS8

Final sequence in full, complete with all detailing

 

 

MS9

Post Production

Rendering of final sequence and post render edits

 

 

MS10

Presentation

Present and discuss Pre-Production documentation and assets

 

 

MS11

Present and discuss Finished piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assessment Criteria

Concept design & development

Technical

Creative

Documentation

Presentation

Recommendations & Considerations

Industry professionals have been consulted throughout the SFAS process. Below you’ll see a list of common threads and feedback points that often occur. Each point is worthy of consideration when defining your own brief, subject matter and executing on your own works: -

  • Aim for high quality - your best work

  • Show Concept Development

  • Researching & Purposeful Mood boards

  • Know your strengths and build upon them

  • Show full process documentation

  • Demonstrate Compositional sense

  • Understand and Define your Style

  • Showcase of artistic ability

  • Showcase of creative ability

  • Showcase of technical ability

  • Dev Diaries

  • Scaling, Accuracy

  • A well selected Colour palette

  • Use industry standards / pipelines

  • Detailing of aesthetics

  • Layout and arrangement

  • Appropriate detail & density

  • Unreal engine best practice

  • Use of mixed tools

  • Well composed Lighting

  • Consider use of post-prod’ FX

  • Meshes, maps, textures

  • Use & application of guide objects

  • Leverage Post Processing

Summary and Goal

  • Design and create a VFX sequence based on a typical games AoE chain.

  • Define your own setting, theme and tone

  • The sequence must contain the following stages: -

    • One passive/idle state

    • One ‘powering up’ state

    • One ‘release’ state

    • One ‘impact’ state

  • Format and present your final in-engine renders and supporting assets.    

The goal of this exercise is to create a brief or framework that focuses your attention and skills into a single piece that demonstrates both industry relative abilities and your own personal creative judgment.

Submission Details

  • You may use any additional tools that you have access to (e.g. Maya, Substance etc.)

  • Finished projects should be presented as a combination of in-engine videos, images, sketchfab models (optional), and as a self-contained downloadable PDF project.

  • Projects must be submitted using the Itch platform (see submission guide below).

Submission Guide

All finished projects are required to be published on the itch.io platform and submitted to the Search For A Star VFX Challenge 2018 by 28th January 2018 at 11:59 PM GMT

 You must join the SFAS VFX page to take part : https://itch.io/jam/games-vfx-challenge

 We advise that you set up a draft of your project page ahead of the deadline. To create your art project page, go to your itch.io Dashboard and select the ‘Upload New Project’ option.

 Complete the submission form, in line with itch.io’s Quality Guidelines 

  • Set Classification to ‘game assets’.
  • Set Kind of project to ‘Downloadable’.
  • For Release State, choose an option that best describes your project, even if ‘prototype’ or ‘in development’.
  • Set pricing to ‘Disable all payments’ - You can change this once all projects have been marked by the judges, if you wish. 
  • Upload your project files as a single zip file, exported from UE4 (Package project > Zip)
  • Upload a separate project PDF containing your intro, pre-production work, summation and any additional production documentation.  
  • Include the following on your project page:
    • A cover image
    • Your key screens as the screenshots
    • Video content of your full sequence 
  • The ‘Description’ text box should contain a copy of your written intro & final written summation from your documentation. It may contain further documentation if you choose.  
  • When your project is complete, set ‘Visibility & Access Settings’ to ‘Public’.
    • To prevent your project showing up in public listings, choose the option for ‘Unlisted in search & browse’.

 

To submit your project, return to the Search For A Star 2018 page and press the ‘Submit your jam’ button

 Select your finished project, fill in your name and challenge tier details and press ‘Submit’.

 If you have any issues with the submission process or want to clarify anything, let me know either at dan@gradsingames.com or ask on the Grads In Games Discord : https://discord.gg/7ppfTnT

Please note that there is no ‘fail’ or ‘disqualification’ criteria. Do what you can & submit what you are able to. Even unfinished pieces and works in progress can be valuable.

Support & Resources

Support information, FAQ & resources, as well as a copy of this project brief, can be found on the itch.io community forum pages for the project. Additional help & guidance may also be posted here throughout the challenge, so it’s recommended you check it regularly.

