The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced the finalists in a nation-wide competition to find the game designers of the future and the educators who inspire them. The winners, chosen by a panel of games professionals, will be revealed at a special awards ceremony at BAFTA’s headquarters, 195 Piccadilly in London on Saturday 8th July.

The BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition, in association with Nominet Trust, gives young people the chance to design and create their own game. The initiative is now in its sixth year and has seen previous entrants go on to attract commercial interest, as well as a nomination at the British Academy Games Awards, BAFTA’s flagship ceremony for the games industry.

Forty games, made by individuals or teams of young people aged 10-18, will be vying for the Game Concept Award and Game Making Award, which recognise a written game idea, or a game made using computer software respectively. The winners of both strands, in 10-14 and 15-18 age ranges, will receive a host of prizes, including: a mentor from the games industry to help them develop their skills further, tours of leading games studios, and a prototype of their game created by a team of developers.

For a full list of prizes, go to: http://ygd.bafta.org/about-ygd/ygd-news/ygd-2017-winners-prizes.

The young finalists come from across England, Scotland and Wales – stretching from Aberdeen to Penzance – and one-third is female. The successful entrants include two who were also finalists in 2016.

To see the full list of young finalists, and to play the games in the Game Making category, go to http://ygd.bafta.org/winners-nominees.

Five educators are in the running for the YGD Mentor Award, which is presented to an individual, nominated by the public, involved in the education of young game designers. The winner in this category will be announced at the Awards ceremony in July. The Mentor Award finalists come from schools, colleges and code clubs in Renfrewshire, West Sussex, Suffolk and Bristol. For profiles of the mentor award finalists.

BAFTA is also presenting a YGD Hero Award for support for young games designers by an industry professional or development team. The winner of this award, selected by the BAFTA Games Committee, is announced today as Unity Technologies, creators of Unity, the largest global development platform for creating 2D, 3D, VR and AR games and experiences, including a free version for personal use.

Nick Button-Brown, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee, said: “Each year I’m truly inspired by the amazing games that we see and the talent, creativity and enthusiasm that all our entrants show. I never fail to be humbled by how much better their work is than what I could do at their age.  The entrants to this competition will help to define the future of the games industry, and I for one look forward to seeing what they come up with and playing their games.

“BAFTA Young Game Designers also recognises those who inspire the next generation, and we’re delighted to honour the companies and teams within our industry that encourage people to get involved in making games, as well as the individuals who work tirelessly to inspire the next generation of games makers to achieve their dreams. The awards ceremony in July is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate with all the winners and finalists.”

Chris Ashworth, Programme Director at Nominet Trust, said: “Nominet Trust are delighted to support BAFTA Young Game Designers for the third consecutive year. It’s a great opportunity for young people up and down the country to take part in, and be inspired by the games industry and for the sector itself to ignite an interest in STEM careers. Once again, we’ve been overwhelmed by the creativity and thrilled to see a sustained increase in the number of entries from girls.”

Jessica Lindl, Global Head of Education at Unity, said: “We are very grateful to BAFTA for this recognition. At Unity, we believe every young person should have the opportunity to learn how to become a creator, and not just a consumer, of technology. That’s why we invest so deeply in building a powerful and flexible engine that makes young people’s dreams a reality.”

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A True Tech Geek at Heart, I Started my life of being a Tech Geek at the age of 5 with the BBC Micro. Went on through most of Nintendo stuff and now a Xbox 360 Fan. I also leaked the information about the leaked Hotmail passwords story from October 2009 that went World Wide. I Started writing tech articles at the beginning of 2011, most of my articles are about Windows Phone 8/Windows 10 mobile , Xbox 360/Xbox One and other gaming news. When Chris has free time its with the family.