Image courtesy of New3dge

See the Unreal Engine student projects that won this year’s Rookie Awards

July 29, 2021
The winners of the 11th annual Rookie Awards have been announced! We’re excited to reveal all the talented young creatives who turned their Unreal Engine skills into award-winning projects.

The contest 

The Rookie Awards is a digital art contest open to creatives in almost any medium—from visual effects and games all the way to VR and 3D visualization. The one catch? Only amateur artists are allowed to enter.

This makes The Rookie Awards an excellent way for students to break into the industry, or for hobbyists to turn their passion into a career. 

The results

This year, 4,104 entries were submitted from 98 countries and 568 schools: exceeding the numbers from last year across the board. 

Winners who used Unreal Engine in their projects also exceeded last year. All seven main ‘Game Development Rookie of the Year’ category winners; five ‘Game of the Year’ winners in Console & PC and Immersive Media games; as well as the ‘Rookie of the Year’ winner in Architectural Visualization were all created in Unreal Engine. 

In the ‘Young Guns’ specialty category for artists aged 13-17, the winning project was also created in Unreal Engine. Nine students also won career opportunities with us and Ninja Theory. Check out all of this year’s winning projects in detail below!
 

Game of the Year—Console & PC: Winner 2021

Soul Weaver | New3dge | France

Soul Weaver is a final year graduation project produced over the course of 11 months at New3dge. Inspired by indie titles like Little Nightmare, Inside, and ECHO, this third-person platform game follows a small creature who tries to retake control of its own existence.
 

Game of the Year—Console & PC: Highly Commended 2021

DripperZ League | New3dge | France

DripperZ League is another New3dge student graduation project, made by a team of five women. The game involves competing to play a match of violent paintball in a futuristic setting. To win, players need to work as a team and shoot at targets carried by their opponents.
Image courtesy of New3dge

Game of the Year—Console & PC: Highly Commended 2021

Heka | New3dge | France

This third-person sci-fi game was completed in eight weeks with a team of five environment artists, two character artists, and one technical artist as a final-year project at New3dge.
Image courtesy of New3dge

Game of the Year—Immersive Media: Winner 2021

Project Photon | VR Experience | Bournemouth University | United Kingdom

Created by Michaela Kindlova and Abhineetam Chaurasia as part of their 3D Animation Masters course, Project Photon is an immersive experience where the player explores a mystical world with the help of a friendly maintenance robot.
 

Game of the Year—Immersive Media: Highly Commended 2021

Breached VR | University of Hertfordshire | United Kingdom

This VR experience by Robert Cooper takes place in an authentic digital reproduction of the British submarine HMS Alliance during the Cold War. The player fills the shoes of fictional USSR agent Anatoly Oblonsky, who boards the enemy vessel to carry out an espionage mission.
Image courtesy of University of Hertfordshire

Game of the Year—Immersive Media: People’s Choice 2021

Zensus | Centro de Diseño Cine y Televisión | Mexico

Inspired by the desire to combat life’s daily stresses, Zensus is a VR experience that helps users relax through meditation, sound therapy, and more. The experience was developed by Diana Paola Calvillo Noguez and ​​Alejandra Haro Rio.
Image courtesy of Centro de Diseño Cine y Televisión

Rookie of the Year—Game Development: Winner 2021

Jasmin Habezai-Fekri | 3D Environment & Prop Art 2020-2021 | TH Cologne Game Lab | Germany 

This entry showcases a series of stylized, colorful environments and props that Jasmin Habezai-Fekri created using a mix of PBR and hand-painted textures rendered in Unreal Engine.
 

Rookie of the Year—Game Development: Runner-Up 2021

Malin Tuomas | Environment Art | Sweden

From futuristic hero road trip props to full-scale projects, this selection of game environments highlights the work Malin Tuomas completed as a student by focusing on lighting and subtle storytelling.
Image courtesy of Malin Tuomas

Rookie of the Year—Game Development: Highly Commended 2021

Silke Van Der Smissen | Collection of Environments and Props | Digital Arts and Entertainment | Belgium

Inspired by a love for visual storytelling, this entry is a collection of work Silke Van Der Smissen—a Game Graphics Production student—completed over the past year. Whether you want a sci-fi environment inspired by a submarine or a wizard’s reading nook, it’s all here.
Image courtesy of Silke Van Der Smissen | Digital Arts and Entertainment

Rookie of the Year—Game Development: Highly Commended 2021

Moreau Clément | Plane Hangar - UE4 Environment | Howest - Digital Arts and Entertainment | France

Moreau Clément’s goal for this project was to build a full environment to showcase a props portfolio. The project was rendered in real time using Unreal Engine 4.25’s raytracing features.
Image courtesy of Moreau Clément | Howest - Digital Arts and Entertainment

Rookie of the Year—Game Development: Highly Commended 2021

Aleksandar Danilovac | Victorian City Street | Think Tank Training Centre | Canada

Inspired by a concept piece from Rowena Wang, Aleksandar Danilovac’s video game environment reel was created during a mentorship at Think Tank Training Centre.
Image courtesy of Aleksandar Danilovac | Think Tank Training Centre

Rookie of the Year—Game Development: Highly Commended 2021

Mikel Iriberri | Ancient Market | Think Tank Online | Spain

“In the scorching sand of the vast desert, a group of merchants spots a market where desired goods and luxury items can be traded.” 

Mikel Iriberri created the market to go with this story in this impressive submission.
Image courtesy of Mikel Iriberri | Think Tank Online

Rookie of the Year—Game Development: People’s Choice 2021

Shira Eilan | Asha | Think Tank Training Centre | Israel

Shira Eilan’s unique game environment, which expertly combines both heritage and futuristic elements, was created for a mentorship with Aaron Dodd at Think Tank Training Centre.
Image courtesy of Shira Eilan | Think Tank Training Centre

Rookie of the Year—Architectural Visualization: Winner 2021

Adam Karlsson | END OF AN ERA | The Game Assembly | Sweden

Made over the course of six months, Adam Karlsson’s third and last entry for The Rookie Awards introduces an interactive apartment interior that allows potential buyers to explore and customize a space before investing in it; and more.
 

Speciality—Young Guns (Ages 13-17): Winner 2021

Giora Nohl | Château de Forêt | Germany

After seeing a photo of the abandoned library located in French castle Château de Forêt, Giora Nohl decided to create a 3D environment inspired by the room. This submission is the result.
Image courtesy of Giora Nohl

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