UPDATE: See the winners and witness their journey!
Welcome to the Universal GameDev Challenge, presented by Unity Technologies! By submitting, you’ll be agreeing to not only the Universal GameDev Challenge official terms of service, but you’ll also be required to login using your UnityID. Click "Start a Submission" to start your submission now -- you'll have the entire length of the contest to edit it and others will not be able to see your submission in progress.
If you’ve ever dared to dream about a game where you outmaneuver bullies on a hoverboard, survive a shark attack, combat a Cylon invasion, battle with dinosaurs, or pilot a robot lion, now is your chance! Developers of any size now have the opportunity of a lifetime to design a PC game for an iconic Universal world with Unity.
Phase 1 (Deadline April 30!): Design your game based off one of five of Universal’s iconic worlds: Back to the Future, Jaws, Battlestar Galactica, Voltron Legendary Defender or Turok. No development work needs to start yet! Just share your creative vision in a Concept Doc and pitch it in a recorded video. Check out our sample submission here!
Phase 2: 6 finalists will be invited to an exclusive 3-Day VIP Mentorship Summit in California to work with visionaries, engineers, and spokespeople from Universal, Microsoft, Intel and Unity to create a vertical slice of your game idea.
Grand prize winners receive $150,000 cash, a consulting contract with Universal, and a chance to publish your game! Runner ups receive $20,000 per team, as well as hands on mentorship from Unity, Intel, Microsoft and Universal.
Phase 1: Your Vision!
This first phase of the contest is simple: share your vision for how you use one of these five iconic brands in a PC game, by submitting a concept doc and a pitch video. This is where we want to see your passion, creativity and original gameplay ideas shine!
Your submission will require you to create one (1) Concept Doc in .pdf format, which will be attached to your submission. The Concept Doc must include the basic elements of gameplay design, narrative, and technical goals. See the sample game design doc in the resources section.
As part of your submission, you will also need to submit one (1) “Pitch” video, introducing yourself, your team, your experience, and your vision. We want you to be able to share your knowledge and background with the greater Unity community, along with the narrative of your game that you're trying to tell. We also want to know about the creative ways you will leverage the entirety of Unity, such as the vast amount of content through the Unity Asset Store, creating together with features from Unity Teams, or sharing player experiences with Microsoft Mixer.
Your game design can be for any one of the five (5) properties listed in the contest: Battlestar Galactica™ (2004 tv series); Voltron The Legendary Defender (2016 tv series); Back to the Future™ film trilogy; Jaws™ (1975 film); and the classic Turok Son of Stone comic book characters. Do not include any actor likeness, third party brands, or the original soundtracks (OST) to your design elements.
As a bonus, you can upload an appendix with any supplementary material to your Concept Doc. This appendix can include anything from story details, art concepts, video capture of a prototype, or even models you've created using Sketchfab. Simply follow this guide, upload your models or scene, and embed the Sketchfab link directly in your submission.
Phase 1 Deliverables
One (1) Concept Document, up to 13 pages in length, in .pdf format, detailing the basic elements of gameplay design, narrative, and technical goals. See the sample game design doc in the resources section.
One (1) “pitch” video introducing yourself, your team, your experience, and your vision. This video can be uploaded privately to any video hosting service such as YouTube, and included in your submission with a private link.
Optional: Supplementary content such as concept art, videos, models, or story.
All deliverables must be submitted through a Project on Unity Connect. See “Guide to Entry” below for more details on how to submit your Project.
All deliverables must remain private, wherever they are hosted. Your Project will also remain private when it is submitted to this challenge.
Submissions will be judged based on creative use of the brand, gameplay narrative & design, contestant capability to deliver a finished Windows PC game, and integration of tools. Our judges are looking for the right game and the right team to bring this idea to life!
Lauren Montgomery: Co-executive Producer at DreamWorks TV and Showrunner for Voltron Legendary Defender
Dean Takahashi: Lead writer for GamesBeat of VentureBeat Magazine
Bob Gale: Oscar-nominated screenwriter-producer-director, best known as co-creator, co-writer and co-producer of the Back to the Future™ films
Kate Edwards: Kate Edwards is the CEO and principal consultant of Geogrify, a consultancy for content culturalization, the Executive Director of Take This, and is the former Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA).
