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Virtual reality plant breeding game Seed wins $150,000 Developing Beyond prize fund

Developer All Seeing Eye secures unanimous support from judging panel at inaugural contest final

It was a "dream come true" for development outfit All Seeing Eye last night after securing a $150,000 first prize at year-long development competition, Developing Beyond.

Created by Epic Games, along with charity global charitable foundation Wellcome, Developing Beyond launched in January last year.

Teams were briefed to create games exploring themes of transformation, taking inspiration from scientific ideas. They were then matched with researchers to help explore the science behind their inspiration in order to develop the game.

All Seeing Eye took the top spot for its virtual reality plant breeding game, Seed.

"This caps an incredible year for us," commented Ollie Lindsey, All Seeing Eye founder. "It's been a once in a lifetime opportunity, and to actually win is a dream come true. It means we now have the opportunity to focus solely on a game that we're incredibly passionate about."

Developed with the help and expertise of historian Dr Helen Anne Curry, Seed uses virtual reality to turn players into plant breeders, using genetic engineering skills to create new plant species with the goal of tackling issues such as food production.

Mike Gamble, European territory manager at Epic, said: "The jury was unanimous in voting for Seed as the deserved winner of this year's Developing Beyond. All Seeing Eye have created a beautiful place to explore and spend time in, as well as delivering great gameplay and hitting all the scientific beats on right on the mark."

Second place and $50,000 went to Winter Hall by Lost Forest Games,, an exploration game set during the Black Death.

Third place and $30,000 was awarded to Terramars by Untold Games, a game exploring the mental and physical health challenges faced by a team of six astronauts as they try to colonise Mars.

Considerations for the shortlist included games that explored microbial quarantine, human evolution, and artificial learning.

The judging panel was chaired by comedian and broadcaster Susan Calman. The panel was composed of Bettany Hughes, historian and broadcaster; Mike Gamble, European territory manager at Epic; Iain Dodgeon, broadcast, games and film manager at Wellcome; professor Ian Goodfellow, head of virology at the University of Cambridge; and Chris Bratt, journalist at Eurogamer.

Developing Beyond aims provide a sustainable platform for studios to create minimum viable project. It seeks to equip developers with the skills to ship a commercial game and gives them experience working with investors, publishers, and partners. Teams retain the rights to intellectual property created during the the challenge.

Developing Beyond is the third collaboration between Epic Games and Wellcome, having previously undertaken Make Something Unreal Live and theBig Data VR Challenge.

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Ivy Taylor: Ivy joined in 2017 having previously worked as a regional journalist, and a political campaigns manager before that. They are also one of the UK's foremost Sonic the Hedgehog apologists.
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