Edge GIG Challenge 2015: announcing this year's winners

This year’s Get Into Games Challenge has come to an end, which means it’s time to announce our winners. In early July, we played through every submission and drew up a shortlist of games that was then passed to our judging panel, made up of Funomena CEO Robin Hunicke, Unity Technologies founder David Helgason and Abertay lecturer Dr Dayna Galloway (John Romero, although originally part of the panel, was unfortunately unable to take part due to circumstances out of his control).

This year’s winner, Jon Caplin, produced atmospheric firstperson adventure Icarus.1 and wins a trip to Unity’s annual development conference, Unite, in Boston, a Unity Pro licence as well as a trip to Abertay University’s Dare ProtoPlay festival in Dundee.

Click here to download a PC build of Icarus.1, or here to download the Mac version.

“Every year we do this, the quality bar rises higher and higher,” Helgason says. “However, there always seems to be one game that stands out. I turned the lights down for a really immersive experience, and the ore collection mechanic was so much fun and perfectly fed my obsessive compulsive near-disorder. I would love to see Icarus1 expanded into a full fledged title, and the idea of playing it in VR makes me excited.”

Caplin’s creation proved just as evocative for Hunicke: “The game brings back feelings of first playing System Shock or Half-Life. I love creepy, empty space ships with history, and the sound design on this was especially great.”

Galloway, meanwhile, felt particularly inspired by Caplin’s strong sense of space and form. “This designer is definitely one to watch, and in my opinion is wholly deserving of the career-boosting prizes that are up for grabs.”

Two runners-up each also receive a Unity Pro licence. The first of these prizes go to Carlos Fernandez de Tejada Quemada and Guillermo Cle for their ball-based arena brawler Sphere 50.

Click here to download Sphere 50 (PC).

“[It’s] a fun little multiplayer game that interprets the brief in a unique way,” says Helgason. “The looting aspect is not only about collecting stuff on the arena, but also about stealing from your opponents, which creates some intense competition! I loved the different abilities of the spheres and how your style of play really has to change if you want to use each class effectively.

The simple game proved popular with the whole panel, and Galloway would like to see it developed further.

“I would like to see whether the game would benefit from the scale of the spheres being varied to facilitate the David vs Goliath style confrontations,” he says. “It shows restraint on the developer’s part to not throw features into this game, and be confident enough to present a pure, playful experience – nevertheless I’d love to see where the team could take this game through further prototyping and experimentation.”

Our second runner-up is Glyph Games’ Penny Pursuit, which turns the theme on its head by casting the player as the loot attempting to escape from a hoarding dragon.

Click here to download Penny Pursuit (PC).

“Penny Pursuit is a highly accessible game which would work well across mobile and browser,” says Galloway, who wishes to make it clear that although team member Akos is one of his students, he has had no input in the project. “The game is a strong example of design processes that fuse together two mechanics or genres to establish a concept.”

Hunicke suggests what to focus on next: “Add some physics so I feel like I'm gaining momentum from each swing! Move the character with more juicy animation, and maybe make the platforms respond as he thumps up behind you. It’s always important to make the world feel like it's responding to peril, opportunity or excitement as that feeling builds inside the player.”

Congratulations to our winners, and thank you to everyone who took part in the challenge.