Concordia students gain valuable insight at the 2021 Ubisoft Game Lab Competition
The 2021 Ubisoft Game Lab Competition spawned 21 video game prototypes, four with ties to Concordia. The 11th edition of the event, under the theme “Separate // Together,” came to a close at a virtual awards gala on April 29.
“This year’s theme was self-evident,” says Marie-Ève Danis, producer on the For Honor video game series and competition jury president. “The jury and I wanted to see what the teams would come up with sticking to this new reality.”
With the support of 42 mentors from Ubisoft’s Montreal, Quebec City and Saguenay studios, 166 university students from across the province developed video game prototypes over 10 weeks. This is the first year that participating students faced the additional challenge of working and presenting to the jury remotely.
Concordia students contributed to the teams behind Alter Orbis, Biovir, Leafy Looters and Mystic Bond. Ten other Quebec universities also participated.
‘An experience I want to chase after in my career’
Sarah Alouani, a Concordia film animation student, worked on the Alter Orbis prototype, which aimed to create two parallel worlds — one organic and one mechanical.
As a film student, Alouani appreciated working with programmers. “The fact that we also had access to mentors — people who actually are part of the industry — allowed us to elevate our game to greater standards, as well as receive relevant and professional feedback on our work,” she says.
Concordia software engineering student Daniel Wiktorczyk says mentors provided a huge help to the Leafy Looters team.
“The competition was my first experience being with a full game team, alongside students who specialize in different fields, including art, design and programming,” he says. “Being able to see our game start as a simple idea and grow into a unique prototype is an experience I want to chase after in my career.”
Internships and prize nominations
The Game Lab Competition is a Ubisoft Education initiative that helps students across Quebec prepare for the jump from university to the workforce. In a little over a decade, Ubisoft has used the competition to support 1,323 students in building 166 video game prototypes and has awarded $132,000 in scholarships. Nearly 250 students who have participated in years past have gone on to be recruited for internships and jobs.
Ubisoft awarded eight prizes totaling $22,000 in scholarships this year. The grand prize of Best Game Prototype, which included an $8,000 scholarship, went to the Rusted Minds prototype developed by students from UQAT Montréal and the École de technologie supérieure. Ubisoft also offered at least 10 internships and job opportunities to students who competed.
“From this competition, a few of our team members were offered opportunities as interns at the company,” says Concordia computer science student Eli Samuel, one of the members behind the Biovir prototype.
“In Biovir, your task is to get out of a facility where you and a friend are imprisoned,” Samuel explains. Though each player is physically isolated, the game requires players to work together.
Although no Concordia students took home scholarship prizes, the Mystic Bond prototype received nominations in several of the eight categories, including Best Art Direction and Achievement, Best Technical Challenge and Innovation, Best Creativity and Integration of the Theme and the Jury’s Special Award.
‘The whole experience made me fall in love with game design’
“I loved working together with the other designers to create our really unique game,” says Mystic Bond team member Madison Hunt, a Concordia computer science student majoring in computer applications/computation arts.
Hunt adds that the Game Lab Competition provided the opportunity to learn more about the Unity game engine, animation techniques and level design, as well as time management and multitasking.
“The whole experience really made me fall in love with game design and getting to work in a team to create something exciting.”
Learn more about Ubisoft’s annual Game Lab Competition.
Find out more about the Concordia's Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science and Faculty of Fine Arts.