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Epic announce Make Something Unreal Live 2013 contest

Epic Games’ long-running Make Something Unreal contest is back, and is open this year to teams of full-time students from any European higher education establishment. For the grand prize of an Unreal Engine 4 license, entrants are tasked with creating a PC game on UDK from scratch, in keeping with the theme of ‘Mendelian inheritance: genetics and genomics’.

Epic is accepting game pitches until November 2nd that play cleverly on the theme, at which point they will whittle down entries to a shortlist of 12. The remaining teams will use UDK - the free version of Unreal Engine 3 - to create their game and pitch in person for a place in the final four.

The four finalists will apply one last lick of code to their games live on stage at Gadget Show Live in April next year - presenting new iterations to the judges and the public twice daily - with the eventual winner to be decided at the end of the show. The reward is a commercial Unreal Engine 4 license for digital distribution on PC.

“MSUL is a fantastic way of discovering the brightest minds and the best ideas in the student development community,” said Epic’s European Territory Manager Mike Gamble. “The competition enables tomorrow’s stars to gain experience in every aspect of game development, from generating original ideas through to the pitch process, right up to a vertical slice of the gameplay experience.”

The Mendelian Inheritance, for the record, refers to the 150-year-old laws that underlie classical genetics, which define how parents of all species pass on hereditary traits to their offspring. Alternatively it’d make a mean title for a Gothic short story, so that’s two angles already.

The contest’s theme is supported by the Wellcome Trust - the forward-thinking biomedical research charity whose Tomas Rawlings we chatted to recently - which will provide advice and supporting materials from its scientists, as well as access to its facilities.

Dr. Daniel Glaser, Head of Special Projects at the Wellcome Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be involved with Make Something Unreal Live, and to support and inspire a new generation of games developers.

“The Wellcome Trust is committed to using games and gaming culture as a means of engaging people with science, working to network the talent and knowledge of scientists and developers and offering a range of funding schemes.”

Also supporting MSUL are Staffordshire University, Epic’s educational partner for the program, and games industry trade association UKIE.

New prizes alongside the UE4 licence will be announced in due time. Previous winners of Make Something Unreal include Red Orchestra, the realistic Eastern Front FPS by the team that became Tripwire Interactive.

It’s going to be great - though I feel duty-bound to remind entrants upfront that Will Wright’s already done what you’re thinking of, and fluffed it up a bit. Thanks, Will.

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