This year, 80 students from Bulgaria participated in the Game Dev category of the national competition for IT and visual arts”I Can – Here and Now”. ARC Academy is partner of the event. The category has been present for three years, and each year the number of participants has seen significant growth (20 participants in the first year and 44 in the second).
For the first time this year, students who chose to create games competed in teams. We divided the students into 20 teams, each consisting of game designers and artists.
The game jury consisted of Milin Djalaliev, co-founder of ARC Academy; Krasimira Manashfi, program manager; Mladen Borisov, marketing director; Mihaela Benova, director of online programs; and Ivaylo Koralsky, co-owner of the indie game studio Kyodai.
Three students from ARC Academy, Polina Vucheva, Kalina Stoyanova, and Krastyu Tomov, served as mentors to the students and assisted them in creating their game projects.
The students had to develop their game concept set in a mythical forest inhabited by fantastical creatures. It featured a village where whimsical bridges connected individual houses. The final presentations were expected to include the game’s visual concept art, level and mission ideas (game design), and potential target audience. The teams worked tirelessly and presented their original ideas, from which the jury selected the winners.
First place went to the team 50%, consisting of Diljara Eminova, Miroslav Rusev, Boryana Tsanova, and Ralitsa Nikolova, with their game Undomed.
The second place was secured by the team Kleopatra, comprised of Iliyan Manov, Viktor Angelov, Denis Zlatkov, and Adelina Grozdanova, with their game Infernal Awakening: Trials of the Banished Alchemist.
The Golden Arrows team with participants Vilyana Hristova, Deyana Tsvetkova, Petar Hordelov, Damyan Stoyanov and the game D-E-E-R won third place.
A special Programming award went to team Nina’s Squad, consisting of Teodor Ivanov, Spas Stoimenov, Boyan Rujev, and Viktor Vasilev.
Here’s what our mentors and jury members shared about their experience in Devin:
“Students came wanting to express themselves but discovered how inspiring it is to work as a team. They were excited to show off what they had done, and they had given it their all. Communicating with these students was very beneficial for me as well. It is inspiring to see how these young people figure out what they want to do early on.” Michaela Benova
“For the third time, I’m part of the competition, and for me, it’s a very inspiring and positive experience. Most kids have great ideas and manage to implement them in a very good way.” – Ivaylo Koralsky.
“The atmosphere was positive, fun, and super energizing. The students were extremely enthusiastic and didn’t stop working during all the hours they were given. As a result, their projects reached a level that surprised and inspired me. The concept artists were particularly impressive, and many of them managed to come up with and draw unique things within the limited time they had.” – Polina Vucheva.
“Although the teams were formed on the spot, and some participants didn’t know each other or hadn’t worked in a team before, they managed to find common ground, collaborate, and ultimately fulfill the task. Working with ambitious and goal-oriented children managed to inspire me as well.” – Krastio Tomov.
“At the beginning, there was a slight stiffness among the teams. Some teams had just met the day before, but most quickly found their rhythm and did an excellent job with the task. It was interesting to see how each team interpreted the theme in their own way, with some coming up with original ideas.” – Kalina Stoyanova.
We had a wonderful time in Devin and were energized by interacting with such enthusiastic students. The next initiative of “I Can – Here and Now” is the SUPER Summer Academy, for which you can register until July 1st.
See some photos from the competition’s weekend: