Twelve-year-old Spruce Campbell, who lives near Uckfield, is one of four winners of a BAFTA Young Game Designers competition.
Spruce, who lives on the Ashdown Forest, near Nutley, and attends Sevenoaks School, won his national award in the Game Making (10-14 years) category with his CyberPNK game.
It was presented at a ceremony at the London headquarters of BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts).
Spruce will receive a package of prizes including a mentor from the games industry, to help him develop his skills further, tours of leading games studios, game development software and a prototype of his game created by a team of developers.
Hosts at the awards ceremony were Dev Griffin of BBC Radio 1, and Georgie Barrat of The Gadget Show, and the awards were presented by game designer Mike Bithell of Thomas Was Alone; CITV presenter London Hughes, Scrambled!; The Xtra Factor presenter Matt Richardson; games producer Adrienne Law, Monument Valley 2; chair of BAFTA’s Games Committee Nick Button-Brown, and David Gardner, BAFTA’s vice-president for games.
In Spruce’s game CyberPNK the gamer is persuaded to try new VR software that takes them into ‘Hivemind’ a dangerous corporate labyrinth with alternate realities.
Once caught up in this world the gamer is accused of being a convicted criminal and sentenced to indefinite years in the game, unless they can successfully complete the different levels to escape.
Spruce said: “Creating a game from scratch was harder than I could have imagined, but when I was standing on the stage at BAFTA all the hours that I put into it were suddenly 100% worth it.
“It’s such an honour to have my game recognised by BAFTA and turned into a prototype by professional developers. Winning this award has inspired me to carry on developing my coding skills so that I can develop increasingly complex and creative games.”
Spruce is now developing his game further, building different levels, and hoping for a commercial release by the end of the summer.
The Duke of Cambridge, president of BAFTA sent a message of support to all the young finalists saying: “I am always so impressed with the unique ideas and game-making skills displayed by our Young Game Designers.
“This year’s finalists prove there is a huge amount of talent within the UK and it is tremendously exciting to see young peope so passionate about a craft that could help launch their career in the British games industry.”
Nick Button-Brown, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee, said: “The creativity and skill demonstrated by all of our YGD winners and finalists this year is hugely impressive, exciting and truly inspiring for anyone working in the industry.”
Chris Ashworth, Programme Director at Nominet Trust, which worked with BAFTA on the competition, said: “At Nominet Trust, we’re passionate about creating opportunities for young people to engage in digital making, particularly girls who are under-represented in the games industry and people from disadvantaged backgrounds. We’re thrilled to see that 75% of this year’s winners are female.
“The imagination, creativity and thought that has gone in to all of the entries has been overwhelming. Congratulations to the winners and the finalists on their achievements which will provide inspiration to many more young people.”
The BAFTA YGD competition is part of a year-round programme of activity that gives young people and educators unique insights into the games industry and access to the creative minds behind some of their favourite games. Support includes: a website (www.bafta.org/ygd) where BAFTA members, award winners and nominees share their insights and advice and a range of teaching resources that link the BAFTA YGD competition to the national curriculum.