Community Forum : https://itch.io/jam/games-vfx-challenge/community

Grads In Games Discord: https://discord.gg/7ppfTnT

We’ll also be active in the community forum & in the Grads In Games Discord to help you out & answer questions.

If you have any questions about the project or competition contact Aardvark Swift / Grads In Games at dan@gradsingames.com or call us on 01709834777

You're fine to use third-party assets in your project, though they will need to be licensed/attributed appropriately, either in-game or in documentation as required.

This is pretty clear-cut for visual, audio and other non-code assets, but can get a bit murkier with external code and scripts. As you're being assessed on your coding ability, you need to make it clear what you've used in addition to your own work. If it becomes difficult for an assessor to identify what you've actually done, then this may cause an issue.

This forum's going to be active for the next couple of months while the challenges are open, but will still be around even after submissions close, so lets get some intros going.

The games industry may be huge, but the dev community itself can feel surprisingly small. Between networking events, conferences, meetups and just moving around between studios, you'll meet a lot of the same people.

The people in here are from universities across the UK and Europe, all studying and working in similar areas. You're all part of the same generation of the games industry & most of you are probably going to be bumping into each other in future. This time next year you could be working together, a few years on you could be recommending each other for new roles. Later down the line, you might even be leading your own project & be looking for someone you know to join you on it...

Some simple intros to begin - who are you, where are you from & what made you decide to get into game animation?

This forum's going to be active for the next couple of months while the challenges are open, but will still be around even after submissions close.

Based on current registration numbers, there could end up being quite a few people in here, so lets get some intros going.

The games industry may be huge, but the dev community itself can feel surprisingly small. Between networking events, conferences, meetups and just moving around between studios, you'll meet a lot of the same people.

The people in here are from universities across the UK and Europe, all studying and working in similar areas. You're all part of the same generation of the games industry & most of you are probably going to be bumping into each other in future. This time next year you could be working together, a few years on you could be recommending each other for new roles. Later down the line, you might even be running your own project & be looking for someone you know to join you on it...

Some simple intros to begin - who are you, where are you from & what made you decide to get into game art?

This forum's going to be active for the next couple of months while the challenges are open, but will still be around even after submissions close.

Based on current registration numbers, there could end up being quite a few people in here, so lets get some intros going.

The games industry may be huge, but the dev community itself can feel surprisingly small. Between networking events, conferences, meetups and just moving around between studios, you'll meet a lot of the same people.

The people in here are from universities across the UK and Europe, all studying and working in similar areas. You're all part of the same generation of the games industry & most of you are probably going to be bumping into each other in future. This time next year you could be working together, a few years on you could be recommending each other for new roles. Later down the line, you might even be running your own project & be looking for someone you know to join you on it...

Some simple intros to begin - who are you, where are you from & what made you decide to get into game art?

When I first opened up the base project & started shunting the players around, Gang Beasts did come to mind as a possible direction someone could take it in. Beyond that, I think any other similarities are coincidental :)

Sure, I'll sort one out today & put out invites. It was something we discussed before launch & then opted to keep to the forums because they're already integrated to the platform. If you and others would find it useful to have a Discord though, then I'm happy to set one up.

I'll keep it a really basic structure for now but if there's any suggestions, let me know.

Good point & well made.

It's not been addressed as it's never come up as an issue before, probably at least in part for the reason you mentioned. Currently the only limitations on this are Itch's own, which for mature content are about as comprehensive as "flag it as NSFW & don't do anything illegal".

You're going to have a very mixed audience to consider for this project, so while I'm really tempted to leave this open-ended & instead suggest a solution that would score points in the UX & accessibility criteria, you're right that we should set a baseline.

Continuing with the PEGI standards, then based on what the assessors are expecting to be presented with, aim to mirror PEGI 12 at most. Suitable for teen audiences; violence shouldn't be graphic, mild language is fine, creepy & perilous is fine, probably avoid sex, drug abuse and discrimination to be safe.  This is the level that covers games from Overwatch to  Night In The WoodsThe Sexy Brutale, so it should still allow some decent scope. Depending on what type of fear you're going for, I will point out that something like Among The Sleep is a PEGI 12.

