Intel Level Up 2010 Game Demo Challenge

The Intel Troll (pictured) dropped us a line to announce their new Level Up competition, and it’s looking fairly shiny. There’s a couple of tiers to the competition, with pros/hobbyists and students judged separately. The lowdown is that the grand prize for professional/hobbyist level entries is an all-expense paid trip to the Tokyo Game Show. The prize for the student-level competition is a pass to GDC San Francisco 2011, as well as marketing support for their game from Intel and “a marketing firm”. There are also “Best Game For Desktop, Laptop, and Netbook” categories, each with their own $5000-plus-big-fat-PC prizes, and more for “judges choice” awards. Thousands of dollars worth of stuff, basically. So that’s probably worth looking into if you’re in the game-making business. Details on how to get in on it below.

Intel say that the competition works like this:

Developers submit their game demo CONCEPTS (a few sentences and a visual if they have one) to us from now until June 21. Anyone can register more than one. Intel then reviews the submissions and selects finalists, who are then asked to turn their concepts into a fleshy frankenbeast. They will be alerted by July 11. Final code is due by August 31. Final judging takes place September, winners announced in October.

So if you’ve got an idea, and the will to execute it, then the website is here.

Intel say they’ve got a bunch of high-profile judges to take a look at the finalists, and while we can’t announce them here, there are some names that you lot will be very familiar with. It’s good stuff.

Level Up is always an entertaining and productive competition, so it’s great to see it returning for a fourth year. Last year’s stuff can be found here, if you fancy a look at the kind of thing people entered.

And good luck, I suppose.


  1. Theory says:

    The troll is from Project Offset. Whatever happened to that?

    • rocketman71 says:

      They’re trying to best DNF’s record.

      I don’t think they will. GeorgieB is a tough nut to crack.

    • rargphlam says:

      They were actually bought up by Intel. The rumor was that Project Offset was going to come with whatever graphics solution Intel has been cooking up.

    • Heliosicle says:

      They released a video recently of project offset, I think they’re just using the engine currently to show cool visuals for what you can do with intels latest hardware etc.

      link to – video.

    • PHeMoX says:

      Project Offset died when it got bought up by Intel.

      Too bad, as the first serious video looked incredible. Last I heard was they aren’t even making an actual game anymore, but just their engine showcase projects.

    • RagingLion says:

      That’s really sad. I discovered its existence this time last year and got really excited by what had been shown. I want someone to make that kind of game though.

  2. DMcCool says:

    Couldn’t really be less inticing as game making competitions go (looking at last years) but that doesn’t make it any the less lovely. Supporting that old DIY “Get out there and make YOUR OWN shooting game, or driving game, or puzzle game” ideal. Sort of thing I’m glad is happening but doesn’t really effect me much.

  3. DMJ says:

    Isn’t that a picture of the guy responsible for designing the GMA950 display hardware?

  4. KungFuMassa says:

    Erik here writing from the Level Up team. This year we got the ability to award cash prizes again — that easily makes it more enticing than last time ;)

  5. Tei says:

    Here is my idea:

    Superman Deathmatch. Superman enters a clonning space area, and evil superman, angry superman and green superman is generated. You has one of these characters has to kill all others with your god-like powers. Travel back in time, and stop you tryiing to stop you killing you.

    Will to execute it: zero.

    • AndrewC says:

      What does Green Superman do?

    • Tei says:

      Green Superman is the least interesting of all. He built supersteampunk motorcyles (much like Tron Legacy, only better) and “shot web”.

      I don’t think making a challenge about “game ideas” is a good idea, how you know if a idea for a game is good or bad? most ideas that look good on paper, often end unplayable ( Like “lucidity” ). Is like judging a graphic card, based on the draw of such graphic card by a 5 years old.

    • KungFuMassa says:

      As a reminder, we’re asking for a demo here — a proof of concept. If the game does just one thing, like, it lets you drop sheep from an airplane into trampoline’s with a goal of getting the sheep to hit the airplane it was dropped from, that’s fine. Full-on experience’s aren’t necessary. Don’t be such a downer.

  6. Sagan says:

    Tei, I recommend you at least enter that idea:

    In addition to the contest and Judge’s Choice awards, bi-weekly prizes will be awarded to professional/hobbyist entrants determined by random drawings. Prizes consist of one $100 USD (100 U.S. dollars) gift card per entrant selected by random drawing every two weeks. Entrants may win multiple times by submitting new game descriptions (with optional screen shots and/or video). See dates above in the “key contest dates” section.

    • KungFuMassa says:

      Thanks for pointing that out. We are really keen on growing the competition and I’m hoping this will help things a bit.

  7. Andrige says:

    Well this was very interesting, thanks for the information!

  8. SpinalJack says:

    I’m not a student any more. does that make me a hobbyist?

    • Resin says:

      Funny that they should lump professional and hobbyist together that way. I would think that the average student was a bit more advanced than the average hobbyist. Or at least than me.

    • PHeMoX says:

      It’s a stupid classification to begin with, as even hobbyists can be very professional about their hobby, without earning money with it.

    • KungFuMassa says:

      We wanted to create a special track for students, but that left us with a challenge — what do we call the other track? “Everyone else”? Heh.

  9. Cooper says:

    I like the idea of an Intel troll trawling nerdy PC hardware forums and winding up both NVidia and ATI fanboys…

    • SanguineAngel says:

      He’s very polite though :)

    • LionsPhil says:

      Good. At least Intel can write working drivers (at least for their internally-developed hardware).

