Abertay students confirm Dundee as hot-bed of creative excellence

Abertay University is celebrating a unique double triumph this morning, with the news that some of its students scooped two prestigious BAFTA awards last night.

A team that had already won Abertay’s Dare to be Digital competition last year picked up the“Ones to Watch” prize at the BAFTA Videogames Awards Ceremony in London, and also the Best Game prize at the BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards in Glasgow.

The Butterflyers team, made up of five programmers and artists, received the awards for their game‘Shrunk’– an imaginative and unusual fantasy in which the player is reduced to the size of a salt shaker to battle against Dr Shockalot to rescue the Kleinoscope– a device which reduces the world around you at will.

Two other Abertay teams had also been nominated for the“Ones to Watch” Award: Gentlemen of Fortune and PixelPirates. PixelPirates had also been nominated for the BAFTA Scotland Best Game award.

Butterflyers’ team leader Vykintas Kazdailis, originally from Lithuania, said:“We’re overwhelmed, but so happy. The competition was so tough and the other teams were just brilliant. To win one BAFTA is very special, but to win two in one night is just fantastic.

Vykintas was present in London with team-mates Andrew Macdonald, Jacek Wernikowski, Stuart Kemp, and Michael Cummings to receive the“Ones to Watch” BAFTA, while close friend Iain Smith attended the BAFTA Scotland event in Glasgow to receive the Best Game trophy on The Butterflyers’ behalf.

There was a surprising twist to the London ceremony, because winning team member Andrew Macdonald had in fact designed the“Ones to Watch” trophy three years ago when the award was first established.

Professor Bernard King, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Abertay University attended the London awards ceremony. He said:“We are very pleased for The Butterflyers– winning both in Glasgow and London– but we are also proud of all our nominees.

“Dare to be Digital is judged by an independent panel of industry experts, and we were very proud when three Abertay teams were chosen as winners and nominees for the BAFTA“Ones to Watch” award.

“To be nominated for the Ones to Watch award and receive recognition in front of the leading lights of the international computer games industry is a fantastic accolade for our students. It is also great news for Abertay and for the city of Dundee, because its clearly states to an international audience that this city is a source of some of the brightest and most exciting new talent to emerge in the computer games industry.

The BAFTA Ones to Watch award was set up in association with Dare to Be Digital in 2006 to celebrate new talent and innovation in the video games industry. Each year, the three winning teams from Abertay’s Dare to be Digital competition become the sole nominees for the BAFTA.

The BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards is a competition designed for new creative screen industry talent, living and working in Scotland. The awards celebrate new talent in the Scottish industry, highlighting the future talent of Scottish Film, TV and digital.

Media enquiries: Kevin Coe, tel 07850 904110, email k.coe@abertay.ac.uk

NOTES FOR EDITORS

Abertay teams nominated for the BAFTA“Ones to Watch” Award– details of team members and the courses they were on when they entered Dare to be Digital.

Team: Gentlemen of Fortune Game: Quick As Thieves

William Wright (Team Leader), PGDip Enterprise Creation

Michael Doig, 4th year of BA Computer Arts

Andrew Knight, PGDip Enterprise Creation

Lee Cresswell , BSc Computer Games Technology

Jamie Mackinnon, BA Computer Arts

Gentlemen of Fortune’s physics-based action-stealth game‘Quick as Thieves’ challenges the player to navigate round their way around a museum at night to steal the valuable‘Macguffin’. The more items the player can steal the greater their abilities; however, get greedy and there is a greater chance of being caught.

Team: PixelPirates Game: Colour-Coded

Murray Sinclair (Team Leader), BA Computer Arts

Faye Wright, BA Computer Arts

Liam Wong, BA Computer Arts

Sean Donnelly, MSc Computer Games Technology

Nnanna Kama, MSc Computer Games Technology

PixelPirates’ Dare-winning game is a 3D platform, puzzle-based game called‘Colour Coded’ which, unusually, utilises Wacom graphics tablets as the console.

Team: The Butterflyers Game: Shrunk

Vykintas Kazdailis (Team Leader), BA Computer Arts

Andrew Macdonald, 3rd year BA Computer Arts

Designed the Bafta Ones to Watch Award

Jacek Wernikowski, 3rd year BSc Computer Games Technology

Stuart Kemp, 4th year BSc Computing (Games Development)

Michael Cummings, 4th year BA Computer Arts

The Butterflyers’ game,‘Shrunk!’, sees the player reduced to the size of a salt shaker as they battle against Dr Shockalot to rescue the Kleinoscope– a device which reduces the world around you at will.

About Dare to be Digital

Dare to be Digital<http://www.daretobedigital.com/> is a video games development competition for extremely talented students at universities and colleges of art, and is promoted by the University of Abertay Dundee.

Teams of five students, usually a mix of artists, programmers and audio, assemble at Abertay University for ten weeks to develop a prototype video game, receiving support and mentoring from industry specialists, as well as a stipend, team budget and free accommodation.

The competition has a truly international flavour, with teams coming not only from the UK and Ireland, but from as far afield as China, India and Canada.

At the end of the competition, the prototypes are displayed at a special talent showcasing event in Edinburgh, Dare ProtoPlay, during the Fringe Festival in August. The general public and industry experts get to play and vote for the games. Prizes are then awarded to the winning teams at a special awards ceremony.

Later in the year the winning teams attend the BAFTA Video Games Awards to compete for the coveted 'Ones to Watch' award.

Students who have gone through the Dare experience are highly sought after by industry and are working for such companies as Rockstar North, Electronic Arts, Realtime Worlds and Rare.

More information: www.daretobedigital.com

About BAFTA

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is the UK's leading organisation dedicated to the recognition and promotion of excellence in the fields of the moving image. Renowned for its high profile Film, Television and Video Games Awards ceremonies, the prestigious BAFTA mask has long been seen as a symbol of excellence

The BAFTA Video Games Awards are now in their third year, and are regarded as the UK’s premier awards for video games excellence.

More information: http://www.bafta.org/site/page1.html


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