Awards and Prizes
For Phase 1:
Six (6) finalists will be selected by judges will receive:
3-Day VIP Mentorship Summit in Southern California
For Phase 2:
One (1) grand prize winner selected by Universal's Game Team will receive:
1-year consulting contract with Universal to develop your PC game
$150,000 cash prizing
Two tickets to Unite North America in 2018
Five (5) runner up winners will receive:
$20,000 cash prizing (per team)
Two tickets per submission to Unite North America in 2018
Phase 1 Deadline
Your concept doc and pitch video must be submitted between March 19, 2018 18:30 PST and April 30, 2018 23:59 PST on the Universal GameDev Challenge submission page on Unity Connect.
Phase 1 Requirements
Your project must include concept document, submitted as a .pdf or included in the body of your submission, no more than 13 pages in length. Also, your project must include a link to a pitch video, detailing your vision and introducing yourself and your team no more than 2 minutes in length.
Individual submissions and team submissions are ineligible for prizes from the following countries listed in the official contest terms.
Use of Universal's Iconic Worlds
Your game designs can only be for one (1) property of the five (5) included in this contest. Your game designs should take into account that actor likenesses and original scores are not available for the finished game. For more information on how to utilize Universal's iconic worlds please see the official contest terms.
Phase 1 Winners Announcements
All finalists will be announced on Unity Connect on May 19, 2018.
Tackle the challenge solo or feel free to work with other team members on the project. All team members must be added as contributors on the project, must meet the contest eligibility requirements, including Unity Connect profiles completed to 80%, and should be properly attributed in your submission as contributors. One submission per team.
Phase 2: Vertical Slice
Phase 2 will start on May 19, 2018 as soon as the 6 finalists from Phase 1 are announced. The 6 finalists will receive mentorship from Unity, Universal, Microsoft and Intel, and develop their designs into a playable vertical slice. Phase 2 winners will be announced at Unite North America in October, 2018. More information on Phase 2 can be found in the official contest terms and conditions.
Guide to Entry
Choose one (1) of the following iconic worlds from Universal: Battlestar Galactica™ (2004 tv series); Voltron The Legendary Defender (2016 tv series); Back to the Future™ film trilogy; Jaws™ (1975 film); and the classic Turok Son of Stone comic book characters.
Check out the Resources section below for technical resources, and a sample Game Design Document you can use as a guideline for how to develop one of your own.
Start designing your own PC game idea!
Record your “pitch” video and upload it to a public video platform (i.e. YouTube, Vimeo). Make sure to upload it on a private link, and include this link in your submission.
Join the Intel Game Developer Program for additional support! Connect with the Intel® Game Developer Program to bring the best game experience to the biggest worldwide audience. Optimize your game performance on Intel® architecture with free software tools, and reach your customers with confidence with Intel promotional and sales programs.
Go to connect.unity.com
Login using your Unity ID credentials.
If you don’t have a Unity ID, please create one (free.) If you have to create a Unity ID, you will have to fill out a form and verify your email.
Once finished you’ll be ready to use Connect.
Please fill your profile as completely as possible (profile photo, cover photo, etc.)
Remember you need a nearly fleshed out profile in order to be eligible! (at least 80%)
Final Submission - Submitting Project
Go to connect.unity.com/challenges/universal.
Click Submit. Add Project Name.
Embed a video of your pitch at the start of your submission.
Upload a .pdf of your concept document using the uploader in your project.
Feel free to add work-in-progress images, GIFs, and video to your submission.
Add tags and tag all uploaded content with #GamesAreUniversal.
Add any contributors who helped you along the way.
You will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to join the Intel Developer Program, which can guide you on your path to success as a developer!
Key Unity Resources:
Unity - The most recent version of Unity. Download
Sample Submission - A sample of a completed submission available here.
Unity Asset Store - A catalog of over 40K assets and tools. Explore to find useful models, tools, and plugins to help you build your scene. Keep in mind that you are responsible for following the EULA of any assets in the Unity Asset Store, or any other third party asset resources. See all assets
Unity Teams - Features to share and backup your project among you and your team. Learn more
Unity Recorder - Unity Recorder captures video and images during gameplay and records to various media formats. Download
Unity User Manual - Documentation
Unity Teams - General. Collaborate. Cloud Build.
Sample Game Design Doc - Utilize this doc as a sample for how to create your own Concept Doc.
Key Brand Downloads:
Unity Brand Guidelines - Please follow all Unity brand guidelines wherever Unity’s brand is used. See Unity’s brand guidelines.
Unity Resource Pages:
Unity Learn - Core resources for learning Unity including documentation, tutorials, and webinar courses.
Unity for Artists and Animators - A collection of resources and learning material for Artist and Animators.
Unity Developer’s Corner - Collection of best-practices, tips, and more from Unity’s own engineers and evangelists.
