BAFTA Young Game Designers Competition Opens For Entries

Adam Oliver was the 2014 Young Game Designers Game Making Award Winner, for his game AlienX. Image: BAFTA
Adam Oliver was the 2014 Young Game Designers Game Making Award Winner, for his game AlienX. Image: BAFTA. Read an interview with him here

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has announced the call for entries for the 2015 BAFTA Young Game Designers competition in association with Nominet Trust, which aims to inspire the UK’s game-makers of the future by giving young people the chance to design and make their own game. The winners will be named at a special awards ceremony in July.

Entries are now open at www.bafta.org/ygd until Monday 1ST June 2015.

Originally launched in 2010 for 11-16 year-olds, this year the age range for the competition has been expanded to include 10-18 year-olds, divided into age-specific sub-groups.

Entrants – who can be individuals or a team of up to three people – can choose to enter two creative categories: The YGD Game Concept Award, to create a concept for a new game; and the YGD Game Making Award, to make a game using freely available software. The winners will receive a host of prizes, including further development of their game with industry professionals.

Adam Oliver was last year’s Young Game Designers Game Making Award Winner, for his game AlienX, who won plenty of gaming goodies and was also granted access to the experts at the University of Abertay, Dundee, who would help develop AlienX into a playable game fit for an App store.

“I entered BAFTA Young Game Designers because I was already working on my game, AlienX, and had been working on it for about three months,” he explained after winning. “I then realised that it might be worthy for the competition, so I continued to work even harder on it and eventually submitted it.

“The build-up to the announcement was very nerve-racking, and, having seen how good the other entries were, I didn’t expect to win, so it was quite surprising when I was announced as the winner. It was also an amazing feeling- to know that, at only 15, I had won an award from BAFTA. I was very excited and I’m sure I’ll be proud of winning it for the rest of my life.”

“I entered BAFTA Young Game Designers because I’ve been interested in the games industry for years, said last year’s YGD Game Concept winner, Rhianna Hawkins, the creator of Tomatos Role. “When I heard about the competition I thought that it would be a fun experience and that it would help me learn more about the industry.

“The best thing about the competition is that it has helped me to gain more confidence. Beforehand I was too shy to properly talk to people, but since the competition I’ve talked to so many new people that I’ve lost some of my shyness…so much so that people who have known me for years have started to notice that I’m talking more. I owe this competition a lot of thanks.”

Two new categories have also been added this year: The YGD Mentor Award, for an inspirational individual involved in the education of young game designers; and the YGD Hero Award, for a games industry professional who supports young game designers. The public can nominate their YGD Mentor, while the YGD Hero will be selected by BAFTA’s Games Committee.

The BAFTA YGD competition is part of a year-round programme of activity which gives young people and educators unique insights into the games industry and access to the creative minds behind some of their favourite games. Support includes: a website (www.bafta.org/ygd) where BAFTA members, award winners and nominees share their insights and advice through interviews and exclusive video content; a web series, that takes a light-hearted look behind the scenes of the games industry; a range of teaching resources that link the BAFTYA YGD competition to the national curriculum; an online ‘feedback hub’ where young people can submit ideas or questions about their entry, with the chance of gaining a personalised response from a games expert; and live workshops around the country.

Nominet Trust – the UK’s only dedicated tech for good funder – is headline partner of the initiative, working with BAFTA to develop additional schools-focussed activity addressing the under-representation of women in the games workforce. Other supporting partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Bethesda Softworks, Criterion Games (an EA Studio), Google, Jagex, King, Pinewood Studios Group, SEGA, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Unity, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Abertay University supports the development of the games of the winners of the BAFTA YGD competition.

“The BAFTA YGD competition is a great opportunity for young people to try their hand at game design and get feedback from the creative people behind their favourite games,” commented Tim Hunter, Director of Learning and Events at BAFTA. “The games industry is one of the biggest and most dynamic entertainment industries in the world; we hope this competition inspires entrants to consider a career in games, as well as helping them better appreciate the artistry involved in making games. We can’t wait to share the winners with the industry and public at the YGD Awards ceremony in July.”

“If the UK is to retain its world-leading position in the creative industries, we need to develop a highly skilled workforce,” argues Annika Small, CEO of Nominet Trust. “The BAFTA Young Game Designers competition equips young people with the creative digital skills, understanding and connections that they need to become the games designers of the future. It’s exciting to see young people move from simply playing games to designing and making their own ones. Nominet Trust is proud to be supporting this vital initiative – I can’t wait to see what ideas and games entrants come up with!”

The winning games from 2014 – Tomatos Role from 16 year-old Rhianna Hawkins, from Taunton, and AlienX from 15 year-old Adam Oliver – will be on show at BAFTA’s Inside Games Arcade in advance of the British Academy Games Awards in March.

• For the Terms & Conditions, and to enter the BAFTA YGD competition, go to www.bafta.org/ygd

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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