Does this help at all? Would be good to know what you think before I formalise it into the brief.

Update 28/11/17 : Improved description of code/technical criteria & highlighted the new Technical Showcase Award

Sumo Digital Rising Star Code Award

Award for the best overall performance across all stages of the Sumo Digital Rising Star programming challenge. This award is focused on rewarding a strong combination of knowledge & ability, while also being able to demonstrate & discuss these qualities to an interview panel of industry assessors.

Students eligible for this award will be selected by our assessors based on their performance in Stages 1 & 2, and will be invited to a final assessment stage at the showcase event.

Prizes

Award winners will be given a guaranteed interview opportunity with Sumo Digital and/or additional partner companies for an internship within their studio. 

All finalists will also receive prize packs containing gifts, merchandise, games and tech from our partners.

Showcase Event

Currently planned for early April 2018, the Search For A Star Showcase (aka Finals Day) event invites everyone who's taken part in the challenges to join us for a full day of industry talks, networking, a mini-expo and mentoring. The day also hosts the final assessments for standout students, with an interview panel of industry professionals. The day will close with the award winners announcement and presentation.

Further event details will be made available closer to the time.

(Edited 1 time)

Search For A Star Code Award

Award for the best overall performance across all stages of the Search For A Star programming challenge. This award is focused on rewarding a strong combination of knowledge & ability, while also being able to demonstrate & discuss these qualities to an interview panel of industry assessors.

Students eligible for this award will be selected by our assessors based on their performance in Stages 1 & 2, and will be invited to a final assessment stage at the showcase event.

Technical Showcase Award

New for 2018, this is an additional award for the best technical achievement in the Stage 2 challenge project. This award is focused on rewarding technical programming within a specialisation, including (but not limited to) graphics, AI, networking, UI or physics.

We've added this new award to bring more recognition to those who make games with an outstanding technical quality & will be rewarding excellence in the code & technical criteria in the brief.

Prizes

Award winners will be given a guaranteed interview opportunity with one or more of our partner companies for a role within their studio. 

All finalists will also receive prize packs containing gifts, merchandise, games and tech from our partners.

Showcase Event

Currently planned for early April 2018, the Search For A Star Showcase (aka Finals Day) event invites everyone who's taken part in the challenges to join us for a full day of industry talks, networking, a mini-expo and mentoring. The day also hosts the final assessments for standout students, with an interview panel of industry professionals. The day will close with the award winners announcement and presentation.

Further event details will be made available closer to the time.

This forum's going to be active for the next couple of months while the challenges are open, but will still be around even after submissions close. Based on current registration numbers there could end up being quite a lot of people in here, so we'll get some intros going.

Games is a huge industry but the dev community itself can feel surprisingly small. Between networking events, conferences, meetups and just moving around between studios, you'll probably meet up with a lot of the same people across different areas in the industry. Making new friends and contacts is a great skill to have within games that can reward you again and again over time.

The people in here are from universities across the UK and Europe, all studying and working in similar areas. You're all part of the same generation of the games industry & many of you are going to be bumping into each other in your future careers. Knowing other people in the industry can be really helpful, so why not start now?

Some simple intros to begin - who are you, where are you from & what made you decide to get into game dev?

(Edited 1 time)

This forum's going to be active for the next couple of months while the challenges are open, but will still be around even after submissions close. Based on current registration numbers there could end up being quite a lot of people in here, so we'll get some intros going.

Games is a huge industry but the dev community itself can feel surprisingly small. Between networking events, conferences, meetups and just moving around between studios, you'll probably meet up with a lot of the same people across different areas in the industry. Making new friends and contacts is a great skill to have within games that can reward you again and again over time.

The people in here are from universities across the UK and Europe, all studying and working in similar areas. You're all part of the same generation of the games industry & many of you are going to be bumping into each other in your future careers. Knowing other people in the industry can be really helpful, so why not start now?

Some simple intros to begin - who are you, where are you from & what made you decide to get into game dev?

