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PGDA announce shortlist for Talent Award 2023

21 Jun 2023

PGDA proudly announce the shortlist nominees of this year’s Talent Award

By introducing the Talent Award PGDA want to spotlight the exceptional educational work schools and universities provide to students across Austria. For the small but enthusiastic scene Austria has outstanding curriculums for up-and-coming game developers in almost every district. All courses offer a huge variety of educational programs, covering all disciplines needed in game development, as well as a strong focus on the interdisciplinary exchange crucial for a successful project. PGDA would like to honor the work of each institute and all committed teaching staff creating a positive environment for students to foster their love for game development. All this hard work and commitment (lecturers and students of course!) can be seen in the projects participating in the Talent Award 2023. To summarize the judges’ feedback in one sentence: „The quality of all submitted games are extremely high and speak for itself.” Hence Andy Schmoll (Game Director – Ubisoft Toronto), Peter Wutzl (Director of Business Development Europe – Smilegate), and Severin Ecker (Principal Engine Programmer – formerly at Io-Interactive, currently between jobs) had a very hard time choosing three nominees for the shortlist out of these twelve overall impressive students projects:

ID Project Genre Educational institution
1 Panta Rhei Adventure Rogue-lite University of Applied Sciences Salzburg
2 Star Fighter Rail Shooter University of Applied Sciences BFI Vienna
3 Breachingpoint Bullet Hell, Bossrush HTL (higher technical education institute) Spengergasse
4 Their Land First Person Action Adventure University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Campus Hagenberg
5 Tricks ‚N‘ Treats Assymmetrical VR Couchparty Game HTL (higher technical education institute) Spengergasse
6 Coral Cove Match-3 University of Applied Sciences Salzburg
7 Ruins of the Lost Action Roguelike University of Applied Sciences Salzburg
8 Taking Root Puzzle Game University of Applied Sciences Salzburg
9 Bots are Stupid Platformer University of Applied Sciences Salzburg
10 Adulting Visual Novel University of Applied Sciences Salzburg
11 808cc Racing, Arena Shooter University of Applied Sciences Salzburg
12 Morigami 2.5D story-driven puzzle adventure game University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Campus Hagenberg

An overview of all projects including links to trailers can be found here.

To offer a transparent process PGDA defined the following categories the judges used to evaluate all submitted projects. Each category has a maximum number of points assigned, representing the overall value as well as focus for the assessment:

  1. Build/playable version of the game (35 points)
  2. Pitch Deck (20 points)
  3. Trailer & Screenshots (15 points)
  4. PR Factsheet (5 points)
  5. Commercial potential (15 points)
  6. Comprehensive presentation as well as interaction of all assets (10 points)

As mentioned before, it was not an easy job to come to a conclusion. The judges had a very good time playing all games and were also impressed by the quality, as well as depth of the accompanying documents. So long story short, here are the shortlist nominees for the Talent Award 2023:

Coral Cove Morigami Taking Root
Match-3 Game Story-driven Puzzle Adventure Game Puzzle Game
University of Applied Sciences Salzburg University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Campus Hagenberg University of Applied Sciences Salzburg

Congratulations! We are looking forward to welcoming you at the LevelUp Festival in Salzburg, where you will staff your booth and show your incredible work to the world! You should look forward to presenting your project to the most important audience, the players! LevelUp Festival is a B2C (business to consumer) event, with a very large number of visitors, that offers a first stress test for your game. Be ready for direct feedback from critical gamers, but also very positive emotional moments seeing players enjoying your game!

Award Ceremony

Those lucky three – Coral Cove, Morigami, and Taking Root – are advancing one field on the game board, getting closer to gamescom in Cologne in August. Who will make the race and win the booth at the WKO “Gemeinschaftsstand”? We will find out on the main stage at the LevelUp Festival on Sunday July 2nd, 4pm. If you are nearby, don’t miss the chance to experience the variety of the Austrian as well as international game developer scene with a packed and interesting program the entire weekend long. For instance, the University of Applied Sciences Salzburg is hosting the Indie Area providing space for an additional 27 games made in Austria, which gives you 30 games in total to enjoy. You wouldn’t want to miss that, would you?

More educational institutions

The Talent Award 2023 saw twelve submissions from four different schools, located in Salzburg, Upper Austria and Vienna. But Austria has more to offer! As follows you can find an overview (without guarantee for completeness, as these are evolving quickly) of educational institutions offering game development curriculums. If you are interested in starting a career in game development, a proper and formal education is a good starting point. Why not check out a school close to you at their next open house?

Educational Institution District
University of Klagenfurt Carinthia
University for Continuing Education Krems Lower Austria
St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences Lower Austria
University of Applied Sciences Salzburg Salzburg
Technical University Graz Styria
University of Applied Sciences Technikum Joanneum Styria
University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Campus Hagenberg Upper Austria
University of Applied Sciences BFI Vienna Vienna
HTL (higher technical education institute) Spengergasse Vienna
Technical University Vienna Vienna
Angewandte – University of Applied Arts Vienna Vienna
University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien Vienna
SAE Institute Vienna
Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences Vorarlberg

Thanks for your attention and stay tuned for more information to come soon!

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