The Finnish and Scottish team behind Starcrossed, one of the Dare to be Digital winning games from 2012, won a BAFTA Ones to Watch Award last night at the British Academy Games Awards.
The only route to BAFTA’s annual new talent prize is through Dare to be Digital, the nine-week student game design contest run each summer by the University of Abertay Dundee.
The winning team, Kind of a Big Deal, are team leader Kimi Sulopuisto, Petri Liuska, Andrew MacLean, Minttu Meriläinen and Vili Viitaniemi. Andrew joined their team from Abertay University as their Scottish ambassador.
Kind of a Big Deal were supported to take part in Dare to be Digital by the Scottish Government as last year’s Nordic competitor.
Andrew MacLean said last night: "Winning the BAFTA hasn't really sunk in yet. Honestly, words cannot describe the feeling. When I was standing on stage, I thought I was going to fall, my legs were shaking so much.
“It all seemed so sudden – I wasn't expecting the award to be announced so soon, and then all of a sudden we were backstage doing all the press interviews. Obviously, we're all absolutely delighted and it's great, but it'll take a while for it to properly sink in.
"The other guys in the team will progress with the game, and I'm going to finish my degree and progress my career in the games industry. I'm hoping my degree plus the BAFTA will open a lot of doors."
Andrew is currently completing a degree in Computer Games Technology at Abertay University. The other team members came from Kajaani University of Applied Sciences in Finland.
Thanks to continued Scottish Government support of £85,700 in 2012, teams from China, India and Finland were able to take part in Dare to be Digital last year.
Professor Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: “Starcrossed is a very worthy winner of the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award, and it’s superb that the team has already completed and released a finished version of the game.
“The quality of entries to Dare to be Digital just gets better and better every year – the challenge facing our industry judges to pick three BAFTA nominees from last year’s 15 teams was the hardest yet. We look forward to the entries for Dare 2013 being even better.”
Starcrossed was also commercially released for Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketplace last December. The game featured in the ‘Featured’, ‘Top Paid’ and ‘New+Rising’ categories upon release, a huge achievement given the Finnish team entered Dare to be Digital as first year students. It is also available on Google Play.
Last year’s BAFTA Ones to Watch Award winner is also now on commercial release. Tick Tock Toys, a family-friendly puzzle game for iPad and iPhone, received promotional features on Apple’s App Store in 40 countries worldwide on its day of release.
The company behind the game, Swallowtail Games, completed the title with the support of the Abertay University Prototype Fund for launching new businesses.
Entries for Dare to be Digital 2013 are open until 9 April.
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About Abertay University
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. Our unique partnership with BAFTA makes Dare the exclusive pathway to the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award, a major recognition of up-and-coming games talent.
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 as well as holding full Skillset Media Academy status, recognition of the important industry skills that are developed on our courses.