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Games Academy graduates achieved success in the GradsinGames 2020 Search for a Star competition in the Environment Art category, with three graduates placing in the top five.

Run by the UK’s biggest Games Talent recruiter Aardvark Swift, the competition is judged by leading games industry artists, and aims to showcase “the best students currently graduating in Games Environment Art at universities”.

Students were tasked with creating their own games art assets, animations or visual effects. Judges then rank the games and provide feedback to help the developers improve and enhance their games.

Graduates Madison Riley, Jay Hargreaves and Louis Sullivan all finished in the top five in the Environment Art category. There were 90 entries in this category so this is a great achievement for all three graduates, we are very proud of them.

Douglas Brown, Director of the Games Academy said, “We’re delighted at the strong showing from Falmouth in this highly contested category. Three of the five nominees coming from our Games Academy is an excellent result, and Louis in particular has done incredibly well. These students submitted portfolio pieces which they have been working on alongside and in addition to their full game projects, which only makes this an even more impressive achievement. We’re sure that industry success awaits for all three of them, and this is one of the best springboards to get them there.”

“Louis was awarded the overall runner up prize and was described by the judges as “confident, and already showing excellent signs of leadership.” They were impressed by his willingness to take on feedback and improve his skills during the process.”

At the same time, Falmouth’s Games Academy has been recognised as one of the leading universities by the organisers, they stated “Having three finalists in SFASX Environment Art is a huge achievement, showing a real quality to the arts education at Falmouth.”

Watch this video describing the SFAS competition’s Environment Art category (20 minutes in).

The winners:

Louis Sullivan came second overall with ‘Street Market Oasis’ a fantasy market environment inspired by Spyro's stylisation and his own trip to Turkey. Judges’ feedback noted “This is a very impressive and extremely attractive stylised environment. It has bags of character, a real sense of place (helped by some real-world research) and an accomplished level of detail variation… Creating a style that works, remains legible and that remains consistent across multiple assets and compositions is no easy task, and the artist achieves it well. Great work!”

Jay Hargreaves placed with ‘Park diorama’, his 3D diorama of a park inspired by Monet's Water Lilies. Judges’ comments included “A lovely piece of work, this diorama is a highly successful example of environment art… The final result is visually intriguing, with a good balance between detail and space, allowing the eye to focus and rest on different areas - this is something a lot of student environment art falls down on, so congratulations on that.”

Maddie Riley placed with her game ‘Hidden Sanctuary’. Judges commented that “Extensive research was done into defining the idea for the project, what you wanted to achieve with it, and what kind of narrative you wanted to get across in the environment; I can clearly see how your research influences your final concept.”

Grads in Games ‘Search For A Star’ competition is one of the industry’s biggest student game development challenges, designed to help individuals make the leap from student to professional games developer. They work with leading studios across the industry to develop the competition challenges, which are designed to show the kind of knowledge and abilities that studios are looking for.

Find out more about the winning entries at GradsinGames