Dare to be Digital winner says the contest 'has made me realise I have the ability as an artist and as a leader to deliver'

Game development’s rising stars named

The new breed of talented game developers were named and honoured this weekend as the arduous Dare to be Digital contest came to its commemorative end.

By tradition, three student teams were picked as joint winners, as voted by experienced industry professionals, and will now go on to compete for the final prize – the coveted BAFTA One to Watch award.

This year it was an eclectic collection of games that wowed the judges.

One game, called Joust, tasks players to take part in the eponymous duel using the Kinect control system.

Another, called Dreamweaver, is a PC puzzle game that progresses into a nightmare scenario as in-game companions turn against the player.

The third, a game called Tick Tock Toys, was built specifically for iPad.

All three development groups were comprised of five students from a mixture of academic institutions, such as University of Copenhagen, University of Central Lancashire, Liverpool Screen School and Norwich University College of the Arts.

Two of the teams incorporated students from the widely acclaimed Abertay University, where much of the competition process took place.

Malath Abbas, who worked with winning team Evolved Ape, said the contest and its outcome has “made me realise I have the ability as an artist and as a leader to deliver”.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic and really proud of the final product and the whole team,” he added.

“All the hard, hard work has paid off.”

Digital Knights team leader Roman Graebsch said his team got together “for the fun of it, so it’s just amazing to be nominated for a Bafta. It’s just such a great feeling to see people enjoying what you’ve created.”

Swallowtail team leader Sophia George said she wants to see more females in the games development industry, “and in turn create more games for women”.

“It is such an incredible privilege to win,” she added.

All three students, and their teams, were celebrated as winners at the Dare Protoplay event in Dundee – a festival which the event organiser says broke record highs for attendance rates.

FunBox, a separate game from another student team, won Intel’s Visual Adrenaline
Award for best graphics.

Applications from over 70 universities worldwide were whittled down to just 15 teams to compete in Dare to be Digital 2011. The event is scheduled to return next year.

The three winning games, and their teams, are profiled below:

Joust, by Digital Knights

IT University of Copenhagen;
Agne Gediminskait
Roman Graebsch
Josep B Martinez
Petr Papez
Abertay University;
Amr Din

Dreamweaver, by Evolved Ape

University of Central Lancashire;
Stuart Brown
Joe Hurst
Daniel Scholes
Mat Stevenson
Liverpool Screen School;
Malath Abbas

Tick Tock Toys, by Swallowtail

Norwich University College of the Arts;
Rosie Ball
Kristian Francis
Sophia George
Abertay University;
Mark Bamford
Callum Goold

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