Intel Game Developer Resources:
Intel Game Developer Program: Connect with the Intel® Game Developer Program to bring the best game experience to the biggest worldwide audience. Optimize your game performance on Intel® architecture with free software tools, and reach your customers with confidence with Intel promotional and sales programs. Get ready, get noticed, get big with Intel®.
Microsoft Game Developer Resources:
Windows Game Developer
Windows Game Development Overview
Xbox Live Creators Update
Azure Game Solutions
What is the Universal GameDev Challenge?
The Universal GameDev Challenge is a skill based Contest. The Contest will challenge developers to showcase their creativity, capability and commitment to showcasing Unity, Microsoft and Intel features by designing their own PC game using one (1) of the following five (5) intellectual properties owned and/or controlled by Universal Studios Licensing LLC:
“Turok: Son of Stone” – The approved names and likenesses of the characters, story lines, designs, visual representations, images and artwork contained in and as depicted in the original Gold Key comic books entitled “Turok” only.
The classic 1975 live-action theatrical motion picture entitled Jaws.
The classic 1985 live action motion picture entitled Back to the Future, the 1989 live action theatrical motion picture entitled Back to the Future II, and the 1990 live action theatrical motion picture entitled Back to the Future III (collectively referred to as the “Back to the Future Franchise”).
The 2004 live-action television series entitled Battlestar Galactica.
The 2016 animated television series entitled Dreamworks Voltron Legendary Defender. (Specifically excludes 1984 Voltron: Defender of the Universe).
What is an Entry?
A Phase 1 Entry includes three elements and one optional element:
1) a completed Unity Connect Entry Profile at https://connect.unity.com/challenges
And the following to be uploaded to your Contest Entry Profile:
2) a Concept document that does not exceed 13 pages in length, submitted as a .pdf. The Concept document must contain:
confirmation of developing on Unity for Windows 10;
integration of Microsoft Mixer;
basic elements of gameplay design, narrative and technical goals; and
showing the intended use of one of the specified Universal Properties
3) a ‘Pitch’ video posted to a publicly-available platform (e,g. YouTube, DropBox, GoogleDrive, etc,). A private link of the ‘Pitch’ video must be uploaded to your Contest Entry Profile. The ‘Pitch’ video cannot be more than 2 minutes in length and must include the following:
introduction of yourself (or your Team), your experience and your game vision;
explain the creative ways you will leverage Unity resources (Unity Asset Store, Cinemachine, Timeline, Post Processing Stack) or Microsoft features such as Mixer integration and Xbox Live; and
depicts your game’s functionality and gameplay
4) OPTIONAL - Appendix Content that includes concept art, models and video trailers.
See the official contest terms for additional Entry Requirements & Content Restrictions.
If you are determined to be a Finalist, you will be required to develop your game.
A Phase 2/Finalist Entry is a vertical slice of the developed game utilizing:
Universal Windows Platform utilizing Unity 2017.1 or later;
Visual Studio 2017;
Original assets based on (1) of the specified Universal Properties excluding any actor likeness, original soundtracks, third party materials and any other protected materials as designated by USL; and
the Unity Splash screen.
I want to submit but my project isn't final - what should I do?
Feel free to upload your project now in any state. You'll have the entire length of the challenge to update it to its final status, and your progress will not be visible to visitors of the site.
Am I eligible to participate in the Universal GameDev Challenge?
Yes, as long as:
you are a legal resident in your place of residence and 18 years of age or older at the time of entry;
you have the technical programming education, experience and/or knowledge to use Unity software to create a Microsoft Windows 10 game;
you have access to Unity Connect and a Unity Connect profile; and
you are NOT any of the following:
a resident of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Crimea, Sudan, or Syria for U.S. export control reasons; or Brazil; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Italy; Quebec, Canada (only Quebec - residents of Canada other than Quebec are eligible); or Saudi Arabia;
an employee of Unity Technologies, Universal Studios Licensing LLC, Intel, Microsoft or any of their parents, subsidiaries or affiliates;
an employee of any Contest Partner or the Administrator listed in Section 15;
an immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household member of any person prohibited from entering this contest under criteria (ii) or (iii) above, and/or
a student, staff or faculty of any university, college or other education institution entering in this Contest on behalf and/or in the name of your institution.
Does it matter what version of Unity I use?
To be eligible to win you must use Unity to develop your final submission in Phase 2 of the Universal GameDev Challenge. For Phase 1, ensure that your Concept Doc takes that into consideration when planning technical features of your game.
Where do I ask questions about the challenge?
Ask all questions regarding the challenge in the Universal GameDev Challenge chat channel here.
