Earlier this month, we sent some of our talented Sumo Digital staff to Brains Eden in Cambridge, UK, to be a part of the UK’s largest annual international student Game Jam.
Students from across Europe attended, representing some of the top universities in the game dev scene, from Breda University, Anglia Ruskin, Howest University College and more. In groups, they were tasked with creating a game to impress top-tier industry judges in under 4 days, centred around the surprise theme of ‘chain reaction’.
Throughout the 4-day event, our Sumo staff offered expertise and mentoring to the 28 teams of students, in the areas of programming and art. It was a fantastic chance to share ideas, explore exciting concepts, and encourage the talented student teams to put the skills they’ve been learning to the test.
It goes without saying that making a game in only a handful of days is no mean feat – so what kind of advice were our developers sharing?
‘We stressed how important it was to set deadlines for building core mechanics, content and when to start polishing,’ says Quentin Warnant, a Senior Programmer from our Leamington Spa studio and one of our brilliant Brains Eden volunteers, ‘Also important was to communicate how soon they should start playing their game and re-assess what works and what doesn’t.’
With so much of the game development process being a collaborative effort, it was vital that the students recognise how each individual’s skills contributes to the game as a whole. And, with an added time restraint, it made creating a polished game with lots of different components that much more challenging.
Once the game jam was over, the 4-day competition culminated with judges putting the games through their paces. 9 awards were up for grabs, spanning categories including Best PC Game, Best Game Artwork, and Best Game Jammer – and prizes were given out to lots of well-deserving winners who had gone above and beyond during the event.
It wasn’t all work and no play, though – students also had the chance to hang out and network with industry pros, attend interesting sessions and visit drop-ins hosted by development studios during the event. Our Sumo volunteers ran through student portfolios, giving advice to those wanting to make their first steps into the industry, whilst our Talent Acquisition Manager Kieran Holland presented a keynote speech on the last day of the event to encourage the next generation of game makers to pursue a rewarding career in games.
‘We attend Brains Eden to give advice, discuss opportunities and build networks with people that are going to be leading the games industry in years to come,’ says Kieran.
Our time in Cambridge was awesome – we had so much fun hanging out with the talented students and following the progress of their games as they flourished.
We’re committed to supporting the next generation of talent in the games industry and love attending events throughout the year that offer mentoring opportunities like these. A huge congratulations to everyone that took part in Brains Eden Game Jam 2019!
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Want to catch up with us at other events? We send our Sumo Digital team to lots of industry events throughout the year – check out our social media channels to find out where we’ll be next!