There's no stylistic or design constraints, you're free to take the project in whatever direction you wish to. The only restrictions in that area are going to be the time available and your own ability, which is why we've put a lot of emphasis on planning out your project.

Last year's base project was a simple shooter with an attract/repel mechanic - final games included first-person puzzlers, stealth escapes, LAN arena shooters, combat RPGs & tower defence RTS' : https://itch.io/c/211939/search-for-a-star-2017

On the technical side, there's no hard limit on what you can do but it's recommended you play to your strengths & adapt your project accordingly. If you're fascinated by adaptive AI programming, bring that in as a technical focus to your game. Similarly, if you spend your free time working on shaders and GPU programming, take those skills & build your project around them.

If you have an area of technical specialisation, make it clear in your project.

(spoiler: there's a new showcase award for technical ability this year)

Thanks for your patience. Ideally we'd want everyone developing on the same version of Unity. As the project is small & the base version ports over to 2017.2 without issue I think we're going to stick with that build. Should any major issues arise, we'll re-evaluate. Should any minor issues arise, it'll be a great opportunity for you to get some points in the technical coding criteria.

When is the project deadline?

All projects must be published into the itch.io jam group by January 28th 2018 at 11:59 PM

Is it ok to create project diaries & talk about my project with others?

You're welcome to maintain dev blogs, share updates & even livestream your creative process as much as you wish (give me a shout if you do). Just keep in mind that the projects are non-collaborative & individually assessed, so probably don't hand out all your source files.

You are also welcome to share ideas, talk about your approach to the project and discuss work-in-progress with others on the discussion board. Alternatively, if you want to keep your whole project private and work on it in secret until a spectacular reveal, that's fine too.

Do my project assets need to be made publicly available on itch?

To be assessed, you will need to set ‘Visibility & Access Settings’ to ‘Public’. 

If you want to hide the page from the rest of the itch community then you are welcome to also tick the box for ‘Unlisted in search & browse’. 

Please note that this doesn't hide your page entirely, and it will still be visible to other members of the game jam and also accessible through direct links. We will also be listing all the completed projects on Grads In Games.

It's not a requirement, but obviously we strongly encourage you to make your project publicly accessible. You've put a lot of work in and self-published a game project, so even if you don't think it's turned out great it's still worth showing what you've achieved.

Can you help me out with something else?

Sure. There's a few ways you can go about it; you can either pop a new topic into the support forum, join an existing discussion there if someone else has a similar issue, or if you'd prefer you can email dan@gradsingames.com

I've broken everything, have no idea what I'm doing, it's all gone wrong, I haven't got time and I'm giving up!

Talk to me about it. Don't panic, there's always something that can be done & we'll do what we can to help get you back on track.

When is the project deadline?

All projects must be published into the itch.io jam group by January 28th 2018 at 11:59 PM

Is it ok to create project diaries & talk about my project with others?

You're welcome to maintain dev blogs, share updates & even livestream your creative process as much as you wish (give me a shout if you do). Just keep in mind that the projects are non-collaborative & individually assessed, so probably don't hand out all your source files.

You are also welcome to share ideas, talk about your approach to the project and discuss work-in-progress with others on the discussion board. Alternatively, if you want to keep your whole project private and work on it in secret until a spectacular reveal, that's fine too.

Do my project assets need to be made publicly available on itch?

To be assessed, you will need to set ‘Visibility & Access Settings’ to ‘Public’. 

If you want to hide the page from the rest of the itch community then you are welcome to also tick the box for ‘Unlisted in search & browse’. 

Please note that this doesn't hide your page entirely, and it will still be visible to other members of the game jam and also accessible through direct links. We will also be listing all the completed projects on Grads In Games.

It's not a requirement, but obviously we strongly encourage you to make your project publicly accessible. You've put a lot of work in and self-published a game project, so even if you don't think it's turned out great it's still worth showing what you've achieved.

Can you help me out with something else?

Sure. There's a few ways you can go about it; you can either pop a new topic into the support forum, join an existing discussion there if someone else has a similar issue, or if you'd prefer you can email dan@gradsingames.com

I've broken everything, have no idea what I'm doing, it's all gone wrong, I haven't got time and I'm giving up!

