🤑 Indie game store🙌 Free games😂 Fun games😨 Horror games
👷 Game development🎨 Assets📚 Comics
🎉 Sales🎁 Bundles

GradsInGames

15
Posts
26
Topics
5
Followers
A member registered Jan 16, 2017 · View creator page →

Recent community posts

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 )

Games VFX Challenge community · Created a new topic FAQ

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.

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, 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 Games VFX Art Challenge 2018 by 28th January 2018 at 11:59 PM

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

We advise that you set up an Itch account & 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 ‘Asset Pack’.

  • 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.

  • Include an appropriate cover image, your key screens as screenshots, video content, your downloadable final asset file exports & PDF documentation as required.

  • The ‘Description’ text box will contain your copy of your written intro & final written summation, as well as any embedded Sketchfab sequences. It may contain further documentation if you choose.

  • 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’.

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’.

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.

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.

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.

  • 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 2 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.

  • 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.

update 17/11 : Confirmed maximum scene size of 30x30x30 metres.

Click here for a copy of the brief document in Google Docs

_____________________________________



Search For A Star & Sumo Digital Rising Star 2018

Games Animation | Stage 2 Brief

Core Brief

Create a game-ready 3D character movement sequence comprised of four connectable assets. All stylistic, thematic and aesthetic considerations are at the artist's discretion, as is the rigged model you choose to work with. 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 animator to conceive, develop, create and present an innovative and creative movement 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 series of movements typical of character animations in games environments that work both as isolated animations and as a chained sequence. The final animation must be presented both as the individual looped movements and as a complete sequence beginning and ending in the idle state.

Movements must include:

  • One ‘idle’ state

  • One ‘powering up’ state

  • One ‘release’ state

  • One ‘recovery’ state

Thematic and Stylistic Suggestions

A strong animation piece tends to allude to some sort of narrative, sense of mood, tone and place. The theme and tone should act as strong motivators toward your choice of model/rig, 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 movement are at the your discretion, but to help here are some examples to encourage a range of creative interpretations around the brief: -

  • A fearless, ancient warrior bravely charging into battle

    • Idle; Calmly surveying a battlefield, locating a threat

    • Power up; clambering forward, weapon drawn

    • Release; a heavy attack strike

    • Recovery; victory shout / gesture

  • A comical & frenetic scientist creating a dangerous concoction

    • Idle; tentatively poking at a held object

    • Power up; excitedly mixing up a solution

    • Release; Explosive burst, flailing movement, recoiling from danger

    • Recovery; dusts self down and checks for damage

  • A tense, dynamic explorer traversing rugged terrain

    • Idle; assessing location, checking equipment

    • Power up; crouching down, maintaining balance while coiled up ready to leap

    • Release; a leap, grab and scrabble for purchase on the rocks

    • Recovery; Lift over ledge & roll to safety

Concept & Design

The pre-production phase is there to help solidify a vision and decide the motivating factors for the animation 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. Boards should also be used to demonstrate investigation into particular movements, techniques, tone, cultural influences

The use of video reference, photo or concept art relevance when consolidating your design depends on the creative direction you choose, as long as the vision and compositional elements can be clearly communicated.

Storyboarding should give a feel for the structure, timing and storytelling before starting production, acting as a template for your initial animatic 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 animation work can be mis-represented when not demonstrated or composed effectively. Your ability to show good judgment when focusing your creative effort and techniques towards specifically composed areas will be taken into account. Give consideration to the framing of your scene to maximize your efforts and the impact of your final render(s).

Also consider the format and framing ratio of both your final renders as well as the preliminary works. Often panoramic ratios invoke a cinematic grandeur, or perhaps a tighter and more confined composition suits your tone and mood? Do explore and consider your dimensions and relative composition and layouts.

In addition to video of the final scene and individual loops, you will also be required to present the scene as a rendered scene in Sketchfab.

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

Rig preparation, advanced simulations

 

 

MS6

Initial animatic, keys and sequence blocking

 

 

MS7

Review & revision of animatic sequence, detailing & aesthetic inclusions

 

 

MS8

Final sequence in full, complete with detailing and facial animation

 

 

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 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

  • Use industry standards / pipelines

  • Selection of character / rig

  • Scaling & proportion

  • Fluidity of movement

  • Weighting & balance

  • Deformation of model

  • Use of supporting props

  • Use of appropriate space

  • Background scenery

  • A well selected Colour palette

  • Detailing of aesthetics

  • Layout and arrangement

  • Use of mixed tools

  • Complimentary lighting

  • Consider use of post-prod’ FX

  • Leverage Post Processing

Summary and Goal

  • Design and create a game-ready animation sequence based on a single low-level concept

  • Define your own setting, theme and tone & a model/rig to reflect this.