  10. Spoon says:

    All I can think of when looking at that troll picture is:


  11. Resin says:

    So they say they want an image and a few sentences – is that really it – or is that in addition to a working playable game? Is just an idea enough or do they want something they can actually play?

    • KungFuMassa says:

      Phase one: A description and an image if you have one.
      Phase two: If we think the idea sounds fun/awesome/etc. we’ll be in touch after the initial entry phase and ask you to submit code. You’ll have until the end of August to do that.
      Phase three: You ween! And we give you many prizesssss, yessss.

      Did I mention you get to keep all your IP, and all we ask is the right to promote and distribute your game demo? And by distribute, we mean one of the prizes will be getting your demo onto Steam, and we need your permission for that. :)

  12. KungFuMassa says:

    Hey folks, some more infodumps for you:

    -We’ll happily accept games you’ve submitted to other competitions.
    -If your game is already built, that’s cool, submit away! If you’ve got more than one, send ’em over. I want to keep our judges busy in September
    -If your game is currently a barely working demo…hey, that’s cool! As long as the core of what you’re trying to impart is there, that’s fine.

    Okay that’s enough out of me.

  13. Vitamin Powered says:

    I’ve seen competitions like this before that, upon reading the small print, were revealed to accept all copyright and ownership of the idea as a condition of entry.

    I’m not saying that’s the case here, but anybody looking to enter would be well advised to look at the entry conditions.

    • KungFuMassa says:

      Nope, none of that. Don’t forget that Intel isn’t in the business of making or selling games, so your IP remains your own. But I absolutely suggest everyone read the terms and conditions regardless – you should know what you’re signing up for. Anyone who creates content for a living should.

  14. Devan says:


    Do you know what merits the game ideas are judeged on? Is it based on how well it makes use of CPU hardware, how fun it is, how creative it is, how well it would perform in the market, etc? How important are the graphics? Would a social game have a chance?

    Any hints you can give in that direction would be helpful.

    • KungFuMassa says:

      Game ideas (NOT the demos) will be judged on creativity, originality and how well our panel thinks the game would engage the user. With the game idea, any graphic (screen shots, videos, etc.) are optional.

      If you want to get a sense of the judging criteria for the demos, check out the rules page at link to

  15. Jacob says:

    Ern, lookout students here’s the official rules:

    Student game concepts will be selected as pre-qualified finalists in one random drawing per student block (see student block dates in these rules).

    Apparently there are 5 student blocks, and the submission system allows for unlimited entries. So students will succeed not by creating good game concepts, but by spamming Intel’s system.

    That’s a pretty depressing way to run a game competition.

  16. perfectheat says:

    KungFuMassa: What do you mean by submit code? If I enter with some visual concepts and a design document for the June 21st deadline, and end up being qualified, could I then make the game in Epic’s UDK and submit an install? Or do you need the project file?

  17. Klaus says:

    That troll creature is what I will imagine behind the monitor when I deal with internet trolls.

  18. HeruFeanor says:

    @KungFuMassa – I notice that the contest rules talk a lot about hardware utilization, especially good utilization of multi-core processors. This makes since, given Intel’s business. So what I wonder is, how is impressive hardware utilization weighed against such factors as creativity and gameplay?

    • KungFuMassa says:

      Odd, I thought I responded to this already. Here goes again:

      The hardware utilization will weigh approx. 50% and the creative elements as a group will represent the remaining 50%.

  19. KungFuMassa says:

    @HeruFeanor: The hardware utilization will weigh approx. 50% and the creative elements as a group will represent the remaining 50%.

  20. Dan says:

    Possibly not the place, but there’s a mistype in one of the weblinks. On the user homepage:

    2. Update your game entries at any time on your My Entries page.

    The My Entries link should take you to my_entries.php, but takes you to myentries.php and delivers a blank screen.

  21. terry says:

    This smacks of Intel’s involvement in sponsoring a demo (ie the arty farty realtime generated codewonk stuff, not 15 minutes of learning how to crawl under objects and use WASD) competition a few years back, with more or less exactly the same sort of dangling carrots. Of course, being Intel they totally misunderstood how demos work and insisted on an arbitrary 30 second length limit, which is frankly like bringing Carl Sagan back from the dead but forcing him to lecture only about breakfast cereal.

    Honestly, when these monoliths get involved in “innovation” that usually marks the point at which any form of it flies out the fucking window.

    /gets angry about video games

  22. SpinalJack says:

    If I use UNITY will that rule me out of any prizes?

    • RavenKel says:

      We need an executable that can run on Windows. Choice of engine, development tools, creation style is all yours

  23. RavenKel says:

    We need an executable that can run on Windows. Choice of engine, development tools, creation style is all yours.

  24. Rhys Paul Hovey says:

    For some reason this year,. I cannot enter my game demo, the software pretends to malfunction and will not display my entry, and no one will respond to any of my messages. The game is SYNTH video game. We’ll see how they respond, and how they will know about me without RADARING me, when I change my IP address, and name, and game name.

  25. Rhys Paul Hovey says:

    SYNTH:Electropix under paul richard and took home 1st prize in best game for a desktop category. Thanks to all at INTEL!! Thanks for having a games demo competition that I did not have to PAY to enter :)

    link to