Talk to me about it. Don't panic, there's always something that can be done & we'll do what we can to help get you back on track.

When is the project deadline?

All projects must be published into the itch.io jam group by January 28th 2018 at 11:59 PM

Is it ok to create project diaries & talk about my project with others?

You're welcome to maintain project blogs, share updates & even livestream your creative process as much as you wish (give me a shout if you do). Just keep in mind that the projects are non-collaborative & individually assessed, so probably don't hand out all your source files.

You are also welcome to share ideas, talk about your approach to the project and discuss work-in-progress with others on the discussion board. Alternatively, if you want to keep your whole project private and work on it in secret until a spectacular reveal, that's fine too.

Do my project assets need to be made publicly available on itch?

To be assessed, you will need to set ‘Visibility & Access Settings’ to ‘Public’. 

If you want to hide the page from the rest of the itch community then you are welcome to also tick the box for ‘Unlisted in search & browse’. 

Please note that this doesn't hide your page entirely, and it will still be visible to other members of the game jam and also accessible through direct links. We will also be listing all the completed projects on Grads In Games.

It's not a requirement, but obviously we strongly encourage you to make your project publicly accessible. You've put a lot of work in and self-published a game project, so even if you don't think it's turned out great it's still worth showing what you've achieved.

Can you help me out with something else?

Sure. There's a few ways you can go about it; you can either pop a new topic into the support forum, join an existing discussion there if someone else has a similar issue, or if you'd prefer you can email dan@gradsingames.com

I've broken everything, have no idea what I'm doing, it's all gone wrong, I haven't got time and I'm giving up!

Talk to me about it. Don't panic, there's always something that can be done & we'll do what we can to help get you back on track.

(Edited 1 time)

For project repository access, please check your emailed brief or contact dan@gradsingames.com to have the details resent.

________


Sumo Digital Rising Star 2018

Gameplay Programming | Stage 2 Brief

Core Brief

You will be required to adapt and improve upon an existing project, developing in Unity using the provided framework to create a playable, finished game. The style and creative direction of the game is up to you to choose. You will need to create additional content, including the development of gameplay, design & technical features before publishing your game as a finished product.

This project is designed to emulate the aspects of a studio development process, including developing from an existing code base.

It is important that for this challenge you work from the existing project and do not start a new project from scratch.

Project Details

  • Project framework & usage instructions can be obtained in the BitBucket repository

  • Development engine is Unity.

  • Release platform is Windows PC.

  • Finished projects must be published to the competition game jam on itch.io

  • Project submission will require a link to the code repository of your finished project.

  • Publication deadline is 28th January 2018 at 11:59 PM

Project Planning Milestones

One of the common trends in previous challenges is the lack of good project planning and pre-production work, leading to multiple issues throughout the process and often ending in games that show wasted potential. We suggest you plan out your project time carefully, split clearly across pre-production, production and presentation and giving ample amount of time to each section.

Spending time to focus on your planning process will solve problems before they happen.

Projects are intended to take between 4-6 weeks to complete & this should be taken into account.

The examples below can be used as starting points for your own project plan.

  • Written intro, outline your objective

  • Concept design & development

  • Core gameplay research

  • Game design plan

  • Source control, code management & QA considerations

  • Core game development

  • Technical systems; Networking, Graphics, Audio etc.

  • QA, optimisation, balance and refinement

  • Publishing; Itch page setup & creation of supporting assets

  • Present and discuss your pre-production documentation

  • Present and discuss Finished game & production process

Project Assessment Criteria

Judges will award marks based on:

Code

Your ability to maintain good coding practices, to write clean efficient and readable code.

Your ability to read and understand an existing code base (do not start again from scratch). Your approach to identifying problems and implementing solutions. The breadth of your technical ability e.g. gameplay, networking, graphics, performance, editor extensions.

Gameplay

Your ability to identify & implement core gameplay concepts and mechanics.

This includes defined rulesets and objectives, balanced progression systems, risk-reward mechanics and the logic of interactions with AI / other users.

