Search for a Star

What is Search for a Star?

Search for a Star is a nationwide competition designed to highlight and reward the UK's most promising video games programmers. This is an excellent chance to shine the spotlight on students, and also the UK's leading University courses.

The three stages of the competition mirror a typical recruitment process within the games industry, while also giving the students a chance to publish their own video game!

Round 1 – Technical test

Round 2 – Game creation/publishing

Round 3 – Panel interview

Entrants will get a real taste of what it takes to make it in the games industry, whilst all entrants will receive a feedback document to help them develop individually.

What is Rising Star?

Rising Star gives non final year students an opportunity to take part in the Search for a Star process. Entrants follow the same process as competitors in the main competition. The only difference between the two competitions will be at the prize stage where the Rising Star winner will be offered a games industry studio internship/work experience. Other finalists may also be offered internship experiences. Studios offering internship opportunities are: Sony Evolution, Boss Alien and Exient.

Why are we running Search for a Star?

Because - we’re passionate about graduate recruitment! We want to make a difference and improve the talent pipeline that supplies the UK games industry.

We carry out 30 careers talks during our annual “Get in the Game” tour. During this tour we deliver advice to students at the UK’s top “gaming” and computer science courses. We also offer advice to Universities on course content and how to make their students more employable. We conduct an annual graduate recruitment survey – consulting hundreds of UK games developers to ask them what they look for in a graduate games programmer. So – we know what the industry wants and we know what graduates need to do to give themselves the best chance of securing a job.   

We created the competition to highlight the UK’s best young games developers and encourage them to build a working game/demo. The talent uncovered so far has been phenomenal! Each year’s winner has gone on to immediately secure a job at a UK studio and in 2011 – 75% of those that made it through to the 2nd stage secured jobs at UK developers.

Search for a Star is not only designed to help graduates get their first break in the games industry. It’s also designed to allow UK universities get direct feedback on the quality of their courses and the employability of their graduates. It should provide a direct link between UK academia and the UK games industry.

So, we know the skills and attributes that games development studios are looking for when they recruit graduate programmers. We feel that this places us perfectly to shine the spotlight on the future stars of the UK development sector with Search for a Star!

How does Search For a Star work?

Application / Nomination stage

There are 2 entry methods:

1)      Course leaders can nominate their best final year/masters students for the competition. These can be from any discipline, as long as they have a strong academic background, have knowledge of C++ and have a passion for video games. We'll be approaching approximately 100 Universities and will target Games Development, Computer Science and Maths focused courses.

2)      Students can also apply directly. Email a CV to mark@aswift.com or fill out this application form http://www.aswift.com/searchforastar/application-form.jsp and return it to mark@aswift.com. We’ll then ensure that an examination date is organised with your institution.

Round 1

The successful nominees/applicants will be sent a set of 12 questions which they must complete under exam conditions in 90 Minutes. There are 10 multiple choice questions and 2 longer written questions.

The test is a typical example of what games companies use to assess entry level programming applicants, so is great practice for students preparing for interviews! The questions test the student's C++ programming knowledge and ensure that they have the academic capabilities to succeed in securing a programming position.

Round 2

The top 25 students in each competition will be chosen to progress to the next stage of the competition and will be sent a game creation project which is sponsored by Microsoft.

They will be provided with an engine framework to fix buggy code, implement improvements and add additional features. The project will end with the game being submitted to the Windows 8 Store. This round will provide the student with a published game that could be used to show prospective employers, again a vital part of the games industry recruitment process. Students can get Windows 8 from DreamSpark Premium for FREE see www.dreamspark.com

The tests and projects are marked and assessed by:

Lizi Attwood – The Blast Furnace - Senior Programmer – Skillset Lead Evaluator

Greg Booker – Headstrong Games – Tech Director

Lee Stott – Microsoft UK – Technical Evangelist

Having games industry professionals mark / score / evaluate the tests and game projects will ensure that those progressing through the competitions are also of a standard that the games industry expects.

Round 3

The finalists will be invited to the final stage panel interview. The panel will contain leading games industry representatives:

Lizi Attwood – The Blast Furnace - Senior Programmer – Skillset Lead Evaluator

Greg Booker – Headstrong Games – Tech Director

Lee Stott – Microsoft UK – Technical Evangelist

Scott Kirkland – Sony Evolution – Technical Director

Bryan Reynolds – Rockstar Leeds – HR Manager

Jason Fielder – Exient – Technical Director

Jason Avent – Boss Alien – Founder and Managing Director

The panel will discuss the games developed with the students and assess their programming knowledge and interest/passion for games.

The winning student and runners up will then be announced. We'll be inviting the winner to a special ceremony at Eurogamer 2014 to receive their award at in September 2014!

For more information about Eurogamer see: http://expo.eurogamer.net

Timelines

Application deadline

University test date

Round 1 - Technical Questions

January 2014

Round 2 - Programming Task

March 2014

Round 3 - Panel Interviews

April/May 2014

Winner announced

July 2014

For more information on Search for a Star, contact Mark Hope on 01709 834777 or email: mark@aswift.com

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Contact Us

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16 Nightingale Court
Nightingale Close
Rotherham
S60 2AB

Tel:
01709 834777

Fax:
01709 876 777

If you are not sure which consultant to submit your CV to, please forward it to cv@aswift.com.