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Wednesday 28 March 2018

Four computer games students have been shortlisted for one of the gaming industry’s biggest student development challenges – Grads in Games’ Search for a Star 2018.

Joshua Dawson, Shannon Symonds, Aleksis Andzans and Ethan Bruins will face an expert panel of video game veterans at the final, held on 6 April at Sheffield Hallam University, where they will take part in a final interview in the hope of being crowned one of the Search for a Star and Sumo Digital Rising Star winners.

The crowned winners will receive a job interview with a leading game development studio, as well as being awarded big prizes by industry. The prizes from last year included state of the art AMD graphics cards and Allegorithmic art software licences.

Joshua, in his final year studying BA (Hons) Computer and Video Games (now BA (Hons) Computer Games (Art)), has been shortlisted in the Character Art category with ‘Sergent Claws’, a genetically created velociraptor bred into being a soldier in an alternate World War II.

Talking about his work, Joshua says: “I like the idea of an old war that would use dinosaurs with future tech in order to win. I’ve aimed for a realistic-type texture because I feel like it will be able to show more detail with the character.”


Shannon is also in her final year studying BA (Hons) Computer and Video Games and is shortlisted in the Character Art category. Her design is ‘Peacock Knight’, a regal knight belonging to the Band of the Peacock.

She says: “My idea was to create a design that is visually striking but also believable as something that could have existed in real life.

“The medieval era and aesthetic is something I love, and with many games and films based on this era being my biggest inspiration artistically, I thought I’d make my own knight.”


Aleksis, studying BSc (Hons) Computer Games (Software Development), was shortlisted in the Code category for his development of ‘Search for a Starship’.

He explains his concept: “Global warming has caused massive flooding! The last two people on Earth must race to a one-person spaceship on a floating platform in the sky. On the way, they must collect enough money to pay the spaceship’s fare.”

Ethan, studying BSc (Hons) Computer Games (Software Development) was shortlisted in the Sumo Digital Rising Star 'Code' category for his development of 'Fire Escape'. 

He explains "the main concept I wanted to focus on was creating a jump prediction system with a strength value. I also wanted to include power-ups which allow for the game to vary each time it is played."

Ethans Bruins Fire Escape design

On the day of the finals, the students will hear talks from various games studios and will also be able to network with the other finalists, other competition entrants, and industry pros.