After a furious few days of demos and pitches and judging, the top Imagine Cup teams have been crowned the winners of their respective categories. The award ceremony took place at a breakfast held at Microsoft HQ in Seattle this morning, where the winners were announced and prizes handed over.
The prize money on offer is not small change, either: third place teams get $5 000, second gets $10 000 and the top teams took home $50 000 each. In South African terms, that’s a lot of cash: R63 495.25, R127 001.00 and R634 942.50 respectively.
Here are the winners:
3rd place – Team Prognosis from Greece
2nd place – Team Mozter from Singapore
1st place – Virtual Dementia Experience from Australia, who won for their work on a project that simulated the effects of dementia for healthy people using virtual reality, that has long-term goals of improving the lives of dementia sufferers and the performance of health services in general by giving caregivers an inside view of what life is like for their patients.
3rd – Team Thief (China)
2nd – Kuality Games (Netherlands)
1st – IzHard from Russia won with their game AVIVO, a stylised black-and-white arcade puzzle platformer whose visual style was inspired by artist MC Escher, which worked closely with a great control system and a clever surface-switching mechanic to win them top honours. It was truly unique, and really well-executed.
3rd – Team Siymb (UK)
2nd – Team N00bz (Azerbaijan)
1st – Team EfitFashion from Brazil’s idea is nothing short of brilliant: the team came up with an algorithm that allows any clothes pattern to scale according to an individual’s unique measurements, enabling the easy creation of custom-made garments for people of all shapes and sizes. A lot of the cost of custom-made clothes is the time required for a tailor to create the patterns needed to get clothes to fit perfectly, and team EfitFashion’s work drastically reduces the time requirement. Brilliant!
Tomorrow, the three winning teams go head-to-head in an event called the Imagine Cup Championship, which will crown only one team as the overall champions as determined by a panel of celebrity judges made up of Thomas Middleditch, star of HBO’s “Silicon Valley”; Alex Kipman, the inventor of HoloLens and Jens Bergensten, lead developer of Minecraft.
The award will be presented by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella himself, at the Washington State Convention Centre in downtown Seattle, and I will be there for the final showdown.
I was a bit sad to see that no African teams featured in today’s prize-giving, but I spoke briefly with the guys from Digital Interactive Games afterwards and they told me there is no shame in losing to the kind of quality on display from the other teams.
More importantly, they learned a lot about what’s required of game makers to truly shine in a competition like this, and will be applying what they learned to next year’s project, which is already under development.
Congratulations to all who participated, and we can’t wait to see what next year’s event brings!
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