Epic, Digital Extremes, Atari and NVIDIA have today launched the "$1,000,000 NVIDIA Make Something Unreal" contest, which aims to recognise those talented part-time developers behind mods for UT2003 and the as-yet unreleased UT2004 (screenshots of which emerged today). To enter, your mod has to be freely available and compatible with UT2003 or UT2004.
The contest will be split into some 13 categories (more details here) and judged in three phases, finishing in spring 2004, with the contest's grand prizewinners to be announced at the Game Developer's Conference in San Jose.
The grand prize is set to be worth $400,000 (with more details due soon), and amongst the other prizes are an Unreal engine licence worth $350,000, and $300,000 worth of high-end PC hardware, some of which will be distributed to deserving schools whose teachers or students contribute.
Epic and cohorts obviously anticipate this kickstarting the development of a number of new projects, and have also launched the Mastering Unreal website, which features 100 hours of downloadable video training modules to help people on their way. Let's just hope this doesn't result in the saturation of download sites with hundreds of pointless mutators and CS rip-offs, eh? That we can do without.
Oh and if you plan to enter, then good luck!