Gamefirst: EPITA and e-artsup students win over the Voodoo start-up!
From March 21 to 25, 2022, 2nd year apprenticeship students in the Expert Cycle at EPITA and 3rd year students in the Game Art & Creative Coding Bachelor’s program at e-artsup took up the Gamefirst challenge. Organized on the Paris campuses of the two schools, this collaborative workshop was conducted in partnership with Voodoo, a French unicorn startup that creates hyper-casual video games for cell phones, i.e. games that are very easy to learn and which only last a few minutes. What was the goal of this week-long event combining development and design for the eight student teams? To create the best Playable Ad!
If you have a smartphone, chances are you’ve already tried a Playable Ad, which, unlike traditional ads, allows you to try a mini-game, while inciting you to go to the App Store or Google Play to download the associated application. And to work well, these Playable Ads must offer simple and intuitive gameplay, as well as lively and addictive playability, like the games produced by Voodoo. “Hyper-casual titles are very short, with very simple functions, says Pierre-Alexandre Bartel (e-artsup Bachelor class of 2022), member of the winning team and head of the UX/UI part. Here, the goal was to work on even shorter games, types of demos designed to make people want to download the application. Not necessarily an easy task in just a few days, especially when you start with nothing. The brief given by Voodoo was very clear, but the idea for the game didn’t come to us right away,” explains his teammate, Nathan Podesta (EPITA Expert Cycle class of 2023), developer. We first had to think as a team to find a conclusive lead which, in the end, and after many hours of work, enabled us to obtain first place!” A victory that rewards their project: a Formula 1 game on a circuit where the user must manage the car’s speed and control the bends by applying pressure to the screen with fingertips (or, when using a desktop, applying pressure to the mouse).
Try the winning Playable Ad of the first edition of the EPITA and e-artsup Gamefirst
Alchemy at the heart of the workshop
Manon Arnault (e-artsup Bachelor class of 2022), also a member of the team, confirms. In charge of graphic design, Manon feels that the key to this success lies in the excellent group dynamics: “The week went by very simply! On the first day, we got to know each other with a few exercises, and then we began brainstorming to come up with an idea that we would work on the rest of the week. Once we found a concept we all liked, we immediately determined the role of each person in the group.” This alchemy won over the jury, as well as the students themselves, explained the other project developer, Thomas Moreaux (EPITA Expert Cycle, class of 2023), the last representative of the winning quartet: “This week was extremely interesting, thanks to the association between EPITA and e-artsup. During these few days, we were able to work on these two very different, yet complementary aspects: programming and pure information on one hand, and artistic creation and multimedia on the other. It was very nice to be able to learn from each other and organize our activities. I also enjoyed hearing the concrete and professional points of view of the Voodoo teams, who gave us examples of deliverables and creations to be submitted.”
Composed of teachers from both schools and professionals from Voodoo, the jury praised the participants’ level of investment. “We had eight very diverse projects, some in 2D, others in 3D, and I’d like to congratulate all the teams for having done such a good job in respecting the high standards of Voodoo’s Playable Ads, corresponding to market expectations: the projects and the results were very professional, especially given the time limit”, underscores Aya Mouawad, Senior Playable Ads Coordinator at Voodoo. Working with these young talents was very enriching, for them as well as for me,” continues Aya Mouawad, who was extremely impressed by the proposals. Artists, game designers and developers were able to work together perfectly to create unique projects and I obviously encourage them to continue in this direction! An incentive for the winning team that will culminate in an invitation to spend a day in the unicorn dedicated to working on hyper-casual games. Before possibly joining the Voodoo teams in the near future! You never know,” says Aya Mouawad with a smile. But one thing I am sure of is that I would like to be able to recruit all of the participants in order to benefit from their ideas!”