BAFTA ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF YOUNG GAME DESIGNERS AWARDS AT SPECIAL CEREMONY
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced the winners of the 2015 BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition in association with Nominet Trust, at a glittering awards ceremony at BAFTA’s headquarters, 195 Piccadilly in London.
The winners include four budding game creators aged between 10 and 18, as well as an inspirational school teacher. Minecraft, the popular block-building construction game received the previously announced YGD Hero Award.
BAFTA YGD, now in its fifth year, presents awards in two main categories: The Game Concept Award, for a written idea for a new game; and the Game Making Award, for a game made using computer software. The winners, chosen by a jury of industry experts, are:
- Game Concept Award (10-14 year-old category): Camylle Tuliao, aged 14, from Basildon in Essex, with her game Dreams.
- Game Concept Award (15-18 year-old category): Jack Reynolds, aged 15, from Highgate in London, with his game Ouroboros.
- Game Making Award (10-14 year-old category): Louis Jackson, aged 11, from Hove in East Sussex, with his game Block.
- Game Making Award (15-18 year-old category): Jack Mills, aged 17, from Liverpool, with his game Utopia of Rhythm.
The four award-winning young people will receive a host of prizes, including further development of their game with industry professionals. For the full list of prizes, go to: http://bit.ly/1GiYnDO
The YGD Mentor Award, presented for the first time this year to an individual nominated by the public for their involvement in the education of young game designers, was awarded to Ray Chambers, Head of IT at Uppingham Community College in Rutland, East Midlands.
Lydia Winters, Brand Director at Mojang, accepted the inaugural YGD Hero Award on behalf of Minecraft. The game was selected by the BAFTA Games Committee for its support for young games designers.
In a message of support to all the young finalists, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, President of BAFTA, said: “I encourage you – our stars of tomorrow – to keep exploring your creativity and see where it takes you. A successful career in one of the fastest growing and most creative industries in this country is very much a possibility, regardless of your background or your gender. Judging by the potential you have already shown, your future, and the future of British games, is very bright indeed.”
The Duke also praised the “unrivalled access to the skills and expertise of top industry professionals” that the YGD initiative offers all year round.
Harvey Elliott, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee, said: “The BAFTA YGD Awards ceremony has shown once again the depth of amazing talent available to the games industry. The young people involved in all 40 shortlisted games, as well as today’s very worthy winners, deserve this recognition of their work and potential. We are especially grateful to all the educators who have supported the initiative, including YGD Mentor Award winner Ray Chambers who, like BAFTA, help to inspire young people towards a career in the games industry.”
Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust said: “Each year BAFTA’s YGD competition provides a huge opportunity for talented young people to embrace their creativity and take the leap from games player to games maker. I’m delighted that Nominet Trust’s partnership this year has helped to provide that springboard – and also the spotlight the YGD Mentor Award has shone on those inspirational educators who nurture the talent in these young designers to provide such essential encouragement, advice and support. Congratulations to the winners and all of the finalists on their achievements.”
The YGD Awards ceremony was hosted by CBBC presenter Ben Shires (Officially Amazing) and games journalist Jane Douglas. Amongst those presenting the awards were: Jordan and Perri from dance troupe Diversity; BBC Radio 1 and Friday Download presenter Cel Spellman; and Dan Gray, executive producer on the double BAFTA-winning game Monument Valley.
The BAFTA YGD competition is part a year-round programme of activity which gives young people and educators unique insights into the games industry and access to the creative minds behind some of their favourite games. Support includes: a dedicated website (www.bafta.org/ygd); a web series, that takes a light-hearted look behind the scenes of the games industry; a range of teaching resources; an online ‘feedback hub’ where young people can submit ideas or questions to a games expert; and live workshops around the country. In 2014, Dan Pearce, a BAFTA YGD Award winner in 2010, was nominated for a BAFTA at the British Academy Games Awards.
Nominet Trust – the UK’s only dedicated tech for good funder – is headline partner of the initiative, working with BAFTA to deliver the BAFTA YGD initiative and to develop additional schools-focussed activity addressing the under-representation of women in the games workforce. Other supporting partners of BAFTA YGD include: Bethesda Softworks, Criterion Games (an EA Studio), Google, Jagex, King, Pinewood Studios Group, SEGA, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Unity, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Abertay University supports the development of the games of the winners of the BAFTA YGD competition. For further details about the initiative, visit www.bafta.org/ygd .
BAFTA YGD winners in 2015 (including jury comments):
Game Concept Award (10-14) – Dreams
Camylle Tuliao (14)
Dreams is a first person role playing adventure game set in four different locations, Imaginati, Reve, Nightmare and Limbo. Playing as Christelle/Christopher the way to win is different in every world and you have the choice of three fighting styles, Imagi (magic), Logio (science) and Void (dream-manipulating).
The jury described the game as “an evocative concept that intertwined unique themes to create a psychological thriller.”
Game Concept Award (15-18) – Ouroboros
Jack Reynolds (15)
Ouroboros is a puzzle-platformer in which you have to “die” and respawn to progress. Every time you die your previous actions still have an effect and every time you connect to a terminal you discover a little more about #0132’s purpose, why he was created and about the world outside the factory’s walls.
The jury said that this game was “cleverly designed to consistently reinforce its central theme, and simple yet addictive gameplay.”
Game Making Award (10-14) – Block
Louis Jackson (11)
Hove, East Sussex (entered through Blatchington Mill School)
You are Block, and your world changes instantly. Colour fades away and land breaks apart to make platforms. In each level, you can only jump a certain amount of times, but there is no counter for it, because it’s your duty to study the level and how many jumps you have.
The jury described the game as “a refreshingly original and surprisingly high quality concept; not only for this age category but for any up-and-coming game developer.”
Game Making Award (15-18) – Utopia of Rhythm
Jack Mills (17)
Liverpool (entered through The Studio school)
Utopia of Rhythm is a platformer game that incorporates elements from the rhythm game genre. The obstacles within the game’s level change over time, to the beat and tempo of the background music. A colour-coded rhythm clock is used as part of the user interface to indicate the level’s transformations over time, as the obstacles are similarly colour-coded.
The jury felt that this game “meets the standards of professional prototypes. A wide variety of mechanics and puzzles were rolled out with a well-balanced difficulty curve of the levels.”
YGD Mentor Award
Ray Chambers, Head of IT at Uppingham Community College
Rutland, East Midlands
Ray Chambers runs a successful extracurricular coding club for his students and also visits local primary schools to introduce younger children to coding. He is a regular blogger and has his own YouTube Channel.
The jury said: “We were incredibly impressed and heartened by the enthusiasm and innovation demonstrated by all of the nominees. Amongst them Mr Ray Chambers stood out for the way he’d used social media to take his teaching outside the classroom and his commitment to engaging a diverse range of young people in the magic of game design.”
YGD Hero Award
Mojang Development Team
Minecraft allows players to create unique worlds by breaking and placing blocks. Is has sold over 70 million copies since its creation in 2009, and its online tutorials and play throughs have millions of viewers across the world, making the creators of these videos stars in their own right. The game has broken down the traditional barriers between players and makers and has inspired many thousands of people to try their hand at designing and exploring game worlds of their own, often with amazing results.
The BAFTA Games Committee said: “Minecraft’s achievements in the games industry, as well as its support for millions of creative people of all ages, are truly impressive.”
For a full list of the winners and finalists, and to play the games in the Game Making category, go to http://ygd.bafta.org/competition