The national competition, which celebrates talented game developers under the age of 18, crowned 18-year-old Adam Pace from Sunderland as winner of the Game Making Award for his prototype game Wip.
Adam, who studied NextGen animation, games and VFX at Sunderland College, was one of four winners who beat over 50 finalists. His game concept explores friendship and loss, following the recent loss of his Grandad.
He said: “I had the idea for a while of an AI that comes to life in an unfinished game, but after the loss of my Grandad I wanted a creative outlet to help cope and decided the game should revolve around bereavement and loss to express how I was feeling, but also unlikely friendships and continuing to move forward. It helped having something positive come out of that loss and something that everyone, including my Grandad, could be proud of.
“The competition has given me a lot more confidence in my work and the path I'm taking. The NextGen course at Sunderland College is a great stepping stone into a career. The lecturers all have diverse backgrounds and can offer different insights into a wide range of fields.
“I'm hoping to find an apprenticeship, somewhere creative and challenging. I would like to thank everyone who is always there to support me and who are always helping me everyday.”
Sunderland College is one of only a few colleges nationally to offer NextGen qualifications. Students train in a state-of-the-art NextGen studio, which has been purpose-built to replicate the real-world working environment of a commercial game and VFX studio. Approved by global gaming giant Ubisoft, the academy features facilities and resources that are rarely seen in a college environment, including professional work stations with industry standard software, a 12-foot cinema screen, cinema projector, 7.1 surround sound and conference facilities.
Jane Reed, Faculty Director for Digital, Creative and Business at Sunderland College, said: “Backed by NextGen, our AIM Awards Level 3 qualification in animation, computer games design and visual effects (VFX) is practical, applied and relevant. We nurture our students to become the next generation of creators, and progress to employment or higher level study with a solid base of technical skills allied to practical teamwork, communication and iteration experience.
“We pride ourselves in providing students with opportunities to further develop their skills and showcase their talents on a national stage. We are delighted with Adam’s success and know he will be a star of the future in the game design industry.”
Now in its ninth year, the four winners of the BAFTA Young Game Designers competition were chosen from 53 finalists by a panel of industry experts.
Dr Jo Twist OBE, Chair of Games Committee at BAFTA, added: “Games are a fantastic art form for creators to express themselves, and I am delighted to see young people tackling important topics through their design and concept entries this year. Their creativity and ambition for social change through the medium of games is inspiring.”
The awards ceremony was hosted by journalist and presenter Alysia Judge, and Eurogamer's Aoife Wilson at BAFTA’s headquarters in London last month.
For more information about Sunderland College, visit the next open event, ring 0191 511 6000 or go to www.sunderlandcollege.ac.uk