Can I create a prototype for this challenge?
Yep - we’d love to see it! Please add it to part of your video submission and if you want to show off extra bits, add it to the appendix of your submission.
Can I submit multiple submissions for the challenge?
No, you can only submit one submission to the contest.
Can I enter as part of a Team?
Yes, you may enter this Contest as an individual or a team. All team members must be identified by an Entry Representative. Each team member must meet the eligibility requirements, as well as complete a profile on Unity Connect at https://connect.unity.com/challenges.
How do I join a Team?
To create a team, talk to the people you know who meet the eligibility requirements in the official contest terms and determine if you would like to form a team and submit an entry. The first member of the team to create an Entry will be designated as the Entry Representative. They will be responsible for identifying all Team members associated with that Contest entry.
When can I enter?
You can submit your Entry between 6:30:00 p.m. Pacific Time (PT) on March 19, 2018 and 11:59:59 p.m. PT on April 30, 2018. If your Entry is selected as a Finalist, Finalist Entries must be submitted between 12:00:00 a.m. PT, May 19, 2018 and 11:59:59 p.m. PT August 15, 2018.
When I submit my project, will it be public on Unity Connect?
No, your submission will remain private in the first phase of the challenge.
Where can I go if I have questions on the project?
Please visit the Unity Connect Challenges channel for any questions you have regarding the contest or reach out to email@example.com.
What do I need to show in my final submission?
Feel free to showcase your work in progress over the course of the 30 days with dates for each entry, like a diary. You can cover all stages of your development in written text from conceptualization to your final concept document.
Feel free to include any media showcasing your work including, images, GIF's, and video. For any custom created models, we support Sketchfab embeds directly in your submission. Finally, make sure your “pitch” video and concept doc is at the top of your submission for review when you submit.
Who owns the Intellectual Property of my Entry?
Your original ideas and content that are contributed as part of your Entry will remain yours. Any intellectual property of Unity or its Contest Partners (eg the movie themes, names and character depictions, Mixer and Unity software) will continue to be owned by Unity or its Contest Partners and must be destroyed or returned back to Unity and its Contest Partners as set out in the official contest terms. If you are selected as the Contest grand prize winner, your game content and design will be subject to additional licensing rights and restrictions as determined by Universal in connection with your 1-Year Consulting Agreement prize.
What is the judging criteria?
For Phase 1 Entries - The judging criteria that will be used by the judges to determine the six finalists are as follows:
Gameplay & Narrative Design [40 points out of 100]
Is it fun? We want to make sure gameplay is fun and engaging, so we’ll need to be able to understand the rules of your design and be excited to play it!
Creative Use of the Brand [30 points out of 100]
Does your fandom show? Your concept document should showcase your creative vision for the Universal property you select. Let’s see the creative way you work with these characters and worlds to show us how inspired you are by your love of the brand!
Capability [20 points out of 100]
Can you do it? Ability to demonstrate that you have the expertise necessary to create a PC gaming experience. Unity Connect projects required with your submissions will be considered as an example of your team’s capabilities, and should reflect the best of your portfolio. Remember, your profile has to be 80% completed to be eligible!
Integration of Tools & Technology [10 points out of 100]
What’s under the hood? Do you have a new, exciting way to integrate the Mixer API into your game? Have you considered what you can do with Unity’s Timeline for creating cutscenes? Are you an early adopter of Unity 2018.1 and want to showcase what you can do with the C# Job System or Scriptable Rendering Pipeline? Show us how you may integrate Unity, Microsoft and Intel technology into your game.
For Phase 2/Finalist Entry judging - The judging criteria that will be used by the judges to determine the Grand Prize winner is:
Gameplay & Narrative Design [40 points out of 100]
Is it fun? Most of all, the vertical slice prototype should demonstrate the fun factor of the game. Show how the moment-to-moment gameplay will be fun and engaging, and make players excited to dive in!
Creative Use of the Brand [30 points out of 100]
Does your fandom show? Your vertical slice prototype should showcase your creative vision for the Universal property you select. Let’s see the creative way you work with these characters and worlds to show us how inspired you are by your love of the brand!
Capability [20 points out of 100]
Can you do it? Ability to demonstrate that you have the expertise necessary to create a PC gaming experience. Unity Connect projects required with your submissions will be considered as an example of your team’s capabilities, and should reflect the best of your portfolio. Prove that your team has the capability to deliver the full game.
