â??A year ago I was just a simple student and now Iâ??m standing here in front of an industryâ??

The Butterflyers crowned Ones to Watch

The careers of five aspiring Scottish developers has kicked started as student team The Butterflyers picked up the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award this week.

Frontier Developments chairman David Braben presented the bekilted students with the prize, after stating how important it is to get young people excited by game development.

The Butterflyers’ difficult journey to the prize began in February 2009 when the Dare to Be Digital game design contest started looking for possible contestants. Now, some thirteen long months later, the group stands with one of the most prestigious awards in British game development.

In June last year, Dare to be Digital 2009 pitted some 70 student contestants against each other for the chance to take another step closer to the BAFTA award. Judges whittled down the entrants to just fourteen competing teams – all of which were given ten weeks at Abertay University to build a prototype of their game idea.

After months of intense and impassioned game development, the final three winning teams were announced at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe awards in August. The Butterflyers, Gentlemen of Fortune and Pixel Pirates each walked away with £2,500 in hand and a nomination for the Ones to Watch award.

In the end, an exhausting year for the Butterflyers saw them stand victorious on the same stage that would later be graced by Shigeru Miyamoto.

“A year ago I was just a simple student and now I’m standing here in front of an industry,” said one of the team when picking up the award.

The Dare to be Digital contest took the group’s work – a platform adventure game called SHRuNK – under the eyes of some of the biggest names in game development. The game was judged by the likes of Blitz Games Studios, Cohort, Denki, Disney, Ninja Theory, Rare, Realtime Worlds, Rockstar North and Sony.

Registration for the Dare to be Digital 2010 contest is now open.

Go here to see videos of the three finalists’ games.

And here for the list of BAFTA award winners

And here for Develop’s Dare to be Digital coverage

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