Registration has opened for $250,000 Microsoft contest to create playable UWP games. Although similar to previous student-only competitions this one isn't restricted to students, although it is for over 18s, and even professional game developers are eligible.
Microsoft is looking to reward the best games for the Universal Windows Platform and entrants - individuals or teams with up to 7 members can enter their games into one or more of the following four categories, which have differing amounts of cash for their Grand Prizes:
Cloud-powered game $100,000 Build a game that uses Azure Cloud Services on the backend. Judges will give higher scores to games that use multiple services in creative ways-and will award bonus points for Mixer integration.
PC game $50,000 Create a Windows 10 game using whatever technology you prefer, even middleware like Unity, Cocos, and GameMaker. Using features like Cortana or Inking will give your game an advantage with the judges.
Mixed reality game $50,000 Create an immersive mixed reality experience that lets players interact with 3D volumetric content in a virtual space. Use whichever tools you prefer (like Unity) to build as long as your game uses Windows Mixed Reality. Judges will prefer games that incorporate audio content.
Console game $50,000 Build a UWP game for the Xbox One console family and incorporate the Xbox Live Creators Program with at least Xbox Live presence. Extra consideration will be given to games that incorporate Xbox Live services like leaderboards and statistics.
While you can enter a game in multiple categories you can only win one of the four prizes. The deadline for Game submission is December 31st, 2017.
The rules stipulate that all team members must register and that residents of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria are prohibited, as are employees of Microsoft or its subsidiaries and their immediate family or household members.
With regard to professional game developers, the rules state:
If you're employed by a game development company that has 7 or more employees, you are eligible as long as your submission was not developed as a part of your job or for pay. If you are employed by an independent game developer with fewer than 7 employees, your submission is eligible if it was developed as part of your job/for pay.
An entry to the competition needs to have:
Windows Store ID - entry must be submitted and approved in the store, but does not need to be publicly available
Game Description - up to a maximum of 2,000 characters. If pre-existing source code is incorporated into the Game, then this pre-existing source code must be clearly identified in the Game Description and must not infringe on any third-party rights
Game Icon in .jpg format - maximum file size 2MB.
Five Screen Shots in .jpg format - which capture the play and style of the Game as accurately as possible, maximum file size 2MB
Game Video - which depicts the Game’s functionality and gameplay and is hosted on a publicly accessible website
Business Plan - up to a maximum of 6,000 characters
Judging will use the following criteria:
Fun Factor - Does the game provide the desire to keep playing? How intellectually challenging, relaxing, stimulating or satisfying is it to play the game?
Innovation - Is the Game creatively and technically unique?
Production Quality - Is the overall Game play seamless? Judges will assess the quality of the assets used, the user Interface design, and overall performance and stability of the Game
Business Plan feasibility - Does the Team have a credible plan for getting their project to market? Does the Game have a reasonable chance of success?
From the fist round of judging the three highest scoring entries in each category will be “Finalists” and move onto the second round of judging using the same criteria.
See the Official Rules for what constitutes an eligible entry and how entries might be used. Having read through all this there is nothing that suggests that the contest is exploitative in any way and Sign Up with your Microsoft credentials.
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