University: Bournemouth University Team/Company Name: Static Games Team Members: Ryan Pinfield - programmer and project manager, Brett Whitehead - team leader and 3D modeller, Simon Pugne - game programmer, Robin Humphreyies - UI programmer, Owen Chapman - graphics artist and 3D modeller, Russell Hack - music and sound production
With easily the most literal interpretation of the brief, Mendel's Farm sees the player put in charge of managing a Sims-like virtual farm in which you breed chickens, and eventually other animals, for cash. By cross-breeding the chickens, the player can create all sorts of whacky and weird mutations, some of which are worth more money, some less.
The presentation is straight out of the Sims or Farmville and is impressive for it. However, the game currently lacks any true sense of gameplay. You can buy, breed and sell chickens but that's about it. The mechanic of actually building the farm and breeding other animals wasn't yet working.
However, the team was hard at work on implementing a pig-breeding mechanic and hopes to get the title to a more game-like state before the end of the competition, so it'll be interesting to see just how much fun they can glean from this solid foundation.
What has the biggest challenge been?
The hardest part has probably been time management, our university course at Bournemouth University is very full on with very intensive assignments. Saying that we wouldn't have changed a thing, we may have had many long days but it has given us so much room to develop our skills. Also getting everyone together at once is also quite difficult as we are all in different areas.
What you would use the Unreal Engine 4 license for?
Well I'm excited to say that if we win we will develop Mendel's Farm for next gen consoles with a next gen look and console friendly interface.
What advice you would give others who are looking to make a start in games development?
It's odd giving this as I remember how it was 5 years ago where I knew I wanted to be In the games industry but didn't know how or where to start. My best advice is to start right now, no matter what age you are, test yourself with the different roles to see which you enjoy most. There is so much free software you can use to learn such as blender and visual studio express. Also get to uni and go for every extra opportunity you get like we have with the Make Something Unreal competition. It's a great experience and it will launch your career.
University: Staffordshire University Team/Company Name: Kairos Games
If Epigenisis is the most immediately playable and fun of the games on show, Polymorph was not far behind, and perhaps showed the most overall potential. Another third-person puzzle platformer with genetics at the heart of the puzzle solving, the player controls a cute, colourful character who gains extra powers - such as a rock-smashing horn, a speedy rush and a higher jump - by harnessing the genetic powers within eggs scattered around the environment.
The design of the game is seriously impressive. The floating, rocky landscapes are large in scale yet surprisingly deltailed, with plenty of vegetation and running water keeping things interesting. The length of the playable demo and intricacy of the well-thought out puzzles, was also quite astonishing.
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Unfortunately the interaction of the character and the world around it needed quite a bit of work, with us encountering plenty of bugs as we traversed the demo. It could also be a little tricky to control the direction and movement of the character, which is a fundamental flaw in a game of this type. There's perhaps a lesson in ambition versus time-scale here.
Still, we can only applaud the team for embarking on a project of this scale, and can definitely see potential in the game.
All told, if you're heading to the Gadget Show Live, you should definitely head over to the Make Something Unreal Live stand and have a go on the games, and of course cast your vote to decide the winner. The victorious team will be announced on Sunday evening at the show.
PCGamesN is reporting daily on the progress of the competition as it unfolds, with regular video interviews with the teams, so if you can't make it to the show yourself they're a great place to keep up to date with the progress the teams are making.