Features

Your ability to construct and implement extra features to the base game

Wide ranging based on your development decisions, assessing everything including complex gameplay systems, high scores, achievements and tutorial intros.

UI / UX

The clarity and ease of use of user systems.

The implementation, practicality of navigation & control systems, interfaces and game accessibility functions.

Creativity & Originality

The implementation of great ideas, overall style & creative concepts.

Subjective assessment looking at everything from concept development & design plan all the way to your published games page and the final game content.

Submission Guide

All finished projects are required to be published on the itch.io platform and submitted to the Sumo Digital Rising Star 2018 game jam by 28th January 2018 at 11:59 PM

We advise that you set up a draft of your project page ahead of the deadline.

To create your game project page, go to your itch.io Dashboard and select the ‘Upload New Project’ option.

Complete the submission form, in line with itch.io’s Quality Guidelines

  • Include a cover image and screenshots. Include a gameplay video if possible.
  • Set ‘Kind of project’ to ‘Downloadable’.
  • Set pricing to ‘Disable all payments’ - You can change this once all projects have been marked by the judges if you wish.
  • Complete the ‘Description’ text field with information about your game. This must include information about your game controls.
  • Upload any supporting documentation as a separate PDF file alongside your game file.
  • When your project is complete, set ‘Visibility & Access Settings’ to ‘Public’. If you choose, you may also tick the box for ‘Unlisted in search & browse’.

Go to the Sumo Digital Rising Star 2018 page and press the ‘Submit your jam’ button

Select your finished game and press ‘Submit’.

You may create, update & make changes to your project page at any point, but please do not make further changes after submission to the game jam.

Additional instructions to allow assessment of your code base will be provided nearer to deadline.

Support & Resources

Support information, FAQ & resources, as well as a copy of this project brief, can be found on the itch.io community forum pages for the project. Additional help & guidance may also be posted here throughout the challenge, so it’s recommended you check it regularly.

Community Forum : https://itch.io/jam/rising-star-game-dev-challenge-2018/community

We’ll also be active in the community forum to help you out & answer questions.

If you have any questions about the project or competition contact Aardvark Swift / Grads In Games at dan@gradsingames.com or call us on 01709834777

(Edited 3 times)

For project repository access, please check your emailed brief or contact dan@gradsingames.com to have the details resent.

________


Search For A Star 2018

Gameplay Programming | Stage 2 Brief

Core Brief

You will be required to adapt and improve upon an existing project, developing in Unity using the provided framework to create a playable, finished game. The style and creative direction of the game is up to you to choose. You will need to create additional content, including the development of gameplay, design & technical features before publishing your game as a finished product.

This project is designed to emulate the aspects of a studio development process, including developing from an existing code base.

It is important that for this challenge you work from the existing project and do not start a new project from scratch.

Project Details

  • Project framework & usage instructions can be obtained in the BitBucket repository

  • Development engine is Unity.

  • Release platform is Windows PC.

  • Finished projects must be published to the competition game jam on itch.io

  • Project submission will require a link to the code repository of your finished project.

  • Publication deadline is 28th January 2018 at 11:59 PM

Project Planning Milestones

One of the common trends in previous challenges is the lack of good project planning and pre-production work, leading to multiple issues throughout the process and often ending in games that show wasted potential. We suggest you plan out your project time carefully, split clearly across pre-production, production and presentation and giving ample amount of time to each section.

Spending time to focus on your planning process will solve problems before they happen.

Projects are intended to take between 4-6 weeks to complete & this should be taken into account.

The examples below can be used as starting points for your own project plan.

  • Written intro, outline your objective

  • Concept design & development

  • Core gameplay research

  • Game design plan

  • Source control, code management & QA considerations

  • Core game development

  • Technical systems; Networking, Graphics, Audio etc.

  • QA, optimisation, balance and refinement

  • Publishing; Itch page setup & creation of supporting assets

  • Present and discuss your pre-production documentation

  • Present and discuss Finished game & production process


Project Assessment Criteria

Judges will award marks based on:

Code & Technical

Your ability to maintain good coding practices, to write clean, efficient and readable code.

