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New generation of talent steps up through Search for a Star

Mon 15 Aug 2011 10:21am GMT / 6:21am EDT / 3:21am PDT
Education

UK games graduates honoured in programming competition

Aardvark Swift

Established in 1989, Aardvark Swift has since evolved to become Europe's market leading specialist recruitment...

aswift.com

Three of the UK's top video game graduates have been singled out as winners in this year's Search for a Star competition.

The overall winner was Stuart Brown who has graduated from the University of Lancashire with a 1st class BSc (Hons) in Computer Games Development. And the two runners up - George Smith from Manchester Metropolitan University and Adam Kelly of Northumbria University - have both already been snapped up by Playground Games.

"The competition was not only a good test of ability, but also fun to take part in," Brown told GamesIndustry.biz. "Each round was also useful preparation for actual interviews, covering both technical questions as well as a face-to-face panel interview with industry professionals."

1

Winner Stuart Brown has graduated from University of Central Lancashire with a 1st class BSc (Hons) in Computer Games Development.

One of those professionals was Lizi Attwood, Search for a Star judge and lead programmer at Relentless Software.

"Stuart showed that he was an excellent all-rounder," she said. "Technically very good, he's already picked up a lot of knowledge about good practices and the second test showed he can be creative when faced with a blank canvas. On top of all that, he is an excellent communicator and would be able slot easily into an existing team."

Search for a Star is a programming competition for students in their final year at university, split into four stages to assess applicants technical ability and problem solving, and ending in a face-to-face panel with development talent from Relentless, Rockstar Leeds and Headstrong.

"The standard was exceptionally high this year; they demonstrated most of the key skills, strong understanding of 3d maths and physics, game development, problem solving, working in a team, passion, enthusiasm," added Attwood. "Stuart just pipped them to the post."

Runner-up George Smith said that the hard work involved - going through the application process at the same time as completing his most important year at university - wasn't easy, but it paid off.

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George Smith has graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a 1st class BSc (Hons) in Computer Games Technology. He will be starting work at Playground Games soon.

"Breaking into the games industry can be difficult, but competitions like this one give a real advantage when it comes to finding a job," he offered.

"Perhaps the most valuable lesson I've learnt has been time-management - it hasn't been easy balancing the demands of the competition with the final year of my degree, but it was absolutely worthwhile and I'm grateful for all of the support which Manchester Metropolitan University gave to me throughout this process."

Adam Kelly has taken a job at Playground in gameplay programming, and acknowledges the help the competition has given him on a personal level. "The most valuable thing I gained was confidence that I had the potential to get a job in the industry, and confidence that I could keep it," he said.

Greg Booker, technical director at Headstrong and one of the judging panel, praised the level of talent in the competition, singling out the motivation of graduates to work on personal projects and learn in their own time.

"The finalists were really strong. Most of those progressing worked on projects in their own time, this is what has made them stand out from the crowd.

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Adam Kelly has graduated from Northumbria University with a B.S.C. in Computer Games Software Engineering. He is now working at Playground Games.

"The experience that they gain through solving their own problems is invaluable. We also saw many finalists referencing books that they had read around particular subjects, that had advanced their knowledge. It is becoming more evident that those students that push themselves, are the ones that really stand out," he added.

The process for year's Search for a Star competition will begin shortly, with full details on GamesIndustry.biz. This year's Career Fair, taking place at the Eurogamer Expo September 22-25, will also feature contributions from competitions organiser Aardvark Swift.

4 Comments

Well done Stuart and congratulations to all the finalists! The fact that many of the entrants have already secured jobs proves the bar's set right where it needs to be! Entry is now open for next years comp - see us at Eurogamer for more details or check out the dedicated SFAS Facebook page! http://ow.ly/63jEl

Posted:3 years ago

#1

David Bachowski VP Business Development, Babaroga

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Congrats to all of the winners and participants!

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Bev Bush Course leader B.A. (Hons) Games design, University of Central Lancashire

4 0 0.0
Well done to all three winners, this is a great start to your future careers in the games industry.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Lizi Attwood Technical Director, Furious Bee Limited

1 0 0.0
Congratulations to all finalists, especially Stuart!

I really enjoy helping with this competition, because I get to meet some really exceptional students. I can't wait to start looking at the entries for next year!

Posted:3 years ago

#4

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