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Games Innovation Challenge

Calling all aspiring game developers! The Games Innovation Challenge sponsored by Barclays is a game development competition open to university and college students (aged 16 and over) across the UK that encourages students to put forward their technical skills and creativity to create great games.

Participants are given eight weeks to create the most innovative game and submissions will be judged by a panel of industry experts with a £5,000 prize pool to be awarded to the best entries in each category. Students are able to form teams with members of different universities and even include non-students, however the project lead as well as the majority of the team must be currently enrolled students to be eligible. 

In addition to the first place award, five categories in the Games Innovation Challenge are also awarded:

  • Gameplay: The most original concept, excellent storytelling and enjoyable gameplay.
  • Design: Design elements judged on sound, art style, graphics and technical quality.
  • Social Impact: With purpose at the game’s heart, we looked for games that tackled difficult issues, including promoting environmental sustainability or looking at how to make the game more accessible.
  • Epic Unreal Choice: Games designed using the Unreal engine
  • Unity Choice: Games designed using the Unity games engine

The following criteria are used to judge the games in each category: 

  • Technical Quality: How well does it run and how challenging was it to create? 
  • Look and Feel: How do the sound and graphics make you feel?
  • Entertainment: How fun is it to play?
  • Innovation: Is there a twist? What’s unique about it?
  • Social Impact: Does the game tackle a challenging subject?

A full set of rules can be found in the participant pack.

Interested in seeing previous winners? Check out Carbon 12, which didn't only win the First place award in the 2022 Games Innovation Challenge, but also the Social Impact Award and Unity Choice Award. Carbon-12 is a first-person chemistry crafting and puzzle-solving game that is designed to teach GCSE students about the fundamentals of Chemistry.

Good luck and have fun!

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