Your ability to read and understand an existing code base (do not start again from scratch). Your approach to identifying problems and implementing solutions. The full range of your technical ability & any distinct areas of specialisation e.g. gameplay, networking, AI, graphics, performance, editor extensions.

Technical Showcase Award

This is an additional award for the best technical achievement in the Stage 2 challenge project, based primarily on the criteria above. This award is focused on rewarding high standards of technical programming within an area of specialisation.

Gameplay

Your ability to identify & implement core gameplay concepts and mechanics.

This includes defined rulesets and objectives, balanced progression systems, risk-reward mechanics and the logic of interactions with AI / other users.

Features

Your ability to construct and implement extra features to the base game

Wide ranging based on your development decisions, assessing everything including complex gameplay systems, high scores, achievements and tutorial intros.

UI / UX

The clarity and ease of use of user systems.

The implementation, practicality of navigation & control systems, interfaces and game accessibility functions.

Creativity & Originality

The implementation of great ideas, overall style & creative concepts.

Subjective assessment looking at everything from concept development & design plan all the way to your published games page and the final game content.



Submission Guide

All finished projects are required to be published on the itch.io platform and submitted to the Search For A Star 2018 game jam by 28th January 2018 at 11:59 PM

We advise that you set up a draft of your project page ahead of the deadline.

To create your game project page, go to your itch.io Dashboard and select the ‘Upload New Project’ option.

Complete the submission form, in line with itch.io’s Quality Guidelines

  • Include a cover image and screenshots. Include a gameplay video if possible.

  • Set ‘Kind of project’ to ‘Downloadable’.

  • Set pricing to ‘Disable all payments’ - You can change this once all projects have been marked by the judges if you wish.

  • Complete the ‘Description’ text field with information about your game. This must include information about your game controls.

  • Upload any supporting documentation as a separate PDF file alongside your game file.
  • When your project is complete, set ‘Visibility & Access Settings’ to ‘Public’. If you choose, you may also tick the box for ‘Unlisted in search & browse’.

Go to the Search For A Star 2018 page and press the ‘Submit your jam’ button

Select your finished game and press ‘Submit’.

You may create, update & make changes to your project page at any point, but please do not make further changes after submission to the game jam.

Additional instructions to allow assessment of your code base will be provided nearer to deadline.

Support & Resources

Support information, FAQ & resources, as well as a copy of this project brief, can be found on the itch.io community forum pages for the project. Additional help & guidance may also be posted here throughout the challenge, so it’s recommended you check it regularly.

Community Forum : https://itch.io/jam/search-for-a-star-game-dev-challenge-2018/community

We’ll also be active in the community forum to help you out & answer questions.

If you have any questions about the project or competition contact Aardvark Swift / Grads In Games at dan@gradsingames.com or call us on 01709834777

(Edited 4 times)

When is the project deadline?

All projects must be published into the itch.io jam group by January 28th 2018 at 11:59 PM

Where do I get access to the code repository for the project?

Instructions to access the repository are included in the project brief that was emailed to you. If you haven't received the brief (or don't want to admit you accidentally deleted the email), let me know & I'll send out a new one : dan@gradsingames.com

Do I have to use the starter project? Can I create my own or start with a different code base?

Yep. Nope. This challenge is designed to mimic actual studio processes. For this reason, it is important that you work from the provided project and do not start again from scratch. You will be assessed on your understanding and use of the existing code.

How much of the starter project can I modify?

A key assessment criterion is your ability to work from existing code. While you can modify the starting code as much as you feel is necessary, it must be clear to the assessors that there is purpose behind these changes and that you fully understand the original source. If in doubt, always comment the changes you make for clarity and/or note your reasoning in more detail in your documentation.

Can I use third-party assets in my project?

You're fine to use third-party assets in your project, though they will need to be licensed/attributed appropriately, either in-game or in documentation as required. You must make it clear what is your own work & what has been externally produced.

Is it ok to create development blogs & talk about my project with others?

You're welcome to maintain dev blogs & share progress updates if you wish. They are non-collaborative, individual projects, so actively sharing your project or encouraging plagiarism is obviously a bad idea.

