Cambridge hosts next generation of gaming talent

Published: 4 July 2017 at 12:00

Two Brains Eden competitors looking at an iPad together.

Brains Eden at Anglia Ruskin attracts teams from universities across the world

A team from Howest University College from Belgium has scooped the top prize at Brains Eden, the UK’s largest student games festival, which took place from Friday, 30 June – Monday, 3 July at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. 

One of 34 teams competing in this year’s 48-hour games jam, Damn Amazing Education received the Best PC Game award and each team member won a 12 month subscription to Unity Certification Courseware, a must-have for any game developer. The team produced a “two player versus” game called ‘Thrust’ based on the theme of this year’s Brains Eden, which was ‘give and take’. 

University teams made up of programmers, designers, artists and sound specialists from as far afield as China, worked tirelessly throughout the jam to bring their ideas to life. 

Samuel De Vos, student at Howest University College and team leader of Damn Amazing Education, said: 

“It feels amazing to have won, especially with so many talented judges critiquing the games. We’re so happy that they chose our game as the winner for Best PC Game, when so many of the other games produced were of such a high level too.”

Brainagi from Huazhong University of Science & Technology (China) collected the prize for Best Mobile Game, winning Kindle Fire tablets for each member, courtesy of ARM. Team Les Baguettes from Pole IIID (France) won the Judges’ Choice award and received a year’s subscription to Develop magazine. Winners of the Tech Team Choice award were Left Intentionally Blank from University of South Wales, with each team member receiving  Amazon Dots. 

Dr Andy Salmon, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University, said: 

“This has been the most successful Brains Eden to date. The festival is one of the most international and wide ranging activities that we do at Anglia Ruskin. This fits the games industry perfectly, it is a global industry. It gives our students the opportunity to compete with other students from France, Holland, Belgium, Spain but also this year for the first time, China.”

Hosted by Anglia Ruskin University, judges at Brains Eden this year included senior representatives from major gaming companies: Frontier Development; Sumo Digital; Playstation First; Popleaf; Gameware Europe; Jagex; Unity; and Aardvark Swift. 

Keynote speaker Karl Hilton, Studio Director at Sumo Digital, said: 

“I was involved in the judging process of the games jam, and I can honestly say that the games created are not only some of the best that I have ever seen made from a games jam but the best that I have seen produced in a long time, so huge congratulations to all the teams involved.”

A team of industry mentors, including Brains Eden alumni, provided advice and guidance throughout the festival and professionals from top gaming companies staged a series of career clinics. 

Dr Salmon added: 

“Brains Eden enables us to understand where the games industry is going, which given the speed of its development, is massively important; not just for us as tutors but it enables students to prepare themselves for when they leave university and get jobs in the global industry.”

Brains Eden 2017 was sponsored by Sumo Digital, Playstation First, Frontier Development, Unity and Aardvark Swift.