Brains Eden 2014

Friday 4 July – Monday 7 July
Held at Anglia Ruskin University, and supported by VIVID (Value Increase by Visual Design), Brains Eden Gaming Festival saw over 130 students from across Europe, UK and for the first time Canada coming together to work in 26 teams. Thank you to all sponsors and supporters of Brains Eden 2014, without whom this event would have been impossible.  

The four day event began with workshops led by ARM, Guerrilla Cambridge and Ukie. ARM provided the opportunity to understand more about how ARM and Mali GPUs are constantly expanding the mobile experience. Guerrilla Cambridge led two talks on “Variety: A Rational Level Design Approach” from Lee Brimmicombe-Wood, Principal Designer and “Creating Cinematic Quality Visual Effects in Real time” from Oli McDonald, Effect Artist. Ukie held speed surgeries lasting 20 minutes each on Friday and were hosted by 5 industry experts ranging from games development to portfolio guidance.  

Friday’s event started with an industry networking reception and Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge opened the evening’s activities. The BAFTA supported Symposium included talks by industry veteran Andy Payne, and Mike Bithell, creator of the hugely successful, BAFTA Award winning indie game, Thomas Was Alone. Andy spoke about his career spanning the last 30 years and offered advice for students on how the ability to adapt, innovate and collaborate ensures success in the rapidly changing games industry. Mike then gave an account of his journey so far from traditional developer to making it on his own. He also provided insight into his creative process along with invaluable career advice for aspiring game designers.  

On Saturday morning, Matthew Holland, Design Team Leader at Jagex and Games Jam facilitator, announced the theme, ‘Unequal’ and then the Games Jam began. Teams of up to 5 students competed to develop the best computer game over a single weekend. A record number of industry experts and professionals were on hand to help, including last year’s winning team, ‘Breathing Bits’ from NHTV of Applied Sciences.  

The festival continued on Monday with a busy schedule of events. A Games Artwork Exhibition was followed by a chance to play the teams' finished games. Careers Clinics provided students with an excellent opportunity to have 10 minute discussions with professionals from Guerrilla Cambridge, ARM, Frontier Developments, Jagex and Ninja Theory.  

The festival ended with an Awards Ceremony to announce the winning teams. The judges were impressed with the standard of the games and agreed that the students work has improved year on year.

The chosen 6 games then went on to be played by the elite judges. The Shortlisted 6 were:
1. Anglia Ruskin University
2. Howest University
3. London Metropolitan University
4. NHTV of Applied Sciences
5. Staffordshire University
6. University of Bedfordshire  

And the winners were:
Brains Eden 2014 Winners Bloated Squid from Anglia Ruskin University
Brains Eden 2014 Runners Up The Interns from Howest University
BE. Mobile Winners No Sleep till Cambridge from NHTV of Applied Sciences