You are also welcome to share ideas, talk about your approach to the project and discuss your work with others on the discussion board. Alternatively, if you want to keep your whole project private and work on it in secret until a spectacular reveal, that's fine too.

Does my game need to be made publicly available on itch?

To be assessed, you need to set ‘Visibility & Access Settings’ to ‘Public’. 

To hide the game from the rest of the itch community then you are welcome to also tick the box for ‘Unlisted in search & browse’. 

Please note that this doesn't hide your game entirely, and it will still be visible to other members of the game jam and also accessible through direct links. We will also be listing all the completed projects on Grads In Games.

It's not a requirement, but obviously we strongly encourage you to make your game publicly accessible. You've put a lot of work in and self-published a game project, so even if you don't think it's turned out great it's still worth showing what you've achieved.

Who owns the rights to the finished game?

You retain all rights to your game. If you use any third-party assets beyond what is provided in the starter project, you will be required to ensure they are used and licensed appropriately.

Can you help me out with something else?

Sure. There's a few ways you can go about it; you can either pop a new topic into the support forum, join an existing discussion there if someone else has a similar issue, or if you'd prefer you can email dan@gradsingames.com

I've broken everything, have no idea what I'm doing, it's all gone wrong, I haven't got time and I'm giving up!

Talk to me about it. Don't panic, there's always something that can be done & we'll do what we can to help get you back on track.

(Edited 6 times)

When is the project deadline?

All projects must be published into the itch.io jam group by January 28th 2018 at 11:59 PM

Where do I get access to the code repository for the project?

Instructions to access the repository are included in the project brief that was emailed to you. If you haven't received the brief (or don't want to admit you accidentally deleted the email), let me know & I'll send out a new one : dan@gradsingames.com

Do I have to use the starter project? Can I create my own or start with a different code base?

Yep. Nope. This challenge is designed to mimic actual studio processes. For this reason, it is important that you work from the provided project and do not start again from scratch. You will be assessed on your understanding and use of the existing code.

How much of the starter project can I modify?

A key assessment criterion is your ability to work from existing code. While you can modify the starting code as much as you feel is necessary, it must be clear to the assessors that there is purpose behind these changes and that you fully understand the original source. If in doubt, always comment the changes you make for clarity and/or note your reasoning in more detail in your documentation.

Can I use third-party assets in my project?

You're fine to use third-party assets in your project, though they will need to be licensed/attributed appropriately, either in-game or in documentation as required. You must make it clear what is your own work & what has been externally produced.

Is it ok to create development blogs & talk about my project with others?

You're welcome to maintain dev blogs & share progress updates if you wish. They are non-collaborative, individual projects, so actively sharing your project or encouraging plagiarism is obviously a bad idea.

You are also welcome to share ideas, talk about your approach to the project and discuss your work with others on the discussion board. Alternatively, if you want to keep your whole project private and work on it in secret until a spectacular reveal, that's fine too.

Does my game need to be made publicly available on itch?

To be assessed, you need to set ‘Visibility & Access Settings’ to ‘Public’. 

To hide the game from the rest of the itch community then you are welcome to also tick the box for ‘Unlisted in search & browse’.
Please note that this doesn't hide your game entirely, and it will still be visible to other members of the game jam and also accessible through direct links. We will also be listing all the completed projects on Grads In Games.

It's not a requirement, but obviously we strongly encourage you to make your game publicly accessible. You've put a lot of work in and self-published a game project, so even if you don't think it's turned out great it's still worth showing what you've achieved.

Who owns the rights to the finished game?

You retain all rights to your game. If you use any third-party assets beyond what is provided in the starter project, you will be required to ensure they are used and licensed appropriately.

Can you help me out with something else?

Sure. There's a few ways you can go about it; you can either pop a new topic into the support forum, join an existing discussion there if someone else has a similar issue, or if you'd prefer you can email dan@gradsingames.com

I've broken everything, have no idea what I'm doing, it's all gone wrong, I haven't got time and I'm giving up!

Talk to me about it. Don't panic, there's always something that can be done & we'll do what we can to help get you back on track.