  • The sequence must contain animations of the following states : -

    • One ‘idle’ state

    • One ‘powering up’ state

    • One ‘release’ state

    • One ‘recovery’ state

  • Format and present your final 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 must be presented as a series of videos, images, sketchfab models, 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 3D Environment Art Challenge 2018 by 28th January 2018 at 11:59 PM

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 an Itch account & 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 ‘Asset Pack’.

  • 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.

  • Include an appropriate cover image, your key screens as screenshots, video content, your full downloadable project file exports & PDF documentation as required.

  • The ‘Description’ text box will contain your copy of your written intro & final written summation, as well as your embedded Sketchfab sequences. It may contain further documentation if you choose.

  • 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’.

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’.

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.

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/3d-game-animation-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

Click here for a copy of the brief in Google Docs

________________________________________________


Search For A Star & Sumo Digital Rising Star 2018

Character Art | Stage 2 Brief

Core Brief

Create an original, game-ready character model and present them in a series of poses within 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 emotive character. The process that leads to the result is as key as the final model itself; the creativity and motivation of the final piece should be evident from the foundation work.  

Fixed Conditions

Your character model is based around one generalised, low-level character concept of your choice, e.g. ‘Royalty’, ‘Scientist’, ‘Warrior’, ‘Clerk’ etc.

Showcase your character in a set of four distinct poses with different emotive/action states appropriate to the concept, theme & style that you are working in.

For example:

A heroic warlord rallying their army, about to bravely lead them into battle.

A frightened monarch, pushed back & defensive against the onslaught of unseen enemies.

A surprised scientist, excited and overjoyed at an accidental new discovery.

A studious researcher, deep in thought over the terrible implications of their work.

Thematic and Stylistic Suggestions

A strong character piece will be able to evoke a story, with a background and personality uncovered through the character’s presentation. The theme and tone should act as strong motivators toward your choice of pose, attire, expression, 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 style is at the your discretion, but to help here are some examples to encourage a range of creative interpretations around the brief, using the example characters above: -

  • A warlord in a gritty WW2 theme: -

    • Realistic in rendering and surface detail

    • Realistic model in both form and scale

    • Bleak & weathered – motivation for colour palette and lighting

    • Realism in surface detail – demonstration in material creation and pipeline

  • A scientist in a cyberpunk dystopian future: -

    • Stylized in rendering and surface details

    • Realistic in both form and scale

    • Vivid and varied – motivation for colour palette and cultural influences

    • Hot and dry – Motivation for lighting and composition

  • A researcher in a dynamic South American city

    • Stylised form with exaggerated qualities

    • Stylised material finish with illustrative render style

    • Fun Vibrant setting – Motivation for colour palette and lighting

    • Stylized expressions and gestures - Opportunity to explore tone and humour through visuals.

Concept & Design

The pre-production phase is there to help solidify a vision and decide the motivating factors for the art being produced. In 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 or concept art 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.

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 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 model 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. A panoramic ratio may invoke a cinematic grandeur, or perhaps a slim portrait composition suits your environment and mood? Do explore and consider your dimensions relative to composition and focus.

Development Process / Assessment Milestones

 

 

 

 

 

 

MS1

Pre-Production

Written intro, outline the tone and artistic motivations

 

 

MS2

references, mood board, influences

 

 

MS3

Concept design, Compositional exploration

 

 

MS4

Grey box model frame

 

 

MS5

Production

Base anatomy block out / refinement and composition set.

 

 

MS6

Character modelling, static mesh placement, UV's, Materials

 

 

MS7

Material / rendering set up, lighting and composition balance

 

 

MS8

Model posing, post process, atmosphere, VFX, Rendering

 

 

MS9

Post Production

Rendering of final frames (up to n? Frames), cropping 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 art

Creative art

Written documentation

Final presentation

Recommendations & Considerations

Industry professionals have been consulted throughout the SFAS process. Below you’ll see a list of the 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 full 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

  • Clean topology

  • Ease of deformation

  • How are you posing the model?

  • Scaling & anatomical accuracy

  • A well selected colour palette

  • Use industry standards / pipelines

  • Detailing of aesthetics

  • Use of props & accessories

  • Layout and arrangement

  • Appropriate detail / resolution density

  • Use of mixed tools

  • Well composed Lighting

  • Consider use of post-prod’ FX

  • Meshes, maps, textures

  • Texture budget & poly count

  • Leverage Post Processing

Summary and Goal

  • Design and create a character based on a single low-level concept.

  • Define your own style, theme and tone.

  • The finished character presentation must comprise four distinct poses.

  • Format and present your final 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

  • Development engine for presentation is Unreal Engine 4.