Integration of Tools & Technology [10 points out of 100]
What’s under the hood? Do you have a new, exciting way to integrate the Mixer API into your game? Have you considered what you can do with Unity’s Timeline for creating cut scenes? Are you an early adopter of Unity 2018.1 and want to showcase what you can do with the C# Job System or Scriptable Rendering Pipeline? Show us how you may integrate Unity, Microsoft and Intel technology into your game.
What if I need help/advice on developing my Entry?
The Sponsor, Contest Partners and Administrator will not provide any technical support or advice for your Phase 1 Entry. However, Phase 2/Finalists will receive advice and support at the 3-Day VIP Mentorship Summit at Universal Studios Hollywood (June, 2018)
1 hour workshop with Intel Evangelist
1 hour Unity workshop with 2 Evangelists
1 hour workshop with Windows Evangelist
2-hour mentorship with USL visionaries
What is the Intel Game Developer Program?
Connect with the Intel® Game Developer Program to bring the best game experience to the widest audience. Get free access to libraries, performance analyzers, and other tools to optimize your game for the best performance on Intel® architecture. Find answers to your programming and marketing questions in our rich resource library and developer forum. When you’re ready to release, stand out from the crowd with Runs Great on Intel® technology certification and expand your reach through promotional and networking opportunities, tradeshow collaborations, and go-to-market programs.
Is being a member of the Intel Game Developer Program required for entry into the Universal GameDev Challenge?
While we highly recommend all developers join the Intel Game Developer Program, it is not required to be eligible for the Universal GameDev Challenge.
What is Microsoft Mixer?
Mixer is the world's fastest and only truly interactive streaming platform.
Is Microsoft Mixer integration required for entry into the Universal GameDev Challenge?
Entrants for Phase 1 of the challenge should consider how Mixer can be incorporated to improve the concept or game play but is not required initially. The finalist will be required to show the integration of Mixer to their submission to be considered for the grand prize selection.
What is Windows 10?
Windows 10 is the current operating system offered by Microsoft. For game developers Windows 10 offers an expansive and robust set of developer tools and capabilities with more details at https://developer.microsoft.com/games.
Is it required to design my game for Windows 10?
The game you envision in your Concept Doc and in your “Pitch” video has to be crafted for running on Windows 10 devices in order to be eligible for the Universal GameDev Challenge.
What is included in the 1-year Universal consulting contract? What kind of compensation can I expect for my game once it is published?
Universal's goal with the 1-year consulting contract is to allow you to continue to work with one of the Universal Properties, and to provide feedback and advice with respect to development of your game to improve it and reach certain KPIs. If you become one of the six finalists, your game development process will be assessed and mentored by Universal, Unity, Intel and Microsoft to help you bring your vision to life. Depending on where you are in development when the grand prize consulting contract is awarded, the services under the agreement will be tailored according to your development progress and the game itself. Awarding of the consulting agreement does not guarantee that your game will eventually be published by Universal or licensed to you to self-publish. However, if the game meets target KPIs and is otherwise approved by Universal, and eventually published, you as the developer will receive upside value and participate in an equitable manner in any revenue generated as may be agreed between Universal and each winner in a separate agreement.
Can my submission be for a VR/AR game?
No. Because we want this contest to be as open as possible for participants, it is for PC only with standard inputs (keyboard, mice, Xbox controller, or joystick.) For that reason, we ask that you don't submit a VR experience, or other experience that requires specialized or custom inputs.
I was recently a winner, runner-up, honorable mention, or community award recipient of a Unity contest in the last 12 months! Am I still eligible to enter the Universal GameDev Challenge?
Unfortunately you are not eligible to enter the Universal GameDev Challenge if you are a recent winner (in any capacity) of a previous Unity challenge (Neon, Machine Learning, etc.)
Is the prize money for being a runner up ($20,000) or a grand prize winner ($150,000) supposed to be the budget for my game?
No. The prize money has no additional requirements or stipulations on how you can spend it as part of this challenge. It is a cash prize for you to enjoy. Any possible game publishing deal between the grand prize winner and Universal will be negotiated on separate terms once the challenge is completed.
Can I use the characters from Jaws, Back to the Future, Voltron Legendary Defender, Battlestar Galactica, or Turok even though it says I cannot use the actor likeness? What about the DeLorean Time Machine?
Yes! Actor likeness extends only to the ACTORS not the CHARACTERS. Actors such as Michael J. Fox have not agreed to be part of this challenge, but the character Marty McFly from Back to the Future is a part of the Back to the Future brand. Your concepts shouldn't include images, voices, or other references to the actors, but please feel free to creatively interpret the characters in whatever content you submit. Keep in mind, your concept doc doesn't necessarily have to include any art! The DeLorean Time Machine is also permitted for use.