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Scotland’s biggest computer games festival opens in Dundee

The free three-day Dare ProtoPlay computer games festival will be opened today by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs.

Fiona Hyslop will join thousands of members of the public to play brand new games created by students competing in the internationally-renowned Dare to be Digital competition.

Fifteen teams of students from across the world travel annually to the University of Abertay Dundee to build a game in just nine weeks, with three winners then nominated for the exclusive BAFTA ‘Ones to Watch’ new talent award.

The Culture Secretary said:

“Dare ProtoPlay is a fantastic festival which attracts the world's best young game designers to Scotland and showcases Dundee’s cutting-edge skills in computer games development. It is an exhilarating conclusion to Abertay University's Dare to be Digital competition for both the teams taking part and members of the public alike.

“By inspiring and developing a new generation of games designers, Dare ProtoPlay is enhancing Scotland’s creative reputation on a world stage and helping to maintain our competitive edge in a fast-growing global industry.”

Dare ProtoPlay runs from Friday August 10 to Sunday August 12, 2012 – our Year of Creative Scotland - in Dundee’s Caird Hall and City Square.

Professor Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said:

“Dare ProtoPlay is an incredible experience, both for the Dare to be Digital students and the thousands of members of the public who join us to play the games and meet the teams who’ve created them in just nine weeks.

“As well as being incredible family fun, letting Scotland’s young people meet the next generation of international game designers helps them to realise that they too can create computer games and be part of our exciting creative industries.

“The games industry in Scotland is incredibly diverse, fast-changing and creative, and we’re committed to showing our young people that studying art, maths and physics at school can get them one of the most exciting jobs in the world.”

Continued Scottish Government support of £85,700 enabled teams from China, India and Finland to take part in Dare to be Digital this year.

This year’s Dare ProtoPlay festival has also been expanded to include Dare Indie Fest, a conference for budding entrepreneurs and a showcase of games from independent companies.

Over 40 games are available to play for free throughout the Dare ProtoPlay weekend, including the 15 student games and new titles from independent game developers from across the UK and as far afield as Romania.

http://www.dareprotoplay.com/

Background

Dare to be Digital is a video game development competition for undergraduates at universities and colleges of art, organised and run by the University of Abertay Dundee, the UK's Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education.

Teams of student programmers and artists compete in an intensive 'hot-house' development environment over the summer vacation, building fully-functioning prototype games for assessment by industry judges and a public vote at the Dare ProtoPlay games festival in Dundee in August.

Abertay University launched the world’s first computer games technology degree in 1997, and runs both the UK Centre of Excellence for Computer Games Education and the international game design contest Dare to be Digital.

Through the Abertay University Prototype Fund start-up and small developers across the UK have access to funding to create new prototypes and attract additional investment, another practical way Abertay supports the growth of a sustainable, successful games industry.

Abertay has the highest number of Skillset accreditations for computer games courses (five out of 12 across the UK) as well as holding full Skillset Media Academy status, recognition of the important industry skills that are developed on its courses.

The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and spotlights and celebrates Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at: www.visitscotland.com/creative

The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses and organisations engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at  www.visitscotland.org/yearofcreativescotland-toolkit  


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