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Celebrate the people who inspire you with Game Dev Heroes

One week left to nominate your champion for awards that recognise personal contributions to the industry

Has someone helped you through a tough time during your work in games development, a mentor or friend that steered you towards greater things? Or has someone on your team made a significant game-changing contribution to a project you've worked on, but has gone unnoticed or unthanked by the industry in general? Well, that's about to change.

A new initiative has launched that aims to highlight the individual accomplishments for experts across the whole spectrum of games development - but the winners won't be chosen solely based on the games they've made.

The venture, named Game Dev Heroes, is currently open to nominations and will culminate in an awards ceremony alongside the Develop:Brighton conference on Tuesday, July 10th. However, unlike most industry awards, the focus is on the finalists' contributions behind the scenes, whether that's their work on a game, improving the efficiency of the studio or going above and beyond to support their teams.

Ian Goodall, Aardvark Swift

It's an important differentiation the organisers are keen to highlight, as so many of the awards schemes built around video games focus on the product itself, which (while reflective of the studios' ethos) doesn't necessarily tell the whole story of the creative and encouraging people behind them.

Game Dev Heroes is the brainchild of business development consultant Alex Boucher, organised with the support of recruitment specialist Aardvark Swift, which is also sponsoring the event. Fellow sponsors include GamesJobsDirect, games fanzine Analog and Falmouth University start-up support initiative Launchpad.

For Aardvark Swift's managing director Ian Goodall, celebration of personal contributions is something the industry has been sorely lacking.

"Games are made by people - over 10,000 of them in the UK alone," he says. "As an industry we're great at celebrating and promoting the excellent work of the high-achieving future stars, vocal advocates and veteran figureheads leading the way. Most awards understandably cater for studios or projects, but with so much focus on the successful end product it can be very easy to ignore the developers and support staff who quietly spend years making it a reality.

"There's very little that acknowledges the work of all the individuals working behind the scenes across the industry. Game Dev Heroes is for those who don't usually get a chance at that spotlight. Developers who inspire and encourage their team, standing as a role model for others, often doing hugely significant and supportive work for years, yet outside of their studio might not be known beyond a name on a credits roll."

Nominations are now open, with a wide range of categories encompassing every aspect of games development as well as other essential disciplines. The categories include:

  • Programming
  • Design
  • Art
  • Animation
  • Sound
  • Production
  • QA
  • Marketing & Community
  • Management

There will also be a trio of special awards for individuals helping to improve the broader games industry, including Diversity Champion, Unsung Hero and Outstanding Contribution.

The organisers of Game Dev Heroes are not just looking for nominations from the industry - they also want to engage studios with the entire awards process. It's currently seeking judges to join an advisory board made up of representatives from some of the UK's leading studios to help decide the winners. So far, support has been pledged from Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sega, Playground Games, Creative Assembly, nDreams, and Creative England.

And there will be more ways for industry members to help Game Dev Heroes find and celebrate the most talented and supportive people across the UK, says lead recruiter and director Simon Hope.

"Game Dev Heroes wants to bring better industry acknowledgment for developers who do consistently great things but are outside the typical industry awards brackets. We want to celebrate the unsung heroes of game development, with both nominations and judging panels comprised of industry developers.

"Through Aardvark Swift's careers and recruitment work, we see so many people doing amazing work behind the scenes at studios, and supporting an initiative to acknowledge the huge achievements made by the unseen heroes of the games industry is a perfect match."

The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, June 19th, which means you have just one week left to nominate your industry hero. This is your chance to give back to the people who have helped you in your career or been denied the spotlight they so obviously deserve.

The winners will be announced on July 10th, with a casual drinks reception accompanying the awards at the Mesmerist in Brighton. Tickets will be available in the coming month.

You can make your nomination and find out more through the official Game Dev Heroes' website.

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