Much-respected games design competition Dare to be Digital, launched in 1999 by the University of Abertay in Dundee, has secured major backing from Channel 4.
Called 4Dare for 2008, the challenge invites teams of five art and science students to create a game in ten weeks at one of seven host centres in Brighton, London, Cardiff, Dublin, Dundee, and Birmingham (all UK) and Frankfurt (Germany). Teams from India and China are also invited to compete at the Dundee centre.
Channel 4 will be sponsoring the individual regional centres as well as Dare's ProtoPlay showcase events which demo the created games in Edinburgh and London – and the UK broadcaster us set to invest a significant six-figure sum in the effort, Develop understands.
The channel's chief exec Andy Duncan commented: "Channel 4 is driven by innovation, talent and risk-taking and all of these are inherent in the Dare to be Digital competition. Video game design and production requires a fusion of art and science and 4Dare will bring together the top young talent from regional centres vital to the future of digital broadcasting in this area."
Matt Locke, commissioning editor for education at the the broadcaster, added that the partnership was a key way for Channel 4 to establish a legitimate link with the games sector:
"We think the partnership with Dare to Be Digital is an ideal way for us to work with this sector in a way that is true to Channel 4's strengths - supporting talent, encouraging innovation and diversity, and taking risks on new ideas. We look forward to seeing the exciting projects coming out of this year's 4Dare project."
The call for entries for 4Dare is now open at the official site. ProtoPlay takes place alongside the Edinburgh Interactive Festival from August 10th to 12th and in London during October.
Abertay’s 4Dare Director, Paul Durrant, also commented: “Our partnership with Channel 4 is a marker for both the shift in media audiences and the broad appeal of video games across many different distribution channels. 4Dare ProtoPlay is a live extravaganza bringing all of the exciting dimensions of video games together with the opportunity to meet the talented young designers of the future and learn how games are created in a highly social environment.”