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

  • Finished projects must be presented as a series of image/videos, sketchfab models, 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 3D Character Art Challenge 2018 by 28th January 2018 at 11:59 PM

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 an Itch account & 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 ‘Asset Pack’.

  • 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.

  • Include a cover image, your key screens as the screenshots, video content & downloadable project PDF as required.

  • The ‘Description’ text box will contain a copy of your written intro & final written summation, as well as your Sketchfab models.

  • 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’.

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

Select your finished project 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.

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-3d-character-art-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)

Click here for a copy of the brief document in Google Docs

_____________________________________

Environment Art | Stage 2 Brief

Core Brief

Create and compose an original game environment scene around a set of four key assets and 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 space. 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

Scene is based around a single low-level location concept of your choice, e.g. ‘Throne Room’, ‘Arena’, ‘Hotel Room’, ‘Market’ etc.

Your scene should fit into a maximum space of 30x30x30 metres. You don’t need to use all of this space, but you should not exceed it.

The scene must show use of both organic and hard surface modelling, and include the following assets:

  • One ‘centerpiece’ focal object, for example:

    • Throne - ornate and epic, a manifestation of power

    • Cage – corrosion and decay, Isolation and hopelessness

    • Bed – sun drenched venetian apartment, a vision of romance and textile decadence

    • Cart – Defying the odds, an overloaded, twist on physics, exaggerated achievement

  • One large decorative piece, for example:

    • Flag - vivid bold color statement, supporting the theme and sense of power

    • Carving – the remnants of a once surviving soul  

    • Curtain – elegantly flowing / curving leading the eye into the room  

    • Tapestry – A coat of arms proudly on display

  • One supporting prop for example:

    • Brazier – ornate, fire filled braziers framing the throne

    • shackles – Discarded and static in absence of a prisoner

    • Desk – A decadent Bureau, with a handwritten note under a delicate weight

    • Basket – the one last element to be stacked upon the kart

  • One architectural statement / structural piece, for example:

    • Gothic stained window – streaking colourful light upon the throne

    • Pillars and archways – the forgotten basement supporting structures

    • Window – The frame to house an architectural metal balcony

    • Portcullis – a defendable gateway to a busy market town

Thematic and Stylistic Suggestions

A strong environment piece tends to allude to some sort of narrative, sense of mood, tone and place. The theme and tone should act as strong motivators toward your choice of location, 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 setting is at the your discretion, but to help here are some examples to encourage a range of creative interpretations around the brief: -

  • Throne room scene containing assets in WW2 theme: -

    • Realistic in rendering and surface detail

    • Realistic in both form and scale

    • Bleak and weathered – motivation for colour palette and lighting

    • Realism in surface detail – demonstration in material creation and pipeline

  • Nomadic Campsite scene containing assets in cyberpunk dystopian future: -

    • Realistic in both form and scale

    • Stylized in rendering and surface details

    • Vivid and varied – motivation for colour palette and cultural influences

    • Hot and dry – Motivation for lighting and composition

  • Hotel Lobby scene containing assets in a colourful south American Theme

    • Stylised form with exaggerated structures and sense of perspective

    • Stylised material finish with illustrative render style

    • Fun Vibrant setting – Motivation for colour palette and lighting

    • Stylized VFX - Opportunity to explore tone and humour through visuals.

Concept & Design

The pre-production phase is there to help solidify a vision and decide the motivating factors for the art 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 or concept art 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.

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 environment 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 area 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. Often panoramic ratios invoke a cinematic grandeur, or perhaps a vertical portrait composition suits your environment and mood? Do explore and consider your dimensions and relative composition and layouts.

In addition to the final scene as a whole, you will also be required to provide your UE4 project file(s) & present your four key assets individually, both as static images and as Sketchfab 3D models.

Development Process / Assessment Milestones

 

 

 

 

 

 

MS1

Pre-Production

Written intro, outline the tone and artistic motivations

 

 

MS2

references, mood board, influences

 

 

MS3

Concept design, Compositional exploration

 

 

MS4

Grey box scene

 

 

MS5

Production

Mesh Block out / refinement and compositional framing set.

 

 

MS6

Scene modelling, static mesh placement, UV's, Materials

 

 

MS7

Material / rendering set up, lighting and composition balance

 

 

MS8

Scene management, post process, atmosphere, VFX, Rendering

 

 

MS9

Post Production

Rendering of final frames (up to n? Frames), cropping 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 art

Creative art

Written documentation

Final 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 / resolution density

  • Unreal engine best practice

  • Use of mixed tools

  • Well composed Lighting

  • Consider use of post-prod’ FX

  • Meshes, maps, textures

  • Texture budget & poly count

  • Leverage Post Processing

Summary and Goal

  • Design and create a scene based on a single low-level concept

  • Define your own setting, theme and tone

  • The scene must contain the core assets

    • One ‘centerpiece’ focal object

    • One large decorative piece

    • One supporting prop

    • One architectural statement / structural piece

  • Format and present your final scene 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

  • Development engine is Unreal Engine 4.

