$1,000,000 Unreal mod contest announced

A competition is being held to find the best mods in development for Unreal Tournament 2003 or the upcoming 2004 edition.

Epic Games, Digital Extremes, Nvidia, and Atari have today announced the start of their "$1,000,000 Nvidia Make Something Unreal" contest. The competition, which is backed by a grand prize worth $400,000, aims to reward and recognize talented developers from around the world who can create the best mods based on either Unreal Tournament 2003 or the upcoming Unreal Tournament 2004.

"This contest is not just about creating the best mod for UT2003 and UT2004. It is intended to tap the talents of a wide audience of aspiring game developers and artists," said Mark Rein, vice president at Epic Games. "We hope that the contest will act as a catalyst for those talented individuals who might not have tried their hand in the game arena before but want to get in and have the appropriate skills to create amazing mods for Unreal Tournament 2003 and 2004."

Entries for the competition can be submitted in 13 distinct categories, which include best mod, best character, best use of 3D sound, and best real-time noninteractive movie. The full list of categories, as well as additional information on the contest, can be found at this dedicated Web site. A Mastering Unreal Web site containing more than 100 hours of free downloadable video training modules has also been launched.

"The moding community has boomed simply because the Unreal Tournament game engine gives gamers and aspiring 3D artists a flexible, easy-to-use, and feature-rich toolset for content creation," said Bill Rehbock, director of developer relations at Nvidia. "This contest is an opportunity for us to reward this community for its efforts, as well as drive more attention to the art and science of moding."

The competition, which is divided up into three phases, will finish in spring 2004 when the grand prize winners will be announced at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose. Prizes on offer include not only a total of $500,000, but also a commercial Unreal Tournament game engine license valued at $350,000 and more than $300,000 worth of high-end PC hardware. Of the 100 computers given away, 50 will go to what the judges consider to be the five most deserving schools whose students or faculty submit entries in the contest.

"In addition to winning some awesome prizes and cold, hard cash, winners of the contest may even follow in the footsteps of mod authors who entered the first Unreal mod contest in 2000 and had their winning entries professionally published, as was the case of the highly successful Tactical Ops: Assault on Terror game, whose lead is currently employed by Epic Games," added Rein.

To qualify for the competition, contestants will have to ensure that their mods are freely available for download and that they work with either UT2003 or UT2004. We'll bring you more information on the "$1,000,000 Nvidia Make Something Unreal" contest as soon as it becomes available.

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