Dare to be Digital winners announced at awards ceremony

Media release Wednesday 13th August

The winners of the UK’s premier computer games design competition, who are also nominees for a unique BAFTA for new talent, have been announced at an awards ceremony in Edinburgh.

Dare to be Digital, praised by BAFTA as the‘perfect pathway’ for young talent in the games industry, held its 2008 Awards Ceremony at the Edinburgh International Exhibition Centre at the culmination of the Edinburgh Interactive Festival.

The three prizes went to: Blue Skies (Abertay University Dundee) for their game‘Origamee’, Ctrl_D (Peking University) for‘VegeMe’ and Dark Matter Design (Wolverhampton University) for‘Boro-Toro’.

Each team takes home£2,500 and a BAFTA nomination for the BAFTA‘Ones to Watch’ award which will be awarded in March next year.

Origamee is set in a 3D pop-up story book themed world incorporating traditional adventure style puzzle solving. Environmental issues such as recycling and pollution are raised subtlety throughout the game.

Boro-Toro is a side scrolling platform puzzle game which uses an innovative control system using Wii technology.

VegeMe allows the player to grow and style their own world in a race against their opponent

Organised and promoted by the University of Abertay Dundee in association with Channel 4, Dare to be Digital this year saw 17 five-strong teams of students haling from Birmingham to Beijing spending the last 10 weeks in host centres across the United Kingdom.

Six teams were based at Abertay University (including teams from India and China), four were based at Brighton, three at London, two in Birmingham, and two in Dublin. In conditions as close to real commercial games production as possible, they have been workingaround the clock to develop fully-functioning prototypes of their game ideas.

Earlier this week, the teams went head to head in a unique public showcase, Dare ProtoPlay, staged as part of the Edinburgh Interactive Festival. Over three days around 3000 visitors attended the event, trying out the new games and voting for their favourite.

In addition to the public vote, the teams were also put under the unforgiving scrutiny of a panel of junior judges– aged 6-13 years old.

Contrived (Edinburgh University) were the team to receive the most public votes, for their game Grav, they won the Audience Award sponsored by Microsoft and a prize of£1500. Grav is set in a‘retro-futuristic’ environment where robots are your enemies and your surroundings are your best friend.

A panel of seventeen judges, made up of representatives from fifteen different companies including Sony, Babel Media, Channel 4 and Sport Interactive, then had the task of picking the three winners based on creativity and innovation, use of technology and market potential.

This is the ninth year of Dare to be Digital, which originated at Abertay University.

Professor Bernard King CBE, Principal of Abertay said:“As the originators and organisers of Dare to be Digital, Abertay University is extremely proud to be working with all the sponsors and supporters of Dare in promoting the talents, skills and creativity that contribute directly to the success of the computer games sector both in Scotland and across the UK and Ireland. This includes the other universities who joined with Abertay this year to run hosting centres across the UK and Ireland. They are: Birmingham City University, Brighton University, Goldsmiths, University of London and Trinity College Dublin.

“It’s success is demonstrated by the very high proportion of previous contestants who have been hired by a whole range of companies such as Electronic Arts, Rare, Denki, Realtime Worlds and Lionhead; others have even set up their own games development companies, and during this year’s contest we were delighted to note the first commercial launch of a game developed in Dare to be Digital.”

Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture Linda Fabiani said:“The Scottish Government is delighted to provide support of£56,800 to Dare to be Digital which brings the world’s leading games design competition to Scotland showcasing our top class academic institutions and successful games industry. Through Fresh Talent we are committed to attracting and retaining talented international students and Dare provides a great opportunity for these cutting edge experts to see the benefits of studying and living in Scotland”.

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Fiona Hyslop said:“I’m delighted to see young Scots competing at an international level and collaborating with students from around the world. Dare to be Digital demonstrates the excellent learning environment that Scotland offers to the growing number of international students choosing to come and study in Dundee and throughout Scotland.”

Richard Leinfellner CEO of BabelMedia who chaired the judging panel said:“As chairman of the judging panel it is my pleasure to relay that the panel of game industry experts felt the overall standard of this year’s entries exceeded all their expectation both in terms of breadth of subject matter and overall game quality.

“In a climate of spiralling costs and product slippages Dare consistently manages to highlight what is achievable by the best new talent looking to enter the games business in just 10 weeks.”

Ray Maguire, UK Managing Director of Sony Computer Entertainment and judging panel member said: "Once again, Dare has revealed some true talent. The quality is the best we have ever seen and it is possible to see some of these prototypes becoming commercial. We are delighted to be involved again this year and look forward to revealing the winner of the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award at the British Academy Video Games Awards on in March 2009"

Ends

For media enquiries please contact Kevin Coe on 07850 904110 or 01382 308452

e-mail k.coe@abertay.ac.uk

High resolution images available please contact Alan Richardson on 07831413094 e-mail alan@pix-ar.co.uk

Notes

www.daretobedigital.com

Dare to be Digital is a competition open to students from Universities and Art Colleges and is promoted by the University of Abertay Dundee, which runs the competition in partnership with Scottish Enterprise Tayside and Dundee City Council.

Host centres for Dare to be Digital 2008: Dundee, Birmingham, Brighton, London and Dublin. In each centre, teams have had access to desk-space and computer equipment, and received financial support and weekly training sessions from industry specialists throughout the 10-week competition.

Universities represented in the Dare 2008 teams: Abertay, Brunel, Birmingham, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Edinburgh, Image college of Arts, Animation&Technology at Chennai, London Metropolitan, Napier, Westminster, London South Bank, Beijing, Portsmouth, Norwich School of Art and Design, Ulster, and Wolverhampton

Broadcast sponsors: Channel 4 (lead sponsors), BBC, Turner Broadcasting Systems Inc

Public agency support: London Development Agency, Screen West Midlands / Advantage West Midlands, Scottish Enterprise Tayside, Scottish Government, SEEDA, Belfast City Council, The Digital Hub, Intertrade Ireland, Department of Education and Science Ireland, IDA Ireland, Dundee City Council.

Technology and software providers: Autodesk, Microsoft, Philips amBX, Pufferfish, Nokia.

Game developer and publisher community supporters: Activision / DemonWare, Blitz, Bizarre Creations, Codemasters, Cohort, Denki, Eidos, Genuine Games, Microsoft, NCR, NCsoft , Proper Games, Rare, Realtime Worlds, Rockstar North, Sega, Sports Interactive, Zoe Mode.

All of the above companies have supported the teams through judging or mentoring, visits etcin some way

The BAFTA video game awards will be held on Tuesday March 10 2009. For more details please see www.bafta.org/awards/video-games


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