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

  • Finished projects must be presented as your evidence, documentation and UE4 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 3D Environment Art Challenge 2018 by 28th January 2018 at 11:59 PM

SFAS Environment Art page : https://itch.io/jam/search-for-a-star-environment-art-2018

We advise that you set up an Itch account & 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 ‘Asset Pack’.

  • 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.

  • Include a cover image, your key screens, video content & downloadable UE4 project as required.

  • The ‘Description’ text box will contain the majority of information about your project, including all written content. This is your main content area where you add all required documentation.

  • 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, fill in your name and challenge tier details 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.

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-environment-art-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

For the sanity of our judging team, I'm really glad we're not going to get 30 games titled 'Rising Star' :)

(Edited 1 time)

One assessment criterion for the development project is 'Features'. This is where you can score points for going beyond the basic gameplay mechanics, creating additions to your game that focus on bringing more depth and engagement for the user.

There are a lot of directions that you can go with this & it can quickly get overwhelming once you start stacking up the options. If you try to add every feature you can think of, you'll probably end up finishing none of them. It's not just the code challenge of getting the feature in, you're also having go through several rounds of playtesting, rebalancing and modification before it's 'right'. The best approach is likely to be picking one feature at a time to focus on, getting it right, then moving on to another.

We've listed some of the more typical features that can be implemented below. It's not a comprehensive listing and very definitely not a checklist, but may give you some ideas of where you can make some progression in feature development.

Gameplay enhancements

Game tutorial / introduction

Bosses, minibosses & AI variation

Powerups, pickups and collectibles

Scoring & Leaderboards

Adding engagement

Player customisation

Achievements

Stores, upgrades and unlockables

Social or online integration

Multiplayer

Local or networked

Competitive, co-op, social/world-building

simultaneous, turn-based, asynchronous

Game options

Accessibility support / options

Difficulty settings

Audio / Video

Multiple controller options

Customisable control system


edit : changed title to be less confusing...

(Edited 2 times)

One assessment criterion for the development project is 'Features'. This is where you can score points for going beyond the basic gameplay mechanics, creating additions to your game that focus on bringing more depth and engagement for the user.

There are a lot of directions that you can go with this & it can quickly get overwhelming once you start stacking up the options. If you try to add every feature you can think of, you'll probably end up finishing none of them. It's not just the code challenge of getting the feature in, you're also having go through several rounds of playtesting, rebalancing and modification before it's 'right'. The best approach is likely to be picking one feature at a time to focus on, getting it right, then moving on to another.

We've listed some of the more typical features that can be implemented below. It's not a comprehensive listing and very definitely not a checklist, but may give you some ideas of where you can make some progression in feature development.


Gameplay enhancements

Game tutorial / introduction

Bosses, minibosses & AI variation

Powerups, pickups and collectibles

Scoring & Leaderboards

Adding engagement

Player customisation

Achievements

Stores, upgrades and unlockables

Social or online integration

Multiplayer

Local or networked

Competitive, co-op, social/world-building

simultaneous, turn-based, asynchronous

Game options

Accessibility support / options

Difficulty settings

Audio / Video

Multiple controller options

Customisable control system



edit: changed title to be less confusing...

Yep, you can use any version of Unity.

Hi Calum,

Dale's pretty much spot on about the code. You're working from an existing code base, but can do with it what you want with it. Part of the challenge is to work from the existing code though, so try to make clear any changes that you make to the original.

As per the brief, the release platform is Windows PC. You're welcome to expand the development to other platforms, but will need to have the desktop version as your submitted final project.

You can adapt and modify as much as you feel necessary. Part of the assessment criteria, however, is on your ability to read and understand the existing code base, which will be difficult to demonstrate if there's not much of it left. It should be clear from your code that you've used the original source as a base, rather than started from scratch and copied in some of the scripts from it.

Hi Dean,

1. Code in the way you feel comfortable with, bearing in mind the assessment criteria. If in doubt, include comments explaining your style decisions.

2. You can use third-party assets as long as they are attributed/licensed correctly.

3. You can adapt and modify the provided code as much as you feel is necessary. It's recommended you make any changes clear in comments so that the judges know how you've worked with the existing code base.

Yep, it's the same base project used for each competition. It's only the assessment groups that differ - SFAS entrants are graded seperately from Rising Star entrants.