Epic Games Announces ‘Make Something Unreal Live’ Studios

Epic Games and Train2Game have provided an update on the “Make Something Unreal Live” competition. The contest has students making games using Epic’s Unreal Development Kit. The games will be released on the iOS App Store, with the winner receiving “a full source, commercial Unreal Engine 3 license for iOS free of upfront fees” and a vacation to a water park in Slovakia (for real). As the contest approaches its climax, four student-based game-studios have emerged as the finalists: Commando Kiwi, Derp Studios, Digital Mage and Indigo Jam. The four studios will be making iOS games based on the Fighting Fantasy series of books by Ian Livingston and Steve Jackson.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

Students have created four new studios from their original teams to launch games at this year’s The Gadget Show Live. At this huge event, they will reveal their new projects to the world, each finalising a full game for distribution. Key industry icons will be on hand to aid and advise with game designs as the studios compete to win a full Unreal Engine licence and a holiday to Aquacity in Slovakia.

The games are being developed using Epic Games’ UDK, the free edition of the award-winning Unreal Engine 3, helping students gain experience with tools used by leading studios around the world. During the process, students have their work reviewed, critiqued and mentored by a series of Train2Game tutors, current industry leaders and game specialists. The final games will be distributed globally on the App Store and launched at this year’s The Gadget Show Live, the premier consumer show taking place from April 10-15, 2012 in Birmingham, UK.

I love what Epic is doing here. The contest encourages students to make games and lets kids dream about becoming the next great game designer. It also furthers Epic’s Unreal Engine efforts on iOS, which is arguably the fastest-growing gaming platform today. For gamers, this a wonderful thing simply because it will result in better-looking games. Of course getting students familiar with and hooked on Unreal Engine helps Epic create a new generation of developers that will license its engine for years to come. All told, the “Make Something Unreal Live” endeavor is a smart mix of grassroots outreach and savvy business practices.

Congrats and best of luck to Commando Kiwi, Derp Studios, Digital Mage and Indigo Jam! I’m personally rooting for Indigo Jam…because the name is completely tasty.