The Make Something Unreal Live finals kicked off yesterday at the press and trade day at the Gadget Show Live. In case you weren't sure, Make Something Unreal Live is the international games tournament hosted by Epic Games which was open to all students enrolled full-time in a European higher education establishment. 22 teams began the competition, with the theme of 'Mendelian Inheritance: Genetics and Genomics', and only 4 teams remain in the finals.
Sarah, Kieron and Will had the chance to meet the teams who made it through and try their games. Keep reading for a round up of the top 4 finalists!
The first of our finalists, Epigenesis: an online multiplayer arena sports game. An easy way to describe this game (according to the team) is to "Imagine playing basketball on rooftops with gravity cannons and supportive plants that spread across the playfield".
Designed and developed by Swedish team Dead Shark Triple Punch (how awesome is that name by the way?) this game is highly competitive, fun and definitely has the looks to boot. The point of the game is to jump your way across the rooftops to collect the ball. Your team then needs to score against the opponent (the goals are at your spawning points and are colour co-ordinated so you can't miss them).
Unlike a lot of multiplayer arena games, you're equipped not with a weapon of mass destruction but rather a gravity cannon capable of pushing both enemies and friends down the heights of the arena. We tried this. It was fun!
After the playerscores, they are given a 'seed' which gets planted on one of the rooftops. You then control that rooftop, and a team will win if they manage to gain control of all rooftops and the opposing team's goalpost. The plants that spawn after planting the seed differ depending how you play the game, and they are really nice to look at (and surprisingly fit with the aesthetic of the game really well). The plants can have their DNA altered to gain new traits, and plants activated in this way may help the team win the game.
There's definitely an area for this within competitive e-sports, and it's also quite fun to play with a bunch of random strangers or friends at the Gadget Show. You can check out the Dead Shark Triple Punch website and the Epigenesis website for all the progress and information you could possibly need.
You may have previously read our previous interview with Poylmorph's Kurtis Richards but in case you haven't yet then allow us to introduce you to the second of the finalists. Developed and designed by the team straight from Staffordshire University, Kairos Games, Polymorph is a third person platformer with a heavy theme on genetics. Your character has the ability to take key evolutionary traits from other species and adapt itself accordingly, allowing you to easily traverse the lush landscapes of Alelle.
The first thing you will probably notice is how gorgeous the game looks overall. Bright, vibrant and cheerful are definitely words you would use to describe this game. The "bold and vivid art style" are one of the main things Polymorhph boasts, alongside its "immersive audio" and "epic soundtrack" (which is pretty good from what we heard when playing).
Other features the game boasts are: Next-Gen Direct X 11 features, extensive world lore and background, heavily integrated science with gameplay and Emergent gameplay and narrative. After playing through the version they had available (apart from breaking it a little) Sarah definitely thought this was one of her favourites, and the main character is a cutie as well. Traversing the world is a puzzle as there are certain genetic traits you require get past obstacles (for example wings to glide across long gaps) so it realyl gets you thinknig while you're playing through it.
If you're at the Gadget Show Live these next few days, make sure you stop by here! You can look at the Kairos Games website for more information.
Farming and chickens, everything someone would want from a Farming Simulator. The third finalist is Mendel's Farm, created by Static Games, the team from Bournemouth University.
What differs about this farming simulator is that this focuses on the genetic attributes and mutations of animals, something you won't see Old McDonald talkign about. You manage your farm by upgrading the differnet buildings, and generate income from crops and produce. A big part of the game is experimenting with animal breeding, where you can discover new traits and mutations that have both a positive beneficial effect on your farming life and give the chickens a more ridiculous appearance.
The game sticks to the genetic theme by using real dominant and recessive gene information to affect the animals, showing some of the different mutations you can get in offspring over time. It's a fun and incredibly simple concept that does show you something about evolution and genetic inheritance. If you want more information you should look at the Static Games website.
Last but not least we have Beings. Created by Team Summit, a dev team from the University of Abertay in Dundee, Beings is a "colourful third person puzzle platformer". It's mainly targeted towards a younger audience, primarily players aged 3+, but it has the challenge and cute art style to appeal to a much wider audience as well.
So what do you do exactly? You play the role of various cute creatures with the sole purpose of reaching the "peaceful promise land". The way that you do this is by finding a suitable partner, mating and inheritening the characteristics and abilities of your parents in order to overcome obstacles such as fire, high cliffs and poisonous plants. Not only does the idea sound good, but the game looked good as well.
Beings is more of an educational game, giving players an insight into the Mendelian laws of genetics, and has been cleverly designed to give the player knowledge "subconsciously". The overall goal of the game is to collect as many different creatures as possible in the promise land. Simple, but very informative. You can keep an ete on the Team Summit Facebook for any news and updates.
So there you have it, a little bit on all of the finalists in Make Something Unreal Live 2013. If you aer at tha Gadget Show Live then the Epic Games stand is definitely one to check out - you'll get to talk to the teams (who are pretty great people), see the development in action and even get to playtest their versions. If you want to know who the winner will be then make sure to keep an eye on the Make Something Unreal facebook account and VGU will keep you updated as everything progresses.
Got a favourite game in mind? Let us know which game you think should win with a comment below.