Epic Games has announced the winners of its Make Something Unreal Live games development competition, and the top prize goes to the Dead Shark Triplepunch team from Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden, with their game Epigenisis.
As well as the title of Make Something Unreal Live winners 2013, the team also bagged themselves a full Unreal Engine 4 for use in future game development.
The prize was decided by a panel of five judges - the Welcome Trust's Iain Dodgeon, Matt Hill from T3, Epic's European territory manager Mike Gamble, Peter Molyneux, UKIE CEO Jo Twist and Nvidia’s Phil Wright, with them describing the game as a "potential eSport"
The game features two teams of five facing off across an arena of floating platforms. The aim is to get the ball that's held in the centre of the map to the other team's goal and throw it through to score a point. To stop each other teams use their standardised, non-lethal, guns to blast each other aside, and off the platforms.
This year's theme for the competition was "Mendelian inheritance: genetics and genomics", a brief which Epigenisis fulfilled by awarding teams with a seed upon scoring a goal. These seeds can then be planted on the platforms to grow various plants that further assist the team.
Second prize was claimed by Polymorph, a puzzle platformer developed by Kairos Games from Staffordshire university. This game met the brief by having the player's character morph into new forms as it found and took on the genetic advantages of eggs scattered throughout the levels. After using these powerups the character would be able to jump higher, run faster or bash through rocks with a horn on its head. For their efforts the team takes home an Unreal Engine 3 license.
Third prize went to Beings, a similar puzzle platformer based on gaining powers through genetics. However, this game was aimed squarely at very young children, using bright colours, soporific music and very simple controls to achieve this. Developed by Team Summit from University of Abertay, Dundee, sadly there was no prize for these guys.
Rounding out the final four teams, who've spent the last week finishing their games in front of the crowds at The Gadget Show Live, was Static Games from Southampton University with their game Mendel's Farm. With by far the most literal take on the brief, this game tasked the player with breeding all sorts of whacky varieties of chickens to sell the best for money. Unfortunately its clearly unfinished state appears to have cost it dear.
The overall order is exactly that which we predicted, with the immediately fun and playable state of Epigenisis - and its clear potential to be a genuine eSports game - enough to outweigh its fairly light interpretation of the brief. Meanwhile Beings, Polymorph and Mendel's Farm all lacked a little when it came to immediate playability.
Read more about all four finalists in our hands on of Make Something Unreal Live 2013